Sparks November 2008 -

Sparks November 2008

In the News

Are you a culture creator?
A recent article in HOW design magazine described a class of people who don’t just participate in culture; they create it. Are you one of them?

  • They are insatiably curious. They collect obscure ephemera and reject boredom.
  • They’re obsessed with research. They’re driven to understand all dynamics before developing innovative strategies.
  • They develop their intellect. Culture creators are driven to learn, learn, learn. Their voracious capacity for knowledge informs new ideas.
  • They’re respectful. They consider the context of their creations and don’t just launch ideas into the void.
  • They’re passionate about excellence. They admire a spotless kitchen as much as gorgeous architecture.
  • They’re experts. Sometimes perceived as arrogant, culture creators simpy can’t abide incompetence. They’re driven to excel and expect others to do the same.
  • They’re motivated by validity. Rather than pleasing the boss, culture creators are more concerned with the end user/customer experience as the bottom line.
  • They create fearlessly. Culture creators go forth boldly with new ideas. They’re not afraid to buck convention.
  • They celebrate rarity. They’re delighted by individuality. They see wonder in the everyday.
  • They are original. Culture creators challenge established norms. They seek to create new frames of reference and identity rather than default to formulas and external expectations.

Excerpted from HOW’s excerpt from Beyond Trend: How to Innovate in an Over-Designed World by Matt Mattus.

5 mistakes in Latino marketing
It’s an old saying: “It takes all kinds of people to make a world.” But Euro-American marketers often forget that when marketing to Latinos.

According to Joe and Christine Ray, principals of Estudio Ray, a firm specializing in marketing to Latinos, advertisers tend to stereotype when marketing to Latinos.

  1. Don’t rely exclusively on family images. This ignores the growing number of single professionals.
  2. Don’t miss the online bus. Latinos are spending increasing hours on the Internet rather than in front of the TV.
  3. Don’t assume all Latinos speak Spanish as their primary language. ‘Nuff said.
  4. Don’t just translate your materials into Spanish. Target your message to a specific market.
  5. Don’t assume Latinos are monolithic. Just like everybody else, Latinos are diverse in terms of income, nationality, culture, and ethnicity.

From Graphic Design USA’s June 2008 “Letters from the Publisher.”

Sparks on holiday
Sparks will be taking a break in December for the winter holidays. We’ll be back in January with more news about the Design & Marketing studio and tips to market your business more effectively!




This month’s winner: Megan House!
Our VisoVerbo champ wins a digital print featuring this one-of-a-kind design. Have a favorite quote or saying? Send it in! If your quote is chosen, you’ll receive a digital print of your custom design suitable for framing! Check out your competition here.

Client Spotlight

Canopy Group & The Indiana Economic Development Corporation
Canopy Group, a technology development firm, tapped us to create a new entrepreneurial venture: The BizCafé. We developed the BizCafé brand, name, visual identity, website, and subsequent PR.

Firm principal Cairril Mills acted as project lead, heading a five-state team of designers, illustrators, production artists, copywriters, programmers, and usability experts.

This was a major project, nearly two years in the making, and delivered ultimately to the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (formerly the Indiana Department of Commerce) for licensing at Canopy plans to market the BizCafé nationwide and continue to add features.

The Indiana BizCafé is tailored for entrepreneurs, investors,
mentors, and other business people
who need easy access to grants, government procurement, capital, investment opportunities, business expertise, and more. Members receive automatic notices of new federal government opportunities and are also able to communicate securely with other members.

The site is fully compliant with federal accessibility guidelines and received high marks in a battery of usability tests. The BizCafé is unique; no other website offers its combination of information and method of delivery.

I think this is great idea for new companies, and established companies who are looking for services and grants,” notes Dr. J. Jeff Schwegman of AB BioTechnologies, LLC.

“I really like the potential of this site. I think it will be a very valuable tool for my consulting work as well as for economic development opportunities,” adds Linda Williamson, economic development consultant and president of Go! Growth

We’d like to take this opportunity to thank the team that worked so hard to make the BizCafé a reality—especially those who put up with Cairril’s exacting standards for so long!

  • The IEDC: Project funding and ownership. Bruce Kidd (owner), Jim Grass (marketing), Derrick Davis (technology), Brooke Pyne (SBIR/STTR), Linda Peterson-Roe (project management and cat herder)
  • Canopy Group, Inc.: Project oversight, planning, and whip cracking. Craig Hickman (tech expert, state liaison, sugar supplier), Brian Kleber (Chief Visionary, project overseer, concept developer, referee)
  • The Development Team: Project development and insomnia.
    • Cairril Mills: Project lead, concept designer, brand definition, site designer, user experience designer, copywriter, accessibility consultant
    • Cathy Moore: Brand definition, usability consultant, copywriter
    • Ryan Cage: Programmer
    • Ian Desormeaux: Programmer
    • David Ernst: Programmer
    • Forrest Oliphant: Production artist
    • Travis Tom: Icon specialist
    • Michael Cagle: Illustrator
    • Bill Kissinger: Concept developer
    • Daniel B. Bicknell: Usability consultant

View the website developed by
Read the national press release