Have you ever seen someone who is dressed impeccably…until you get a look at the shoes? Stylish, perfectly fitted clothes worn with out-of-date shoes, in need of polishing? Yeah, the whole effect is ruined.
That’s exactly the impression you give when any part of your communications effort looks out of sync. Everything needs to work together to create a professional and polished brand. You don’t want cutting-edge TV spots or ads and a website that looks tired. You can’t slap a new logo on brochures that look like they were designed in the 1970s and think you’ve succeeded in giving them a fresh face.
Design trends change and there’s a new color of the year every January. But some things remain steadfast. Integrated communications material and campaigns with professionally produced brand messaging say a lot about your organization. They reinforce one another and create an impact across your brand. And that never goes out of style.
For an example of integrated campaign material with strong brand messaging, check out these pieces we created for Lancaster County Career & Technology Center.
When you think of advertising, think of Montana — wide, open spaces. It’s what we call “white space” and it’s one of the most important characteristics of an effective ad.
“White space is important not only for print and online advertising, but also essential for broadcast and outdoor advertising,” says Susan Sempeles, creative director.
What else makes an ad effective?
• Clean design — that means wide-open white space to spare.
• A strong headline — verbs are your friends; go easy on all the adjectives and adverbs.
• A single message — don’t load your ad with everything there is to know about your product or service.
• Simple language — that doesn’t mean you can’t be clever with your copy, but don’t do it just to be cute.
• To-the-point copy, not a lot of it — enough said.
• A typeface that’s easy to read — with the personality you want to convey.
• An eye-catching visual — but only if it adds to the message; remember, ads that are all copy work, too!
• Smart logo placement — it almost always belongs at the bottom of your ad as a signature.
That’s how you break through the clutter.
If you’ve been anywhere in the vicinity of the Lancaster Barnstormers ballpark this past month, you may have noticed a lot of hustle and bustle in preparation for opening day at their home field. We found ourselves in the midst of all the fun as we worked with our client, Lancaster County Career & Technology Center (LCCTC), who is one of the team’s sponsors this season. To help LCCTC brand themselves in the Barnstormers stadium, we created a huge entrance banner, colorful section signage, floor graphics, step riser signs, cup holder stickers, and sets of “baseball cards” featuring LCCTC students. We had a really good time doing all this “out of the box” creative. We think we hit a homerun!
We’re planning an agency “field trip” to an upcoming Barnstormers game. Maybe we’ll see you there!
Over many years in this business, we’ve come to recognize something that many of our clients have in common—a fear of white space. Or maybe it’s not so much fear as it is an uncontrollable urge to fill up all available space in their ad, billboard, brochure, e-blast, banner ad, etc. Perhaps it has something to do with a feeling that, since they are paying for the space, some content should occupy it.
It’s not just our clients, though. Many people have the same fear or urge. While we understand it, we vow to never stop fighting for the cause of white space in everything we do.
You see, in design, white space has purpose. Not only does it draw the eye, but it also relieves the eye from relentless clutter. White space gives balance and harmony to layouts. Imagine if you tried to read a printed page with no space between words or lines of copy. Furthermore, very smart people have researched this and found that white space improves the readability and comprehension of printed material.
So, trust us on this. White space is a good thing. And here’s a really good example of white space at work.
When we have the opportunity to work with a client on a longer-form piece, such as an annual report, our skill at pulling it all together really shines. The expression ‘The devil is in the details’ is never more true than with a project that spans many months and involves many people.
Take the annual report we recently finished for Holy Spirit—A Geisinger Affiliate. We have worked on Holy Spirit’s annual report for several years. It’s always an interesting and fun project. We start with a detailed production schedule, determining what needs to be done, by when and by whom. Much is involved to complete it: concepts to develop, design ideas to create, layout options to consider, copy to write and edit, photoshoots to art direct, printing to prep for, meetings to coordinate…you get the idea. Through it all, we allow no devils!
Don’t just take our word for it, though. Lori Moran, Holy Spirit’s Director of Public Relations & Marketing, says,
There are a lot of moving parts to a project such as our annual report. I know I can count on TCG to take care of everything, start to finish, concept to printing. I know the project is in good hands.”
Any number of factors can influence the selection of colors for a client project. Kim Smith, our art director, explains that it’s never just a random process.
“We follow color trends, but never choose a color because it’s trendy,” Kim says. “We consider the project lifespan. If it’s a one-time piece that doesn’t have longevity, a trendy color that really pops may be a great solution. If it’s something that sticks around, it may be best to go with color choices that stand the test of time.”
A client’s corporate colors also can affect the choice.
“There has to be compatibility with their corporate colors—or at least not an unnecessary clash,” Kim says. “You want a friendliness among the colors you use.”
Ultimately, color makes a statement. Sometimes it’s a whisper, sometimes a shout. We believe our color decisions are thoughtful, inspired and strategic…always the right color for the job.
For a look at how we use color creatively, check out our “What We Do” section.
We make sure client logos are sized appropriately for how and where they will be viewed – in a print or online ad, on a billboard, in a TV commercial. Your logo is your signature. We know how important it is. It needs to be noticed without overwhelming the message or the offer.
See how we adapted one client’s logo for a variety of media, including an 18-wheeler!