Like most New Orleanians, we here at Design the Planet are big fans of George Rodrigue’s eye-catching work. Renowned for the illustrious blue dog that pops up in the majority of his paintings, George created an unusual niche for himself in the world of art. He has continued to build on that reputation through consistently creating out-of-the-box artwork that dazzles the eye with innovation and ingenuity.
When the man behind the Big Easy legend selected Design the Planet to develop his new website, we must admit, we were a bit starstruck. We set out to create a strategic design that presents the history and works of George Rodrigue to his target audience in a way that highlights his significant artistic legacy, while simultaneously increasing his work’s demand and value.
The end result is a compelling, contemporary, and mobile-friendly showstopper that encourages viewers to stop and stay awhile. The website draws you in with a highly interactive timeline, easy access to George’s vast world of social media, and vivid images of George’s work that really pop.
When Ascension Parish, a Louisiana parish made up of the towns of Gonzales, Donaldsonville, and Sorrento, approached us to help with their rebranding efforts, we were excited to work with such a culturally and historically rich brand. The parish is a literal gumbo of all the cultures unique to South Louisiana, and they boast some of the most interesting and authentic events around, from the annual Jambalaya Festival to the infamous Cajun tunes featured at the Swamp Pop Music festival. They even host the annual Louisiana Hot Air Balloon Festival!
This idyllic small town setting is jam-packed with convenient opportunities to take in some of the South’s greatest history, culture, fabulous cuisine, festivals, and fun. There is SO much to do in Ascension Parish that it is challenging to communicate all of the attractions they offer in a way that’s easy for the visitor to digest, so Design the Planet’s job was to create an updated brand look-and-feel that showcases and conveys who Ascension Parish really is, and to communicate that to their brand audience in a way that is accurate, aesthetically pleasing, and packaged in a way that is easy to navigate and understand.
For starters, we worked on clearly defining the Ascension Parish Tourism Commission brand by first creating a catchy, attention-grabbing new identifier (Tour Ascension), then creating an updated brand statement positioning statement that detailed all of the differentiating attributes of the Parish and refined how to best present those features to their brand audience. We developed a new tagline and surrounding theme for their brand identity that set the stage for the rest of the re-brand: Get Connected to Ascension Parish. Then, we created a new logo with a vintage, artistic feel that pays homage to Ascension Parish’s rich cultural history and dedication to the arts, but is also fresh and exciting in order to attract new visitors and make people want to join in on the fun. Following that, we took that feeling and incorporated it throughout a mobile-friendly new website that is designed to update, organize and present all of the features and attractions in a way that builds awareness for the Ascension Parish Tourism Commission and sets them apart as a leader in economic development within the Parish. The highly detailed yet accessible website allows potential visitors of all backgrounds and ages to truly CONNECT to Ascension Parish, and discover for themselves why it is the perfect destination for whatever their heart desires.
As we round out the remainder of their brand marketing materials with the new brand look-and-feel firmly instated, we are thrilled with the positive feedback and media attention that Ascension’s revamped image is receiving. Get connected to Ascension, and see the transformation with your own eyes: http://tourascension.com/.
We’re increasingly moving away from written word to video – a large majority of youtube comprises of informative videos, ranging from baking how tos to philosophy 101. It only makes sense that unpleasant experiences, i.e. deciphering your bills, are being converted into enjoyable visual experiences.
AT&T has begun emailing a personalized video explaining their bills to customers in North America. Having witnessed one of my own, I left the three minute experience feeling less confusion about various charges, taking out the need to call support for explanations. (No, this is not mine and I’m not Bryan.)
I see this as a bright new direction for plenty of the paperwork we loathe. Now there are some things I would much prefer to read – if its an enjoyable article or book, or a technical tutorial, I’d like to take my time with it. But I’d love a personalized tax return video guide, complete with flowing motion graphics and bouncy colors, sans customer service rep.
When our clients make the decision to embark on a much-needed update to their brand (whether it is refreshing their website, logo, or some other marketing material) they are initially PSYCHED- they are always up for meetings, constantly emailing us over ideas, and breathlessly awaiting the first samples of their re-imagined product. That high energy is usually present for the first few weeks of conceptualization, but alas, sometimes life gets in the way. As the project continues to progress, clients get busy and caught up in the day-to-day responsibilities of their jobs, and working on their own identity gets pushed off to the back burner, which can put us in a tough spot.
As a marketing firm that has to make a concerted effort to pay attention to our own brand in the wake of taking care of those of our clients, we fully understand the real difficulty of making the time to give your own business some TLC. That is why such a large part of our job entails being vigilant in following up with our clients, reminding them about deadlines, and creating a clear, consistent line of communication in order to keep the project at hand top of mind and moving forward. However, this part of our jobs can also become the most challenging when a well-meaning client continues to put the project off for another day.
The major problem with pushing branding efforts back is the fact that continual delays often negatively affect the final product. It’s a chain reaction- the longer you put off making decisions regarding your rebranding, the farther removed you are from your initial vision. That disengagement clouds and confuses the client’s focus, causing them to be all over the place in their change requests, which eats into the budget and takes the design into uncharted territory that looks less and less like what was initially discussed. At this point, we must regroup with the client and work to lead them back to the beginning, which can cost a lot of unnecessary time and money.
Obviously, what is being described is the worst-case scenario in a rebranding, and is not the norm. It is, however, the most challenging problem we face in our business, because it is something that can easily happen when a client gets extremely busy, and it can dig a hole that becomes more and more difficult to get out of. Keep this in mind when you make the decision to update your brand, and always prioritize yourself; your brand is your identity, and that is too important to compromise!
Today, we live in the age of the e-blast- fast and economical, this convenient means of getting your message across is a popular trend that most companies employ to send out news, updates, product launches, and daily deals.
However, e-blasting can be a double-edged sword, as its chief benefit can also be its greatest downfall: accessibility. Email is by and large the most common form of corporate communication, and has even replaced phone calls as the most popular medium among business professionals. However, although email is the preferred form of communication for most in our busy world, it is oftentimes not the most effective.
Even though people are constantly checking and replying to their email, the process is normally rushed and fleeting. In the fast-paced corporate environment, people usually don’t take the time to truly digest and think about the content of an email when there are dozens more behind it that still need their attention.
This is where the mailed newsletter comes in. Contrary to popular belief, snail mail is not dead. Despite people’s propensity towards email, an overwhelming amount of research has found that communication by mail makes a more positive and lasting impact. Why? Because it shows more EFFORT and it is more PERSONAL.
If your company is sending out anything to do with your own brand, we strongly suggest that you consider sending it as a mailed newsletter. A great tool in creating more personality within your company that clients can connect with is picking a specific time of year that you identify with and sending out a company newsletter surrounding that date.
For instance, Design the Planet is heavily influenced by our green, environmentally conscious values, so we chose Earth Day as our special adopted holiday. We further shape our personality and build upon our brand identity in our client’s minds by choosing this holiday and theme for our yearly Planetary Update, in which we share with our friends and colleagues what’s new around our Planet.
What day, event, or time of year do you identify with? Build it into your newsletter, and build a better connection with your clients.
Posted by Shaun LeSheep on April 5, 2013 @ 12:47 pm
International Mother Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 each year. This official name was determined by the United Nations in 2009. However the first earth day was celebrated in 1970. The extent of its growth and the fact that it is now celebrated around the world gives us all hope that one day we will indeed turn the tide and save our planet.
Ted Turner, CNN founder, spoke this morning on the news of his own goals and efforts to “save the planet.” His efforts far exceed our own, but we consider ourselves a “green” company and are proud of the small contributions we are able to make by reusing, recycling and rejuvenating.
Here are a couple of games that we’ve put together for your Earth Day enjoyment; just click the link for a printable version!
Here at Design the Planet, we are in the business of making people FEEL what their eyes are seeing. One of our personal goals is that our work truly connects with the viewer. We were thrilled when Mignon Faget reached out to us to redesign their website, along with a special section called Mignon’s Journal. This portion of the website is a timeline of the personal events and landmark jewelry collections that have built this formidable lady’s legend.
In order to capture Mignon’s objects of adornment and fabulous lifestyle in motion, we chose to employ an interesting, highly visual programming innovation called scrolling parallax effect. The technique uses multiple background images moving at different synchronized speeds that speed up as the user scrolls down, creating a unique 3D-type effect. The result is a gorgeous, seamless experience that draws you straight into the glamorous world of the one and only Mignon Faget.
Does your plate of food look appetizing in one room, but not another? It is because color has a strong affect on our appetites, whether it is the color of the room or the color of the food itself.
The least appetizing colors are cool colors like blue and purple. These are actually appetite suppressants. This could be because apart from blueberries, gooseberries and eggplants, there are very few foods that are naturally blue or purple in color.
The most appetizing colors are warm colors like red, orange, and yellow. These colors are known to stimulate the appetite because they are associated with feelings of happiness and excitement. Restaurants are savvy about using these colors to increase profits and turning over tables faster.
Erik presenting Your Nutrition Delivered to the panel of judges
We are extremely excited and proud to announce that one of our beloved client’s, Erik Frank of Your Nutrition Delivered, was the recipient of the $50,000 grand prize at The Big Idea contest put on by The Idea Village as part of New Orleans Entrepreneur Week.
Erik Frank, owner of Your Nutrition Delivered, is a physical trainer and certified nutritionist. He and his team of chefs enable healthy lifestyles by delivering fresh, convenient, and delicious meals to their clients. We love his passion and determination, and we have enjoyed every minute of helping Frank develop his website and promotional items as his company has grown.
Last Friday, Frank was one of the three finalists chosen to deliver a 3-minute pitch to an all-star panelist of judges, including political strategist Mary Matalin, billionare investor Jim Coulter, and former Saints quarterback Archie Manning. Holding up a frozen dinner, Frank proclaimed that, “this is not healthy, this is not natural, and no doctor would ever recommend that their clients eat it.”
Judges were so impressed by both Frank’s pitch and that of another entrepreneur, New Orleans teacher Lorenzo Castillo, that they quickly came up with another $50,000 in donations to award both contestants the $50,000 grand prize.
It has been so rewarding to watch our hardworking client and his deserving business prosper and grow. We wish him our most heartfelt CONGRATULATIONS, and we look forward to continue working with him to help achieve his goals!
When it comes time for a company to rebrand, there are some very important choices to consider. The biggest question is, of course, what’s not working about the old brand? And how do you answer that question? If we take a history lesson, it might be as easy as comparing oranges to, well, oranges.
Minute Maid overhauled their slightly dated look in 2009. All the best changes were made, adjusting awkward scaling, addressing slightly dated type, updating graphics, and adding a few nice features but keeping the main elements that consumers have come to know and trust.
Around the same time, Tropicana went through a rebranding. Yikes. Minimalism is great, but this is starting to get a little Walmart-esque. Consumers had really connected with the illustrative orange, and felt this bland brand didn’t reflect Tropicana’s corporate feel. Even on a functional level, it was hard for the average shopper to differentiate between Tropicana and other brands. Enough consumers had written the company that the rebrand was being taken off the shelves a little over a month after it was released (though we must admit, we do like the fun orange-shaped cap).
We keep these sort of things in mind when rebranding for our clients. We recently overhauled the website for Laura’s Candies, after helping them through a rebrand some time ago. Laura’s is an iconic New Orleans brand, so while updating it we kept some basic forms in mind, like the script and the colors, but smoothed out details and modernized forms. The website harks back to vintage-feeling packaging:
Don’t get me wrong – we LOVE to totally revamp when necessary. Keep an eye out, some of our long-time brands are getting freshened up as we speak!