The 'Art' of Branding

As a designer, one of the most difficult yet interesting challenges I face is branding development.  Whether it is starting from scratch or updating a previous identity... branding can be a real test of skill, patience, and understanding. 

I came across a great blog written by Mark McNeilly, found on "Fast Company" about the depth behind finding that real balance between an idea, design and ultimately identity.   Here is a link to the blog, "9 Principles for Great Branding by Design."


So proud of my little hockey nut...

This past weekend was the annual Mite Madness Tournament in Wayzata where all of the mite players get to spend a weekend full of fanfare and most  With four games in three days, these little guys and girls take a break from drills and focus on just having fun with their friends on the ice.

It's hard to express what a great and proud feeling it is inside watching my son on the ice.  Watching the comradery, focus, and determination makes me smile just thinking about it.

Awesome experience and a wonderful job by our coaches, parents and event organizers.

Siri... The Impact on Search Engine Optimization(SEO)

A friend passed an article on to me from, a great site for small business ideas and resources for entrepreneurs.

It talks about how Apple's development of Siri takes on the basic way we all find what we are looking for on the internet and challenges the future of Search Engine Optimization(SEO) as it is known today.  The article wonders about the possibilities of this sort of technology impacting how we make ourselves more visable to our local and regional target markets.

With the boon of high-powered mobile devices and tablet computers, both armed with location and wireless services, clients and customers have the ability to find your business more efficiently and effectively than ever... they simply ask Siri. 

Here's a link to the complete article, "The End of SEO as We Know It"

Social Media... Trash these strategies!

The social media boon continues and businesses, big and small, are trying desperately to find ways to maximize their exposure as well as effectively manage their strategies in this relatively new marketing environment.

Most people continue to learn on the fly, myself included, and new career paths are quickly developing just to keep up with the specific demands of social media along with focus on understanding it's value to businesses and organizations.

As a follower of HubSpot blog, I love reading their daily write ups and internet marketing including this quick one that provided "7 Tacticts to Delete From Your Social Media Strategy NOW" .  Great stuff!  And I encourage you to subscribe to their various feeds.

Small change in format... makes a big impact.

Taken from an outstanding creative inspiration site,, I came across a post about mini business cards.  As I try and keep up with print design trends, I've seen these shrunk down versions of identity in the past and wondered if it was simply a passing phase... however, not only does this format seem to have some staying power, I love the fact that they stand apart and are perfect for small business trying to make a simple yet effective statement when introducing themselves.  Downsizing... in a good way.

35+ Beautiful Mini Business Cards for Inspiration

-Designmodo Post, 04.11.11

Email campaigns made easy... and FREE!

In a small business setting, marketing strategies are often harnessed by the available resources of time and money.  As I continue a campaign to build my own business and stay in contact with existing clients, it's important to not only use quick and effective communication resources but also make sure said options stay within budget... and for email marketing, MailChimp does it all.

Easy to use and free for lists of under 2,000 subscribers!  I recommend MailChimp to all of my small business clients.

New Site. New Look

About 6 years ago I decided to take that leap into self-employment and here I sit today finally addressing my website.  Hey, easy now... I've been a "print" guy for a long time.  No longer will I continue to pay for web hosting, year after year, only to have visitors find a "Coming Soon" splash page.  The web address on my business cards is finally worthy of the listing.

In addition to the new site, I've decided to go with a new look as well.  I've grown up a little since my original logo hit the scene back in 2005 and I've decided to update to a more mature, sophisticated look.  Although looks might be deceiving as my wife, Sarah, questions my maturity daily.

That said, I'm excited about my new site and the ability to bring the "new and improved" Gray Matter Creative to the masses.

My journal is certain to be a mish mash of my own inspiration, interests, humor and anything else I care to share.

Thanks for visiting!