Archive for June, 2010

The Seven Questions of Advertising: Ready…Aim…

News, Resourceson June 3rd, 2010No Comments

In our information-cluttered age, it seems to be getting harder and harder to get people’s attention—the more advertising there is, the less effective it seems to become. There’s some truth to that. The average reader spends less than 3/10 of a second looking or listening to an ad. The sheer quantity of what’s out there in the form of advertising is called “clutter” in the ad biz, it’s rapid turnover is called “churn”. Churn and clutter put a high demand on on targeted messages, placed in front of the right audiences, using the kind of media they prefer.

For broadcast and print advertising, it’s crucial to make the connection between advertising and the results you expect. It’s not just a matter of making the right media buys, it’s also important to understand the kinds of customers you want to connect with and what will motivate them to action

So, how do you figure out what to say, who to say it to, and how to deliver your message? A good way to start is by asking some simple (but very important) questions.

We use a very simple tool for nearly all of our projects that helps define the audience we intend to reach, what we want them to do and so on. Called “The Seven Questions of Advertising”, it lays out the essential elements to any advertising assignment. Without further ado, here they are:

* What are we advertising? – What problem are we trying to solve?

* To whom are we advertising? – Whom are we trying to reach?

* What does this audience actually think? – What are their perceptions or opinions of us right now?

* What do we want them to think and/or do?

* What is the single, most persuasive idea we can convey? – one and only one.

* Why should the audience believe it?

* What are the development guidelines? – budget, deadlines, quantity, etc.

Just for grins, why not take a look at your current ads and see how they measure up to the “7 Questions?” Or, give me a call and bring your current ads in and I’ll be happy to share my thoughts with you on how effective they should or could be. Doesn’t cost you a thing and you might find out something that will help you reach a better result. 802-747-7561.

harbor select

Packaging, Portfolioon June 3rd, 2010Comments Off on harbor select

If going to a grocery store and looking at the sea of products on any given shelf is intimidating, or just frustrating, imagine trying to create packaging that stands out in that vastness.

Well, that was a challenge I rather enjoyed. After considerable research, I found that packaging of similar products tend to look alike. So with some creative freedom we were able to create a look that not only stood out, but jumped out from the rest of the fish in the sea.

The goal was to create a design that conveyed freshness, elegance for a higher end market, and ease. Our client of course wanted it to move quickly off of the shelves.

Both of us are happy.

timberwolf log splitters

Andrew Portfolio, Portfolio, Web Designon June 3rd, 2010Comments Off on timberwolf log splitters

Timberwolf, the leading manufacturer of high-quality commercial and residential firewood processing equipment, completely relies on its dealer network to sell and service its extensive line of splitters and firewood processors. And, with skyrocketing oil prices, there couldn’t have been a better time to have a robust website—a friendly, standardized way for everyone to access the details of their product line, regardless of location, time zone, or office hours.

With Timberwolf’s new site design consumers can closely navigate their product line before they pick up the phone…and dealers get the support they need. A password-protected dealer microsite is linked from the homepage where a collection of sales tools awaits them—industry news, selling tips, product ad slicks, operating manuals and more.

Online Dating

Multimedia, Web Designon June 3rd, 2010Comments Off on Online Dating

They came to us with a second generation website built as a collaboration with their marketing director and a local web guy. It served its purpose at the time, but as we created their new identity and produced their sales materials, the site was “dated” and no longer fit into the sales mission of the company.

Integrating the new look, feel and language from recently redesigned sales materials, we relaunched the web site. Now all the planets are aligned.

Oh by the way… their sales were up 65% for 2005.

The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of

Web Designon June 3rd, 2010Comments Off on The Stuff Dreams Are Made Of

Dean Davis builds dream homes and our charge was to create a site that spoke to his prospects—high-end, mature, adventurous families looking for the Vermont experience…with a taste of luxury.

We created a look and feel that was based entirely on the visual appeal of these custom homes. Just enough copy to support the idea, nothing more. Companion sites are and

Dean just signed a deal on a 2.5 million dollar house. Plasma TVs in the “dog room”…of course.

Break A Leg!

Web Designon June 3rd, 2010Comments Off on Break A Leg!

Easily changing the content on the Paramount Theater’s web site is as crucial as changing its stage sets.

Since the theater staff concentrates on production and tickets sales—not computer programing—they needed a quick and easy way to change site information themselves. So, we built a new web site with a content management system (CMS). The CMS lets any authorized user create a new “playbill” and post it on the web.

Adding new playbills, modifying or deleting them is as simple as typing the words, then specifying where it goes. The Paramount folks can update the site as often as they want and preview it before publishing it live—without paying a programmer.

With the staff’s ability to always present the most up-to-date information to their customers, they can return to their expertise. That’s entertainment!

Rutland City Public Schools

Web Designon June 3rd, 2010Comments Off on Rutland City Public Schools

Nine schools, all in different locations; hundreds of staff and thousands of people to communicate with made it critical to create a solid communications platform.

Enter—an integrated series of web sites, each with its own personality, all sharing the same design, accessed through a common portal. Allowing anyone—students, parents, teachers or administrators to get the scores from the latest game, download a PDF of the school’s handbook, or access other vital resources.

Site management? An on-board content management system provides authorized users the ability to keep the content fresh with a few clicks—stories and images—in plain English, without the need for any web frills.

Now anyone can visit and get important school information without leaving home. Calendars, school policies, schedules, contact lists, resources, links, game scores, curriculum guides, downloadable documents—even video. It’s all there. It’s easy to use. It’s easy to manage. It’s just what a growing school district needs—a website that can grow with it.

It's the Law

Web Designon June 3rd, 2010Comments Off on It's the Law

An interactive legal resource and attorney directory—a practical guide for one of Vermont’s most renowned law firms, with a diverse practice group and a national clientele. Sophisticated without being flashy.

When it comes to the intricacies of the law, especially the law and the internet, it’s critical that information be both timely and accurate. gives Kenlan, Schwiebert & Facey the ability to directly manage their online resources—and provide greater value to both their clientele and their legal teams. The site is data-driven to allow the client to update content in key areas, such as staff information, practice areas, legal resources, you name it.

Then as the law evolves (count on it), and Kenlan’s, Schwiebert’s & Facey’s needs change, stays up to date. Case closed.

Log Splitting 101

Publishingon June 3rd, 2010Comments Off on Log Splitting 101

We work with quite a few niche businesses—companies that are generally at the top of their field with a need (but not necessarily a budget) to communicate their leadership position as well as sell product. While it’s not exactly ‘design on a dime’, companies like Timberwolf—a manufacturer of wood processing equipment— have little luxury for literature that’s ‘pretty good’. Everything they do needs to work and work well, giving customers all the information they need…quickly, concisely, and with style.

This integrated collection of sales literature uses original photography and vivid color to capture the energy and enthusiasm of the young company while combining it with densely packed but very readable copy and product vignettes to deliver the information that the consumer needs to help them make a fast, accurate decision. The brochure, rack flyer and poster all integrate with Timberwolf’s web site to deliver a complete shopping experience.

I'm Not Junk Mail!

Publishingon June 3rd, 2010Comments Off on I'm Not Junk Mail!

Another catalog in the mail (yawn, circular file). So, how do you get a customer to not only read the catalog…but make a purchase?

Getting the design to really jump off the page and communicate the quality and character of what’s inside is a good place to start. In this 28-page mail order catalog for Overland—a high-end outdoor clothing company—we started with a simple, striking cover design and continued on the inside with an easy to read layout that made the customer’s buying decision a simple one.

In mail order, helping your customer to quickly and clearly understand product attributes and value is the fastest way to a sale. Strategic product placement and text positioned in ways that enhance the merchandise made this catalog look as good as it works.

Now, about that anniversary present…