The similarity between who he is and what he does makes the 25-year-old graphic designer the ideal display of what results when passion meets fashion in the creative world of advertising.
Born in Painesville, Ohio, but raised in Colorado, Spell became interested in design and art around the age of 12.
“I loved lines and always noticed patterns and symmetry in everyday life,” he said. “When I was a kid, I loved to draw and always paid attention to art — be it on TV, a billboard or a magazine, which eventually translated into wanting to learn how to create digital art.
“I would sit in my room for hours on my demo versions of Photoshop and Illustrator trying to teach myself how to make something eye-catching before the demos expired. Then I eventually got into photography in high school and loved it, and continue to do it as well today.”
In 2002, Spell, the youngest of four children, and his family moved to Lexington, Ky. There he graduated from Paul Laurence Dunbar High School in 2004. That same year, he attended Lee University and went on to join the Lee Advertising Federation.
At Lee, Spell became a Peer Leader who belonged to the Communication Honor Society (Lambda Pi Eta) and graduated summa cum laude with a 3.93 GPA and a B.S. in Communications with an advertising emphasis.
Such credentials would allow Spell to focus on visual communication and presentation, combining words, symbols and images to create visual representations of ideas and messages, a talent he was truly gifted at.
“In 2008, I was given the huge opportunity to design a logo for the horse Cowboy Cal in the Kentucky Derby,” Spell said. “In 2010, a friend of mine started a cupcake business in Mobile, Ala., called Twist Cupcakes, and it has been a huge success!”
The talented graphic designer is currently working at Church of God World Missions in Cleveland where he finds a higher purpose in his creative works.
“Ad layout, logo design, direct mailings, brochures, flyers and more are part of my daily routine,” Spell said. “I’ve also been doing a lot of freelance work on the side for the past several years for many different companies.”
According to Spell, there are several dynamics which determine whether or not creating logos or designs for a client is extremely difficult or come quite easily.
“It depends on the company, but also the personality of the individual you’re working with,” Spell admits. “Some client’s can give you an immediate mental image, while others give you absolutely no mental image to work from. Also, depending on personality, some people want things done one way, some another, and some just have no clue what they want.”
The one thing Spell understands every business wants, however, is a brand image, not unlike McDonald’s golden arches or the blue bird emblem for Twitter, to clearly distinguish their company from all others.
“Getting the right identity for a business can make or break a company. I find myself analyzing logos everywhere I go! Of course a logo isn’t THE company identity, but it does help people feel a certain way. For me, creating a feeling is what I look for when helping brand a business,” Spell explained.
“Something I’ve learned is that it’s not a battle to compare yourself with another designer, but to realize each designer has their own unique signature in their work. Mine happens to be a very linear, simplistic style, and I’m happy with that.”
It is his self-assured approach to graphic designs, being personable and his relentless ability to keep searching for fresh, creative ideas that could label Spell a standout in his chosen profession.
“My lifestyle has always involved creativity somehow,” he said. “For example, I’ve been a
drummer since I was about 9 years old. That parallels design for me because I tend to be happiest when I’m being creative. The uniqueness of my designs comes from trial and error, and not being scared to try something even if it sounds strange.
“A lot of people view designers as being quiet and reserved, but I consider myself to be a people-person. That makes it easier for me to communicate with others and to create designs for specific needs. Nobody wants to work with someone who has no enthusiasm for what they’re doing. I love people, so that makes the job a lot more fun.”
Spell, the son of Leonard and Denise Spell, Church of God pastors currently in Lexington, Ky., said, “I grew up in the Church of God and my faith is definitely an important part of my life.”
Although his career is about designs and ad layouts to make companies standout, Spell is anything but ostentatious. While he loves to “hang out and get coffee with friends, watch movies and play drums,” Spell, who is single, can blend in with the ease of a chameleon, so that his qualities, rather than appearance, becomes his trademark — his most outstanding characteristic.
It is this symbol of what he is and what he does that makes Spell a graphic designer with a special purpose and a blossoming future that may become as noticeable as his brand of art work.
“I love designing for a nonprofit right now because I know my designs are part of a bigger mission,” he said. “But, my ideal job is creating something that can make a difference — in any capacity. I like to see change and results, and if I’ve helped accomplish that, then I’m happy.
“Five years from now I would love to have a family, a giant schnauzer, and be working in the same field. In a literal sense, and ideally, I would love to be back home in Colorado, but I’m content wherever I’m supposed to be.”
To view Brandon Spell’s freelance work, visit www.facebook.com/brandonmichaelpd.