Tag Archives: design


Have you noticed that everything is going pink this October?  Designated as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, many organizations are “thinking pink,” bringing both hope and awareness to breast cancer awareness, treatment, education and research.  Companies are embracing creative ways to utilize the breast cancer awareness pink ribbon and pink branding for the cause.

The NFL not only looks good in pink, it has brought the playing field full circle. Adding the famous pink ribbon to the turf, pink accents on the referees’ wrist bands and players sporting pink gloves and cleats, our eyes gravitate more to the muscular men in pink…well maybe that’s just us. Their campaign, “A Crucial Catch,” in partnership with the American Cancer Society, is focused on the importance of annual screenings, especially for women who are 40 and older.  Great job NFL!


Food, cosmetics, apparel and fragrances are all on the pink band wagon. As Ralph Lauren saddles up to support their Pink Pony Fund through sales of apparel and fragrance products, Tide Detergent is re-branding their look to bring awareness.  Panera Bread shows support through their “Pink Ribbon Bagel,” donating a portion of each sale to support breast cancer research. The concept dates back to 2001, when Sue Stees, co-owner of 18 Panera Bread franchises and a breast cancer survivor, began searching for ways to help other women fighting the same disease.

Even 5-Hour ENERGY is joining the pink campaign! They’ve introduced a new Pink Lemonade flavor packaged in a bright pink bottle, available through December 31, 2012, and will donate a portion of each sale to the Avon Foundation for Women Breast Cancer Crusade.

Do you think pink campaigns are raising awareness of breast cancer? Have you incorporated pink into your designs this month? 

Talent Spotlight! – Dynamite Graphic Designer Dominique

Translating clients’ ideas into positive reflections of their identity, products and goals is Dominique’s passion. A seasoned design professional with 10 years of experience, creativity is a strong factor behind her impressive design, but it’s not the only one. Dominique is driven by attention to detail, brand consistency and timeliness. A true creative, her thoughts stray outside the box as she easily switches gears and explores different directions.

Dominique is meticulous and comes highly recommended, with experience at both large corporations and agencies. She’s worked with CM Access for two years and is finishing up a long term contract with a large retail pharmacy and healthcare corporation as a Packaging Production Designer. She’s honed her concepting, design and production skills for various signage and large format window graphics. Previously, she hit the ground running at an international branded play company which targets children and families through a wide-range of immersive entertainment offerings. She created design, layout and production of style guides and brand standards for a number of well known children’s toys. Her agency experience focused on retail design consultancy, where her environmental design skills were strengthened while working directly with architects to structure pathways, design fabric structures and large, formal graphics that were displayed throughout a bank.

Always eager to flex her design muscles, Dominique enjoys projects that blend her specialized skills in branding and identity, environmental design, retail point of sale and multiple graphic design disciplines. She would love to take on a role outside her comfort zone that also allows the opportunity to positively impact and improve clients’ business through her design expertise.

In addition to her full-time work, Dominique runs a multifaceted graphic design and gift boutique service. Launched in 2008, she is the sole designer of the website, packaging and logo. She offers personalized gifts including invitations, greeting cards and ornaments.

Dominique’s favorite personal accomplishment was designing a winning greeting card for the Massachusetts non-profit Project Bread’s holiday card contest. Out of thousands of submissions, her design was one of four chosen to be sold at Whole Foods during the 2009 holiday season. A portion of the sales were donated to benefit Project Bread, a charity Dominique is passionate about.

To discuss how a talented designer like Dominique can benefit your business, give CM Access Career Advocate Lisa Manning a call today at 800-330-4110. Have you seen all our  featured talent? Interested in being featured?

Check out samples from Dominique’s portfolio!

Designed fabric structures, screens, formal graphics, retail pathway.

Carton illustration, layout and production.

Greeting card design mock-up for Whole Foods to benefit Project Bread.

Talent Spotlight! – Self Motivated Designer with an Unquenchable Thirst for Knowledge

Pete is an interactive and user interface designer who is as complex as his designs. With a background in architecture, design and even finance, he’s a big picture guy who enjoys using design to solve problems and improve lives. His projects have ranged from creative direction and design for a suite of financial market trading systems to an animated :30 spot for a transportation client that aired on the 1,200 square-foot Panasonic AstroVision screen inTimes Square.

Pete embraces the opportunity to create, contribute, and to continually push the envelope in his work. He stays grounded and understands the importance of the human element behind each project, “Because, after all, this stuff is designed for other people to use, to help improve their lives, to solve problems. And the more I know about why people do what they do, the better I can do what I do.”

Sample from Pete's portfolio

A highly sought after designer with an impressive resume, Pete specializes in user interface design, information design, information architecture and user flow and website design, all with a distinctly branded slant to it. He prefers being a consultant and finds that working on only one project at a time can get stale. He enjoys that smaller clients often lend the freedom to look at more pieces of the pie, enabling him to see the big picture, while larger clients frequently offer innovative, cutting-edge projects. After CM Access Lead Career Advocate Jamie met Pete at a networking event, he was eager to see the clients and projects she could offer him. Pete’s latest assignment with CM Access was designing prototypes for a mobile application for retailers that push deals to users.

If your team could use an extra set of hands – and a talented designer like Pete, give CM Access  a call today at 800-330-4110.

Lost in Translation

It can happen… In the heat of the creative moment, your intended message (versus the message understood by your audience) gets lost in translation.

It happens to the best of us, and usually boils down to how well you understand your target audience.  Take the java giant, Starbucks, who recently suffered a branding faux pas in the UK when they overlooked cultural preferences. In our frenetic world where we often feel like just a number, Starbucks attempted to bring a personal touch to their service by writing customers’ names on their drink orders. This practice is causing a bit of an uprising across the pond, where our British friends aren’t overly enthused about giving their first names to the friendly local barista.

So what does this have to do with you and how you project your brand?  A lot, in fact – from preparing your portfolio for a job or working on a client project – it’s essential to do your research to understand who your audience is and what will make the best brand statement that will speak directly to them.

For the same reason there are so many drink options, serving up the same “flavor” of your portfolio won’t necessarily appeal to everyone.  The more you tailor your brand to your market in a direct and concise manner, the more positively you’ll be received. Also remember to consider your audience’s culture.  For example, showing a portfolio heavily weighted with fun, colorful and whimsical designs isn’t going to be well received at a financial services firms, but may land you a job with a toy manufacturer.

Creatives, each time you communicate with a hiring manager, supervisor or client, be mindful that your ideas are not being lost in translation. Whether it’s your personal brand or your company’s, be sure to speak their language. They’ll love you for it!

Talent Spotlight!

There’s a whole lot of talent swimming around the CM Access candidate pool and we want to show their form off! Each month we will showcase one of our team of creative job seekers, giving you a glimpse at them and what they have to offer.

To kick-off this new feature we introduce you to Matthew, a graphic designer who has an abundance of artistic skills. Matt has been with CM Access for a year and a half, and has spent time designing packaging for a popular toy company. His designs can be seen in your local toy aisle and in European stores as well, a fact that Matt enjoys.

Walking through a store with family or friends and pointing to a toy package on the shelf and saying “I designed that” is a great feeling, Matt described.

While some may be hesitant to work in a contracting position, Matthew said partnering with CM Access has been a great experience, including the opportunity to work with market-leading companies. He and his fellow contractors were welcomed into the family at their assigned company, even getting together during downtime with their co-workers. Matthew has the strong support of his career advocate Jason DeVito, who he reports, has worked hard to get him positions in companies that pique his interest. Matthew’s dream is to one day design for the WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment for you non-wrestling fans) since the sport is something he and his father have enjoyed together since his childhood. He revealed that Jason is working to help Matthew realize his dream.

Artistic pursuits are a large part of Matt’s life in more ways than graphic design. Putting his skills to work in costume and set design has strong appeal for him. If you saw the Ultrasonic Rock Orchestra, a Boston rock opera, then you saw some of Matt’s work. He acted as a costume designer for the show. The picture above is another sample of Matt’s work.

Matt also hopes to do some traveling and experience the Scandinavian countries of Iceland and Finland. There is something about the culture and breathtaking landscapes that has always captured his interest.

Just speaking with Matt, it’s clear that his passion for his craft and innovative ideas makes him an asset to any company’s design team.

If you feel Matt or another of CM Access’s team of talent can add to your company’s success contact us at 800-330-4110.

Designing an Effective Creative Team

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy…” 

The old adage can be true, especially for creative teams.    Striking a balance between creativity and a business environment can be a challenge while designing and managing a team of creative professionals.

I visited a client recently, and was impressed by their team dynamics – working hard, but having some fun while doing it.  You could sense the energy and camaraderie within the group.  They worked well together as a team, but each individual played a key role with clearly defined responsibilities.  In addition, the physical workspace had great casual and comfortable spaces to collaborate, and small perks including catered Friday morning breakfasts, lunchtime foosball games, and other fun props, gave team members opportunities to blow off some steam, bond with each other and actually develop some fresh creative ideas in the process.   Seemed like a perfect balance of work and play, and a great recipe for a creative team design.

But designing an effective creative team while planning long-term management and growth strategies for a manager is not an easy feat.   Those who “get it” are successful in hiring and retaining the best individuals to work cohesively as a team while balancing their left- and right-brain skills and work habits.

And it all starts with you…

Take a close look at yourself – to honestly assess your management strengths, weaknesses and overall style.  You can’t design and manage an effective team without understanding yourself first.

The Environment – Creative teams are asked to create while under pressure to meet deadlines, meet financial restrictions in many cases, and then do it again for the next project.   Is the environment and physical space conducive to collaboration but also one that can provide individual space?   Think functionality, mobility and perhaps allowing each member to individualize their space.  In the end it needs to be conducive to being there 5 days a week.

Work Schedules – The old 9-5 schedule may not be for everyone (if it even exists at all anymore.)  Depending on your company’s policies, consider subtle shifts to schedules that accommodate staff and allow for maximum creativity while still working as an interconnected team.

Skills Development –   Organizations are seeking creative professionals across all aspects of their creative teams who can effectively communicate with peers, clients, management, vendors and who can effectively articulate their thoughts and ideas.   Encouraging the continuation of skills development – whether it’s a formal education perk your company provides or networking and  industry-related seminars — can foster a “whole-brain” environment where creatives can create while successfully managing the business objectives at hand.

Career Path – When you build a team, you need to consider long-term strategies for each individual employee, but keep in mind that not everyone wants to move up or manage or take on more responsibility.  Understanding your employees through regular communication and developing a mutual understanding of where you’d like to position them as well as where they see themselves within the organization long-term, can help you create a clear career path which is a great way to motivate while ensuring that everyone’s on the same page for success!

Mercedes Benz Reminds Us That Print Advertising Is Not Dead

In today’s world of TV, web and mobile-based advertising, the use of print advertising (you know…newspapers and magazines) has been on the decline for quite some time.  This leads me to my next thought.  Is print advertising still a strong and viable ad medium?

Mercedes Benz seems to think so – and after checking out their recent campaign created by Shalmor Avnon Amichay/Y&R Interactive Tel Aviv, Israel, I can affirm.

The double page spreads beautifully illustrate how the experience of owning a luxury car draws on the ties between the analytical left side of the brain and the colorful, explosive right side.  And the copy, which is carefully crafted to work with each illustration, can be viewed by clicking on the images.

In essence, Mercedes Benz is implying that they resemble the two sides of the brain – a combination of opposites that together create technological innovation.

Talk about sensory, interactive and memorable advertising…

Are Your Skills Market Ready?

“You know, like nun chuck skills, bow hunting skills, computer hacking skills…”  Even Napoleon Dynamite understood the value of marketing relevant skills as he tried to find a girlfriend. Employers are looking for candidates with skills too – you know, marketing skills, writing skills, mobile design skills…

Companies are increasingly looking for creative professionals who can wear multiple hats. Today, they may be seeking someone versed in project design paired with project management, strong SEO skills, the ability bridge to print and digital, mobile design and strong copywriting skills. Requirements and trends will continue to evolve and expectations will continue to increase as we move into 2012.

Strong business expertise and the ability to interact professionally on all levels (with peers, management, clients, or vendors) are now more important than ever. Those who are marketable can effectively communicate their design or marketing plan, write clear emails, have savvy in-person and virtual presentation skills (think web conferencing) and understand social media marketing.

In addition to ninja-like business acumen, the desire to actively engage and express ideas, become a thought leader and think outside the box is something employers are drawn to.  According to a recent AIGA article, creative professionals who “demonstrate their creativity and innovation-generating capabilities may rise above the pack.”

As a creative professional, do you have what it takes to be competitive in today’s job market?

If not, it’s time to consider taking stock of your capabilities to be sure you’re in alignment with what prospective employers may be looking for (Hint: It’s those “must haves” or even “preferences” that employers are looking for when hiring.)

So What Are You To Do?

  • Research – Do your research to understand the latest technology and design trends for your particular role.  Read industry-related blogs, sites and other reference materials.
  •  Express willingness to learn – Even if you don’t have every skill an employer wants, being open to learning something new will increase your chances and some managers will give you the chance to learn as you go.
  • Education – Consider taking supplemental courses, attending local events and seminars, or online learning sessions to stay up to date.

It’s a constantly evolving creative world.  So nun chuck skills aside, be sure you have a clear understanding of your strengths and what it might take to update your skills to remain competitive in your job search and succeed in your career.

Rainy Days and Mondays…

Your job search doesn’t have to be gray and dismal.  Brighten up your creative, marketing or interactive career by checking out this week’s highlighted Hot Jobs including…

Give us a call today!

The Great Debate: One Space or Two Spaces after Punctuation?

To most, the debate over how much space (one or two) to put between sentences may seem petty, but as creatives, we know that it’s the little details that can make or break a design.  Here’s an interesting article that sheds some light on this touchy subject.  http://www.slate.com/id/2281146/pagenum/all/#p2

We’d love to know what your preference is, but for the sake of argument, let’s refrain from putting on the gloves and keep this thing civil folks.  Both sides do have a case. (space) (space)

Now (In my best Michael Buffer voice) Let’s Get Ready to Rumble!!! – I mean debate!