Tue, 02-26-2013 by Julia Reich

Why I love working with the food sector

I love to cook. And I love to eat. And because it's important to me to know where my food comes from, I love to shop for food - especially at farmer's markets or roadside stands (where I live in central NY state, many of my neighbors sell their homegrown produce, fruit, maple syrup, honey, or eggs along the side of the road. My favorite secret spot, a fleeting culinary treasure, is the orchard that sells - for maybe only 2 weeks out of the whole summer - apricots. Imagine - sweet, dripping, fresh apricots! On the east coast!). A former NYC-based vegetarian, for nearly 15 years I was a member of a CSA where I picked up my weekly share of veggies from an upstate farm.

I love to cook. And I love to eat. And because it's important to me to know where my food comes from, I love to shop for food - especially at farmer's markets or roadside stands (where I live in central NY state, many of my neighbors sell their homegrown produce, fruit, maple syrup, honey, or eggs along the side of the road. My favorite secret spot, a fleeting culinary treasure, is the orchard that sells - for maybe only 2 weeks out of the whole summer - apricots. Imagine - sweet, dripping, fresh apricots! On the east coast!). A former NYC-based vegetarian, for nearly 15 years I was a member of a CSA where I picked up my weekly share of veggies from an upstate farm.

About six years ago my husband and I moved to a rural area in the center of the state - the Finger Lakes, not only a beautiful region, but also a culinary hot spot and dripping with wineries. Sure, it was a enormous transition, but I relished the thought of living closer to the farms and markets that are the source of my food. And for the first time in my adult life I started to eat meat - once I got to know which farms were raising livestock using sustainable, humane practices.

Food produced sustainably, it seems to me, is one of life's primary elements. It all starts there. It is the basis of the health of the environment, my personal health, and for my family who eat the food I cook.  Everything flows from health: physical energy, mental acuity, emotional balance.

That's why, when I opened my creative studio in 2001, those organizations in the farming, nutrition, education, and other food advocacy sectors - along with culinary or food-based businesses -  became my favorite clients to work with. I have a lot of admiration for the amazing work these groups are doing to change the way we eat.

Like FoodCorps, who are addressing childhood obesity by increasing children's knowledge of, engagement with, and access to healthy food. (click here to see a case study of our work with FoodCorps)

Like School Food FOCUS, who assists many of the nation’s largest school districts in wielding their high-volume purchasing power to make more healthful, regionally sourced, sustainably-produced school food available to kids - thereby supporting student achievement and health while benefiting farmers, regional economies, and the environment. (click here to see a case study of our work with School Food FOCUS)

Like GrowNYC, who produce the fabulous Greenmarkets throughout NYC (noshing my way through the Union Square Greenmarket is one of my all-time favorite pastimes) as well as a whole host of other environmental education, gardening and recycling initiatives. (click here - and here too! - to see case studies of our work with GrowNYC)

...

Our foodie client list isn't just limited to nonprofits. We're pleased as punch to work with local food advocates in the for-profit sector, too - caterers, wineries, milk & yogurt processors, restaurants, stores, consultants and more -  such as Cater to You, King Ferry Winery, Hawthorne Valley Farm, and Elmhurst Dairy.

At Julia Reich Design, my expert creative team and I continue to be dedicated enthusiasts to supporting great food-based missions with creative, thoughtful, and effective marketing and design.

Wed, 09-5-2012 by Julia Reich

How to do you know when it’s time to re-brand?

I presented a webinar recently called “Help! My Logo Sucks!” for Kivi’s nonprofit communications blog. In it, I made the point that it is very important to have a good organizational logo:

“People are passionate and loyal to brands they feel connected to, and that doesn’t just apply to coffee and sneakers, it’s relevant to nonprofit brands too. Loyalty leads to increased awareness, participation, and donations. A logo is the main visual representation of your nonprofit brand. It’s something you use every day, on practically everything - your website, business cards, email signature, and lots more - and everyone will see it: donors, partners, sponsors, members, volunteers, and clients. The logo is the keystone of your branding. It’s the first and last impression you make with your audiences.”

We received lots of great questions, and did not have time to answer them all. One question which was repeatedly asked, “How to do you know when it's time to re-brand?” is the focus of this follow-up post to last week’s webinar, which originally appeared on Kivi's nonprofit communications blog.

 

How to do you know when it's time to re-brand?

Maybe your group has new leadership, and they’ve decided it’s ‘out with the old and in with the new’... or your mission has changed over the years, and your new identity isn’t representative of who you are now... or you’ve got a new program and it needs its own identity... or your name has changed because it was confusing and outdated... or there’s a dozen different versions of the logo in use, and no one knows where the original file is... or everyone is in agreement: the current logo is just plain ugly.

Whatever the reason, in spite of your best efforts at getting the message out - from your website, to email, to print communications, to fund raising events - you realize your efforts could be more professional, accurate, resonant, and consistent. Then it’s time for a re-brand.

What does re-branding entail?

Which aspect of the re-branding process should you undertake? The branding spectrum could encompass several aspects, from a simple logo tweak to a full-scale organizational re-branding program that takes into account positioning, messaging, tagline creation, and visual identity. The latter is a more comprehensive process that generally occurs with a startup organization, right from the outset, or in response to a strategic planning process the organization has conducted.

Post- strategic planning

Such was the case with a recent client of ours, Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce, located in central New York state. My team was brought on board to design their logo after they had gone through a strategic planning process. They also had a new office space and new, young leadership. They wanted to make a statement that CCCC was a different organization than they were before: “A fresh perspective, recognized as a business leader, doing things different, now we need a different look and feel,” reported Executive Director Andrew Fish.

Before and after the logo re-design

Similarly, Ohio Grantmakers Forum, a group which inhabits a small niche of the nonprofit world – a regional association of grantmakers — has been working for the past two years to plan strategically for how to adapt to the changing philanthropic landscape.

“One of the key results of this work is our decision to add new types of members to our statewide association, so that in addition to foundations we will now include individuals, giving circles and United Ways in our membership. We know we need to rebrand ourselves – with a new logo, tagline and website – while expanding and updating the key services that have made us successful during our 30-year history,” says Claudia Y.W. Herrold, OGF’s Vice President, Communications & Public Policy.

While OGF readies itself for this process, part of their re-branding has already occurred - a new name change - which will be officially announced later this fall.

When a program casts a long shadow

The Union Square Greenmarket – the largest and most successful open-air farmers market in the country – is a New York City icon, but few people are aware that this was a program of the 40-year-old Council on the Environment of NYC (CENYC).

“CENYC? What’s that?” would be the response of most New Yorkers when asked about the Council. As a result, the Council lost opportunities to engage people in its programs and to raise money from donors, many of whom didn’t grasp the full scope of the organization’s work. To address this need, the Council decided to undertake an initiative to rename and rebrand the organization for greater recognition by New Yorkers.

Thus GrowNYC was proposed as the new name for the organization, and in 2010 we were hired to design their new visual identity (below). The words around the logo – teach, recycle, greenmarket, garden – directly reference the organization’s program areas and are space-efficient. Unlike the old logo, this new look is accessible, and has a “home-grown” feeling that reflects the grassroots nature of GrowNYC’s work. This now looks like the kind of organization people want to get involved in.

Before and after the logo re-design

About the efficacy of the re-brand, Amanda Gentile, GrowNYC’s Development and Communications Coordinator says,

“It is absolutely true to say that since rebranding, the name GrowNYC has appeared in the media much more frequently. In the past, when a writer was reporting on a greenmarket they would never have mentioned Council on the Environment of New York City. Today, we see ‘GrowNYC’s Greenmarket program’ or ‘Greenmarket, a program of GrowNYC’, much more often.  More importantly, in general, we have appeared in the media more frequently than in the past and I can’t help but think that our name and mission are much more visible and understood, thanks to a concise logo/name, and therefore folks latch unto us and are intrigued by our work enough to cover it.”

(Interested in learning more about this project? Read a full case study here)

Excuse me for a moment while I freshen up

Sometimes a few tweaks are all that’s needed to make a logo appear more polished and professional. That’s what former client West Wind Consulting Strategies in Fund Raising, a consulting firm providing fund-raising advice, requested - “to look more in line with the times”.

Original artwork for the old logo couldn’t be found, so we scanned it from letterhead and re-created it from scratch. The new version features:

  • fewer “wind scrolls” to make the logo less fussy;
  • an updated typeface looks more legible and modern; and
  • an addition of the second part of their name, set below the main logo, in small text.

Before and after the logo re-fresh

When the old brand is out of synch

Sometimes you know it’s time for a re-brand because your organization’s mission, vision, and personality have changed over the years, and your logo no longer reflects who you have evolved to become. That’s exactly what took place with onerecent client, New York Insight Meditation Center (NYI), who hired us to create a new logo and tagline.

Before and after the logo re-design

Sebene Selassie, a former NYI Board member who was on the re-branding committee, says:

“I think we knew it was time to rebrand because we realized that our old logo of the circular hands and tagline ‘A peaceful refuge in the heart of the city’ did not resonate for us anymore as a full expression of what we had become as a diverse community dedicated to transformation. Our new logo which blends the vibrancy of the city with the beauty and grace of the lotus flower and the tagline ‘Where hearts & minds awaken’ both reflect a much more profound and holistic message about us now.”

…..

There are many indications it may be time to re-brand your organization. Regardless of your reason, and how much of the process you plan to undertake, an updated brand can be worth the effort  - in order to increase  visibility for your organization and its programs, create more compelling and effective communications, and reach more donors and other constituents.

 

Wed, 11-30-2011 by Julia Reich

Help! My Logo Sucks!

Hate your logo? Figure out if it can be fixed, or if you need a new one.
Presented Live on
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
1:00 - 2:00 p.m. Eastern
(10:00 - 11:00 a.m. Pacific)

 

Hate your logo? Figure out if it can be fixed, or if you need a new one.

Do you love your organization, but hate your logo? Would you love to change it, but you’re not sure what to do, how to talk about it, or know if you can afford it?

You are not alone.

Bad logos are a common nonprofit affliction. Maybe it was drawn twenty years ago. Maybe you started with clip art. Maybe you lost the original files and are using a version that looks like it has been faxed thirty times. Maybe you just flat-out don’t like it, whether you know why or not.

 

It’s OK. We’ll get you on the path to logo recovery!

Presented Live on
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Eastern
(10:00 – 11:00 a.m. Pacific)

 

During this webinar, our favorite design expert, Julia Reich, will

 

  • Elevate your knowledge of logo design, so you know what makes a good logo and what makes a bad one
  • Look at lots of logos with us, and discuss why they work and why they don’t so you can put the theory into practice and have examples you can discuss with others
  • Give you the ammunition you need to evaluate your logo and intelligently discuss it with your colleagues
  • Help you see if you can get away with a quick fix versus a total logo overhaul, and what each process entails

As an added bonus, Julia will review the logos of several participants live on the webinar.

It’s important for an organization to have a strong logo, since it helps you create a consistent look that reinforces your mission, increases awareness, and attract donors. We will help your logo go from sucky to successful!

Julia Reich of Julia Reich Design will present this webinar. Kivi Leroux Miller, president of Nonprofit Marketing Guide.com, will moderate your questions for Julia.


Fri, 10-21-2011 by Julia Reich

New logo design for the Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce

When an Upstate NY organization revolutionized its strategy in order to stay on mission, we jumped in to help.

Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce logo

When an Upstate NY organization revolutionized its strategy in order to stay on mission, we jumped in to help.

With a new executive director, new office space, and a new strategic plan, the Cayuga County Chamber of Commerce needed a newly imagined logo to let everyone know that things had changed.

In our Discovery Process, we learned that the Chamber’s constituents saw it as a social organization. But it’s really an advocacy and business development organization.

So we looked for active, bold, businesslike images, and avoided anything passive, soft, or pastoral. Our three suggested designs focused on three concepts: “Voice of the Business Community,” “County-wide Reach,” and “Collaboration.”

The Chamber went for “Collaboration.”

Our inspiration for that design came from the executive director, who told us that “the Chamber is the cog in the wheel that sets the business machine in motion.” That image set our imaginations in motion!

In the design, each wheel represents one of the three Cs of Cayuga County Chamber. The central “C” shows the Chamber at the dynamic center of things. And we chose a strong “Neutraface” font to mirror the circular shapes in the logo.

The bright, multi-color palette reflects the energy of the Chamber’s diverse membership, as well as the area it serves. Blue for the water that brings tourists to the Finger Lakes, green for the beautiful farms and forests, and oranges and yellows to illustrate the vigorous arts and culture of the area.

That beauty and energy now appears in the Cayuga Chamber of Commerce logo.


Tue, 05-3-2011 by Julia Reich

Graphic Design Style Guides, Part II – With Examples

I was honored to be a guest post-er last week on Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog. The title is Part II because Kivi had addressed the topic earlier in April, here. …… I met Julia Reich at the NTC conference (at the 501 Tech NYC Happy Hour to be exact) and being the nonprofit marketing geeks we [...]

I was honored to be a guest post-er last week on Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog. The title is Part II because Kivi had addressed the topic earlier in April, here.

……

I met Julia Reich at the NTC conference (at the 501 Tech NYC Happy Hour to be exact) and being the nonprofit marketing geeks we are, we started talking about the struggles that nonprofits face with design. We seemed to take a similar approach, so I asked Julia to guest blog for us. Her first post follows up on the discussion I started about style guides earlier this month by providing you with some real-life examples.

It’s not unusual that as an organization grows, your communication materials are created by various people. Before you know it, there’s five different versions of letterhead circulating around the office and your blue logo varies in shade from green to purple.

Consistency is Key. Inconsistency can be a problem. It’s crucial for a nonprofit to not only communicate their message clearly – what they do, how they do it, and who they do it for – but also to represent themselves visually in a consistent manner, so donors and other stakeholders will have an easier time recognizing your good work and understanding the case for supporting you. If you don’t communicate what your nonprofit stands for, intelligibly and distinctly, your audiences may become confused.

Style Guide Rules (or, Style Guides Rule!) Whenever my firm works on a branding project, our final deliverable is always a Graphic Design Style Guide (alternately referred to as Brand Standards or Brand Guidelines, if messaging and positioning were part of the branding process). The overarching need for such a manual is so that internally, your organization has a set of rules by which to create consistent communications collateral. The rules apply similarly to print and web usage – and Powerpoint, signage, a mug, the side of a truck, and any other media you can think of – although the specifics across media may vary. In essence, the Style Guide protects your organization’s message and your image.

Training Ensures Buy-In. Staff may need some instruction on how to implement their new style rules. For instance, along with the Style Guide, our clients receive a CD with their new logo in every possible file format necessary for usage with the above media. And while the manual explains when and where it’s appropriate to use each file, some explanation could be helpful for those not familiar with print production processes, or web standards. Training will also aid in getting everyone on board, ensuring buy-in throughout the organization for your new, or newly revised, visual identity.

Real Life Examples. Kivi’s post from April 12 was spot-on in terms of what is typically included in this document: logo usage, color palette, typefaces, and layout templates. If you’re a visual thinker like I am, it might be helpful to see examples of what this means. To that end, here are a few examples from style guides we’ve created over the years:


Tue, 12-21-2010 by Julia Reich

Why I Do What I Do

I’m currently enrolled in a 12-week class called The Certified Networker, held by the Referral Institute of Ithaca. In the class, I am learning how to develop relationships with people and create a referral network, which will help me grow my business. Part of this work involves enhancing my business image by developing a marketing [...]

I’m currently enrolled in a 12-week class called The Certified Networker, held by the Referral Institute of Ithaca. In the class, I am learning how to develop relationships with people and create a referral network, which will help me grow my business. Part of this work involves enhancing my business image by developing a marketing communication strategy. This strategy includes developing a short introduction about who I am and what I do, and a longer, 10-minute presentation, which is what follows in this blog post. It should have an emotional-based marketing theme, and a call to action.

You know I am a graphic designer, and that I am owner of my business, Julia Reich Design. Let me tell you about myself and WHY I do what I do.

I grew up in NJ, in the suburbs. My father worked on Wall St. as a securities analyst, commuting over an hour each way into the city every day. I did not see him very much, and we were never very close. To this day I could not really explain to you what he did for a living. My mother (now retired), with whom I was closer, started out as a high school math teacher, eventually earning two masters degrees and becoming a learning consultant where she tested teenagers with learning problems – special ed kids – and making recommendations for appropriate schools or programs that would best serve their needs.

As a kid, my two main interests were animals, and drawing. When I went off to college, I thought I’d study to become a wildlife biologist. However, at about the same time I learned that scientists need to have an aptitude for statistics & math, I discovered environmental education – teaching nature to kids – which I loved. i was drawn towards education since i admired my mother and her career, so I went down that path, but in my own unique direction, based on my love for the outdoors.

In my 20’s, after college and then living in NYC, I was an environmental educator. In my last job in that role, I was education director of a nature center on the Hudson River. But more & more I found myself interpreting science lessons with art rather than science, culminating in an environmental & artistic tour de force that was a life-size, indoor, walk-through Hudson River marsh, that I made with my elementary school students.

Soon after, I took an evening class at the school of visual arts in NYC in graphic design, which really resonated with me. In a few more years, I left my education job to attend Pratt Institute, and got a degree in graphic design two years later.

In 2001 I started my own firm. I had worked briefly in a corporate setting, as an in-house designer, but the cubicle life was not for me. I found the hierarchies in those firms stifle creativity and meaningful personal relationships, and which make business development satisfying for me as a “solopreneur”.

Because I was familiar with the nonprofit world, this quickly became my target market, and remains to this day. I’ve had the pleasure of working with some great organizations, educational institutions, and progressive businesses: Brooklyn Botanic Garden; GrowNYC (the org which runs the famous Union Square greenmarkets); Wildlife Conservation Society; National Environmental Education Foundation; Educational Video Center; Slow Food USA; Food Systems Network NYC; Hawthorne Valley Farm. These are the ones that have missions related to my own personal interests, that I feel passionate about, and are usually the most fun to work with. And that list hasn’t changed much since I was a kid – nature, environment, animals, and similar sectors – gardening, food, and anything that could be labeled ‘green or ‘sustainable’. And of course, education.

The services I provide for these nonprofits and progressive businesses include print design (such as brochures, reports, newsletters), web design, and branding. Branding is when I design not only a logo for a client, but create their entire identity, and often also aid them with positioning and messaging – how they communicate who they are in the marketplace. This is my favorite type of work because it is strategic and involves a deep Discovery phase, which is fun, because I really get to dig deep into who a client is – figure out their personality, what’s the story they want to tell, and then translate that into visual language. Once this is established, all those other things I just mentioned – reports, business cards, websites – will need to be designed using a consistent look, feel, and message. In essence, I help organizations create their identity from the ground up, by developing their character, logo, stationery and website – a strong visual gestalt that gets carried through everything else – packaging, advertising, eBlasts, and more.

I run my design firm as a “virtual” agency. By “virtual” I don’t mean “fake” – as I have an office, in Aurora. What I mean is that I work with a collaboration of experts that I hand-pick – professionals such as designers, developers, and photographers – but they mostly work offsite. These are teams of high-level talent that are custom-assembled for each client and project. As compared to a traditional brick & mortar office – with staff – I believe the benefits of a virtual model are manifold:

• Senior level talent. Each person has at least 10 years experience, and because they are all independent consultants, it allows for a more focused application of each expert’s individual skill set.
• Flexibility. To organize a top level team and do it quickly; and to change the team from project to project.
• Personalized service. One of my clients told me recently that the large branding firm they’ve been working with for several years sent their top execs to the first few meetings, but after that, meetings and phone calls were run by staff members who did not seem to be familiar with the client or the project. With the virtual agency model, there is no bait & switch from a senior team member to a junior-level person once the project is awarded. As creative director and project manager, I am always the point person.
• Value. Since I’m dedicated to working within my client’s budget most efficiently, my virtual agency rates are more reasonable and competitive as compared to medium and big firms.

I am growing my business, and maybe you, dear reader, can help me. One of my current clients is the Cornell Small Farms Program. To work with them, I became a “preferred vendor”. Now I can work with any department or program at Cornell, so I’d like to ask – if you know someone who needs graphic design services at Cornell, or knows someone who makes these kinds of purchasing decisions, would you be willing to introduce me to them? I would welcome the opportunity to talk to them about my business and how I may be able to assist them, and would be most grateful for your referral.

Once again, I’m Julia Reich, owner of Julia Reich Design, and I help organizations tell their stories, visually.

And if we ever went for a hike together, I could also teach you to how to identify birds by their calls, plants growing along the trail, and animal tracks in the snow. Oh, and anything you’d like to know about Hudson River marshes.


Thu, 11-11-2010 by Julia Reich

Is Your Logo Effective? A Handy List of Criteria

I’ve got branding on the brain – because I’m in the midst of several branding projects and also because I gave a workshop last night on the topic at Alternatives Federal Credit Union in Ithaca, NY. Here’s a short excerpt from that talk. …. If you are in the process of working with a design [...]

a logo design must be flexible enough to adapt to various media...

I’ve got branding on the brain – because I’m in the midst of several branding projects and also because I gave a workshop last night on the topic at Alternatives Federal Credit Union in Ithaca, NY. Here’s a short excerpt from that talk.

….

If you are in the process of working with a design firm on a new logo design, here’s a handy list of criteria to determine whether your visual brand identity is effective or not. Is it:

Flexible?
Meaningful?
Authentic?
Differentiated?


The Nike "swoosh" is based on the wing shape of Nike, the Greek Goddess of Victory

1. Meaning
Meaning may not always be readily apparent. I think that’s OK, as long as the meaning is there and the logo is not mere eye candy. For ex, do you know what the Nike logo represents? That famous Swoosh represents the wing in the Greek Goddess of victory, Nike.

Fort la Présentation logo

2. Authenticity
The design must be appropriate to your company, your target market, and the business sector in which you operate.
So for example, when I designed this logo for Fort la Presentation Association – a small regional association that is in the heritage tourism sector (they are reconstructing an authentic French & Indian war fort on the St lawrence River in Ogdensburg, NY) – I probably don’t want it to look like a logo for a contemporary art museum. This is reflected in the STYLE of how the logo is constructed – typefaces I chose; colors; even how the icon is rendered.

The brand should reflect your personality and be appropriate to your industry you’re in and your client’s expectations. Are you:
-an innovator? show Creativity & flair
-experienced and reliable? show Quieter and conservative
-high cost/high quality? show Visual elegance, rich imagery

(thanks to fellow designer Lauri Baram for her inspiration here!)

GrowNYC shwag

3. Flexible

Your visual identity must work well across media, scale, in black and white, and color.

In this example, we designed this logo for an environmental organization in NYC who has started to offer several products featuring the new design. We’ve also spotted it around town on kiosks, canopies, a carved pumpkin, and even the side of a building!

proposed GrowNYC ad on the corner of Broadway and Houston

4. Differentiation
In marketing speak, this is sometimes knows as your Unique Value Proposition or Unique Selling Proposition. For instance, if you consider water bottle packaging – those companies have done a good job convincing consumers there’s a difference amongst waters that by now have been revealed to mainly be tapwater. But generally there IS something unique about your company, and you need to identify what it is.

More on how to arrive at THAT realization in a future post -