CIO Connect has been a loyal client since 2003 and I’ve been designing the branding for their annual conference for top IT types for, hmm, three or four years now. Looking back on the way we came to this year’s final image, I thought it might be a great illustration of how I work together with my clients to create an image that works.

This October’s conference theme is “Embracing the Unexpected”; so late last year (they are organised types at CIO C) they asked me to come up with some ideas around the theme.

I came up with the following rough ideas:
















CIO Connect said that they liked the Jackalope (being a ferocious antlered version of a rabbit) coming out of the magician’s hat, but they thought it might not be obvious enough. Perhaps something more overtly ferocious might work? So I created some rough inkings of crocodiles (text was to go across the black arm of the magician). At first I struggled with the idea of what the magician was to grasp, & so gave the croc some bunny ears. Then the jaw-holding idea came to me. I sent both ideas to the client, despite thinking the latter a lot stronger. Normally I wouldn’t do this (David Carson said once never to show the client something you don’t like as that’s what they’ll choose) but I trusted the people at CIO C to pick the better one – and also, sometimes great ideas are born from humble beginnings. Thus:


We like the second one, they said. Can you develop it?

Well, I redrew and I inked and I scanned and I coloured and dear reader, I made this, the final design, with lettering and brand colours:

The response: “I love it!!  …thank you so much it’s fab and so different from our usual!”