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Our Thoughts on Creative Design for Corporate Identity

The history of design is extensive and can be traced back hundreds of years. For the sake of this article, we are going to focus on the elements of creative design, because businesses need to understand the process and how it affects their corporate identity.

Logo Design and Corporate Identity

In the past, the designer who created a logo, tagline or slogan for their company knew how the logo would be used on all of the promotional materials. However, it soon became clear that it would be necessary to communicate the proper usage to other people both inside and outside the company. After all, the designer couldn’t work at the company forever, and graphic designers also began to work outside companies as consultants. Thus, the corporate identity manual was born.

The practice of creating the corporate identity manual developed after WWII. The corporate identity manual is often a work of art in and of itself, as the designers showcase the many uses of a company’s logo, its color palette, typography, and proper orientations of the logo and other text. The purpose is to communicate to other designers how to apply the corporate identity, including logo, slogan and tagline, in a variety of formats and also how not to use the pieces in a design. Today, a corporate identity manual will describe both digital and print applications to maintain consistent design across all platforms.

A well-known graphic designer, Lester Beall, can be credited with some of the earliest corporate identity manuals. He designed these manuals with care, and the books themselves are a thing of beauty. A spread from his work for Connecticut General, an insurance company, are seen below. The pieces are so appealing that they could be framed and hung on a wall rather than simply be used for their purpose.

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Corporate identity manuals can be quite fascinating and beautiful, existing in the unique space of being both practical guides for other designs, as well as works of design artistry themselves. Check out this list of 50 stunning corporate identity manuals for ideas.

 

What Makes a Good Logo

When you hear the word ‘brand’ there’s a good chance you may have mentally pictured one or more classic logos from well-known companies. Perhaps the Nike swoosh? Or the cursively written Coca Cola? A logo is nothing more nor less than the graphic embodiment of the whole brand. This is why—when you have a logo created for your company—you will want to put a lot of thought and care into the process.

You see, good logos don’t just happen. Yes, if you managed to create an amazing invention, or come up with a fantastic new taste sensation, one of the doodles you penned along the way might make for a memorable logo. But don’t count on it. Nor is this a job for that nephew in high school who has a ‘knack for art-stuff.’ While it’s true that a young design intern came up with the Nike swoosh (and received a whopping $35 for her effort), the company’s own graphics team still spent a lot of time refining the concept.

So, let’s consider what makes for a good logo. There are basically five criteria to be met: eye-catching, unique, enduring, functional and meaningful.

Eye-catching – Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right? That’s true to a certain extent, but there are certain principles of design that hold up fairly well across all cultures and demographics. For example, balance is always important. We like things to feel even, symmetrical, and in balance. Color choices are also critical for a whole host of reasons for which entire books have been dedicated. Color is very symbolic and can have a subconscious effect on people. Over all, a good logo will have elements composed with clear, distinct lines that imply complexity, yet are quite simple if considered separately, and color will be chosen carefully.

Unique – Distinctiveness is the key objective of any successful logo design. It will go a long way toward making the image—and by extension, the brand—especially memorable. One good way to achieve this is by incorporating the company’s name (or some element of the name) into the design. On the other hand, a visual representation of the company name might prove to be perfect.

Enduring – Imagine how much trouble people would have recognizing you, if every time you left home you had a different face? That’s the problem companies experience if they frequently change their logos. When you select a logo design, think of it as something that’s going to be around a long, long time (though a “facelift” or two over the years may be okay). Stay away from elements that are likely to become dated or obsolete, choosing instead those that can be modified with ease while remaining thoroughly identifiable. Our campaign for Landis Evans + Partners did just that – the company changed its name, but wanted to maintain some aspects of the original brand that made it identifiable like the color palette and some of the shapes. Below is the before and after.

logo before after designs

 

Functional – Just think of all the places that a logo can appear, from business cards to billboards and websites to weekly flyers. Your logo is going to have to step in and say, “This is who we are!” It will also need to be scalable, ready to be plugged-in anywhere, and flexible enough to easily go from being the dominant image to barely noticeable—depending on the circumstances and the communications in which it appears.

Meaningful  A good logo doesn’t have to spell out what a company does, but it should at least hint in that direction. A great logo not only does that, but it also manages to elicit feelings with members of the target audience. A great logo describes an implied value proposition to set the company apart from their competition.

 

Types of Design: Utilizing Nostalgia and Vernacular

Graphic design as a promotional tool dates back to the 19th century, when the earliest form of graphic design relied solely on typography to make a point. During these early days, text, font style, and font size were the main emphasis. In looking back, you can see how designers started playing with different typefaces and boldness to draw attention to certain information. Coca-Cola’s logo is a great example of this.

During this time, the transition from hand-made goods to industrialized society’s machine-made, mass-produced items was alarming for most people. Consumers’ trust had to be won in order for these products to be viable. An interesting method of building trust and imbuing familiarity in a product or advertisement was the use of the vernacular. This was language used in everyday life. Words that everyone in a specific region or part of the country could understand.

Over the years, as graphic design became more prominent, the methods and styles evolved with new technology. People in the advertising industry began to experiment with different techniques to attract attention to products, as well as instill confidence in them and the companies that sold them. By appealing to consumers’ comfort with familiar objects, companies were able to sell more products and build market share. Examples of nostalgia in graphic design still permeate today’s brands. Vintage fonts and sketches are used in logos and slogans on a regular basis to establish an old-world, “good old days” feel for a brands’ fundamental message. A couple good examples of this in our own community are the logo for The Pearl on First Apartments and Green Bench Brewing Co.

The Pearl on First’s logo uses the Broadway font to bring us back to the classy, elaborate Art Deco era that exudes luxury and high style. The apartments themselves are designed with an Art Deco flair – the materials and colors are classic and sophisticated.

 

The Green Bench logo uses fonts in both their logo and their wall mural that are reminiscent of old postcards. This nostalgic reference brings to mind family vacations and good times – perfect for Green Bench’s family atmosphere, games, and outdoor space that encourages family time with dogs and kids.

Even in our own logo—the “circle P”—there is a reference to old typewriters with the circle itself representing the circular keys from early typewriters. Our brand promises intelligent, effective communications for all of our clients. In this era of fun, cool, and edgy marketing, Pinstripe stands out as something a little more polished, yet still highly creative. The typewriter font is austere enough to resound with professionals, but the vintage edge of the font indicates a sophisticated creativity that is still hip and artistic.

 

We see examples of historical reference and vernacular design every day – can you think of any other local businesses that use this technique for their brand? Check out these actual vintage logos for design ideas: http://www.vandelaydesign.com/vintage-logos/

 

Other Examples: Logo Design and Stationary

Kokolakis Contracting is one of those clients whose logo we just couldn’t wait to see in action. We re-envisioned their logo, created new stationery, completed head shots and produced a video for their new website.

First we tackled the logo. They wanted to keep the original idea behind their logo, but give it an update and modernize it. So, the main thing that we really wanted everyone to buy into was a new, more modern color palette. This was a major departure from their old logo and the industry in general, but we thought it looked great. They did, too! They loved the bold color palette over the traditional blues and grays. They are really proud of it because they are putting it on everything they can!

jkokolakis logo redesign rebrand

Once we completed the logo, stationery was next. They chose a fairly classic look, and used Moo.com to print some of their business cards. These cards are super thick and have a beautiful orange-red layer in the center that you can see from the side of the card – the perfect complement to their bold card design. We printed the stationery in spot color with local printer, Lightning, because that orange-red just needed to be “spot” on. It was a tough color to match digitally and we wanted it to really pop and be true to their brand.

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This was a really great project to work on and we are proud of the results, plus we added a cool group of people to our list of friends. Many thanks to J. Kokolakis for a great experience.

Heartwood Preserve is a nature preserve and conservation cemetery—only the second in the state to provide ‘green’ burial options. Natural, or ‘green,’ burial is a safe and environmentally friendly practice that allows the body to return to the soil naturally by using biodegradable materials, and avoiding vaults and toxic embalming fluids. Conservation burial takes this practice a step further by burying in a nature preserve rather than a conventional cemetery, and utilizing a portion of the burial fee to help permanently protect the natural environment.

The brand is, of course, inspired by nature. A hand-drawn pine cone referencing the thousands that drop from the long-leaf pines throughout the preserve serves as the iconic mark. The stationery package was printed on natural, FSC Certified, Green Seal certified, 30% recycled paper (minimum). The colors and texture throughout all marketing pieces are earthy and exude the beauty of Heartwood Preserve.

stationery suite design branding

brochure design printing

Pinstripe Marketing’s logo design and corporate identity services are built around helping companies discover their personal traits, their corporate character. We can help you create a logo that fits your corporate identity, then create a manual that will set the tone for your company’s marketing success. Our creative team consists of listeners and discoverers that have an innate ability to help you achieve your vision. Contact us to tell us more about your company and the logo you envision.

20 Productivity Hacks for Professionals

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Being a professional in today’s world means that there are a lot of demands on your time. Tapping into our everyday best—our most productive selves—can become exhausting. What if you were able to gain a minute or two? It would take away some of the stress you may be feeling about those looming deadlines or messy projects.

Productivity hacks collect valuable minutes throughout the day, so you can have them on reserve when emergencies arise. Then, you can perform at your best.

Research-based and simple to use, our 20 productivity hacks below will help you get a little more organized, learn a little more about technology, add some automation to your day, and give you the time to do more with less.

Paper versus Digital Calendar. Paper works best in several ways: memory retention, central location for dates and notes, and goal planning. Get a planner that you’re comfortable with and use it.

Take Control of Your Calendar. Restrict editing permissions to only a couple people and block off the times when you feel most productive.

End-of-Day: Transfer Print Calendar to Digital. When you take the time to reflect upon your day, you’ll also know what’s in store for you tomorrow. Better preparation means fewer surprises.

Manage Your Email. Auto-response, signatures, and notifications. Having up-to-date auto-responses and signatures with important information can quickly point clients in the right direction. Notifications can break your concentration, so remember to turn them on and off when necessary. It may take a few seconds, but it could save you minutes of valuable time.

Most Important Things First. Organize your priorities. This eliminates the potential for procrastination.

Schedule Deep Work. Think about the time of day that you’re most productive. Cultivate that time by blocking it on your calendar, taking only emergency calls and emails. Make it a habit.

Less Time on Social Media. For some, it’s a must. But lingering can take away more time than you realize. This list of apps can help you stay away from them.

Make Fewer Decisions. When you take a look at your day, some decisions were important, while most weren’t. Try to eliminate the situations that call for more decisions. If you must, then don’t waste more than five seconds debating about them.

Eliminate Menial Tasks. Sometimes we like to do menial tasks, just because it’s easy and feels comfortable doing them. These are a waste of time. Have employees and interns do them.

Increase Your Typing Speed. Slow typers range around 45 words per minute. Faster typing can decrease time spent on email and writing memos. (Click here to take the typing speed test.) These apps might help you type faster.

Reduce Meeting Times. Scope creep in any meeting will ruin your day. Stay on agenda. Or, eliminate unnecessary meetings. If it’s a meeting in an off-site location, see if you can call in to reduce time spent on travel.

Time It. Keeping yourself on time requires you to know how long you’ve been on task. Set a timer on your phone or watch to prevent you from spending too much time on any single task.

Accountability Alarm. You receive countless notifications throughout the day. But setting an accountability alarm will help you reflect on your day. You can send out updates to stakeholders and enter notes and dates into your digital calendar.

Stick to One Task. It’s a fact, and you probably already know it, multitasking is not possible. It’s called task switching and is far less productive than staying on task until completion.

Use Templates. Make them for email, formal letters, informal letters, or other types of correspondence. These will definitely add a couple minutes to your time bank.

Plan First. Before taking on any major task, you need to plan first. Abraham Lincoln once said, “Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the ax.” That’s good advice.

Say “No” More Often. You have permission to say “No” more often to things that don’t matter. Your job is to focus on exactly what needs to get done.

Perfection Doesn’t Exist. Doing something right is different than perfect. Perfect requires too much time and attention, especially when just right will do.

Unsubscribe and Unfollow. Too many emails clog our inbox and there are things we just don’t need to see in our feed. Get rid of them to reduce mental clutter.

Multiple Computer Screens. Having multiple computer screens open with documents to review saves time from switching back and forth. It also keeps information fresh in your mind. This makes task switching easier.

Making yourself more productive means that everyone around you will be more productive. So, think about a friend or coworker of yours that could use this list and pass it on.

Pinstripe Pro-Am Race Team for Kart 4 Kids

As part of our ongoing campaign to support local non-profits, Pinstripe chose Kart 4 Kids as our beneficiary for 2019. Each year the Kart 4 Kids team hosts a Pro-Am kart race to raise money for Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital. More about that later.

After meeting with the Kart 4 Kids team to determine their needs, we embarked on several months of building a public relations campaign that included press releases and distribution to local news and online outlets, pitching morning shows to gain Kart 4 Kids an even broader audience, and video and photography to build a more substantial media library to use for marketing collateral.

Our first campaign was a huge success and the Kart 4 Kids team was thrilled. We were able to place them on interviews with Bay News 9 and Great Day Tampa Bay. Indycar champion and hometown hero, Sebastien Bordais, spoke about Kart 4 Kids and Jenine Rabin from Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital Foundation talked about the hospital, the life-saving equipment the fundraiser has purchased, and the impact community has on direct patient care. Patient ambassador, Clifford Mason, was able to attend the Great Day Tampa Bay segment to talk about his experience as a patient of the hospital. All did a great job, see for yourself in the clips below.

Besides providing great PR for Kart 4 Kids, we took this sponsorship to a whole new level. Pinstripe Marketing put together a Pro-Am kart racing team and, though our race team didn’t win, Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital did! They received a whopping $185,000 from the Kart 4 Kids efforts, which included sponsored Pro-Am teams, a live auction with items such as a helmet worn by esteemed local IndyCar driver Sebastien Bourdais, a silent, online auction with items that included a race-worn suit signed by Tony Kanaan, driver signed artwork and photos, and many other items. In the last eight years since the first Kart 4 Kids race, the organization has raised a total of nearly $600,000.

The Pinstripe team Pro Driver was Matheus Leist from Brazil, who is an IndyCar Series driver for AJ Foyt Racing. Other household name pro drivers included Patrick Long, Scott Dixon, Tony Kanaan, Santino Ferrucci, and Simon Pagenaud.

About Kart 4 Kids

Kart 4 Kids Inc is a 501(c)3 organization established to raise money for Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital by organizing the Kart 4 Kids Pro-Am Kart Race. The all-volunteer staff means that All Children’s receives all proceeds net of direct race expenses. Now in its 8th year, the Pro-Am kart race was started in 2012 to honor the memory of IndyCar driver and St. Petersburg resident Dan Wheldon, who had tragically perished in a racing accident. Starting with American Porsche factory driver, Patrick Long as its only professional driver in the first race, the race has been embraced and supported by many of the best racing professionals in IndyCar, IMSA, and Pirelli World Challenge, among other series. Patrick has been joined by early supporter Sebastien Bourdais as the two featured drivers. From its small start, the Kart 4 Kids Pro-Am Hosted by Andersen Racepark, Featuring Sebastian Bourdais and Patrick Long has become one of Johns Hopkins All Children’s top third-party fundraisers by donating $130,000 in 2018. For more information visit www.Kart4kKds.org, ‘like’ its Facebook page at Kart4Kids Pro-Am Kart Race, or follow the race on Twitter @kart4kidsproam.

Zodiac Marketer: Taurus

Our next zodiac sign is Taurus: birthdays between April 20 – May 20.

Taurus is an earth sign with the following strengths: reliable, patient, practical, devoted, responsible and stable.  Many of these are strengths that businesses are looking for in a marketing agency, or any partnership for that matter. We’ll also take a look at Taurus’ weaknesses: stubborn, possessive and uncompromising. Some of these are no-no’s in marketing, yet some may be useful in small quantities.

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Reliability in Marketing

Let’s face it, being reliable is a must in ANY business. What does reliability in marketing look like? Meeting deadlines and staying within budget. If you foresee an over-budget project or missing a deadline, reliability is communicating that in a timely manner. Being available when a client needs you gives them the ability to rely on you. We sometimes say that there’s no such thing as a “marketing emergency,” but when a client’s website goes down, reliability is being there to help them get it back up and running, as quickly as possible, with no qualms. This also goes for a new launch. If a client has an aggressive deadline, reliability will reach that deadline—every time.

Patience in Marketing

From personal relationships to business, patience can be useful in many aspects of life.. It’s especially useful in the marketing world, where campaigns are often more about visibility and recognition and can take weeks or even months to yield results. In the case of a website SEO campaign or a digital advertising campaign, patience is needed to analyze. The more data you have to analyze, the better you will be able to project, extrapolate and adjust your ads accordingly. Consider websites themselves and the large amount of time you need to invest in them, especially if your content is extensive. Patience will pay off with large websites, because you want to make sure to spend the time needed to stay organized. If you fail to do this, the project can become a disaster!

Responsibility in Marketing

First and foremost, marketers have a responsibility to our clients. We have a responsibility to ensure that we remain true to their brand when executing campaigns. We have a responsibility to deliver our projects on time and within budget. But we also have a great responsibility, as any business does, to the planet and to do what we can to work in a way that is respectful to our resources. We do simple things, like work from home when we can, or cancel all those magazine subscriptions that often go unread. We don’t print emails when we don’t need to and we use digital notebooks as often as possible (sometimes you just have to write on paper, but we do so consciously!). We turn off our monitors, computers and lights when we leave the office.

Avoid: Being Uncompromising in Marketing

Now, there are times when you need to stand your ground and defend a great idea. And then there are times when you just have to let go! All of us marketers think that we know what’s best for the client (and frankly, we often do), but if they just can’t live with something that you think is great, you have to let go. If you don’t, the client may end up unhappy, unable to get that one little detail off their mind or the timeline may be extended and you’ll miss your deadline. Either way, use your business brain over your creative brain and be professional when you surrender.

As marketers, we work with a variety of businesses, so we encounter many business situations – soft skills like those described above are necessary. We are constantly developing these skills so that we can better serve our clients in this creative, strategic space. Get in touch with us if you need our expertise in design or branding!

Build Top of Mind Awareness With an E-Newsletter

enews_newsSome things never change, even in the fluid online world. One thing that we have always thought important, and will always believe in, is the e-newsletter. A few years ago we wrote the below article – “Build Top of Mind Awareness With an E-Newsletter,” and we still think the information in this article is useful – probably more than ever.

In a market driven by meaningful content, producing an e-newsletter with solid articles that help your customers and prospects is one of the best ways to build the relationships that will foster trust in your brand. There is no question – content is king, and if you position yourself as an expert by creating good content, you will win the trust of clients and prospects.

There are some kinds of businesses that are a part of their customers’ weekly, if not daily routine—grocery stores, drycleaners, and gas stations to name a few. Other companies, such as clothing and hardware stores or even restaurants, also typically attract mostly repeat business. As long as these operations offer competitive prices, good service, and are conveniently located (with no new arrival in the market appearing significantly better on any of those points), customer loyalty should remain fairly strong. But how can businesses instill loyalty when clients may need their services on an annual basis at best, or perhaps only a few times during an entire lifetime? This is the common situation for many professional service providers such as attorneys, CPAs, medical specialists, IT solution providers, or architects to name a few. An e-newsletter may be an economical and effective way to maintain top-of-mind awareness with prospective clients during those long stretches between having a need for the provider’s services.

Simple name recognition is good way to initially differentiate your business from others in your market. But more importantly, an e-newsletter emphasizes the expertise that’s available from professionals at your company.

The greatest challenge associated with producing any e-newsletter – one distributed via email – is getting an audience to read it. And even when a recipient originally made a conscious decision to request the newsletter, it’s not unusual for that person to soon find himself deleting the communication unread, marking it as spam, or taking the final step of asking to removed from the subscription list.

Here are few dos and don’ts that will help maintain reader interest in an e-newsletter from a professional service organization.

Do offer news the reader can use. For instance, attorneys might offer tips as to what to do when starting a business and accountants could point out frequently overlooked tax deductions. Make the articles memorable, pithy and to the point.

Don’t make the publication just another advertisement. In fact, it will enhance the credibility of your e-newsletter if you don’t overtly “sell” anything at all. While articles can address issues that readers may be facing as well as the available solutions, avoid talking about your own company’s specific offerings. Consumers are savvy. If they read about a problem in your newsletter, they’ll assume you have a product or service to meet their needs.

Do make it plain that you’re local. People are more open to information that comes from a “neighbor.” Work references to area landmarks or events into the various articles. As silly as it may seem, people enjoying saying to themselves, “I know where that is.” Referring to local places and events will make your business seem less abstract to potential customers.

Don’t pontificate. A “message” from the company president or CEO is generally bad enough as a reader turn-off, but it may be forgivable if that message offers the “news you can use” component mentioned earlier. Observations about the state of the union, environmental policy, what’s wrong with kids today, or any other topic outside of the author’s professional expertise however, is a definite no-no.

Do keep it brief. While you may have articles that link to your Web site for more additional (non sales) information, the amount of content visible at first glance, should not take up much more room than one screen length. The format should also make it easy for the reader to scan for topics of interest, and quickly glean the facts.

Don’t overload your readers. Make sure the people to whom you send your newsletter have a reasonable chance of being interested in the information you’re providing. And your total number of broadcast communications (the e-newsletter plus any other announcements, alerts, sales promotions, etc.) should appear in their inboxes no more frequently than twice a month. Once a month or once every three months is probably often enough for your newsletter to make an impact without becoming an unread annoyance.

Do encourage reader interactivity. Solicit and make it easy for your audience to provide feedback about your newsletter. Not only is this good PR but their ideas could very well have great merit and can enhance your publication. Also make it easy for audience members to introduce people they know to your newsletter. And finally, make it easy for readers to unsubscribe if they wish to do so.

Do create a series of articles for your newsletter either with a fun or business theme. For example, this year we are running a series of articles with tips for best practices in SEO, and last year we ran a series with the overarching theme relating Wonder Woman (our President’s favorite comic character) to marketing. We’ve seen great enthusiasm for the fun themes so we decided to keep it going with a Zodiac Marketing series this year. We expect that people will enjoy this series as well! As far as the SEO tips series they contain actionable items that any business person or marketing executive can apply to their routine.

Properly executed and written with your audience’s interests in mind, an e-newsletter can help keep your business in the minds of potential customers for that specific moment when they may need your services. Pinstripe can help create a template as well as content for your e-newsletter – get in touch if you need help with launching yours.