Portfolio

 

4 ways we hold ourselves to a higher standard
(so you don’t have to)

2 min read


Around here, we encourage strong attention to details. We work efficiently, yet carefully, making sure our work meets the expectations of our high standard.

We review and re-review. Then we’ll probably review again. It’s not because we’re crazy, but because we care about doing it right. We sweat the small stuff because it matters to us.

Find out 4 ways we ensure high-quality work for our clients:

1. Understand the brand

The quality of the work we do is directly influenced by how much we care. With clients, that care manifests itself in long-term client partnerships, which, in turn, lead to a level of brand knowledge that few agencies achieve. The happy result of these solid, productive partnerships is a proactive focus on propelling our clients forward. We know these brands inside and out. We study their industries. We stalk their competitors. We are curious and driven. We become advocates for them. We care.

2. Develop original concepts

Technology has revolutionized how we design, how we create, and even how we ideate. Graphic design was once created only by hand, and results weren’t instantaneous. (Catch a glimpse in this video.)

Whether it involves group collaboration or sketches, our process allows us to generate solutions specific to client needs. We still put pen to paper to scribble a web of thoughts or quickly illustrate concepts. This workflow also lets us share ideas with our clients, so we don’t prematurely finesse a design that might miss the mark.

3. Perfect typography

Refining typography takes a little longer, but we take good typography seriously. Most people don’t understand the difference between an en dash and an em dash. Heck, people often use a hyphen when a specific dash is appropriate. (If you are one of these people, check out our typography infographic.)

We custom-kern type, fix typos, and point out inconsistencies to our clients. We believe these finishing touches not only strengthen a brand but also increase legibility and reduce visual obstacles for readers. Plus, it just looks better.

4. Pay attention to production

Our files are clean. When we send final art to the printer, we optimize files, remove extraneous elements, and anticipate problem areas. When we code on the web, we organize information and delete inactive snippets. With only a little additional time, these cleanups eliminate confusion and allow outside users to navigate files intuitively. In fact, it saves time on the back end when there’s no filtering through unnecessary pieces.

We keep our programs up-to-date to ensure we have the latest advancements. (Learn more about our experience with our creative software.)

Since 1994, TCD has promised to answer business challenges with strategic, creative solutions. To this day, we continue to offer clients the highest quality partnerships and the highest quality results. If you need a full-service strategic design company to help you achieve your goals, send us a note. We love solving problems.


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Posted on: January 29th, 2019 by Laura Uber

 

infographic visual impact

Visuals allow us to quickly process information, which is why infographics are such effective communication tools. When we hear information, we can recall 10% of it three days later, but if we see a visual with the information, we can remember 65% (Brain Rules). It’s no wonder infographics become so memorable.

On top of memorability, here are 3 more benefits of business infographics:

1. Easy to digest.

With 30% of our brains devoted to visual processing (compared to 8% for touch and 3% for hearing), we process images and graphics much more quickly than plain text. If you’re targeting a tight-for-time audience, bite-sized information is especially valuable in reaching them.

2. Easy to share.

Visual content is 40X more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content (Hubspot).

3. Easy to repurpose.

Extend the life of your infographics in the digital space. Zoom in on a portion of an infographic to highlight a key stat, or direct users to the visual content in reports, white papers, case studies, and blogs. You’ve already invested the time and money to develop the original content. Now, repurposing it gives you a greater return on investment.

infographic benefits visuals

The not-so-easy part comes in the actual creation of an infographic.

What it takes

Mingling various pieces of data to create one cohesive infographic takes time. It seems contradictory to say a simple infographic is complicated, but its development often demands a deep understanding of the subject and a solid vision for its execution.

What we do

We help clients harness strategy and focus messaging before creating any design. Often, data is compiled by our clients — the industry experts. In our role as strategic consultants, we can guide messaging, organize and simplify information, ultimately building a narrative that puts your insights in the limelight.

We can develop copy or edit long lines of text into quicker info-bytes. By rendering content to simplest form, we ensure a clear hierarchy of information, and as a result, we produce a more successful and compelling infographic.

A visual alternative to the infographic is something we like to call an “infolist.”

infographic SMG infolist

You can see the full example of this in a project for client SMG. This is a great solution when you want to expound your expertise. Still easily consumed and visually supported, an infolist bears the same 3 benefits listed above.

Do you need a consultant and design studio to bring your industry findings to life? We’d love to find the right solution for you. Call or email us today.

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Posted on: August 22nd, 2018 by Laura Uber

 

When you attend an event, you want it to be worth the investment. The same is true for your own event attendees: they need to feel that their time, money, and energy was well-spent. If they don’t see the value, they won’t commit the time.

event branding graphic

Hosting an event, whether a company-wide celebration or a large-scale conference, can be an effective brand proponent, helping B2B companies engage with employees, prospects, and customers.

While the actual event considerations — staging, production, and logistics — are managed by a specialty event company, the branding and communication materials for your event may be better trusted with a branding consultant.

It’s important that events keep your brand’s core messaging at the forefront. Participants need to see that your content offering is unique, relevant, and valuable. Help them answer questions like:

  • What will I learn?
  • What insights will I take home? And will they be easy to implement?
  • Where can I turn for more info?

When event messaging is consistent, your brand is consistent, and guests can trust your brand to deliver on its promises.

We believe in the power of events, and that the offerings and excitement leading up to an event are foundational. A visually stimulating brand should build (and live up to) anticipation of the event. And when it’s over, your brand should leave guests with lasting value, from satisfied feelings to physical takeaways, like presentation notes and giveaways.

The Creative Department can help you develop:

  • an event theme, including name and tagline
  • an event mark that is flexible across applications
  • a marketing plan for before, during, and after an event
  • strategic messaging
  • an email marketing campaign
  • a social media strategy
  • promotional materials
  • event materials, like handouts, field notes, signage, and name tags
  • presentation decks

It’s not about implementing all of these communications but finding the strategies that are right for you. We can assist you in boiling down your event’s top objectives, whether it’s to increase revenue or enhance customer and employee engagement; to increase brand awareness or identify client and prospect needs.

We aren’t just order takers. We’re strategic consultants, problem solvers, and brand advocates. If you’re looking to partner with a design agency to help you to achieve high-level results, look no further. We want to see brands succeed, and we’d love to help yours.

See how event branding brought an intangible idea to life at SMG’s Forum 2018.

In another event branding project, Pink Fountains, we encouraged the Kansas City community to come together for breast cancer awareness.

Posted on: August 15th, 2018 by Laura Uber

 

You’ve likely been the recipient of thoughtful gifts as well as thoughtless gifts. You feel the difference, right? One expresses a giver’s deep sense of understanding, and the other reveals a lack of effort, lumping you into an anonymous group of business acquaintances.

Your clients are no exception.

Gifting expert John Ruhlin of the Ruhlin Group believes that “dollar value given doesn’t always equate loyalty gained — in fact, the more expensive a gift is the lazier and less knowledgeable it can make you look” (Forbes, 2016).

“You can’t buy people’s loyalty and business.”
— John Ruhlin

While some enjoy a pricey wine and cheese gift basket, many may not feel a personal connection to your business through it. And if it’s not strengthening your client relationship, then what is it doing?

Here are 3 strategies for more effective client gift giving:

1. Listen to your clients

Our team values the time it takes to grow a client relationship. For us, that means making room for appropriate personal conversations. In addition to asking questions about a client’s culture and workflow, ask about outside-of-work matters.

Take note of what they care about and what they like to do. Keep a record of their key interests so you’re prepared when gift-giving season approaches. That list will be crucial in coming up with thoughtful gifts.

2. Send client gifts at unexpected times

Many corporations send client gifts during the winter holiday season, and although this is a great time to send warm sentiments, they can easily be lost in the pile of other holiday gifts and greetings.

Consider sending an annual gift around less universal gift-giving occasions, such as:

  • Valentine’s Day
  • St. Patrick’s Day
  • Independence Day
  • Thanksgiving

Each year, we help customer research firm SMG create a deliverable for their clients around Valentine’s Day and Thanksgiving. (Check out our 2018 Valentine’s Day gift set for SMG.)

SMG Valentine’s Day client gift

You can even surprise clients by remembering more personal special events:

  • Birthdays
  • Anniversaries (like founding days or company milestones)
  • New business acquisitions
  • Achievements and recognition (especially if you assisted in a successful pitch or project)

3. Make a creative statement

Messaging can showcase your creativity. Share an insight, play with words to highlight your capabilities, and emphasize the value of your partnership.

In 2017, SMG sent personalized heart-shaped cookies to clients for Valentine’s Day.

TCD developed a concept around SMG’s customer comment technology. The personalized messaging inside the accompanying cards showed appreciation for SMG clients, while the gift set also played up a product.

SMG Valentine’s Day card cookies client gift

At TCD, we made our creative statement with these metal tumblers, combined with hot cocoa mix and a card illustrated by our own Laura Uber. We loved the “crinkled paper” look and how it reflected on the creative work we do with our client partners.

TCD white creative geometric tumbler client gift

TCD warm wishes card envelopes gift tags

Add local flavor by including a gift from a small business in your city. Complete the package with handmade gift tags or handwritten elements, like a short greeting and signatures on a card.

The bottom line: When generosity puts a spotlight on business partnerships, both parties recognize the value of the relationship. Gift giving can be a catalyst to customer loyalty. Don’t miss out on regular opportunities to thank your clients.

Need help? We specialize in finding strategic, creative solutions. Call or email us if you’re seeking innovative ways to get in front of your target market.

Posted on: August 8th, 2018 by Laura Uber

 

After final meetings, training, and phone calls, we are so excited to share that the Académie Lafayette website is live!

Lead designer, Megan Pace, led the initiative to re-map the entire site to create an interface that’s more intuitive and user-friendly. The new design more strongly showcases this amazing school to prospective parents, and it is easy to navigate for current AL families. Our introduction page helps users transition to the new website seamlessly.

Posted on: June 9th, 2017 by Laura Uber

The Creative Department is a proud sustaining member of AIGA.

We follow AIGA's Standards of Professional Practice and adhere to its principles of integrity that demonstrate respect for the profession, for colleagues, clients, audiences or consumers, and society as a whole. We utilize AIGA's Basic Terms & Conditions and Intellectual Property Provisions to maintain the professional practices of the design industry.