Marty Stuart Comes Over!

Marty Stuart is everywhere these days. While he’s never been one of those Stetson-wearing “hat acts,” Marty has always worn more hats than your average country star. Singer, songwriter, multi-instrumental virtuoso, historian, archivist, he really embodies all things country. Marty’s skills as a master storyteller are currently on view via his frequent appearances as a talking head on Ken Burns’ acclaimed PBS documentary, “Country Music.”Happily for us, Marty has also been a regular visitor here at Cronin Creative, working side by side with our own Karen Cronin on the design of the beautiful hardcover book/CD package celebrating the 20th anniversary of his 2010 release, The Pilgrim, one of many projects we’ve worked on together.

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Does Your Website Have Curb Appeal?

Having recently survived the selling of a house, I am very familiar with the term “curb appeal.” It’s that all-important first impression a potential buyer receives upon pulling up in front of your home for the first time. No matter what business you’re in, it’s imperative that you give strong consideration to the curb appeal of your website’s homepage. If that initial attraction isn’t there, your potential customers will never get past your site’s front door. It’s all too easy to just drive away.It’s not just about looks. Keeping things clean and attractive is key, but it’s also about the right fit. Does your homepage speak directly and clearly to the audience you’re trying to reach? What exactly are your customers looking for? Be sure to express that message clearly and quickly. You’ve got about three seconds to grab their attention and walk them into your “house.”Have a PlanKnow who you’re trying to reach and focus in on how your product or service will help them or solve some specific problem. Build your messaging from there, stick with it, and be consistent.Design For ClarityThe design of your website, and particularly your homepage, is critical to effectively expressing your brand difference. A good designer will provide visual clarity, while an experienced designer will ensure a look that distinguishes your business while fitting into the vibe of your particular industry. Talent and experience – when choosing a website designer, insist on both of these attributes.

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Creativity Makes A Comeback!

With several business books already written to reinforce his point, bestselling author/thought leader Daniel Pink believes that creativity is at the heart of 21st century work. But over the course of the past decade, big data, with its ability to zero in on more and more specific demographic groups, has been the big story.But according to Henric Larsson, founder of Stockholm based agency, Chimney, big data may be taking a step back to make room for a renewed emphasis on, you guessed it, creativity.Larsson points to two confluent events, the recession of 2008 and the rise of Facebook ads, as being largely responsible for the dominance of big data as a driver for targeting of specific audiences. At some point along the way, he says, data overcame creativity as the driving force and brands became “obsessively tactical and targeted.” In other words, building the ultimate delivery system has been taking priority over the actual content being delivered.

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A Most Important “Take Away”

“A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”I keep this quote from “The Little Prince” author Antoine de Saint-Exupery sticky-noted to the edge of my computer screen where I can read it every day. It neatly sums up how we feel about the power and importance of clarity by design; it’s a philosophy we apply to everything we do and every piece of work we deliver.Consciously and unconsciously, we all process countless images and messages as we move through life every day. Actually, they don’t so much get processed as they bounce off of us. From billboards to road signs to TV and radio ads to the barrage of social chatter, they’re vying for our attention at every turn. It’s crowded out there.

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The All-Important Follow Through

In tennis, in baseball, in golf, there’s a lot of emphasis on the “follow through,” that smooth, complete stroke that makes all the difference. As a graphic designer, I apply that same principle, staying focused on quality until the finished piece is in the hands of the client.
I was fortunate at the dawn of my career to have a boss that allowed me to participate in every step of the design process, from conception to execution, and instilled in me the importance of carefully monitoring a project as it moves through the various steps in production, and on to the all-important press check with the printer. Ensuring quality at every step results in a superior looking project every single time. No exceptions.
That comprehensive approach to the creative process has served Cronin Creative’s clients well over the years, giving the final delivered piece that extra touch that separates just okay from really great.

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