Ebony Ssali, MBA is Brand & Creative Director of Ssali Media, a brand consultancy headquartered in Wisconsin. She is a recognized leader in place branding and multicultural marketing campaigns. As founder, she directs print, broadcast, digital, and social media. For nearly 20 years, Ssali has been known for bolstering organizations with brandmarks and creative assets spotlighting Black and Latin audiences.
Ebony Ssali has garnered awards for work such as the City of Milwaukee’s Bronzeville Week, Wisconsin Inno’s 50 on Fire for work with high valuation startups, and been featured in several GDUSA publications. Ssali is a national guest lecturer on branding, diversity in communications, and innovation as brand strategy.
Looking forward to 2023, are you optimistic about the role and impact of Graphic Design and Visual Communication in Business? Culture? Causes? Have the events and disruptions of the past few years changed the role or trajectory of Graphic Design?
The last few years have triggered The Great Reset, pushing designers to reimagine ‘what could be…if.’ I’m looking forward to increased engagement and cultural competency within the profession. Design is accelerating towards a global perspective. It’s almost as if we’re finally understanding that our design voices echo in our communities and around the globe. Trends prevalent in Mumbai can affect the culture of Milwaukee.
Most influential graphic designer(s) or art directors(s) of the past 60 years? Of today?
I can’t pare it to a single most influential designer, but without Massimo Vignelli, Milton Glaser, and Paul Rand, American design would look much different. The impact of publishing and fashion icon, Eunice Johnson, has been monumental for decades.
Favorite or most influential logo or branding project of the past 60 years?
Nike. The legendary logo is striking and unforgettable. And to imagine it was created on a ‘shoestring’ budget. Pun fully intended.
Favorite or most influential design project or campaign in any medium for the past 60 years? Package, poster, website, ad, publication or motion design, etc.
The ‘smashable’ Coca-Cola. Before we defined branding systems, Coca-Cola nailed it. The iconic bottle continues to be exalted in package design. Everyone calls out the “Buy the World a Coke” campaign, but in the early 90s Coke brilliantly connected to African American creators. The notable “Always, Coca-Cola” campaign launched many artists, including Tyrese, to the big stage.
Most influential design products, services or technology of the past 60 years?
The iPhone. Powerful computing devices in people’s pockets and personalized technology has been a boon for brands, creativity and for life.