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where do ideas come from?


In creative brainstorming, we say no idea is a bad idea. Every idea came from somewhere and deserves consideration.

James Webb Young, a copywriter of renown in the early years of advertising, devised a practice for generating ideas. In the 1940s, he wrote it all down for others in advertising. Eventually his wisdom became a published book called, “A Technique for Producing Ideas.”

Here’s an overview of his process:

  1. Gather “raw material.” This includes anything specific to the project or challenge at hand, as well as general knowledge.
  2. Think hard about the problem. Try various combinations of the elements to create a workable solution. Young said you need to “feel your way” though each bit of knowledge that you gathered. He advised working yourself “to a standstill,” meaning keep at it until you believe you have exhausted every option.
  3. Allow everything to incubate. Take a break and let your unconscious mind go to work. Young suggests that you turn your attention to “whatever stimulates your imagination and emotions.” Neuroscientists have conducted research that shows the brain is hard at work in the time right before an insight or idea comes to light.
  4. Welcome the “Eureka!” moment. The perfect idea, the right answer, the ideal solution comes to you, as if from nowhere. But in reality, you had been thinking about it on some level all along.
  5. Develop the idea further and let it take flight. Test, edit and polish it.

In Young’s view, the most important principle in his little book (it’s just 48 pages) is this: “An idea is nothing more, nor less, than a new combination of old elements.” We think that this charming perspective has never grown old.

More information:


logo size


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!

Suzette loves her new look, thanks!

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“In a word AWESOME! Love the new look! You and your staff are the best!!”

– ­Suzette M. Cover, National Sales Director, Registry for Excellence

What has Suzette so thrilled? We had just redesigned her company’s logo and created a new brochure and trade show pull-up banners. The material makes a great impression, unique and professional.

how we love Luhrs!

One of our favorite projects comes along every summer and has us thinking of spotlights and show tunes, ballads and ballet. We have been creating promotional material for the H. Ric Luhrs Performing Arts Center at Shippensburg University since their 2005-2006 season. We just finished the 2014-2015 season brochure, which makes us wish for a front-row seat at every show!

If we’ve piqued your interest, check out this season’s offerings at

dare to doodle!

If you’ve ever been told that doodling is a pointless waste of time, fear not. It turns out that doodling is an awesome way to unlock creativity and stay engaged.

In “The Doodle Revolution,” author Sunni Brown reports that some of our greatest thinkers doodled: Steve Jobs, John F. Kennedy, Henry Ford, to name a few. Brown works with companies to teach them how the use of visual language can encourage greater creativity and productivity.

Doodling in the workplace is not a bad thing, according to Brown. Here’s why:

  • Doodling engages the mind in a way that helps the doodler think and process information.
  • Doodling helps you focus, contrary to beliefs that it shows signs of boredom and loss of focus. It is actually an anchoring task, a pre-emptive measure that can keep you from losing focus.
  • Doodling can help find new solutions. “Even if you’re just scribbling in the margins, you’re lighting up different networks in your brain,” Brown writes. Using many neurological networks at the same time creates what Brown calls “a portal for imaging and inventing preferred realities.”

Doodling is a frequent and favorite activity around the offices of TCG Advertising & Design. We always felt it was a way to help us get out of a rut and spark a new way of thinking about an issue or problem. So we say: Doodle on!

Note: We learned about Brown’s book from Entrepreneur online columnist Lisa Evans, herself a doodler.

happy independence day!

Brand Loyalty Quiz

Do you find yourself buying the same brands over and over? Why is that? Are there things you buy that you could care less what brand they are? Why is that? Let’s get a little more specific.

Make a list and see if you Have a Brand or Don’t Have a Brand, for the following products: Car, Smart Phone, Tablet, Laptop, TV, Coffee, Shoes, Laundry Detergent, Juice, Potato Chips, Peanut Butter.

You could list all consumer products you purchase. This just helps to get the conversation started. What has made you loyal or not loyal to brands you’ve listed? Do believe that those you are most loyal to are the ones that did the best job of fulfilling their brand promise?

The Brand Promise

succeedWhen you make a promise, mostly likely you keep your promise. A promise speaks to a person’s character, values and quality. The same goes for companies. Their brand promise says that what a company promises they are going to deliver to the people who interact with them. It is your company’s promise of what makes you different, special, better or unique – it is what your brand fulfills for those who interact with it. Companies who consistently keep their brand promise are the ones who have the highest brand loyalty.

Think of your favorite brands. What do you think their brand promises are?

The Way of the Wax Seal

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If the image of a wax seal conjures up medieval courts with kings and such, there’s a good reason for that. The use of wax seals began in the Middle Ages by royals and bishops when issuing official documents. The wax seal on a document proved its authenticity. Eventually, wax seals found their way into usage by one and all. Tradesmen began to use them and then ordinary townsfolk.

Here’s a thoroughly enjoyable read and more on wax seals, including how to make them:

Today, the idea of a wax seal still suggests that an item is elegant and special, even regal. That thinking was behind the image of a wax seal we used in creating a new logo for our client, The Registry for Excellence. They specialize in custom-designed plates and other unique items for employee recognition and academic and athletic achievement. The new logo is shown here on pull-up banners designed for use at trade shows.