Blog Archives

2013 Wrap-Up: Our Creative Year in Review

For me, 2013 was kind of a slog. But despite the challenges this year brought, we got to work on some very awesome projects. Here’s what stands out.


2013 brought responsive design and some really great WordPress themes that we designed for clients — seven total, five that have already launched.

Stylo Furniture & Design Website

We helped Stylo Furniture & Design launch their first e-commerce site, powered by WordPress.

Our local client Towne Crier Cafe opened in Beacon in October. We designed the new website in conjunction with the grand opening. Full site coming soon. View site »

We helped our one of our favorite animal photographers Lisa Cueman launch her new portfolio site and blog this year.

Portland client MPowerOregon launched their new site in June. We also helped pull their logo and corporate identity together.

Branding & Identity Design: Alexander Project Services

What’s more fun than a branding and identity design project? One where we get to rename the company! This project also included a website (more WordPress), the proof of concept which drove our design. Read more about the project here »

Alexander Project Services Stationery - launching any day now!

New name, brand identity and website for Alexander Project Services (formerly BAF) in 2013.

Event Branding: Windows on Main Street 2013

This year was the 100th birthday for Beacon, and my town celebrated in style. We jumped on the bandwagon with Windows on Main Street and created a retro branding theme for the 2013 version of this annual community art event. The branding brought high visibility to the event!

WOMS Main Street Banner

Banner in the middle of Main Street announced our presence with authority!

WOMS Coasters

Coasters were distributed in all the pubs through the summer to promote the event.

WOMS Ad in The Paper

We even did a wee bit of advertising this year.

New Product Launch: MinderPet

This might have been my favorite project from 2013. It hit our sweet spot of combining product development, branding, and communications design. Read more about the project here »

MinderPet Packaging


And finally, a few new logos…

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Name Change Checklist

A name change is a big decision, not only because you’re changing the most essential part of your identity to the business world, but also because of everything else that must change! The process to change over to a new name is just that — a process. It can’t happen all at once, so creating a good plan of action over a period of three to six months is your best bet. Some must be done before you change your name, some can be done before or after.

Accenture BuildingCorporate Identity

  • Logo
  • Business cards
  • Letterhead
  • Envelopes
  • Mailing labels
  • Word template
  • Email signature

Listings & Certificates

  • Business directories
  • Certificates of incorporation
  • Credit certificates
  • Directory listings
  • Licenses
  • Permits
  • Stock certificates
  • Ticker symbols

Business Forms

  • Company forms
  • Corporate checks
  • Invoice templates
  • Payroll checks
  • Proposal templates
  • Purchase order template
  • Statement template

Business Affairs

  • Bank accounts
  • Computer entry codes
  • Credit cards
  • Foreign exchange agreements
  • Insurance policies
  • Lease agreements

Employee Communications

  • Benefits books
  • Credit union materials
  • ID badges
  • Intranet
  • Medical plans
  • Pension plans
  • Recruiting materials
  • Service awards

Digital Media

  • Blogs
  • Domain name
  • Email addresses
  • Email templates
  • Podcasts
  • Social media
  • Videos
  • Webinars
  • Website

Advertising & Promotion

  • Ads
  • Apparel
  • Marketing material
  • Promotional items
  • Packaging
  • Presentations
  • Trade show materials
  • White papers


  • Banners
  • Buildings
  • Directional signage
  • Doorway signs
  • Exhibit booths
  • Flags
  • Machinery
  • Vehicles
  • Windows

Thank you to Brand Strategy Insider for the post idea.

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Thinking About a Name Change?

The Name Change. It’s a huge decision, no doubt. Some companies put it off for years, even though they know that the name of their company is not just holding them back from achieving their big vision, but is actually detrimental to business. There are lots of factors that should go into making the decision, most importantly the brand equity and reputation the current name holds and the resources available to shift to a new name. To that point, there are lots of big companies that have made the leap albeit backed by big marketing budgets. And for various reasons.


Examples of Famous Name Changes

In 2000 Andersen Consulting split from its accounting group and was forced to change its name. The new name, Accenture, was widely considered to be one of the worst corporate rebrands ever…until the Enron scandal broke and the name Arthur Andersen went down in flames. Accenture then stood on its own, untainted by scandal.

Remember that jet that crashed in the Florida Everglades in 1996? That was ValueJet. The result was major legal and financial trouble for the brand. In response, they purchased an even smaller aviation company and rebranded under its name, AirTran. Problem solved!

Not all name changes involve scandal — some improved brand equity immeasurably. Who remembers Diet Deluxe? Sound like anything you’d be interested in? But Healthy Choice has taken off since the company changed not the product, just the name. Check in on your gut response to Datsun versus Nissan. A brand can be given a fresh start with a new name, opening the door to growth and market share.

Eight Good Reasons to Change your Company or Product Name

  1. Create clear separation from your competitors.
  2. Demonstrate to the world how you are unique.
  3. Align your brand positioning platform.
  4. Create a positive and lasting engagement with your audience.
  5. Become unforgettable.
  6. Propel the brand through the world on its own, becoming a no-cost, self-sustaining PR vehicle.
  7. Become more than the goods and services you provide.
  8. Dominate your category.


The name represents the leading edge of the brand positioning, so incorporating a rename into the full scope of rebranding is critical. Here’s how we fit it into the brand revolution process.

Timing in Process


  1. Brand Positioning. We start with the positioning and platform determined from the Brand R&D process.
  2. Naming R&D. We do another set of research looking solely at names within your industry, current and historical.
  3. New Name Requirements. We determine what will be required of the new name based on your goals, the brand positioning, current industry trends, etc.
  4. The Long List. We brainstorm a long list of possible names, bucket in various ways, to be presented and reviewed with our recommendations for a specific direction.
  5. The Short List. We refine the long list to a list of five candidates that will be subject to a preliminary trademark search and domain name possibilities.
  6. Preliminary Trademark Research & URL Options. In this Internet age, would you believe one of the biggest challenges is securing a new name that not only can be trademarked within your industry, but also can be included in a URL that makes sense! That’s why you find many made-up names like Google. And Skype.
  7. Final Name. The final name has passed the prelim trademark search, and we’ve found a URL that will work with the new name. It’s looking like a green light.
  8. Attorney Trademark Review. The final name goes to an attorney for comprehensive trademarking process. We get to design a logo!
  9. Launch. We will come up with a plan to help you launch the new name to your existing and potential customers.

Our clients frequently find that what once seemed daunting at the beginning of the process is a no-brainer by the end. Here are two examples of our work.

KInship Conservation Fellows Logo Redesign

Forward Stride Logo Redesign

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Product Naming: ‘iPhone’

Mashable recently reported on some alternate names Apple had considered for the iPhone when it was still in development, according to former head of Apple advertising Ken Segall:

  • TriPod
  • Mobi
  • TelePod

It’s totally strange to think of it being called anything but iPhone at this point, right? The above three options don’t even have the word “phone” in them. I don’t think this would have worked, as Apple was able to see into the future, but their consumers sure didn’t. You have to remember at the time the iPhone came out, there were no apps yet — there wasn’t the concept that a phone could do much, much more than check email, make phone calls, and take quick snapshots. I think I average two calls in the 12 hours a day my phone is in my hand. Back then when they launched the new product, we needed the name “phone” in it, as a starting point to purchasing the product. It also bridged to “iPad”, keeping the family of iProducts together. Branding Yum.

Segall also spilled that they were considering “iPad” for the name of the name of the phone. I’m sure at that point there was already an internal buzz and research to make the tablet happen.

I do kinda like “Mobi” though…

Apple iPhone

Image courtesy of Mashable

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