Give Me A Break!

I need a break. I mean I really, really need a break. Like most small business owners I work hard to keep the ship on course and keep the clients satisfied. Like those same small business owners, in my enthusiasm to do the work and get it right, I sometimes lose sight of the importance of time off. In short, it’s been too long. That’s a mistake that I will rectify over the coming week as we take some much-needed vacation time away from the office.

In an Entrepreneur magazine article entitled ” The Secret to Increased Productivity: Taking Time Off,” contributing writer Joe Robinson examines the growing phenomenon of the overworked entrepreneur who forgoes time off because it’s “good for business.”

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The Enduring Power Of Paper

With marketing and branding methods gravitating more and more to our hand-held devices, and traditional brick-and-mortar commerce being supplanted by online monoliths like Amazon, it sometimes seems that all of our daily activities and decisions have become computer-driven. But here at Cronin Creative, we still believe in the formidable power of paper to enrich our lives and inspire consumers like no other medium.

In a recent series of articles, Sappi North America, one of our favorite paper sources, explores the way haptics – the science of touch – is becoming a marketing watchword, with companies turning more and more to paper catalogs to entice and energize consumers. A recent study conducted by magazine publishing giant Condé Nast came to some surprising conclusions regarding the enduring power of paper.

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Small Business – Big Brand

I love speaking to small business owners and entrepreneurs about the importance of branding to the growth and success of their companies. At a recent presentation, I realized that the examples I was using to illustrate this point were, for the most part, large, well-known brands. And while those big brands are useful in illustrating one point or another, it’s important to remember that branding is at least as important for the Davids as it is for the Goliaths.

A recent article from Entrepreneur magazine guest columnist Arpist Sinha effectively drives that point home.

“There is widespread ambivalence about the relevance of branding, especially among startups and small businesses looking to find their feet in an innately hostile environment,” Sinha says. “For the most part, small businesses remain blinded by the erroneous assumption that brands exclusively signify the ‘bigger’ fish in the pond.

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Look Before You Leap

Whenever a new or existing client comes to us wanting to redesign their company’s logo, we always stop and ask a few very pertinent questions. First of all, why are you considering altering your logo? What motivated you to make this change? And finally and most importantly, are you subconsciously blaming your logo for deeper, less visible defects within your company?

Like the car lover who buys a vintage Mustang and immediately heads to the body shop for that candy apple red paint job without ever checking under the hood, you may be making cosmetic changes while ignoring problems that are festering just beneath the surface.

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Clarity By Design Award #4!

I was a student studying the Pop Art movement when Ellsworth Kelly first came to my attention. Back in the 1960s, Pop Art challenged traditional ways of creating and enjoying art. The stark simplicity of the movement had people openly doubting if this was “really art.” From Jackson Pollock’s chaotic canvases, which often inspired the response, “My kindergartner could have done that,” to Roy Lichtenstein’s huge renderings of comic book images, to Andy Warhol’s soup cans, it was a wildly creative time. I loved it, and I especially admired Ellsworth Kelly’s studies of color. His art focused exclusively on pure form and primary colors, with a refreshing emphasis of white space.

“I have worked to free shape from its ground, and then to work the shape so that it has a definite relationship to the space around it; so that it has a clarity and a measure within itself of its parts (angles, curves, edges and mass),” Kelly said. “With color and tonality, the shape finds its own space and always demands its freedom and separateness.”

Kelly died in 2015, so he didn’t live to see the completion of “Austin,” his final project. Opened in February of this year, “Austin” is a small, non-denominational chapel built at the University of Texas’s Blanton Museum of Art.

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