Event promotion, One Taste Urban Retreat

Assignment: Event Promotional Materials

Client: One Taste Urban Retreat, San Francisco

Educational Campaign, Wells Fargo International

Assignment: Internal Educational Campaign

Client: Wells Fargo International Financial Services

As organizations move more of their marketing away from print in favor of online channels, the question of the continued relevance of the print medium arises. However, according to a recent study by Marketing Sherpa (2012), promotional campaigns are 6x more profitable with print in the marketing mix, meaning that a fully-integrated strategy produces the greatest impact on dollars spent.

Digital marketing campaigns still need users to be funneled in from other channels. Of course it depends on your audience, but a well-targeted print piece may be the most effective means of doing this.

Wells Fargo International Cross Sell needed to educate team members in five lines of business of the product offerings in each of the other lines. In a previous campaign, printed quizzes were sent out with a response rate of approximately 8%, and printing and fulfillment costs around $40,000. We suggested moving the campaign online, using interactive quizzes and a printed mailer to launch the program. This approach boosted the response rate to 44%, and the overall cost was reduced by $38,000.

Print Design Workflow Consulting, Oakland Raiders

Assignment: Print Design Workflow Consulting

Client: Oakland Raiders

In-house design teams are always overloaded. Fielding ad-hoc requests and rushed deadlines just comes with the territory. When we are brought in to consult with an in-house team about improving their workflow, we examine the points of weakness within the system to bring about global efficiencies.

Working with the designers at the Oakland Raiders, we were able to identify the most significant points of failure within their process – those points which created the greatest limitations on projects moving smoothly through the workflow, and we began optimizing these areas which involved receiving new projects and communicating project timelines to the stakeholders. This took the design team out of reactive mode, allowing them to allocate their time more effectively. From here, we were able to optimize how the team managed digital assets for potential re-use and repurposing to further improve efficiencies.

Event Materials, Litquake

Assignment: Event Materials

Client: Litquake

Successfully marketing an event these days requires a well-thought multi-channel strategy. By 'strategy' we don't simply mean a list of to-do's, but an actual strategy which considers the audience as a moving target. Think of what goes through a football quarterback's mind immediately after the ball is snapped – the offense is moving, the defense is moving in response, and there's a 300-pound defensive center who plans to land his full weight on the quarterback before the ball is thrown. This quarterback needs a strategy that can move in response to all this action, and the same is true of successful event marketing.

When we were designing the printed pieces for Litquake, we were picturing the attendees moving as a big bookish mob from bookstore to pub to bookstore along San Francisco's Valencia Street. We pictured a scene where they were all holding little red books, and that became the basis for our design of the literary pub-crawl's itinerary.

This approach paid off. We were able to develop a cohesive look for all the associated event materials - mailers, postcards, posters, give-aways, event signage, advertising, and the event homepage, which worked to create a strong brand for the event. In this way, each piece reinforced the strength of other pieces, greatly aiding the visibility of our marketing.

Brochure Design, Saleae Logic 16

Assignment: Brochure Design

Client: Saleae Logic 16

When a company is formed by a couple of young visionaries with big ideas, it always strikes us as a shame to see them produce sterile, lifeless marketing materials. We were thrilled when the guys at Saleae were willing to have some fun with the design of their brochure. They were, after all, trying to appeal to people who were a lot like them, so this was a perfect opportunity for them to express their personalities.

When we presented our concepts for covers to our client for their brochure design, the response we received was "Ha! Awesome!"

Marketing Collateral, Wells Fargo Trade Bank

Assignment: Marketing Collateral Design

Client: Wells Fargo Trade Bank

Who doesn't love brochures that fold out in cool and interesting ways? Nobody, that's who. One of the most well-liked ways to take advantage of the printed medium's capabilities is to make a brochure more interactive with custom fold-out panels and unique construction. This design feature can be used to lead the reader through a story, to illustrate a point, to create a 3D display, to contain other materials, or just to plain old knock the socks right off of your readers! We've done several of these for our clients, and they've been a hit every single time. Take a look at some of these:

This one, pictured above, was for HCSB Trade Bank. They wanted a desk display for customers to pick up and look at, which would often prompt the customer to ask about it, providing an opening for the rep to give the customer a brochure explaining some of their products. This was a very easy and inexpensive way to promote new products. Construction on the desk display was very minimal, and pushing the desk display's sides together pops it into its final 3D shape.

This next piece, believe it or not, replaced a kit which required seven separate pieces to accomplish the same task. Consolidating the old kit into this single piece with a tear-off self-sealing return mailer cut production costs by more than $5,000 on every print run of 3,000, and the new piece could easily be handed out at trade shows.

And this very simple piece, a demo for a new web portal for wholesalers, was constructed to contain a couple of branded chocolates for the recipients.The point of showing this as an example is to show how easy it is to create something a little different, and which accomplishes an additional task. Still skeptical? Guess whether this piece got opened or not!

Assignment: Law Firm Capabilities Brochure

Client: Howard Rice

Have you ever been to a law firm's website and tried to read the content? It's just plain awful! It's as if they were trying to remove all the excitement out of their profession, avoiding mention of the moments of creativity and glory which helped their clients so well. This is not how to create a brochure that inspires readers to want to work with you.

Your company brochure is often the first impression you make with a prospective client. This is where you need to communicate your passion for what you do!

This law firm's brochure comittee, headed by the lead attorneys from each of their practice areas, insisted they all get equal representation in the brochure, each getting a full page describing their paractice area in detail. This is an approach taken by most law firms, and indeed organizations in many other industries. It's easy to see why members of an organization would feel that it's important to place this kind of information in a brochure, but by doing so, you're forgetting about your audience.

The kind of cases typically handled by Howard Rice were large, bet-the-company lawsuits with everything riding on them. These are the kind of cases that people love to follow, and of course, these are the stories we thought should be featured in the brochure. As the head of marketing at Howard Rice mused after we presented this idea, "Nobody wants to read about a bunch of pointy-headed attorneys. But everyone loves a good story!" Of course, we laughed our asses off, but we knew the brochure was headed in the right direction!

The first spread of the brochure opens with sentence fragments,

When Charles Schwab sold U.S. Trust to Bank of America ...
When the Oakland Raiders counter-sued the City of Oakland over stadium and ticket rights ...
When Pacific Gas and Electric faced bankruptcy ...
They called Howard Rice

The attorneys (who were some of our toughest customers) actually applauded when we presented this concept for creating the brochure content, and Howard Rice's brochure went on to win accolades for its content and photography. (Yay!)

Assignment: Marketing One-Pagers

Client: Facebook for Business

Assignment: New Product Brochure

Client: Saleae Logic 16

Get this, spoken by advertising megabrain, David Ogilvy: "On average, five times as many people read the headline as those that read the body copy. When you have written your headline, you have spent eighty cents out of your dollar."

This presents a pretty compelling case for putting some extra thought into crafting a great headline. In brochure design, the cover is the hook that brings your prospective clients in. It’s what makes your audience want to turn the page and read what you have to say.The cover is not the place to play it safe.

When we presented our concepts for covers to our client for their brochure design, the response we received was "Ha! Awesome!" - this is the kind of reaction you want from your audience too.

Assignment: Data Representation

Client: Allianz

For financial firms, publishing quarterly performance data is mandated by regulatory agencies. But while it is a requirement, it is also a valuable branding opportunity, supporting your claims of being easy to work with, focused on the client, and so on.

Helping your readers gain quick insights from the many data points you're presenting can be accomplished by arranging information into sensible groupings that start broad and dig progressivley deeper into detail. Paying attention to appropriate weightings on visual elements can prevent a page from being too visually jarring or distracting and also from being too flat, making it difficult for the reader to scan.

Color-coding your sections can sometimes be a good idea, but be careful with relying too much on this approach, as you cannot always assume your readers are paying attention to color enough to make the connections.

The next step after design was to streamline the updating process by automating the importing of data into the thousands of individual fields making up these data books. This was handled with some scripting tools used to link Micosoft Excel with Adobe InDesign.

Assignment: Brochure Design

Client: San Francisco YMCA

One of the biggest challenges a brochure has to overcome is getting your readers to actually read your text. The folks at Bayview Hunters Point YMCA overcame this challenge by letting their members do the talking. Using direct quotes from their members expressing what the YMCA brings to their lives, was a powerful way of capturing the YMCA's many offerings.

Assignment: Marketing Collateral System

Client: Wells Fargo International Financial Services

Marketing collateral, which is the collecton of all media used to support the sales of a product or service, should be viewed as a cohesive system in which each channel supports and strengthens each of the other channels. To best serve the needs of the organization it promotes, a marketing collateral system should be cohesive enough to work together, yet modular and flexible enough to accomodate the expanding needs of the marketing and sales teams.

The pieces pictured above are part of a system we created for Wells Fargo International Financial Services, a group of five business lines, serving retail and institutional clients across the US and around the world. Competitive analysis of the field revealed overuse of stock imagery depicting high-tech themed globes and business people shaking hands across continents. I know what you're thinking, astute reader, and we agree! That's like, so lame!

We had fun working on the placement of world currencies, and then creating shapes for the landforms which would later be embossed. The shapes of the embossed areas became the foundation for other pieces within the system, and the use of world currencies was remixed in numerous other arrangements. The whole system got great mileage, easily being reworked and repurposed for a wide variety of media including interactive demos, banner ads, executive presentations, and more. One of the most compelling benefits of such an open-ended system was that it gave the internal team the freedom to run with it themselves, creating their own pieces which easily worked within the overall collateral system.

Assignment: Design Datasheets and Sell Sheets

Client: Unified Color

When designing fact sheets and data sheets, one of the things to pay attention to is making the information easy for the reader to consume. We do this by first defining a layout that best supports the information being presented, and then creating a clear heirarchy of information. This may sound elementary, but it's surprising how frequently we are tasked with bringing order to an organization's marketing system. Creating a sense of order isn't just good for your audience, it also adds authority to your voice, and reinforces your brand.

Assignment: Design Event Brochures

Client: Western Independent Bankers

Brochures today play a much different role than in the past. Today's brochures are often the openers to conversations which get continued online, improving conversion rates and ultimately, the bottom line. Well-designed brochures are an invitation to connect, and therefore serve a vital role in an organization's branding efforts. Professional brochure designers know this, and can design according to the brochure's context within a larger system.

The design of a brochure's cover carries a lot of weight in shaping the perceptions of not only the rest of the brochure, but of the organization it represents, and in this case, the conference that the brochure was announcing. Professional brochure designers recognize that stale lists of bullets, generic stock imagery or weak language on the cover can sink a brochure, preventing it from even getting opened.

A brochure designed for results has a cover which communicates an idea quickly. In the example above, the idea that events like this are fertile fields for conversations amongst attendees was incorporated into the cover design, allowing the use of pictograms and words to convey the notion of sharing ideas.

A brochure's cover holds the reader's attention for mere seconds. Getting your idea across within this very short time frame is your #1 priority, and brochure design companies that understand this are seeing whorthwhile resuls for their clients.

Your Mother Was Right

Just like your mother always said, you never get a second chance to make a good first impression. With your audience's likely willingness to sacrifice perhaps 20 seconds of their time to view your website, it's important to prime their expectations before they visit. Doing this will increase your chances of converting those brief visits into longer ones that go cha-ching — if you know what I'm saying.

The best brochures prime your audience on their way to your website. You'll know when this happens by the ka-ching sound.

The Best Brochures Make Readers Take Action

This is the whole point, right? So then, why are so many brochures ineffective? Why do so many people look at brochures and then do nothing? Why do so many design firms produce brochures that fail to incite the next step? This is maddening to us! Your company brochure must deliver your readers into your sales funnel. You need a company brochure that makes it easy for people to take action!

Did your last brochure really stink? Did it fill up an entire pallet at the warehouse until some poor slob had to load it all into a recycling dumpster? There's a better way! Your brochure should be seen as just a part of the conversation, moving your readers towards the next step, bringing them closer to becoming customers.

The Best Brochures are Part of a Larger System

Think of your company brochure as just one part of a larger conversation. If you list a web page for your readers to visit, make it a unique web page designed specifically for those who have seen your brochure. Pick up the conversation where your brochure left off. This creates a feeling of continuity for your prospects, and they'll appreciate not having to read through the same information that they've already read in your brochure.

What do you get when we design your brochure?

When shopping around for a brochure design company, you're sure to find a tremedously wide range of ... everything – price, quality, services, process – everything! This is not surprising, since almost everyone has some kind of software on their computer that would enable them to create a brochure. But is it a brochure that you need – or customers? This is always where we begin. We design brochures aimed at getting your readers into your sales funnel. To do so, we need your readers to take action!

"It was the best experience possible! The board members love the new brochure, and are still talking about it." –Starr Terrell, YMCA Board Member

So to answer your question, here's what we incorporate into every brochure we design:

A Clear Flow of Information

The brochure's structure and content should lead the reader through a story, taking them from Point A to Point B, to the brink of taking action.

Directions Guiding Your Readers to the Next Step

Your brochure might win awards for its beauty, but if it goes into a pile when your readers get to the last page without any action being taken, it's a big loser.

An Easy Way into the Sales Funnel

Simply directing your readers to your homepage is no longer good enough. QR codes, landing pages, special offers ... there are many ways to greet your audience warmly and continue the conversation where your brochure left off. Give your readers something for their effort of taking the next step.


Customized landing pages equipped with analytics make it possible for you to see how many of your readers are taking that next step and what actions they take after that – helping you to understand what your audience cares about.

It's Easy to Get Started

Starting with an initial discussion to talk about who you are and what you desire, we can put together a custom proposal that describes our approach, the project scope, deliverables, and cost — all designed to fit your budget and timeline. Give us a call at (707) 210-4532 and we'll get started helping your business become more successful!