Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Let It Go

Fast Company recently posted on their design website about letterpress printing with Lego bricks.  A local shop, the Western New York Books Arts Center has been known to print with objects and then add handset letters on top to create some unique print pieces. This is the first time I have lego bricks appropriated for another use besides stacking.

The prints in this article have a strange old 8-bit sensibility to it and the guys doing this, Physical Friction, note they are inspired by old video games. I really like the results the legos produce when printed.

Read the article on the Fast Co. design  old website, here.  This project was recently profiled on NPR as well.

Friday, December 24, 2010

All The Young Dudes

This year's holiday season will again include a post-xmas gathering of Clash fans and punk rockers alike at Buffalo, New York's Mohawk Place for the 9th Annual Joe Strummer Tribute night.  Commemorating the anniversary of the death of one of rock's greatest icons (and a personal hero of mine)- the late, great Joe Strummer- many of Buffalo's finest musicians will be playing Clash & Strummer and inspired sets.  Again I will be DJing sets of punk rock, ska, rock steady, dub & reggae music between bands.  It is a lot of fun and not too be missed. Lip up fatty!!!

We design the annual poster for this event here at OtherWisz headquarters. This year's poster has proven to be a popular one as they are disappearing off light posts, coffee shop windows and the walls of rock clubs around town.  Keeping it punk, with some distressed graphics, a bit-mapped Joe and a red and black color scheme, the poster is the ninth in a series of OtherWisz Creative reinterpreting the same theme.

Proceeds from the event again go to benefit Strummerville.  This charity started in the wake of Joe's untimely death helps young bands in England keep it going. Check out their website to find out more about these guys.

The event takes place Sunday, the 26th of December at Buffalo's famed Mohawk Place. DJ music starts around 8:00 PM or so with the first of several bands starting at 9PM-ish.

Here is a link to all nine Strummer posters for the Buffalo event.


Here is a great piece published on Mashable highlighting the Top Ten Digital Marketing Trends of 2010.  As the internet continues to speed up everyday life, including the way advertisers interact with the public, it will be interesting to see how active these trends are by the end of 2011.

Written by Todd Wasserman, the article's highlights include:

Bar Code Scanning- By using your smart phone to scan an in-ad bar code to get more info online, this has taken the place of simply listing a website URL in an ad. This is also interesting because you are letting people decide themselves if they want to dig deeper- and then tracking their activity. Instant stats!

Location-Based Advertising- By checking in at a specific location to get a deal, everyone knows where you are at all times.  Skeptics think this level of transparency may be taking it too far by letting some people know when you are not at home.  Just pray none of your Facebook 'friends' are prone to burglary.

iAds- ads, ads, everywhere, popping when you least expect... even on your smart phone, Ipad, etc. Are we expecting to be inundated all the time now with ads everywhere we turn? Are people starting to ignore the messages advertisers are force-feeding them?

Group Buying- Groupons has taken a lot of flack, but it seems to be working as thousands of people save at the same time.

Personalized Video-
Technology has allowed the user to get involved now as your name and image and location can be included in video messages.

Technology has allowed advertisers to engage people at every turn.  Like I noted above, there is a point where the viewer will ignore the message as they commonly do with paid search engine listings.  The trick for us marketers is to uniquely engage them so they will still care.

Read the full article online here to see all the trends in online marketing of 2010...

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Eat To The Beat

One of our favorite start up clients here at OtherWisz Creative is Cater Tots.  Curtis Knight started his own company while still working three other jobs- no kidding.  Cater Tots caters freshly prepared, healthy food to daycares in Western New York. Recently profiled in Buffalo's Business First newspaper as a 'Rising Star," they just scored a large contract with the local YMCAs. Way to go Curtis. Read the article online here, link me! Unfortunately, you have to be a subscriber to Biz1st to get to the full article which is ridiculous. Even the New York Times posts for free. 

The backstory: OtherWisz Creative met with Curtis about 2 years ago when he asked us to help develop his brand for this new start-up idea he had.  He found us online after searching for 'graphic design, buffalo, ny' on Google. He wanted OtheWisz to come up with a logo to start him off on the right foot. Within the first few weeks of starting this project we got a frantic call from the client asking that we hold because he needed to change his name!  The company's first choice of a name was already taken. Yikes! We all regrouped and began to work with the new name, Cater Tots.  OW went on to create the logo and brand based on the combination of healthy foods and happy kids.  Bright colors and playful typefaces make this logo fun, bright, safe and accessible.

The project continued with business cards and a simple website to get him out there-- he was off and running. The following summer-- for an upcoming trade show-- we created a table runner, line cards and then eventually, brochures. The company used these marketing materials to send out letters of introduction helping to land new clients early this year.  Cater Tots is a good example of money spent right on marketing materials and the success that can come from having a professional, well designed brand image accompanying his sound business practices and outstanding customer service.

Congratulations to another successful OtherWisz Creative client-Curtis Knight and Cater Tots!

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Mob Rules- Back in Black

I just read a great piece on The Design Observer about the famed Black Rule- a tried and true graphic element.  Working with the grid-- used to organize and balance layouts-- the back rule grounds a design and is great for hanging a title.  Really coming to prominence during Massimo Vignelli's 1966 branding of the NY City Subway system, the black rule has been relied upon by designers since.

A quote from the article:
"Another thing about The Black Rule is that it is democratic: though its formality emanates from the power of Black, and its authority emanates from its connection to the grid, it sits just as happily on a piece of non-profit newsprint, or matte-coated paper, or powder-coated steel, or 100 percent rag stationery. No snobbery connects to The Black Rule."
Unfortunately, often copied, the black rule has been known be abused and used simply to fill space. But as a powerful design element, it has seemed to stand the test of time-- it even guest started in the Helevetica movie! Re-watch the movie it and see for yourself. The black rule rules!

Read the piece here- reposted for serious design geeks only- linked it.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Colors! Colors! Colors!

Pantone announces the 2011 Color of The Year and it's pink.  Not quite sure how I feel about this one, probably won't have any chance to use this in 2011... but, hey! ya never know. Apparently PINK is hot for 2011!

The 2011 pink is called 'Honeysuckle" and is number 18-2120 from the new numbering system (the closest match to the standard Pantone colors is 205 U). "A dynamic reddish pink," as they describe it, can be used for wedding invites, house paint, clothing and.... well, that is probably about it.  I think last year's color-- Pantone 15-5519 Turquoise-- had more practical uses, but they have experts working on this, I suppose...  It seems like a lot of hype (you can download the press release for this announcement on the Pantone site) but they need to have something to say every year to keep there products valid to designers.

The Pantone site describes next year's pink as:
"A Color for All Seasons
Courageous. Confident. Vital. A brave new color, for a brave new world. Let the bold spirit of Honeysuckle infuse you, lift you and carry you through the year. It’s a color for every day – with nothing “everyday” about it. Honeysuckle emboldens us to face everyday troubles with verve and vigor. A dynamic reddish pink, Honeysuckle is encouraging and uplifting. It elevates our psyche beyond escape, instilling the confidence, courage and spirit to meet the exhaustive challenges that have become part of everyday life."
So, hey kids, go PINK in 2011!!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Reach Up

Secrets to Success: 2011's Marketing Trends
This article originally appeared on the OtherWisz Creative enewsletter, Wisz Words

This year, your business can stand out by keeping up-to-date with the latest trends in marketing. Social marketing matures in 2011 as businesses continue to value and respond to consumers feedback. People are online talking about the brands they like and dislike — and their friends are listening. Your business needs to take notice and be aware of what your customers are saying. Here are a few of the ways you can stay ahead of the conversation, and competition, this upcoming year.

Social Media Grows Up
With easy-to-target demographics of social media, you can put your products and services in front of people that have already expressed an interest in what you are selling. For example: ads posted on the popular social networking site, Facebook, can be targeted to consumers by geography, age, gender, and personal interests. You can cast as wide or as narrow of a net as you like and receive measurable results almost instantaneously by tracking ad views and click-through rates to your website. When you consider the value of reporting tools and targeted focusing, social media is an affordable, viable marketing and sales tool that you can take advantage of.

Mobile Will Continue To Grow
With the proliferation of smart phones — experts predict over 500 million will be in use by the end of 2011 — consumers are now accessing information once obtained through their computers right in the palm of their hands. Mobile versions of websites and phone apps give your audience what they need, when they need it, wherever they are. A smaller, compact version of your company website can be a useful tool and might be a marketing priority in 2011. Custom apps offer unique opportunities to build brand enthusiasm within your target audience.

Transparency: If They Love You, They Will Tell You
Consumers are involved in the development of company brands like never before. Blogs, Tweets and Facebook friends can make or break a new product, as users share their opinions with anyone willing to listen. This new, stronger consumer voice develops the brand quickly — and it would be careless not join the conversation. You have the opportunity to connect with your audience: instantaneously if you like.  The medium gives you an opportunity to interact directly with your customer: opening your company policies and procedures to customer scrutiny, by answering questions and responding to suggestions and resolving complaints. Company transparancy, coupled with swift feedback and response demonstrates to your customer that you care about what people are saying. Social media is a powerful tool that can be used to hone your message, build loyal relationships and define brand identity.

Content Is Still King
People want to scan through search engine results and find what they are looking for as quickly as possible. Flash and fluff can interfere with your search engine ranking, while websites populated with useful information about your product and services rise to the top. Keep your website current by offering your audience something to keep them engaged — latest company news, industry trends, tips and tutorials, new product announcements — and they will keep coming back. (Another example of brand loyalty.)

Print Is Not Dead: Offline And Online Marketing Go Hand In Hand
One thing never changes: a successful brand message is a combination of multiple forms of media presented both online and in print. While many businesses will see a continual increase in their online marketing budget, keeping a foot in traditional marketing methods is still the key to online success. Print is not dead. Your website is the means for potential customers to learn about your company, serving to represent your company when you aren’t there. Just because you have a website, doesn’t mean customers are going to find you. To drive customers to your site, all of your printed marketing collateral should have your website address listed. Your website and printed material should compliment each other with visual and verbal continuity. The right formula to building a strong brand identity: put your message where your audience can find it, keep it steady, strong, and make it memorable.

As trends in marketing change from year to year, your company needs to stay one step ahead to be successful. Let the experts at OtherWisz Creative keep you on top in 2011 and for years to come.

Join our growing list of subscribers! Sign up for the Wisz Words Email Newsletter to get these tips and trends delvered to your email box as well as features on the newest OtherWisz Creative projects. Email us here-

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Take My Hand

29 Rules for young designers to live by was developed by Troy, NY designer Doug Bartow.  Mentioned in today's edition of the HOW Blog, this poster has quite a few philosophies that us old-guy designers preach constantly. With a nice balance of design and content, this should be on all our young-designers Xmas list.

A few of my fav that I preach constantly are: 'Say No to Spec Work', 'Don't Fear Type' and 'Content is Still King'.  Here is the complete list from the poster, thanks Doug:
01. Sweat
02. Play Nice
03. Don't Fear Type
04. Define Your Audience
05. Br Yourself
06. Learn to Say No
07. Collect & Share
08. Be a Design Author
09. Build Your Book
10. Clan Up Your Act
11. Re:Search
12. Observe Trends
13. Defend Yourself
14. Paper Matters
15. Content is Still King
16. Reject Personal Style
17. Say No to Spec Work
18. Become Indispensable
19. Join AIGA
20. Build
21. Seek Criticism
22. Never Compromise
23. Know Your History
24. Value Your Work
25. Make Mistakes
26. Keep a Sketchbook
27. Your MAC is a Tool
28. Respect
29. Teach Others

 The only think I must note that this poster is getting printed on a 100% recycled paper, Mohawk Loop. We are currently using this same paper for a book cover and it has been a nightmare to print on.  It is so soft, being 100% recycled, that the bits of the paper have lifted off on press, leaving un-printed areas. I look forward to seeing this in it's final printed state.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Heavenward Grand Prix

BVTC new biz cards
OK kids, I have to apologize... I never meant to let the blog drop ('let the raga drop', yes, but not the blog....). I don't want you all to think I don't care, I do. We just have been very busy. This might have been the busiest final quarter to a year yet.

I have some things to post- some project stories, some old time graphic design flashbacks, some end of year lists- and I will get to them. I promise you kids, there will be some things for you to enjoy this December. So hang in there.

>> To see what we have been up to, go to the OtherWisz Creative website to have a peak.

>> We did get some national press for the Sabres 40th Anniversary Display we created with the Buffalo Hockey Experience + Museum in the November issue of the Graphic Design USA enewsletter. See the screenshot below.

Monday, October 4, 2010

I Shot The Serif

A project we recently worked on (that was not hockey-related) were these marketing materials for Independent Nursing Care's 2010 Flu Immunizations clinics.  Every year this client of ours spends the last few months administering flu shots to the general public and corporate clients at various locations throughout the East Coast.

To help boost awareness of the flu shot clinics, we worked with the team at INC to come up with the "GET SHOT" logo that appeared on posters, buttons, stickers and hand-out flyers.  The same brand has appeared on the INC website as well as in radio commercials and web banners.

The OtherWisz team took the phase supplied by the client and developed it into the logo seen above.  We used a soothing color scheme that matched the existing INC brand and we softened the phrase "GOT SHOT" by substituting the "T" in "SHOT" for a syringe illustration created in-house.  The logo is used on buttons worn by the trained nurses administering the shots and on stickers for the people getting shots, hence the "GET SHOT' vs. the "I GOT SHOT."

Using a stock image of a nurse (used on other INC collateral and the website) we created a compelling visual to further soften the idea of getting immunized.  If you are like me, I hate to get shots. The nurse appears on the customizable posters, hand-out flyers, the INC website and web banner.

Designed in a 'mad rush' 2-week period, the final project included coordinating the printing of the pieces from different vendors that all had to be delivered the last few days prior to the start of the flu shot campaign.  So with several edits from the client, who was mostly out of the office preparing for the clinics, we got our mad rush excitement! But if you are like me (I work better under pressure) and thrive on meeting the deadlines! 

In the end, the OtherWisz team delivered, the client was happy and many Western New York's proclaimed, that they "GOT SHOT' by a trained INC nurse this flu season.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Escape is at Hand For The Traveling Man

A grueling full day of non-stop action has resulted in completed display cases. Yeah! 

Wednesday was the final install day and the Buffalo Sabres 40th Anniversary Exhibit (see info below) is complete.  The Buffalo Hockey Experience + Museum collection is mounted, hung, labeled in 2 custom-designed display cases at HSBC Arena.  

They can be viewed during any event, hockey game or at the many open Sabres practice. Watching the glass guys finally drop in the panes was quite a relief.  It looks good, check it out.  More info about this experience will come down the road, for now, enjoy these snapshots.

Case 1- full!
Case 2- the view from coming up the west side escalator.
1975 Playoffs tickets, programs, buttons, etc.

The completed 500 Puck Stack!
Aud section in Case 2.

Crozier area of Case 1.

Dave Andreychuk skates.
Christie drawer displayed full of cool locker room gear.
French Connection gear.
J. putting in the final touches before glass drops.
Dr. Joe from the Buffalo Hockey Experience + Museum. Happy to be done.
Miller stuff. What is the "ER"?
"About the BHE+M" descriptive placard.

Peca Cup Finals gear with well-worn stick.
OW credit pucks in the bottom corner of both cases.

ALL ABOUT THE EXHIBIT: Come see the full exhibit commemorating 40 years of cool Buffalo Sabres hockey moments based on items from the Buffalo Hockey Experience + Museum's permanent collection. It all goes on display at HSBC Arena for the first pre-season Sabres game and will be up all season, 2nd floor, on either side of the big center bar overlooking the entrance.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Fire in the Hole

Today was the final prep day for tomorrow's installation of the Buffalo Sabres 40th Anniversary Exhibit (see info below).

The OtherWisz Creative rested this weekend and got back into it over the last few days. The rock band Nickelback was sound checking in the arena today and the noise was deafening, so it was really tough to hear or think straight. Hopefully it will be quiet tomorrow for the full install.

Tomorrow is 'the day'-- they drop the glass and we are offically done. I am sure there will be a few clean up things-- we have to finish the accompanying trophy cases, the Sabres need to install some wall graphics... but the main part will be done.

Here are a few snapshots from today.

Tough puck gluing day: they were sliding instead of sticking. We tried several glues and in the long run, I had to be less acrobatic with my puck stacking.

Jersey stand with placeholder marking.

Some of the completed descriptive signage.

ALL ABOUT THE EXHIBIT: Come see the full exhibit commemorating 40 years of cool Buffalo Sabres hockey moments based on items from the Buffalo Hockey Experience + Museum's permanent collection. It all goes on display at HSBC Arena for the first pre-season Sabres game and will be up all season, 2nd floor, on either side of the big center bar overlooking the entrance.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Walk The Line

Today was a full install test run for the Buffalo Sabres 40th Anniversary Exhibit (see info below). Details, details!!

The OtherWisz Creative team spent all day with the help of the good Dr. Joe, the owner of the Buffalo Hockey Museum + Experience putting everything in it's place. And then taking it out. We hung graphics on the walls; some unframed as of yet, some placeholder print-outs. We mounted all the tickets, programs and other cool hockey things. We had all the jerseys in place. We kept piling on pucks, building a mound of 500. We hung hockey sticks from the top of the cases with 25# fishing line.

But then we took it all apart.... as the case glass won't be ready to drop until next week Wednesday. But for a few hours, the final cases were (almost) all together, and they looked super. I am very proud of my team. Tonight is a night finally for some sleep. Our graphics guy is getting married in two days and we all need to recharge some.

We now have a few days to finish some graphics. All the ID tags and the Ticket/Buffalo (more on that later) should be done tomorrow (right, Phil?...) and velcro will be attached, so it is ready to mount next week. A few things need to be framed and some additional graphics need to be designed. More to come, in the meantime enjoy these snapshots from today... with captions!

Dan assembles the Perreault 500-Puck Milestone commemorative mound of pucks (the second of our puck-tastic feature, see the other here).

Close-up of the first-year team autographed stick crossing with commemorative Wilkenson sword (1970) over "graphic to come".

Case 1 Crozier stuff.

Ruff nameplate in the Frank Cristie drawer from the Aud locker room.

Taro sticker (if you don't know look it up) & one of Bert's milestone goal marker.

Some 1975 Stanley Cup Finals things with Dave Shultz Wanted Poster.

Dr. Joe & Dan work on Case 2.

Memorial Auditorium stuff with stick hanging in place.

Commemoration 9/11 Boulton jersey and my arm hanging a stick.

ALL ABOUT THE EXHIBIT: Come see the full exhibit commemorating 40 years of cool Buffalo Sabres hockey moments based on items from the Buffalo Hockey Experience + Museum's permanent collection. It all goes on display at HSBC Arena for the first pre-season Sabres game and will be up all season, 2nd floor, on either side of the big center bar overlooking the entrance. To find out more, stay tuned!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Lonely End of The Rink

Oh, baby.... work continues on the installation of the Buffalo Sabres 40th Anniversary Exhibit (see info below). The OtherWisz Creative team spent three consecutive late nights working hard and we are getting close. Thursday will be a dress rehearsal of sorts as we will set it all up, photograph in and then break it down. The glass manufacturer made the glass for the cabinets wrong and it is finally going to be back in next Tuesday. It would be nice if we were building this in a locked museum room, but not so, this is the HSBC Arena and it is teaming with people with the start of pre-season only a week or so away. So we can put it up, but can't leave it up until the glass is in. This means carting valuable artifacts back and forth.

Tomorrow will give us a really good sense of it all with almost everything set up except the ID tags and a few other graphics.

These are some quick shots J. took including some AUD artifacts, Miller's Winter Classic mask and the 500 mass of pucks to commemorate Gilbert Perreault's 500th goal on March 9th, 1986 when he became the 12th guy in NHL history with 500.

ALL ABOUT THE EXHIBIT: Come see the full exhibit commemorating 40 years of cool Buffalo Sabres hockey moments based on items from the Buffalo Hockey Experience + Museum's permanent collection. It all goes on display at HSBC Arena for the first pre-season Sabres game and will be up all season, 2nd floor, on either side of the big center bar overlooking the entrance. To find out more, stay tuned!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Ticket To Ride

Will working on this Sabres 40th Anniversary exhibit installation we have had to dig through the BHE+M archives. Here are a few first season ticket stubs (1970-71) that I thought I would share.

The tickets were not as fancy as they are now. They only came in two colors- red and green- and we liked it that way... just a like a cold Utica Club! Only $4.00 a game ticket price, I wonder what the beer cost back then?

I am a fan of this poster/ticket layout- just some typeset text, well balanced, even with all it's bad kerning issues. The abbreviated months are very dated looking as you don't see a lot of FEB'RY or OCT'BR being used these days....

There is just something very elegant about this haphazard simplicity (or I have been up too late scanning tickets).

ALL ABOUT THE EXHIBIT: Come see the full exhibit commemorating 40 years of cool Buffalo Sabres hockey moments based on items from the Buffalo Hockey Experience + Museum's permanent collection. It all goes on display at HSBC Arena for the first pre-season Sabres game and will be up all season, 2nd floor, on either side of the big center bar overlooking the entrance. To find out more, stay tuned!