A Sign Of The Times

I confess. I love church signs. And living in a town with a place of worship on every other corner, I read a new “inspiration of the week” just about every day. Whatever your spiritual leanings, the messages these mini billboards convey can create a moment of reflection in the midst of a hectic, traffic-delayed, daily routine. Hey, I’ll take it.

These ubiquitous placards also speak to me as someone who works with clients to grow their businesses by bringing clarity to their brand. In today’s crowded-and-noisy marketplace, the real challenge is to stand out and actually get someone to listen to what you’re trying to say. And on that score, these church signs really deliver. I can’t help but admire their ability to attract eyeballs. I’ll bet you read them. I know I do, and I believe just about everyone else does too.

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When Good Ideas Go Bad

We’ve had it pounded into our heads since childhood: “Never give up.” “Don’t be a quitter.” “Quitters never win.” And while there’s no argument on the power of perseverance in this life, I know from experience that there are times when stubbornly over-pursuing a “eureka” idea can drag your process down and take your creative spirit along with it.

Giving up on any pursuit is commonly regarded as some kind of failure, but letting go and executing a creative about face can deliver just the opposite. If you’ve chased that idea down one dead end after another (which I’ve certainly done more than once!) it might be the right time to close that door and let another open. In my experience, it always does. Every time.

There’s also your audience to consider. If a particular approach just isn’t working for you, there’s a good chance it wouldn’t play well with those you’re trying to reach. Sometimes it’s easier and more productive to cut bait and move on.

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Spark Clarity

With her best-selling books and new Netflix reality show, consultant, author, and professional neatnik Marie Kondo is everywhere these days, and she’s taking her “spark joy,” anti-clutter crusade to the masses and to the bank. Having recently downsized and performed a major purge of old, unused stuff, I can totally identify with Kondo’s “let it go” message.

While applying Kondo’s philosophy can make a difference in your home, a similar approach can do big things for your business and your brand.

You’re passionate about the products and/or services that you offer and the problems you’re able to solve for your customers. You want talk about all of it, and that’s understandable. But it’s usually a bad idea.

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The Sound Of Clarity

There’s something special about a great song. Everything just flows and fits like a glove. There’s a one-two punch that comes with that perfect combination of emotion and melody. A song like that offers a seamless blend, with lyrics on the one side and music on the other. Two separate disciplines come together in a kind of creative soldering, conjuring up a third something that’s more than mere lyrics and music – a song.

Great branding is like that. When clean, spacious design and finessed, highly distilled copy come together in the right way, a similar alchemy takes place, and that third something emerges. We call it Clarity. It’s clarity that allows a brand’s message to rise above the clutter and impact the right audience. You can’t say “Just Do It” without that Nike swoosh popping into your brain. Utter the words “Think Different,” and there’s that ubiquitous Apple.

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If Logos Could Talk

In our last blog, we explored seven essential steps in approaching the design of your company’s logo. This week, we’ll solidify our reputation as total logo nerds by showcasing a designer who takes the whole logo thing one step further.

Swedish art director Daniel Carlmatz specializes in creating logos that magically reveal the things they illustrate. His designs, which combine a minimalist graphic sensibility with some wicked wordplay (the word “bike,” for example, has its letters “contorted into the shape of wheels”), are brilliant and a lot of fun.

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