Personify Your Brand

One of the real challenges associated with operating a business is the building of a distinctive and authentic brand that separates your company from the competition. A good way to get to the heart of the matter is to focus on the “human” side of your brand. Fact is, brands are an awful lot like people, and vice versa.

People and brands are all around us all the time, and we interact with them in very similar ways. There’s that all-important first impression. You meet someone, you size them up, and, if you’re like me, you remember their face but not always their name. The face, that initial impression of your brand, is your logo. Is it memorable? Does it stand out in the crowd? Does it communicate the message and the unique tone of your business?

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A Recipe For Branding Success

There’s a lot of talk these days about the myriad health benefits associated with consuming “pre-industrial” foods. A ton of research and a succession of books, articles, and even films like “Supersize Me,” have inspired the rise of a diverse cultural group dedicated to eradicating the chemically colored, flavored, and modified stuff you find packaged on the average grocery shelf.

Amid the crowded cacophony of expert voices on the subject, author Michael Pollan stands out. Like the diet he advocates, Pollan keeps things simple. With his book, “Food Rules,”* the author manages to distill a lot of history and some complex, powerful ideas about food into easily digestible morsels for maximum impact.

Pollan provides an important lesson for anyone working to build a durable, authentic brand that gets noticed in a crowded, noisy marketplace. He keeps his “food rules” short and potent (“If it came from a plant, eat it; If it was made in a plant, don’t,” and “Don’t eat breakfast cereals that change the color of the milk.”). He gets right to the heart of his message. He gets heard.

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The Art of Letting Go

As a growing design and branding firm, we spend every day refining and applying our “Clarity By Design” process in the service of our clients and their brands. But there are those times in the creative process when clarity can be hard to come by. We’ve all experienced the exhilaration of stumbling upon what seems like the perfect concept or solution to a particular puzzle. We’re jazzed, and we can’t wait to implement it. Fast forward a few hours, and we’re still wrestling with that brilliant idea, just trying to make it work. That jazzy feel has devolved into a dirge. “But it has to work. It’s great, and I’ve invested so much time going down this road! Ugh! I’m getting nowhere!”

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The Evolution Of Print

We love print. The tactile feel of the paper in our hands, the way it sticks around and piles up and actually gets read, we love all those things. And despite repeated reports of the medium’s imminent demise, print-based projects still make up a sizeable portion of our business. What’s not to love?

Having spent our formative years in the magazine business, we have a special space in our designers’ hearts for beautifully printed things. At the same time, we’re constantly amazed and inspired by the creative digital tools we’re able to utilize every day.

So we were delighted to pick up this week’s copy of The New Yorker (cover date, May 16) and get a first hand, just-for-the-fun-of-it demonstration of the digital evolution of this very traditional medium.

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The Subway Sofa!

Of all the cartoonists I look forward to in my weekly copy of The New Yorker, Roz Chast is queen. Her quirky characters seem to vibrate on the page in a cluttered-and-chaotic cartoon universe. Armed with sharpened pencils and finely honed, deadpan punchlines, Chast digs down into the neuroses, the worries, and the uncertainties of daily life. And just about every week she makes me laugh right out loud.

The Museum of the City of New York (one of our favorite places!) is currently showcasing the artist’s work with Roz Chast: Cartoon Memoirs. The exhibit, which runs through October 9, 2016, features more than 200 of Chast’s works, including many scenarios and situations that are particular to the great city of New York.

Enjoy this very cool, very short video, “Roz Chast Creates ‘The Subway Sofa.’”

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