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French Shriner: I designed the identity and marketing plan for French Shriner Shoes. Resources were focused on product packaging design and strong brand awareness campaigns featured within retail stores. This men’s shoe company experienced record sales orders at both the 2005 and 2006 World Shoes and Accessories (WSA) expos in Las Vegas.

Words of Wisdom from Mr Mom

If you haven’t seen the video “Mr. Mom” do yourself a favor and rent it. You’ll laugh (a lot) and see exactly what I refer to here. In this movie Micheal Keaton plays Jack; a laid off company manager who assumes the role of raising his kids and house cleaning while his wife goes back to work. The name “Woobie” is what Jack’s son calls his dingy old blanket that gets dragged around everywhere. Jack does great in his new role but eventually gains weight and becomes far too relaxed with his self image. It’s hilarious when Jack performs the “burning ceremony” and torches what’s left of the flannel shirt he’s worn everyday for months. After this he looks down and says, “The Woobie is lookin’ bad son.” But instead of throwing his blanket in the fireplace the kid quickly darts out of the room. Here’s a clip that follows this scene: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u5_pRBvh8Ik&feature=related

Yes, the Woobie looks bad, but it really shouldn’t. All we need to do is regroup, rethink and always remind clients they’ll spend many more greenbacks if stand-true business procedures aren’t taken off the chopping block. We still hold the brand/advertising blanket firmly, it just needs a good washing. When I hear logos are being created for $150 bucks or even worse, when I see freelance postings for $25 identity projects, I guarantee these brands will never become anything memorable. Do today’s companies (large or small) really feel comfortable knowing their identity; their new brand foundation and public image is about to get slapped together in a matter of minutes? Where’s the market research and focus groups? At least get together and determine your main target markets. Maybe just recite some strong company attributes – – really, really fast! I know you’re extremely busy, but please, let’s go over your top 3 products and services – – that’s it! I promise we’ll keep it brief. What’s your company’s direction? Where does it see itself being and doing 5-10 years down the road? I know, you really gotta run, but just list a few key points (2 maybe 3 tops) that set you apart from your competition… What about… Oh, let’s face it! We’re taking too long. $25 bucks isn’t even buying an hour’s worth of work – – and we just spent 30 minutes on that ultra quick download. Still feeling okay with your $25 logo? Oh, you’d like to upgrade to that deluxe model! The $150 logo will most likely be finished in one afternoon or less. Is that okay?

So how big is your budget to start branding this nifty logo? Several thousand? Several-hundred-thousand? More? I guarantee your branding experience would be much less painful and more importantly, you’d have a much stronger brand if your logo got the proper attention it deserved during it’s initial concept phase. I mean do you expect $150 bucks will provide the best advice from your lawyer team? What about your accounting group? Will a $150 dollars keep them ambitious with your bookkeeping? Would they honestly stay updated on the constant changes to your company tax laws and benefits? (There’s a wise proverb in this profession: You can polish a turd as much as you’d like but in the end it’s still just turd.)

I’ll say it again, the Woobie looks bad – get on with it already. Business can’t stop pushing ahead and realistic wages have got to stay intact. Cheap tricks of the trade are just that — cheap. We’re sellouts who believe in this all-for-nothing rhetoric if we take on some of the most important projects of our profession; corporate identity and branding just so we can buy a large pizza and a few dozen wings for $25. We’re doing our profession, let alone our clients, a huge disfavor. The only thing this does is confirm the wells of creativity are tapped dry. Is this true? Not for me. We all know the economy stinks and this is the best time for companies to partner with the more savvy creative professionals. You know them. They’re the ones who also design a secure marketing plan that fits perfectly with that well thought out logo of yours. It’s not worth the struggle to try and circumvent a solid plan in order to save a few dollars. Just think of the soft-dollar time you’d burn in the process. Our profession is still relevant. It’s not trivial, it’s a tried and true science. And a strong plan forward should never become just a line item crossed out on an estimate.

Some of the most effective branding and advertising occurs when its placed front and center during tough economic times. They’re indispensable tools, absolute necessities for business to survive, especially in the most dire moments. This could be the best time to have a corporate voice heard because there’s no one else to shout over. Think about it; if a company were to seriously advertise or distribute a strong brand awareness campaign right now it’s voice would be loud and clear because there’s no competitors out there to rally against.

By the way, in the time it took to read this someone probably just designed another $25 logo. Well, I’ve got a Woobie to wash. Do you?

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ModSpace: A brand identity I developed for ModSpace, a new company formed by the acquisition of GE’s Modular Space Division by Resun Corporation. A national branding exercise with ModSpace executives determined the new name,  brand image and value proposition which launched the company through various on-line marketing plans and signage at more than 200 locations.


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The Blue Rocks: I created Wilmington Delaware’s Minor League Baseball official team identity system. Logos are now seen embroidered on team hats and uniforms and also featured on fan merchandise sold in the “The Quarry,” the team’s home stadium store in Wilmington, DE.

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