David Langton – Visual Intelligence Expert

David likes to say that intelligence comes to each of us in different ways, some are gifted with analytical skills, others are book-smart, some are good at public speaking, others are athletic. Our society values book smarts and the gift of gab especially if it involves a heart-to-heart over with a beer. And yet many think they know about visual intelligence, we all “know it when we see it,” but do we really know how to examine visual communications? Do we have the skills to really see how to present something in a visual manner that makes a point, reveals an answer challenges a preconception or supports a belief? Visual intelligence is the ability to use visual skills in effective ways that startle, arouse or simple explain something in clear easy-to-follow instructions. Just as great guitar player can combine chords in ways that bring out extraordinary sounds, a seasoned visual intelligence expert can design a map, create a logo or a website that visually does what it’s supposed to do. David founded design communications firm Langton Cherubino Group in New York City with Norman Cherubino in 1995. David has more than 20 years experience providing conceptual direction and leading new business initiatives.

David analyzes the effectiveness of communication programs and directs the development of strategic positioning with creative and unique solutions. For Ernst & Young, Moody’s KMV, Credit Suisse and other clients, he produced segmented marketing programs with image libraries and color-coded sales collateral that target specific industries. His work has been honored with awards from International Golden Quill for Strategic Communications, Apex Grand Award, International Association of Business Communicators and the Great Design Show International Competition.

David is a graduate of the Rhode Island School of Design where he earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in graphic design. He also pursued writing and liberal arts studies at Brown University.

What are you working on right now?

We just created a new promotion called www.webvswebb.com that uses that challenges you to determine whether a word is from the World Wide Web or from the lips of TV Detective Jack Webb. We are finding that anyone under 40 never heard of Dragnet, We developed the game to examine how the Web has made so much available, yet it can sound just as archaic as the old detective language from the 60s.

3 Trends that excited you?

  • I see an emerging economy that will work in a different way: ideas will rule but they will be grounded in an authenticity: just doing something for the sake of being different or creative will not be enough.
  • Technology continues to leapfrog, the coming age of post-ipad will be fascinating as it turns all of our communication strategies upside down.
  • I think we are entering a time where we will need to seek out more community. The Internet can be isolating if we just stare at our screens—even if we can touch and expand and move around with our Wii’s.—the Internet will become a way to meet and match up with real people in person. The need and call for people to meet people and be part of a group interaction in the flesh will emerge as central to our development.

How do you bring ideas to life?

We have a “work-together/work-apart” brainstorming process that we’ve developed over the years. We meet as a team, discuss the parameters, goals and objectives of the assignment, then go off to our own corners and sketch and think about the project for a few days, then we regroup in our conference room, share ideas and have an old fashioned critique. Ideas are built upon, discarded, and at times combined and rearranged in a conceptual food processor. The best ones emerge from hybrid of inspiration that bounces back and forth among us.

What is one mistake that you made, and what did you learn from it?

Everybody makes mistakes, I try to address them as soon as possible and show that we can be the company that went the extra mile when things didn’t go exactly as planned. It’s easy to be the good company when everything is going well, but the real test is what happens when things don’t go as planned. And anyone who is in business will make mistakes, so learning to react and take care of them is critical to your success.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers? Not everybody needs a logo. I think we have over-sold the “Logo” concept. We tell start-ups: Just have a clean and professional look, use Helvetica for a few years, then come back and see us in 5-7 years after you’ve learned what your business is really about. Sometimes a entrepreneurs just need to mind their business and do a good job, then once it’s established they can sit back and work on a real logo/ identity that matches a marketing plan. Too often every start-ups puts together a logo as part of their business plan when the business and its identity has not been proven.

Can you say a few words about Jim Keller, your incredibly talented Design Director?

Sure! Jim’s been with Langton Cherubino Group for 10 years and he has been behind most of our award winning work including the Healthy Pfizer wellness campaign, the Internet Fund Logo and the lani dig your dog premium dog shampoo which was featured on the Today Show!

What is it like to have kids who are 9 years apart?

My current wife, Shelley, (BTW she’s the only wife I’ve ever had) and I have a daughter, Rachael, a freshman in high school and a son, Jae Min, who just started kindergarten. I tell my kids that there are 9 years between my brother and I, though I had a couple of siblings in-between. We’ll never have more than one college tuition to pay at a time, and for now we have a built-in babysitter.


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