Interview with a Creative Director: Transforming the Approval Process


When new technology arises that obliterates the pain points of the past—like one that transforms your approval process, for example—it’s easy to take it for granted. To forget what life was like before. To fall into the trap of thinking that things have always been this way.

Can you recall what it was like to know you had seen a certain actor in another movie before, with no way of looking it up until you got home to look it up on Yahoo or AltaVista? Then the iPhone comes along, not to mention the IMDB app, and you have your answer long before the credits roll.

This is a trivial example, quite literally, but there are thousands more like it.

I recently sat down with a creative director, Travis Lucas, who leads a team of 6 designers and writers—plus multiple freelance designers, writers, and a video production team—at a Salt Lake City-based media company. I asked him to revisit some painful memories from his past (roughly 1994 to 2012) back before his team had a digital proofing solution in place.
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3 Ways to Harness the Power of Visual Storytelling


What Do Target and Geico Have in Common?

Have you ever noticed that you can spot a Target commercial long before you ever see the red bull’s eye appear on the screen?

And then there’s Geico, a company that’s breaking all the rules about consistent branding. How is it that you can still identify a Geico ad in the first few seconds, despite the fact that they’re usually running several wildly different campaigns all at the same time? From the Gecko to cavemen to celebrities spoofing themselves (Little Richard, Peter Frampton, Don LaFontaine). I don’t know about you, but the minute I find myself scratching my head and thinking, “Huh?,” my next thought is, “Oh, this must be from Geico.”

The brand has come to stand for unexpected, disjointed, and eclectic advertisements—even though these qualities are exact the opposite of what most brands typically strive for.

Cohesive or not, one thing is certain: both Target and Geico have effectively harnessed the power of visual storytelling.

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How to Humanize Your Brand

Empathy. Context. Relevance. Meaning.

No, you didn’t just stumble onto a self-help website. These are four things you will need in order to connect with consumers in what many now call the “post-advertising age.”

According to Jessica Ann, author of Humanize Your Brand: How to Create Content that Connects with Your Customers, the future of marketing is all about keeping it real:

“If you’re not proactively taking part in the profits and process of being more human, you’re missing out on the fun, authenticity, and serendipity that happens when you fuse technology with marketing.”

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25 Design Tools for Creatives with Champagne Taste, But On a Beer Budget

inexpensive design tools

Being a designer isn’t a cheap profession. Whether you are a freelancer, a member of a marketing department, or you lead an agency, you have to invest in high performance, quality hardware as well as good software that can serve all your (sometimes very diverse) needs. While it may be difficult to cut the cost of the hardware without sacrificing performance (for example, think about the nightmare of using a cheap monitor in color-critical applications), you have plenty of options when it comes to choosing design tools.

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The Review and Approval Disconnect: Don’t Send Your Audience the Wrong Message

review and approval disconnect

“If they had asked me, I would have strongly advised them not to do it.”

Those “famous last words” are from Frank Spotnitz, creator and executive producer of the new show, “The Man in the High Castle”, that describes a version of history in which the Axis powers win World War II and divide the United States into a Nazi-controlled East and a Japan-run West.

To advertise the release of all 10 episodes on the Amazon Prime streaming service on November 20, Amazon completely wrapped the seats, walls and ceilings of one New York City subway train in imagery that included a version of the American flag with a German eagle and iron cross in place of the stars, as well as a stylized flag inspired by imperial Japan.

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Celebrate Dictionary Day By Fixing These 15 Common Copywriting Mistakes

common copywriting mistakes



noun dic·tio·nary ˈdik-shə-ˌner-ē, -ˌne-rē

:a reference book that contains words listed in alphabetical order and that gives information about the words’ meanings, forms, pronunciations, etc.


Today, October 16, is Dictionary Day. A day when wordsmiths, editors, grammarians, and writers (including a few copywriters) across the United States celebrate the anniversary of the birth of Noah Webster, considered by many to be the father of the American dictionary.

The English language can be downright confusing, even for us native-speaking writers. This is why the dictionary is one of a copywriter’s best friends, in addition to a thesaurus, a well-worn copy of “Everybody Writes” by Ann Handley (check our interview with Ann here), and an annual subscription to

(This is my personal writer’s kit, by the way)

What better way to celebrate the joy and beauty of words than to help you reduce copywriting mistakes by reviewing 15 of the most commonly confused word pairs? Even the best copywriters get tripped by these words. I have to wonder if these copywriting mistakes are one of the reasons why Webster invented the dictionary.

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Click Here! The Psychology Behind An Effective Call to Action

effective call to action

In the digital era that we live in, the success of a campaign (particularly a digital campaign) can rely heavily on whether or not you have an effective call to action (CTA). CTAs are what draw people in and convert a passerby into an active consumer. On the flipside, if a CTA fails to draw a consumer in, all the hard work that went into the numerous other aspects of your campaign may be all for naught. So how do you create a CTA that will connect to your audience and compel them to action? Fortunately, there is an actual science to creating an effective call to action. So say good-bye to the guessing game and look at the psychology that goes into an effective call to action.

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10 Brand Publications that Prove Print Isn’t Dead

brand publications prove the value of print

We may live in the digital era, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t still room for print marketing. In addition to the recent resurgence in catalogs that we reported on, it would seem that publications are also seeing their share of success. We’re not just talking mainstream print magazines like People and Oprah either, but brand publications. These publications are proving that print isn’t dead and just may give you a reason to consider creating your own brand publication.

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4 Scientific Studies to Make You Rethink Marketing


Relying on research has always been an essential part of a sound business strategy. If your organization hopes to be successful, knowing your consumer is a crucial skill. Good research can not only help you with your marketing efforts but can change the way you think about the process itself. We’ve taken a look at four scientific studies – and broken them down for you – that will make you rethink what you know about marketing.

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Lights, Camera, Action! Tips for Casting Your Corporate Videos

casting corporate videos

Corporate videos are a creative and exciting way to get your brand (or your client’s) into the public consciousness. In fact, video and interactive media are playing a more vital role than ever in how companies promote themselves. Platforms like YouTube all but demand it. The good news is that corporate videos can cost as much or as little as your budget allows. However, a good video (at least, one that doesn’t rely on stock photography or animated graphics), one way or the other, calls for actors, and actors mean casting talent. So how do you do that?
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