A Strong Bond, An Enduring Brand

Authentic brands should be carefully designed from the ground up and built to last. Practical Massage Therapy, an industry pioneer and leader in Nashville for over two decades, is a prime example of just such a brand.Armed with the germ of an idea and the simple goal of “being busy and maybe making some money” Practical Massage Therapy owner Renee French approached then solo-preneur Karen Cronin with an idea for a logo that the future Cronin Creative founder vividly brought to life. It was the beginning of a friendship and a 20-year business relationship.”We shared our logo idea and a couple of elements, and Karen found the font,” French says. “I also had an idea for a color – I called it zen green – and Karen matched what I was thinking perfectly. She found that green!”

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Collaboration = Inspiration!

As a creative professional, I’m always thankful that inspiration can strike anywhere, at any time. We’re inspired here at Cronin Creative by a lot of things, from museums and galleries to nature and books and music, and on an on. Even the bright colors in my studio area rug can spark an idea.I collect pages from magazines and books that are interesting to me and display them on shelves or up on my bulletin board. I even have old paint cans filled with cool stuff that for some reason always stirs the creative soup.It’s also a matter of just being open and present, and taking time to notice colors and patterns, the design that is all around us.In a recent conversation with some fellow graphic designers, the question of inspiration came up. After listening to my colleagues’ inspiring tales of things that summon their particular muse, it hit me.We design for people trying to communicate a clear message to other people. It’s all about people, collaborating with them, learning from them, sharing their stories, solving their problems, and just being one of them. We have an exceptionally rich, diverse and interesting client base. Getting to know them and the “why” behind the work that they do inspires us every day.

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Design Is Today’s Differentiator

“Good design is good business.” This quote from former IBM president Thomas Watson Jr. was delivered at the University of Pennsylvania in 1973. Back then, the idea that design was integral to the future of commerce was a new and somewhat revolutionary notion, but Watson Jr. knew from experience the power that design can have on a company’s bottom line.Strolling down Fifth Avenue in Manhattan one afternoon in the early 1950s, the young executive happened upon a shop window that stopped him in his tracks. He walked into a showroom display of Olivetti typewriters, sleekly designed, brightly colored and visually arresting.Thinking about the bland looking machines showcased in IBM’s drab, dimly lit showroom, Watson Jr. experienced a moment of revelation that led him to become one of the biggest corporate proponents of visual art and the power of great design to change the course of business.

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Confessions Of A Type Nerd

I am not ashamed to say that I am a full-on, dyed-in-the-wool font-ophile. I can’t help myself. I have just always loved and been drawn to (no pun intended) beautiful typography. Driving down the road, I call out the names of fonts on signage and billboards, offering impromptu critique on style, placement, and other design considerations. You get the picture.As a graphic designer, typefaces are an essential and versatile part of my creative palette. Type is functional art. It communicates on so many levels. Aside from the purely utilitarian aspects of type, each individual font has its own distinct personality and communicates something unique and powerful.

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Clarify Your Message, Grow Your Business!

You’re good at what you do, and you’re intimately familiar with the ins and outs of your business, so explaining exactly what makes your product or service special should be a breeze, right? Unfortunately, if you’re like most people, it’s not so easy. You’re just too close to your work to clearly express all of the above.As challenging as it can be, getting that message right is absolutely foundational to the effectiveness and success of your marketing efforts. Without that clear-and-concise underpinning, there’s a good chance you’ll miss the mark.It’s natural to tout your expertise in your particular field, but it’s important to remember who you’re talking to and what they’re listening for. Ask yourself what problem or problems you solve for your best clients. The answer to that question should be the centerpiece of your brand messaging.

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