When Jamar Bromley MFA 15 GD returned to San Francisco for his second summer internship at Lit Motors, he set out to create a “sexy and elegant” graphics package that would do justice to the incredibly cool new vehicle the start-up is planning to release later this year. The curvy, compact electric two-wheeler is the brainchild of company founder and CEO Danny Kim 09 ID, who has spent more than five years developing it to provide the maneuverability and fuel efficiency of a motorcycle and the stability and comfort of a sedan.
“It’s a fully enclosed motorcycle you drive like a car,” Bromley explains. “At Lit Motors I’ve worked closely with the head of marketing, the vehicle designers and Danny himself – who’s really easy to work with – to develop a new logo, a new typeface and a style manual for future graphic designers to follow.”
Though his graphic design work is under wraps until the official launch, Bromley says it’s about building credibility and a recognizable brand for investors. During his internship last summer, the graduate student focused on creating graphic designs in support of the Kubo, a scooter Lit was developing that is now temporarily on hold. Based on the work he has done over the past two summers, Kim has already offered him a permanent position after he completes his MFA next spring.
Bromley never would have predicted that he’d end up working for an automotive company. “I was initially interested in doing some type of web work or app development,” he recalls, “so when I asked Bethany Johns MFA 83 GD [graduate program director in Graphic Design] what was happening in San Francisco in terms of design, she sent me the names of a ton of firms. When I saw the Lit Motors vehicle, I was like, ‘Is this real? What’s going on here?’” Inspired by the company’s philosophy and the product under development, he sent his portfolio to Chief Marketing Officer Ryan James, who immediately invited him in for an interview.
Bromley says that the RISD experience – and particularly its focus on critique – is proving to be invaluable in the real world. “It’s so important to be able to talk about why you did what you did and to back it up,” he explains. “You have to stand your ground and trust your instincts.” The workflow at Lit is similar to the process he uses at RISD, with multiple iterations of each design element and lots of discussion with the larger group. And since Kim is also a RISD graduate, Bromley adds, they “both understand that process.”
“It’s the thinking that really separates RISD from other design schools,” says Bromley, who began studying graphic design as an undergraduate at Yale. “It’s about how you develop an idea, where you start and what your approach to design is. Execution of the design and aesthetic qualities are other important factors.”
Bromley is now looking forward to his final year at RISD and to what will hopefully be his last winter in New England. He expects that the research experience he has picked up during the past two summers will help out in the months to come. And although he’s still undecided about the focus of his thesis project, he’s imagining that it will involve info-graphics. “I’m interested in how to design both randomness and predictability,” he explains, “and in figuring out what to do visually to break the status quo.”
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