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posted by Teresa Coles Aug 30,2012 @ 05:57AM

CreateAthon, Chapter 15

I simply cannot believe it’s been 15 years since the very first in CreateAthon at Riggs Partners. It’s the craziest and most wonderful time of the year for us, and we couldn’t be more pleased to welcome eight more South Carolina nonprofits into the CreateAthon family. Plus, we get to work with a great nonprofit from Michigan as one of the six national CreateAthon Brand Makeover winners. There’s goodness all around!

Nonprofits to be served by Riggs Partners and our great group of volunteers include:

The job jackets have been opened, meetings with the nonprofits are being scheduled, and the how-will-we-ever-get-this-all-done question is already hanging in the air.

To which I respond: Just watch.

posted by Ryon Edwards Aug 27,2012 @ 03:07AM

Five tips for creating effective logos

In today's fast-paced and competitive business climate, developing and maintaining a strong brand is more important than ever. A logo is undoubtedly the single most powerful visual representation of the brand — that symbol must work extremely hard to connect with audience and to be true to the brand. So when it's time to create a new logo or update an existing one, it's important to remember some fundamental rules. Here are five of them:


This is a principle of branding, but can also be applied to logo design. Know what the competition looks like and do something that's unique — people remember things that are different. If a brand looks like everyone else's in the segment, then there's nothing to set that product/service or organization apart. Differentiation takes confidence and courage but can pay off immensely. Once I read that the Nike swoosh logo was a compromise by Nike executives — what they really wanted was stripes (like Adidas).


This seems easy enough, but is actually difficult to pull off successfully. If you over-simplify, you run the risk of ending up with something boring, so you've got to make sure it has visual interest. It's tempting to use fancy graphic tricks like gradient fills, drop shadows, trendy type and and 3-D effects, but these tricks tend to get dated and usually end up not reproducing well across various mediums. Avoid including too many concepts in a logo — simple designs that suggest one thing are easier to remember and will not get dated as quickly.

Example: FedEx
When Federal Express was going through a rebranding process in the late ’90s, Landor Associates suggested shortening the name to FedEx. They created a very effective logo and tagline Delivering the world on time. The logo employs a hidden symbol between the capital letter E and the letter x. That simple arrow is a powerful visual device — once you see it, you'll always remember it. That symbol ties in beautifully with the brand in a simple, elegant fashion.

The best brands stand for an idea or a strategic position. Make sure your logo stands for something meaningful — understanding what a design represents accelerates recognition and bridges the gap between brand strategy and creative design. Logos that have meaning provide context and offer better recall — which makes it much more powerful than a logo that's just looks good.

Example: Amazon. Although the company initially started selling books online, the name grew with the company as they started selling more diverse products. The design of the logo says it all — we sell everything from A to Z (with a smile). It's friendly, approachable and looks like it's easy to do business with. True.


Color has the ability to convey meaning and can offer immediate brand associations. It has the power connect emotionally, but can be subjective — while one person may LOVE yellow and orange, someone else may have a negative reaction because of past associations. I can hear someone now — Oh no! those colors remind me of a sofa we had in the '70s. Consider color carefully and use that color consistently. Over time, that color can become yours — what we refer to as "owning" a color.

Try this little quiz — when you see these company names, what color do you think of?

1. UPS

2. Sprint

3. Target

4. Ford

5. Tiffany & Co.

See there?


Establish standards that illustrate proper use of all logo variations. Use the logo consistently on everything you produce and use the correct logo for the specific application. You should have one color, two color (or more), horizontal, vertical, CMYK, RGB, JPG, PNG and vector at a minimum. Just be sure to use the logo with care and respect and to use consistently. Over time, this will build equity for the brand.


Check out these links for more information on logo and brand identity design:

posted by Kevin Archie Aug 22,2012 @ 03:30AM

Design Finds: Intelligence in Lifestyle

A series devoted to beautifully designed things found in unexpected places.

"A different language is a different vision of life."

- Federico Fellini

Graphic design is the act of combining images, words, and ideas to convey information to a certain audience — or in a nutshell, the act of visual communication. But what happens when you take away certain parts of the formula? Is it possible to communicate ideas without pictures? Is a message still successful when it has no words? Can ideas still be translated to the viewer even when they're in an entirely different language?

One look at the pages of Intelligence in Lifestyle, a high-end Italian magazine/newspaper insert, and you'll see that the answer is unequivocally yes. The covers are consistently laid out with enthralling, straightforward compositions, large type, a "label" of information tinted to match the artwork, and the logo always reversed out to reveal the picture underneath. The infographics within often use a limited color palette and crisp vector illustrations to add interest to otherwise monotonous charts and graphs — often still easy to understand even without knowing Italian. The overall layout of the magazine is very sharp, employing a tight grid system to display a lot of text and information in a clean and organized fashion. Do yourself a favor and check out the spreads below or go to Francesco Franchi's Flickr page to see more. You may not learn to speak Italian just by looking at the pages, but you'll certainly be witness to the communication of a different vision of life.

posted by Apprentices Aug 17,2012 @ 03:30AM

On school supplies.

What was your favorite school supply item you got (or mom refused to buy) during back to school shopping?

Cathy Monetti
I love a brand spankin' new notebook. Still buy at least one every August (and many throughout the year).

Julie Turner
In middle school I wanted canvas Nikes with the blue swoosh. I had to make do with some KangaRoos. Maybe I'll get a new pair so I have somewhere to keep my sparkly pet rock!

Maria Fabrizio

Sanrio pencil case featuring Keroppi. I was a very popular pencil trader on the school bus and my loving mother got me this very case so that each of my pencils had a place to live.

Kevin Archie
I loved me some Yikes! pencils – "They write like other pencils but they make you go Yikes!"

Will Weatherly
Trapper Keeper

Kevin Smith
Early years - the just released EraserMate pen
Later years - Three ring binders with a clear pocket cover (where I put my favorite BMW print ads)

posted by Cathy Monetti Aug 08,2012 @ 07:00AM

Branding, and Crazy Bob's Banner

Why are there so many planes? asked my nephew Anthony, as we looked toward the beach sky. This one's trailing banner read:

Crazy Bob's: Buy 1 Entree Get 1 Half! $2.99 drink specials! Karaoke!

Ugh, I thought. Business must be pretty bad for old Bob.

And then I considered further. Maybe not. It could be that this discount model has been the secret to success for Bob for years, speaking to a whole pack of vacationers looking for a deal, a drink and a chance to have a little "Friends in Low Places" fun. Old Bob may well have perfected a formula that meets a real need in the beach-goer marketplace. And you can bet the Crazy Bob's experience is completely On Brand.

It was a good reminder to me that the world is filled with all kinds of people. And that on its most basic level, branding comes down to (1) identifying your audience, (2) promising something they are looking for, then (3) delivering on that promise.

Not so complicated after all.

posted by Apprentices Aug 03,2012 @ 03:30AM

On the 2012 Olympics.

Which Olympic event will you be watching this year?

Kevin Smith

Table Tennis. Just learned that it is the biggest participation sport in the world. So it must be worth checking out.

Julie Turner
All of them and staying up far too late in the process.

Cathy Monetti
Women's 10-Meter Platform Diving
Brittany Viola !!!
Her coach is my friend Randy Ableman, former Diving Coach at USC / now at the University of Miami.
On August 8th and 9th!

Kevin Archie
Despite the opening ceremonies being a little strange — men in mutton chops and top hats synchronously dancing some modernized version of the Macarena to the sound of techno house music — I've been watching a little bit of everything.

Ryon Edwards
Most excited about mountain biking (August 11 & 12)

Will Weatherly
Those airing when I'm at the TV.

Teresa Coles
Gymnastics with the Fab Five!

posted by Kevin Archie Aug 01,2012 @ 07:18AM

Deliberateness by Design

I was never much of a Boy Scout growing up. My tiny stature, shy demeanor, lack of competitive zeal, and fear of heights/dark/woods/raccoons/etc. bought me a get-out-of-scouts-free card after only a couple of years. One thing that sticks in my head after all this time though — aside from those awesome bear and wolf patches — is the Boy Scout motto: be prepared. As a Boy Scout, I thought this meant we should carry Band-Aids around in case somebody got a boo boo. As an adult, however, I see that it means much more than just being ready for things to go wrong; we also have to be prepared for things to go right.

I recently went camping with some friends along the Chatooga River. This year marked our fourth annual Nature Fest, in which I and my adventure-prone cohorts embark into the woods for about a week to call the trees our home. Once a year for the last three years, we raid Wal-Mart for all their canned bake beans and Spam, drive to a place where our cell phones don't work any more, and carry all of our necessities through an overgrown trail to a clearing several miles from the road. Aside from one group outing to an Italian Restaurant midweek, we spend the entire trip outdoors without the regular comforts of home (electricity, plumbing, air conditioning, Facebook feeds, etc.). We bathe in the river. We talk face-to-face. We cook food over fires made from fallen trees. We survive. We survive!


Our survival depends solely on our preparation. If we want to stay dry, we pack tarps. If we want to go hiking, we wear boots. If we want to make a fire from wet wood, we ask Jason Richburg — a man who could build a fire at the bottom of the ocean if he only had two sticks to rub together. I spent an entire morning helping some friends attempt to make a fire after a long night of rain and Jason did it successfully in less than an hour. As I watched him meticulously cut our available lumber into appropriately sized sticks and logs before ever touching a match, I realized that my method of throwing cardboard or receipts or twigs or branches or bark or anything else onto a starter log without a plan only resulted in a 3-minute starter log fire with some slightly-singed trash. It was Jason's awareness and preparation before the fire that resulted in success.

As a designer, I find that I am required to have that very same deliberateness in everything I do. I gather the wood by brainstorming ideas, cut and pile it with thumbnail sketches, and ignite it by placing those ideas directly over the flame and moving them around until the coals are hot enough to stay lit. Design at its core is the act of problem solving. It demands more than a knowledge of fancy computer programs or typography — one must be able to get to the core of the problem and plan appropriately in order to find its proper solution. It requires me daily to be prepared for anything, whether good or bad. I guess that means I'm still a Boy Scout at heart.




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