McKenna Design Group celebrates 15 years in 2017. We’re taking this year to take stock in the Olympic-learning since 2002. Because lessons are to be learned each step of the way. First, it’s a great way to thank our clients, and second, a great way to recognize the MDG team members who have created brands. Designed user experiences. Created memorable branded action. Connecting brands with members, customers and the market. Wow. A lot has changed since 2002.
15 Years of Change
To say the world has changed a lot in fifteen years is an understatement. It seems like the world has completely changed. For example:
Facebook didn’t exist. Neither did LinkedIn or Twitter
We’ve learned a lot over 15 years. We continue to learn and improve. Every day. Building integrated marketing, customer journeys and branded user experiences that help our clients grow and succeed. Designing brands that drive engagement and build business.
Brands are like sharks. Keep swimming or sink. McKenna Design Group keeps swimming forward to continuously improve.
Check out how we’ve changed and grown since 2002:
2002: The original
Elizabeth McKenna joins as Principal/Managing Partner
mdg moves into 725 Chicago Avenue – a design studio is formed
2017 Celebrating 15 year years
What the Future Holds
Stick around to see how mdg brand continues to evolve and grow for the next fifteen.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
After its inaugural launch in 2005, Cyber Monday has quickly grabbed a hold of Americans. The 2016 estimate is that 36% of Americans will shop on Cyber Monday according to the National Federation of Retailers. This represents a 2% increase over 2015. In 2010 comScore measured a whopping $1 Billion in sales. That number is estimated to grow exponentially in 2016 to $3.3 Billion dollars, according to Forbes.
Online shopping provides holiday joy click by click. A great user experience can happen anywhere. With any device. There’s no long line. No constant bumping in the aisles. No crying toddlers (unless of course you have a crying toddler at your side).
Shoppers can have a tailored experience – over coffee in the morning, or with a beer in the evening. Whatever’s your pleasure is yours for the taking. A good digital strategy includes a brand-led experience balanced by understanding your targeted user and delivering how and when your customer is ready, willing and able.
The digital shopping world continues to increase its footprint and impact. Best practices shouldn’t be thrown out the window as you sell online. Now more than ever a good user experience is critical. 60-80% of online shopping carts are abandoned. Marketers and e-commerce teams need to make the path to purchase as easy as possible and be able to evaluate the benefit of cross-sell / up-sell versus a distraction that take online shoppers of course completely. Who are you selling to and deliver an experience that has user-centered design at its core.
The Joy of Online Shopping
But returning to Joy. A great user experience is easy to spot. Provide a clear offer. Make the buy button easier to find and click. Keep related offers, the cross-sell / up-sell, available so that when I want the matching hat, gloves, scarf, it’s there. Spread joy by sharing your great experience if you are the recipient. Spread even more joy if you are the creator of the experience. Click. Click. Joy.
McKenna Design Group creates amazing experiences. In print, online and everywhere in between. We’d love to help you deliver Return on Experience. Find out more.
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 gratification 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.
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® 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.
“Any customer can have a car painted any color that he wants so long as it is black.”
The Hausa in Nigeria, a black heart characterizes an angry man, a cheat, and an enemy, while a “black belly” represents a sad man.
The people of Uruk in present day Iraq use the term “black” to signify both very ripe fruit and arable land.
The earliest examples of papyruses composed with lampblack-based inks date back to 2600 B.C.
Famous Logos Using Black:
Thank you to Anne Varichon’s Book – Colors, What They Mean and How to Make Them, for supplying content and inspiration.
Technology can be black or white. Either it works or it doesn’t. We prefer when it does. And so do our clients. And their customers. Integrated marketing delivers a consistent branded experience at each step of the user experience. We all want brand loyalists. And advocates. What’s keeping you from attracting yours? See how McKenna Design Group builds brand.
I was pleased with myself when I discovered that sunlight, for example, could not be reproduced, but that I had to represent it by some other means… by color.
-Paul Cezanne (1839-1906)
The first pigments of yellow are traced back to the first cave painting more than fifty thousand years ago in a cave found in the northern part of Australia.
In India, the color yellow is connected to marriage (as indicated by the expression “to yellow the hands”) and conjugal happiness, and the pigment extracted from turmeric plays and essential role in this context.
In the Fiji Islands, when a daughter of a Lau noble reaches 16, she is forbidden from the sun, remains in at home for a period of time covered in a blend of turmeric and old so her skin becomes more dazzling.
Famous Logos Using Yellow:
Thank you to Anne Varichon’s Book – Colors, What They Mean and How to Make Them, for supplying content and inspiration.
No one wants to be disappointed, to have a bad experience. Everyone wants to be delighted, happily surprised. It’s the little things that add a smile in the every day journey we as customers experience. Every. Single. Day.
We expect more from brands. We want to be heard and be part of the story. The user experience is central to a brand-led experience. Brand loyalty must be earned. Create that branded user experience so fantastic that it knocks the socks of your customer. Gain momentum by empowering your customers to tell their friends, family, co-workers, teachers, baristas, Uber driver just how awesome the experience was. And then do it again.
“Orange is red brought nearer to humanity by yellow”
Orange is the only color whose name was taken from an object.
Nobility were the only ones during the Elizabethan Era would were allowed to wear orange.
Originally, carrots weren’t orange. The most common color was purple until 17th century Dutch growers crossbred white rooted mutated yellow and wild carrots.
Famous Logos Using Orange:
Whether attempting a home remodeling or getting a degree, the process is perfect. Process is something we think about when designing a user experience for our clients. Building a 360 degree user experience and affecting how your customers experience your brand – orange or not – is what we do best. Own the experience. Get ideas how.
“W” might stand for the women’s room, a hotel or something more powerful. In the month of October, W can be seen throughout the city of Chicago. The “W” flag flies high, in the window of office buildings, atop cupcakes and sundaes, as baseball hats and even on pizza. Chicago Cubs’ fans are an excellent example of the power of branding. Even though the Cubs haven’t won a World Series in 108 years, the fervor and passion their fans demonstrate shows how a brand can capture the hearts and minds of customers.
The Chicago Tribune published an article about how American Airlines, the official airline of the Cubs, is advocating, supporting and living the Chicago Cubs’ brand by flying the W flag – literally – in their airplanes. A pilot has flown the “W” from the cockpit. A drink has been created to fuel fan enthusiasm. The Cubs have an airline and a city cheering them on.
Powerful brands create emotional connections with audiences. Brand Loyalty is the foundation of building brand Advocates. Chicago Cubs’ fans literally “live the brand” whether it’s a tattoo, a car license plate or the food they eat. Fans believe.
Not Only for Ball Players Seeing W flags in lobby windows of office buildings lining Wacker Drive, reminds me of the 1994 movie, “Miracle on 34th Street” where New York City bands together in solidarity showing “We Believe.”
The Chicago Cubs are primed for success in 2016. Forget about the curse of the goat, black hat or other. If the energy of the Chicago fans was enough to make it not only to the World Series but then to win then the Cubs would emerge successful. Chicago Cubs’ fan believe with the energy and fervor reserved for the truly faithful. The ultimate loyalists…and advocates.
After two wins in LA, the Cubs are up a game. Games 6 and 7 are scheduled for Wrigley Field. The timing might just be right for a “W” pizza, blue and red layer cake and a sundae with blue sprinkles and a cherry on top.
What happens when the Cubs win? The “W” flag will fly…even higher.
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.