ID Co-Director Mark Kimbrough Receives Graphic Design USA Award

Winning design showcases crucial relationship between client and designer

by Symone Daniels • January 11, 2023

Graphic Design USA (GDUSA) recently announced University of Houston Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture and Design associate professor and co-director of industrial design Mark Kimbrough as an award winner for his logo design in the category of corporate branding. GDUSA was established in 1963 and connects business-to-business information sources for graphic design professionals while also highlighting the latest news, trends, and people making waves in the field of graphic design.

In 2022, Umbach Consulting Group approached Kimbrough to help reevaluate the company’s logo. Having worked with the group for over 20 years, Kimbrough was quite familiar with their business and brand. He decided to create a design that would resonate with the company’s legacy rather than an entirely new logo.

Initially, their logo was a registration mark commonly used in printing and lithography, but today, with Kimbrough’s redesign, it has become more adaptable and suited for all their needs.

Above: The old umbach logo

"I was instrumental in helping morph the registration mark into something that could have much more flexibility," Kimbrough said. "They just needed the flexibility to use the logo slightly differently. I came up with the idea of integrating color to represent certain segments of their business.”

While reimaging the logo for his client, Kimbrough first had to examine who the company was today and how its brand could support its future business. The importance of collaboration and communication between a company and the graphic designer is essential to obtain a favorable design.

Above: The new logo suite for umbach consulting group

"Sometimes, the client may not even know what they want,” he shared. “It is our job, as designers, to find ways to extract that information from the client by giving them much variety."

Kimbrough feels that learning multiple aspects of branding and its integration will help students stand out in the job market because greater skills translate to added value.

"They just needed the flexibility to use the logo slightly differently. I came up with the idea of integrating color to represent certain segments of their business.”

“It is one thing to have a beautiful image or logo, but I am more interested in how you think,” Kimbrough said.

As a professor and entrepreneur who has hired graphic designers, Kimbrough advises students desiring a long career in graphic design to know how to communicate their design process to others. Throughout their education, Hines College industrial design students are challenged to develop innovative products and the brands associated with them, ultimately better preparing them for their future professional careers.


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