ISSUE NO. 55
Here is the shortlist of what we do:
- Branding / Logo Development
- Corporate Communication
- Marketing Materials
- Publication Design
- Website Design
- Print Design (All Kinds)
- Package Design
- Exhibit Design
- Email Marketing
- Product and Service Literature
- If you don’t see it here just ask
Notes on Marketing, Branding and Design
AI Goes to the Circus
I recently finished a project that I think is worth discussing. Not only was it a fun and playful project to create, but the use of extensive AI imagery was a critical and valuable addition to the success of this project.
A long-term client of mine holds a very high-level fundraiser every year. I have designed the branding for a number of them in the past but this one was a little different. The theme was “A Night at the Circus.” As a designer, it’s my responsibility to create the appropriate visual direction for all different types of projects, and all different types of clients. Honestly, I love the diversity in creating branding that might be modern one day, playful another day, formal the day after that, and maybe a gritty feel it’s appropriate for yet another client. But a circus-themed fundraiser should capture the visual excitement of the big top, and it would certainly be fun to create. My client wanted a feel of a historic circus rather than a more contemporary one. This is where the knowledge, experience, and research of past circus imagery was critical. There is a look to the typography, arrangement of information, the playful drawing of attention to various focal points in a layout, and the style of imagery that was used in the earlier circus environment. Historically, a lot of the promotional paintings done by circuses were created by the people who worked there, not professional illustrators, so there was a roughness and maybe even a primitive quality to the imagery.
AI image creation is fairly new but it’s coming on like wildfire. I started using Mid Journey in early 2023 after being introduced to it by a friend. Thank you Mike.
Let me start by saying that after decades of working with very talented illustrators, individuals who bring their creative brilliance to marketing projects, it breaks my heart for them to see this new competition in their industry. My father and my sister were both amazing illustrators. And although I wish they were both here with us, I think it would have been very difficult for them to witness this evolution of AI image creation. And yet, it is a technology that allows me to do more for my clients.
But as the saying goes “On with the show.” I mentioned to my client “Last year we wouldn’t have been able to approach this project with this amount of imagery and stay within budget.” I generated about 50 usable images (out of roughly 400 attempts or revisions), exploring various circus performers, and requesting a loose painting style. It was both amazing and hysterical to see how a computer “thinks.” And, there was still the occasional awkwardness of hands with six fingers, or acrobats with 3 arms in the images it created. Sometimes, the perfect image came right away. Other times, it was a very time-consuming struggle to type in different prompts and not see the desired results. It was amazing to learn how the simple modification of one word in a prompt string could make a huge difference in the image. And then of course there were times when I just could not get the image that I wanted at all. You would think that something as common as a juggler would be an easy thing for AI to create but no such luck, at least not for me… on that day.
I am learning to think about AI imagery as “custom stock” imagery. It’s amazing and it brings so much more to my work, and therefore, to my clients. I’m not fooling myself. It is quickly moving into the design profession as well. There may be a time when my job too will get eaten by technology. But I don’t think we’re there yet. You can use any number of AI image and design creator sites and ask for a logo, but to be honest they are still pretty bad… or at best, predictable. I think there is tremendous value in having a skilled creative person think about a client, a project, a target audience, the company’s competition, and many other aspects that direct the design thought process.
Many of the images for A Night at the Circus were used as large posters at the event. This required increasing the resolution… and detail, something that for most of my working career has been mostly impossible. But once again AI comes to the rescue. There are tools out now that use artificial intelligence to increase the resolution of images. And even with this, it’s interesting to see how it interprets details and essentially adds more information to an image than was originally there. And still, there is a limit. A low-resolution image of a logo from a website cannot magically be turned into a higher-resolution, accurate version of the logo.
For this project, I created the overall visual brand, an invitation, reply mailing, save the date cards, a program, a table menu, posters, signs, presentation images, a commemorative book, and of course, the imagery, design style, and design elements were delivered to the company that created the event space and interior design for the evening. At one point my client was told “You really upped your game on this one.” It makes me happy to hear that.
Acres of Creativity
In college, I was a split graphic, design, and sculpture major so I have always had an affinity towards the experiences that sculpture provides. You may be familiar with The Grounds For Sculpture near Trenton, New Jersey. It’s roughly 50 acres of a wide variety of sculptures. For the longest time, I thought of it as my own personal Mecca, a place that I had to travel to regularly, and just experience the environment that artists create in three dimensions.
Recently, I traveled a little further north to another inspirational collection of sculptures. Storm King Art Center is about two hours north in New Windsor, NY. There are a lot of similarities to the grounds for sculpture but Storm King Art Center has 500 acres to work with. It was originally an estate from the early 1900s and was then opened as a sculpture Park in 1960. There are times when you can look a mile or more and see a sculpture way off in the distance across a beautiful field. It has massive installations as well as more intimate paths to explore. One of the things that I love about Art is that it is an experience that makes us think. You can like something or dislike something, but any attempt to try to understand one’s opinions is usually filled with different thoughts, and an education, not only about the piece of art but about ourselves as well. I highly recommend Storm King Art Center as a possible day trip (or more) from the Philadelphia area.
Crafting a Brand Identity: The Art and Science of Design
“Everything is moving so fast.” You’ve heard it said a thousand times. With the speed of today’s world, first impressions matter more than ever. With countless brands vying for attention, a strong visual identity is crucial to stand out and make a lasting impression. Enter graphic design – the unsung hero of brand creation. It’s the art and science that transforms a brand into a visual language, creating a connection between a business and its audience. In this article, we’ll explore the importance of professional and experienced graphic design in crafting a brand that resonates.
The Art of Storytelling
Every brand has a story to tell. It’s the narrative that defines who they are, what they do, and why they matter. Graphic design is the visual storyteller that brings this narrative to life. From logos and color palettes to typography and imagery, each element is carefully chosen to communicate the brand’s personality and values. A skilled graphic designer knows how to weave these elements together to create a cohesive and compelling story that speaks directly to the target audience.
The Science of Perception
Graphic design is not just about making things look pretty; it’s about creating visual cues that influence perception and behavior. Colors, for example, can evoke emotions and trigger psychological responses. Fonts can convey tone and personality. Shapes and layouts can guide the eye and create a sense of hierarchy. A professional graphic designer understands the science behind these elements and knows how to use them to create a desired impact.
The Power of Consistency
Consistency is key to building a strong brand identity. It’s what makes a brand recognizable and memorable. Whether it’s a business card, website, or social media post, every touchpoint should reflect the same visual language. This consistency reinforces the brand’s message and builds trust with the audience. An experienced graphic designer knows how to maintain this consistency across all platforms, ensuring a cohesive and unified brand experience.
The Impact of First Impressions
In the world of branding, you only have a few seconds to make a good first impression. A well-designed logo, for example, can communicate professionalism, credibility, and trustworthiness in an instant. On the other hand, a poorly designed logo can do just the opposite. Professional marketers understand the importance of first impressions and know how to create designs that grab attention and leave a lasting impression.
Professional and experienced graphic design is essential for crafting a brand that stands out and connects with its audience. It’s the art of storytelling, the science of perception, the power of consistency, and the impact of first impressions. So, if you’re looking to build a brand that resonates, invest in a graphic designer who knows the ropes. After all, your brand is the face of your business, it should look its best… and work hard for you.
The environment for communicating always changes. Communication has to adjust as well.
When you are ready we’d be happy to help with your communication, design, and marketing needs.
Stay well. Stay safe.
Copyright © 2023 AXIS visual, All rights reserved.
1600 Lower State Rd.
Doylestown, PA 18901