Taylor Guitars, Nike, NBA, Hard Rock Hotel – just some of the notable clients MiresBall has worked with over the past three decades. The longest standing brand design agency in San Diego, MiresBall has helped organizations ranging from innovative start-ups to established global leaders communicate with clarity and authenticity by developing the strategy, narrative and visuals essential to creating exceptional brands.
Celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, MiresBall was founded in 1985 by Scott Mires (left) and joined by John Ball (right) in 1986, who later became partner in 2006. Today, the two men and their team – who describe themselves as easy-going perfectionists – are known in the industry for their award-winning work and enviable clients.
We recently sat down with Mires and Ball to find out more about them and the lessons they have learned over the last 30 years.
GDUSA: You’ve been a constant in the brand design scene in San Diego from the beginning. What’s the secret to longevity in such a competitive marketplace?
MiresBall: The branding design industry has really morphed over the last 30 years, and we’ve definitely had to adapt. But despite those changes, our commitment to always over delivering and not stopping until it’s right has remained the same; it’s this culture of going the extra mile, which has in part, contributed to our success. Another factor is creativity – a cornerstone our agency was founded on, and which stems from our backgrounds as graphic designers. In today’s crowded landscape, ingenuity really is key to standing out and staying relevant; our clients over the years have understood this, and have looked to us for guidance to grow and continue to connect with their audiences.
GDUSA: Branding – how do you define it and why is it important?
MiresBall: There’s really so many definitions and ways to look at branding, but to boil it down, brand is a perception. It’s what they say about you when you leave the room – your reputation. And as everyone knows, reputation is incredibly important, whether you’re an individual or a company. We help clients shape that perception by making the brand experience all encompassing – from what they say, how they look, experiences they deliver. Audiences will form perceptions, whether you help shape them or not, so it’s important to take an active role.
GDUSA: What clients or specific projects can you speak to as having contributed significantly to the agency’s longevity?
MiresBall: We’ve been very fortunate and have worked hard to foster long-standing client relationships, which have definitely played a key role in our permanency as a firm. One client – a Fortune 50 global technology company – has been with us for more than 22 years. They’re a large, high-profile, game-changing business, which has allowed us to work on a lot of different milestone projects that have been powerful for us as an agency. Taylor Guitars is another keystone client that we’ve been able to help transition from a relative unknown, to a leading icon in the acoustic and electric guitar industry. We were able to help the company capitalize on its most valuable asset – musicians and their unbridled passion for “Taylors” – to tell their story, and connect with an even wider audience.
GDUSA: What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced over the past three decades?
MiresBall: Definitely adjusting to the changing technology. Thirty years ago, we were working with T-squares, then the tech revolution hit and the media landscape morphed. We’ve seen a lot of businesses disappear that weren’t able to progress. Fortunately, our company has been able to transcend by staying on top of the shift.
GDUSA: Is there anyone in particular who influenced or inspired some of the choices that MiresBall has made along the way?
MiresBall: We used to share a space with VitroRobterson, now just VITRO; it was inspiring to work alongside such an innovative and powerhouse agency, and their insane collection of ADDY® awards created a healthy competition that helped keep us on our toes. Jim Stuart, the founder of Pirch – just named one of America’s Most Promising Companies by Forbes – also had a big influence on us. We had the pleasure of developing the name/identity of the company, and it was incredible to see his passion for creating something that hadn’t been done before and making the customer experience great.
GDUSA: You’ve obviously learned a lot after three decades in the industry. What is the ultimate takeaway?
MiresBall: You know, we’re still learning every day, and that’s the key – never stop. It’s also so important to produce work that you’re proud of/can stand behind because at the end of the day, your work represents you. Lastly, take time to enjoy the ride. Remember, we get to do this for a living, and that’s pretty cool.