Good Stationery is Nothing to Fight About

 

stationery

“Stationery” is a term that used to refer to anything that a stationer sold. While this word was pretty common in 1688,  it’s sort of fallen out of popular use in 2016 (where we’re facing down interjections like “meh” and words like “literally” for figuratively.)

But the history of stationery is literally a modern-day soap opera. There are pens made exclusively for women, “vintage” stationery that’s supposed to spark our interest in romance (we’re already hearing ourselves repeating Endymion), a $26,000 fountain pen that you can own, and serious fights over pen designs.

The fact is that stationery can cause an uproar, and you want to make sure your designs matter.

Stationery, first started by the Egyptians with the discovery and use of papyrus, has caused grown women to fight each other in stores and a really large pencil to incite smiles from babies. But stationery wasn’t always this popular– even the venerable Post-It Note founders had to force people to take samples.

But today, stationery is a big business, and if you’re not ready to stick with it (Post-It joke, sorry), you might as well not even use it. One question you might be asking is “do people even use stationery anymore?” to which we scoff. Uh. Yes. If you have to mail documents, send invoices, or incorporate direct mail into your business, then you’re going to want to make sure that your stationery is up to standards and to ensure you’re missing some common design errors. You wouldn’t want to cause any fights over poor designs!

 

Destroy the Whatever

There’s a little phenomenon that we like to call whatever. Whatever happens when you’ve got one extra thing on your plate so you sort of push your goals aside. Whatever can happen at any time: You have 9 projects to manage, a baby spitting up on your work documents, an intern who recently quit, and a team of people looking to you for answers. One of them says, “Why don’t we throw this logo on the site today?” You’re tired. You don’t like the logo but you don’t have any other options, so you whatever it. It goes up. It stays up. 3 years later, it’s still there and there’s a whole new list of whatever moments happening.

Let’s destroy the whatever right now.

It was good before so…

When your site was designed, it was probably working as it should have. The story of your company was a good story for then. The web design firm or freelancer that you worked with probably had a good grasp of the design zeitgeist. Their decisions were made based on their current climate. But in the design world, even a 1-year-old website can look as outdated as an IBM typewriter. We don’t know of any companies whose vision, branding, or goals have remained the same for the entirety of their company.

It’s sort of hard to find a company that has the same goals for an entire 6 months, so it’d be ridiculous to assume that it’s a good idea to leave your site as-is for years and years. Something’s gotta give. And it’s probably necessary to give up all those whatevers and start connecting to make your site yours for now.

It’s time to get inspired.

Find a design firm whose goals align with yours. Find a team that knows how to elevate your vision and translate it into a website that houses all your needs. So you have one less thing to do and one more way to highlight your company.

It’s time. Let’s get back to those goals. Let’s figure out a way to make your website great again. Check out portfolios and get moving. Let your website do what you need it to do, and don’t do it alone if you don’t want to…or whatever.

What’s Up?

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While some throwbacks involve funky haircuts, dads in mom jeans, and Aunt Harriet’s wild collection of glass penguins, we wanted to share a throwback that involves something we really really love: chili

Like Sails on a Wagon

In the 1860s, people put sails on wagons. While others stood by and laughed at the seemingly strange invention, those wagon sailors flew by with their coattails billowing in the wind. Even though that idea didn’t stick, it’s the story that we like. It’s the fact that a group of people got together to try something that they thought would change the world forever. We get excited by ideas like these, which is initially what drew us to The Wagonmasters.

The Wagonmasters are a group of entrepreneurs and business leaders in the Wichita area dedicated to making a difference in the lives of Wichitans by providing and supporting a variety of local programs. When Wagonmasters came to us about their chili cookoff logo, we knew we had to create something memorable and meaningful that would reflect their philosophy.

We got super excited about this challenge. Who doesn’t love chili? And that, paired with the fact that the Wagonmasters help the community, made working with this client sort of a win-win. The Wagonmasters are vibrant and lively, and we wanted to create a logo that was just as exciting as they are.

So we hit the drawing board. We knew we needed a logo that would be flexible enough to be used on signs, in print, and on the web, and our first round of logo sketches tried to reflect that goal:

Wagon Masters Chilo Logo by EntermotionWagon Masters Chili Logo Sketch by Entermotion

Our first logo featured carrots being placed into hats, smiling chili bowls with spoons and forks, and cowboy-attire-wearing beans and bowls. Although our finished logo was different from the ones we created in our sketches, we needed those initial sketches. Because of the Wagonmaster’s story, we knew the logo had to show movement— after all, the Wagonmasters are all about moving and shaking. We settled on this final logo because it represented the pioneering attitude of the Wagonmasters and the fun-loving nature of the chili cookoff.

Wagon Masters Logo

I’m Nobody, Who Are You: The Power of Understanding Your Brand

The Power of Understanding Your Brand

Look around you. Everywhere you go, every single advertisement or logo or shoe or movie or poster or postcard you see has a story to tell, and that story is what draws you into the brand. If you don’t understand your brand, your values, or your customers, it’s going to be difficult to create a cohesive message (and it’s going to be even more difficult to analyze your results properly).

Make Up Your Mind

The power of your brand will come in its ability to generate one idea and one “self” across multiple platforms. Whether you’re sending out emails, meeting people at work events, or passing out business cards at a conference, you want to stay centered around what your brand’s goals are.

Uncover Your Inner Brand

Unlocking your brand’s power will come after quiet reflection, a lot of questioning, and perhaps a few really big cups of coffee.

Design is the practice of intent. It is being able to fully consider what we want to bring into being as the first act of creating it. The creation process is managing the tension between what we intend to create and the current condition we are in in relation to this creation. If we consider the “why” behind what we are doing, then we want to be able to create a brand to convey this in support of the “what” we are creating. The brand development process is vital to drawing this out. – Peter Ruppe in an interview with Rising Above the Noise

Brand Flexibly

Your creating a brand for forever right? You want something that can continue to grow and change for the next 10, 20, 30+ years. You want to ensure that your brand is able to be adjusted. This has more to do with your ideas than your brand’s “face,” but it’s still an important lesson. If you create a brand that is too rigid, too set in one time period or niche, or too exclusive, it might not be able to grow as your customers do.

Take it Home

Our best advice is not to rush it. Take your ideas home with you. Sit on them a bit. Let them grow organically as you develop other aspects of your brand. You don’t have to have everything figured out all at once, and sometimes, the most genius ideas come when we least expect them.

Albums We’ve Been Digging in March

EM-Playlist

A lot has been going on around here! We’ve been designing logos, updating some websites like Samuel B. Roberts, working on some email blasts for Stribling Equipment, working with Scooper Joes on getting some new flyers created; and we’ve been communicating with clients via our new email, which we’re endlessly excited about.

In between client work, playing with our new babies –did you know the work we do at Entermotion is paying for 3 new lives out there in the world? How great is that?– and reading some of our favorite blogs and blogs and more blogs, (did we mention we love blogs?) we’ve been digging on these new albums.

 – Tiga: No Fantasy Required
–  Kendrick: Untitled Unmastered
–  Lapsley: Long Way Home
–  Wolfmother: Victorious
–  Polica: United Crushers
–  Emily Wells: Promise