We’re not shy about our gold medal-worthy skills with dynamic print design. And while we may not have had the budget to make a Rocky-style montage, we still wanted to give an inside look of how we turn our ideas into heavyweight dimensional paper champions. Wonderful Work Starts With Wonderful Clients Our friends at Legacy Retirement Communities definitely fit the bill of wonderful clients. LRC gives us the opportunity to flex our dynamic print design muscles by creating invitations to community events they put on throughout the year. Below you’ll see the process for designing the invitation to one of these events, the Terrace Town Carnival. It’s always a joy working with LRC because of how much trust they put in our creative process. With the Terrace Town Carnival invitation design, we had a simple design prompt: Make it fun. Phase 1: Brainstorm Everyone on the team brought ideas to the table for how to bring this carnival to life in paper form. Ideas ranged from a Ferris wheel to a full-on 3-D carnival tent to a megaphone or paper merry-go-round. This early in a dynamic print brainstorm, no ideas are off limits. In fact, we like to start with [...]
The PLAY Creative process is the framework that lets us build ideas and bring campaigns to life. It’s efficient and effective, but that’s not even the best part. What’s great about the PLAY process is that it can be used to craft creative solutions to just about any problem, regardless of your operations. In the second installment of a six-part series outlining each step of our creative solution-seeking roadmap, we’ll focus on the Brainstorm step. We believe the quality of an idea can only be as good as the amount of brainpower you put into it. You can read about the first step in our creative process, the Discovery, here. Two Heads Are Better Than One, and so on A successful Discovery will give your creative staff plenty of ammo to attack your project. You’ll want to gather up all your findings from that phase and share them with everyone involved to prepare them for a successful brainstorm. We call this the kickoff meeting, as we’re kicking off the creative phase of the project. Once everyone on your team is familiarized with the project and its goals, ideas will start to fly. That’s just the way creative humans work. That’s [...]
Higher education institutions face a dangerous intersection of shrinking budgets and growing student expectations. When you combine this with the specter of trillions in student debt looming over the country, many colleges feel like they’re barreling toward a high-speed collision at this intersection. A budget squeeze is happening at schools across the nation, forcing many to reevaluate the most profitable uses of their resources. Budgets can be stretched and shifted, but there are a handful of tasks that all schools need to be equipped for, no matter what. They include: Marketing Enrollment services/advising Financial aid services Student services IT services and security If marketing stood out to you in this list of things as the one thing that’s not like the others, you’re ahead of the game. Here's why. A New School Approach to an Old School Problem A school’s marketing efforts are essentially its only in-house operation with a traceable return on investment. That’s exactly why colleges can’t afford to compromise on the quality of their marketing materials. They impact every facet of a school, including the most important one: enrollment. The most innovative schools have recognized the need for cost-effective marketing help and are turning to creative new [...]
The PLAY Creative process is the framework that lets us build ideas and bring campaigns to life. It’s efficient and effective, but that’s not even the best part. What’s great about the PLAY process is that it can be used to craft creative solutions to just about any problem, regardless of your operations. To kick off a six-part series outlining each step of our creative solution-seeking roadmap, we’ll begin with the Discovery. We believe you can’t solve a problem until you’ve examined it from every angle. New Perspectives = New Ideas You’ll be amazed what you can learn about yourself and the needs of a particular project just by sitting down and talking about the problems you’re facing. Opening the problem up to questions helps you uncover things you hadn’t previously considered. Everyone approaches problems from a different perspective, and sometimes, all it takes is looking at a problem a different way to find a creative solution. New Ideas = New Solutions Examining a problem from a new perspective isn’t as easy as it sounds. In fact, the more time you spend immersed in that problem, the harder it becomes to force yourself to reframe your viewpoint. That’s why hearing [...]
The detail and imagination that go into our creations aren’t always easy to recognize immediately. Ad Dissection gives you an intimate look at all the thought and intention going on below the surface of our designs. Balance Boost is a money market account offered by our client Credit Union of America. It’s poised to be a game-changer in their market, so we proposed a launch campaign that would be a little more adventurous with the brand but still maintain consistency. This is how we crafted a campaign that stood out without breaking away from brand standards. Credit Union of America wanted to target young audiences, so we adapted CUA’s normal triangle pattern, but used bold colors from the brand palette. This gave the ads a bit of a 90s throwback feel (a trendy design aesthetic) without being too trendy or deviating too far from brand standards. In addition to making the ads more interesting overall, this slightly abstracted pattern also gave the design some texture. Copy treatment in the headline was larger than normal for another subtle way to set this campaign apart from CUA’s other marketing materials. The large type also helps convey excitement. We kept CUA's avenir [...]
If you’re like me, there are days it’s hard enough to give much thought to what’s happening in an hour much less six months from now. But as a marketing professional, looking ahead is imperative to your company’s success. With your time in mind, here are a few key points to ponder as you jump into the next cycle of your marketing plan. Execution Question: As you wrote your 12-month plan, did you consider who’s actually going to execute these brilliant ideas? While creating the actual 12-month plan could be considered a remarkable feat in and of itself, the real power comes in the execution of its contents. You may have a team to support your plan, but take a moment to step back and think about how you can enhance the outcome of your plan by putting the right partners in place. PLAY is founded on the idea of working as an extension of our client’s team. We can help implement select campaigns, free your team to work on other tasks like design or content development, and provide insight that can elevate the impact of your marketing efforts. Focus on core strengths Question: Is your marketing team functioning at [...]
Timelines, budgets, goals. Every project has them. And as every client, and every project varies, consistency becomes our lifeline. We’ve all complained about process and the tediousness of dotting all the i’s and crossing all the t’s. But at the end of the day, it’s a detailed, well planned process that gets you the best result. Through a clearly defined process, we can promise a quality product. This order of events helps our team meet client goals and satisfy our passion for marrying measurable goals to outstanding creative. With this in mind, our standard project timeline includes twelve days for planning and fifteen days for production. This builds in time for thinking, exploring, building and finalizing ideas. We often plan for 2-3 weeks for printing and coding can take 30 days or more, depending on the project. The graphic above illustrates our process. Further adding to the quality of our work, our internal proofing process includes three points of contact before client review. This saves our clients time by assuring them a quality product the first time they see it, and it helps our team be accountable for the work we provide. We also work toward turning around revisions/proofing changes within [...]
Think about your high school or even college days for a minute. Not so much the extra curricular activity part but sitting in class as your teacher droned on about rocks or some philosopher from way back when. If you’re anything like our designers, you were doodling. Your notes were overtaken by sketches. Animals. Aliens. You name it. They were drawing it. And they still are. When we talk about building handcrafted campaigns, we mean it. Most of our work begins with paper and pen. Whether it’s phrases or images we’re doodling, many of our meetings involve holding up a notebook to share what we’ve drawn. It’s this collaborative spirit that drives our creativity, and it’s very much a part of the PLAY culture. When an idea has staying power, it’s transformed into marketing pieces that seamlessly marry creative thinking with marketing strategy.
This may sound cliché, but it’s certainly true: Most marketing directors have a few too many irons in the fire. Through our partnerships with several credit unions, we’ve discovered this statement is especially true of their marketing staff. Much of their time is spent prioritizing projects for the CEO and sales team — all while maintaining the organization’s website and general marketing materials. The job can become overwhelming if one of those projects slips through the cracks. Whether you feel as though you’ve got a fist full of hot irons or you’re juggling a dozen balls, there is relief. And it comes in the form of a team of talented professionals that understand your challenges, know your industry, and can execute creative solutions that support your goals. When we partner with a business, we become an extension of their team. Our role varies to best accommodate our client’s needs. We can deliver creative solutions your internal team executes. We can deliver strategic recommendations and leave the heavy hitting up to your staff. Or we can do it all, from strategy to design to execution. We have the know-how to help guide your fully integrated campaigns or simply manage day-to-day needs [...]
Two heads are better than one. It takes a village. Regardless of how you say it, collaboration is king at PLAY. And it begins with our first conversation. Our creative process begins with discovery. Sure, the first phase of our process is really getting to the nuts and bolts of our client, their needs and wants. But as we’re digesting that information, ideas are already forming. As we move from Discovery to Brainstorm, we often utilize two walls in our office that are floor-to-ceiling dry erase boards. Our concepts are written on these walls, key benefits are outlined, and even visual ideas are often displayed or sketched. This method of concepting encourages our entire team to get involved and strengthen our ideas. It also allows us to more effectively discuss, pose questions, edit and expand our ideas — ultimately helping the best ones take flight. Our creative process involves all aspects of each project, from initial strategy to tactical recommendations to creative execution. Learn more about our process.