Blog

Good design is good business. Building brands that people trust is the key to creating a company that people want to do business with.

If I walked into the local pub in the city where I live, and sat down at the bar, I'm wondering about the blank stares I would get if I asked the guy sitting next to me, "So, how about that net neutrality thing?"
Don't expect that your customer will want to do things your way, if it's not a proprietary process.
The last day of Dreamforce ’12 was bittersweet. I am happy to get back home, not because the Marriot Marquis’ accommodations aren’t as nice as home (they’re actually nicer) it’s mostly cause I miss my family. Yet, I wish I could have had an extra week to pick the brains of the developers. I had 2 breakout sessions and I attended the Q&A with Marc Benioff. The first breakout sessions dealt with non-profit organizations and…
Hello from San Francisco, on day two of Dreamforce ’12. The day started with the keynote address, followed up with plenty of breakout sessions and the night ended with a concert by the Red Hot Chili Peppers. A virtual who’s who of the tech world was on hand to listen and partake in the events, all of which were awe inspiring and informative. The keynote address from Marc Benioff was even better than expected. I…
Hello again from Dreamforce 2012. The third day here for me was a busy one. I went to several breakout sessions dealing with development, spent some time talking to the Salesforce.com Foundation representatives in the nonprofit area, and listened to Colin Powell and Jeffrey Immelt discuss their views upon todays technological landscape. Later I attended a party for nonprofit engagement companies. First I have to state that this is one immense convention. There are well…
Dreamforce ’12 got off the ground in excellent form. The size and scope of the event are amazing. So far San Francisco has been an excellent host, ideas are being shared, the breakout sessions are enriching and the participation is strong. The anticipation level is also pretty high for Marc Benioff’s address tomorrow and seeing where Salesforce.com is navigating to in the near future. There are a multitude of breakout sessions that they have here,…
Sixteen years ago, it was simple enough to start a business under my own name, and build it on the talent and experience that a young designer had at the time. Over that time, the firm has matured; our expertise has deepened, we are engaged in the strategic aspects of our client engagements more than ever. Thank you for being part of our journey. We are at the point that can be best summed up…
How often have you asked yourself “How do I measure my social media?” Within the nonprofit sector, we need to define ROE as the Return on Engagement, and ROI as the Return on Influence.  ROE and ROI are closely related; and neither should be considered independently. How to begin measuring? We suggest a service such as Sprout Social, (sproutsocial.com) which enables you to schedule your Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn activity – as well as measure…
After a recent conversation with the communications director of a global manufacturing company who also runs a non-profit, I've been thinking lately about the designer's obligation for altruism. To put it simply, we are obliged to give back to the community in meaningful ways. This particular individual runs a non-profit on a budget of under $100,000, rehabbing homes in the inner city. It's a worthwhile cause, since their consitituents are on fixed incomes and can't…
Since fifty is the new thirty, as a firm we want to move from the pursuit of success to the achievement of significance. Awards and recognition don’t matter as much anymore; doing work that leaves a lasting and noticeable impact does. In order to do that, we’re going to focus even more narrowly on the nonprofit and grant-making sectors, and develop our expertise in nonprofit communications even deeper. As we separate our services for for-profit…
For the past few years, we’ve been talking with our clients about alignment – when branding and communications align with the organization’s mission and connect with stakeholder’s values. It’s not complicated: Listen closely to what the stakeholders are saying, and it will be clear what they are listening for. We’re listening, and a few months ago started on a journey of re-alignment. 16 years ago when we started the firm, its name was Brian Sooy…
10 years ago, I started on a journey to reinvent my firm, without realizing that it was the beginning of a road less traveled. Where many designers are passionate about design, I am equally passionate about running my business well. Learning to conduct business, manage business, and develop business is an ongoing process. Solving problems for our clients is important; I want them to know I also understand their business challenges. I learned how to…
Apple announced Steve Jobs' retirement as CEO on August 28, 2011.  There will be many articles written, including this one from FastCo Design: What Makes Steve Jobs so Great? Jobs' insights are key to design thinking: put yourself in the user's place, and design for them. Recalling Jobs first meeting with Jonathan Ive, the writer states "That single moment in the basement with Ive tells you a great deal about what made Steve Jobs the…
When designing a Bible typeface, what considerations come to mind? Legibility, character count, beauty? What's most important? This article references Lucerna, the font designed for the New Living Translation Bible. The answers are in response to one student's questions about typeface design for Bibles.  In 2006, the typeface Lucerna first appeared in the New Living Translation Bible, Second Edition.  it has since been used in the Life Application Bible featuring the NLTse, the New King…
I'm not one for nostalgia, but reflection is healthy and valuable so that we can evaluate where we've been and where we're going. It's no different with Sooy+Co – celebrating and observing in 2010 – 15 years of business, all of which we are extremely grateful for. Business ownership and entrepreneurship weren't a consideration when I graduated from Bowling Green State University in 1984 (the year that the Macintosh was announced to the world). I…
Gap really just missed the point with its new failed logo: the new logo was weak and unoriginal. H&R Block got away with it with the green square, but that was before the internet community started critiquing everything that's new and unfamiliar. Fast Company points out how "logo rage" has claimed yet another victim.  The attempt to recover through crowdsourcing was a reactionary response to an internal management failure.
A conversation with a colleague brought up the General Theory of Design, as we discussed the numbers of options that at times must be presented in order to receive approval for a design project. The General Theory of Design is as follows: "Design consists of creating things for clients who may not know what they want, until they see what you've done, then they know exactly what they want, but it's not what you did."
In living rooms and pubs, basements and family rooms, millions of people gathered to watch the Superbowl commercials, while watching the game during the breaks between commercials. In addition to a great game, the 2010 Superbowl commercials offered a glimpse into the zeitgeist of baby boomers, desperate and brilliant creative, and lots of hype. Desperate: Screaming chickens, fiddle-playing beavers, vengeful dogs, sock monkeys, animated squirrels, talking flowers. Multiple underwear references, football references, and would you…
Three companies recently caught my attention with their direct mail, email newsletters and a blog. It's clear they trying to be something that they're not. The envelope I received reads "INSIDE: Branding Strategies to Help Differentiate Your Business." The email and direct mail newsletter promised to teach me about "Social Media Benefits for Designers and Creative Professionals" The blog wanted to teach me about "Altering the Basics of Modern Marketing (with a mnemonic based on…
My story begins with the purchase of a fountain pen, and ends with a lesson in how a brand (especially a luxury brand) achieves brand alignment. Huh? What I mean is that customer service is part of your brand, because it's part of the customer experience. When you make a claim about your brand, you need to back it up, especially when the customer isn't happy. Brand alignment occurs when your business strategy and positioning…

Fresh Design Thinking