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Graphic Designer in Charlotte NC

Paul Rand, the man with the brand

Paul Rand was a pioneer when it came to capturing an entire business in one simple, elegant symbol

One of the major draws at this year’s Offset creative conference, which took place in March, was Paula Scher from design powerhouse Pentagram.

During her highly entertaining delivery, she gave attendees a brief glimpse at one of her projects, and one of the most high-profile design jobs in the business – the new logo for Microsoft Windows 8, which no doubt has been battering your eyes from all manner of advertising hoardings and formats in recent weeks.

According to Pentagram, the “logo re-imagines the familiar four-colour symbol as a modern geometric shape that introduces a new perspective on the Microsoft brand”.

At the time, Scher was more succinct. After giving a blink and you’d have missed it look at the already-familiar four-pane logo, she said: “I know what you’re thinking. You don’t like it. But you will.”

This confidence speaks volumes about her prodigious graphic-design ability, and on the Windows front at least, she’s right. This ability to encapsulate a company in a single, relatively simple symbol seems almost utterly innate. And perhaps the best person in this business was American graphic designer Paul Rand.

Rand is responsible for a series of corporate symbols that pop into your head almost unbidden. His clients have included IBM, Enron, UPS, ABC, and NeXT, the company founded by Steve Jobs when he quit Apple in 1985. Jobs, perhaps one of the most exacting clients a designer could have, was unstinting in his praise, calling Rand “the greatest living graphic designer”.

Perhaps the strongest testament to Rand’s work is the fact that many of his designs survive, some decades after their creation, albeit with some minor modifications and evolutions to their look and feel (Rand died in 1996).

Paul Rand was educated at the Pratt Institute, the Parsons School of Design, and the Art Students League, although he regarded himself as largely self-taught, having begun his foray into commercial design by painting signs for his father’s grocery shop and for school events.

No part of his life went uncritiqued – he was born Peretz Rosenbaum, but pared even this back, figuring that “four letters here, four letters there, would create a nice symbol”.

He was one of the originators of the Swiss style of graphic design, but more than anything he created graphic design as an industry. In the words of fellow graphic designer Louis Danziger: “He almost single-handedly convinced business that design was an effective tool . . . He more than anyone else made the profession reputable. We went from being commercial artists to being graphic designers largely on his merits.”

Rand may have had a genius for industrial design married with a gift for salesmanship, but he was much more than a company man. He revered modernism, as is evident by his spare, clean logos, and in later life earned the ire of younger colleagues by railing against postmodernist theory and its influence on design. In A Designer’s Art, Rand said, “Ideas do not need to be esoteric to be original or exciting.” Another of his books, Thoughts on Design, remains a core text for graphic designers.

His logos could not live in a limbo. His American Broadcasting Company trademark, which he made in 1962, is a beautiful exercise in restraint, and he insisted that it was its association and what it represented that gave it meaning, rather than the symbol in and of itself: “It derives its meaning and usefulness from the quality of that which it symbolises. If a company is second rate, the logo will eventually be perceived as second rate. It is foolhardy to believe that a logo will do its job immediately, before an audience has been properly conditioned.”

Much of his work was built around the precept that a logo “cannot survive unless it is designed with the utmost simplicity and restraint”, something elegantly illustrated by the current exhibition of his work at the Ebow gallery at 1 Castle Street, Dublin 2. The show is part of Design Week 2012, and features around 30 original pieces by Paul Rand, an animation of some of his work by New York studio Imaginary Forces, and specially commissioned prints from Irish artists Johnny Kelly and James Earley.

Source: The Irish Times

Finding the ideal Client

Are They Worth It? 26 Qualifying Questions to Ask Prospects

How many times have you pitched a potential client, or sent a proposal, only to get a “Thanks, we’ll think about it and get back to you” email or phone call?

If you’re like most agencies, you pitch way more often than you close. And after awhile, you can become so discouraged you want to throw in the towel. Many agencies struggle with cash flow and thus leap at the chance to pitch anyone, hoping to get some business, any business, to keep the cash coming. And while we all need to put food on the table, is that really the best way to use what limited resources (time, energy, and money) you’ve got?

Of course getting work is important. But we’ve seen time and time again that getting the right kind of work from the right kind of customer is more important. Otherwise you’ll wind up selling your soul and that wonderful agency you started and love becomes nothing more than a job you hate.

There is a better way. The most successful agencies have a disciplined sales process they follow religiously. So if you haven’t mastered the fine art of sales or don’t have a clue about where to start when qualifying a prospect, there’s no time like the present to get started.

What Is Qualifying?

Qualifying is determining whether or not that guy who called to find out about your services is worthy of the time and effort it will take for you to convert him into a customer. That’s right — worthy of your time and effort. Because your time is valuable. Time is a non-renewable resource. Once gone, you can’t get it back. So it makes sense to use it as wisely as possible.

Just because some guy has raised his hand (filled out a form online, dropped a business card into your booth’s fish tank, or called to ask about your services, etc.), that doesn’t make him a lead. It just makes him kinda, sorta interested. It’s still too early in the process to know whether or not it’s a genuine opportunity. The courtship hasn’t even begun.

Provocative Qualifying Questions

Here are some great questions we’ve heard asked at various stages of qualification. Use these as a jumping off point to create your own list so you can quickly disqualify non-opportunities and engage with the golden ones:

  • 1] For what reasons are you looking to hire a new agency now? What triggered your decision to hire an agency? What’s made this so urgent or important?
  • 2] What experiences, good and bad, have you had with other agencies? What do you want to be different this time around?
  • 3] What results do you expect to see from the work we do together?
  • 4] What are your company’s goals?
  • 5] What’s your most important priority? What’s your most urgent priority? If they’re not the same, ask: What will it take to focus on the most important priority? How can the urgent priority get downgraded? What’s your company’s biggest marketing challenge?
  • 6] What’s keeping you from overcoming or meeting that challenge?
  • 7] What internal resources do you have to apply to this challenge?
  • 8] How well are your competitors doing?
  • 9] What are your competitors doing that you’re not and wish you were?
  • 10] What do you want to be the best at? What do you want your company or department to be renowned for?
  • 11] What are you willing to stake your reputation on?
  • 12] What’s the average lifetime value of a customer?
  • 13] What’s your customer acquisition cost?
  • 14] What’s your current marketing return on investment?
  • 15] Out of all your company’s departments, which one does your team most struggle working with?
  • 16] What’s your department’s relationship like with your sales team?
  • 17] How could you improve your relationship with (internal department named in No. 16)?
  • 18] What’s your process for choosing an agency? Have you used this process before? What worked or didn’t work? What will you do to get a different result?
  • 19] Who’s involved in making the decision? Who signs the contract?
  • 20] If you don’t hire an agency, how will you meet this challenge? What will you do?
  • 21] How will you know we’ve been successful?
  • 22] If marketing doesn’t improve, what will it cost your company?
  • 23] If we deliver on agreed upon goals, what’s that worth to your company?
  • 24] What problems do you see down the road that could obstruct or constrain our working together?
  • 25] What makes you lose sleep at night? Or what do you need so you can sleep at night?

You won’t get it right the first time, the second, or even the third time. You have to keep tweaking it until you get your process and questions to work for you. With persistence, you’ll get there. The sooner you do it, the better clients you’ll get, the more fun you’ll start having, and the more successful your business will be.

Source: Hubspot

Simple, Creative, Direct

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Less is More!

Leonardo da Vinci once said: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication”, and architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe adopted the motto “Less is more” to describe his extreme simplicity, by enlisting every element and detail to serve multiple visual and functional purposes (such as designing a floor to also serve as the radiator, or a massive fireplace to also house the bathroom).

Even after 500 years Leonardo’s words are true and this rule is still widely used in design and advertising. It may sound  a bit contradictory, but simple things often require much more brain power to create than the most complicated stuff. And it always strikes you when something completely simple is capable of conveying so much more than you expect.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at 26 most creative examples of minimalist advertising, and afterwards you can always leave a comment telling how much you liked our post!

Source: BoredPanda

Are you being creative?

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Creativity is one of the most commonly used terms in marketing communication as those who develop marketing communication messages are often referred to as “creative types” and agencies develop reputations for their creativity. So much attention is focused on the concept of creativity because the major challenge given to those who develop marketing communication messages is to be creative. Creativity has been defined as “a quality possessed by persons that enables them to generate novel approaches in situations, generally reflected in new and improved solutions to problems.”

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