Archive for the advertising 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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Tack Data Goes Live.


Please visit my newest site and branding at Great, flexible clients that allowed me to create a new brand, based upon their expertise and their venture in the Big Data arena, that is so hot right now.

I like to think that web page sliders introduce the content like a revolving series of ads. What’s cool in this series is, that after three descriptive ‘ads’ that each link to appropriate pages, the fourth presents a new take on ‘cloud’ services. I got a kick out of the cautionary King Kong (big gorilla out there!) messaging and so did the clients.


Graphic design is just the beginning


I offer my customers high level branding, graphic design, advertising headlines and copy, campaign consultation, local marketing, logo and graphic design, the writing of marketing slogans, press releases, web sites, articles, ad placement, media consultation. I am proud to create and supervise each customer project with great personal care and tact. Some of these technologies are presented in coordination with experts I know and trust in the field.

They started calling me a “one man agency” a few years ago when I was the Marketing Director at ATS, a national transportation company located in Toronto. At the time I was developing the ATS Healthcare brand that turned out to be so successful. One of the testimonials presented on this site is from my senior executive during the brand launch.

But the nickname stuck and is quite apt. I wrote all the marketing materials, the internal newsletter and a variety web sites, had designed and produced them all, including brochures and award-winning calendars (a staple at transportation firms) invented a brand and described what it meant in both Pharmaceutical and Transportation magazines, designed the logo, wrote and placed ads… well, I did it all marketing-wise.

I have mounted some of this work and much else at

I work out of my home studio in Barrie, Ontario. My local Barrie number is 705-984-4752. I never charge for initial conversations and am currently offering a free assessment of all your graphics, sites, ads …. literally anything you would like to throw at me. I will send you a professional report with the results of my findings.

Facebook: Auto Fans Have More Friends.

Todd Wasserman at Mashable Business tells this story that car freaks (my words) hang out together. Reminds me of high school where ‘people who love cars’ were inseparable. Also amazing: “Meanwhile, Facebook also had some encouraging news for brands in the wake of last month’s Timeline switchover.

Two auto brands, Ram trucks and Ford Mustang, saw increases of 291% and 52.6%, respectively in their People Talking About stats, a key measure of engagement.” What’s going on here?

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.

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’.


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.

RIM, what’s the thinking behind this?

Bono sings ‘every generation gets a chance to change the world…’ Wow, big words. Stadium shaking, grandstanding rock ‘n roll. Big sound, big star, big music. No clever irony here, eh?

But what this says about Blackberry and RIM branding is somewhat less. Somewhat blatant. Somewhat over the top. Somewhat safe. No one ever accused Blackberry as being a ‘design brand’.

Coming as it does in 2009, is this RIM commercial screaming ‘ME TOO’? We like ‘YOUTHFUL’ music too, SEE?? I guess Canadian RIM couldn’t choose a native Canadian singer, as Apple had already scooped them with Fiest, but at least someone fresh and unheard? Someone ‘new’?

And without iTunes or a reasonable RIM equivalent, there’s simply no rationale for any of this.

Is this when Blackberry lost it? I’ve always thought so.

How Google makes a bundle . . .

Interesting to see just where Google scores the most real cash, and you guessed it, wealth begets wealth. Insurance, Loans and Mortage are the top ad-words, collecting over half of Google’s money. Here’s a handy link for further, FREE SEO exploration: Wordstream’s Keyword Research Test.

Also of note, with Google’s recent embrace of everything local, these topics are indeed local. Most demand a working knowledge of place and at least a personal connection to a broker. ‘Broker’ is a term that really means a nearby professional in whom I am willing to invest with ‘trust’ Perhaps, it is Google who is the broker here, to their great advantage.

Apple’s great running gag . . .

Laurel and Hardy. Burns and Allen. Abbot and Costello? How about… Mike Nichols and Elain May? Well, there is a little bit (at least) of Penn and Teller in these remarkable commercials. You know, comedy with that little bit of extra bite. No pun intended. Really.
Here’s a set of commercials that not only heralded the Apple renaissance, but in a remarkable twist in the marketing script, caused one in PC’s too. Apple’s still running, and no ordinary ‘pc’ has caught up yet. See the whole run at Adweek courtesy of Tim Nudd.

. . .with mac guy and the hapless pc.

So much has been said about Mac’s commercials, starting with ‘1984’ and moving swiftly (or so it seems in retrospect) to the candy swirls of iMacs dancing. More recently, Apple morphs into breezy, fresh Fiest singing “One – Two – Three – Four…” So simple. Just another revelation.
Starring John Hodgman and Justin Long, all 66 ads were directed by Phil Morrison of Epoch Films for TBWA Media Arts Lab. Canadian indie star Fiest got a significant kick out of the whole iPod thing too.

With all this fuss about David Ogilvy’s birthday…

you might want to check out this inspiring film about the real mad men of the sixties ad agencies… when artists were first paired with writers. This is the kind of awe inspiring work that is so simple, so fresh, so elemental to be unforgettable (and that’s the point). Still relevant after all these years, these teams and these ads are showcased nicely here. Go see the trailer and then buy the film. You’ll be glad. It will make you happy. But if you’re in the creative business, it will also make you jealous.

From Post War, to Baby Boomers, then Pepsi Generation. Now we’re Generation Alzheimer’s.

< Our disease? Get the ‘Generation Alzheimer’s: the defining disease of the baby boomer’ report.

With each new conversation with another my age the inevitable topics come up, ‘How are your parents doing?”

What follows is typically an exchange of stories, sometimes in the early stages, moments of trepidation, like last week when one mother asked her 50 year old son when it was that he started wearing glasses. The response was, “in eleventh grade”. That would have been about 5 years ago in my mother’s case. Today I learn that she’s in virtual lock down and may be reading the same page in the same book over and over – alone in her room.

This is our disease. Breathe deeply. Own it. More later.

Steady as she goes for Shell’s aquatic logo

Shell presents a treasured symbol shown here evolving over the last century and now celebrating it’s  100th birthday. Each single, evolutionary step is careful never to land so far away from the previous iteration that the audience is lost or the customer taken for granted. Yet, as every picture tells a story, here the design ethos of each decade is rendered fresh, literally blended into the corporate identity. The changes are so subtle, probably most went unnoticed, yet each managed to keep pace with ever changing public perceptions of taste and modernity. I love the most recent one where even the company name is declared superfluous. When the name goes yet the meaning remains, it’s a proud display,  proof the mark has attained universal icon status.

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