Thursday, December 30, 2010

There's No Such Thing as Good Writing

Only good rewriting.

One of my college writing professors drilled this into our heads, and I confess it’s one of the few lines I remember from that class. But it has served me well in times of writing—especially when writing ad copy, where the allocated space is so spare. Every word simply must do its job. Every nuance has to be considered. We often have full-on discussions about a single word or phrase.

Did they clamor or bellow? Was it disturbing or agitating? Did he flinch or recoil?  See how each word has a slightly different meaning?

Writing isn’t unlike gardening, for those of you warm to that metaphor. It takes patience, tending, and lots of weeding (sometimes even replanting). It’s also like cooking. It often has to marinate to get the full flavor.

So don’t be discouraged if the first words out aren’t show-stoppers. They rarely are. But they often give birth to the perfect word, given time and effort. And that’s the difference between ordinary writing and great writing.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

A New Year's Prayer

We are grateful to you—our clients and our readers—for inspiring us, teaching us, and exploring the world of ideas with us on our blog.

In the spirit of the season, we offer you this New Year's Prayer for a more compassionate world—and our commitment to strive to do our part in making it such.

We wish each of you the joy of the season, and a new year marked by good health, hope and peace for you and yours.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Give a Priceless Gift for Christmas

Sometimes the best gifts can't be wrapped. This season, consider these priceless gifts:

To your enemy, forgiveness.
To an opponent, tolerance.
To a friend, your heart.
To a customer, service.
To all, charity.
To every child, a good example.
To yourself, respect.
—Oren Arnold

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Monday, December 20, 2010

Client Showcase—An E-card That Makes a Statement

A simple way to distinguish your company is to say farewell to those tedious pre-printed holiday cards and create something customized.This is the time for the little black dress, not the standard pantsuit, if you want people to see your firm as innovative and successful.

The law firm of Gresham Savage hired us to develop their annual holiday e-card, which gave us a great opportunity to tie their centennial year messages in to their holiday message.

While an e-card isn't the place for overt selling, it definitely leaves an impression about your company. In this case, we wanted to link the history of the firm to the history of the community—deepening their bonds and thanking the community for their role in this milestone.

People like to be thanked, and the holidays are a perfect time to not only do this, but create a classy, distinctive piece for your firm that sets it apart. Plan now to make an e-card part of your company's social media strategy next year.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Who's to say what's impossible?

“If we worked on the assumption that what is accepted as true really is true, then there would be little hope for advancing.” —Orville Wright

Today we commemorate the first successful flights near Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in a heavier-than-air, mechanically propelled airplane that was made by Orville and Wilbur Wright on December 17, 1903. May all your dreams find wings.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Client Showcase—Emergency Department Brochure

We refreshed the look of these brochures for the emergency department at Avista Adventist Hospital. On a budget, we used existing copy and redesigned the piece to conform with their newer corporate graphic standars.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Advertising Savvy—Avoid Visual Clutter

“Before leaving the house, a lady should stop, look in the mirror, and remove one piece of jewelry.” —Coco Chanel

The single most common mistake in visual advertising is clutter, and when it comes to advertising, less is more. If there are aspects of your design that aren't absolutely essential to delivering the message, get rid of them. Chaotic, overworked ads will never be read.

This ad for children's martial arts classes is a visual assault that tries to incorporate a patterned background, photographs of children, numerous type fonts, building block illustrations, a headline, bullet list, call to action, company name, phone number and url.

Now compare that to this simple, benefit-driven message done by Banda, Bulgaria. It features only a simple background and illustration, a three-word headline and the company logo.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

What do your colors say about you?

Do you want to convey power? Innovation? Leadership? Success? Whatever your message, color will contribute to the impression. Color—Messages and Meanings, is a great book from Pantone’s color resource collection that can inform your choices. A lovely little book filled with colors, color combinations, moods, visuals, designs and ideas, it sparks reactions, starts dialogue, and fuels creativity. Get your copy here.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Client Showcase—Hawaii's Largest Health Plan Takes its Story to the People

When HMSA, Hawaii’s largest provider of health care coverage, contacted CMBell Company, they were looking to create an attitude shift regarding their innovative new health care initiatives. We work with them to develop a Power Point presentation that would be delivered at public forums by their capable senior vice president.

To paint the vision for their initiative, we created a fictional character and walked her through the present—and proposed—health system to bring their plan to life. The presentation, they report, has been effective both in terms of getting their message out to the business community and in influencing their intended providers.

The successful combination of a compelling story, presented in person by a credible speaker, can sometimes yield big results for a company. For some situations, nothing compares to face-to-face communication.

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