Life at Oxygen Graphics:
Irene Torcal

When I see a company, who’s got their brand totally right, I give them a round of applause in my head. Even if I don’t know the business owners personally, I can’t help but get that proud, warm, fuzzy feeling inside, knowing that they care about how they are seen by their customers. I’m sure that’s what comes with working in a role that for me, is more than a job, it’s a passion.


I’m a Brand Stylist here at Oxygen Graphics and I absolutely love the work I do; it makes me very happy. A bit of background on me: I grew up in Madrid, Spain, before I began my adventure in England seven years ago, back in August 2014. Having lived in Birmingham and Manchester, I’m now firmly settled in Rugby and have been part of the Oxygen Graphics team for three years. Despite initially training in architecture, I went on to study graphic design and it was then that I found my calling. It’s like the penny dropped, graphic design is what I do, it’s my thing.


When it comes to being a Brand Stylist, the clue is in the name: I style a business or an individual’s branding. Consider me a personal stylist, who takes care of a person’s whole look: hair, make-up, clothing and even the attitude of their clients. Well, I’m a personal stylist but for businesses, taking care of my clients’ logo, background, fonts they will use and the images they choose, from professional and corporative photos, or entertaining and comical illustrations. All these elements will ultimately represent how they want to be seen from the outside. In fact, sometimes, all they need is an image touch up.


You might be asking, what is a brand? To me, your brand is what represents your business’s values and who you are. It’s the face of your company and it tells your story, which means your brand should be present in everything that you do. This could anything from the font type you use to the images you use to represent you. And of course, at the heart of your entire brand is your logo. A brand helps form that relationship with your audience. It’s what makes a business recognisable, it creates that familiarity.


I don’t just style a brand though, I help businesses use their brand properly. It could be even the smallest thing, like the background colour, or position of the logo, that makes such a big difference. Ultimately, getting their brand right could be the difference between that organisation making their next sale or not.


Personally, I really thrive when businesses come to me with a completely blank slate. I can then really inject my creativity and imagination into building a brand that they’ll fall in love with and so will their customers. I want their shop to shine and their business to boom because of the brand that I have created or helped to develop. I love walking along the streets of Rugby and feeling so proud as I pass logos that I have helped to create.


When I first start working with clients, it’s essential for me to get to know them, to hear their story, to find out their values and to discover their goals. What’s more important, is finding out who their target audience is. I ask them to tell me who their one perspective customer type would be – although this can often be very hard because businesses can rarely narrow it down to just one. After all, my role is to create and grow a brand that is bespoke to them and the only way I can do that is by finding out as much as I can about who they are.


With getting to know clients is such a vital stage of my branding process, I, like so many others, was concerned about how lockdown could impact my role. Fortunately, thanks to modern day technology, we found ways to adapt and to have regular meetings with clients via Zoom. Plus, a lot of the work I did during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic was with current clients, who I already know well.


Having met with a client, I then draw up a mind map of words I associate with a business. I take inspiration from our chat, I use Pinterest and I research the industry while drawing on designs that already exist to spark my creativity. My goal is always to produce a brand that has a long shelf life. Let’s be honest, you only have to look at some of the most well-known brands in the world, like Nike, to appreciate that successful brands have longevity. They might need tweaking along the way but ultimately, the basic concept of their brand remains the same.


Depending on what support a business needs, I then either present the client with several designs that I have created, or I talk to them about any ideas I have for refreshing their current brand. I value their input, as much as they recognise my knowledge and expertise, which means that from there, I continue to work with them to create a final brand that we are both happy with.


Take one of the clients I’ve recently worked with, Storm Lifestyles, an American-based sports nutrition company. They were looking for an attention-grabbing and bright brand, that attracted a young, modern audience. Knowing this, I was able to really play around with colour and soon created a brand with a graffiti-style theme. Of course, like most jobs, it came with its challenges, one of which was their desire to have a dark background. The final logo consisted of bright blue wording, which I made look luminous, almost like those neon signs, against a dark grey background. The brand became a cocktail of complementary bright colours, connoting real energy. It was an extremely fun project to be part of, made even more enjoyable thanks to the clear passion of the client.


The wonderful thing about supporting businesses and their brand is that the journey never ends because brands are always evolving. I see a lot of returning customers, wanting to develop their current brand, whether that be tweaking their logo, or expanding their promotional package by adding extra marketing material. It’s a journey of growth and it’s a pleasure to be part of.

Irene Taking Notes
Storm Lifestyle Shopify Website

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