ClearVerve Marketing, LLC

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Posts Tagged ‘Graphic Design’

You still need 1000 words

Friday, November 15, 2013 — 


I have 836 pictures in the camera roll on my phone. That’s a lot of photos. Most of them were taken so I could share a moment with someone else. There’s a reason for all the photos. Pictures illustrate a moment and convey more information faster than words. Although I can’t find any scientific evidence to back this up, I’ve read that people process images 60,000 times faster than words.

In today’s digital age most people are literally exposed to gigabytes of information on a daily basis. For this reason, many marketers are turning to more image-based communications such as infographics and visually-driven layouts for everything from annual reports to what used to be called “whitepapers.” Applications such as Instagram and Pinterest allow for easy photo sharing and help organizations connect with people on an emotional level.

We love image-based communication. It helps our clients tell stories and connect with emotions. Whether we’re working with an attorney, a bank, or a nonprofit, all our clients need to connect with their clients’ and prospects’ emotions. When someone can’t see what you’re selling, they must understand how they will feel after purchasing a service, attending an event, or making a donation. However, it’s important to remember that the photo can’t do all the work. A picture may be worth 1,000 words, but you can’t skimp on the accompanying text.  Think about your photo captions, social media posts, and the tags you associate with your images. Then YOUR pictures could be worth 1,001 words.

Christina Steder is the President of Clear Verve Marketing and works with clients to plan, create and execute marketing campaigns. Follow her on Twitter as @clearverve.

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Marketing and the unemployment line


The other day, a nice gentleman stopped by our office to drop off a resume. Unfortunately, we are not hiring right now. But even if we were, we would never hire him. Wondering why?

The guy was applying for a graphic design position. However, the layout of his resume was sloppy. Nothing lined up. On top of that, in less than one minute I found many typos including misspellings, double commas, missing spaces, and words that were partially bold and partially normal fonts. I don’t think he proofed his work even once. Don’t get me wrong, we all make mistakes. I’ve made plenty myself and shelled out lots of money to fix them. But the only thing I know about this guy is what his resume tells me, and his resume tells me he is not very careful.

Whether you are marketing yourself, your company, or something else, it’s important to be as careful and accurate as possible. Remember that people judge things they can’t understand based upon the things they can understand. You can’t really tell if your banker or lawyer is smart, but you can read their newsletter to see if they seem to know their stuff. If their newsletter is sloppy and full of typos, you would be likely to assume that they are not very careful in their work, even though your banker or attorney did not actually do the layout of the newsletter. Heck, your banker or attorney may not have written the article that was attributed to them! We ghost write for people all the time.

Whether you do your own marketing or pay someone else to do it for you, always remember to put your best foot forward, or you’ll end up like this…


And remember that just like with many other things, when you outsource marketing help, you get what you pay for. (So if you’re looking for some cheap help and love to proofread, I’ve got the guy for you!)


Christina Steder is the President of Clear Verve Marketing and works with clients to plan, create and execute marketing campaigns. Follow her on Twitter as @clearverve.

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Inspiration can come from anywhere


I was working with a client to write a blog post recently when we both agreed we needed some new inspiration.

Inspiration can come from everyday objects or from anywhere. Whether it’s from the pattern on your grandma’s China, the paint color in your kitchen or the buckle on your bag, I believe there is usually something I can take away from one spot and use somewhere else. Case in point, @susanschoultz, Clear Verve design director, often finds herself taking photos of patterns on buildings, interesting floor tiles or colorful artwork. I’ve been with her when she’s done it. She’s always thinking of ways to bring an aspect of those characteristics to her design work. (She posts her photos on Instagram, by the way.)

It’s all about figuring out what it was about these things that draws her to them.

Another blogger I follow wrote about how this persimmon pump inspired her to design this desktop wallpaper. Between the bold color, the detailed white stitching and the floral touches, the shoe gave her some good material to work with, she says.

For me, inspiration comes from some phrase I hear during an interview or a feeling I get while getting to know more about a topic. Writing headlines, picking themes for publications or creating marketing messages are usually inspired by something else.

Sometimes, sitting down to write something — anything — gets my creativity moving and motivates me to start that blog post or a case study I need to write.

Jackie Costa is the director of content marketing at Clear Verve and works with clients to communication more clearly and create smarter, better marketing materials. Listen for her on Twitter as @JackieMCosta.

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What the font?

Thursday, March 29, 2012 — 


I recently came across the awesome infographic below. It shows the history of typefaces from the year 100 until now. Reading it over got me thinking about the impact of fonts on a company’s overall image.

Font choice can make a HUGE difference in how your company is perceived. Using too many fonts looks messy. (Remember, just because your computer came with 57,000 fonts doesn’t mean you have to use them all.) Use the same font as everyone else, and you look boring. Choose an unprofessional, overused font like Papyrus or Comic sans and risk being laughed at by the entire design world.

There are some great resources for fonts. One of our favorites is You can search based on different type characteristics and purchase fonts easily. Fonts are not that expensive, and using something distinctive in your logo can really set you apart. Just be careful to choose something universal for email or electronic documents that will be shared, unless you enjoy turning everything into PDFs.

Christina Steder is the President of Clear Verve Marketing and works with clients to plan, create and execute marketing campaigns. Follow her on Twitter as @clearverve.

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Get 100 Ways to Build Your Business


Have you ever tried to think up new ways to market, manage, or build your business and found yourself at a complete loss for ideas? I think it happens to everyone. I have to admit, it even happens to us, despite the fact that we’re a marketing company. I’m not sure if it’s because we spend so much time being creative on behalf of others that we just run out of gas for ourselves, or if it’s because we spend so much time dreaming up new ideas that it’s hard to come up with something that feels truly revolutionary for ourselves.

Well, we’ve solved that problem! Last year, we came up with the crazy idea of trying to get 20 of our favorite thought leaders to share five ideas that would help businesses innovate, grow, or manage themselves better. We contacted a few people, who loved the idea, and our big project for 2011, 100 Ways to Build Your Business in 2012 was born.

After several months of hard work, we’re pleased to share these great ideas with you. The book includes thoughts on marketing/PR, web/social media, management, and video/photo, so you are sure to find something that is applicable to your business! Best of all, you can also sign up to receive a monthly tips from the ebook for the next year. (Because seriously, who can remember or implement 100 ideas all at once?)

You can download the free e-book and sign up for the monthly emails at the 100 Ways to Build Your Business website.

Our best wishes for a busy and productive 2012!

Christina Steder is the President of Clear Verve Marketing and works with clients to plan, create and execute marketing campaigns. Follow her on Twitter as @clearverve

The Importance of a Good Graphic (and Vice Versa)


I’m all for a good image or graphic. A good one can draw attention to pertinent data, make information easier to grasp, and/or add some fun and color. But I saw one the other day that reminded me we should all ask this very important question when combining data with an image: does this enhance the information I’m trying to share?

So here’s the image (you can click on it for a bigger version):

Here are the good things: pleasing to the eyes, easy to read, pop out colors to show the highest number in each data set, a simple font.

Here are the things I’m confused by:

  • What do the numbers mean (it doesn’t look like percentage or numbers of people)?
  • Why are most of the numbers so close to 100?
  • Why is the one image a female for something called “Unique U.S. Audience Composition Index to Social Networks and Blogs,” especially when females only “win” 103 to the males’ 96 … somethings.
  • Why is each piece of information pointing to a spot on the woman? (As a pal on Twitter so eloquently put it “The only thing I learned was that gender is all in your head and education comes from your pants.”)

Now, to be fair, I discovered a more “complete” graph in Nielson’s full report on page four:

So the image of a female makes a little more sense with this title. And sentences were added under each category like “She likely lives in New England” (I personally like this touch). But overall the graphic is still not doing much to enhance the information. And pointing to the woman’s random body parts is still nonsensical to me.

What do you think? Do you think the image adds to the information in any way simply because it’s not just text? What kinds of images do you do with your work?

Erica Gordon is a Marketing Associate at Clear Verve and also works part-time at a Milwaukee area nonprofit. Follow Erica on Twitter:  @erica_g.

Too Much Is Not Always a Good Thing

Monday, August 29, 2011 — 


I stopped to get gas last week at an Open Pantry and could not miss the funky little car that was parked in the front of the service station.  Yes, it’s decked out with a whole lot of graphics.  Almost too many.  My eye’s didn’t know what to look at first.  I had to take a photo of it to realize what they were promoting – is a microsite where you sign up for special email offers from Open Pantry.   I didn’t go inside the store but imagine they push this offering inside as well.

The car did what it was supposed to – it piqued my interest – but think the execution would have been more effective with less graphical elements.  If it took me a bit to “get” what they were promoting and I do this for a living. Imagine how long it might take the average passerby, who won’t put the kind of effort I did, to “get” myringthing.

Susan Schoultz is Design Director at Clear Verve Marketing and works with clients to plan, create,  and execute marketing campaigns.  Follow her on Twitter as @clearverve2.