Strategy and Design for Albion

Over the last year we have worked with Albion Minerals, a 50year-old Utah-based company that manufactures and distributes mineral products for animal, plant, and human nutrition. We were first engaged strategically, to help define their brand message, using our Perception Branding 5-D process. After we presented our strategic recommendations, which included naming, tagline, and brand architecture, we proceeded to redesign their identity—the logo, color and typography, reflected in three major divisions of the company, each appealing to a different target market. The logo is based on an abstracted representation of the scientific process behind the company's products, known as chelation.

ClassStar Educates

The graphic quality of the new logo we created for ClassStar was directly influenced by the simple, happy, educational experience we all remember from childhood. Not unlike the same qualities associated with a new online continuing education service that offers C.E. credit for licensed professionals. The logo is simple, memorable and relates to the service—all hallmarks of a successful identity.

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Irrational Influences

When we make decisions we think we're in control, making rational choices, using our logical, analytical left brain, but actually that's not so. According to a new book, Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely, we are anything but rational beings. Most decisions are based on highly irrational influences, which are all relative. We estimate the value of things according to how they compare with other things.

Most of what we consume from the world around us comes through our sight. We visually compare one option against another. In the diagram above, the green circle on the right is the same size as the one on the left, but the context is different and influences our perception.

Brands that have a real dedication to the value of visual aesthetics, like Target, Apple and Starbucks, dramatically influence how their brand is perceived. Brand guru, Marty Neumeir says that aesthetics is "the language of feeling, and in a society that's information-rich and time-poor, people value feeling more than information."

Aesthetics is so powerful it can turn a commodity into a premium product. How did Starbucks differentiate itself from Dunkin' Donuts ten years ago? How was it able to change the accepted price of a cup of coffee? Dan Ariely, tells us that a decade later, Starbucks has actually changed our very understanding of coffee and its value, whether you get it from Dunkin' Donuts, McDonald's or the grocery store.

The irrational nature of the human psyche may be the best reason yet to influence your brand perception by managing the aesthetics.

How to move print design online

It's easy to put a PDF of your printed brochure on your Web site. But the mediums don't always match. Viewing distances, size, proportions and typefaces that work offline are dramatically different than what works online. We faced that problem with our long-term client YESCO. Since the mid-90s we've designed the Yescozette, a lavish, oversized periodical for customers and employees of the Western U.S.-based sign company. We also designed their Web site. A few months ago we started working on how to bring the two together. The result is an interactive experience that captures the look and feel of the original printed document, with added pop-ups, that allow the user to view detailed content on demand. An added benifit is that it is built entirely in HTML, making for a very search-engine friendly application.

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