Craig Ward Balances a Creative Mix for Starbucks
There’s a reason you’ve probably never seen a Starbucks commercial. Their brand recognition is some of the best in the world (plus all those strangely misspelled names on social media are doing the job of a huge campaign without any of the cash). But every now and then Starbucks wants to bring attention to something new they’re working on, and for their latest foray into cold brew coffee they asked Craig Ward to help them spread the news. We don’t have to tell you that Starbucks knows what it’s doing when it comes to the confluence of coffee and customers, but cold brew has captivated the caffeine-addled masses in ways a java trend hasn’t in a long time. That’s for good reason. Craig wanted to take that energy and make it palatable in a visual way for a company with the international responsibility that Starbucks has.
“My task was to come up with a bunch of ways for these titles and headlines to interact with the footage that was happening behind them,” Craig says. As their House Made Vanilla Cream hits the coffee it explodes as a white addition to the clear black coffee. The visual was already there so it was up to Craig to communicate the information that Starbucks needed to teach its customers, while still playing with the beauty in the mixture. He created a tension of movement and stillness, the clear hard lines of type against the natural action of the ingredients. Those visual contradictions draw us in and keep us watching. For a spot that will be mostly seen online where distractions are unrelenting, these visual cues are crucial to the job.
Striking that balance can sometimes be a heavy lift, but Starbucks gave Craig and 72 and Sunny (the creative agency involved with the project), a very specific set of parameters to help guide them. “The challenging part was, as always, treading the line between legibility and communication,” Craig explains. Craig found that line and then worked with his own team to execute it exactly the way he needed it done. Once they wrapped it up it was time to share it with the world.
As it zips around from one corner of the internet to the other, Craig couldn’t be more pleased. “Of course, it’s always nice to be involved in a big project,” he says with a laugh. Cheers!