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munchkin. Advertising Design for munchkin and Babies ‘R’ Us. Promo materials

The Background Munchkin is a manufacturer of baby products including pacifiers, potties, cups and bottles sold through retail stores such as Toys ‘R’ Us and Babies ‘R’ Us. In March 2014, Munchkin launched the Latch feeding bottle specially designed to mimic breastfeeding. Unsurprising for such a large company, Munchkin has an in house graphic design department but needed the assistance of an external graphic design company for a rapid turnaround time on a new advert.  They approached New Design Group to create a branded advert in a very short time frame. The Solution New Design Group produced the advert, which was for a promotion between Munchkin and Babies ‘R’ Us.  The final design clearly maintained the brand identity of both companies, and was consistent with other branded materials used to promote the Munchkin Latch bottle. Munchkin were delighted with the result, with the professionalism of New Design Group and with the rapid turnaround time that they required. Date 2014 – ongoing Client Babies”R”Us Brand Munchkin Industry Children products Capability Digital ads...

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Brand Design For Colleges And Higher Education Establishments – Is It Important?

It might be easy to argue that the quality of the lecturers and the facilities on offer are the most important things to attract new students to a higher education establishment.  But if the college brand design is unmemorable, inappropriate or unprofessional, it will have a negative impact on the number of students impatient to enroll. Most students chose a place of higher education based on its reputation.  If they don’t know any former students, they can only judge the college based on what they see:  the website, the prospectus, exhibition stands at college fairs, and traditional adverts. All of these student-facing components must be built around a powerful brand: one which shows the college as providing a high quality level of education, having supportive staff, and offering exceptional facilities for both scholarly and relaxation activities.  And it must imply that the college is trustworthy and that its graduates go on to bigger and better things.  After all, college fees don’t come cheap and students, and their parents alike, want to be assured that the fees paid will help convert teenager Tom or Tabitha into highly employable Eric or Erica. When it comes to branding a college or higher education establishment, there are several key elements to be considered: 1. Core Values Every college needs its would-be students to understand what its core values are.  It must be seen as trustworthy and professional and able to provide the best quality education possible.  If it has been established for decades and prides itself on its old-fashioned teaching methods, the brand needs to explain this.  If it prides itself on keeping abreast of all new developments in its field, this must be apparent from its brand.  And of course, one of the core values of all colleges is to ensure that students have an enjoyable learning experience – so the brand must show students can also have fun whilst they learn. 2. Brand Differentiation Why should a student choose one college over another?  With many colleges offering the same courses, it’s important that the college brand explains why it is different to the rest. If it has taught some of the best known professional men and women in the world, this information needs to be prominent in the marketing material.  Colleges that offer exceptional recreational facilities such as a swimming pool and state-of-the-art gym should use this to entice new students to their doors.  And ingenious colleges, who offer all inclusive fees covering tuition and study books, should ensure that prospective students are aware of this. 3. Tone of Voice For colleges the tone of voice of the visuals and written content is a fine balancing act between sounding professional and knowledgeable, and not sounding too stuffy or unappealing to a teenager.  A professionally designed website or prospectus can blend the two together harmoniously:  informative text about the courses and accommodation available, coupled with images of students enjoying lectures, sports, team activities and socialising. A professional brand development company can create the most appropriate brand for a college looking to attract new students, taking into account the elements mentioned above.  With a strong appreciation of the importance of colour in advertising, they may recommend a blue colour palatte for long-established colleges who want to convey their longevity and trustworthiness.  For a...

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Red Bay Lodge. Rebranding

The Background Back in the day, Red Bay Lodge in the heart of the Bruce Peninsula, was known as a great location for people interested in activities such as fishing, hiking and cross country skiing. However the resort became jaded in recent years, until it was sold to a new owner. The Challenge In addition to a com1plete refurbishment of the resort, the new owner realised that the company needed to be rebranded. He approached New Design Group to create a new and modern brand identity which would communicate to potential guests that the resort was under new management. It also needed to transmit the resort’s brand promise – that of unmatched hospitality services and a range of accommodation ideally positioned for people wanting to enjoy activity breaks. Original Logo before Rebranding: The Solution New Design Group worked closely with the owner, who had great ideas on how best to refresh the visual brand identity. Logo at the heart of any brand, the logo must quickly convey what the company offers. The original Red Bay Lodge logo shows the company name and an image of a duck swimming. It appears very outdated and doesn’t reflect what the resort offers. New Design Group created a new resort logo design where the resort name is positioned between two branches and crowned with two boat paddles, suggesting the proximity of the resort to the great outdoors. The use of a dark wood background further reinforces the sense of being close to nature and that the lodge offers wood cabins for holidaymakers. Business card the logo in a rich, dark brown, on a simple white background is the basis of the company business card. Website as with any holiday resort, the website is fundamental to showcase the facilities to potential clients and to enable them to book online. The overall look of the resort web design is professional: it shows stunning images of scenery and activities, using earthy tones in keeping with the brand colour palette, the layout is simple and effective, and it is easy for the web visitor to navigate to find what they need. The online Reserve Your Vacation is clearly displayed on the homepage, enabling clients to check availability and prices of their chosen holiday. The standard rates are also clearly displayed on a separate page for ease of reference. As the local activities are important to the would-be visitor, a separate page was created to provide information on these. Modern icons were created for all activities from kayaking to skiing, and to maintain brand consistency, the figures are displayed on a light wood background. Other information is also provided for customers including information on the resort amenities and local attractions. And as with Ontarian regulations, the website is AODA compliant. Other branded items New Design Group also designed other items required by the resort, maintaining brand consistency throughout: branded staff uniforms, branded key cards, company stationery and branded door handle hangers. All in all, the Red Bay Lodge rebranding project resulted in a new, strong brand identity leaving the owner confident that he would attract new business to the modernised resort. Date 2014 Client Red Bay Lodge Resort Brand Red Bay Lodge. Industry Tourism & Destinations Scope Verbal Branding Brand Identity Design Brochure Design Website...

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What Should Your Manufacturing Company Logo Say About You?

It’s fair to say that a manufacturing company logo sits at the heart of the company’s visual brand identity.  Its colours dictate the colour palette used in the web design as well as in brochures, adverts, billboards and vehicle signage.  But the logo must do far more than set the colour scheme – it needs to say something very specific to the viewer. Customers have certain expectations when purchasing products from manufacturing companies: they expect the products to live up to their claims, to be reliable and outlast their guarantee; they expect the company to be trustworthy; and they expect the company to deliver the right product at the right time. A manufacturing company logo must persuade a potential client that the products and service will meet these expectations.  The biggest manufacturing companies in the world have no nonsense logos that are bold and  solid.  Try to think of a mega successful manufacturing company with a pastel coloured logo based on a delicate floral design, and you’ll be thinking for quite some time. So let’s look at some of the world’s most famous manufacturing company logos and see what they say about the company. Caterpillar Logo Known for designing and manufacturing heavy duty machinery such as knuckleboom loaders and road reclaimers, the brand identity is built around simple black and bright yellow.  In the past, the logo showed the company name, Caterpillar, in strong, bold capital letters suggesting reliability and strength.  A small yellow triangle was used to not only brighten the logo and attract more attention, but yellow suggests energy and enthusiasm – and so can impart the message that this company has the drive to get things done. As time has gone on the brand is so well known the company name is now simply known as CAT – and the logo has evolved to update this – a strong black, simple design with the eye catching yellow triangle. What does this logo say:  a reliable company which can manufacture machinery without fuss 3M Logo It may be easier to identify the products that 3M does not produce!  Formerly called the Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, this American company  produces more than 55,000 products including electronics, medical devices, dental products, adhesives, car-care products and many, many more. The bright red of the 3M logo signifies determination and passion, and this company has obviously been very driven from its very beginning to get where it is today.  The wordmark logo could not be simpler – both in design and in the fact that the company name is the only thing to be seen. What does this logo say: a bold company which is not afraid to stand out from the crowd and to lead the way Intel Logo Synonymous with the ‘Intel Inside’ tagline shown on many computers, Intel is an American multinational corporation know for producing the essential microprocessors that most personal computers rely on.  Not content with this accolade, Intel also researches electrical transmission and generation, and is continually updating its microprocessors. The Intel logo is a simple wordmark, showcasing the company name.  The reassuring gentle blue is associated with calmness, trust and power.  But unlike the geometric lines shown in the Caterpillar logo, the Intel logo shows the company name encapsulated within a broken oval....

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PSP Fabricating Inc. Solar blankets, Spa covers, Safety Covers. Rebranding. Brand identity and website design.

The Background PSP Fabricating Inc. is a leading manufacturer of safety covers, hot tub covers and solar blankets. Having been in business since 1998, the company had experienced consistent growth, and as a result its branding identity had become outdated. The Challenge New Design Group was retained by the Client to reinvigorate their brand identity, by developing an image consistent with the rapid growth and exceptional quality that are the hallmarks of the company and its products. Of particular importance was the concern that the new identity represent an evolution of the existing one, not an abrupt break from it. Elements included the development of: a new logo letterhead & business cards website vehicle graphics brochure print advertising outdoor advertising transit board door hanger The Solution New Design Group transformed the static two-dimensional presentation of the existing logo into a vibrant three-dimensional treatment, while incorporating colours and graphics that resonated with the previous version. This approach symbolizes the dynamic energy and forward-looking philosophy that infuses everything PSP Fabricating Inc. does. This visual template was then applied to the various communications elements, creating an integrated powerhouse identity that inspires and motivates consumers and the trade alike. Before Solution After Date 2014 Client PSP Fabricating Inc. Brand PSP Fabricating Inc. Industry Manufacturing Scope Verbal branding Brand Identity Design Presentation Folder and Inserts Design Website...

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CCV. Insurance company brand identity design and web site design. Case Study

CCV Insurance & Financial is one of the largest independently owned insurance brokers in Ontario serving clients for over 40 years. Products and services are supported by a team of insurance professionals with extensive training and expertise dedicated solely to you – our clients. http://www.ccvinsurance.com Old website: Sketches/Working process: New: Dropdown menu: Date 2015 Client CCV Insurance Inc. Brand CCV Insurance and Financial Industry Insurance and Financial Project scope Website Design Search Engine Optimization Audit Search Engine Competition...

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Content Marketing: Hot Trends versus Evergreen – What’s best to wow your clients?

Let’s face it – when we create content to promote our business we secretly want it to go viral.  We all want to be the new big thing on YouTube or Facebook and for millions across the world to be amazed and captivated by what we have to say – and to go on and share it unreservedly with millions of their friends. But on the other hand we don’t want our content to be a flash in the pan.  Whilst it would be great to be an overnight phenomenon on account of our witty ad, hilarious video or hard hitting blog, we don’t want our content to be forgotten after a week. So it is best to follow the new top trends or to always aspire to evergreen content? Hot Trends Hot trends range from newsjacking to all manner of content that resonates with different sections of today’s internet users: – Newsjacking – If you want to newsjack, you have to have you wits about you and get on the publicity band wagon as quickly as possible.  Find a news story of great national or global interest and relate it to your own product or services to create content that blends the two. If you want some inspirational examples, check out how big brand Oreo and the more modestly known Radiological Society of North America piggybacked on the 2013 Super Bowl power outage to create some newsjacking content that most of us can only aspire to. – Hyperbolic headlines – There are plenty of businesses nowadays who are opting for teaser headlines which are so punchy that most readers can’t resist clicking through to find the answer to the question they never even raised. Here’s a couple of examples: A Giraffe starts pacing in her pen.  What happens next? Bystanders are in Awe. (www.sfglobe.com) A Young Disabled Woman Made This. 20 Seconds In, I’m Totally Impressed.  And By The End, Blown Away. (www.upworthy.com)  – Celebrity Endorsements – the Epic Split featuring Claude Van Damme video has more than 75 million views on YouTube and counting.  If Volvo had posted a technical video about their Volvo Dynamic Steering which creates highly precise steering it would never have had the same impact and certainly would never have gone viral. Whilst following Hot Trends won’t always make content go viral, at least it gives your content more than a passing chance. But of course the actual content itself has to be worthy of a million hits.  Studies have shown that viral content always evokes a strong response, either positive or negative and has an element of surprise.  So examples could be: a superlatively witty newsjacking item about a much talked about event a hyperbolic headline which not only tempts the reader to quench their thirst with the answer but rewards them with topical, witty or thought-provoking content seeing a famous person in an unexpected but entertaining situation – in today’s celebrity obsessed culture, not many can resist checking out what their favourite celeb is up to However how desirable is viral content and should we all be following the hottest trends to attain it? Newsjacking content will always have a very short lifespan by the very nature of the beast. It’s topical and has the potential to go viral for only...

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Home Page Sliders – Get off the Carousel

When a visitor lands on your website home page, it has its work cut out.  Within a few short seconds it must convey a clear message and persuade the visitor it offers precisely the information they are seeking. But are the sliders – the continually changing images at the top of the page – helping get your message across? Sliders, also known as a carousel, have been popular for a while.  But research has shown its time to ditch them completely! However nice they may look, they can seriously damage your conversion rates for all of the following reasons: 1. The Banner Blindness Phenomenon Sliders typically have a fundamental flaw – their size, position and the fact that they keep changing is far too reminiscent of a banner ad for many people.  And so they just ignore them – without even thinking about it.  As banner advertising has increased across the internet so has banner blindness – visitors simply ignore these often irritating interruptions as they focus on the main body of the website as they try to find the content they are looking for. 2. Low Click Through Rate Even if your visitors do take note of your sliders, the variety of messages that they are bombarded with may pose a conundrum – give a visitor a choice of calls to action and they are likely to take no action at all. Best case scenario is that they just see the first slider and click on that image, completely overlooking all other messages you are trying to impart. 3. Catch Them While You Can Keep the time delay between sliders too long and you visitors won’t even realise there are more images beyond the first one they see.  Speed things up and your reader may struggle to read and properly absorb the information before the slider widget merrily skips on to the next – let alone decide if they want to press that all important call to action button. 4. Challenges For Mobile Users The fact that more people now access the internet via a mobile device than a desktop computer renders sliders even more problematic – they just don’t work well on smaller gadgets.  The image size has to be reduced making any text or call to actions invisible to all but those who have a magnifying glass to hand.  And this is bound to irritate the viewer. 5. Loading Times Are All Too Slow Sites with a number of high resolution slider images may take a long time to load, a situation compounded when the user is on a mobile device using WiFi access.  As these users wait for the website to load, they will soon tire of the delay and will try to backtrack as fast as possible. 6. Sliders Hurt SEO A slow lead time will inevitably increase bounce rates.  And as bounce rates increase, Google will see your website as a poorer fit for organic search results – so you will be downgraded in the rankings list. There are also other aspects of sliders that will impact negatively on your SEO – text within the slider image is invisible to Google and you’ll have pesky duplicate H1 tags due to the slider widget, that you really don’t want to have. A Hero to...

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Liberal Ontario. Don Valley West PLA.

The Background The Don Valley West Provincial Liberal Association is a political association whose mandate is to represent the interests of all residents of Ontario and make the riding a better place to live and work in.  It aims to promote Liberal principles and also to improve communication between members, MPPs and the Ontario Liberal Party. A fundamental requirement of any political association is to attract more voters by getting its key messages out to the public effectively as possible.  Don Valley West Provincial Liberal Association hired New Design Group to redesign their website and to create a social media presence on Facebook. Before The Challenge A political party must have an attractive website which shows the organisation as professional and organised, and sells its key messages and promises to the website visitor.  To engage with its voters, a strong presence on social media is also an important tool.  It allows the party to engage with its voters by providing regular updates about its behind-the-scenes work and to continually reinforce its objectives. New Design Group met with the association to review the existing website and to discuss the key messages that the party wanted to impart to its supporters and potential supporters alike via the website and its new Facebook page. The Solution Firstly New Design Group modified the party’s logo by balancing the size of the eye-catching capital ‘L’ and the words ‘Liberal Ontario’. This resulted in a scalable logo ie. one which would be readable and recognizable when used at a minimum size as well as when used on a large backdrop at a political rally. The website redesign focused on making a bigger and bolder banner section with a selection of colourful, eye-catching images featuring Kathleen Wynne MPP in various situations and overlaid with a large image of Kathleen.  And right in the middle of the top banner is a bold red clickable link entitled ‘Our Message’.  This design allows the website visitor to immediately see what activities the party are involved in, who is the person leading the party and the key message. This political party website redesign retained the grid layout seen in the original, but with a less cluttered visual appearance.  The inclusions of videos of Kathleen are also an important addition which allow the website visitor to feel they are getting to know the main person driving the party forward. To maintain brand consistency, the Facebook page was created with a composite banner image almost identical to that of the website redesign.  New Design Group now manage this page and with regular posts about Kathleen and the party’s activities, the Don Valley West Provincial Liberal Association has a professional and engaging Facebook page to keep its supporters up to date with all that it is doing. After Date 2014 Client Ontario Liberal Party Brand Don Valley West Provincial Liberal Association Industry Political Capability...

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3 Top Tips For Insurance Company Web Designs That Sell Policies

Unsurprisingly a well constructed insurance company website which allows users to find accurate policy information, to quickly obtain a quote and to manage their policies with ease, will win more online business than a website which fails in some or all of these respects. So it’s interesting that a 2013 study by J.D. Power found many big insurance names weren’t living up to clients’ expectations when it came to website performance. J.D. Power’s Insurance Website Evaluation Study reviewed clients’ online experience with regard to the ease of: finding policy information getting information about applicable discounts getting a personalised quote managing their policy online Unfortunately customers reported a degree of difficulty in completing all of these tasks.  And particularly interesting (at least it should be to all insurance companies!) was the fact that clients were more likely to buy a more expensive policy from an easy-to-use website, than buy a cheaper version from a confusing website that left them feeling frustrated. Insurance companies who want to sell more policies online and keep existing clients happy need to think carefully about their web design: a redesign and addition of new functionalities may well be in order if they don’t want to lose out on business. Here are our 3 top tips for insurance company web design that will sell more policies and help the company remain competitive online. Website Navigation Potential clients don’t want to have to navigate through a myriad of pages to find what they need.  Insurance policy information must be simply accessible from the home page and the information must be laid out so it’s an easy read in language that is clear and limited in its use of legal jargon.  Any discounts applicable to each policy should also be found with a single click of the mouse. Website Quote If a company wants to sell its policies, it must provide clients with a no fuss quote – and quickly.  People won’t hand around waiting for pages to load – they’ll simply bail out and head to a website which has a sleek and rapidly functioning quote calculator. Of course it may be that the CEOs are quaking in their boots at the thought of their website churning out inaccurate automated quotes – but what clients want, clients must get if they are to part with their money! A good, user-friendly website quote function must: request only the bare minimum of data which must be easy to input. Pages and pages of unnecessary questions are a no-no since they will simply irritate the user.  A great way to achieve this is by developing a prefilled form functionality on the website – the user inputs a key piece of information, such as a driver’s licence number, and the related information is automatically imported into the form. provide the calculated quote swiftly. present the quote clearly to the client identifying if any discounts have been applied. Customer Ease Of Use In the aforementioned study, users were asked how easy it was to manage their existing policies online. Whilst paying bills proved simple, it became more tricky to modify an insurance policy or request a replacement ID card. Cynics could conclude that insurance companies are more focused on getting the money in, rather than making their clients’ lives easier. Companies who...

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