Category: Uncategorized

Project Highlight: We Love Shoes!


A piece of good advice: Always invest in what comes between you and the ground. Helmets and shoes are on the short list.

If you’ve browsed our portfolio you know we’ve helped brand helmets, but did you know we’ve also branded shoes?

Here’s The Story

A few years ago a little shoe company from El Segundo, California was just getting started. Matisse had shoes that were comfortable, looked good and were reasonably priced. Three of the top must-haves for any footwear zealot.

The only thing Matisse needed was a brand revamp. Their branding had some loose ends, small inconsistencies, and like many start-ups, they needed a tiny bit of outside perspective.

The Background

Screen Shot 2013-08-29 at 11.16.39 PMWe were glad to help. We wanted to make sure that as the company grew they could build on our work with ease. We knew that when a company begins, it’s got to have a strong foundation.

We also knew that branding fashion was tricky; the brand has to be strong enough to mean something, but moldable enough to keep up with ever-evolving trends without losing recognizability.

With that in mind, we began to strategize. The company needed product photography, a tight logo, a tagline, a new website and some other odds and ends. Matisse had tried to embody Henri Matisse’s visual style in their product, but it was simply too narrow of a scope for a product with such huge potential.

The Concepting

For weeks, long after the Echo-Factory team had closed down their computers, shoes stayed on our brains. One late night, as Dea stayed awake with adorable sandals marching through her brain, she got an idea.

Shoes, a French Fauve artist, color, paintings, sculpture, sandals, boots… There was so much to work with, but it needed to stay simple, inspire and create a type of branding that would be timeless.

She thought about Henri Matisse, and how his artwork still amazed people with its bright colors and dynamic lines of movement. That’s exactly what Matisse shoes did, they were little pieces of art that moved and lived with the wearer. Finally, she landed on the tagline “Bringing Art to Life.”

The Photography

We were pretty pleased with the concept, and so was Matisse. Dea began to design the logo. We kept the thread going and began to incorporate it into their look book, line cards, product photography and website.

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Our photo shoots kept the theme going. We made the shoes central pieces of art by shooting shoes  in masterpiece frames, sandals became works of art on blank canvases, and artist tools brought the shoes to life.

As the company grew, we realized it would b

e beneficial for Matisse to set up their own product photography situation. So, Mike put together a system that made it easy for Matisse to incorporate new product photos as they came out. This helped things move forward easily, and it gave us a chance to help a client develop an important skill.

The photography was done, we had a great aesthetic, and the tagline fit like a glass slipper, all we needed was to put all the elements together online.

The Website

At the time, Matisse didn’t sell their shoes online, but only offered an online look book for merchandisers to view their products, or for customers to find sellers.  For us, that meant the branding had to be as visual as possible.

It also meant that our approach to their website had to be simple, we wanted it to be easily updated as shoes changed with seasonality, user-friendly so that customers could look with ease, and like all fashion, it needed to look great.

After months of brainstorming, designing, writing, photographing and programing Matisse had a new look, a new approach and they were ready to move forward.

Friday Five Time


It’s Time for the Friday Five!

skymall1. Does anyone ever actually order stuff from SkyMall? If SkyMall had some of these items, it might make our flying experience a whole lot more expensive. Check out what the Internet offers in terms of things no one needs, but everyone wants.


2. Our office is a great little place; it’s got wall doodles, birthday piñatas, sports gear, a moody headless mannequin, a kegerator, and a plenty of French press coffee. These offices are really impressive, but we really do give them a run for their money.


3. A couple of Tufts students created a simple light inside a shower head that alerts you when it’s time to get out. As simple as it seems, the Uji shower head pays for itself in seven months and significantly decreases water and energy consumption.


4. For Echo-Factory’s sixth birthday next February we’ve got some ideas in the works. What do six year olds like? Balloon animals of course.


5. Remember when we wrote that post about Vine? It was just weeks old, and companies hadn’t really adopted it into their social media plans yet. Well, the revolution is upon us.  Airbnb is giving Vine a chance to show its power. Check it out here.

Five Tips To Start Your Start Up!



Looking To Kick Start A Start Up?

We’re pretty lucky, not because we hit it big time playing KENO in Vegas, but because we get to see emerging brands and start ups make serious progress through hard work and the right strategies.

Over the last few years we’ve witnessed a lot of our clients make great strides with their companies. During that time we’ve learned what works well, and what doesn’t work so well.

 That’s why we’ve put together this list of tips for success.

1. The logo and tagline are important, but they’re not as important as the business itself.

We know your company is great, and you know your company is great, but your customers need to know. That doesn’t start and finish with the tagline or logo.

Keep in mind, you’ve got to awaken an emotion in your customer. People don’t only buy what you do; they buy why you do it. The most clever copy and the most innovative design won’t be enough on its own.

 2. Sometimes it’s healthy to take a step back.

Slow down, and look at the entire situation from an outside perspective (Like the customer’s perspective).

A good story is a good story, and people love one, but they don’t love every boring detail or having their intelligence insulted with over explanation.

Let your customers explore what you do and try things out. They should get a good feel for what you’re about without you holding their hand. Less can be more when it comes to sharing every feature.

 3. Stay focused.

It’s a nerve-racking, exciting and extremely significant moment in your career, and in your life. Don’t try to do too much.

You might start out with lots of huge plans for why your company will be the next big thing, how awesome the company culture is going to be, how you’ll deal with pressures from investors and all the other things that come along with great success. Don’t get distracted by the small stuff. Instead, learn to filter out what is important early on.

Remind yourself often what your purpose and vision are and stick to them. The most successful people focus on the efforts that matter. It’s that simple.

 4. Be visible and be visual. 

Things that look good get attention, so design shouldn’t be an afterthought. Whether it’s the website or the product itself, your brand should look its best. Wells Riley does an amazing job of outlining how important design is for business here.

Clearly, once your brand looks good, you’ll want it to be seen. So, get out there and spread the word. Social media is a perfect place to showcase every little thing and it’s the best visual marketing out there. It doesn’t matter if it’s a new and improved logo or just an office party, customers love pictures and videos. Give the people what they want!

5. Don’t look for quick fixes, and if you get stuck, ask for help.

When you run into a conflict the answer is rarely a quick fix. It’s all about hard work, taking the right advice and lots of luck.

It can be tough to admit when you need some guidance, but there is really no better way to grow than to learn from other people’s past experiences. A mentor or helper with your best interest in mind can be a priceless benefit.

Remember, everyone loves to share what they know. Use your listening skills and learn what you can from veterans that have experience. Don’t be afraid to ask for advice when you’re stuck, or just curious.

By the way, it’s entirely possible we’re the help you’re looking for. 

Project Highlight: Dale Bros Brewery Rebrand


If you know anything about us, it’s that we’re ridiculously passionate about what we do. It’s almost a borderline nerdy obsession sort of situation.

The thing is, we love our clients, and we love the chance to show off our skills while promoting something they’re excited about. To us, mixing our passion with a client’s passion is the perfect recipe for success all around.

So, when the opportunity to showcase our talent while promoting a local beer surfaced, well, you know where this is going.

Here’s The Story

It was almost a year ago when we started to help Dale Bros Brewery polish their look, and the project has come a long way. They had just moved to a new location, and the timing of a rebrand couldn’t have been better.

The Logo

Screen Shot 2013-08-09 at 2.58.17 PM


First, we started by helping them rebrand their logo.  After hanging out with Curt and Andy Dale, we got a sense of their personalities and their approach to creating tasty beer. It wasn’t long before we realized that these guys did things differently.

They were two personalities that fit better in tie dye t-shirts than business suits; they were interested in making beer for their friends before making a buck. It was clear they were different than other breweries. They were the black sheep of breweries.

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Dea got to work. There were already some great elements of the logo that Andy and Curt had incorporated over the last ten years, and she didn’t want to leave any of their hard work behind.

She spent hours  illustrating two black sheep. One for each brother; one for each unique personality. The logo stared out from her screen, and its simplicity summarized everything without any explanation. The new logo was a perfect representation of everything the Dale brothers were about.

Mike went to shoot the new tap room, the brewing process, and the Dale Bros staff. Illustrator and Photoshop remained open, and our glasses stayed full.

The Unveiling

Adorned with Santa hats, the new black sheep logo made its debut right on time for the Hoppy Holiday’s Event. We sent out an email blast, put together postcards and flyers to promote the event.  For Dale Bros loyalists, it was a sneak peak of the many changes to come.

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Cheers to Ten Years

By the time 2013 came we had hit the ground running. This year was special for Dale Bros because it marked their tenth anniversary. It gave us a chance to put together material for their party that was a decade in the making. After some serious brainstorming we came up with a roman numeral ten built out of Cheers in different languages. We even created a special tagline for the party: “Cheers to Ten Years!”

We put together promotional materials including special commemorative glasses, posters, email blasts and took to social media to spread the word about their anniversary celebration. Our copywriters became experts with top ten lists that celebrated beer and the brand with perfection. It was more than a success; we’re pretty sure Cheers to Ten Years went down in Upland history for one of the best parties of all time.

Event Promotion

Screen Shot 2013-08-09 at 4.20.01 PMEach month we kept the momentum going by promoting events, staying current on social media sites and making sure beer lovers like us were always up to date with new releases and happenings. We got local shops and businesses to promote their brand, reached out to new customers, and kept the same honest communication with veterans of the brand.

New Packaging

Screen Shot 2013-08-09 at 4.06.54 PMWhen the days began to grow longer we knew it meant backyard BBQ season was upon us. Picnickers packed newly labeled bottles of Dale Bros beer into their ice chests right next to their potato salad. The new labels had reworked beer descriptions, black sheep logos and a refreshed look we were proud of.



 And The Site Went Live!

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Finally, after ten months of work, seven events, five new beers and countless foamy sips, we made the new Dale Bros site live. The mobile friendly site is complete with their new logo, new photos, new copy and lots of new features. You can read about the Dale Bros brewing family, follow their blog, learn about their beer and find out the latest news on their events page.

Check out their site at, or go visit them in their tap room and get to know the black sheep of the brewing industry.

Don’t Start Your Weekend Without a Friday Five


Every Great Weekend Must Kick Off with a Fabulous Friday Five


1.Confession time. We wasted a lot of time in 1995 in front of the family computer in that program paint. Few of those images made it to the printer, but at the time we thought they were master pieces. This guy actually does make legit works of art.


2.For just $20 your life is about to change. This magic stuff in spray can will prevent anything bad from ever happening again. Okay, not exactly. However, the video is pretty convincing that it’s a game changer. Go ahead and purchase that white couch and forget about the no spaghetti sauce in the living room rule.


3.If your home candle company is local, fair trade, organic, hand crafted and stamped by hand. This step-by-step guide to a hipster logo might be for you.


4.“Don’t play ball in the house!” “Bring a jacket!” “Eat you vegetables!” Thanks Mom we got it. Some guys at MIT took mom’s advice to share,  always wear a helmet and then they put the two together. Voilà! helmet hub was born.


5.Break out the Prisma Colors and linseed oil. This artist’s colored pencil illustrations are nothing short of amazing. He tracks his progress on Instagram.


Twitter, It’s Not New, But We See It A Bit Differently


Tell Your Life Story in Less Than 140 Characters
If Carnac the Magnificent from The Johnny Carson Show appeared today, his act might go something like this:

Carnac: (holding an envelope up to his head) “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, The National Museum of American History at The Smithsonian, The Great Gatsby, and Twitter.”

(Opens envelope) What is the American Story?

Okay, maybe Twitter is a great leap from The Great American Novel, but there is something to be said about a 136 character story that gets told about one billion times a week.

It Really Does Offer a Type of Narrative
In fact, Tweets are such an important snap shot of social media’s role in present society, that Library of Congress has been archiving the data since 2006.

The idea behind the project was that collecting tweets could establish an ongoing stream of the nation’s daily life, and offer future researchers an organized look at the world the same way that diaries, letters and editorials have in the past.

So My Grandkids Are Going to See Me Pout About Running Out of Twizzlers?
Yep, but they’ll also see moments from Obama’s inauguration, Egypt’s liberation, and a whole nation’s reaction to world events. The collective human story is growing one line at a time.

It’s all pretty exciting.

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For Our Industry
For the creative world and advertising it’s an interesting conversation as well.

We’re faced with the challenge to tell an entire story with a logo, an image or a single headline. What is more representative of that than Twitter? A story told one line at time, with such limited space creates a pressure to make every word count.

And in case you don’t know, we thrive under pressure. Look through some of our projects and see; we capture story, create personality, and showcase our awesome clients complete with tone, voice, urgency and direction all with compelling simplicity.

For us, Twitter is a worldwide phenomenon that creates a pretty familiar and fun challenge.

Tell a story. Represent yourself. Make a difference. And do it all, one line, one image, one moment at a time. #thanksforreading

A Friday Five You Won’t Want To Miss!


1. Potato clocks officially have some competition. MaKey MaKey uses alligator clips, any two objects with a tiny bit of conductivity, and the MaKey MaKey board to make everyday objects into touchpads. The computer thinks the objects are a keyboard or mouse so it works for any program or website you use. Excuse us while we create a brochure using a pile of dog toys and a banana. See it here.

2. All of your hard work on Pinterest is worth more than you think. Especially those pins of cocktail dresses and high heels, just ask Nordstroms. They’re the first company to base their displays on customer pins. Read on here.

3. Not every product is a home run. Our guess is that someone was out sick in the marketing department on the fateful day these products got the green light. Win some, lose some, right?

4. What’s the history of typeface? We know you’ve been itching to learn all about the origins of your favorite fonts. Luckily, Forrest Media put together this nifty video. Come on, it’s stop motion with paper!

5. Friday Five followers know pretty well by now that there are some things we just love to gush about. One of those things is innovative art projects. We’ve shown you some Lego sculptures, resin artists, shadow painting and even a bubble wrap painter. Here’s some of that chain link fence you so fondly remember from elementary school turned into something awesome. 

Our Love Affair With Infographics


Visual representations of information have been around, well, since hieroglyphics. However, in the last couple of years there has been a surge of graphic information used to inform, entertain and educate across all venues from social media to journalism and even in higher education.

Infographics are great for lots of reasons, but there are a number of reasons they shine above plain old written information.

They Are Easy To “Read”
We are all guilty of scanning. It’s sort of how we read information now, especially online and in poster form.

The nice thing about infographics is that they chunk details together and organize it perfectly so valuable information jumps out. A written statement just can’t allow for that level of speed and comprehension.

They Communicate Effectively.
A good solid infographic has the ability to communicate through a combination of graphics, patterns and words. Viewers can follow subconscious cues through graphics and retain information in seconds rather than minutes.

Plus, studies have shown that humans respond positively to information with colors and visuals, and find themselves better able to follow instructions when directions use graphics.

They Cater To An Increasingly Important Type Of Comprehension
Beyond looking super cool, infographics narrow in on an important cognitive process that uses graphics to enhance the visual system’s ability to see patterns and trends.

In other words, visual literacy as a skill is becoming increasingly valuable as the information sharing network becomes faster and smaller. We rely less and less on traditional language cues for information, and more on visual representations of language. Reading a symbol and assigning meaning to it is quickly becoming a universal language.

From The Creative Side, They Are Exciting
Graphics in general capture attention; human brains are built to process things visually. When visuals are combined with information, there is no limit to what an infographic can do. With some skill, they can share information in a more engaging and effective way.

Put simply, they are fun to read, fun to make and exciting to share.

Celebrate and Embrace Infographics

Echo-Factory had dabbled a bit in these forms, and they’ve been wildly successful for getting the word out to clients, customers and our friends.

Here are some helpful tips for creating an infographic:

-Understand your data. If you don’t, no one will.
-Use your design skills to make it great. An important rule is: show, don’t tell.
-Think beyond the bar graph. Why use the graphing skills you learned in second grade when you’ve got millions of icons at your finger tips?
-Use colors to your advantage. You’d be surprised how much they enhance or detract from an image.
-Tell a story. The thing people like best, right after graphics, is narrative.
-Or, just give us a call, and we’ll help make one for you.

Too Much to read? For an interactive infographic about infographics, check out this link. We promise it will be exciting!

First Friday Five Of The Summer


1.If you have a daughter, a sister, or have been creeped on by a weirdo at a bar there is no need to worry any longer. “Anti-pervert” leggings are all the rage in China. Yeah, they are pretty gross, but also awfully ingenious.

2.As advertisers, we’ve got to be aware of our audience. It’s one of those first rules you learn. Even though everyone knows California doesn’t have an accent. ( From now on, if we’re talking to some customers in a different region we’re just going to consult our handy linguistic data map.

3.Technology is glorious. Soon you’ll be able to be burned into remembering your anniversary. Yep, this wedding band is programmed to get progressively hotter every year twenty-four hours before your anniversary (It starts at 120 degrees). Now if only they could make a ring Mike won’t lose on his bike ride.

4.Followers of our blog know, we’re a tad obsessed with 3D printing. The idea of 3B printing is even more compelling. Nope, not a typo, Dewar’s used bees to print three-dimensional stuff to promote their Highland Honey Scotch. Brilliant advertising, yeah we’ll drink to that.

5.Hit a wall with your ideas? Don’t stress out, seriously it happens to us about fifty times a week. The good news is that hanging out at a hip cafe may just be your best bet. Did you say non-fat with no foam?

Know Your Clients


Dear JC Penney,
This year was tough for you. For some reason you fell apart like an aging child star. You tried new things, and your fans hated it. No matter what, you couldn’t seem to catch a break.

Some of us were never really JC Penney people to begin with, but even so, it was hard not to watch.

What went wrong?

Well, Let’s Begin At The Beginning.

After JC Penney got rid of their catalog and a handful of stores back in 2011 they tried a completely new approach.

They started out by upsetting some people at Google when they manipulated search engine indexes to bring more traffic to their site around the holiday. Google responded by reducing their visibility in searches. (Ouch)

Then they brought out Ellen Degeneres as a spokesperson, but unfortunately, conservative clients weren’t pleased their choice. Their stock went down, and people left for other alternatives.

With business in jeopardy, they went back to the drawing board. They hired successful CEO, Ron Johnson. With a track record that was hard to argue with, it seemed like a good move; after all, Johnson was the brains behind Target’s rebrand and worked as VP of retail opportunities at Apple back in 2000. But his ideas may have been a little much for a lower-end department store.

A Failed Attempt To Rebrand

Johnson tried to make things a little hipper. He brought in high-end brands, and set up the stores with small shops inside. His concept attempted to restructure the discount store to resemble a series of cute boutiques. The idea was that customers would enjoy hanging out and browsing.

Then, he got rid of coupons and discounts by just offering a one time low price. It was a promise to pay what the tag says with no hassle. There were no fake mark downs timed alongside paydays, no promotions, just a flat price.

It all works pretty well on paper, even stockholders were on board. But, millions of dollars later, Johnson is out of a job and things are worse than ever.

The New Approach Wasn’t The Right Fit
Clearly, Johnson’s downfall was a failure to recognize his audience, and cater to them appropriately.

He had some great ideas, but JC Penney’s customers aren’t interested in high-end flash fashion by Betsey Johnson. They generally like their same old discount coupons for standard clothing and household items.

Not only did Johnson alienate old customers, his ideas failed to attract new customers.

How Could This Have Ended Better?
One major problem was that Johnson didn’t try his ideas out on a sample of shoppers. He launched the big ideas fast, expecting clientele to bend and sway to the brand.

In other words, the new concepts tried to re-train customer habits instead of simply giving customers what they wanted.

Each Additional Mistake Is Now Magnified

Can they recover?

JC Penney began to attempt rebuilding. They brought back their old CEO, and apologized to their customers for the misstep. They’ve created apologetic commercials, billboards, and tried turning to social media for another chance.  It doesn’t seem like it’s going to be enough.

The Road To Recovery Is A Bleak One.
After two years of disaster after disaster, JC Penney finds itself under a microscope. Those that haven’t already abandoned the store completely are watching each little hiccup. (ie a billboard that looks like Hitler is a big deal right now).

The take away: Know your customers. Listen to them. Work for them.