Storytellers

Last week we attended a fundraiser for a client for whom we had recently launched a new website. It was refreshing to have the time to stand by the bar and engage in a rambling conversation that flowed from one off-beat subject to another. Suddenly, our client mentioned he was going through our online portfolio and the big revelation he had was that we are storytellers. Exactly. He got it.

As he moved from the topic of one client to another, from identity to websites, he understood our work, he got the meaning – the message is the most important nugget of information and that’s what we focus on first. From there we have a foundation to design from – and to tell a story.

Stories enlighten, bring us together, captivate. Logos condense a story into a simple, memorable mark. Photography, typography, graphics and words explain a story in print and websites. Environmental graphics tell a story and guide. All the pieces come together to create an experience that reflects a client’s business. A brand.

We may not be sitting around a campfire or standing on a stage telling a story, but the visual stories we tell are just as intriguing…and vital to any business.

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Photo: Robin Cox

We all have a choice

preventionfocus-logoWe all have the ability to choose, yet sometimes positive choices aren’t always clear. Our client, Preventionfocus, is dedicated to helping adults and children make positive choices that positively impact their lives and the community.

We just launched their new website – the third site we’ve created for them to keep their online presence current – with the goal of clearly describing their mission and services and promoting their value. The challenge was how to succinctly tell their story of focusing on prevention while being a portal to crisis services for those in need.

We’re not done just yet. Next in line are feature videos and photos showcasing their clients and programs and coordinating social media for maximum community outreach.

Learn more about SVML.

 

We all need a little inspiration

This link was originally posted on International Women’s Day and I think it’s worth including in the stream. Whether we like to admit it or not, designers don’t work in a vacuum. At least I find myself in a creative rut when I don’t get out and look around. Keeping in touch with other creative’s work inspires me and the team.

Here’s a brief compilation of the women designers whose work influences me and keeps me excited about design and it’s relevancy to society and business. Not on this particular list, but the designer who inspired me the most as I embarked on my career in Southern California, April Greiman. Hey, it’s International Women’s Day and we rock in a unique way.

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Everybody Needs to Find Their Way

Last year at this time, our client, Sodexo, was reaching the final stretch of their new, modern building construction. This new state-of-the-art building would house the Buffalo service center employees and move all operations from three separate office buildings into one. Gone would be the traditional cubes and tidy corridors. In their place, a completely open floor plan with centralized offices and plenty of collaboration areas.

One of the first problems to be solved was how were hundreds of employees going to navigate through the new complex. Secondly, how would the established corporate (Europe-based) brand be implemented to meet the needs of this regional, American office place.

Working closely with the Sodexo facilities team, key areas of navigation were determined and we began the process of designing signage that complied with the brand, identified area groupings, showed the way, was updatable and complemented the modern elegance of the building.

We searched high and low for certain products – personal nameplates that matched our specific design, steel wall mounts for wayfinding and conference room signs – with no luck. This  gave us the chance to work with local manufacturers to design and develop custom pieces. Results were a win-win-win.

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Jen Koss and Kim Cox

Just Sit Back and Listen

Not far into the development of iKoss Consulting’s new website design, it became apparent we needed to sit down with the client and listen to their story. Not only the obvious story of the direction and growth of their business, but those little gems of insight that are revealed through casual conversation. And we couldn’t wait to sit down and chat.

iKoss Consulting has been a client of ours since 2002 when we first developed their logo and first website. We’ve kept in touch with Blair and Jen Koss over the years and have always admired their ability to stay focused on a goal and achieve what they set out to accomplish. Plus, they’re intelligent, interesting and a lot of fun to be with.

After an afternoon filled with stories and laughs it became obvious we had to tell their story through their people, with Blair and Jen front and center. The consultants at first were a little hesitant to be subjects of a photo shoot, but after a glass of good Pinot they were fine. As we continued to shoot throughout the day, the group’s camaraderie and love for what they do was reflected in the camera lens.

Since the one requirement in building the site was to do so within the Microsoft 365 environment, which is very restrictive and makes most designers cringe, the images became the driving force of the site and social media channels.

Without taking the time to just sit back and listen to the client, we wouldn’t have learned that iKoss is people – people who work hard as a team to guide their clients through change.

To see the team in action check out ikoss.com

It Feels Good When Things Look Good

Last night a few of us from SVML went to the Todd Rundgren concert. He looked and sounded great, the band was tight and energetic and the crowd was having a good time. We had a blast.

What really hit me was the evidence of Buffalo’s ongoing renaissance. Its once defunct waterfront looked alive and inviting. Historic buildings have been renovated and the fusion of old and new architectural elements is successful. The beautiful old cobblestone roads have been restored and new walkways and roads have been built where necessary. Brightly colored Adirondack chairs dot the green grassy park area. The sleek sailboats and colorful kayaks filled the river entrance to Lake Erie. And the bright flags emblazoned with the Canalside logo (which is nice) fluttered in the lake breeze.

Seeing all those elements come together as a fresh Canalside brand made it exciting to be there. You felt like you were someplace special, as though someone (or a lot of someones) cared enough to invest the time and money into creating a new identity and brand. If they cared enough to put forth this effort, then it must be worthy of taking part in. That’s the importance of a strong, well thought out identity. When it looks good it feels important. And that makes people feel good. When you make them feel good, they remember.

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