Archive for the Graphic Design Category

Use testimonials to reduce online skepticism.

Testimonial Infographic: 7 ways to use real stories by real people to bring potential customers to trust.

Nobody believes anything anymore. Even back in advertising’s golden age, trust was the overwhelming issue. Today, of course, much worse.
Infographic Design: The Complete Collapse of Trust

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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.

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.

Just give me the burger, hold the ‘old fashioned’

Wendy's New Logo deletes much of the brand in search of the 'new'.

Is less really more? Just askin’

Is less really more? Just askin’

Wendy’s branding hasn’t changed in decades, which I think was partly the point. So here’s the new logo. I can’t help but think it is somewhat less than the old, simpler yes, but a bit pedestrian as a design. I haven’t seen the new restaurant interiors (I’m a drive-thru guy), but from tis article they are a great improvement and an overdue, required answer to McDonald’s great new stores. I have to admit the typography is lost on me and I’m a fan of relaxed scripts. Judging from the responses to this article in ADWEEK reviews are mixed. but this does not do the ‘best burgers anywhere’ justice I’m afraid.

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.

Apple celebrates success with rainbow logo design

NEW APPLE LOGO DESIGN shows graphic design is a roadmark in success marketing.

NEW APPLE LOGO DESIGN shows graphic design is a roadmark in success marketing.

“Wow” is all you can say about Apple these days. But here’s the visual gift and a bit of a twist on the rainbow theme from the original Apple logos of the not-so-recent past. This one is all digital, button-like but still Apple. By that I mean so cool.  Post from Robert Mead-Greene at Computer Arts UK
Research In Motion where are you??

Graphic Design Celebrates Spring at the Aurora Cultural Centre

Graphic Design for Spring at the Aurora Cultural Centre

Graphic Design for Spring at the Aurora Cultural Centre. Designed by Mike Beard, Graphic Design in Barrie, 36 Harrison Crescent, Barrie, Ontario l4N 7R9

Always a pleasure working with the folks at the Aurora Cultural Centre. A smash hit from the time it was born, the Centre unites art, culture and heritage in what seems to be the perfect fit for Aurora. This is the cover for the latest in this successful series. New branding will augment the look and feel of these brochures in future that are bundled into the local newspaper for distribution throughout the Town of Aurora. But for now the warm feeling remains of a wise, old friend with lots to offer the community.

Graphic Design in Winter – Colour and Typograhy

Winter Progams at the Aurora Cultural Centre, designed by Mike Beard, Graphic Design in Barrie, 36 Harrison Crescent, Ontario L4N 7R9

Brrr! Chilly winter is a tough palette, all grey and threatening skies. Or bright blue sky and white snow… after Christmas a winter palette leaves few choices.
So I was surprised when the Centre asked for the yellow headline, and surprised that it worked so well in this context. I love working with Gibson, a great, clean font just released. And what could be more apt? Designed by a Torontonian! Suits the Centre well and always sets beautifully. One luxury seldom afforded the typographically inclined is a full set of weights. In the case of Gibson, a beautiful, spare Light weight that just seems to sit effortlessly at the top of this brochure cover on the left. Like Winter minus the chill.
Well, almost….!

Typographic Design Owes a Lot to Steve

SteveJobs at Stanford University, speaks of how he put typography into the MAC

No, not his graduation, he never graduated college.

But in the first of three vignettes he tells how he dropped out, sat in at a campus calligraphy courses and, years later, plugged all his knowledge of font and legibility, kerning and small caps… into the Mac. Then Microsoft copied it and since then we have had beautifully texted pages. Steve’s sense of typography was installed into the design principles of our generation’s previously type-challenged technology.

Thank you, Mr. Jobs.

Image Blends Iconic Architecture with Graphic Design

Aurora Cultural Centre Membership Brochure illustrates the many ways to participate in the success of the Centre. Designed by Mike Beard, Graphic Design in Barrie.


Aurora Cultural Centre Membership Brochure illustrates the many ways to participate in the success of the Centre. Designed by Mike Beard, Graphic Design in Barrie.

Sometimes creative work just seems to go right, unforced and natural. That’s the way it is with my work for the Aurora Cultural Centre. The iconic design of the Church Street School struck me right off as a architectural logo, meaning that the recognition factor of the school had integrity and cultural intent written all over it.

To date I’ve done a small series of brochures like this one, featuring an ever widening set of learning opportunities for the good citizens of Aurora. Guitar, Painting, Wood Carving, Lectures… even historically themed birthday parties where kids can dress up and go pioneer.

So I think the building serves well as a sign posts for what is offered within, and I am glad to offer and in my way, communicate a small part of it all.

In this case it’s the perfect fit.

Why Apple is a ‘design brand’.

apple-nano

Simple. Refreshing. Iconic. So it’s 2007 and Apple’s IPod Nano commercial is the just coolest thing. Check out Fiest’s even better, perhaps definitive version on the Letterman show.

The music, perfect. The product, so easy. The singer, so fresh.

Apple takes a chance here, choosing a relatively unknown Canadian folk singer. But she is just so right. And this makes her career. Apple is claiming the entire digital music space, and does it so sweetly. Apple’s deft brand touch is so assured.  

The spot displays an uncanny yet genuine knowledge of what’s undeniably revolutionary. It’s what this commercial never says that’s so important. For a more recent, clumsy imitation see my post ‘bombastic, overblown, pretentious’ on the Blackberry/U2 commercial.

Graphic design: things that can be clicked.


Remember that old quiz show, ‘Pyramid’? It really brought in the ‘things that can be …’ categories.
What could be more ‘clickable’ than a mouse? Another of those design ideas that just works and then… Designer: get out of the way. This was for the home page of the Ontario Long Term Care Association and clicking it access a host of learning pages. Love working for the group… they understand big, legible type as do seniors everywhere.
The idea that seniors are not adequately represented on the internet is increasingly a thing of the past as net savvy boomers reach their senior years.

OLTCA addresses the looming crisis in long term care.



Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words. In this case, a straightforward messaging piece for the Ontario Long Term Care Association, the designer (me) simply states the case and then quietly withdraws. There are some subjects that are difficult to render, that resists the natural urge to ‘design’ and long term care may be one of them. There is simply no way to lighten the tone without appearing to undermine the somber message, slight it or gloss over the rather tragic messages contained within.

Designed for screens big enough to lose ourselves in.

Here’s the multi-column large-screen display. Don’t cha just love the way Drupal works this? Can’t wait for WordPress to catch up!

This posts is really one part of four:
Responsive Design Fits Content To Device
Seamless design from iPhone screen to iPad display
Design sized right for Netbooks, Notebooks & Laptops
Designed for screens big enough to lose ourselves in

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