ISSUE NO. 49
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
If you have some thoughts or questions and would like to schedule a phone call with us… click here.
We have a program that does that… and a bag of stale chips
Several years back I was attending a wine festival with about 35 different wineries represented. As an entrepreneur I always keep my eyes open for new businesses that I can help with effective design and branding so as I was tasting some cabernet and talking to one of the owners, I said “who designs your wine labels?” His response was one that I will never forget. “We have a program that does that.” I said simply “OK”, realizing that this was clearly not my target audience and not somebody that understands that a program is only a tool, and does not replace human creativity. Most of what we do here at AXIS Visual is created by, and more importantly, for human beings. So the thought that a tool, the creative equivalent of a hammer could replace the hand that holds it was a little insulting. But at the time, and maybe even more so now, it makes me think.
There are many options when someone is looking for design and marketing support. Just as there are many options when people are looking for food and sustenance. A program making a wine label is comparable to a stale bag of chips. Someone operating a program with little design, or communication knowledge is comparable to a fast-food drive-through. Both will put something in your belly and may hold off your hunger for a little while. But an experienced designer that listens to your needs, thinks about your target audience, and creates your graphic need from scratch is comparable to a chef cooking a special meal just for you.
A personal chef? Sounds costly. This is where the food analogy needs to be adjusted a little. A restaurant selling stale bags of chips… hmmmm. Fast food drive-through? Well, there are a handful of companies that do pretty well financially with this model. But they usually spend a massive amount of money on market exposure and on the design of everything they do. But just like your favorite restaurant with the trained chef, working with an skilled graphic marketer results in an experience that draws attention, is visually appealing, is one that is consumed more slowly, delivers more pleasure, is savored for each detail, is remembered and talked about in the future, builds a reputation of trust in quality, and most importantly, encourages people to return and purchase again.
Now, back to the issue of cost, or in the case of branding and marketing, investment. A personal chef, one that works with their clients and listens to their needs, knows that Beef Wellington is not for everybody or every day. Sometimes a quality hamburger can be the perfect meal (OK, clearly I’m not vegan) but “Quality” is the keyword here. In graphic marketing, just as in cooking, the cost can vary depending on what is made, the amount of work involved and it’s complexity, but the quality is what people respond to, and it is what people remember.
After 25 years running AXIS visual and designing brands and marketing materials for a wide variety of businesses I’ve learned that frequently, companies are too close to what they do to talk about it in a concise and inspirational manner. This is not a criticism. If someone works day in and day out perfecting their skills and making their business or product better, it’s human nature to talk about their business at the technical level that they work with every day. It’s also a way to “prove” that they know what they’re talking about The problem is that customers rarely have that same level of technical knowledge and often “glaze over” when hearing such complexities. They also have their own businesses (or lives) that they want to improve. As a starting point when learning about a new product or service, they want to hear how it will affect THEIR life, not technical details.
Enter, a consultant, a partner, a firm that can learn a company’s story and function as a translator. They listen to all the details that make a product or company effective and convert them into a message that their customers will notice, understand, and value. This is what graphic marketing can, and should do.
“notice, understand, and value.” These are three distinct parts of what effective graphic marketing delivers. Depending on what a business has to offer, the emphasis on each of these three things may vary. A commodity product might need more emphasis on being noticed. A complex and technical product might need more emphasis on being understood. And a luxury product might benefit from marketing that focuses on its quality and value. Effective branding and marketing for every company and product has its own special mix of these three things.
Three of the most important questions that I frequently ask new clients are 1) Describe your target audience. 2) How are you different from and better than your competition? and 3) How do you want to be perceived? The answers to these, along with the additional information that is learned through the initial discovery process help to direct the graphic marketing process and the individual approach. Sometimes the correct answer is loud, sometimes it’s soft. Sometimes the branding for a client should reference a historical field, sometimes it should be contemporary and technical. But in the end, the correct branding of a company or product should be specific to them and their target audience. It should “invite” a potential customer to come in and learn more starting with their level of understanding, and how their needs will be met. Once this is done, there is plenty of time to further explain the details and the technical advantages of a product. But initially, knowing the target audience, and starting the conversation at their knowledge level is the most effective marketing approach.
Two of my favorite things (aside from design) are glass (having taken a couple semesters of glassblowing in college) and early aviation (the process of thinking through the early challenges of flight fascinates me. I am in aw of, and admire those early pioneers that first learned to break the bonds of gravity). These two things, along with the desire to take a little time off, and the appreciation of the beauty of the New York Finger Lakes area (the wineries aren’t bad either) resulted in a long weekend in Corning New York. By itself, Corning is a cute little town with a main street of restaurants and little stores. But the Corning Museum of Glass is a must-see for anyone remotely interested in glass as an artistic and technological medium. On the aviation side of things, a smaller and less-known museum is the Glenn H Curtiss Museum in Hammondsport, NY. If the Wright brothers were the first in flight, Glenn H. Curtiss was the best. Born in 1878, he became a renowned bicycle racer, moved into motorcycle design and production. Shortly following the Wright Brother’s flight at Kitty Hawk, he taught himself how to build airplanes and built one of the largest aviation businesses in the early to mid-1900s, yet, he is not a well-known name in American or even aviation history.
Below is a link to some of my fine art work and some of my fathers paintings that can be purchased in different formats and on different items.
For 25 years after his retirement my father painted. After his passing he left more than 300 paintings. I am proud of him as an illustrator and designer, as a painter, and as a father. Below is a link to many of his paintings.
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.
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1600 Lower State Rd.
Doylestown, PA 18901