Archive for March, 2009

Announcing ConnectionConcierge.com

March 21, 2009

We’ve just completed a fun web project that we’d like to share with you! The site is www.connectionconcierge.com. For this project, our client came to us with a strong vision for the homepage: she was looking for an animated “super-hero”-like person who’s sitting at her desk and offers to help you. She wanted the office itself to be clickable and interactive.

Our initial concept for the Connection Concierge homepage

The challenge for this project was to create an interactive, animated homepage, without using Flash programming—which would have been the logical choice, but is cost prohibitive. Our solution was to create sections of the homepage as animated gifs that swap in when the cursor rolls over that portion of the image. While low-tech, it created the same feeling our client was going for, while sparing her the expense of hours and hours of Flash programming.

For the illustrations, we printed out a photo of Connection Concierge’s owner, Teresa, traced the contours and added our own details with a Sharpie marker on Graphics 360 marker paper. Then, we scanned the image and brought it into Illustrator. Using a combination of Live Trace and the pen tool, we created the vector art and added color. We repeated this process for the office (thanks, Beata Rydeen for letting me snap some photos of your space!), and the various objects within the office.

The back end of the site was built initially in html and will be converted to CMS shortly, so our client will be able to update the site herself.

We’re pleased with the results of the site so far, but better yet—our client is happy! We thank her for such a fun project.

Fresh takes on business card formats

March 17, 2009

I’ve been familiar with 48 Hour print for some time, and have even written about them a few times in this blog (see our posts: environmentally-responsible printers and Printing Revolution: Online and Digital Printers ). Recently I started receiving their e-newsletter, the E-Inkspot, and was impressed with their article featuring great ideas for exploring new sizes and shapes for business cards, so I thought I’d share it. Thanks to 48 Hour Print for allowing us to reprint their article here:

One Design, Multiple Possibilities

Exploring new formats for business cards is a great way of attracting attention. Just look how the following versions of the same design come alive in different forms.

Two-Sided Card

With twice the space to work with compared to a standard, one-sided card, you can feature extra information without crowding the design of the card. There is no additional charge for printing on the second side

With twice the space to work with compared to a standard, one-sided card, you can feature extra information without crowding the design of the card. There is no additional charge for printing on the second side.

Rounded Corners

standard, one-sided card, you can feature extra information without crowding the design of the card. There is no additional charge for printing on the second side. Order Now » Rounded Corners* Business Cards with Rounded Corners  Rounded corners give your business card a contemporary, unique design that makes the others look, well, square.

Rounded corners give your business card a contemporary, unique design that makes the others look, well, square.

Even Folded

Go beyond making a statement and tell a story, with a card that features a front cover, inside and back cover. Use the front to present a memorable line of copy or tagline. Inside, provide all the contact information, and take advantage of the back to present additional information such as professional affiliations, special sales promotions, and more.

Go beyond making a statement and tell a story, with a card that features a front cover, inside and back cover. Use the front to present a memorable line of copy or tagline. Inside, provide all the contact information, and take advantage of the back to present additional information such as professional affiliations, special sales promotions, and more.

Offset Folded

Take advantage of all the benefits of a folded card, with the extra detail of a shorter cover on the front that reveals a message printed on the inside even before its opened. With all the attention drawn to this area, its perfect for communicating a tagline, or presenting a phone number or website address.

Take advantage of all the benefits of a folded card, with the extra detail of a "shorter cover" on the front that reveals a message printed on the inside even before it's opened. With all the attention drawn to this area, it's perfect for communicating a tagline, or presenting a phone number or website address.

More Ideas from Mix Creative:

  • Consider passing out an over-sized card at your next networking event. For events you frequently visit, have a line printed on it that says “We met at the ______ event”, then leave ample room for people to make notes.
  • Think about passing out a bookmark with your business card attached. The bookmark can include a paragraph about your business, recent blog posts, or a focused message to a particular networking event
  • Go Green! Have your card printed with soy inks and FSC-approved paper. Then take it one step further: have your printer add the FSC logo to the project (this is a process that requires strict standards), or add a statement about your green initiatives to the design.

By the way, it’s worth mentioning that we weren’t paid to share this with you.

Don’t be afraid to mix it up

March 3, 2009

Loyal followers of this blog may have noticed a. . .ahem. . .substantial decrease in the number of blog postings in the last month. Well, sometimes life happens, and it slows you down a bit. In this case, it’s because we’re getting ready to sell the home we’ve been in for the last 13 years.

So anyway. . .in 13 years in this little house in Northeast Minneapolis, we’ve made a lot of changes: we’ve added a patio, we landscaped the yard, we finished our basement, we’ve upgraded appliances, and we’ve painted nearly every single wall in the house. But never have I seen change like I witnessed today, when Lori Anderson, the striking Swede with her own cleaning and staging company, swept through our house with a whirlwind of accessories and turned our house from drab to fab in a matter of hours.

OK, so you’re probably wondering. . .what does this have to do with marketing my company? Well, watching her work her interior design magic gave me a revelation. Every room she touched, she added punches of color here and there. Unexpected color. Out-of-the-palette color. Color-that-makes-you-a-little uncomfortable-but-yet strangely-compels-you color.

Which made me think: in our 13 years of living in this house, have we become too complacent with our design choices?

OK. . . so finally. . . the application to your business. You may find yourself complacent, dutifully sticking to your brand standards, preparing documents, PowerPoints and creating ads within the usual standards. But today I’ll suggest: mix it up a little! Add a new color! Integrate a new texture! Be consistent, but don’t be afraid to spice things up a little. When we step out of our familiar boundaries, sometimes beautiful things result. And perhaps. . . buyers will take note!