Posts By: Anthony Rizzo

Kicking Off the New Project

Posted by & filed under Brand Marketing, Corporate Identity, Think Tank.

1. Gathering the Brainstorming Team

Before you send out the group invite, sit down and think hard about who belongs in the first meeting and the last. Decide which thinkers are the best for all aspects of the project at hand and keep it light. Too many people bring too much to the table that could clutter and bury the idea that works. We all know the sooner we get the creative edge we need, the project rolls off. This is where that starts.

A good group should consist of three to five creative minds and can definitely expand to near seven and eight when more technical and marketing approaches must be considered for the scope of the project. The goal is to make sure the right people are there so it isn’t a waste of time for anyone.


2. Make a Good First Impression

The invitation should consist of a clear mission statement for the project to come. It will briefly outline the agenda. What you don’t want to do is just roll up into the meeting and expect everything to go your way and be completely fine. The brainstorm team may be a very intelligent bunch, but no one wants to walk into a room and not have a single inkling on what this whole gathering is about.

Make sure the invitation is absolutely clear on the objective of the meeting. Ensure you’re synced with your clients. Sometimes a meeting is really just a glorified meet and greet, and sometimes that’s fine. Though keep in mind if you want to make the meeting useful, the agenda must include what you think the first and next steps should be on the project. Plan out whatever it is you need to make it happen.


3. Set a Clear Agenda

Once you’ve defined your objectives for the kick-off meeting, work on developing an agenda which allows you to meet those objectives.

When running kick-off meetings we’re trying to answer the basic questions:

  • Why – Why are we doing this project in the first place? What business need does it satisfy? How does this project meet a consumer need?
  • What – What’s the solution? What are we going to do / make?
  • How – How are we going to work together to make the project happen?
  • When – When are we going to do it?
  • Where/Who – Where is the starting point for kicking things off? Who’s going to do what?


4. Kickoff with a Pre-Kickoff

This is a two step process. First, and foremost, go over the agenda with the team. Break it down, examine your next steps and outline what you all will handle during the meeting with the client. Designate rolls for discussion topics and make sure the team is fluent in the who, what, where, when and why of the project specifics and the next few steps toward completion.

Lastly, meet up with the client, one-on-one, and explain the agenda and where the team will be directing the client’s project. Our goal is to not blindside the client with information and get a feel for how this will play out. Prepare the client to come to the table with an open mind. Gather feedback, examples, and talking point suggestions from your client and update the agenda as necessary. Follow through with the team after the client is satisfied in the dialogue to come and project at hand. The kickoff will actually be after two or three small gatherings independently with the client and the whole team. The discussion will have already started and the work is half way done.


5. Keep It Fluid

The kickoff meeting has finally started and your team and client’s team are all gathered in one room. Keep the meeting going and allow the conversation to organically grow. Above all else, continue spurring the communication to allow the team and client to collaborate and create the winning solution. To help you along definitely prepare and show a presentation deck, handouts, and any visual material the team can prepare that will help bring the discussion to life and carry it forward.

Finally, don’t forget to write a contact report as you go along to capture the focal points of your meeting.


Know Canada!

Posted by & filed under Brand Marketing, Corporate Identity, Print Advertising.

No, it’s not the new national anthem. The nation has simply decided to rebrand its international image by showing the world what exactly is Canada. As part of it’s series, “Studio 360,” a radio program hosted by Kurt Andersen and produced by WNYC and PRI, decided to tackle Canada’s image problem, particularly in the U.S., and commissioned Bruce Mau Design to head up the project. BMD has studios in both New York City and Toronto which obviously helped the in solving the problem even though the team working on the project was predominantly relocated Americans.


“Initially, we had Canadians and Americans participating in it,” says Hunter Tura, the studio’s president and CEO. “At a certain point, we made the decision to ban Canadians from working on it, because we felt that the discussion was bogging down into a number of the clichés we felt we wanted to get past. The idea was to look at the problem in a fresh and clear-eyed way.”

Ultimately, after interviewing many Canadians (including Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson from the comedy-sketch TV show Kids in the Hall and the author and artist Douglas Coupland), BMD came to the conclusion that Canada did not need to be rebranded. In actuality Americans just needed to be educated about Canada. This is where the new ‘brand’ adopted the tagline “Know Canada” (inspired by “You Ottawana get to know us,” a slogan submitted by a “360” listener).

This educational approach called for the jettisoning of Canadian iconography such as beavers, hockey, and the infamous maple leaf. Early on in the exercise, one of the designers drew a Canadian flag, placing a question mark where the maple leaf would be. That turned out to be a breakthrough moment, with the designers deciding to retain the iconic bars of the flag to frame 21st-century symbols of Canadian culture—everything from Arcade Fire and Justin Bieber to socialized health care and Ryan Gosling.


“By removing the maple leaf and adding imagery, the system became totally flexible,” says Sarah Foelske, the associate creative director who headed the team. “We could speak to politicians. We could speak to creatives. We could speak to so many different things while also staying true to what Canada really was.”

BMD hopes that the Canadian government will be interested in adopting the campaign, now that the materials have been made public at, just in time for Canada Day, July 1st. Yes, that’s a real day. Cheers!


Original article by Belinda Lanks of Co.Design. All photo credits at

Jack White Just Curated the Ultimate Box Set of Iconic American Music

Posted by & filed under Print Advertising.

Last year, Jack White’s Third Man Records and reissue specialists Revenant Records released The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records Vol. 1, a doozy of a box set that included 800 tracks from the early days of the Wisconsin label that launched the careers of everyone from father of the Delta blues Charley Patton to a pre-bandleader Louis Armstrong. It was housed in a lovingly constructed oak “cabinet of wonder,” based on the iconic Victrola VV-50, and took cues from the Arts and Crafts design aesthetic prevalent during the label’s beginnings. It included two books, six 180-gram LP records, a thumb drive containing all the music, and all manner of ancillary material. It was the kind of box set that isn’t easily matched, let along outmatched.

But that doesn’t mean Third Man couldn’t try.

It was never a mystery that there would be a second volume. But we weren’t expecting it to be so impressive in such different ways. The Rise & Fall Of Paramount Records Volume 2, 1928-1932, which arrives November 18, focuses more narrowly on the label’s later years, when the label’s “race records” skewed more distinctly toward blues, and the set eschews wood for aluminum.

Experience the Power of a Book!

Posted by & filed under Brand Marketing.

At only 8mm thin, and weighing in at less than 400g, the 2015 IKEA Catalogue comes pre-installed with thousands of home furnishing ideas. It comes fully charged and the battery life is eternal. Most important to note, no cables. And that’s right, no lag! Experience the power of a bookbook™.

This wonderfully made advertisement is going viral and promoting the new 2015 IKEA Catalogue in a way Apple promotes its new iPhones. Simply brilliant!

Citizen Science: Star by Star We Can Make a Galaxy

Posted by & filed under HTML + CSS, Think Tank.

Help us to fight against the light pollution and discover the Earth at night. Science has limited resources to study the incredible amount of light pollution data that we have. But working together, we can change the world.

Since 2003, almost 2 million photos have been taken from the International Space Station of Earth and the University of Complutence in Madrid (UCM) has decided to shed some light on light pollution with a collaboration effort of universal proportions. All the images taken by astronauts were provided by NASA, ROSCOSMOS, ESA, JAXA and CSA-ASC. Due to light pollution, we don’t really know all the places photographed and that’s where the citizens of Earth come in to help science with science.

Cities at Night is the website developed by UCM that highlights solutions and scientific evidence to light pollutions effects on life here on Earth. It also brings it down to our past-time of stargazing. The night sky is forever changing but we can do something about that. We have the technology. And you don’t need to be Steve Austin to help.

Crowd Crafting the Globe

The projects main coordination and develop came from Alejandro Sánchez de Miguel, José Gómez Castaño, Jaime Zamorano, Sergio Pascual and Jesús Gallego of UCM with support from Crowd Crafting which hosts the majority of Dark Skies and allows you to take a tutorial and begin sifting through images and tagging based off of your expertise in various sciences and just life in general. You see, algorithms cannot tell the difference between stars, cities, and other objects. People can and that’s where we all come in on this grand project.

There’s Even an App for That

Dark Skies has even released two apps to help georeference known cities and find unlocated images. The apps icon is courtesy of NASA/ESA JSC. You may also use Lost at Night and Night Cities ISS and just start contributing.

Loss of the Night

To better understand our lighting issues and the work that can be done to use light at night more efficiently for all of our health and for the planet itself, watch the video below that has been created by the team to promote this project.


Word Crimes

Posted by & filed under Typography.

Weird Al Yankovic is back with a new music video, literally. From his new album Mandatory Fun, we’re proud to share Word Crimes with all the grammar police, proofreaders, and creatives alike.

Five Spectacular Hipster Infographics

Posted by & filed under Infographic.

This is a compilation of exquisite infographics for the hipster near you. If you happen to be a hipster I just hope you haven’t seen these before I was able to share them with you. Regardless, enjoy all the information and keep sharing! Remember to click on the images for a full view of each infographic.


How Far is it to Mars?


Yes, I know we can just Google the question or go straight to Wikipedia and get the answer but once the numbers become, well, astronomical, it can be quite difficult to comprehend the actual distance. This well-thought, digital infographic, How Far is it to Mars?, sums it up for the layman.


The Magnificent Magnitude of Beer


The array of beers available to you on any given day can be considerably overwhelming. The guys over at Pop Chart Lab have devised this magnificent 60 x 40 inch poster of possible palate pleasers.


The Evolution of Game Controllers


I’ll give you a minute after checking the infographic. Now that the nostalgia of catching your first golden chocobo is dissipating I can introduce you to the history of video game controllers. Every hipster and gamer on the planet can look at any one of those controllers from their past and recall countless lost hours in front of the boob tube.

The wonderful people at Pop Chart Lab have created this infographic detailing the complete family tree of video game control schemes, including handhelds, joysticks, paddles, gamepads, rifles, steering wheels, paddles, guitars and even a glove.


Your Google Results Are In


Getting yourself into the top few results of a self search is all a true hipster needs to succeed. If this is what you’re looking for while becoming the best hipster this side of the Mississippi then look no further! This infographic by Search Engine Land provides a path towards success with utilizing social media such as LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.


The Illustrious Omnibus of Super Powers


Have you ever tried to wrap your head around the marvelous myriad of super powers that exist? Pop Chart Lab has provided this wonderful infographic that houses any and all possible superpowers for your hipster pleasure.