Archive for the Barrie Category

Graphic Design Barrie

The Graphic Design in Barrie Logo... shaped like the city on the bay.

Graphic Design in Barrie
Barrie, located just north of Toronto is the gateway to all things fun. It’s on the way to cottage lakes in Muskoka, ski lodges in Collingwood, the long beach at Wasaga and thousands of islands – where God kissed the earth – in Georgian Bay. It fits that a graphic designer living here will carve out his place in the sun bleached colours in summer and the blinding whites and pine hues of winter…
But Graphic Design Barrie is about more than colours. It’s about experience. It’s about delivering superior services in a relaxed, unassuming way. It’s about accessibility.
For many of my small business clients it’s about nailing their brand, what it means, why it resonates and who it appeals to. Then building a marketing identity and business story that work in synergy to build confidence, allowing marketers to speak to their customers from the heart. I work with business owners, marketers of all stripes and entrepreneurs every day to find out what makes their big business hearts go boom.
Initially, it’s about brainstorming, but over the years my work has become quite personal. I get to play counselor, interpreter, visionary, marketing guru and then… project manager, designer, writer and craftsman.
For me, my home studio is the perfect venue in which to present my services. Business people relax here. And yes, like many of them I work ’round the clock. This is the best way to get the best of what I have to offer. And the best way for me to work. Down the hall. I am at the top of my game.
Even more, much of my design and professional marketing expertise has been location-based. I have helped bring to market over 30 new home communities. All throughout Southern Ontario, I have designed the logos, signage, salescentres and written hundreds of ads for projects from the east in Peterborough, Coburg, Whitby, Scarborough, to the northern cities of Barrie, Wasaga Beach, Huntsville, Victoria Harbor, Aurora, Newmarket, Richmond Hill, Markham and Uxbridge. Included in my sweep are the more western cities of Oakville, Cambridge, Orangeville, Brampton and Mississauga.
Graphic Design in Barrie. Not a spectacular name, perhaps. Not ‘All Things Bright and Beautiful’, a Toronto studio where I worked years back, wonderfully named I thought at the time. But who would search for ‘all things bright…’ and what would be the results of that?? So, yes the name, GRAPHIC DESIGN IN BARRIE pays homage to our new information reality. It says exactly what I do, and adds the focus and dedication to the ‘where’. No surprises there. It’s a celebraton of place. And what a place! Barrie is the centre of entrepreneurial activity in Canada and the buzz here is deafening.

Great Canadian Breakfast stressful for me

Great Canadian Breakfast Invitation

Graphic Design in Barrie brands the Great Canadian Canadian Breakfast

 
 
Well, now that the dust has settled, the third annual Great Canadian Breakfast, in Barrie on the 13th of July, was a big success. Success for my local BNI chapter, Simcoe Executives; success for the whole Barrie area BNI group network and finally success for the vibrant, entrepreneural spirit of this fair town. We got almost twice the number to come out (into a blistering morning) than last year…

But I got so stressed out!

I did the invitation with the maple leaf shaped butter. This after my initial idea of a maple leaf shaped pancake petered out. eBay sent the pancake molds to my old Aurora address, well I don’t use the service much, and I hadn’t updated the address since my move to Barrie, now almost 18 months ago. My bad, totally. But when fellow BNIer James Krant added the strawberries on either side, we had an edible Canadian flag, he shot the pic and everything just fell into place.

No, the stress came from the Simcoe Executives putting me up as their candidate to win back Ray Romard’s hand made beaver trophy in the 60 second infomercial contest. It’s essentially an elevator speech with judges and precise timing, with a bell… you get the picture. Worried about the timing, about being able to remember and even to pronounce some of my most complex lryics ever, I chopped most of the funny, alliterative bits out… I spent 20 minutes on the porch of Tangle Creek, in my black suit surrounded by golfers in shorts in the already over 32 degree heat, then in the men’s room, committing to memory my delivery.

I totally missed Rich Grof’s presentation… stress, stress, stress.

In the end I got through it ok, except the bell went off just as I was about to deliver the closing, ‘Life is a journey. You can’t travel without a passport.’

Another shout out to photographer, baker, numbers guy, James Krant for that. And while I am at it, to Ray Romard ‘Barrie’s Best Stripper’ for patience, understanding, verbal help including his great spontaneous sense of humour.

Here’s the text of my final 60 second draft, ending included:

Good Morning. I thought it would be fitting to bring my passport to the Great Canadian Breakfast. (Hold up the passport)

This little document lets me travel the world under the great brand that is Canada, where everyone recognizes the maple leaf as our national symbol. Into it we have poured our pride, our game, our troops, and our innate sense of fair play and that little coffee shop on every corner in the land.

The brand is so strong, it even works as butter on a pancake. When James added the strawberries on either site, we had an edible flag, just as smoothly as a flapjack slides off a flipper.

Here’s Canada’s brand. (Show the passport in my right hand again) Here’s my brand. (Take my business card out of my pocket with my left hand)  This is my passport to the world of business. I work with business people just like you (point to the audience with the business card) to find out what makes your big business hearts go boom. Then I pack it all into a brand, like a well-tailored suit – it just fits.

Your brand is your passport to everywhere your business needs to go, like Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn.

My name is Mike Beard. I make brands. Life is a journey, you can’t travel without a passport.

I didn’t win. My friend, natural speaker and all around great guy, Rob Delacourt did. However, stress relieved.

Mayor Lehman’s Award Dinner Gets Press

Mike Beard's Further Adventures in Barrie

MARK WANZEL PHOTO Chuck Kyd, co-founder of the Barrie and area Camphill Communities Ontario, joins Siobhan and Tyler as they make muffins during a day program in Barrie. Camphill will be hosting its first Tribute Dinner on March 7 at the Barrie Country Club.

“Mike arrived wearing his pitcher’s glove, not his catcher’s mitt!” …a quote from Donna Douglas’ article in last Thursday’s Barrie Examiner about the upcoming Camphill Communities’ Tribute Dinner for Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman.

It shows the rather incredible community support for the Mayor, for the Camphill Community charity and yes, for me – a newcomer to this friendly town.

Here’s the link: http://www.thebarrieexaminer.com/2013/02/13/volunteers-grow-a-significant-event

Adventures in Branding – Chapter 2

Graphic Design in Barrie

Barrie Ontario population: 125,000

Little did I realize, looking at 40+ houses in Barrie, that it wouldn’t be so much the house but the community of Barrie that would mean so much to me and to my hopes of building a local design business here.

I have found so much openness and raw spirit, in fact so industrious are the people that I have been fortunate enough to have met in my newly adopted environment, that I am refreshed. When planning our move from Aurora to Barrie, further from my original Toronto base and further into the snow belt that is the reality in most of Canada, my wife and I realized I could literally work – anywhere. Cue the orchestra. Freedom at last!! Most of my design work has been local in character, that is small business has been my life blood throughout my career. Perhaps as a precursor, early on I had spent many years working for the home builders of southern Ontario marketing upwards of 30 new home communities from Peterborough in the east, to Barrie and Victoria Harbour in the North to Mississuagua and even Cambridge in the West. In each case illustrating local lifestyles and nearby amenities became a central theme, as proof of concept in my marketing effort.

So when is Graphic Design local? It is certainly a field that demands little in the way of space – just me and my computer really. But innovation is wired into the DNA of what designers do. I believe that good if not great work can be done in unlikely places. What good design needs to thrive is an enthused and open minded community, which I have found in Barrie. It needs competitive spirit which Barrie has in spades. Access to the best of world design is, like so much today, available on the net.

I am doing great work here. Come with me.

Adventures in Branding – Chapter 1

Your branding just has to work

Good design may be good business, but your brand just has to work.

It looks like we, meaning my wife, two small terriers and myself, will flourish here. Vastly different in spirit and temperment from where we came, Barrie turns out to be the entrepreneurial capital of Canada. Who’d a thunk it? In a city of 125,000 there are 7,250 businesses and counting, figures from Dunn & Bradstreet via the Barrie Public Library. My wife, ever the cynic, says that’s because there are no jobs here. Evidently Barrie got hurt ‘bad’ by the opening of Canada / US free trade early in the 90’s, in the Mulroney years, as many of the established American offices simply and quickly picked up and left. Now the good news for business, at least the study of creating business, is local Georgian College and its program for entrepreneurs.  I have to mention the vibrant networking community within the Barrie Chamber of Commerce. Evidently Google drew more guests to its July event up here than they did in downtown Toronto. Barrie defines Google’s intended premise, ‘local’, ‘local search’, ‘local business’ in all its promise.

This series of posts will address the ideas of branding, personal rebranding and yes, graphic design in Google’s newly defined ‘local’ setting, with my new city of Barrie playing a central, starring role. What does local branding mean in a city with a business for every 17 people, and over 5,000 of them between 10 and 100 strong?

A year ago when we moved, none of this was expected. All of it is welcome. More later.

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