Looking For Insights? Talk To Your Clients!

When we established Cronin Creative 13 years ago, we immediately started helping clients with quality graphic design and messaging to maximize the power of their brands. While we were helping others discover and express their uniqueness in the market, we realized we needed to help ourselves in crafting our own distinctive brand.We decided to interview our best clients to gather their impressions of our company and our work. It was a great decision. The valuable (and free) feedback we received was key in unearthing our own authentic value proposition and company tagline, and it pointed to a way ahead.In the best cases, the “interview” became more of a conversation, warming up the relationship, creating better rapport, and moving things from a vendor/customer focus to more of a partnership.

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Real Life Is Trending

In this business of delivering compelling design and messaging to a variety of clients, it’s imperative that we stay on top of trends. Whether it is a logo, website, or copy, we work to keep the messaging current and relevant to an audience today. We also keep a close eye on the fine line between keeping abreast of trends and being “trendy.”While current and future trends in mind, I came upon a pertinent article on the Adobe website. Author Brenda Mills not only addresses upcoming design trends (more analog working together with digital, a return to art deco shapes and colors, etc.), she also explores some intriguing new trends in photography, including Adobe’s new approach to their stock image library.

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Developing A Foundational Brand

As a graphic design and branding agency, we get a closeup view of today’s cluttered marketplace, and the fierce, ongoing competition for the attention of an overly saturated consumer. Nowhere is this more visible than in Nashville’s exploding housing construction market.Apartment complexes are springing up like weeds, and new housing developments continue to fan out across the ‘burbs in every direction. In this, the very definition of a hyper-competetive market, we see the power of branding, and the downside of not branding, in stark relief.Historically, the real estate/development community has been slow to come around to the importance of branding, but that has changed as the market has heated up. Working on two recent projects – one a large apartment community and the other a cutting-edge neighborhood development – we got a first-hand look at the Nashville market, and witnessed the impact strategic branding can have on the appeal and the success of a particular property.

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My Two Cents On Tea

I have always been a tea drinker. Where most folks are clamoring for the coffee maker in the morning, I linger over two cups of organic black tea. From there, if I start to drag, it’s a cup of herbal tea in the afternoon. I have my ritual down to a tee. I go for Earl Grey first thing, and when I sit down at my desk, I sip a big ol’ cup of Breakfast Blend. Nothing fancy, but I’ve got to have those two cups every day.I recently learned that many teabags release micro-plastics (yuck), and I decided it was time to start brewing loose tea. It’s cheaper, and it tastes noticeably better. I upgraded my 30-year old tea ball to a fancy Oxo strainer and embarked on my quest to find the perfect loose tea.I compared cost, right down to the price per cup. There was one brand that, taste-wise, really hit the mark. Not surprisingly, it was also the priciest of the four brands I tried.

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Can You Judge A Book By Its Cover?

As a rock ‘n’ rollin’ baby boomer, I have fond memories of leafing through the new arrivals bin in my local record store, pulling, perusing, and flipping them over to scan the credits.Several factors weighed on my purchasing decision, but it was often the album cover art that sealed the deal. There were times when I laid down my hard-earned cash for an artist I’d never heard of, all because the cover art moved me to buy. In almost every case, those blind purchases turned out to be among my favorites.In today’s miniature digital environment, the magic of the album cover has pretty much disappeared. It’s challenging to fit vital information, never mind make a creative statement, on a postage stamp-sized palette.Where album covers have shrunk in size and importance, book covers have somehow retained their power and evolved to suit a fast-moving, fickle digital consumer. Even as the recent resurrection of the independent bookstore and the advent of Amazon’s brick and mortar bookstores are reviving the art of browsing, the publishing industry has effectively adapted to online shoppers.

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