community rebranding- when to consider a refresh

as many communities consider how to best make their way into the future with a solid, if not growing, tax base, jobs, increasing numbers of young families, well-attended schools and opportunities for their youth; a common stop in the road is to undergo a municipal or community rebranding.

when is the right time to take on the process?

let’s look at an example:  the small Saskatchewan community of Tisdale.  consider what might be a little, shall we say, incongruent, about their current brand…

Tisdale

let’s presume there’s a little more going on than the the obvious uncomfortable reference, and see whad’ dup in Tisdale!

located about 210 kilometres northeast of Saskatoon, there was a time that rapeseed and honey contributed significantly to the town’s economy and, therefore, their identity.

however, it’s been 60 years since the inception of the tagline, land of rape and honey.  over these many years, the slogan has generated its fair share of snickers and derision; the term canola gained favour over rapeseed – for obvious reasons; and organic rapeseed now accounts for less than one per cent of crops grown in the region and honey production has decreased significantly.

a lot can change in over half a century, and when does that evolution determine a change in community brand?

this is the question facing the town of Tisdale and its council.  in turn, the community, a town of about 3,200 people is being surveyed regarding their feelings regarding the relevancy of the current brand and what they might consider as new possibilities moving forward.

this is what they, and other communities exploring the possibility of a brand refresh, need to consider:

has the local industry changed or evolved?  has the demographic changed- who lives there and what do they do, for work, recreation, leisure and for fun?  what are the values of the community?  take a look at the region’s assets.  have they changed? are they more or less significant in the community? does the old brand resonate?  is it relevant to, not only the community at present, but the vision of where the community sees itself 5, 10, 20 years down the road?

lastly, does a new or refreshed brand fit the budget (it’s a big ticket process, to be done right) and does it seem worth it to the town’s growth and evolution.  perhaps a sense of sentimentality for the old brand, hearkening to a particularly significant point in history actually still speaks to the community and its values… the first step, of course, is asking them.

my opinion?  Tisdale is certainly due for a change.  i’m not sure that rape and honey really represent the spirit and values of the community in this new century and, really, i can’t imagine a tagline featuring the word rape plays well in any promotion or advertising.

so, good luck, Tisdale, as you undertake the valuable process of defining, or redefining, who you are as a town and as a community.  whichever direction you go- to rebrand or not rebrand- just the process will be effective at inspiring a renewed sense of community spirit as you take stock of who you are and why you’re proud to live in Tisdale!

 

multi-screening. mobile-friendly. is your website ready?

these past few years have seen a very rapid evolution in how we surf the web, consume content and really, manage our lives.

sit on any mode of public transit, wait in line just about anywhere or go out for drinks with friends and and observe the relationships… with their devices!

cellphone-toon001

 

given the increasing reliance on mobile devices, it’s not surprising that Google has jumped aboard and is now being very explicit in how they favour mobile friendly websites in their search results.  Google strives to provide quality user experience and mobile search volume is beginning to exceed that of desktop.  as a result, a new ranking factor may help the search giant more effectively meet that demand.

Google has no control on whether or not a site is currently mobile-friendly. you may have noticed an icon that alerts users to mobile-friendly websites in search results. it may prove to be valuable in driving search traffic to mobile-friendly websites.

the bottom line is, with the growing trend of mobile search growth, it becomes that much more important that websites are mobile-friendly.

mobile-vs-standard

Google aside, simply considering the quality of user experience should encourage anyone with a website to ensure they can easily viewed regardless the device.   as per the example above, it is clear a standard site on a mobile device provides poor user experience: fonts are too small, there’s an overwhelming amount of information on one screen, and it’s very difficult to navigate. unless there isn’t another choice for the source of information the user will definitely choose a mobile-friendly website to visit.

here’s an example of effective responsive design for mobile:

mobilefriendly-website

some companies and designers have simply implemented multiple sites to accommodate the demand for mobile searching. Larry Page, Google co-founder and chief executive (ceo), expressed strong feelings against having multiple sites for multiple devices. as a result, Google officially endorsed responsive design as the preferred method of building a mobile-friendly website. responsive design is a web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience – easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling – across a wide range of devices (from mobile phones to desktop computer monitors).

it’s a brave new world… where devices have become indispensable. some would argue, almost like arms… or children!

so, make Google happy… and don’t let your service or product get lost in mobile searches because your site is out of date.  we can help you keep, even increase, your ranking with a new site, optimized fully for mobile.

stay search-able… contact us!

a campaign logo – what makes a good one?

twitter exploded yesterday with politicos and designers alike, all abuzz… what the hell was team Clinton thinking?!?

Screen_Shot_Hillary16

the blue ‘h’ and red arrow came under a ton of not-so-friendly fire yesterday with the formal launch of Hillary Clinton’s campaign.  not exactly the way you want to roll out your formal bid for the presidency.

designers weigh in:  too blocky. bad colours. primary colours- ick!  immature and clunky. flat and cold. stark, corporate, hard-edged. ouch!

what exactly is her campaign trying to say through this branding? how does this artwork speak to who she is and the platform she is trying to convey?

…probably not what they were going for.

so… what makes for a good campaign logo?  what image or graphic element will effectively encapsulate visually what a candidate stands for? and while a logo isn’t going to ultimately make or break a campaign or a candidate, it will be the image (unless you pull a Howard Dean!) that begins to settle into people’s minds throughout the months.  it will sit alongside her next hairdo in the greater campaign narrative.

is flat, cold, stark, corporate and hard-edged the image that Hillary is going for?  she’s already fighting these characterizations, why compound it by incorporating these sentiments into her campaign icon?

as in photography and the pleasing impact of a meandering s-curve, the same holds true in design.  consider the most popular and successful brands we have: mcdonalds, coca cola, nike. all utilize a more curvy approach in their logos.  in presidential artwork, Obama’s 2008 and 2012 logos, followed the same model with great approval.

Hillary’s team opted for the choice of the primary colours red and blue- typically avoided together as they tend to give the illusion of vibrating text which is hard on the eyes.  add the basic geometric aesthetic and you’re moving towards the juvenile. think kids’ room… though never a combination seen in any ikea, ethan allen or ashley furniture- where Hillary’s prime demographic shops for their babies.

perhaps had the arrow not been placed directly on top of the ‘h’;  had they utilized some buffer with white space, their messaging may have been less offensive more effective.  but, alas, they did not. clearly, they were aiming for the overtly patriotic; and perhaps the arrow is meant to imply focus, direction and forward movement.

on the bright side, what it has going for it, is simplicity… graphic elements easily scaleable for a variety of collateral, electronic and print.  so maybe, if you can overlook the flat and cold, stark, corporate, hard-edged first impression, perhaps her team can, in fact, chalk this one up as “nailed it”.

no argument, Hillary has created a successful career, honing hard edges to meet the demands of always being the lone gal in the perpetual penis club of washington.

but perhaps it’s time to let some softness in, gal. maybe not in your approach to the dicks on the hill, just a little for the sake of your brand… and relatability.

 

 

more than web design. brand new… to you!

upended digital creators- web, print, app design, content creation
so very pleased to be introducing the new website for upended!  after setting up and encouraging so many of our clients to pursue a blog platform to funnel leads and traffic, we figured it was about time we did the same.

we’ll enjoy posting all things print, app and web design, photography, social media, brand, blogging and marketing here in the upended journal.  stay tuned for lots of great information that will help you make good decisions to enhance your business, established or start-up.

oh… before i forget.  what’s up with the bike, you ask? well… there is nothing so beautiful as simplicity in design- a fundamental that inspires and drives us in what we do.  the concept of the bike… and a vintage bike, at that, seemed to illustrate the point for us.

simple is beautiful.

we look forward to bringing some simplicity into your life too!

if you’re looking for tremendous quality and service in your digital creation project- web and app design, print layout and design, branding, logos, photography and video, contact us today! our goal is to help make you look good.

you work hard to provide the best in your product or service… let us provide the best to you!