Captivating Characters

April 27, 2015 — Audra Nebolini

My love affair with typography started like it does for most creatives with doodles. What young girl didn’t write her name all over her notebooks in school? Sounds like a cliché, I know, but movement of thick to thins, creating the drama of revealing shapes and forms just makes my heart beat faster. I must have known somewhere in my subconscious that these illustrative habits would transform into my future in use of visual communication.

As a result, I can’t hide my excitement for the recent rise of hand lettering in graphic design. Breaking out of the mechanical digital age in design has become a prevailing trend and is a new outlet for self expression. Even more than social media, blogs, and autobiographies self expression is evolving from verbal to visual through typography.

This new trend is signaling the need for originality in the DIY culture we are living in. Calligraphy and hand lettering styles have boomed in the industry in forms of personalization to emulate the handmade look. In a recent article, Martina Flor, a well known typographer, describes the two perfectly: “Calligraphy embraces randomness and surprise, while lettering decides exactly the shape that a certain gesture or letter should have.” You could compare a letterform or type style to any human trait, and that’s what makes them so […]

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Craft Beer: How I Explain the Importance of Good Branding

April 23, 2015 — Cecilia Jayo

The recent emergence of craft beer illustrates the significance of branding. As many now know, craft beer has become one of the hottest growing categories on the market, and with this growth comes fierce competition.

Here’s a little bit of context: In the past four years alone, the craft beer industry has grown from 1,625 breweries in 2010 to 3,418 breweries in 2014. That’s an increase of almost 210%! Needless to say, this spurt has left brewers scrambling to find new ways to stand out on crowded shelves and rotating draft lines. But the question remains, how can small breweries drive brand awareness in an industry flooded with marketing dollars from beer giants like Anheuser-Busch and MillerCoors? Well, despite limited advertising budgets, craft brewers have quickly discovered that strong branding and packaging design can be their biggest ally for differentiating and promoting their product in market. According to Ian Knowles of Spruce & Norton, an NYC-based craft beer investment firm, “The new generation of beer drinkers are looking for depth of character in the brands they purchase, they look for sincerity in the product offering and how the story is being told. Ultimately, this starts with a strong brand identity, […]

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Back to Basics

March 19, 2015 — Aimee LoDuca and Emily Capkanis

As Milton Glaser once said, “The computer is to graphic design what the microwave is to food.” There was a time when our industry didn’t rely on technology, aka ‘Design B.C.’ (before computers). If you’re familiar with Mad Men, then you know exactly what I’m talking about. Illustration was an integral part of the design process. Today, the computer is our #1 source for inspiration and design. Why? Because it’s fast, reliable, and easy. Being a good illustrator isn’t essential for designers anymore, but that doesn’t mean we should abandon the skill all together. At CBX, one of our core values is ‘dirty hands’ so we made it our mission to break out the charcoal.

CBX recently invested in a two-month still life refresher course (taught by SVA) to help bring us back to the basics.

Throughout the course, we practiced a series of exercises like contouring, shading, deconstruction, perspective, proportion, and figure drawing. Some of these skills were new to us, and some were refreshers. But most importantly, we were forced to get out of our comfort zone – be looser in our execution and drop the need to be perfectionists. It was nice to be able to express […]

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Rebranding a person—is it possible?

March 10, 2015 — Sandra Creamer

A take on rebranding Hillary Clinton for 2016

My father, an unapologetic Fox News watcher, sent me an article last month that I actually read, The Making of Hillary 5.0 (originally published in the Washington Post). I’m guessing my father thinks that it would be nearly impossible for her to rebrand herself in time for the 2016 presidency, but that’s exactly what she and her staff are attempting.

As a brand strategist, what would I recommend her rebranding team do? Apply the three-pronged formula that we use with clients: role, personality, and behaviors.

First, Ms. Clinton’s team has to define her role as presidential candidate. Let’s use ‘sage’ as an example. It’s believable, ownable, and authentic and shows that she is going to use intelligence and analysis to understand the world. She has unique experience across many branches of government in many capacities and over many years, definitely experience that she should tout.

Next, the team has to decide which personality traits Ms. Clinton conveys that ladder up to her role as a ‘sage.’ In keeping with this choice, the presidential hopeful should embrace characteristics like self-awareness, discernment, and discipline in her rebranding efforts. Why these traits?

• Self-awareness will […]

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Serving up a slice of delicious

February 19, 2015 — Jane Sayer

I honestly don’t know how this happened but somewhere along my career path I became the food girl. Literally, from soup to nuts, I’ve worked on it. And besides being to blame for the many fluxes in my weight management (I challenge YOU to search for dumpling imagery and NOT eat them everyday for a week) I have enjoyed every minute of it.

The many restrictions put on food packaging that some might find challenging, I find exhilarating. Ad campaigns have free range to get creative––take, for example, the wonderful Oreo commercials that aired over the last year or so. And then compare that to the Oreo Packaging––it’s not BAD exactly––it’s just very literal. Because ambiguity is the enemy of food packaging and we don’t want any surprises when we open that box, unless, you know, they are really GOOD surprises. But still it’s the possibilities that keep me intrigued. Some of my more brilliant ideas could see the light of day one day right (pig wearing a bow tie as a pork sausage mascot anyone?)?

Some brands have successfully broken the paradigm, such as Campbell’s Go soup and the now defunct Kashi Good Friends cereal that feature people on […]

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Smucker’s Acquires Big Heart Pet Brands

February 11, 2015 — Admin

CBX congratulates Smucker’s on its forthcoming acquisition of Big Heart Pet Brands from a consortium of investors led by funds affiliated with Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. L.P., Vestar Capital Partners, Centerview Capital, and AlpInvest Partners Inc., for approximately $5.8 billion.

The pet food and snacks giant changed its name from Del Monte Corporation to Big Heart Pet Brands following the sale of its fruit, vegetable, and other consumer foods portfolio in February 2014. CBX is proud to have collaborated with the management of Big Heart Pet Brands to create the company’s new name and identity. We have also assisted on the redesign of Big Heart’s headquarters, field offices, manufacturing plants, as well as certain product packaging and marketing materials.

Big Heart Pet Brands is home to a number of iconic and beloved brands, including Milk-Bone, Meow Mix, Natural Balance, Kibbles ‘n Bits, 9Lives, Milo’s Kitchen, and Nature’s Recipe, among others.

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The Super Bawl: Nationwide Insurance’s Disruptive Campaign

February 9, 2015 — Brian Burr

For a Super Bowl decided by what some have called the worst play call in NFL history, it’s no surprise that tears were shed. But in a world where hundreds of people actually bet on the potential length of Katy Perry’s pants, few would have been able to predict the real cause of many viewers’ emotional afflictions. In what felt like a flood of serious advertisements, no brand pushed the envelope more than Nationwide Insurance. The 45-second spot “Make Safe Happen” aired halfway through the second quarter and immediately became what I like to call the “Marley & Me” of Super Bowl commercials, based purely on its heartbreak potential. The ad, which was intended to raise awareness of accidental child deaths, features a young boy listing the many accomplishments he will never achieve. Inspired by childlike wonder and accompanied by impressive special effects, the ad then takes a serious turn when the child actor coolly admits, “I couldn’t grow up, because I died from an accident.” An overflowing bathtub, poisonous cleaning supplies and overturned television set fill the frame as a narrator urges viewers to help “make safe happen.”

The reaction went over just about as well as you would […]

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A Video is Worth a Thousand Pictures

January 29, 2015 — Ted Bachman

Picture this—you’re hunched over your friend’s computer, looking over his shoulder as you see the 25th picture of the Eiffel Tower from his trip to France. Your cheeks are hurting from holding a smile, but you’re somehow able to keep saying “oh nice!” over again. Meanwhile, you haven’t even made it to the Louvre in your pictorial tour yet—better get comfy! I love still photography, but everywhere you look, the world is moving to video. Instagram, Facebook and Twitter are all using video. And YouTube uploads over 100 hours of video every minute. That’s a lot of cats! Video is increasingly used online to showcase consumer products, even real estate. (At CBX, we’re beginning to transition to video to highlight case studies of our work.) In fact, three-quarters of web traffic is predicted to be video related by 2017. Not to mention, anyone with a smartphone has a video screen in his or her pocket and the ability to shoot video at any moment. While mobile video isn’t particularly new, what’s remarkable is the access to and use of smartphones around the globe. In the US alone, two-thirds of the population uses a smartphone, including over 80% of young adults. […]

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Wearable Coca-Cola?

December 18, 2014 — Kara Denniston

Wearable Coca-Cola you ask? Well, if you are a Gen Xer like me, you know that Coca-Cola was a big fashion trend back in the 1980s. You remember, the oversized rugby shirt with the large Coca-Cola logo on the front? The shirt came in many collectible colors (and yes, we collected them) that we mixed and matched with our Swatch watches and Converse sneakers. Having a bunch of energetic teenagers strut around as walking advertisements was the best promotion that this CPG company could hope for—and it actually lasted for a few years. Way to go Coca-Cola! You had us.

Fast forward 25 years: I’m at a shopping mall in São Paulo with my boyfriend’s 16-year-old Brazilian nephew when I found myself inside a Coca-Cola branded store. The store was full of youthful, urban, European-influenced clothes and shoes. A big consumer packaged goods brand has an entire clothing line? Not just a shirt with a logo but rather a popular fashion brand comparable to Aeropostale? I found the merchandise in the store to be a big disconnect from the consumer Coca-Cola beverage brand that I know here in the United States.

It made me wonder, would this Coca-Cola fashion line […]

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Team vs. Teammates: The importance of friendship in the workplace

November 25, 2014 — Lauren Kossar

I’m not sure if it was the crisp air slapping against my face or the rush of adrenaline, but during a recent game of flag football, I learned to appreciate something: I’ve been lucky to have a great group of friends who are also my co-workers.

The way that we rely on each other as teammates in a game – acting as a unit, trusting, supporting and looking out for each other – informs how we interact in life and at work. I hadn’t really put much thought into that connection before; I’ve simply enjoyed all of the activities, conversations and laughs we’ve had over the years. But as I analyze my post-college career, I can attribute much of my professional growth and success to these “teammates” I’ve met along the way. Every time they’ve talked me through a design rut, given me that much needed distraction, brightened my mood on a dreary Monday or compelled me to laugh until I had tears streaming down my face, they’ve kept me on track for success.

Would all of the great ideas I’ve had been possible without this sympathetic and supportive atmosphere? I’m not so sure. Hearing other’s thoughts, experiences and points […]

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