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The Regionite

What can we really say about The Regionite but this: we. love. this. project.

When a group of restaurant owners came to us looking for a new endeavor, they had the makings of a great new brand. They called it The 219 Scene and wanted it to be a monthly tabloid-style publication featuring restaurants in the area. Like I said, a solid foundation for a project.

We gave it some thought, but changed up the idea just a bit. We created “The Regionite,” a brand that focuses content at the high income demographic in Northern Indiana and Southern Michigan. We’d release a quarterly, beautiful, glossy style magazine. We’d roll out a sharp annual guide to local attractions. And, to top it off, we’d focus heavy on digital users. The site would be super clean and minimal and let the content do the talking. The iPhone app would leverage the same philosophy.

But the most important part of this project, in it’s infancy, has been the branding. We’ve created a typeface that harkens back to the heyday of this region, and we gave it a name with punch. The Regionite, a play on an endearing term for folks from this area, was born… and oh man, she’s beautiful.

Acculturated

Acculturated has a simple motto that speaks to everything they do: “Pop Culture Matters.” Their blog features exceptional writing, from exceptional minds, all focused on pop culture and what it means about society on the whole. Movies, music, television, books, you name it and Acculturated is writing long and short-pieces about it.

A product of the Templeton Foundation, you’ll notice a certain hint of John Templeton’s political bent, but it’s anything but another political blog.

When they came to us, they had a beautiful product, but a hodgepodge of packaging. The task? To wrap their great work in an even greater package. We’ve put together a package including branding and web design to give their image the

As you can imagine, they’re not over-the-top serious like other foundation blogs. They wanted to stand out as being lighthearted, fun, and colorful.

Sure, “colorful” doesn’t always speak directly to the literal interpretation, but to make their new branding a reflection of the huge personality… color it was. We picked colors that were fresh but not dateable and set out to ensure that each color in the palette meant something. We assigned colors to topics and were off and running.

But Acculturated deserved a special brand. A logo mark could be corny and wasn’t the right move for a publication, so we asked ourselves, “what would the New Yorker look like if it was a pop culture blog?” Well you’ve seen our answer.

 

Naccess

With Naccess, we had the opportunity to get in on the ground floor. The creators of this project had a great idea–to provide a secure and incredibly user-friendly interface for controlling network access–, they had the prowess to bring it to life, but they didn’t have much else… not even a name.

Spending a bit of time with the boys making this clever new toy got us pretty invested in the concept. We aren’t IT folks, but we think it goes a little something like this: You can create spheres of protection and access for your network. You’ve seen a “NAC” at work when you go to get online at Starbucks or McDonalds. This one is special for a few reasons. It’s super easy to use and it’s incredibly secure. Jump on your phone or your home computer to grant access to new guests at the office. Let them see the public files, boot ‘em off after a few hours, whatever you want to do.

Anyways, so we gave this monster a name and “Naccess” was born. We wanted to ensure that the brand exuded both caution and efficiency, so we leveraged some oranges and greys and we threw in some subtle hairlines. Next up, the icon. We wanted an icon that felt like a jewel but was also pattern-able. We created the N as flat and minimal and the client loved it. The rest is history.

Hark! America!

Hark! America! is the brain-child of Zack Christiansen and Marc Oestreich. Born out of an acute awareness of the growing need for a balanced and responsible perspective, Hark! features interviews, commentaries, and online discussion groups for the politically minded.

Aesthetically, Hark! didn’t want the typical, stuffy vibe that you get from the standard political forum, one of their goals was to attract younger citizens to participate, debate, and engage in the political landscape.

As a result, we suggested an approach that would feel younger, a bit more accessible, and maybe even a bit tongue in cheek. To achieve this, we used the classic eagle, and added an extra head – to represent that there are in fact two sides to every issue. The logo feels very crest or seal like, which gives an ‘official’ air, but with the lively fun type and illustration style, Hark! clearly represents a fresh and new perspective.

Red, white and blue abounds, but they are a muted and more contemporary version of the traditional patriotic palette.

Hark! is launching soon and we’ll keep you updated on all of the exciting news for this great client.

Foreign Policy

Foreign Policy is a huge name in the world of current affairs. Their magazine is know the world over for presenting scholarly content in fresh new ways. When they came to us, they were looking for a fresh, new way of communicating with their advertisers. You see, they’d historically just used Word documents prepared in house, but advertisers want more.

Today’s advertiser wants to have quick access to demographic and reach information without spending time reading. We gave Foreign policy simple infographics, charts, and graphs. But, at the end of the day Foreign Policy needs to communicate their brand at length, so we gave them beautiful typefaces and subtle, easy-reading color combinations.

Finally, we took the whole idea of a “press kit” online. We carried over the same concepts, but built on them to enhance the user-experience. Web users have mega-menus with simple icons. They’ve got graphics and hi-res photography to draw in the advertisers and they’ve got those great infographics and charts to show them what they’re getting.

Lakeshore Public Broadcasting

Lakeshore Public Broadcasting serves the Chicagoland area providing them with PBS, NPR, and original programming that educates, enlightens, and informs. They provide content for television, radio, and web, and do it all with that typical public broadcasting signature feel. Needless to say, we’re fans.

They needed an updated look and new functionality for their website to make sure they were achieving their customer reach goals. Indeed, their current website didn’t provide much beyond a livestream of their radio feed. Our version was a massive change. They’d been producing tons of great local content and commentary and it all died after air. So we revived it all, gave it a home online, and gave people in the area a new news resource that provided a new angle and a new voice. We had to do the same thing with their branding.

Waves were a part of their original branding, which we loved because it helps people to know intuitively that they are a part of the Chicago area; they embrace the lakeshore (if you couldn’t get that from their name). We updated and modernized them, combining them with professional yet friendly typefaces for a clean and engaging look.

We wanted to make sure that included subtle details to complete the look on the web. We used a creative grid structure and added non-traditional buttons and cues in order to keep viewers engaged and interested with the large amount of content they provide.

 

 

 

GFI Innovations

Ever used any industrial printing machines that required consistent ink mixing and dispensing? No? Us either. This means you’ll probably not have ever dealt directly with GFI. If you’ve read a magazine or seen some beautiful printing, you’ve probably indirectly dealt with them.  They manufacture the hardware and software that allows you to mix solid inks in a perfectly consistent way. They work with clients from Lowe’s to Pantone to create the most vibrant and complex colors around.

We wanted to make sure that they had the perfect mix of a clean technology feel with vibrant color and the impression of creativity. So, we’ve done exactly what their name implies… “Go For It”. And we did. We created a logo that it symmetrical and sturdy with an unusual shape to create just enough quirkiness.

The website is minimal, directing the viewer clearly through choices and sections using icons and color indicators.

Guerilla Inc.

Guerilla is web company that specializes in restaurant management. They’ve created a system that simplifies the process of managing and sustaining eateries from mom-and-pop shops to major chains. The name says it all, they do it differently. The product is revolutionary. Guerilla leverages mobile technologies to engage restaurant-goers much more simply than they would going through some lengthy online process (or calling in).

When it came to the brand, it was all about embracing the revolutionary and the different. Having a representation of an actual gorilla was important to them so we got creative. We wanted to give them a logo that represented both a gorilla and modern nature of their product. We chose to create a geometric representation and use type that’s reminiscent of ‘Planet of the Apes’ retro / vintage look. We kept it blocked out with simple geometry to offer flexibility going forward and make it easy to use in myriad situations.

 

EnergyFicient

Energyficient has a noble cause, but also one with great potential return: to update lighting standards to consumer less power. Their clients, mostly large retail and corporate spaces, have often had legacy lighting systems in their space for decades. The outdated systems produce harsh light, consume enormous amounts of electric power, and cost their respective companies tons of money to operate. How much money? Well more than it costs to update the lighting system and reap benefits all the way around.

Their approach is clear and smart and they’ve got the team in place to fit this niche, providing their clients and the whole darn world with some major improvements in energy consumption.

So when they came to us, we were delighted with the work they do. We were none too delighted, though, by their current brand or website. It was time for a legitimacy overhaul. So, yeah… That’s what we did.

Using green tones as a representation of their work and blues to offset, we pieced together a brand that really speaks to the clean, sharp work they do. The same feeling was applied to their website designs, which include infographic that help illustrate their process and the savings that result therefrom. One could say, we shed a bit of light on their brand.

Milt Rosenberg

In a world filled with talking heads spewing sensationalism over the airwaves, Milt Rosenberg provides a voice of intellectualism and clarity. His background in academia and signature long-form interviews gave listeners the opportunity to really immerse themselves in his program.

For almost four decades, Milt’s show had a home on WGN in Chicago. In 2012, Milt’s radio show ended and his new career began. With the help of producer and political operative, Zack Christenson, Milt has found a new home in the digital world. The new “Milt Rosenberg Show” podcast was a great idea, but needed a lot of help getting off the ground. They came to the right place.

We developed a great throw-back logo for Milt’s new show. It harkens back to the age of sensible talk and non-partisan debate. But a radio show is nothing without sponsors, so we developed a beautiful, glossy media kit booklet. With sponsors finding their way to the show, we had to give it a home in the digital world. So, we developed a website. The brand speaks for everything Milt is: timeless, academic, and different.

Golden Tech

OK, so this is a bit unfair, but we’re posting it anyways. The Shop, thrice removed and several separations away, is the sister of Golden IT. Formally separate, but under one ownership. When IT went looking for a little extra pizazz in their digital and print marketing efforts, they didn’t have to look far. Nevertheless, we’re damn proud of what we did for the IT folks. At the heart of IT’s public image (IT on the whole, not just our organization) is–let’s face it–nerdiness and confusion.

They’re known for spouting acronyms, pushing up their coke-bottle glasses, and snarking at anyone that doesn’t understand their craft. Our guys (and gals) aren’t those people. They’re a group of engineers-at-heart. They work hard and play hard. They enjoy the finer things in life and can speak at length about the best local microbrew. These are our tech guys and they deserved a brand that told that story. With a history in the steel mills and a hardworking ingenuity about them, we went a touch of retro with the brand.

Low contrast palettes and bountiful custom, hand-drawn art brought IT to a new light. We pulled in complex concepts like networking infrastructure and data recovery solutions and made them easy to digest. To do that, we used simple iconography and infographics. But easy-to-understand wasn’t enough. We wanted “relatable” and “upbeat”. So illustrations and bright colors offer that human touch.

Finally, to cap it off we came up with “The Sally Stories.” A fictional account of an office executive, Sally, trapped in IT hell. Her boss doesn’t understand ROI and she’s stuck running the mimeograph machine as her friend, Jane, has cloud access to files. Each tale is a blog post with custom illustration. IT is now relatable, fun, and down right fun.