Our Blog

Jan 01
January 2019 Calendar

What better way is there to get inspired for the upcoming year than by kicking it off with a fresh desktop background featuring our first calendar design of 2019!

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View our Installation Guide for instructions on how to set this month's artwork as your background wallpaper.
Topics: Just for Fun Tags: calendar
Dec 01
December 2018 Calendar

Our last calendar of 2018, with its soothing blues and lovely snowflakes, reminds us to absorb the beauty that surrounds us and recollect all the wonders of the past year. So, sip that mug of hot cocoa, put on those fuzzy slippers, and take in the joy of the season with those you love. Peace to you from all of us at Cleveland Design.

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View our Installation Guide for instructions on how to set this month's artwork as your background wallpaper.
Topics: Just for Fun Tags: calendar
Nov 01
November 2018 Calendar

Our November calendar reminds us of walking into Grandma’s house, the sweet smells of a cinnamony apple pie in the oven enveloping us in warmth, celebration and family. Some trivia to stump your Thanksgiving guests, courtesy of the American Pie Council: the first pumpkin pie introduced to the holiday feast table was at the Plimoth Plantation Pilgrims' second celebration in 1623. As we enter this holiday season, we at Cleveland Design hope your traditions fill you with joy and, of course, more pie.

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View our Installation Guide for instructions on how to set this month's artwork as your background wallpaper.
Topics: Just for Fun Tags: calendar
Oct 30

As technology continues to expand, and more options become available, it can be overwhelming deciding which direction to take when solving a website need. We were asked recently by our copywriter at Cleveland Design, Andy Paul, to help him build, and choose, the best format for his personal website. He needed a single page website to go live quickly that he would be able to update himself once we created and implemented the design. The solution was to use a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get) platform that doesn’t require coding knowledge, is super easy to use and learn, and has hosting included in the price—a perfect solution for this particular scenario.

While the majority of our clients are looking to us to provide designs for more robust business website platforms, there are those unique situations that might require a quick solution to get a message out with the flexibility to update information easily. Every day there seems to be a new DIY web design product, so it can be a challenge deciding which one best fits you and your organization’s needs. We’ve put together a short list of pros and cons of some of the more popular ‘drag and drop’ web platform products available today. These will help determine if having us design for a WYSIWYG platform is the smart solution for your web needs. Keep in mind, it is important to check with your IT team to be sure the product you choose is acceptable to your company’s protocol for brand standards, platform stability and online security. Contact us today to discuss your new project!

WYSIWYG Web Platform

Pros:

  • User-friendly
  • No coding required
  • Designer templates
  • Library of add-on features
  • Easy setup/installation
  • Reliable hosting
  • Some have e-commerce options
  • Mobile design customization
  • Some may allow access to source code for developers

Cons:

  • Limited customization
  • Navigation hierarchy can be limited
  • Migration/linking to other platforms can be complicated, if even possible
  • Site hosted outside of corporate systems

Best uses:

  • Basic websites
  • Stand-alone or single-page websites
  • Small e-commerce based websites
Topics: Web Tags: website design, web platforms, cms
Oct 01
October 2018 Calendar

Early Fall finds the beautiful Great White Egret in ponds and coastal marshes before heading to their winter homes. Featured on our October calendar, this majestic bird can still be seen throughout North America thanks to Harriet Hemeway and Minna Hall, the founders of the Massachusetts Audubon Society. These forward thinking women created the society in 1896 to share the importance of protecting the nature of Massachusetts and promote the idea that loss of wildlife for women’s fashion (Egret’s feathers were prized hat décor) would have long-term consequences. Their focused and impactful message was the key to their success. Need assistance focusing your message? Contact us today!

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Without Calendar:

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View our Installation Guide for instructions on how to set this month's artwork as your background wallpaper.
Topics: Just for Fun Tags: calendar
Sep 01
September 2018 Calendar

Featured on our September calendar, the plump and delicious fig, that we think of as fruit, is technically an inverted flower. It hides it’s blossoms from the outside world, only to be revealed when we dive in and take a bite! We thought sharing a favorite fig appetizer might help ease us all back into the season of busyness. Try out our recipe and know Cleveland Design is here to help you revive those projects hidden away for the Summer.


Grilled Figs with Prosciutto and Goat Cheese

  • 12 figs
  • 5 oz herb and garlic goat cheese
  • 12 paper thin slices of prosciutto (about 1 inch wide)
  • Olive oil
  • skewers

Choose ripe figs that are a bit soft. Remove stem and cut a hole in the end with a small knife. Take about 2 teaspoons of goat cheese and push into the hole. Soft figs are easier to fill with the cheese. Wrap the stuffed fig with a slice of prosciutto. Put the wrapped figs on skewers and cook on a hot grill about 5 minutes, turning occasionally. The prosciutto should be a bit crispy. You can also cook using your oven broiler.

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View our Installation Guide for instructions on how to set this month's artwork as your background wallpaper.
Topics: Just for Fun Tags: calendar
Aug 01
August 2018 Calendar

August is here, and in New England its also what we call the ‘dog days’ of summer. The ancient Greeks are to thank for this saying. They noticed the brightest star, Sirius (the dog of Orion), rose and set with the sun during what seemed to be the hottest days of the year. While the Greeks were just trying to explain their world, the longevity of this hot weather moniker proves the importance of achieving relevant and relatable messaging.

Cleveland Design understands how impactful creative can provide meaning to your audience, no matter when their dog days occur. Contact us today and let's begin your next great project!.

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View our Installation Guide for instructions on how to set this month's artwork as your background wallpaper.
Topics: Just for Fun Tags: calendar
Jul 01
July 2018 Calendar

Featured on our July calendar, the sweet delicious pineapples evoke thoughts of warm sunny days and images of the Hawaiian Islands. The pineapple, however, is not native to the land of beautiful beaches, leis and grass skirts. It was a transplant to the islands brought back for King Kamehameha from South America. How, then, did the pineapple become known as a Hawaiian delicacy? Through the power of advertising of course! A young James Dole of Massachusetts moved to Hawaii to begin his pineapple growing and canning business. A savvy entrepreneur, Dole is credited with developing the first nationwide consumer magazine ad campaign in the United States, and the rest is marketing history.

We at Cleveland understand how smart and strategic campaigns impact the success of your story. Let's partner on a groundbreaking project today!

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Without Calendar:

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View our Installation Guide for instructions on how to set this month's artwork as your background wallpaper.
Topics: Just for Fun Tags: calendar
Jun 01

Marketing and design teams approach creative assignments differently, which can make harmony a challenge. Marketing approaches the project as if talking to a group. Designers approach the project as if talking to one person. The goal for both is to fulfill the brand promise, but they can’t do that until they align the marketing strategy with the creative so it sends the same message from the beginning.

I recently had the opportunity to speak at HOW DesignLive in Boston. Partnering with Cleveland Design client Elizabeth Darragh, VP of Global Marketing Communications at Sensitech, we presented best practices to utilize, drawn from our years of working together, to allow designers and marketers to work together from day one and make great things happen!

We began with how the creative brief should become secondary to open discussions about the project, supported by knowledge, communication, and transparency. Traditionally, the creative brief has been used as the kick-off for campaigns and projects. Filled out by the marketing team, then submitted to the creative team, the brief tried to cover what the project should include to succeed, but it often missed the mark on what is truly required to achieve an excellent outcome.

The creative brief is named “brief” for a reason, it should be short and to the point of the overall project deliverables. The problem with the creative brief is it is created with the assumption everyone has the same background knowledge of the overall mission, including the strategy of company and their brand promise. Relying too heavily on the brief can kill opportunities for communication, shared vision and team support.

The brief does help define the overall scope of the project though, and is a vehicle to document the action plan, schedules, deliverables, and assign responsibilities. However, as a stand-alone document, it falls far short of the knowledge that is truly needed to implement the brand promise in your project or campaign.

To address the shortcomings of the brief, Elizabeth and I created a toolkit, for marketers and designers alike, that promotes clarity to guide the creative process by focusing on three key areas, Knowledge, Communication and Transparency.

knowledge

Key knowledge of the company everyone on the team should have:

  • The history and the who, what and why of the company
  • How the company has evolved over the years
  • What mergers or acquisitions have occurred
  • The current brand promise and mission
  • Understanding of every product and service, and how each serves the company’s mission and strategy
  • Knowing the target market and demographics, and understanding the difference between the two
  • Knowing which global markets the company is active in, along with the cultural differences in each market

communication

Start talking! Work together, not as two separate teams:

  • Communicate about all aspects of projects from day one
  • Request that everyone be included in initial discussions
  • Share ideas and best practices
  • Keep dialogue flowing throughout the entire process
  • Learn the capabilities of each team member, and utilize those skills

transparency

Being open and honest ensures everyone is on the same page while working together towards a successful outcome:

  • Budgets—share from the beginning and discuss what is being allocated for what
  • Give input on long-term budget planning so you can forecast as a team
  • Assign who is responsible for what, discuss deliverables and timelines, review expected outcomes
  • Who are all the decision makers, e.g., do Corporate and Legal need to approve?
  • Are there other product management teams involved?
  • Bring Sales into meetings if they are the end users of the campaign

Utilizing the tips from this toolkit will help create a smart team of marketers and designers that works well together. Start talking from day one, bring your knowledge to the table, and share ideas and expectations. When you commit to work together as a team, aligning creative and marketing strategies, your next project is sure to bring brand promises successfully to life.

Topics: Marketing Tags: marketing, creative team
Jun 01
June 2018 Calendar

If you've ever grown a dahlia, you know there's no more spectacular flower in the garden, and our June calendar features one of the many varieties. Much like the dahlias' gorgeous array of colors, styles and sizes available, deciding which design direction to take with a project can become an overwhelming choice. At Cleveland, we embrace variety, but will help guide you to the beautiful, smart, and on brand design you need for your campaign. Contact us today to talk about how we can help grow your industry presence and make your projects bloom.

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Without Calendar:

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View our Installation Guide for instructions on how to set this month's artwork as your background wallpaper.
Topics: Just for Fun Tags: calendar

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