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design & marketing blog

Straightforward design, marketing, and technical advice for making your marketing communications more effective.

Using Conformity to Communicate The Uniquness of Your Company

August 8th, 2011
Baker Tilly Email Design

A great example of the the principles of consistency and conformity is the email template we designed for Baker Tilly. Compare the email design with the graphic identity of their existing Website.

Seth Godin’s blog posts are always profound, but his most recent post Bypassing the Leap is especially relevant to the services we provide. The gist of his post is that most of the time creativity is the act of reinterpreting and reassembling elements that are already well accepted and proven to work.

Effective branding and design services are based from this same perspective. While it may sound contradictory, quality creative products are almost always intentionally designed to conform within well established boundaries.

No matter how unique of graphic identity a corporation has, you’ll find the logo almost always in the upper left and the main site navigation in one of two locations. This is staying within the proven boundaries of usability. When Fortune 500 corporations spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to develop their branding and identity all marketing publications will almost always have identical colors, layout and typeface. This is adhering to the core principle of graphic design—consistency. Corporations conform to the principles of usability and consistency because they know they’re the most effective way to communicate a credible message and the most effective way to persuade their customers to action.

Embracing conformity to communicate uniqueness is really the secret of success when it comes to marketing communication and application design. 

Many small and mid-sized companies don’t get this. Have you ever found a Website through Google that you thought might be a good solution for a need only to have second thoughts when their Website design looked dated, amateur or unclear?  No matter how unique and appealing their solution may be, if their graphic design and usability do not establish unwavering credibility you’re likely to just head back to Google to search for an alternative.

Small and mid-sized companies have a great opportunity to level the playing field against even massive competitors by communicating their unique value message by conforming to already accepted and proven principles.

Does your marketing communication produce credibility or doubt? Ask ten people outside your organization that you can trust to give you honest opinions about their impressions of your Website, emails or other marketing material. If you need an objective professional opinion let us know. The one thing you’ll get is honesty and there’s no obligation. If you do decide for yourself that your identity needs a makeover we provide consulting as well as in-house development and design services. You can call us at 866.770.7967 or through our online form.

Check out our custom Facebook design

August 5th, 2011

Custom Facebook Design by Risingline

Check our our new tricked out Facebook page . . . we can code about anything you can image for your company’s Facebook page. A Single complete custom branded and designed page with interactive features or a complete "mini site" within your Company’s Facebook page. We can code almost anything in your Facebook page including Flash (with fail safe alternative for iPads/iPhones), ajax, JavaScript, Forms, video . . . anything you can image.


Prevent Entourage from adding your email signature at the bottom of all replies

June 23rd, 2011

See also: Setting up a HTML email signature in Microsoft Entourage (Mac OS X)

For some strange reason Entourage 2008 adds your email signature at the very bottom of all replies and forwards in an email string. Not only will recipients not see your signature next to your more recent reply, if you reply to the same email string multiple times you end up getting a "stack" of your same email signature at the bottom of the message strings which looks quite unprofessional.

Although Microsoft has made it as un-intuitive as possible, there is a fix for this issue that allows your email signature to appear only after your replies. 

1. Bring Entourage into focus, then just go to the top menu Entourage -> Preferences ->

2. Then highlight "Reply & Forward" and check the box with the verbose description "Place reply at top of message and include From, Date, To, and Subject lines from original message" 

Entourage HTML Email signature

Mac OS X Lion Promises to Fix Annoying Usability Issue

June 10th, 2011

I was digging through the 250+ new features Apple is touting for the July release of OS X Lion when I almost fell out of my chair. Apple is finally fixing a basic usability shortfall of OS X that have has been a pet peeve of mine.

Lion will allow users to resize a window from any corner instead of being forced to use only the lower right hand corner. Yes it’s really true. Buried at the very end and classified in the lonely “Other Features” category we find:

Resize from any edge. You can now resize a window from any side or corner.

Is there really any questions as to why this would be an incredible benefit? Why it took Apple decades to do this I’ll never know but dragging my mouse across my 27″ iMac screen gets old real quick and I hate thinking anything that Microsoft makes is better than Apple. Thanks Apple, it’s about time!

Now if Apple can only fix the other major downfall in Finder by allowing one to sort alphabetically by folders first then files. While I love Macs I hate Finder primarily because it sorts files and folders as if they were the same animal. Apple makes it sound like this might change with Lion, but this is probably just wishfull thinking on my part.  Here’s what Apple says about the new Finder in Lion:

Sort files – A new button in the Finder toolbar lets you sort files by category, making it easier to find what you’re looking for. Sort files by kind, application, date modified, date added, or size.

I don’t have my hopes up that this will make Finder much better, however anything they do to change Finder will be an improvement.

The other bit of good news is the Lion upgrade is priced at $30. Click here for a full list of the new Lion OS X features.

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