Thoughts on design, branding, and creativity:
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Working With Designers Should be Joyful, Not Painful
Good designers are hard to find and sometimes even harder to work with. But it doesn’t need to be this way.
It is common for a client to ask for something and then wonder why the designer won’t just give them what they want. After all, “the customer is always right.” Right?
That may work in a fast food restaurant or a shoe store, but when it comes to working in the area of professional design communications, it gets a bit more complex than that. And really, you — as the client — shouldn’t want it any other way. In fact, if a designer isn’t asking questions and challenging assumptions, they are probably not very good and you won’t be realizing the full power of what design can bring to your business.
Designers and clients both have a role
The key is to not interpret pushback as being difficult, but rather as a welcomed and necessary part of the process for doing good work. In other words, the way to begin a project with a designer is not by... Read More
Lessons in Creating Quality Content from Cartoonists
I learned some lessons pretty early in life that have served me well over the years. When I thought I was just learning about cartooning, I was actually learning much more.
As a young aspiring cartoonist in high school, I was infatuated with the tools of my heroes — the giants in the cartooning industry. These were people who won Pulitzer Prizes, were known by our nation’s Presidents and even had their creations sent to the moon. People like Charles Schulz (Peanuts), Hank Ketcham (Dennis the Menace), Jim Borgman (Zits and political cartoons), Mort Walker (Beetle Bailey), Gary Trudeau (Doonesbury), Mike Peters (Mother Goose and Grimm and political cartoons), and many, many others.
I would include clippings of my cartoons from the school newspaper asking for advice. I wanted to know what pen nib they used (it was all pen and ink back then — the answer was usually one of Gillott’s nibs or maybe Speedball, but was it a #170 or a B6?), the type of... Read More
Anatomy of a Logo
I recently designed a logo that, while seemingly simple, provides a good example of the work it takes to get to “simple.” The client was Divers Direct, the world’s largest scuba retailer, and they needed to brand their new water sports division — specializing in everything from scuba lessons to packaged adventures.
The goal? To develop a strong, trusted brand and a logo that connotes action, adventure, energy, excitement — and of course, water. The target market was the young and active crowd, as well as youthful baby boomers.
The logo needed to be simple, unique and dynamic — working in all contexts and in all media — a symbol that together with the name would capture the same energy exhibited by the active, adventurous sportsperson who would naturally be attracted to the brand.
So… with that and the basic criteria for what makes any good logo, there were a couple specific challenges that also had to be addressed:
The brand name was Emocean — a play... Read More
12 Ways A Visual Strategy Powers Business
Most people can appreciate how important visuals are for grabbing someone’s attention and communicating an idea clearly and succinctly. But the way you drive business results is through a visual strategy.
A well-executed visual strategy extends your brand, bringing together all of your company’s communications and engagement into one unified effort — both online and offline. Your visual strategy should be targeted, compelling, and consistent — targeted to accomplish your goals, compelling to attract and draw people in, and consistent to continually reinforce your business messaging.
Businesses without a visual strategy aren’t taking full advantage of what visuals have to offer, nor are they preventing the slipshod image they are likely projecting through their scattered, haphazard engagement.
Here are 12 reasons why it’s so important for your business to have a visual strategy:
1. Focuses a brand so it speaks with one voice
A laser-sharp, consistent, visually-powerful brand is where it all begins — it is also where many companies falter, adding to the noise rather than cutting through it.
2. Humanizes business interactions
People tend... Read More
12 Reasons Why Your Business Needs to Get Visual
Communications and the way we digest information are going through nothing short of a sea change. The shift to the visual is evident everywhere we look, in all media.
Visual content includes photos, infographics, illustrations, quote graphics, slideshows, memes, videos, animations, and any other type of imagery that can be engaged with and shared. Now with bigger images and fewer words — shareable and “snackable” — visual content is the perfect answer for our hurried schedules and busy, distracted, hyper-engaged lives.
Technological advances have something to do with this, of course, but so do all those other changes in our present day society, our lifestyles and psyches. What’s really interesting is that we are also reverting to a simpler means of communication from a much simpler time — modern day forces are driving a shift similar to how people once communicated in much more primitive times.
Recent neurological advances also feed this phenomenon, proving scientifically through brain scans how we... Read More
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