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being invisible

Shew Design - invisible man

A recent project we recently completed for our longtime friend and collaborator Christina Wright became a little object lesson in the art of being invisible. The project was a monograph of the paintings of Ann B Kobdish (Christina’s late mother). The quality of Ann’s work is impressive, and we immediately understood that we would be …

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when you look into the abyss…

I’ve noticed how problem solvers often become strangely “infected” with and by the problems they are attempting to solve. In communications projects, this translates into a tendency to unconsciously fixate on the problem and be seduced into talking about its causes, outcomes and complexities at the expense of talking about the solution. Marketing is usually …

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print ad campaign for Chocolate Necessities

We recently completed a print ad campaign for Chocolate Necessities. They not only make some of the finest chocolate you’ll ever taste, but they offer some very unique truffle flavor combinations you won’t find elsewhere. The ads below were designed to highlight some of these flavors. Another goal of the ad series was to focus …

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type management strategies

Shew Design - manage type

Type is present in essentially all marketing communications. Other than color, perhaps no other visual element plays a more crucial role in building a consistent presence across multiple forms of media. Yet, type is something few businesses use effectively, with even large established companies continuously making arbitrary choices with type. Not having type management strategies in …

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the blank page

Shew Design - ideas before tools

Having just completed the installation of the new version of Office, I was struck by the new default appearance of good old Microsoft Word. Documents now appear with a very minimal, non-graphical interface at the top of the screen, and a nondescript blank page below. The message of this design choice is clear: the application …

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The Treachery of Images

Shew Design - Magritte pipe

I had coffee with a friend this week who asked me for my thoughts on a brochure draft. The purpose of the brochure was to encourage people to donate to an organization that protects communities from a mechanical failure that can result in enormous harm and loss of life. The writing was straightforward enough, but …

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no thank you

Shew Design - composition

A recent survey by ExactTarget indicated that 70% of Facebook users don’t want marketing to be incorporated in social media applications – even when they opt to become fans of a particular business. Of course. Given the choice, few people would claim they want to be marketed to, ever – regardless of the medium. It’s …

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colorful language

Shew Design - color theory

Color is the place where our brain and the universe meet. – Paul Klee Though our eyes can distinguish millions of different shades of colors, our color vocabulary is limited in comparison –  about thirty words in all.  As a species, those words – colorful language – enter vocabulary at a snail’s pace, using  a …

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the voices in your head

Imagine picking up an object and suddenly experiencing a flood of voices filling your mind, not from a physical location near you but from anyone, anywhere– perhaps even from people who lived hundreds or thousands of years before you were born. Now imagine that the object you’ve picked up is a book. The ability to …

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context is everything

Shew Design - emperor penguin

Who doesn’t like penguins? I’ve always loved them, but I hadn’t learned until very recently about how they’re camouflaged. When swimming, their predominantly white bellies help them blend in with a reflective water surface when seen from from below by predators such as orca whales or leopard seals. When seen from above, their dark backs naturally blend …

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simple ways to keep content and branding fresh

Keeping your website and social media feeds up to date can be time-consuming and complicated, so it’s worth taking a little time to invest in a planning process to ensure you are getting the most out of your investment. the cost of complexity The problem some organizations encounter is undergoing a complicated and detailed process, and then falling short when it’s …

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Marketing OR creativity – is it one or the other?

Marketing OR creativity – is it one or the other? In thinking about creative work, I’ve found it helpful to employ two different ways when approaching the work: self expression and problem solving. Self expression emerges from the individual point of view of the artist – unearthing a person’s interior thoughts and feelings and building …

Read moreMarketing OR creativity – is it one or the other?