Bryan Taylor

The Bard, Part 1: Casting the Dream

Growing up, I always wanted to be an architect. I attended one of those career days in seventh grade, excited to learn more about my future vocation. I asked the speaker how much he got to draw, and learned that after codes and engineering and meetings, he was really only able to draw 10 percent of the time. I was devastated, vowed to never again consider architecture, and eventually, found my way into design. And when I really think about my time today, I humbly wish that I could spend 10 percent of it drawing.

I’ve come to learn, however, since leaving the school years and entering a creative line of work, that every problem has a creative solution — to the architect and designer alike. When a brand needs a logo to visually communicate what it represents, there is a creative solution waiting to be unearthed. But so too does civic policy have plenty of questions in need of creative answers, as do teaching, engineering, and construction.

Every aspect of Beergarden's interior speaks to the brand's identity. Photo: Trask Bedortha/Drawn

In 2014, Tap & Growler gave us our first branding project, which included building out their restaurant space. The problems that needed to be solved within the 2,200-square-foot interior were the same that needed solving with the brand identity — they were just in three dimensions. That project went well and led to more built design projects at Beergarden in 2015, ColdFire in 2016, and the Bard Building in 2017.

Coldfire. Photo: Trask Bedortha/Drawn

Drawn’s new home is dubbed the Bard Building after an idea that I had 15 years ago, to bring a collective of solo creatives together in one building, where everyone leased small portions of a bigger space. The idea was to bring designers and photographers and writers together to do their individual businesses, but also to benefit from the shared creative environment. In these 15 years since, we have turned our own company into that collective, so when I had to create a legal name for the new Drawn office building, the Bard seemed fitting.

Bards played an important role in ancient Gaelic and Celtic culture as professional storytellers. Before Netflix, people had to depend on theatre and the recitation of stories for entertainment and teaching. Many of those stories had been passed down for generations. This was the role of the bard in the British Isles, including one William Shakespeare, also known as the Bard of Avon (the city, not the cosmetics company).


Creating a space in which to create. Photo: Trask Bedortha/Drawn

In a sense, what we are doing at Drawn and in this new building is storytelling. It is a makerspace where we can ideate, design, fabricate, shoot, film, and post to the world hundreds of little stories for clients nearby and around the world. That is the ultimate vision for a place like this, capable of bringing all of those parts together to, in a sense, act as modern-day bards in a digital and brand-centric world.

The problems we solve here at the Bard are sometimes simple and sometimes complex, but they all have creative answers. Whether designing, or architect-ing, or creating an event, an interface, or an ongoing digital conversation — every problem holds the promise of a creative way out, and we hope that we’ve built a space to aptly facilitate that creative problem-solving process.