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Is your website in danger of being hacked?

Your initial answer might be no. You may think there's no reason for anyone to do that to you. We aren't politically controversial, we are not promoting some top secret product, we are just a small company minding our own business. A lot of companies think the same way. But in the past year, we have received numerous calls from frantic marketing directors with hacked websites. In each instance their website remained unavailable to the public while we investigate the exploit and shore up any vulnerabilities.

But what happens if you run an online store? How much revenue would you lose? How much brand damage would occur? Would people still trust your website with their personal and billing information? The answer is different from company to company but the scenario is very real. How will your website stand up to would be hackers?

Why is branding and identity so important?

The term "brand" is often thrown around but does anyone really know what it means when they use it? Alina Wheeler in Designing Brand Identity describes a brand as "...the promise, the big idea, and the expectations that reside in each customer's mind about a product, service or company."

For many years now, companies and communities have used branding and identity to present a positive and consistent public image, while demonstrating their corporate values and ideals. It doesn't stop there though. People have always used symbols to show their individuality, declare their affiliations and to demonstrate their pride. Many personalities have even turned themselves into brands.

So with this in mind, it's not very difficult to understand how these symbols can trigger very real human emotions like nostalgia, happiness and worry (to name just a few). From a marketers perspective, it's always been about how to leverage this knowledge.

Quantitative and Qualitative Research in Graphic Design

The effectiveness of graphic design cannot easily be measured. But there are things that designers can do to make informed decisions concerning visual communication. Instead of just creating aesthetically pleasing design, research can help the designer make informed and relevant design decisions based on findings. Having a research driven design process helps to define how creative problems are solved and can demonstrate the value of such solutions.

There are generally two types of research methods, quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative research deals with objective data (the distance from point A to point B is 54 miles) while qualitative research (the distance from point A to point B is very far) has more to do with subjective measurement.

Heath Meyette Selected as Addy Judge

It's official, Heath Meyette, User Experience Expert at Think Tank Designs has been invited to judge the Los Angeles and Inland Empire student ADDY competitions on February 9th at Platt College in Ontario, California. This will be the 7th year Heath has served as an ADDY judge.

How can research driven design benefit your company?

How can research driven design benefit your company?More and more companies are now understanding just how important graphic designers are to their overall economic success. At the same time, clients are also expecting more in the way of assurance that their money is being spent wisely and they are receiving a good return on investment. Most see research driven design as the answer. In this article, we will explore the idea of research driven design and how it is used to create successful creative projects and long lasting client/designer relationships.

In the past, designers have spent long hours studying typography, color theory, grids, layout, visual contrast, and composition to enable them to make informed decisions regarding their creative output. Today, the demands on creative professionals have intensified. Today's designers are now being asked to do much more than traditional commercial artists of the past.

How to Create An Informative and User Friendly Website

The other day we got a phone call from a marketing director at a local company. They wanted us to diagnose what was wrong with their website. We listened as they told us how frustrated everyone was by how low their sales were and how it never had the return on investment they thought it could have. After a quick review of their website, it was apparent that it suffered from confusing navigation and lacked important informative content. It left you asking more questions than it answered.

Unfortunately, the average customer doesn't stick around this long. Instead, they just click away and buy elsewhere. If you're looking to create an informative and user friendly website, keep the below in mind.

Email Marketing Basics

Email Marketing BasicsEmail blast can be many things. They can be email offers highlighting discounts or sales, notification of upcoming events or company newsletters, etc. Why are so many companies using email marketing as the foundation for online marketing strategy? Because it's proving to be more effective and less costly than traditional printed direct mail. You can even measure and test your emails to determine what exactly works best for your particular target audience.

In order to ensure the long term success of your email marketing campaigns follow these guidelines:

Conducting Market Research

Conducting Market ResearchMany books have been written on the topic. But it takes more than just reading those books. You also need to actually implement the suggestions. In short, market research is the gathering, evaluation and interpretation of data to understand attitudes, awareness and behavior of potential and existing customers.

Every company who expects to thrive needs to conduct some sort of market research. The process uncovers many opportunities for growth. Your goal is to understand the essence of your company and how you fit into the larger competitive environment. So educate yourself about the following:

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy ThanksgivingIt wasn't until last night that I started to feel that Thanksgiving was actually upon us. As I drove home after exercising I passed our local Rite-Aid. There laid out in neat rows were dozens of freshly cut Christmas trees awaiting homes. Then as I got closer to my house I began seeing newly hung Christmas lights on homes dotting the hills.

Anatomy of A Rebrand

Anatomy of A RebrandEarlier this year Robin and I began to wonder if the time hadn't come for a new identity. Although our current identity served us well for over 12 years we both felt that we had clearly evolved past it. We came to the conclusion that it no longer represented who we are now and what we want to do.

Along with this realization came questions of positioning and where we want to be long term. Questions about which types of clients we want to work with, what type of projects we enjoy working on, what industries we'd like to serve and how much we charge for those projects.

Let me just say that we have spent most of this year working towards our new positioning. Now we have arrived at the final stages... the actual redesign of our identity.

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