Design/Inspiration Ryan Brown Is on the Move

The UK art director’s ever-expanding creative options allow him to better serve the community and his clients.

Design/Inspiration Ryan Brown Is on the Move

The UK art director’s ever-expanding creative options allow him to better serve the community and his clients.

Ryan Brown isn’t one for sitting still. Whether he’s running a brand’s creative strategy or running marathons, the art director is always on the move. “It just feels good to learn and grow,” he says.

Brown’s diverse client roster includes everything from Chelsea Football Club to an underwriting company. He’s even been his own customer as the head of brand and creative for the Aaron Lewis Foundation. (Brown founded the charity to honor a friend killed in action in Afghanistan.)

The Londoner is well-versed in brand strategy. “It’s an area I’ve always loved,” Brown says. “If you create a brand that has purpose and is authentic, then you create a believable, trustworthy brand, and there’s something so rewarding about that.” While at Chelsea Football Club, his role expanded from senior designer to being involved in the club’s repositioning worldwide. “It gave me a front row seat on how to create and implement a strategic positioning of a brand on a global scale.”

Examples of Ryan Brown's work for Chelsea Football Club, the London Market Cyber Symposium, and the Aaron Lewis Foundation (top to bottom).

But Brown takes care not to lose touch with the hands-on work. “One of my skills is that I can support my team by jumping in at any phase of a project if need be, from ideation through artwork,” he says. “I think it helps keep the lines of communications open with the team.”

Plus, that’s just the way he is. “I’m self-motivated to play and see where I can take things,” Brown says. “I can’t stand that feeling of just plodding along and getting by. I always want to feel like I’m learning, because I think it’s the best way to continue to produce great work.”

That self-motivation prompted him to participate in 36 Days of Type, an annual project open to anyone who wants to try their hand at designing unique takes on the Roman alphabet and numbers from 0 to 9. He decided that his lettering would be three-dimensional. “Looking at industry trends, I saw that the best agencies are not only doing great branding in 2D—they’re then presenting it as animations and in 3D. I knew that’s where I wanted to go.” The only roadblock? He’d never used 3D software.

Brown had recently renewed his Adobe Creative Cloud subscription, and while exploring the apps, he came across an earlier version of Dimension, Adobe’s 3D scene design tool. “When I started to use it, I knew that I would be able to pick it up quite intuitively.”

A few characters from Ryan Brown’s 36 Days of Type project. For more, visit his Instagram.

While he experimented with several looks for his 36 Days of Type, Brown eventually settled on what he calls a “glitch” style, which he produced with a combination of Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and Adobe Dimension. The letter "K" above is an example of the glitch look.

Adobe spotted Brown’s project and invited him to try Dimension’s new 3D text feature, which lets you easily generate 3D typography, add bevels and edge treatments, and apply materials across different areas of the glyphs. Essentially, we wanted to free Brown from working one letter at a time and instead generate an extruded word or phrase with little more than a button-click, and all without leaving Dimension for other apps.

Brown produced this extruded word and the sentence “It feels good to grow” at the top of this page with Dimension’s new 3D text feature. (Dimension 3.2 also includes the ability to customized basic shapes, which gives you as another way to compose directly in Dimension. Check out this Adobe Live session for shape-specific inspiration.)

What’s Next?

Brown is unsure where his next chance to grow will come from. His involvement with the Aaron Lewis Foundation, now in its twelfth year, continues to be highly rewarding. “We’ve provided mobilization vehicles for kids of all different disabilities and illnesses,” he says. “There was a lad who had a rare form of bone cancer and unfortunately lost his leg when he was really young. He had loved running around after his brother and sisters, and when we gave him a hand cycle, he could do it again. A couple of years ago we saw him again, and now he wants to be a Paralympian!”

Brown has begun working with a mentor to explore how else he might contribute to the world. “I want to continue to push myself and further identify my own purpose,” he explains, “so I can be a better mentor myself.” However he applies his skills and experience, it’s certain that Brown will always keep on learning.

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