Blog: Business & Marketing

Create Customer Love


Distant Encounters of the Direct Mail Kind

I get postcards all the time from new cafés, salons and dog walking services popping up around LA that say “we’re open!” Really? So what? Are you talking to me? I mean, you wouldn’t just send love notes to all the girls you know just because you’re newly single! Just because you’re are open for business, doesn’t mean business will come to you. Please, these companies focus only on themselves and miss the opportunity to create a relationship with the reader. They must be pretty lonely.

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Posted May 18, 2009 by in Branding & Identity, Business & Marketing

Selling The Lifestyle



Part of the comprehensive naming and branding package we did for Ko’a Kea Hotel & Resort

Over the last five years of branding for hotels and restaurants, we’ve learned that successfully designing for the hospitality market is not about making the property or food look good, but rather it’s all about selling a lifestyle.

Travelers don’t want to get away to all the comforts of home, they want more than what they have at home. Our job as designers is to convey what it may be like for guests to live that illusion, if only for only a few nights.

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Real Butter Makes A Difference


Our morning breakfast

Like most late Sunday mornings, we have German pancakes for breakfast. And like most Sunday mornings, Michael takes pride in making them. The crepe-like pastries are baked light, come out puffy and have a hint of sweet and savory flavors due to the use of butter in the pan, a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Today we were fresh out of unsalted butter (I forgot to buy some), so he used margarine. On the plate they looked a little more lumpy, but didn’t seem different than normal, until I tasted it. Not so moist, and not flavorful. That’s odd–how a slight change in one minor ingredient (two tablespoons of butter to grease the pan) could’ve changed the form, texture and taste of the dish. I guess those teeny tiny details are important and they really can make a difference.

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Will Think For Food


span class=”thumbnail-caption” style=”width: 500px;”>Cole’s P.E. Buffet promo

There’s a couple of new restaurants in our neighborhood, and this being downtown Los Angeles, there always seems to be something popping up regularly. What I mean by that is that downtown LA is going through a revival right now, and although there is a great need for street-level retail, there is also a lot of competition to be the best–which keeps it interesting for us who work and live here. The two new eateries I’m speaking of particularly are Blu LA Café and Cole’s Pacific Electric Buffet.

Blu LA Café is a new little restaurant on the bottom level of the Pacific Electric building that features upscale food with a Southern flair, wine and pastries. The decor is mostly blue and modern with wood and brick accents (it’s more IKEA and less DWR). Its where you’d go for a glass of wine for a LAMILL coffee and a quiet moment with your laptop or a book.

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How Design Adds Value To Your Offering, Big Or Small



Innovative Brands / Source: BusinessWeek.com

Intuitive and innovative design adds value to companies, goods and services. Look at companies such as Target, BMW, Apple and IKEA who use design to establish relationships with their audiences.

You’re saying you’re not a global corporation? How can small business use design to emulate such success? For me, sometimes it’s difficult to put to words, and as I’ve heard before, “I know it when I see it.” I could probably show you visual similarities in design success if you hung out with me at the studio while browsing design books or while shopping (especially Whole Foods). Occasionally I don’t know what it is, until it’s in front of me. Can you blame me? Think about the thousands of advertising messages you receive every day. Why do you choose something off the shelf over something else? Why are you loyal to one airline over another? It takes a little self-therapy to see what creates our own preferences. Design helps our brains cut through the clutter, without our realizing it.

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