We like to think that creating effective communication campaigns is our way of connecting the world. Ultimately, every good graphic designer is a “lineman.”
Glen Campbell’s classic song (written by Jimmy Webb) always meant a lot in my home since my father was a lineman. And in that line of work you are connecting the world.
As a kid growing up in New England I knew that every time it snowed I could count on one thing: Dad would be called in to work! Connecting the wires during New England snow storms provided the overtime work that paid for our Christmas gifts. I got very good at shoveling the driveway – in straight graphic designer lines – so it was cleared when my father returned from work.
I was never interested in becoming a lineman. My father, Austin D. Langton, Jr, was always pushing me to go to college. And I never made the connection between “lineman” and the graphic designer’s use of lines until I started corresponding with designer Scott Santoro, who is the son of a plumber. Scott uses actual plumbing imagery in his design work. As a designer and teacher at Pratt Institute, he tells his story as a designer influenced by plumbing. Scott pointed out that I was making connections through communication skills – just like my father did in his work with electricity. And, as they say, a lightbulb went ON.
Julie Cottineau, my colleague, and founder of BrandTwist always says that a brand is, “A story well told.” So how can you dig into your past or your company’s past to tell your story in a way that is distinctive? One way is to make it personal. What can you say about yourself or your company that no one else knows? What does your story say about how you act in business? Does your company’s track record support the promises that you make in your brand story?
I’ve started telling my story as the son of a lineman. It’s about hard work and a fair wage. About getting the right training, providing a reliable service, and then always looking to the future. Where would the Internet be without electric power poles that carry the wires and host the servers that make the Internet work? I worked my way through design school, moved to New York City, worked for design studios, and did a stint at a large insurance company before founding my own design firm. I may not climb poles and fix electricity, but I make connections with clients and prospects and I am always making, repairing, and rebuilding connections with many people each day. I also do a great job shoveling the driveway after a snowstorm.
About the design solution:
I gave this sketch to Design Director Jim Keller who created the beautiful design that accompanies this story.
Back to Insights