Interview with Gino Verna Graphic Designer

Posted on 08 November 2011 by Delta Dreams

Interview With Gino Verna, Graphic Designer

I interviewed my good long time friend Gino Verna who also helped design the Delta Dreams logo.
I’ve been wanting to have a consistent brand logo for the music project for many years to help unify it. His responses to my questions were very profound and interesting on the topic of branding. You can see more of his work at

Gino Verna Graphic Designer

Quang:  What inspired you to get into design?

Gino:  I went to art school in 1990 initially for illustration; Macintosh was in its infancy and changing the graphic design world. Photoshop 1.0 had just come out and the teachers barely knew it, so at the time it was super exciting to learn along with and sometimes surpassing the teachers. They knew it was the future and some even learned from me. An illustration teacher advised me to concentrate on design because they couldn’t teach me more about illustration anyway. So I switched to graphic design.

Quang:  Do you feel that art is something that can be taught?

Gino:  Like anything else if you give two people two pencils you will get two different results, same with a guitar. In both scenarios someone will be more of a natural but both can learn techniques from someone else and both can practice and sharpen their skills art or music both can learn different genres or ways of doing things based on what gets them excited by a teacher or influence.

Quang:  What’s the difference between illustration and graphic design?

Gino:  Trying to think of the simplest way to put it, illustration is closer to fine art.  Ask 3 illustrators to draw 3 different flowers based on their technique and see what you get. A designer designs a poster or advertisement selling that flower. The designer can come up with 3 ways to design an ad for a flower with different typefaces, color schemes, picture or illustrations of the flower

Quang:  How do you go about creating work for a client?

Gino: My best results come from talking to the client as much as I can, seeing what they like or don’t like about what they have had done before. Seeing the work they had done before, what they liked about it or didn’t like. The more I talk to them the more I get inside their brain. It’s the best place to start. I try to believe they have the vision of what they want in their head, but lack the skills to get it on paper. I start there. What I think they are seeing in their head. From there I do one MY way on what I think it should be and try to just be better than what they paid for before. If they do not have any previous work done they can show or a vision in their head, I try to design 3 different ways for one project: liberal, moderate and conservative. That shows a good range of possibilities and launches a dialogue. It also avoids a lot of back and forth “I want to see more of this or less of that”. My “liberal, moderate, conservative” design concept approach streamlines the process and eliminates a lot of bullshitting back and forth and wasting the client’s money with correction charges.

Quang:   As a consumer, how do you evaluate tools to purchase for your business, work, and creativity?

Gino: I haven’t bought many tools lately. With Photoshop or Adobe InDesign, just the standard updates are usually a lot to play with. Though I don’t usually explore a lot of the new bells and whistles that come with those program’s updates. When Photoshop comes out with a new brush or filter, it is over used in the design industry. Next thing you know all designers are incorporating the new toys into their designs, it is quite lazy and becomes saturated quickly.

Quang: How do you define a brand?

Gino: I define a brand as not only a logo but also the company and logo together with the product that has lasted decades and have been consistent for decades and is a part of the American culture. If Mac ever changed that bitten apple logo people would think something is seriously wrong with the company at this point after decades of that logo representing their product not just because some designer found a new cool way to draw an apple. Actually more simply it’s “a logo is something you can change if you are not happy with your current logo. A brand is something if you have to change it probably was never a brand”. For example, McDonald’s are not thinking, “we need a new logo”. Their brand has been set for decades.   Knowing you have a great product that will be around for decades and knowing you will have to nail that first logo in the early years, and knowing you should pay an art director to maintain that brand’s integrity wherever it appears hand and hand with the service and product’s integrity.  If your logo and product is in the subconscious of the consumer, you are a brand. It takes years to get there.

Quang:  There was a fast food trend over the years to make logos italicized to make them appear to serve food faster.

Gino: That’s probably true.  Back to your previous question… I have another example I just thought of, when people say “buy the brand name toilet paper or buy the brand name bathroom cleaner and not the generic”. That is a good example of branding working when even the product doesn’t have to be better than the generic. Do people think TARGET  have a factory making TARGET brand toilet paper and cleaners? No. These brand name products HAVE to make virtually the same product for TARGET with the TARGET label and sell it cheaper along with their product with their logo and brand, just to be carried in TARGET stores. But they are SO relying on their brand’s advertising and recognizability that people will look past virtually the same ingredients and just say “I have to pay the extra for the brand name just because that is what I am comfortable with, what has been in my subconscious for years now”. If your logo and product is in the subconscious of the consumer, you are a brand.  I could go on and on, but I have to get back to work now.

3 Comments For This Post

  1. Michael Says:

    Insightful interview with my fellow Austinite!

    Just fyi: the link to Gino’s site is broken. The URL needs to be prepended with http:// in order for it to resolve properly.

    -Michael T

  2. Quang Ly Says:

    MIchael – Thank you for pointing this out. It has been fixed.

  3. Steve Freeman Says:

    good interview.

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