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.