Sunday, November 16, 2008

Award winning!

At the Culpeper County Chamber of Commerce's annual banquet on November 6th, Kelly Rozwadowski was surprised and honored with the first ever Young Professional of the Year award. The award criteria included Chamber involvement, business leadership and partnership, and community support/public responsibility.
While the award was a great honor, the greater gift was reading the nomination letters that were submitted on my behalf. A pat on the back is always nice, and a shiny engraved award is greatly appreciated as well!
In October, a brochure K Art and Design created for the City of Fairfax Parks and Recreation Department was awarded Best Promotional Effort by the Virginia Recreation and Park Society. The brochure was a program for the 2007 Independence celebration.

Political Branding

While elections are often a war of words with candidates mincing them, repeating talking points, and competing for airtime, this year graphics and visual messages were utilized in a new and powerful way.

Already the success of the Obama campaign is being analyzed and while I've heard a lot of talk about the fundraising approach, few people (outside of graphic design circles) are talking about the role of the campaign's visual identity.

As a designer I was intrigued by Barack Obama's "O" logo because it was a departure from typical campaign graphics. Where were the stars and eagles? How would a round logo be applied to the standard bumper stickers and yard signs?

The Obama campaign understood and implemented branding in a way that supported the core theme of change. The logo itself represented a change from typical politics in that it looked very different from the graphics of other campaigns. However without careful implementation, I doubt the logo would have become as recognizable. The "O" was everywhere, and it was used in a myriad of applications, often with modifications to add or enhance meaning. For example, a green and yellow version to represent "Environmentalists for Obama." Often these kinds of logo modifications can be perceived as hokey, but in this case the modifications were often subtle and helped rather than hurt the effectiveness of the symbol.

When designers talk about the "stickiness" of a logo, it's often related to how others begin to use it. Here are just a few examples of independent sites that interpreted the "O" in their own creative ways. You know a symbol is successful when you can recognize it as a pumpkin!

The Obama Craft Project

Monday, October 6, 2008

What's your e-mail address?

Do you use a yahoo, hotmail, or other free service for your business e-mail? Or does your e-mail address end with,, or some other provider?

If you answered "yes" to either of these questions, I suggest you reconsider your e-mail address options.

While free accounts are attractive for the obvious reasons, they are more appropriate for personal e-mail than business correspondence. Everyone knows these accounts are free, easy to set-up and change, and therefore, they don't project the image of a serious established business. Personally, I use a free account for online purchases so that all the spam associated with buying online doesn't bog down my business e-mail.

Verizon, Comcast, MSN, and similar accounts are not universally available; therefore, if you were to move or change internet providers, your e-mail address would need to change. Not only would you be at risk of missing messages sent to your old address, you would also lose all the settings and contact information you had built up in your old account.

Ideally, your business e-mail address should be, and it's less expensive and far less hassle than you might think. To start, you'll need to reserve a domain name like which costs as little as $10. Next choose a place to park/host your domain and set up an e-mail account through the domain. The vendor I use includes domain registration and unlimited e-mail accounts for a cost of $99/year. So for about $100 you and your employees would have permanent e-mail addresses your employees that can move and grow with you and your business and you'd also will have started the process of setting up a company web site.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Save your e-mail, save a tree and more!

Did you know that you can save an e-mail message instead of printing it out? If you use Outlook Express, go to File >Save and then choose a destination for your file.

I used to print my e-mail so that I could save it in my job folders, but for the last few months, I've been saving the digital file along with the attachments in the digital folder where I keep my working files. I first made the change when my laser printer was out of commission for a week, and I've realized that saving digital copies is a better choice.

The obvious benefit is that I'm saving paper, but I'm also saving toner and electricity since I don't have my printer on all day. My electricity bill has been about $30 less a month since I made the switch. I've also spend less time filing, and I have fewer papers floating around the office.

It's been a few months now and I've noticed my paper files are becoming much thinner which will allow me to change how I file and track jobs. For example, instead of having a new folder for an annual conference each year, I'll be able to set up one permanent folder for the conference project, keeping all the paperwork in one place. Want to send your banner to the same vendor as last year? No problem, I've got that info right here. Need to increase your print run by 500? Again, I've got the numbers from the last run handy.

So by clicking >Save instead of >Print, I've saved paper, toner, electricity, time, file folders, and probably the expense of a second filing cabinet!