Holiday Giving

The holiday season is the perfect time of year to take a moment to appreciate all that you have. It is unfortunate that not everyone is as lucky as I am. During the year, and especially at the holidays, I try to give back. With children dreaming of Santa coming, I typically donate to organizations that support children who need help to make their holidays special. This year, my entire family has decided to adopt children, families, elderly and even shelter animals instead of exchanging gifts in hopes of making an even bigger impact in our communities and celebrating the true meaning of Christmas.

This year, I encourage everyone to give back to the people in your community that need it most. Even the smallest donation can impact someone’s life. There are great organizations locally and nationwide that would love your support. If you’re a shopper like me, find an organization that allows you to donate purchased items. If time is not on your side, organizations would be grateful for your donation of any size so they will be able to purchase things that are needed most.

 

Here are some of my favorites:

http://www.pawschicago.org/

http://seasonofsharing.suntimes.com/

https://www.toysfortots.org/

https://www.chicagosfoodbank.org/

Have a very Happy Holidays and a wonderful New Year!
– Heather

15 Acts of Kindness – Donating Time, Mind and Heart

As part of our year-long MDG_15 Year Logo_Stacked_Colorcelebration we’re taking stock in what we believe. Last Thursday we kicked off “15 Acts of Kindness.” These acts are our team’s small way to contribute to our community because we believe that giving our time and talent can make a difference. We believe that no one should go hungry. Our annual #SignToGive campaign is one way we support this belief. #SignToGive will launch on Giving Tuesday – November 28, 2017 . Last week , we paused client work and came together for a community service day.

GtrChicagoFoodDepositoryWe volunteered at the Greater Chicago Food Depository.  Over 700 partners in Cook County benefit from the generous donations of food and volunteers. Together we hope to work towards the goal of ending hunger.

That’s 160,000 meals a day.

McKenna Design Group believes that we receive more than we give. We acknowledge the need to express gratitude every day. While packing enough chickens to feed 4,100 families, I watched as volunteers from across Greater Chicagoland came together. Everyone worked together, and, like a colony of ants, intuitively knew when to shift stations, help another team out, or pick up the slack. I was encouraged by the partnership, support and trust we all contributed to support meals for so many families in our community.

Hunger impacts 1 in 6 children. I’m grateful for the ability to make a difference, no matter how small.

Amazing Clients. Amazing Work.

I’m grateful for the opportunity our company has to work for so many amazing clients. We’re honored to be trusted with their brands and marketing communications.

Our 15 Acts of Kindness will help us round out our anniversary year. Sometimes even the smallest act of kindness can change someone’s day. I’m going to try.

How Content Hierarchy Could Have Saved The Oscars

HOLLYWOOD, CA - FEBRUARY 26: Detail shot as 'La La Land' producer Jordan Horowitz holds up the winner card reading actual Best Picture winner 'Moonlight' onstage during the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

The awkward Best Picture announcement at the Oscars Sunday could have been avoided. Regardless of how Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway got ahold of the wrong envelope. The horrible user experience that followed was unnecessary. Presenters should be able to tell the category through even a glance. Thanks to weak typography and illogical hierarchy the wrong winner was declared amid confusion.

The All-Powerful Hierarchy

Best practices of content hierarchy ensure accuracy and a much better user experience for the presenters and the winners. Legibility, scan-ability and readability are all hot buttons when we design. Here’s how we’d redesign the card:

  1. The award name is at the bottom, tiny and oblique. Easily missed, as evidenced by Beatty’s confusion on stage. We moved the name of the award to the top of the card in large, all caps type. Beatty would have immediately known that he had the wrong envelope and the La La Land/Moonlight debacle would not have occurred.
  2. The winning name is too small and blends in with the subhead. We differentiated the two pieces of information by using all caps and bold type on the primary winner and smaller, lowercase for the other information.
  3. The use of the Oscars Logo at the top of the card (the largest element!) is an unnecessary waste of space. The logo can stand strong, smaller at the bottom of the card.

Oscars Card Redesign

This mistake is reminiscent of the “hanging chad” issue from 2000. The artistry of excellent design is transparent. Like Shakespeare’s negative capability, well designed work brings the message to the forefront. Good design is good business.

#McKennaDesignGroup #Oscars #GoodDesignisGoodBusiness #MDG15thHour

It’s Almost Thanksgiving. Get Ready for Black Friday.

One of our most-favorite ads this holiday season is for DSW and proudly proclaims they will NOT be open on Thanksgiving Day. We applaud them and wish other retailers would follow suit. In the quickly evolving, instant black-friday-mdggratification that technology has afforded us, we’ve lost track of the simplicity of doing nothing. Thanksgiving should be a day when you get to choose what you want to do: eat turkey, watch football, hang with family and friends. But the train moves forward…next stop Black Friday.

Black Friday is that awe-inspiring day so many look forward to: getting up early (or not even going to sleep) in a quest to get the most sought after, desired toys-tools-electronics-equipment at the most rock-bottom price.

How did Black Friday come to be?

The ‘official’ history and meaning of Black Friday supports the accounting practice of being in the red (deficient) and in the black (turning a profit). The idea goes that the day after Thanksgiving, hordes of people rush to stores with gobs of cash and retailers finally get out of the red and into the black. There are also some other more sinister stories regarding Black Friday dating back to the mid-nineteenth century. However, the profit-driven story that celebrates the retailer’s success is the one that stays.

Whether you’re ramping up for a bargain shopping jamboree, or you’re carefully curating a day of football and time with friends and family, one thing is for certain: Black Friday isn’t for Turkeys.

Forget Wheaties, Enjoy Deep-Fried Goodness

triple-donuts
Doughnuts – the perfect finger food

November 5th is National Doughnut Day. This is one of our favorite holidays – when our nation comes together to enjoy fried goodness.

How was the doughnut created? Who first invented it? Was it intentional or by chance? Amazing how fried dough can stretch a smile a mile wide.

It’s said that the doughnut came to us via Holland and was originally called olykoeks–“oily cakes.”  Should the name “olykoeks” persisted, this fried pastry might not have survived and National Doughnut Day wouldn’t be the same as it is today.

Attendees at the National Association of Realtor®donut_day2 annual meeting were greeted with unexpected in the lobby of the Orlando Hyatt. What better way to start the morning than with a doughnut and a cup of coffee from the team at Hyatt Orlando.

The best brands do what’s expected extremely well: a smooth check-in process, a clean room that meets the needs of the business traveler, helpful and friendly staff. An extraordinary brand does the unexpected. What better way to surprise and delight conference attendees and hotel guests than with doughnuts with a side of coffee.

In recent years doughnuts have come to enjoy couture status – everything from maple glazed doughnuts topped with pepper-spiced bacon to literary-inspired (or cereal embraced?) Captain My Captain doughnuts from Voo Doo Doughnuts (Portland, Oregon’s favorite doughnutiere). Buying doughnuts from Voo Doo is a great customer experience. Especially when doughnuts are lined in a coffin. One thing is sure: no matter how you roll there’s a doughnut for you.

National Doughnut Day is worth a visit to the Windy City’a best donuts Firecake Donuts. Firecakes is where your grandmother’s kitchen meets designer flavors. Enjoy old fashioned favorites including a scrumptious buttermilk donut or reach for the islands and gobble up a coconut cream.

An apple a day might keep the doctor away, but a doughnut today is good medicine too.

#InaHyattWorld #NationalDoughtnutDay

National Color Day – Brown

brown-photo

“I cannot pretend to feel impartial about colors. I rejoice with the brilliant ones and am genuinely sorry for the poor browns.”

–Winston Churchill

About Brown:

  • The Japanese do not have a specific word for brown. Rather, they use more descriptive names such as “tea-color,” “fox-color,” and “fallen-leaf.”
  • Brown is the color of security, protection and wealth.
  • If you dream of the color brown, it means you will be lucky with money.

Famous Logos Using Brown:

brown-logos
A&W Root Beer, United Parcel Service, Inc and M&M’s

How do you break through – in awareness, messaging and engagement? UPS provides a great example of how a brand can literally own a category. Capitalizing on the strength and omnipresence of brown through their trucks, uniform, branded packaging UPS’ 2002 campaign “What can brown do for us?” upped the ante from just a service delivery to all of the steps in the process.

“At UPS, brown is more than a color — it’s a tangible asset that people associate with all the things that are good about our brand.”

said Dale Hayes, vice president for brand management and customer communications, in a news release. “This campaign extends that association to the scope of new, and perhaps lesser known, capabilities we offer the marketplace.”

Does your organization ‘own’ a color? See how color can build preference and loyalty.

McKenna Design Group is a full-service marketing communications and technology firm in Chicago. Hire us and we'll develop integrated, results-driven solutions. Our promise? Return on Experience.® We build a brand so customers advocate for you.

GSA NAICS Codes 541430, 541511, 541613, 541810, 541910