Category Archives: Publishing

CMIT Solutions brochure

Creative Brochures for Managed IT Services Company

When Rick Staton started the CMIT Solutions of Upper Chesapeake franchise in 2018, he knew he wanted to invest in strategic marketing.

“Marketing generates leads,” he says, “And the more leads we have, the more sales we’re going to have.”

Rick decided to establish a marketing presence in multiple channels, including creative brochures, print ads, and direct mail. His commitment to marketing was so outstanding that his franchise won CMIT’s national Marketing Excellence Award in 2019.

Thinking Outside the Trifold

Although his franchise had ready-made brochures available, Rick wanted something more contemporary and unique. He asked us to unleash our creativity to create a series of print materials for him:

  • A general brochure describing the managed IT services
  • A family of brochure and postcards targeting the healthcare industry

It’s true that conventional trifolds have some advantages. They fold into a compact size, and they fit perfectly into those standard brochure boxes. But in the forest of trifolds, they can get easily passed over. So, we brainstormed other designs that would really stand out.

Bifold Brochure

For the general brochure, we decided to go with a large bifold that opens up to 8.5 x 14”. This majestic size helps prospects understand the big picture at a glance.

We curated information on CMIT’s key services and featured them with corresponding graphics in a customized business setting. We also created a map to show the scope of the franchise throughout North America.

Cross Brochure

For the healthcare-targeted brochure, we chose a design that starts as a square and unfolds into a cross—a symbol that is common in the medical field.

We played with language and chose images that blended the IT and healthcare industries. What better way to show this than with a stethoscope on a laptop?

As the cross unfolds, each pair of squares reveals a new message and addresses a felt need. This brochure encourages prospects to interactively engage with the content and absorb it one question at a time.

Postcards Based on Cross Brochure

To round out the family of healthcare-targeted print ads, we also created a series of postcards to be mailed out in succession. This cohesive campaign combined a highly customized cross brochure with simpler, economical postcards that all carried the same branded design.

Nationwide Demand for the Brochures

Rick loves the new print materials. “It gives me a lot more confidence when I meet with a prospect,” he says. “When I give them a brochure, they understand immediately what we are about. People remember the material, and they keep it.”

Rick was so impressed by the brochures that he showed them to the other 180 owners in the CMIT Solutions franchise.

“Their response was, ‘Stunning! Beautiful! Where can I get one of these?’” says Rick. “Now at least 12 franchises across the US have continued to purchase marketing materials that Accent Interactive created.”

Display Banner “Rains” People In

As a nonprofit, Kingdom Rain relies on supporters to accomplish their mission—training Christian leaders in remote areas of the world. Setting up display booths at conferences can be a great opportunity to promote their ministry. But with all the other organizations that also vie for people’s attention, how could Kingdom Rain stand out?

Kingdom Rain had already seen success in the website and print materials we had created for them, so they came to us for their display banner. Our creative challenge was to design a banner that would draw people in for a closer look, demonstrate Kingdom Rain’s mission, and develop a consistent marketing brand for them.

Kingdom Rain Banner

The Banner Beckons

The 80” tall banner piques interest from afar with captivating design elements. Once you’re up close, your eye flows down the banner like rain. We achieved this through using:

  • Geometric shapes at descending angles
  • Rain drops falling down the banner
  • Sophisticated images (alternating between color and monochrome)
  • Dramatic contrasts between light and dark

Result: The banner attracts attention from a distance, draws people to the booth, and keeps them interested from close up.

Message at a Glance

We wanted to communicate the essence of Kingdom Rain’s mission with the fewest number of words. At first glance, you can tell Kingdom Rain serves outside of North America.

  • The header reflects Middle Eastern shapes
  • The photos show cultural diversity
  • The background image is a subtle world map
  • The words are concise, from the tagline at top to the blocks of simple content along the sides

Result: The message is suited to the medium of the banner, which is meant to visually show what the organization is about. This gives Kingdom Rain opportunities to talk with people who are interested in learning more.

Consistent Branding

To create a consistent marketing brand for Kingdom Rain, we repurposed some of the photos and design elements from their website and brochures.

Result: If people see Kingdom Rain’s display banner, look at their printed materials, and visit their website, they get a consistent experience that builds trust and increases the likelihood of them engaging more.

Increased Booth Traffic

Kingdom Rain loved their banner and were excited to have it at their booth. “I’ve been to a lot of conferences in my lifetime and seen a lot of banners,” said the founder of Kingdom Rain. “This is the best banner I’ve ever seen.”

If you want to attract potential clients or supporters at a conference, then it starts with having alluring display materials. We’ll help you design whatever you need to get people interested in your work.

Big and Tall: Display Booth for Trade Show

Go Big or Go Homeland Security

Intelligent RF Solutions (iRF) wanted to make a big impression at an upcoming industry trade show in Washington DC. They design custom signal intelligence products for military and other government agencies, including Homeland Security, CIA, and FBI. iRF needed to attract potential clients to their booth, even from across the exhibit hall. So they came to us with a large-scale design challenge—visually promote their services using a display that is over 10 feet tall.

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Near and Far

When designing for such a large scale, we considered what would deliver the strongest visual impact, both from up close and at a distance. The towering banner had to draw people in, to make them feel like they’re experiencing what iRF can offer in a larger-than-life way. So we incorporated images that could capture attention from afar, and were meaningful enough to facilitate marketing conversations at the booth.

Hone in on the Drone

A central part of our design is a massive drone. Zooming across the whole width of the backdrop, this recognizable technology attracts industry partners who are curious about the latest surveillance equipment. They gravitate to the booth, where they are surrounded by a blue expanse, as if flying with the drone. The result is a perfect environment for discovering the benefits of working with iRF.

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Expansive Display, Specific Features

Other aspects of the design illustrate iRF’s message in a simple, cohesive way that is also visually appealing. The range of blues merged throughout the banner weaves an integrated experience from soaring in space to landing on the coast. Pairing the drone with a satellite emphasizes iRF’s specialty in communications. The design incorporates a container for the SMART Technology logo, providing a visual reference for promoting their modular approach.

Upscale Design, Modest Budget

Creating a banner this huge can get expensive, especially when purchasing images at very high resolution. A single photo could cost $500 or more. Using professional design techniques we were able to minimize the cost of stock photography and still maximize the visual impact of the design.

IMAX in Print

If you want to make a lasting impression with your display materials, it pays to partner with professionals. Our creative marketing team understands the unique challenges of handling large, high resolution files and designing within a budget. Getting a custom design with high-impact images means you’ll make a good first impression even from across the room.

Update: The trade show was in December. We are looking forward to getting some good photos of this soon.

Trifold with a Twist: Physical Therapy Brochure

David Shulman wanted a brochure to communicate the dramatic pain relief that patients can experience from physical therapy. How could we demonstrate these effective treatment results in a few flaps of folded paper?

Die Cut “Cuts Away” the Pain

The solution was a brochure that doesn’t just tell; it shows. We designed a creative alternative to the standard trifold, with an extra die cut flap on the front. This created a “before and after” effect. First you see a patient’s back with pain points. And like in lift-a-flap books, the surprise awaits behind. Open the flap to reveal—a pain-free back! This demonstrates how the Shulman team helps you avoid surgery and eliminates pain.

Shulman-Brochure-MockupShulman-Brochure-Mockup-Inside

Welcoming from “Nose to Toes”

The rest of the brochure introduces you to the team, shows how they can help you, and invites you to try them out.

  • Striking contemporary design
    captures attention with bold red and white
  • Map
    illustrates convenient office location for treatment
  • Photos
    subtle and prominent images depict the staff, their hands-on approach, and the comfortable environment
  • Staff bios
    introduce you to the friendly professionals treating you
  • Icons (back panel)
    echoed from the website, these summarize the practice’s differentiators

Handout from the Hands-on Practitioner

David Shulman loved the new brochure and started using it immediately. When he goes to speaking events and workshops, he has a memorable marketing piece to leave with prospective patients.

One-Stop Professional Shop

Our creative team fits the message to the medium. Whether we’re creating a website, a brochure, or a video, we’ll take advantage of its unique features, conveying your message with the best language and scope for that format.

Let us know if you’re ready to put your message in print. Although we’re not the ones to relieve your physical aches, we’ll make your marketing as pain-free as possible.

 

A Brochure that Barks

Terri and Pete are certified professional dog trainers, business owners of Complete Control K9 Academy. They know how to leash in the dogs, but to grow a new business they also needed to leash in the dog owners! Terri and Pete didn’t have any kind of print marketing materials to promote their professional services. They wanted to expand their business and continue establishing a reputation in the field of dog training.

Head to Tail

We created a catchy brochure that promotes CCK9 from beginning to end. It starts with an irresistible dog photo on the front and prominently displays the company’s contact information on both sides of the brochure for easy accessibility. Echoing the designs from the website, the color, style, imagery, and texture further extend the company’s online branding.

Top Dogs

Terri and Pete are highly qualified trainers, and we wanted to highlight their expertise. The brochure clearly displays Terri and Pete’s credentials, reliability, and professionalism.

ID Tags

To visually capture the uniqueness of each training package, we suggested custom icons for each one. This suggestion was unexpected, but after agreeing to it, they saw how these unique illustrations gave each package an identity. They are now considering using these as badges or on graduation certificates.

Ready to Go

Now CCK9 has a brochure that really barks – it captures attention and informs prospects how CCK9 is a right fit for them. And it’s so portable that even a dog walk in the park can become a serendipitous marketing opportunity. With their new brochure, Terri and Pete have confidence to bring in both ends of the leash!

We also designed their new website.

Update

Three months after we created this brochure, CCK9 completely filled up their schedule. The brochure was the key marketing piece that helped bring in the customers.

CCK9 Academy Brochure: OutsideCCK9 Academy Brochure: Inside

Mixed Messages

It’s no small matter when a client brings you 20 years of creative output and asks for publishing help. Our client had poured two decades into a print curriculum designed for training Asian leaders. He had been using this curriculum long enough to recognize something wasn’t quite right. There was a difference between what he thought he was communicating and what students were hearing. People were getting two different messages—one from the graphics and another from the words—and they didn’t quite sync.

Visual Stew

Our client understood the power of visuals in teaching and was using them liberally in his curriculum. But in contrast to his text, which was clear and precise, his visuals were sometimes hard for his students to decipher. At times, they even communicated the opposite of what he intended.

He needed some objective eyes to evaluate his visuals and help him see where they were wandering off course. Second, he needed experienced visual communicators to rework his illustrations to serve both his message and his students. He needed learner-centered design.

Back to the Drawing Board

For example, our client wanted to illustrate the Great Commandment of scripture: to love God and to love your neighbor. His original “circle of arrows” illustration lost the important distinction that love always begins with God and flows from God. It left out the role of the heart, soul, mind, and strength. In fact, it left out people all together. An illustration representing perhaps the greatest words ever spoken about relationships needed to depict…relationships! Our team brought out pencils and stacks of paper and sketched until we reached that “ah ha” moment when the illustration supported and clarified the text. Then we applied the same process to three more illustrations of the overarching concepts that anchored this curriculum.

Great Commandment BeforeGreat Commandment SketchGreat Commandment After

Quick Gets

Iconography is a smart way to create learner-centered design. Our client used icons in each lesson to help students identify priorities to explore and apply. The intended outcome was to create a “quick get” for students. But his original icons were photos, which don’t shrink well. Students could get hung up on what the icon was supposed to be and mean, thereby missing the real learning. The “get” was anything but quick—or clear.

We created simple, two-tone illustrations instead. The single image and spare design make it hard to miss the intended message. Learning happens!

CallingCompassionWisdom

Learner-Centered Design

It often takes an objective outsider to recognize why something isn’t working. It took our “outside eyes” to identify the problem—his visuals were sending mixed messages—and remedy it with learner-centered images. As a side benefit, our client ended up with lower production costs. His students ended up with deeper learning, free from confusion.

What message are your graphics sending? Are clients getting the message you intended?

Going Dutch

How do you arrange blocks of text and images so that they don’t look…well…too blocky? That’s the design challenge of most trifold brochures.

Around the Block

The creative spark for Thompson Suburban Dental Lab’s (TSDL) brochure came from one of the art world’s most adept arrangers of blocks: the 20th-century Dutch painter Mondrian. His paintings of geometric shapes and interlocking planes gave blocks a whole new beauty. You could say Mondrian did for blocks what TSDL does for smiles.

The inside center of the brochure is most Mondrianesque with its blue blocks and heavy white lines. This technique gave us lots of little spots for interesting content, like the “after” photo and testimonial.



Go with the Flow

The arrangement of copy in this tri-fold brochure plays with blocks too, flowing across panels instead of staying in neat little thirds of the page. This gives the design a sense of structure without being too rigid and echoes the combination of reliability and innovation that is TSDL’s trademark.

Piet Mondrian died in 1944 but he continues to influence design from high fashion to album covers to…brochures. What creative dilemma can you solve today by thinking “out of the blocks” like Mondrian?

Composition with Red, Blue and Yellow by Mondrian was one of the inspirations for our design on this brochure.The outside of the Thompson Suburban Dental brochure features the logo we designed in 2012.The inside of the brochure is the most Mondrianesque, with blue blocks providing boundaries for photos and a testimonial.

An Invitation to Magic

“The narrator’s voice in the Bodhi books captured the essence of childhood magic for me,” says designer Chris. “I wanted to explore and play like Bodhi.” So when asked to design promotional bookmarks for the Bodhi eBooks, Chris’s creative path was clear: a return to childhood delight.

Into the Woods

Can a paper bookmark capture the feel of a forest rich with possibilities for fun? Yes, it can—especially when a die-cut turtle’s head peers out at you, a toad poises to pounce, and a dog’s grin invites you to play. Curved lines create a sense of movement, a path to explore. Rich greens flecked with dew bring to mind the cool depths of woods on a summer day, just as they are in Bodhi & the Friendly Forest.

Wearing Many Hats

In Bodhi the Christmas Helper, a playful Bodhi turns industrious as he tackles Christmas preparations. The moment Chris saw the photograph of a worn-out Bodhi in a Santa hat, he knew that was the image he wanted to pop from the top of this bookmark. Then, because Bodhi wears many hats in this book, Chris anchored the design with Bodhi in a very different hat.

Curved lines again create a sense of movement, but the palette leaves the summery forest behind and depicts a snowy landscape. But that landscape is warmed by the glow of bonfires and Christmas lights, just as touches of gold warm the mood of this bookmark. “I wanted to create a Night Before Christmas atmosphere,” says Chris.

In the Mood

Some may view a bookmark as a mere marketing piece. Fill it with the pertinent information and move on. Chris wanted the Bodhi bookmarks to be invitations into a magical, playful world. He wanted to take us all back to childhood. Did he succeed?

Bodhi & The Freindly Forrest BookmarkBookmark: Bodhi the Christmas Helper

Download Now at iTunes

To download a free sample or purchase a copy, visit the iBookstore using the links below.

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Want to learn more about Bodhi? Visit Ravenwood Press and read about this charming dog you can’t help but love.

Open Concept Design: Not Just for HGTV

Across America, homeowners are swinging mallets and wielding hammers in the name of open concept design. Walls are coming down, light pouring in, and space expanding in rooms that were once admired for their coziness and intimacy.

When we were asked to “renovate” the cover of the Barr Group’s signature book on embedded systems coding, open concept home design provided our creative blueprint.

Down Came the Walls

Our first step was to remove walls. The original book cover sported a wide border. Borders confine a cover, much like a frame confines a painting—or walls confine a room. Remove the border, and the effect can be similar to what happens when you remove walls between rooms: a sense of spaciousness and a release from limits.

Bright and Light

Next, we addressed color, moving from the earthy green of the original cover to a cool, electric blue. Think of the blue of electrical arcs or the bluish glow of monitors. It’s the color that comes closest to saying “cutting edge technology.”

Color comes alive under the right lights and achieves depth. In home design, lighting also defines a room’s focus. Lighting serves the same purposes on this book cover, giving depth to the otherwise one-dimensional image and inviting the eye to focus on the book’s title.

Crossing Over

Design crosses borders. In this case, home design principles crossed over to influence book cover design. You can see the results below. What design challenge are you facing? Try crossing borders for your creative spark.

Barr Group book cover before

Barr Group book cover after

Brave New World with Bodhi

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When nature photographer Middleton Evans asked us to turn his mountain of photographs of a dog named Bodhi into a children’s book, we faced two “never did that before” challenges.

Create Backwards

The first challenge related to the writing process. “Most children’s books start out as a story told with words, then the story gets illustrated,” says writer Sue Kline. “We were trying to do the opposite. We had years of Bodhi ‘illustrations.’ Could we find the stories hidden among them?” Sue spent hours with the photographs of Bodhi until they were as familiar to her as old family snapshots. Soon Bodhi’s personality emerged and even a voice. He was no longer a dog; he had become the audience she was writing for: a child.

“Once I saw Bodhi that way—being silly, feeling lonely, getting excited, loving adventures—I could ‘hear’ the potential stories in the photos,” Sue says. “I could look at a photo and know what he was feeling and what he would do next.”

Putting the “e” in “eBook”

The second challenge required that we enter the brave new world (for us) of digital book publishing. And because our collective enthusiasm makes it impossible merely to dip a toe in the water, we dove into the deep end. We weren’t going to produce any old eBook! No, our eBook would have sound effects (screeching eagles! rumbling snow plows! grumbling bears!). Our eBook would have narration. No, wait, our eBook would have voices for every character, not just a narrator.

Switcheroo

We set out to publish a read-aloud eBook with the just released ePub3.0 specifications. And just when we polished off our first two eBooks, Apple changed the guidelines for children’s read-aloud books in the iTunes store, requiring us to recode every page of both books (sigh).

But the result, we think, is worth the effort. Tell us what you think. The Bodhi books are available now at the iBookstore.

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How About You?

If there is a book in you waiting to come out, contact us to help find it and bring it to the world.