New Name, New Blog

June 17, 2010

I have a brief announcement to make that has big implications:

D&A Design is changing its name to Brand Shepherd
(effective immediately).

We have put a lot of time, thought, and energy into renaming and rebranding our little corner of the design and branding world, and we feel that now is the right time for this change. With the name change comes an all-new web site, too. We invite you to take a look:

For those who want a detailed explanation we’ve tried to answer any and all questions here.

Probably the most practical information to share concerning this blog is that our new web site will also be home to our new blog. Please update your RSS feed and bookmark.

We do plan on keeping this blog up – it still attracts a lot of visitors for the content we’ve posted.

We are very excited about having a new name for our business that more accurately communicates what we’ve been doing all along.




Big News On The Horizon

May 30, 2010

This year is shaping up to be a year of significant changes for us. In the coming weeks we’ll have news regarding our business that we believe is going to help us better serve the businesses we work with.

I don’t mean to be cryptic here, but here’s a video that is fun and relates (conceptually) to the big news to come. 🙂   Stay tuned!

New Northern Kentucky Advertising Opportunity

May 12, 2010

Small businesses in Northern Kentucky now have an especially targeted method of getting the word out about what they do. DoorsDirect™ is:  “the one-stop-shop for the design, printing and distribution of direct to door marketing. We specialize in multi-ad door hangers.”

D&A Design worked with owner David Clegg to design the DoorsDirect logo, as well as the template for their Colossal Door Hanger™. The Colossal Door Hanger has allotted spaces on it where small businesses can buy single, double, etc. ad sizes. The door hangers are printed in full color, front and back, on a sturdy card stock.

Distribution is the key for DoorsDirect – they offer 10 zones in Northern Kentucky, and each zone has 10k homes that will receive a door hanger. It is literally direct, targeted marketing!

To the right is a prototype we designed for DoorsDirect showing what ads might look like on the door hanger. We used D&A Design clients as advertisers, and it’s worth pointing out that while we’re sure they appreciate the added exposure, the deals offered on each ad are our own creation.

We wish DoorsDirect all the best as they work with small businesses around Northern Kentucky (and soon across the river in Cincinnati!) to get the word out.


Sneak Peek: Morgan County CVB logo

May 3, 2010

We’re giving a sneak peek of a new brand we’re working on: The Morgan County, Ohio CVB.

This logo has been released to a few small advertising opportunities the CVB has received, so we thought we would offer a look at the tip of an iceberg. 🙂

For this project, which has been in development since late 2009, we have started from scratch: Nothing of previous branding was kept for what we’re working on now.

Our process continues to serve us well: Listen, Think, Create and Serve. We began by listening with our ears, as well as spending time in Morgan County – really absorbing the area to get a feel for what we would be designing. We then created a bunch of tag lines, and developed those choices into what you see above: “Morgan County, Ohio:  Front Porch to the Great Outdoors™

From there a large set of logos was developed, and working meeting was held to work through finalizing the decision to the logo you see above. Two weeks later we met again, nearly a dozen of us, to work through color. D&A Design is very hands-on in our creative process! 🙂

Now we are hard at work wrapping this up – creating a beginning ad template, stationery, digital assets, and guidelines for brand children… lots of future show-and-tell to come.

In the meantime, if you’re looking for a very relaxing weekend getaway we would be remiss if we didn’t suggest you look into visiting Morgan County, Ohio.


Dog Rescue Gets A New Web Site

April 16, 2010

Dog Rescue

We’re happy to announce the launch of Frankie’s Furry Friends, a small dog rescue here in the Cincinnati area! Frankie’s Furry Friends is a dog rescue that helps small dogs find forever homes.

About the site: This site was built on the WordPress platform, which is an open-source Content Management System (CMS). A site built on such a platform allows the site’s owner(s) to maintain it with great ease. If you can use MS Word, you can use a CMS web site.

Also… once a year we will be taking on one pro bono project where we donate all of our design and branding time/expertise to an organization that we support. Our dog, Jake the border collie, is a rescue dog, and we are strong supporters of no-kill shelters and rescues in general. Frankie’s Furry Friends is 2010’s recipient of our time, design, and expertise. We couldn’t be happier for them.

It has been our pleasure and honor to contribute our time and expertise to Frankie’s Furry Friends. We know they will be a place where little doggies find forever homes. 🙂

Take a look and if you’re so inclined please consider adopting one of Frankie’s Furry Friends.

Designed or Bought?

February 21, 2010

Just read a thought-provoking post over at LogoDesignLove about a topic that’s been a discussion among designers for years.

The question is simple:  “Are iconic logos designed, or bought?”

The answer seems to depend on what side of the table you’re on. When I talk to  fellow designers most will say that iconic logos – or any logo – are bought because a budget puts real value on what you’re designing, and a budget also gives a cap to when development time is complete. For instance, most seasoned designers have a process from creating many logos over the years, and this process has an average number of hours built in so as to realistically estimate the time needed to design a logo. Logos that are bought have a well-defined scope, a set time budget, and are most importantly a solution for business.

On the other side of the table are the business owners, the managers, the folks who are actually paying for the design work. They will often cite Nike as a good example of a simple logo that didn’t take hardly any time to develop, and is a household icon. It’s a point worth taking. Certainly genius can strike in minutes. And if there’s one thing designers whom are not also business owners tend to be vastly disconnected with, it’s the cash flow implications of their work for their clients. On the client side is also the correct expectation that a designer will work on a logo until it’s done to the client’s satisfaction – regardless of how many hours that takes.

So who is right?

I ask:  Why does it have to be “Designed or Bought”?

It must be both when we’re talking design.

Founder of the German Bauhaus school of design, an institution that changed everything, Mr. Walter Gropius said it best: “Art is self-expression; Design is problem-solving.” When we design, we are not creating pieces of art. By its very nature, Design is a creation process on behalf of someone or something else. Design is solving communication puzzles with aesthetics, not expressing how one feels about this or that.

I believe the premise of the question is wrong. Logos are not designed or bought, they are designed and bought.

If you want to express yourself, go paint. The world needs more painters anyway.

Cheers! ~ Dan

A look under the hood

February 2, 2010

With last month’s launch of our sister company, Brand Shepherd™, completed we thought it would fun to post a little look under the hood of sorts… what’s going on around D&A Design.

How sweet it is! We have begun work on a brand identity and packaging for a line of raw honey and honey-related products. Show-and-tell should be ready in a month or so. Really enjoying the process, and learning all about beekeeping.

Who’s keeping score? Another consumer packaging design project is about halfway completed. Next week a photo shoot in Palm Springs, CA gets underway for this project. We can’t wait to get those images into the new packaging we have designed. This product is going to really pop off the shelf.

PR, Marketing, and… Advice? Yes! Go check out a site we just launched for Cincinnati-based PR firm, Marketplex. A small firm with loads of experience, Marketplex has a very useful service for small business owners:  Advisory Boards. Get in touch with owner Tom Besanceney – you’ll be fascinated by the process. We’re going to get some marketing initiatives started soon to let folks know about what’s going on with Marketplex.

35,000 reasons to visit Chillicothe, Ohio. In mid-January the 2010 Visitors Guide was printed for Chillicothe, Ohio… 35,000 of them! This year’s guide will really stand apart from other guides at Ohio travel pavilions. We visited a few pavilions to stare down the competition and see how we could make Chillicothe stand out. Mission accomplished.

The politics of design. This month D&A Design has begun working on our first entry into the world of politics by working with a local candidate on creating some well-branded materials. Love or hate him, Barak Obama changed branding in politics forever. A serious candidate can no longer go with whatever a design novice creates. Branding has power.

Sit, Ubu, sit. Good dog. How could we post a look under the hood without mentioning Dinovite?! We recently worked on a project where web banners were paired with streaming radio commercials. The banners take you to a landing page where you can learn all about Dinovite Liquid and/or get right to the buying. We continue to be blown away by how much Dinovite lets us design for them – they are great people to do great work for, and our D&A Design’s border collie, Jake, has benefited from their products for almost 2 years.

Lots of show-and-tell on the horizon. We feel that 2010 is literally the time, day by day, for the businesses who want to get serious about their image to do so and take advantage of vulnerable market share. The Great Recession may or may not be over, but there are big chunks for the taking for businesses with a well-honed image and message. Get in touch if you’d like talk with us about how we can help make that happen.