Make Your Marketing Grow Green

By Harlan West, Design and Marketing Professional with more than 25 years of experience designing materials for major healthcare organizations, municipalities and large corporations.

The Power of Green: Green Can Grow Your Marketing Campaign

It’s time to look at color as an important factor in corporate communications. Since it’s still spring, let’s use the color green to spice up our marketing campaigns.

Green squares2Designing with green

Some words that come to mind when using a bright green color include: freshness, spring, life, St. Patrick’s Day, gardens, plants, thrive, growth, rebirth, health, lime, vegetables, recycling, sustainability, “go”, moving ahead, and environmentally friendly.

Here’s some ideas: Continue reading

Using the Influence of Art Deco Architecture to Add Elegance to a Publication

harlanwestblogphotoBy Harlan West, Design and Marketing Professional with more than 25 years of experience designing materials for major healthcare organizations, municipalities and large corporations.


At HWDS we often draw inspiration for our designs frochryslerm the art deco architecture of the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. Its craft motif style drew from the age of machinery and features symmetrically designed patterns of geometric shapes and intricate ornamentation. Repetition of graphical shapes is a key element of the art deco architectural movement.  Colors often consist of pastels including pinks and teals as well as the use of silver and platinum. Its rich patterning of repetitive lines and shapes make it  the source of wonderful elements for logo design and border treatments.

Here you will find some samples of art deco architecture, most notably seen in the Chrysler building, far right, in New York City.



A great place to see art deco architecture is South Beach, Florida.  South Beach, also known as SoBe is actually a neighborhood in the city of Miami Beach.  It probably has the largest number of remaining art deco buildings in the United States.  Certainly it has the largest number of art deco hotels in the northern hemisphere. The repeating shapes founds in some of these building can be wonderful elements for  corporaArt Deco Architecturete logo designs. A spectacular book of SoBe architecture is Deco Delights, Preserving the Beauty and Joy of Miami Beach Architecture by Barbara Baer Capitman with photographs by Steven Brooke. Prints from the book are available at Steven Brooke’s website.

Other examples of art deco architecture can bemosaic150 seen in intricate mosaic patterns in the architecture of Europe where majestic fortresses were built with curved  plaster patterns.

Art deco typically uses these design elements:

1) Symmetry—A very symmetrical, balanced design resonates through the architecture.  Doors and windows are arrayed uniformly, cohesively and identically throughout the structure.

2) Lines—Beautiful, strong lines flow though the exterior of the structure and often serve as a decorative motif.  These can often be seen in balconies and the fascia of the building.  Often these lines are decorated with bands of silver metal or platinum.

3) Repetition—Geometric shapes and lines are echoed throughout the building and often repeated several times. These can be both in the exterior and interior of the structure.  This repetition can also be seen in doorways, windows, balconies and decorative elements.

4) Rhythm—Here decorative elements are arranged in a symphonic harmony.  The art deco era is characteristic of a style with incredible energy with bold colorful, geometric shapes and intense rhythm where the repetition of elements crates an atmospheric harmony throughout the building.

5) Pattern—Art deco structures frequently have patterns of mosaics, waves and symmetry arrayed in the design.

6) Color—Art deco architecture frequently used light neutral colors with the addition of silver and gold accents that were combined with sand, gray, beige and peach walls.  Pastels were also frequently used.

Continue reading

A Well-Designed Interview About Design—Part II

harlanwestblogphotoBy Harlan West, Design and Marketing Professional with more than 25 years of experience designing materials for major healthcare organizations, municipalities and large corporations.

This is part two of an interview with a California State University at Fullerton graduate student. The second part dealt with my personal perception on logos.

microphone against purple disco background1.  What is the most important aspect of a logo?
The most important characteristic of a logo is memorability.  You want people to go away with a positive lasting impression. It’s all about retention.

2. Are there any considerations taken when creating a logo? (Who is the client, what is it used for, why is there a need for a logo, when is the logo created)

HW: Yes, there are many considerations.  Here’s some questions to ask:

  • What is the company’s mission?
  • What is the company’s primary product or service?
  • How long has the company been in business?
  • What is the company’s reputation and image?
  • Has the company won any awards?
  • Who is the competition and how do they market themselves?
  • What differentiates the company from its competitors? What does it offer that is different?
  • Does the company have a strategic marketing plan?
  • Have there been recent  changes/developments in the industry that will impact the company’s strategic marketing plan?

HW: Avoid logos that are cluttered or which try to say too much.  A logo symbol and type treatment need to be a cohesive unit that work well together.  A simple clean memorable symbol is best. Take a look at the CBS camera lens logo, Time Warner Cables’s eye logo, Apple’s apple symbol , the NBC peacock, the Facebook “F” and the Tesla “T.”  Elegance and simplicity if design says it all.  Less is more. Keep in mind that a logo just needs to communicate strength.  Resilience and quality. Avoid elements which get in the way of this simple concept.

3.  What do you think would be a reason for a company to change its logo design?

HW: In other words, I’d like to rephrase this question.  I recommend a corporate rebranding when:

  • A logo is dated and looks stale.
  • The logo colors are no longer contemporary.
  • The marketplace has changed and the industry has evolved.
  • A large competitor has eaten away at sales.
  • The company has taken on a new product line or service that is outside its current industry.
  • The company’s reputation or corporate image have changed.
  • New design standards are warranted. This may be a great opportunity for an update and refresh.

HW: But keep in mind that it may best to just “update” a design rather than to completely create a new logo. Years of building awareness and advertising could fall away quickly if a logo were completely “shucked.”  Customers need something that they can hang on to and they can continue to connect with. Often a new typestyle and simple “modernization” of an existing symbol is the best approach.

4.  What is your personal perception about the importance of logos in brand identity?

HW: A logo defines the company. It is a simple yet powerful means of creating a corporate image and identity.  A poorly designed logo can make a company look inexperienced and unsuccessful. A well-designed logo can make a company look strong and prosperous. The logo is the most important element in brand identity.  When it is paired with strict corporate colors, fonts, photo treatments and publication templates, it can result in a very effective branding for the company.  In other words, the logo is the defining element in the corporate branding,

5.  Do design trends (past or present) influence the design of company logos?

HW: Yes, but do not place too much stock in trends. The logo or rebranding needs to be contemporary and up with the times. Stay away from trends that quickly make a logo look dated.  A logo must withstand the test of time.

HW: I recommend designing a logo with a shelf life of at least 10 years.  A resilient logo helps to build brand retention, awareness and customer loyalty. You need to “marry your logo for a substantial period of time. In short a logo  in order to be effective must be  able to withstand the test of time.

HW: Here’s some of the many logos that we have created for our clients during the past 23 years.



If your company needs an elegantly designed publication, logo or e-publication, please contact HWDS at  We make beautiful things happen. To find out more please visit

Harlan West is the author of and has been working as a creative director and design professional for more than 25 years and has designed and art directed hundred of publications for both print and online purposes.

50 Reasons to Follow the Successful Corporate Communications Blog

harlanwestblogphotoBy Harlan West, Design and Marketing Professional with 25 years of experience designing materials for major healthcare organizations, municipalities and large corporations.

I am proud to commemorate the publication of 50 blog posts! Celebrate with us by continuing to read our blog and encouraging your friends and colleagues to subscribe as well.


Since we just completed our 50th blog post, here’s 50 fabulous reasons to keep reading and rereading:

  1. Take advantage of valuable design tips for your newsletter.
  2. Use color to make a more effective publication.
  3. Learn how to create effective mastheads.
  4. Escape the pitfalls of staff meetings.
  5. Learn ways to deal more effectively with your clients.
  6. Discover how to create more effective bilingual publications.
  7. Find valuable tips on advertising.
  8. Learn about effective branding.
  9. Gain valuable information about e-publications.
  10. Increase your knowledge of printing techniques.
  11. Increase your appreciation of elegant paper stocks.
  12. Learn how to create effective event promotions.
  13. Discover ways to include effective infographics, charts and diagrams in your publications.
  14. Learn about ways to find employment as a skilled graphic designer.
  15. Unearth new ways to promote healthcare events.
  16. Invent new ways to illustrate your newsletter with the use of graphical icons.
  17. Find ways to develop an effective logo for your company.
  18. Learn about ways to add a mascot or cartoon character to your newsletter or publication.
  19. Differentiate your company’s product and service from the competition.
  20. Produce beautiful maps that provide more than just directions.
  21. Explore new ways to be more responsive to your clients.
  22. Recognize how to find a quality print vendor.
  23. Realize the beauty that nature can add to a publication.
  24. Originate the use of iMags for your company’s publications.
  25. Learn how to save $1,000’s on publication costs.
  26. Conceive of new ways to use patterns in your publications.
  27. Innovate the use of online publications in your company’s publication requirements.
  28. Discover ways to add navigational elements to a newsletter.
  29. Lean how to use photos for maximum impact.
  30. Make the best use of typestyles to increase the legibility of a publication.
  31. Find new ways to maintain quality control.
  32. Learn how outsourcing the design of your publications can save the company money and can increase the return on investment (ROI).
  33. Find out why it is important to use a marketing firm that specializes in your industry sector.
  34. Learn what makes your client “tick.”
  35. Discover the importance of having a corporate newsletter.
  36. Explore new reasons why corporations should outsource their marketing efforts.
  37. Unearth the ultimate checklist for developing successful marketing materials.
  38. Invent new ways to harness the power of the word of mouth.
  39. Explore how color defines your brand and shapes your newsletter.
  40. Find out how silhouetted graphics can shape your newsletter.
  41. Invent beautiful patterns and graphics through the use of shadows.
  42. Learn how metallic pins can make great promotional items or giveaways to honor anniversaries, celebrations, or facility openings.
  43. Discover how to use fruits and vegetable shapes to craft an unusual masthead or headline.
  44. Learn how to create healthy designs for healthcare marketing.
  45. Pioneer new ways to include graphical portraiture in your publication.
  46. Benefit from testimonials and how they can create great “buzz.”
  47. Discover how to make your newsletter soar to new heights by adding architectural elements.
  48. Find out how to add edgy border treatments that will make your articles jump off the page.
  49. Recognize the importance of type and how it impacts the look, feel and legibility of the publication.
  50. Discover ways to “tune-up” your marketing without ever getting your hands dirty.

These topics and more can be found on our blog.

Happy reading!  But remember to ask yourself the following question: “Why just be a reader when you could also be a leader?”


If your company needs an innovative newsletter, e-publication, meeting presentation or  advice on communicating, please contact HWDS at hwdesign@west.netWe make beautiful things happen. To find out more please visit

Harlan West is the author of and has been working as a creative director and design professional for more than 25 years and has designed and art directed hundreds of publications for both print and online purposes.

Why Companies Need to Nourish a Passion

harlanwestblogphotoBy Harlan West, Design and Marketing Professional with 25 years of experience designing materials for major healthcare organizations, municipalities and large corporations.

Just as kids need an “outlet” to keep them busy and out of trouble, companies need to nourish heir strengths and what they believe in.  This is not just what they specialize in, but something more. It is something they truly believe in and care passionately about.

Take, for example, the desire of a cable company to help connect millions of disadvantaged children with Internet service. Or, take, the desire of a marketing firm to create publications which help promote recycling, and therefore, ultimately benefit the environment. nurtureyourpassionOr what about the desire of a large grocer not only to provide healthy organically grown fruits and vegetables but also to lead the fight to label genetically engineered foods?  It is not enough that a company is good at what it does. It must feel passionately to help differentiate itself from the competition. That passion resonates throughout the organization and helps to invigorate employees, boost morale and provide a positive corporate image.  Here’s some ways to cultivate that passion in a company:

1) Hire employees that believe in the company and want to help make the company move forward. Your employees are the front line soldiers and they need to spread the message, not just wholeheartedly, but passionately.  If they don’t believe in the product or service, who will? Continue reading

Color Defines Your Brand and Shapes Your Newsletter

 harlanwestblogphotoBy Harlan West, Design and Marketing Professional with 25 years of experience designing materials for major healthcare organizations, municipalities and large corporations.


Abstract colorful rounded squares background. Vector, EPS10Color says a lot about mood and often conveys emotion, power and strength. That is why it is so important to be decisive in your color selection and how it is used.

Failure to maintain a consistent corporate color actually acts to weaken your brand.


Indeed brand marketing requires the selection of a distinctive color scheme to help differentiate your company. A firm that seeks brand identification should be adamant in enforcing its brand standards and paying special attention to color.  There should be a distinct PMS color(s) associated with the brand. PMS refers to the Pantone® Matching System. These are ink color color call-outs which relate to a specific color swatch. Continue reading

Know What Makes Your Client Tick

harlanwestblogphotoBy Harlan West, Design and Marketing Professional with 25 years of experience designing materials for major healthcare organizations, municipalities and large corporations.

Know what makes your client tick.

Fotolia_47060619_XSEffective communication is everything. Knowing precisely what your client needs can make a world of difference.   Although we cannot get into the minds of our clients, it is always best to figure out their likes and dislikes and where they want their marketing to go.  So we ask lots of questions.

Get to know your client well and maintain a great working relationship. Indeed, a bad client relationship is like a ticking time bomb with an explosion just waiting to happen.

When working with clients we try to determine the following:

1) The client’s needs.  What needs to be accomplished? Is there an upcoming event? What is the deadline?  Who are the players?  What is the budget?  What are the resources available? Does the project require writing, proofreading, illustration, photography, social media services, and/or printing?  Are there any existing brand standards to follow?

2) The Budget.  How much has the client allocated for the project?  Is the project for online or for print? Is this a recurring project such as a newsletter? What is the quantity?  Indeed, some marketing agencies offer quantity discounts for doing multiple projects at the same time. Continue reading

Why Corporations Should Outsource Their Marketing Campaigns

harlanwestblogphotoBy Harlan West, Design and Marketing Professional

I am speaking from experience, not just because we provide outsourced graphics projects for big corporations. When I write, the word “outsource,”  I am referring to local creative firms, not offshore agencies. Here’s 10 ways that outsourcing the marketing effort will create positive results.

By outsourcing your marketing effort you will…

Mixed up graphic designer struggling with client1) Bring in a fresh outsider perspective.  Looking in from the outside in will provide for more creativity outside of what could be a stale corporate culture. The outside creative agency will undoubtedly bring in new ideas and ways of thinking that would probably even never cross your mind.

2) Be able to meet unreasonable deadlines. Outside agencies have the flexibility to work odd hours to meet deadlines for that special event happening in less than 24 hours. Most design and creative shops are not 9 to 5 operations. They often work late at night long after you have left the office. Our firm, for example, often works weekends and evenings to meet all client deadlines. The creative juices never stop flowing.

3) Save costs on employee salaries, benefits, insurance and pensions.  While this is an obvious advantage, the extreme cost may not be as evident as one would think. In addition, you don’t have to worry about administering these human resource issues. Continue reading