Design and marketing tips for growing businesses

Strategies to help businesses grow by Olsen Creative

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We start with the Message. What do you want to say to your customers? Where are your customers in terms of location (physical and on the web), buying cycle, and other relevant demographics? We’ll help craft the message according to your audience.


It’s not just the words you use. Visual presentation has a tremendous impact on how messages are received – and perceived. Fonts, colors, imagery, and layout are our building blocks. We are experts in creating appropriate visuals to emphasize a relevant message.


In the end, the delivery of the message is accomplished by Technical means. Website, email, social networking, advertising, offset printing/mailing are some of the ways to deliver. The marketing industry has changed a lot in the last quarter century, and we’ve consistently evolved to adopt new ways of publishing. The industry is always expanding, and we’ve grown along with it.

In summary, all three parts must be present. Any two aspects leave something lacking. A pretty picture delivered without a strong message is unclear. A message that's delivered but doesn't look good is unattractive. A strong visual message without delivery is unseen. All three parts - the message, the visual and the technical must be present for successful marketing communications.

Is print dead?

Posted by on in Marketing

This is the Age of the Internet. As devices get smaller and more portable, people are receiving more of their information digitally. Why should you spend money on a printed advertisement, brochure or catalog when you have a website? Digital turnaround time is faster, it's cheaper, "greener" and the results are measurable.

Although these benefits of electronic publishing are certainly true, printed materials still make sense.

Print is touchable. Print drives traffic to your website.

Think about the ways you are inspired to visit a website. Something as simple as a business card or small promotional flyer on a bulletin board might encourage you to go online to find out more. Or you picked up a brochure or catalog, thumbed through the pages, maybe even saw something textural in it that caught your eye. You didn't smell a perfume ad on a website. It was on one of those fancy fold-outs in a magazine. Your mailbox is full of (okay, sometimes annoying) calls to action. But if marketers have done their job, then you should be receiving something relevant. There are some experiences that only a printed piece can deliver. You can take a printed piece with you, you don't have to log in or wait for it to load, and it never crashes.

Every printed piece you pick up these days has just enough information to make you want to know more, with a prominent URL or contact information. And more recently, a quick-response (QR) code for even faster access via your mobile device.

How do you know if your printed piece is successful? In addition to inquiry calls you may receive, you will usually notice a spike in your website traffic. Be ready for customers who come to your "virtual door" and make sure you have coordinated your campaign into a seamless message.

Print and web integration is essential. The point is: Understand your customer and incorporate the media they use. Print marketing efforts should complement — and drive — online initiatives. Different customers receive and respond to messages in different ways. Knowing your customer is essential to determining the best marketing vehicles required to inspire them to respond to your message.

Here's another bonus: Thanks to the online marketing revolution, offset printing has become increasingly more affordable.

A knowledgeable marketing strategist can help you sort through the costs and benefits to help you determine the best media to reach your audience.

See our portfolios: Brochures & Catalogs Ads & Direct Mail

Get a cool logo that looks like you

Posted by on in Graphic Design

No, we're not saying that having a face on your logo is the answer. We already did that. The "you" we're referring to is the visual expression of your brand. It's like a personality.

oc ladyLet's use the Olsen Creative Lady as an example. At Olsen Creative, we love what we do. We are helpful, approachable and do all we can to demystify the creative process. With good humor, we take your projects seriously, put your business interests first and assure you that everything is going to be OK as we walk through the project. That's our brand statement. It's who we are. And that's why the Olsen Creative Lady is so happy!

When we listen to what you want in your logo, we ask a lot of questions — questions about you, how you relate to your customers, what they say about you, and even what colors you find appealing. What we're really getting to is the bottom line: your brand statement. From that, we can create an image that projects the "personality" of what your brand already has going for it.

We don't make brands, and we don't just design logos that we think are cool. We design logos that communicate your brand value. And that's pretty cool already.

See our Logos Portfolio


At the moment we first entered the world and opened our eyes, we were consumed by visual stimulus. We began to sort and interpret these images, learning their meanings and significance. Every shape has a property. Every color has a meaning. We perceive shapes as organic or architectural based on their function in nature. We perceive colors as warm or cool based on their presence in nature. We organize many separate elements into a collective whole. We perceive, recognize, categorize and cross-reference until we have a comprehensive knowledge of how the visual world works. And as if we’re not already busy enough interpreting visuals, we are simultaneously processing the other four senses of sound, smell, taste and touch in the same manner.

We recognize what we know.

Does that sound too obvious? Through exposure, we put information into context, and thus retain the information. How does this principle apply to reaching your customers?

Effective communication comes down to one simple principle: with each of the five senses, we recognize what we know. Visual communicators learn what is familiar to their audience and select relevant imagery to communicate clearly, effectively and most importantly, quickly. When a visual message is familiar, right and appropriate, it is clear, comfortable and obvious. When it’s unfamiliar, wrong or inappropriate, it can be confusing, unsettling and misrepresenting. 
Unfortunately, even seasoned professional designers sometimes stray from objective decision-making in their quest to create something new and different. Artists by nature, they sometimes forget that graphic design projects are not gallery pieces where museum-goers will stop to ponder the greater significance of the message. To the average consumer, a graphic designer's labor of love is only a snapshot seen in a fleeting moment, if perceived at all. Marketing studies indicate that as consumers zip down grocery store aisles, their eyes rest on a package for approximately .03 seconds. (Pantone Guide to Communicating with Color by Leatrice Eiseman). In this split-second opportunity, the outer packaging must grab attention, communicate the inner contents and create desire. That’s a lot to expect from a busy audience of consumers who are already bombarded with similar images from thousands of other visuals also competing for their attention. Really, there’s no time for lofty, Picasso-centric agendas.
Be relevant.
This the key to communicating quickly to your audience. If the imagery you incorporate into your piece is vague, obscure or otherwise off target, you’ll miss what is likely your only opportunity to get your point across. Sure, you’ve seen those multi-million-dollar ad campaigns that attract attention through surreal product connections, but is that really the project that’s burning a hole in your in-box? “How to Create a 30-Second Ad Spot for The Big Ballgame That Everyone Will Be Discussing The Significance Of The Next Day” is the subject for another blog post. This is about where the rubber meets the road – your project that's going on right now.

You may not know it yet, but you already have everything you need to make your project a success. Don’t underestimate your perceptions or reactions to the effects of graphic elements. You’ve seen as much of the world as a graphic designer has. Even if you’re uninitiated to the process of graphic design, you can still learn how to make objective visual decisions. This blog will give you a context for understanding, to put a label on what you probably already know, and familiarize you with what you already see.

If you can label it, you can communicate it.



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