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Your Friday Five


1. This last week was a big one for Apple; they announced some new stuff to look forward to at their developers conference in San Francisco. Hilarious sea lion jokes aside, it looks like they’re going to be adopting some new design, and as you all know, we love design.

2. Google Trends is definitely one of Google’s many under utilized tools. It basically tracks every google search and rates it relative to all searches across the world. Last month, Google made some handy charts for the tool and explained its function pretty nicely on their blog. There are lots of discussions about the utility of the tool (ie whether or not it can be useful in market/election predictions or how it might help advertisers like us hone in on cultural trends), but either way, the fact that we can see what the entire world is interested in right this very second is totally mesmerizing.

3. Tactile learning, reading for the blind, and comic books are usually not lumped into the same project. Interactive design student Phillip Meyer challenged that when he created the world’s first tactile comic book. Using only embossed shapes, Meyer was able to outline an entire life cycle through framed movement. Check it out.

4. One of the world’s greatest illustrators, Maurice Sendak, died last year. Over the years he’s provided the most memorable children’s characters in the world, including Max from Where the Wild Things Are, Else Holmelund Minarik’s series Little Bear, and Mickey from In The Night Kitchen. This week would have been his 85th birthday; Google made this awesome Google Doodle as a tribute:

5. It’s Father’s Day on Sunday. Celebrate your dad by making him this. The only challenge in this homemade gift is stealing his keys without him noticing it.

Brand Loyalty… It’s As Easy As You Think


Screen Shot 2013-07-22 at 5.03.43 PM

Have you ever met those people who love everything a company creates? It’s almost like they’re unable to form an objective opinion about the product because the brand is attached to it. Yep, that’s brand loyalty, and if you can get it, you’re golden.

What Is Brand Loyalty?
When consumers purchase a product out of brand loyalty it’s usually built on a past experience. For instance, the product performed well, the company has great customer service, or maybe the consumer just identifies with the brand on some unique level. Brand loyalty generally suggests a predispositional commitment toward a brand. Believe us, brand loyalty is a good thing to have.

How Can Companies Achieve Brand Loyalty For Their Products?

Brand will always be the connection between the product and its customer. It’s pretty clear that to achieve brand loyalty your brand needs to be memorable and attractive. Many companies can achieve this from good solid advertising, keeping up on social media and appealing to the masses by being on top of cultural trends.

Deliver On Promises
In addition to a solid and recognizable brand, companies need to keep their word. If they say they have the lowest prices, the best quality, or any other superlative they’re going to have to back it up with results.

When companies fail to deliver, news gets out fast. Sources like Yelp are proof that broken promises and poor services become public knowledge immediately. Often there is no recovering from an online argument or poor review.

Keep It Ethical
Reputation really matters! We exist in a consumer market that’s largely driven by word of mouth recommendation, plus word of mouth spreads faster than ever before.  A company’s ethical history, not only with consumer interaction, but as an employer as well, becomes incredibly significant. It makes sense, People choose not to frequent stores that treat their customers poorly, they are turned off over stories of unethical employee practices.

Have a brand you adore? Tell us all about it in the comments or on our Facebook! 

Say Goodbye to May and Hello to Your Friday Five


1. Want to make five dollars a day by hanging some paper off your face? It’s a real job, so all that time you spent on your BA in Liberal Arts is worth something!

2. Last week we discussed the great places 3D printing will take advertising. Now, we’d like to show you the amazing place it will take medicine.

3. Onstar used to really impress us. The QR code on open house flyers also really impressed us. The two met and got married. Ideally, after an accident drivers are in good enough shape to get out their smart phones and get help.

4. You know those crazy movies where robots get too smart and turn on humans? Well there is a new robot that refills empty beer glasses based on human drinking behavior. How could this possibly go wrong?

5. You’ve seen Echo-Factory’s amazing “We’re Sorry” voodoo doll kit.  This designer has the same sort of idea, except her kit heals broken hearts. We’re pretty sure she could make a nice chunk of change if she placed it next to the TV dinners.

The 3D Printer, Coming to a Household Near You.


The buzz surrounding 3D printing is undeniable. From jewelry to weapons, the new technology is guaranteed to change everything we know about manufacturing, product creation and even design.

The possibilities behind the 3D printer are astounding. Think about it, an idea can become a product immediately, and the only cost is design and prototyping. Once the product catches on in the market, old manufacturing techniques are available for mass production, but there is a low-cost experimental stage that requires very little in terms upfront cost (aside from the printer price tag). The technology just makes sense for both consumers and manufacturers.

<>BRHow Will It Change Advertising?
Well, we’ve got a couple theories in the works.

First, We’ve Got To Keep Up
One thing is certain, the 3D printer is really something advertisers need to embrace, and soon.

Everyone knows that in order for advertising to work, we need to be informed on the latest of everything, from trends to technology. Clearly, as technology offers faster solutions and immediate gratification, our jobs become increasingly fast paced.

Unlike our advertising forefathers, we’re under a different kind of deadline; we’re expected to reach customers as quickly as possible and as creatively as possible, but our deadline relies on the speed of the evolving technology of our society.

Second, We’ve Got To Encourage
Once we become experts in 3D printing, we’ve got to get our clients to realize its potential. Just like we’ve convinced clients to utilize the endless possibilities of social media, we’re going to have to do the same for 3D printing (and the technology after that, and the technology after that).

The consumer today expects more than what it used to. They have the world at their fingertips, and get to choose where their dollar goes more than ever. Consumers love the idea of tweaking or designing their own version of a product and having it printed especially for them, and it’s not long before they’ll not only be impressed by watching the best cheap 3d printer at working, they will come to expect it.

Finally, We’ve Got To Produce
Right now advertising agencies are making lots of pretty things to look at, clever things to read, and interesting things to hear. Next we have to make things to touch. We’re talking about tangible items that fill in a marginalized gap somewhere between physical craft and virtual craft.

The challenge is that the things we print can’t be tchotchkes that offer nothing, they have to be pieces of design that encourage, inspire and enlighten.

Go ahead and learn more with this awesome video:

Friday Five Time!


1.You’ve heard people say there is a science to everything, except we always sort of thought that statement excluded the arts. Statistician Vinny Bruzzese disagrees; in fact, he’s “solved” the creativity equation for screen plays. If money is the only goal for creativity then he might just be right?

2. In the very rare case that you don’t know what a hexadecimal is, that’s okay. We won’t nerd out on you with matrices or anything. Just know that hexidecimal time and color was combined to make this really nifty clock. And, after watching the clock you become fascinated with the concept here’s the simplified conversion:
One Traditional Day= Sixteen Hexadecimal Hours
One Traditional Hour = 256 Hexadecimal Minutes
One Traditional Minute = 21.09 Hexadecimal Seconds
One Traditional Second= 1.32 Hexadecimal Seconds
Your linear algebra professor would be proud.

3. If you’ve got a kid that really wants a pet fish, but you already know you’re going to be the one cleaning the tank and flushing the doomed guy down the toilet in a few months, you might think of learning some tips from resin artist Keng Lye.

4.The snuggie boom is a great example of a goofy product getting attention thanks to Internet humor. The same is true for the Hutzler 571 Banana Slicer on Amazon. The 4,000+ absurd reviews has made it the #5 best selling kitchen slicer on the site. Read through the reviews and have yourself a good laugh.

5. It’s important to leave a good impression with your clients. So, when a Brazilian cheese company decided to print their business cards on a tiny wallet friendly cheese grater we were both impressed and hungry for some Parmigiano-Reggiano.

The Genius of Nike


Shoes Meet Instagram
The days of personalizing your shoes with a sharpie in Algebra are officially gone. Nike successfully targeted every shoe enthusiast/hipster on the planet earlier this month with their new marketing campaign Nike Photoid. Plus they did it for almost free.

The company took advantage of the popularity of Instagram and paired it with everyone’s secret desire to design their very own special pair of kicks. Basically, potential customers are encouraged to visit and grant the site permission to their Instagram account. Then users pick the style they want and design away, their treasured Instagram memories are dropped in as the background. When customers are through they can order the pair for anywhere between $135-$200.

It’s incredibly easy and fun to fool around with: Win
It’s totally free for Nike: Win
Win. Win.

Plus, It’s Impeccable Timing
But there’s more. In addition to the increased sales, building a new type of brand loyalty, and not needing shoe designers for this project, Nike’s campaign has perfect timing.
Earlier this week Instagram introduced a new feature that allows users to tag their photos (much like their parent company Facebook).

Rather than just use hash tags and @s, the “Photos of You” feature encourages users to tag not only their friends, but brands they follow.

It’s perfect for a company like Nike, with over 1.3 million users, and only 600 of their own photos; they can showcase their products as highlighted by users without doing any actual marketing.

Other brands will have the same good luck. For instance, if Beyonce tags H&M in her photo, the clothing company reaches almost 4 million of her followers immediately. 

Maybe Instagram won’t need to advertise after all.

Friday Five


1. As our past Friday Fives have evinced, we are fascinated by unconventional mediums for artistic expression. Brilliant and talented artist, Rashad Alakbarov, uses found objects to “paint” his walls with shadows.

2. Gamers rejoice, you no longer have to pull out your phone to order a pizza. Unfortunately, you’re still going to leave your parent’s basement to get the door. Oh, and don’t forget the Mountain Dew.

3. If Facebook is about collecting the most friends, then the Buddy Cup by Budweiser might be on the right track. It’s basically a cup that connects to your Facebook, and when you bump cups in celebration it automatically adds the other cup holder to your friends list. The drawback: Usually, you don’t want to give access to your place of work, life events and photos to 90% of people you meet in a bar. A for effort?

4. A couple of our clients have helped make us experts in lighting and energy-efficiency. So when this article hit newsstands last week, we were pretty stoked. It combines the astronomer within us all with our invested interest in lighting.

5. Everyone knows all about engagement marketing; corporations have their customers participate in their marketing by letting them take a crack at their brand. Whether it’s voting for your favorite flavor, with Lays potato chips, or coming up with a commercial for the super bowl like Dove Soap.  This designer made his own fake ice cream flavors based on pop culture. Although he hasn’t been hired by Ben and Jerry’s yet, it did prompt the company to release an official statement that Ron Swanson’s “All the Bacon and Eggs You Have” is not a real flavor. We’re curious, hungry and craving “Dude Food”.

Saturday April 27th is World Graphics Day


Starting back in 1995, World Graphics Day began to bring designers and artists together to celebrate communicative and graphic design. The day was created by Icograda, the International Council of Graphic Design Associations. Founded in 1963, Icograda is a non-profit, non-partisan, member based network of individuals that actively promotes the significance and value of design practice, education, thinking and research world wide. Members strive to represent interdisciplinary collaboration and the collective voice of the design industry. 

Icograda, coupled with this special celebration of art and design fostered an important discussion at Echo-Factory about the wonderful job our designers do, and the enormous influence of communicative design. For us, it’s a huge part of why we do what we do, and why we’re good at it. However, it’s a lot more than just that.

Through the years we’ve come to realize that graphic design and visual literacy has become one of the most influential professions. Every day we are fortunate to be part of a movement that becomes more and more significant to human interaction.

Just How Valuable Is Creativity?
After years of discrimination in the work place, the creative industry is finally a place of esteem and value. In a hotly contested New York Times article back in 2008, “Let the Computers Compute. It’s the Age of the Right Brain” Janet Rae-Dupree posits that the marginalization of alternate thinking in corporate America is not only a thing of the past, it’s now a celebrated and sought-out skill.

We are in a time in which computers can perform most of the sequential skills of the brain’s left hemisphere, but what makes humans different from these computers is the creative ability.

Our Take Away
Individuals across the world are often bound by emotional reactions to art; together artists and those that appreciate works of art can experience something that technology can offer in a limited sense. So, go out and appreciate graphic communication, a painting, a book of illustrations or photography. Thank an artist for giving you something priceless.

Happy World Graphics Day!

Today is Friday.


1. The 3D printer could to be a household appliance in the near future; it even got a shout out back in February from President Obama during his State of the Union Address for how it will change the way we manufacture and make things. We’ll see about that, I mean, my regular printer is jammed right now. In the meantime this 3D pen is a whole different ball game. Is it too close to the puff paint of the 80’s? We say no.

2. A copywriter with a blog, copyblogger, makes a compelling argument about being concise. Her best advice: practice with Twitter. 

3. We’ve discussed packaging on our Friday Five before. It’s sort of the money maker for products. With that in mind, we are really pleased with some of these packages. Although the conceptual penguin juice boxes might be a little too cute to stab in the head with a straw and consume. Check it out:

4. If you’re trying to spend some time away from your devices, that’s a tough order to fill. Especially with these apps. Maybe just enjoy for a little bit?

5. Andrew got us on the puppy bandwagon on Wednesday. So it’s decided: puppies help sell ads and the company needs one. Mike said we’d have to ask Dea. Roni says she’s not cleaning up after it, but the rest of us are seriously on board. Please comment your name suggestions below.

Hulk Up Your Small Business: Eight Tips to Help Your Hard Work Pay Off


Small businesses can be a challenge; they are stressful, tons of hard work and risky.  A lot of small businesses fail within the first few years, and most of them stay small forever.

So, how do you make a small business blossom into a huge booming corporation? If you combine all your hard work with these tips you’ll be on your way.

timingTiming: It’s Kind of Everything

Hard work is key, in fact, building a business without hard work is entirely impossible, so good timing is a great thing to have. When you start growing your business you need to make sure that your product is in the right market at the right time. If it’s not, you’re going to have to wait (which can be costly, and come on, everyone hates waiting), or readjust your product to fit the market’s needs.

Systems: They Are Boring, but They Worksystems

Remember that economics teacher from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? He’s a fan of systems. It’s kind of dull nitty gritty stuff, but we swear, it’ll pay off. Starting a business requires careful planning and a great deal of trial and error in the early stages. But working toward a system that is consistently implemented through every process is vital to healthy growth. As you grow you’ll be glad you have a system in place.

A solid system includes a procedure for everything, from bringing in a new employee to managing your task schedules. It’s important for you and your investors to have a routine and method that you stick to from beginning to end.

scaleScalability: Not What Spiderman Does to Skyscrapers 

Some small businesses are scalable and some aren’t. Businesses that have high labor costs and low support needs are less scalable than a start up that only has a one time development cost before it can provide again and again.

That being said, the world needs small businesses that provide services and talent, even if they aren’t the jewel of an investor’s eye. Echo-Factory, your favorite bakery and your hair salon wouldn’t exist if only scalable companies were around.  However, scalability is among the most attractive qualities to have as a small business looking to grow. To get there, you should be as close to full automated as possible.

Think robots, the non-evil kind.

Technology: I Hear the Internet Is on Computers these Days. technology

Take advantage of technology. In a time where everyone is wireless and online presence can be as expensive or inexpensive as you want it doesn’t make sense not to utilize it.

Plus, managing your business systems, goals, employees and tasks is easily achievable with any range of apps or programs. Find what works for you, and then connect your business model and the application of accessible technologies. If all else fails you can always keep track of your employees with a feather quill and roll of parchment.

boardA Board: Not Your Friends from College, Not Yes Men, The Smartest People You Know

Having the right combination of people to make up your board can be the difference between rapid growth and a decent into failure. When you create a board of advisors look for people who understand your goals, what areas you need advice and how your growth can be optimal in terms of additions to the company. In other words, don’t get a board to try out office chairs.

A good rule of thumb for picking your board: Make sure you’re the dumbest one in the room.

Intellectual Property: Proof You Took Smart Pillsintellectual_property

Your ideas and creativity can be worth more than you think. In fact, a lot of investors value IP more than efficiency or price. It makes perfect sense that investors want to be part of a product that encourages people to say, “I’m so dumb, why didn’t I think of that?”

Be sure to manage your ideas and creativity properly so that other companies don’t blatantly swoop on you, and keep in mind that without unique IP the only thing you’ve got is your product, and other people can probably offer a variation of that too.

brandBrand: That Thing We’re Always Talking About

A recognizable brand is one thing that every Fortune 500 company has, but believe us, no brand just forms out of thin air. It takes a lot of strategy, design, creativity and hard work. It also means that you have to be able to be what your brand says it is.

Advertising will get your brand out there, but keep in mind, that’s not what a brand is. It’s everything you are plus everything your product is. If your company can’t be transparent for customers and investors you should probably rethink what you’re about.

But Overall, Don’t Give Updont-give-up

We don’t want to sound like a heartwarming Disney movie or anything, but you can’t take any of these steps if you don’t believe in your business’ potential first.