We had the good fortune of connecting with Greg Chinn and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Greg, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I’ve gone through several stages in my career, from freelance designer to art director to co-owner and back to being on my own. Once my second child arrived, I knew I was never going back into a big corporate environment. It was too important for me to stay connected to my family, and the community.  My company, The Local Brand Co. (Formerly Jargon Boy Design Studio) is focused on crafting strategic branded content with upbeat visual language that brims with West Coast optimism. Inspired by my roots in Hawaii, LBC’s concept comes from the term “Local”, meaning someone who is familiar with the culture and knows the ins and outs of that particular lifestyle. They live there and get it. As technology has connected people, the world has gotten much smaller. Our cultural influences are global. Today, we’re just a few clicks away from each other. No matter where you live in the world, we have all become “Local”. I’m in Laurel Canyon, California and in your neighborhood. I’m The Local Brand Co.

The best projects I work on help amplify companies that are improving people’s lives or highlighting bipoc topics/issues. Having worked at different times on both coasts, I use an East Coast analytical approach balanced with West Coast optimism. The process begins with dialogue, market analysis and discussions about your branding concerns. Next is the creative process of blending all the target elements together to form the visual language. Finally, production and implementation. With the new visual vernacular in place, the unique brand identity is complete, translating into increased media recognition and sales. I’m personally involved in every facet of the process, and love it all.

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I always loved the immediacy and intimacy of actual design, and as a result never felt at peace just dictating style and handing it off to someone else to implement. I’m too hands on. Crafting assets with a handmade quality and a personal edge is super fulfilling. I try to create design assets that have meaning, unique to the client. There is modernist sensibility to everything I do and I find the solution to each project that amplifies the central narrative. The beauty of working closely with my clients is that their passion for their project is usually contagious and I learn something from every job. It’s taken some time to understand the project/clients I want to work with and leaning into my personal style and beliefs. Mistakes have been made but also some wonderful projects have been created and cool people I’ve met have become lifelong friends. There are 2 projects that really defined me and I feel incredibly proud to have done.

The M is for Modern Alphabet Flashcards I created for my then 4 yr old daughter. “A pocketful of genius. Coolness in a box.” A Mid-Century Modern education in 26 remarkably easy lessons. The Modernist Alphabet Flashcards were inspired by California’s MCM style. Over 40 different articles, websites and blogs have featured M is for Modern flash cards including Step Inside Design and How Design Magazines to websites/blogs Dwell: Product of the Day, Design Within Reach: Design Notes, HGTV: The Modern Nursery & Design Happens and Apartment Therapy: San Francisco & The Nursery. The M is for Modern flash cards were carried by retailers in the United States, Australia, Canada and England including classic brick and mortar stores like the Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, MODA | Museum of Design Atlanta, The Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum and SFMOMA | San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

I love birds. It was a dream job to redesign the Visitor’s Center Exhibit Space for The Connecticut Audubon Society’s Birdcraft Museum. I needed to combine the historical nature of the museum, but bring a modern edge to attract new visitors. The identity combined vintage bird etchings with contemporary typography and colors to create an eclectic modern statement. The refreshed look increased media recognition in the state and brought new as well as existing enthusiasts to the museum. The brand identity would go on to be featured in design magazines such as ID and selected to be in Print’s Regional Design Annual for the East Coast. The banners would also be highlighted on Communication Arts online in Fresh, and in Graphic Design USA on an article “Historic Sites Get New Looks”. But the real bonus was that kids loved it. Adults were charmed. And the bird love was shared.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We love our Laurel Canyon neighborhood and have a tendency to stay pretty central. My family lives in a classic California bungalow with an open floor plan, tons of windows and so many trees and birds (and coyotes and hawks) it feels like a world away, yet we’re smack between West Hollywood and Studio City. My son would drag you to check out the streetwear on Fairfax Blvd (Supreme, RipNDip, Aape) and my college age daughter would pull you to the Melrose Trading Post on Sundays that sells antiques, vintage goods & collectibles. Or we could hit the Studio City Farmers Market that hosts an excellent shave-ice stand (almost as good as Island Snow in my hometown, Kailua.) Our big weekend thing is Sunday dinner – and our go-to is old Syrian family recipes, made by my wife Amanda. That’s the weekend. The rest of the week, I’d say check out the Norton Simon Museum, Huntington Gardens and Shiro restaurant in the Pasadena area. Then do a coastal day at Zuma beach and Broad St. Oysters. The food and design in Silverlake, Echo Park and DTLA is always satisfying. Then come back to our place. There are dogs to pet and cocktails to toast with.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
First comes the organization close to my heart. The Outrigger Duke Kahanamoku Foundation which provides support to Hawai’i students, teams and events that personify the spirit of Duke Kahanamoku. I was thrilled to create custom illustrations for social media and limited edition tee shirts that helped amplify a great organization. Next shout out is to museum curator WM Frank Mitchell who I collaborated with for The Amistad Center for Art & Culture which highlights African-American Culture. The Amistad is an independent not-for-profit cultural arts organization that manages a multi-disciplinary collection of fine art, photography, historical artifacts, memorabilia, and rare books that document the African American experience and Frank is the ideal collaborator. So much so that I’m now working with Frank on a new exhibit for the Harp Historical Museum’s inaugural exhibition called “Keeping the Faith! Building Community + Politics In Dixwell.” The show will feature objects from the CT Afro American Historical Society collections with pieces from Yale’s Beinecke Library, the New Haven Museum to name a few. Last holler to Filipina Owner/Chef Anna Cherubini whose business, Anako, I helped launch. Anako is a Los Angeles based moringa infused artisanal product company which gives back a portion of profits to the Palawan people of the Philippines. These are the people that make my design practice what it is. Engaging, educational and uplifting.

Website: www.thelocalbrandco.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thelocalbrandco_la/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/greg-chinn-63180238/

Image Credits
Amistad Center For Art & Culture’s Sing The Truth Banners photographed by Anthony Colon. Anako Pan De Sol photographed by Anna Cherubini. Anako Cold Brew photographed by Emily R. Sue of Vinsue Photography

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