Creating a Bulletproof Brand Guide

Consistency is crucial to the health and success of any brand. But maintaining a consistent brand presence can be a major challenge, especially when you’re working with a large team or collaborating with partners outside of your organization.

Without an internal reference point for your brand, discrepancies and confusion become inevitable, and that can seriously affect how your customers see you*. On top of that, if you constantly have to clarify what’s “on-brand,” you’re really wasting a lot of time and not arming your team with the tools they need to do their best work.

*Life Pro Tip: There’s nothing wrong with trying new things, but don’t be that guy trying to bring back frosted tips in 2017. It’s not gonna happen. Continue Reading

Interview with a Stock Photograph

I have no problem with the occasional, tactical use of high quality stock photography. But when stock photos become the default choice of imagery – especially those go-to clichés that have a built-in groan factor – I get really worked up. So much so that I can only find relief by imagining conversations like the following…

Interviewer: We’re talking today with “Businessmen Shaking Hands,” ostensibly the most famous stock photograph in the civilized world. How did you become so popular?

Businessmen Shaking Hands (BSH): Well, doesn’t everyone know that? I make a universally appealing visual statement in all languages.

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Campaign physics: Solve the smallest space first.

Or maybe you’d rather try to stuff an elephant into a teacup? That could get smelly and you’ll definitely throw out your back.

The point being: When developing a branded campaign that includes multiple tactics, make sure your top-line content works in the smallest or most confining space first.

If you get excited about a big, elaborate message and design execution that only works in a big space, you’ll be in tight spot when it comes time to create the web ad, outdoor board, mobile site or :30 second TV spot. Continue Reading

Super Sleuth Your Message and Brand

Standing out from your competition is the goal. And to be as effective as possible, your message matters. You want to develop a relevant and targeted message, and that takes thought, introspection and research.

Unfortunately, the research component, which is arguably the most significant, is often omitted when developing a message.  And it’s understandable.  This portion of the process takes time, commitment at multiple levels, and sometimes dollars — difficult things to find for most of us.  But, turning the magnifying glass inward and taking a hard and realistic look at how your business is viewed by internal and external audiences, what elevates it above its rivals, and where there are opportunities for improvement is essential.

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The least gross illustration we could come up with.

Why Some Logos Make My Eyes Throw Up

I’m sorry (and I hope you’re not reading this before a meal). But it’s one of my "go-to" expressions whenever I see a logo design that nauseates my optic nerves. If only Pepto-Bismol made eye drops for:

The Pupil Barf

The type chosen for the name is inappropriate for the nature of the company, product or place. For example, choosing a fancy script for a steel manufacturer or a builder.
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CNP User’s Guide Part 1: The Creative Brief

While Mad Men might have you believe that most advertising projects are born from a fortuitous combination of naps and "old fashioneds," there is - in fact - a process. The CNP User's Guide series offers valuable insight about this process and what helps us be most effective.

Home builders have blueprints. Chefs have recipes. Navigators have the stars.

At CNP, we have the creative brief.

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