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Step back and you’ll realize it has little to do with the current “flavor of the month. we fight for good ideas. . advertisements. you can craft a promise and story that looks. Meanwhile. In doing so. What you really need is to give people a reason to care. in the future). most aren’t interested in what you’re pitching. and feels right.” Over that time we’ve developed specific expertise in the digital space.” because we actively experiment. and inspire. it’s “hands on. or.. allowing groups to collaborate and do good (but we’ll talk about that more. smashLAB has been working on the web for a while: since most ad agencies were convinced it was a “fad. Don’t think we act haphazardly. We then address the complete web “build. They’re so bombarded by requests to watch. listen. we’re particularly fond of the web.. taking them right through the process. but aren’t sure what. sounds. and slogans don’t really matter.Where to begin? It probably seems like it’s about the medium. and can be shaped to engage. We work with a few select customers over long periods. Perhaps you’ve seen a competitor’s successful website and online marketing. though. maybe you just read a white paper about social media. 1.” join. motivated groups make the best of this medium. From there. You can also select a vehicle that allows interested parties to engage with you. Your organization needs to gain a clear understanding of what it stands for.” as well as the persistent marketing to make such efforts a success. as we don’t believe in giving our clients work that doesn’t cut the mustard. it starts with you. allowing you to start discussions with that select few who are actually interested in what you do. It’s participatory. This begins with us coming to understand our client and their unique situation. nevertheless. What really excites us is that it’s democratic. and crafting a strategy that can be executed upon.” Regardless of the channel you choose. surprise. You think your organization could be doing something better on the web. our processes are rigorous and logical. we’re able to concentrate on their big picture needs. Ours is largely concentrated on helping small. It’s also adaptable. This doesn’t begin with them.) Technologies. though. and consume that they don’t even hear what you have to say. (The unfortunate part is that this gets in the way of the real value you have to offer. Ours isn’t textbook knowledge. “friend. There are many methods for connecting with an audience.8 billion users and counting.
Here are a few quick details on what we do in the lab. .
content development. and classification • Image creation. editing. Putting some skin in the game keeps us current. sharp. smashLAB is a digital agency (based in Vancouver. smart design. and production • Rich media design and development Web Technology • Technical architecture and planning • Web development and applications • Community development and management • Content Management System integration and training • Hosting services and systems integration Online Marketing • Measurement and analytics • Search Engine Optimization and Search Marketing • Online marketing and digital advertising • Social media strategy and implementation • Email campaigns and management . Services Consulting and Planning • Needs assessment and requirements prioritization • Auditing of online marketing & brand implementation • Research and competitive analysis • Positioning and strategic roadmaps User Experience Design • Usability and online brand experience audits • User research and persona creation • Information architecture and user experience planning • Visual and interaction design Digital Storytelling • Creative concepts and design direction • Copywriting.We are digital. and awfully pragmatic. and persistent marketing. Our agency focuses on big ideas that invigorate. and have been building for the web since Seinfeld was on the air. We are digital natives. Canada) that helps organizations pinpoint and share stories through insightful strategy. and spur people to act. We actively experiment with our own digital properties.
and are course material at several universities. Europe. and TIME Design 100. We do not operate within any single vertical. Recognition Our work has received a number of awards/accolades. Those who get the most out of smashLAB have chosen to work with a digital partner: someone who can help them navigate their online marketing and make shrewd. Our clients range from large organizations with rather fancy offices to small start-ups with big aspirations. in various books. plus. this makes us stronger designers. Each of these organizations brings with it unique needs. this is the price of entry for doing anything meaningful. Design Exchange Awards. developers and marketers. These projects include: guuda: Ultra-light Twitter client for managing multiple accounts undrln: News for those in the creative industries MakeFive: Social network based on top-five lists DesignCanChange: Campaign for designers to combat climate change ideasonideas: Blog focused on design. decisions. written specifically for small companies . Graphis.Clients Some are looking for service providers: “yes” people. We speak at conferences throughout North America. from organizations like: Lotus Awards. brands and experience shiftCMS: Content management made intuitive Speak Human: Marketing book. Financial Post. solely in a production capacity. In our experience. and South America. Instead. We look for leaders who are committed to moving forward even if they might upset the status quo. We do not work this way. it’s fun. the AIGA. and expectations. Our opinions have been published by Advertising Age. and numerous others. Incubator Canadian Heritage Patrimoine canadien One of the things that people seem to find interesting about smashLAB is our desire to keep our “hands in the dirt.” Doing so helps us better understand the trends and technologies that we employ. who follow through on direction. Our efforts have earned press from news media and industry publications including: The Globe and Mail. Applied Arts. challenges. sometimes difficult. we concentrate on working with groups that are willing to change and ready to dispassionately concentrate on strategic goals. TechCrunch. HOW. As a result. Advertising & Design Club of Canada. Icograda.
This is the part where we show you our stuff. .
Wireframing comprised a disproportionately large part of this project. If you visit the site today. The vast amount of content (coupled with functionality requirements) necessitated organizing the site in a way that would adapt to varying requirements and audiences. if they clicked on the wrong button. and visually spectacular city! At the end of the day. we needed to find a way to make the site more usable and a better representation of the city. concentrated on responding to the needs of the general visitor. though. Darren Johner. Deliberate attention was placed on the design of conventions (form and function) that can be utilized site wide.. Worse yet. the new site achieves all of those objectives.) Our efforts were concentrated on making the revised Tourism Vancouver site as seamless as possible for the end-user. and microsites (e. they’d find themselves completely lost. As it stood. with in depth text content. It worked. well organized. large images. Truth of the matter. and our work for other tourism regions and destinations seemed to resonate with them. as well as the vivid and diverse photographs employed throughout. but we knew it could be made to do so in a much more elegant and extensible fashion. If you want it to work well. Our first challenge was presented by the legacy content management system (useful. labeling of information is blatantly clear. while maintaining their existing technology. Like many other digital properties. Information drives the experience. that’s just the way we like it.. regardless of requirements. if it were simply better organized. is that few people are thinking about us when they use a site like this. we were convinced that a good hard look at the site’s information architecture (IA) would prove revealing. they eventually decided to pick up the phone and start a discussion with us. 2 3 2 3 . This means a site that is clear. Well. photographic selection and treatments. and visual standards are all carefully considered. active. and prominent links to social media and blogs that allow visitors to get a feel for the “real” Vancouver experience. that’s pretty much what Tourism Vancouver faced as February 2010 rapidly approached. We had been in touch with the organization a few times. navigation is highly responsive. Tourism Vancouver’s Manager of Digital Marketing. At the same time. and sometimes blatantly simple. color usage. you’ll see the result of these efforts: type size helps identify the relative importance of content. all of the site’s content was catalogued and reviewed in an effort to structure it more simply and establish an intuitive web experience for visitors. as new opportunities and concerns arose over the years.but your place is a bit of a mess. you need to establish systems and order In spite of the challenges presented by some legacy elements. This resulted in all users. (Frankly. smashLAB began the process with an overall assessment of the site. but in ways limiting) and the existing information architecture. allowing for easy additions of such areas as needs require.g. Doing so allows the site to integrate successfully with the organization’s brand standards and—more importantly—convey the spirit of this vibrant. provided us with a tremendous testimonial relating to this project. working to pinpoint issues and determine workarounds that could be achieved economically. being pushed into the same areas.Conveying the 2010 Host City’s Spirit Case Study: Tourism Vancouver Website Redesign 1 Imagine the world’s biggest sporting event is coming to your backyard . Travel Trade) are no longer confused with the primary property. easy to navigate. the site was hampered by a number of obstacles. the site felt a little like a collection of pieces cobbled together. it upholds a vital sensibility as a result of the liberal application of dynamic color. From all accounts. We also had a strong belief that the existing content could be maintained largely in-tact. While both the technology and overall content had to remain in tact. 1 The redesigned Tourism Vancouver web property features a more dominant primary navigation system. As a result. most people don’t really care what the digital agency did The final Tourism Vancouver site brings the organization’s web presence in line with their brand identity. It was hard for some to read and employed a “less than intuitive” approach to navigation. We also needed to design the site in a way that would accommodate prominently placed advertising. Meanwhile. and we’re very happy about that. Meanwhile.
and color-coding are templated and ready for printing on-the-fly by building administration. created in 1960. bar codes. detailed notes on usage and implementation. and other identification/wayfinding elements are standardized for the venue. This is notable in something as banal seeming as color selection. and the many others who come to the space to be moved. From them. Together these combined to look quite awkwardly Christmas themed.. dancers. that’s the sort of question that is increasingly asked. in an effort to find ones that would fit within the system. we were able to craft a system that suitably acknowledges all of the parties in this relationship. this one began with more applied concerns. and a facility then called the Multiplex. section identifiers. while CN’s core color is red. A large part of this is represented in an exhaustive (nearly 100 page) brand standards document and CD.) Listen. featuring technical illustrations. This line comes alive to represent hockey players. Other key concerns related to establishing a system that would be applied to anything from wayfinding signage and staff uniforms. City and facility management. to street banners and trash receptacles. and all of the creative needed to receive the “green light” from a number of vested stakeholders: 17 members of CN’s executive team. We feel particularly gratified with the end result of our work with the CN Centre. and wanted to find a way to apply its brand throughout the arena and its collateral in a definitive. and you start to learn relevant things almost immediately Our process for the branding of CN Centre began with a number of sessions concentrated on bringing together those who use and run the facility. 4 Name tags with security features. . uniform necessities. while remaining functional in applied settings throughout the facility. For example. We then tuned these in accordance with the needs of wayfinding signage. 4 5 6 1 The CN Centre wordmark proved a complex challenge. we’d find ourselves pouring through catalogues of work garments. Perhaps the most vexing part of the CN Centre identity system was found in the multifaceted nature of its implementation. and outside consultants. and gain the approval of those who’d wear them on a day to day basis. One of the more interesting brand elements we’ve been called on to address is the facility’s ice resurfacer (commonly referred to as a “Zamboni”). While we needed to maintain branded colors for CN and the facility. allowing for easy use with both current and future administration and staff. Big-picture brand design processes like this one have aspects that vary from the compelling to the tedious. Through our collective efforts. Those rare moments of serendipity that bring all of the pieces together Allan Fleming’s logo for CN. We also felt it important to make the system highly turn-key. 5 2 6 3 A comprehensive uniform system was developed and customized to meet the unique needs of varied staff functions and how they interact with the public. and so on. and associated artwork for use on demand. The City of Prince George. On some days. A number of unique forms were hand-drawn and then simplified for use as a core treatment in the facility’s identity system. (This insight ultimately led us to the selected tagline: “We’ll move you. yet graceful fashion. we were able to sidestep solutions that might have proven impractical to actually implement. By taking the time to carefully consider internal requirements and functional limitations.. The players in this particular instance are CN (Canada’s National Railway). Examining the form led one of smashLAB’s designers to the notion of extending its iconic line through the entire identity for the CN Centre. CN had just been granted the naming rights to the facility. Additionally. the facility’s architecture features green heavily. Indoor and outdoor signage. the solution is both aesthetically pleasing and highly practical when applied. as civic properties offer up naming rights to their facilities. We first introduced a secondary palette that softened the green and red associations somewhat. we had the unique task of theming the organization’s ice resurfacer to convey the look and feel of a locomotive—quite fun! On others. needing to work within CN’s brand standards. While most of our projects start with strategic challenges.”) Our findings from these sessions shaped the visual approach and material implementation in our design process. we had other very pragmatic concerns to address. decorative banners. Part of this is due to good planning. is such an enduring mark that 99% of Canadians still recognize it. (Oh right. conference attendees.Connecting a Historic Entity With Local Interests Case Study: CN Centre Brand Identity System 1 2 3 What do trains and entertainment have to do with one another? Whether it’s the O2 Arena or the Staples Center. we really started to understand the importance of the facility to those people whose lives it affects.
Reporting on the State of Campus Sustainability Case Study: Green Report Card Website and Application Development 1 Ever wondered how green your kids’ postsecondary institution is? Perhaps you have. We also provided complete development of the front and back-end of the property and all of the associated functionality. By emphasizing the method of data collection and analysis. and compare. We also relied on the reputation of SEI’s key backing organizations in order to underscore the institute’s credibility. The site outfits visitors with tools that facilitate easy “slicing and dicing” of research findings while a comparison tool allows for examination of how selected schools stack up against one another. SEI needed to find a way to use the web to streamline data collection for the report. and compare tools. All are welcome to apply for inclusion in future editions of the Report Card. but you’ll likely agree that such concerns are becoming increasingly relevant. This sort of functionality can make a huge difference for auditors who are too busy to be held back by cumbersome methods that get in their way. The Green Report Card remains a largely grassroots effort. This new property would need to be framed in a clear method that would make multiple years of data easily accessible—and comprehensible—to site visitors. Therefore. and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. smashLAB assisted SEI with suggestions on how to frame the organization (or their brand). coupled with the application components of the website. The carefully executed information design process results in a user experience that leaves website visitors with a clear understanding of how the grading system works. collecting data. Unfortunately. while helping to shepherd new visitors through the experience. 2 3 4 . our team needed to draw out enough wireframes and structural documents to drive one rather “bonkers. In spite of funding from groups including the Rockefeller Philanthropy Advisors. as well as automated grade calculation. The site has generated more than 750. and perhaps you haven’t.” Part of this relates to the sheer amount of data needing to be showcased and compared. SEI ensures that their findings are given the weight they deserve. Now. Contributors also benefit from new tools developed specifically to meet their needs. Many post-secondary institutions are represented in the website. The site’s administrators work diligently to share useful information through this online resource. that is rarely ever the case. 2 4 3 1 The homepage of GreenReportCard.org has continued to evolve. “Information architecture is a bit like a puzzle. All of the people at smashLAB are happy to be working with a group that has such a huge opportunity to impact positive change. The hope was to take their (then printed) sustainability report card to the web to extend its usefulness and reach. Nevertheless. they can readily enter findings while they are in the field. The mainstream media is paying attention to the Green Report Card and the site continues to attract greater interest and involvement. They also felt a deep need to be transparent with regards to how their grading system works. finding expedient methods of data collection were a key concern.000 visitors in the past two years. This iterative design process worked out on an incredibly aggressive timeline of under 3 months. The final product is a fully content managed property that integrates powerful filtering. a project like this would be a walk in the park. they came to smashLAB looking to extend their influence and simplify workflow.. The ability to look closely at sustainability data proves compelling for students SEI has successfully transitioned their printed resource to the web. To make the system workable online. Mark Orlowski and his colleagues at The Sustainable Endowments Institute (SEI) have invested considerably in examining just how sustainable universities and colleges in North America are.. as well as the approach to grade calculation. examine. in working closely with SEI to accurately translate their report card to the web. coupled with the site’s concept and visual design. that makes you want to hit people” It would be nice to say that after a decade of building websites. In 2007. in order to better draw attention to recent results. sorting. Throughout the site a great deal of weight is lent to educating visitors on the methods SEI uses to compute the grades. the massive amount of data was made easier to browse. in order to continue to reinforce the credibility and value of their findings.
as a result. their customers often persuade other skiers to book a trip with the operation. their website was still working well. and even some personal (scotch fueled) discussions with their most passionate customers. Mark. It also set the stage for future brand efforts. The best part? With each new visitor. though. we felt it important to give enthusiasts better ways to share this story and engage them in activity around the lodge. 3 4 5 1 Crescent Spur’s redesigned website “ups the game” in heliskiing marketing. (Over 2. Just like they were upgrading their lodge every year. Additionally. or join their Facebook page. we helped Crescent Spur form a clean and timeless seeming identity system.) 2 3 4 5 .” Technology had changed a lot over the decade. Looking beyond the obvious can often lead to rather fertile ground The refreshed crescentspur. Crescent Spur has found a way to better engage with those who already love visiting their operation. We went right back to square one. Part of this came in the form of a blog with regular updates and colorful stories. richer stories. and Online Marketing 1 2 Getting skiers into amazing mountain terrain isn’t actually that easy To do so. they have reached another who will then talk to their friends and effectively “advertise” for them. we were calling them again. saying it was time to start pushing harder. and from there. Regina. digital brochures. spectacular video content. a real friendship formed. which underscores their professionalism. Deliberate attention is paid to maintaining cohesiveness in the implementation of the organization’s identity. Theirs even poke fun at the founders’ snapshots from the 80s. This involved extensive analysis of the marketplace.000 entered within the first 2 weeks. Without any prompting by Crescent Spur. conveying what people experience there: remarkable skiing. and a special camaraderie found by those who embark on these adventures year after year. Such dedication is rare and. Every item feels tied to the rest. we felt they could go so much further. while more accurately reflecting the visitor experience. Email newsletters are designed to be more like postcards from a family friend than like polished corporate presentations. A giveaway to promote Crescent Spur notes that the only way to heli-ski for free is to marry one of the founders. After a little convincing.com digs deeper into the heli-skiing experience. exquisite food. we assisted in bringing consistency into a number of printed promotion pieces. channels including YouTube and Facebook were brought into the fold to help connect with skiers. mountain conditions. They continued to receive positive feedback from their marketing materials—often hearing that theirs were amongst the strongest in the industry. and a desire to showcase the unique details of the operation are all found in the new site. and varied terrain. New photographs. Digital Media. you need extensive knowledge of safety procedures. Over the following year. they are offering some compelling opportunities that help them extend their reach to new adventurers who might not otherwise have heard of them. and were taken aback by the cost of a website. In the years that followed. and customers were singing their praises. Additionally. Frankly. Using these tools. skiers of this caliber expect first-rate service. While we were rather happy to hear that the work was holding up so well.) The iconic CS form works efficiently in a variety of settings. We learned an awful lot by doing so. Around the end of 2008. Additionally. and other ski gear sold through the operation. and assure new clients that their service was of the highest level. Sometimes good isn’t good enough—if you want to remain at the front of the pack At a certain point. and some early email campaigns. examination of their client-base. They first called smashLAB in 2001. Their marketing materials were in good order. and we wanted to take another look at what we could do to tell their story and take a more aggressive approach with their digital marketing. but—more than anything—we started to truly understand what drives these people who traverse the planet to ski at Crescent Spur.Activating the Senses to Go Way Beyond Skiing Case Study: Crescent Spur Heli-Skiing Brand Assets. On top of that. we found that we weren’t really doing that much with Crescent Spur. and the people at Crescent Spur have been doing just this for nearly 20 years now. as well as an iconic mark that they utilize extensively in their own branded clothing. starting with a fresh discovery process. (This is made easier through the compelling photo and video content. we reminded them that the nearly 8 year old website was starting to feel a little “long in the tooth. helping them convey the spirit of their operation. they did choose to hire us. we set out to raise the bar on how Crescent Spur conveys their value. this wasn’t an easy sell. and can be found on a complete line of garments. Their first site proved successful. by really engaging the senses. meaning the need for a lodge and guest experience that is unparalleled. gloves.
you can do some pretty interesting things We have to admit that at smashLAB. their members (designers) specify or buy $9.Working Together to Address Climate Change Case Study: Design Can Change Digital Campaign 1 2 “If anyone here is in marketing or advertising. to even sanitizing bad companies. Design Can Change has spurred a great deal of discussion on sustainable design. and excessive catalogues that consumers often have very little choice in receiving. and had little success in finding resources directly related to sustainable graphic design. It also serves as a resource to help design buyers locate environmentally-sensitive designers. smashLAB also reached out to numerous blogs to establish new connections with like-minded online communities.. but (at that time) not much information related to sustainable graphic design could be found online. those of us in marketing do a lot of crummy stuff. asking them to engage suppliers.) Design Can Change is yet another example of this tendency. To better articulate the argument for more sustainable practices in graphic design. When we find ourselves interested by a topic. Designers are behind a lot of those materials. We were (at the time) poorly read on the topic. For nearly a year. the paper and pulp industry is the third largest polluter. Well-recognized members of the design community offered contributions and trade publications took notice to further propel the effort.” Those are the words of late comic—and social critic—Bill Hicks. As an industry. and received special recognition from TIME magazine. they’re a little rash seeming. we get obsessed rather quickly. unopened direct mail campaigns. and conferences surrounding sustainability. and finding ways to understand the problem. this is a website that asks designers to think about their role in climate change.1 billion in printing and paper annually. According to the AIGA. to help simplify concepts that might otherwise require cumbersome amounts of text to convey. smashLAB was able to generate interest and strong support for a worthy cause. Getting a large number of people to commit to any kind of breaking initiative is difficult at best. but we think there’s some real sense to Bill’s thinking.. Information graphics were created and painstakingly refined. There had been some discussion.000). These result in a more visually arresting presentation. 3 4 5 1 Given the “wired” nature of the intended audience Design Can Change utilized Flash to help engage viewers and wrap them in a highly intuitive slide-show like presentation. essays. In our desire to behave more responsibly. and the general public in discussion around sustainability. Additionally. but with Design Can Change. If you don’t mind not making money. we shape all of the packaging. imploring them to consider the role they play in consumption and the messages they create. students. in an effort to spread the message as far and wide as we could. we’ve supported the effort by speaking to groups (as large as 6. This has a huge impact—in fact. (This can be a costly habit. The result of this research came together in campaign called Design Can Change. clients. At smashLAB we are deeply concerned kind of freaked out by the sheer amount of waste designers are responsible for. we concentrated on simplifying text content to be highly succinct and easy to quickly assimilate. providing a number of powerful and breathtaking photographs to help tell the story. we cast almost everything else aside and immersed ourselves into learning everything we could about sustainable design. with designers from countries around the world taking the pledge to embrace more sustainable practices. and help command the attention of visitors who are pressed for time. Through vivid photographs and concise infographics. Simple animations are utilized throughout the website. It’s awfully nice to think that you might be contributing to something good Design Can Change started as a grassroots effort and this approach persisted beyond the launch of the website. we tend to dig in deeply and sometimes forget all other concerns. we started to explore ways to mitigate our environmental impact. We spent many months building inroads with a number of media outlets and influential individuals. Fact is. kill yourself. Getty Images generously assisted with the site’s imagery. from getting people to buy things they don’t need. That’s a pretty lame legacy to be saddled with. 2 3 4 5 . To some. The site encourages designers to make sustainability pivotal in all aspects of their practice. Hundreds of thousands have visited the site. which included the effort in the annual Design 100. Design Can Change makes a compelling argument that encourages designers to act now while outlining the steps to start doing so. and most of those in our industry are well aware of the sometimes dodgy nature of the work they do. At its core.
and a nested support section. Aesthetics aside. After this we’re really able to provide examples of their product line and discuss key benefits. visual beauty can sometimes make all the difference We started by adjusting illumivision’s messaging to identify the advantages of their products and highlight the value they bring to spaces that require lighting and accents. we could significantly affect their company’s bottom line. digital media implementation and online advertising. The online catalogue serves as a central repository for sharing information on products. rethinking their sales collateral. to convey the transformational power that light has in architecture. quickly and efficiently. an intuitive backend system allows their administrators to manage project showcases. Part of this is achieved by employing a few varying illumination motifs: some are cloudy. Additionally. They first asked us to help with a standalone website. illumivision’s website takes a distinctly visual approach. functionality remains a key consideration in the digital delivery of the illumivision brand. bold type. and ultimately becoming their agency of record: directing ongoing marketing strategy. These are no ordinary lights—these are objects of transformation that turn beautiful buildings into unmistakable icons. it became increasingly clear that their success was in spite of their existing materials. Dotted motifs play prominently in the company’s identity materials. This wasn’t particularly hard to accomplish—they already had an impressive image bank that just needed to be utilized more fully. We hold up our relationship with illumivision as one of our most successful ones. This combination of definitive text and visually arresting images packed a real punch. which often left visitors confused as to illumivision’s role in the creation of lighting solutions. with succinct (and sometimes cheeky) copy was set against luminous photographs. we suggested relying more heavily on the results of their products. washes of color. and were able to push forward on a number of other levels: crafting a cohesive corporate identity system. 3 4 5 6 . This marketing vehicle was so effective that within 6 months their international sales had more than doubled. Clients who’ve experienced smashLAB’s approach tend to come back for more We helped craft the illumivision brand in a somewhat backwards fashion. Comprehensive product pages and an education section add utility to their website and capture many of the most commonly asked questions. While previous catalogues concentrated largely on the products in use. helping to allude to notions of illumination. They make a strong impression while presenting clear examples of how their lights enhance spaces and structures. others play with dotted patterns that work beautifully in printed applications—captivating viewers and tempting them to learn more. We were convinced that by really concentrating on showcasing the effects of their products. As a result. and technical requirements. and we actively iterate as we learn the results of these efforts. alluding to the visual senses. As we worked with illumvision. They’re open to experimenting with novel approaches to engaging with their customers. we had earned their trust. and Digital Marketing 2 What you’re selling isn’t always what you’re actually selling illumivision designs and manufactures highpowered LED fixtures for use in architectural lighting and commercial applications. A stripped down set of design treatments started to reveal itself as we worked through the varying implementations of the brand. While strategy is critical. illumivision’s marketing failed to deliver this message. Website. specifications. their worldwide product representatives database. At that point. In spite of how powerful these tools are. We continue to maintain a very grounded dialogue. The tone of illumvision’s materials sets the company far ahead of their competitors. Meanwhile. 3 1 4 5 6 1 2 The new illumivision wordmark utilizes a simple dot in the.Using Aesthetics to Impact the Bottom Line Case Study: illumivision Corporate Identity. This was most evident in their site at the time. Big. their sales staff seem to really feel empowered by the tools we’ve outfitted them with. the site lacked a distinctive brand personality and wasn’t being effectively utilized as a tool to share and disseminate product information. we worked with illumivision to concentrate more on the effect and beauty made available through well implemented light. and this allows us to do a lot together. atmospheric. this helped convey our core messages and capture the viewer’s attention. More importantly. While most of their competitors focus largely on product features. In all settings we worked to maintain minimalistic layouts to maintain a sense of elegance and quality.
.and now it’s time for a few questions.. answers. and even our “411..” .
want. and mushed together until the customer is left with a drunken train-wreck of a campaign. Traditional agencies are locked in an outdated model. we need to work with decision makers who we can interface with directly. and often sell it. informed. We then ask you to do your research. Can we send you an RFP? We’d prefer you didn’t. How much does the average project cost? We don’t really have an “average project” here. they are sales tricks. These needn’t be exhaustive. in which we achieve insight and then generate a single direction that meets our client’s goals. they want access to experts who actually do the work. (It’s hard to make a one-night-stand turn into anything meaningful. As for ROI. consensus-based exercise.) As a general rule of thumb. They go to the web first. You see. The fact is: engaging a creative agency isn’t as straightforward as ordering some new hardware for the office. You won’t experience this process unless you engage our digital agency. while others hate us. Look at our past work and read our case studies. and everything else is secondary. and candid feedback. we really don’t like engaging on one time projects. will keep you from leaving us. there are tens of thousands of other agencies who’d be happy to take your money anyway.” . so. we generally will work at a reduced rate for organizations whose efforts align well with our values. How do you work? We have spent the last decade establishing a highly structured methodology that guides all of our endeavors. We take a different approach. At best they’re retrofitting themselves to try and keep up.com. timely responses. (We rarely engage with clients who have less than $50k to invest per year. those who like us are seeking to work with professionals who can provide strong. this approach is one-of-a-kind. we’ve responded to a few below. We also need them to be clear about what they need. Look closely for agencies that feel right for you. and we continue to refine it daily. Relying on an ad agency to do this would be like asking to your VCR to stream high-def video. It’s a simple set of beliefs that we live by. we can look at what they want to achieve. What kind of clients do you work with? Brave ones who want to better connect with their audience. They appreciate that they’re paying for intelligence. Truth of the matter is. creative agencies work really hard at producing a number of ideas for a given assignment. we just want to know (in plain language) what’s standing in your organization’s way. it’s a lot easier—and more profitable—to sell ad space than digital solutions. If you think we might be the right people. We can say that some love us. we’ve brought focus to organizations and a greater sense of purpose. most need to enlist a digital agency with deep expertise. Meanwhile. If you aren’t quite ready for that. It is quite possibly smashLAB’s most valuable asset. a 30-second spot on a major network is easy to price out. We lead the design process through something called The Inverted Pyramid.) We ask those who are thinking of working with us to have a clear marketing budget determined for their organization. Upon being engaged we simply ask for access to stakeholders. Is smashLAB right for my organization? You’ll have to decide that for yourself. but they often don’t really understand it. and think. therefore. Even 30 minutes on the phone should help us determine if there’s a fit. In some instances we’ve helped double sales. That’s the truth. if you need someone to simply follow instructions. they don’t want to be “schmoozed” by an account manager. who are willing to take some risks to make that happen. we’re awfully expensive if you just want someone to press buttons on a fancy Mac. mixed-up. you might consider us “amply motivated. who can understand what you do— and who you can trust. on the client side. Almost every engagement has its own unique requirements and challenges. You’ll need to really trust whoever you engage. and opinionated insight. and interview those that rank highly. we need to know what sum your organization invests in annual marketing. and want a slap in the face if it’s necessary. we don’t share these methods publicly. The proof is in the pudding. And. and the proposed directions get beaten around. At that point everyone weighs in en masse. in order to earn your confidence. be sure of your decision before you agree to anything. consider the fact that any wins we can help you achieve. We aren’t good “order takers. We then refine this approach as we gain feedback. If it makes you feel any better. As a result.) Do you offer discounted rates to not-for-profits? Yes. in others. we’re not the ones to call. to establish a digital-centric strategy for their brand. What guarantees can you make regarding ROI? We make none. Some will toss about wobbly metrics or vague promises. They take an inordinate amount of time for us to respond to and. This is a research informed and strategy led process.Questions? We find that some common questions keep popping up. there are just too many variables to make any explicit guarantees. In order to do our best. or steeped in rhetoric. It’s about finding someone with deep expertise. This sensible and structured approach leads to solutions that overcome real business obstacles. therefore. With that number in hand.” so. Most treat it as a democratic. RFPs (in our business) are largely ineffective for all concerned. We look for leaders who are committed to moving forward even if they might upset the status quo. We also require a clear and succinct list of the core marketing challenges your organization faces. though. (Truth is. Today’s audience is digital. a digital solution that connects more organically is harder to assign a cost to. and determine what’s realistic within that budget. Anyone who does is either delusional or lying. and unmatched by our (highly competent) peers. Need more? Contact us and we’ll put you in touch with some of our clients who can tell you what they gained in their own words. As a result. These claims rarely mean anything. though. for that matter. This typically amounts to a 20% reduction on our standard billable rate. this is the price of entry for doing anything meaningful. just call us at 604 683 2250 or email hello@smashLAB. they tend to attract the very worst agencies: those who have no choice but to respond to RFPs. What do we need from us? In order to start a discussion. In our experience. As open as we generally are. Why choose a digital agency over an ad agency? Ad agencies love the “idea” of digital. In our experience. Then they pair these down to a few (normally 3) that they “pitch” to their clients. What we are willing to impart is our general working ethos: The smashLAB Credo. and look for in new staff members. What is the “One Concept Rule”? Design is terribly misunderstood.
and bold. BY smashLAB Inc. Canada May 2000 Espresso. smart. C AM E BI . ST R O BS O N . and the word “appys” Social facebook. ST . W EN D O AR R D WA TE RF RO NT RD W. WAT ER ST. H O M ER .H W . ST . Drop by. big design challenges. O H E G R W .C W . R R G H O S D ER ST .P ST .com/smashlab-inc twitter. E ST . committees. ST . Hastings Street Vancouver BC V6B 1H7 Phone: +1 604 683 2250 Fax: +1 866 829 6128 hello@smashlab. VA N TI N ST . AN VI LL ST . we should talk. 1205 .com SM R O AS BU ST .207 W. SE G H AR D S ST EO R IA ST . W .com/smashlab flickr. long walks on the beach Indecisiveness.G YM O U R ST .com/smashlab youtube.Want to hook up? If you’re looking for an agency that can help you do something deliberate. ST ABBOTT ST. IT H AM H E Quick Facts Offices: Founded: Likes: Dislikes: Vancouver. ST R IC TO IL N .com/smashlabdigital BE AT T Y ST . ST N EL SO N . pick up the phone and give us a call—even 30 minutes will help us determine if there’s a good potential fit. or.