Our Blog

Dec 02
Nazaria Sarita Vasquez Vicente, 34, works near one of her beehives in Rancho Viejo village, Guatemala. Photo courtesy of Heifer International.

Nazaria Sarita Vasquez Vicente, 34, works near one of her beehives in Rancho Viejo village, Guatemala. Photo courtesy of Heifer International.

It’s that time of year again—the season where we become aware of all we have to be thankful for and what gifts of appreciation we can give to those who are important in our lives. All of us like to give a gift that will last and be remembered, but often the frenzy of the season refuses to let us see what is good and what will actually last. Taking a step back to reflect on how fortunate we are in many ways, and how much we sincerely appreciate the relationships we have built with our clients and friends over the years, we at Cleveland have decided to do away with the high calorie candies and cookies, and send a gift that is so much sweeter.

This year we have chosen to give the gift of opportunity to those in need by donating honey bees. In many third-world countries, a beehive can be the spark needed to transform small farms into thriving family businesses. Our gift in your honor will enable Heifer International to provide 15 families in third-world countries with the bees, hives and beekeeping training they need to stimulate crop pollination and create income through sales of honey, wax and pollen. Helping others achieve the prosperity we enjoy is our way of thanking you for your continued partnership as clients, friends and business partners.

We believe all people deserve dignity, opportunity, and a future free from hunger. We also believe by providing the the tools of transformation to bring about that opportunity, we can be a part of a sustainable change in the world. Our gift to you will help bring about this change.

As the season is already upon us, take a minute to know that all of us at Cleveland sincerely thank you for being a part of our lives and we cherish our relationships that have sustained us as a partner in your daily efforts. We wish you the very best this holiday season. Peace and Joy to you and your families.

Topics: News Tags: holiday, giving
Nov 05

We are sad to announce the passing of our sweet friend Bella. She graced our office every day for over 17 years. She never missed a production meeting or a chance to interact. Even without invitation, if she noticed a group gathering she had to be in the middle of it all, and she was a good lunch room monitor as well. She kept the delivery people hopping, deciding who she would welcome in and who should be kept at the threshold. She had an amazing talent of being sweet during a client or vendor meeting, quickly tricking the person into thinking they were actually there just to give her treats or play ball. Her antics, curiosity, craziness, calmness and love will be missed by all.

Oct 27
Interacting with LEAP device

Unleashing Brilliance

In order to generate excitement around Thomson Reuters' presence at the 2013 Grace Hopper Conference celebrating women technologists, we created a comprehensive campaign to reinforce their position as a leader in innovation. In addition to exhibit and marketing collateral, the campaign included development and implementation of a one-of-a-kind web-based game.

Play the game (Chrome browser required)

Click to watch the video

Featured in the video above, this unique interactive game recognizes and responds to mid-air hand gestures, presenting key points from the company’s mission in a trivia game format. The cutting-edge, motion-detection technology was a unique way for guests to immerse themselves in the Thomson Reuters culture—racking up both high game scores and brand awareness.

The "Unleash Your Brilliance" experience is just one example how Cleveland is working to bring you and your brand to the forefront using the latest technology and smart, strategic design.

Topics: Code, Web Tags: grace hopper, exhibit, CSS3, html5, game design
Sep 30
Cleveland at the Farm

Add some nasturtium flowers and Chef Will Gilson’s culinary talent, and you have a memorable five-course meal attended by Cleveland Design at the Herb Lyceum in Groton, Massachusetts. Featuring herbs grown on site, dining in a 19th century carriage house, and perfect Fall New England weather, the day allowed us relaxing time together away from the office.

The opportunity for our culinary event came when we held the winning auction bid at East End House's Cooking for a Cause this past April. Held each Spring, the annual fundraiser features over 40 area Chefs, Bartenders and Purveyors of Wine, Beer and Desserts and supports the community, family and education programs provided by the 138-year-old Cambridge, MA community center.

Plan on joining us and Chef Will Gilson, owner of Puritan & Co. and Culinary Chair for the 11th Annual Cooking for a Cause, on Friday, April 4, 2014 at the MIT Media Lab. Supporting a great cause never tasted so delicious.

Topics: Just for Fun Tags: Cooking for a Cause
Jul 29
Tier One Partners, LLC

Our client Tier One Partners' mission, "creating active connections that click," defines the firm's active participation in social networking and media. When it was time for a branding update for this PR and social media agency, we helped make its regularly engaging Facebook and Twitter conversations become a major part of its website.

Tier One turned to us for a rebranding that included its website, email and – last but not least – its online social presence. We introduced several key social media features that brought its online personality to life, giving the firm a unified platform to share its perspectives on the changing world of communications and spark active conversations with its audiences.

We started by building a new website using the Drupal framework, renowned for its flexibility and scalability in a complex web environment. Using various contributed and custom modules, we added several feeds that automatically pull in recent Twitter and Facebook posts on an hourly basis. Tier One's website instantly became a main hub for all its conversations.

Turning to the firm's new, frequently updated blog, we wanted to make sure audiences of all types had the ability to stay engaged with Tier One's content both in and out of the browser. We set up an automatic RSS feed for visitors to subscribe to that enabled RSS subscribers to be the very first to know the moment Tier One shared a new blog post.

In concert with the RSS feed, we worked with Tier One and MailChimp to set up an opt-in, automatic email campaign for fans of the blog to subscribe to—branded to perfection. This feature gave the firm's online visitors yet another way to get new content delivered straight to their inbox, and gave Tier One a new, content delivery method that was instant and effortless. Finally, MailChimp allowed the firm to view all sorts of handy statistics on their email engagement, as well as keep track of their growing list of subscribers.

The results?

The social and email integrations helped contribute to a 60% increase in new visitors, and helped drive more than 40% of outgoing traffic straight to Tier One's social networking profiles.

We believe that giving your audience convenient ways to access and interact with your content—and saving you time—is essential to staying afloat in the busy world of social media. Just as essential is making sure what you're sending out is wrapped up in a professionally designed package—our specialty here at Cleveland Design.

There are certainly many more ways to #getsocial with your website, and it's tempting to go all out. We can help you come up with a solid social integration strategy that best fits your website and your goals. How social is your site?

Topics: Marketing, Web Tags: drupal, cms, social media, email
Jun 26
HOW Design LIVE 2013

I recently had the opportunity to participate with other creative marketers and designers as a speaker at the Creative Freelancer Conference (CFC), part of HOW Design LIVE, in San Francisco. I arrived to find more than 600 CFC attendees eagerly waiting to get smart advice and learn best practices for their careers as creative freelancers and as budding design firm owners. I sat with other experts on panels on “How to Grow into a Small Business” and “The Skinny on Working with Corporate Clients” and hosted a breakfast roundtable for designers eager to pick my brain about running a business.

My years of experience had prepared me for the topics that I wanted to teach them—and for the questions I figured they would ask. What I hadn’t prepared for was how my passion for design and business would be re-energized by these creative “solopreneurs.”

The amount of talent in that one room at Moscone Center was amazing. The new ideas that were presented and discussed were all being generated by the passion of the attendees wanting to learn more and do better. Ideas around networking, creative design, being a smart businessperson, thinking like a marketer, becoming a trusted partner to a client, and growing a business out of a career they love.

We have always embraced these practices at Cleveland Design. But listening to new and different voices on these topics was invigorating and educating. It sparked new ideas for our future, as well.

It seemed I learned something from every conversation I had with the talented people at CFC. But what I really learned is the future of design and marketing communication is not only going to be okay; it’s going to be pretty fabulous.

Topics: Business Management Tags: howdesign, freelancing
May 20
Our World in Pictures Website

The Best of Brand Awards. The Community Champion Awards. The Finance Awards. The Award of Excellence. All these (and more) are now familiar names inside Thomson Reuters, thanks to Cleveland Design's spearheaded initiative to create a unified and sustainable online competition framework.

These annual—and sometimes year-round—competition websites support global collaboration, span multi-month programming schedules, and provide a solid judging and exposition platform for thousands of Thomson Reuters employees.

Internal Communications: Evolved

Today, we are happy to share the latest evolution of this framework with you. In April 2013, the Thomson Reuters Corporate Responsibility group launched a new community awareness campaign backed by our acclaimed design and development. Part of this campaign was a new online photography competition for the campaign's "Green Matters" initiative—a website in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund (WWF)— call the The World in Pictures.

Not only is the World in Pictures website handling up to 500 visits per day, but it has captured the attention of more than 3,500 Thomson Reuters employees who have participated in this green initiative in the month following the launch. When submissions closed in May, the site had collected more than 1,000 photographs from talented employees from every region of the globe.

Featuring an updated and on-brand user interface, the World in Pictures website was also given several unique features that make it the best evolution of our core competition framework to date:

  • A public gallery of submitted content on the homepage and an interactive, real-time gallery
  • Ability for employees to instantly comment on and "like" submitted content
  • An additional level of judging all employees can participate in: the "Employees' Choice" round
  • Security and speed updates that support a database of more than 1,000 photographic submissions

Bringing your Brand to Life

A top notch employee engagement program like The World in Pictures can help build your brand and strengthen internal brand alignment at your company. If you have been thinking of innovative ways to do this, contact us and we would be happy to discuss creating a great solution for you.

Please note - all photos shown in relation to and shown in this project are copyright their respective owners and are subject to terms appropriate to Thomson Reuters employees and Thomson Reuters privacy policies.

Topics: Campaigns, Web Tags: cms, platform, application, competition
Dec 21
St. John Animal Care Center Website

As the holiday’s draw near and 2012 comes to an end, we often think about what we can offer to those in need. This year at Cleveland Design, we’ve given back to the island of St. John in the U.S. Virgin Islands.

The St. John Animal Care Center is a shelter for abused and abandoned pets that helps countless animals each year. They have a flourishing presence on Facebook and needed a website that matched its ease and personality. Cleveland Design redesigned the website to reflect the uplifting, fun and energetic nature of the shelter.

To help them keep the website up-to-date with as much information and flair as any other social media, we developed the website using Drupal 7–a content management system. This enabled us to design a modern website that allows the shelter to add content without having to write any code. It also allows them to manage their adoptable pets in one location–petfinder.com. The new website can now directly import all of the available pets listed on their account with petfinder.

The shelter is also very active within the community, hosting events frequently throughout the year. Using the content management system we’ve put in place they can easily manage upcoming events and news articles, keeping the people of St. John always informed.

For a non-profit organization like the Animal Care Center, donations are heavily relied upon. We’ve updated the donation system to give people multiple options for donating directly on the website. The shelter also sells a few items through paypal, which have been added to the new site for easy access.

All of these features on the new website and more help the Animal Care Center reach a broader audience, and in turn help the pets find new loving homes. We here are Cleveland Design were more than happy to donate our time and resources to support this cause.

Wishing you happy holidays and a healthy New Year, from all of us at Cleveland Design.

Topics: Web Tags: drupal, website, cms, holiday
Nov 12

As office manager of a graphic design firm some might say keeping the creative team on track and organized is about as simple as herding cats. Honestly, without the proper tools, that isn’t too far from the truth.

Late in 2010, Cleveland Design began using an online project tracking product created by FunctionFox, and we’ve never looked back. Each employee has an account that is linked to a single database where we track our time, project costs and deadlines. Job contacts, vendor information and job specifics are available to our entire team as well, allowing instant collaboration without hours wasted in meetings on the minutia.

What this means for our clients is the knowledge their projects and accounts are being managed accurately and efficiently. Cleveland Design has a unique/streamline project management structure [your account manager is also your designer] allowing us to solve marketing needs with affordable and timely solutions. We also have a more accurate picture of what it takes to complete specific types of jobs, so our clients can be confident our estimates are on the mark. Our team spends far less time on admin so they may spend more of their day creating fabulous work.

Having the proper tools to support our creative team also means no need for me to keep up on my lassoing skills.

Topics: Business Management Tags: business management, web, time management, project management, organization, organizational tools
Oct 29
Mobile Presentations by Cleveland Design

You're standing in front a group of potential clients in a dark conference room, fiddling with the wires that should connect your laptop to their projector. After a few more minutes of tinkering with the wires and display settings, you look up and, with a sinking feeling in your gut, notice that half of your prospects in the room have pulled our their smartphones and tablets and are checking their email or unabashedly playing Angry Birds... with the sound on. You've lost their attention to their personal devices in those few critical minutes, along with all your patience with getting your PowerPoint presentation running.

While it may not be likely that you'll find yourself in such dire straights at every meeting, there is nothing worse than not having the right equipment to present or forgetting some of the presentation paperwork that you meant to hand out.

What is likely however, are the chances that you will be competing against your prospects' attention to their smartphones and tablets.

Today, just about everyone is carrying a loaded smartphone or tablet—their fingertips poised to tap the "Post," "Tweet," or "Search" button. Rather than seeing such distraction as a detractor from your presentation, why not use it to your advantage? Put your presentation in front of them, on their own devices, and they'll be tapping to your beat quicker than they can tweet "this is sweet!"

Mobile Presentations

Enter the world of mobile presentations. Full-screen web apps, mobile-friendly websites, iBooks, and custom-built mobile apps are all options we've had real experience with at Cleveland Design.

Want to present your latest report, proposal, or company mission on your own tablet, smart phone, or netbook? Share that presentation with other mobile device users? We can help you get there. Not sure what's right for you? Here are few options that are guaranteed to leave a lasting impression under your prospects' thumbs.

Full-screen Web Apps

They're always there for you, like AAA during a New England nor'easter. Since web apps live on the web, they work remotely without requiring specific hardware. As long as you have an internet connection, you have your presentation. Other bonuses for web apps include:

  • Highly portable, always available.
  • Unlimited interactivity and animation opportunities.
  • Easy to share: Facebook, Email, Twitter, IRC—wherever!
  • Shape-shifting: adjusts to the size and shape of most devices.
  • No wires required: no IT skills needed for setup either!

We recently produced a kiosk-based presentation for Thomson Reuters at the Grace Hopper Expo. We transformed several of their high-impact Knowledge Effect case-studies into mini-slideshows that booth attendees could tap through on multiple iPads stationed throughout the event booth. Try it out on your iPad, Safari, or Chrome:

iPad Presentation


Another way we can mobilize your presentations is with Apple's iBook format. An iBook is an interactive e-book that can be flipped through by yourself or by others at meetings, or distributed to potential customers and clients to peruse at their own leisure via a download link. iBooks feature some great points of engagement:

  • Simple, intuitive navigation
  • Full-screen image galleries
  • Interactive charts and graphs
  • Embeddable videos
  • 100% compatible with any Apple mobile device

An iBook makes a great, alternative format for your company's annual report, project proposal, or capabilities brochure. With its slick interface, an iBook will give you a stunning, hands-on way for your meeting attendees to interact with your company offerings.

Custom Mobile Apps

Customized Apple or Android apps (ones you download in the Apple Store or Google Play Store) are yet another opportunity for mobilizing your presentations. However, these mobile apps must go through a long and rigorous review by Apple, Android, and other distributors before they are available to download through their app stores. It takes a very long time (think weeks) after each copy edit or feature update to get these apps approved and back in the store to download.

iBooks and web apps, on the other hand, have a much quicker turnaround time, and are easily updated at any point—making them a smart choice for frequently updated presentations or presentations with an urgent deadline.

So the next time you're thinking about refreshing your collateral or sharing your next proposal or presentation—;or losing sleep thinking about all the things that could go wrong with your upcoming PowerPoint presentation—think about how engaging an interactive iBook or web app can be, and contact us to get started.

Topics: Web Tags: web, mobile, apps, presentation