When the message is hard to hear

Graphic Design and Art Direction: Gale Peck. Client: Food for Thought

Graphic Design and Art Direction: Gale Peck. Client: Food for Thought

Sometimes we need to communicate a message about a very serious subject and yet engage readers with an image that is pleasant and inviting.

Dining Out for Life is an annual fund-raising event. The image for this campaign manages to deliver two seemingly unrelated topics: you can treat yourself to a dinner out knowing that part of the proceeds are donated to Food for Thought, a  non-profit organization that supplies groceries to meet the nutritional needs of those living with HIV/AIDS in Sonoma County.

With the right creative strategy, it’s possible to effectively deliver a rather complex message. To learn more about how you can clearly communicate your advertising message to your target audience, check out www.icebergstrategic.com.

Posted in Advertising, Graphic Design, Marketing | 292 Comments

Cherchez la femme

rendez-vous-en-france-lower-resThe Starbucks siren/mermaid (see previous post) is not the only company figurehead who had to clean up her image. In a logo designed to promote tourism, Marianne  (France’s female counterpart to America’s Uncle Sam) was depicted along with the slogan “Rendez-vous en France”.

All good. Then it was pointed out that Marianne was a little too anatomically correct: if you study the letters in the word “France” you will find the outline of her left and right arm, and everything in between.

Marianne was then modified to the revised logo shown here. Not that the French are prudish, but they were reluctant to offend the very tourists they were prospecting.

To find out more about the importance of targeting your market with graphic design, contact Gale Peck at www.icebergstrategic.com. C’est la vie. C’est marketing strategy!

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Graphic Design, Logos / Identity, Marketing | 865 Comments

Horror vacui

Graphic Design: Gale Peck. Client: Viansa Winery

Graphic Design: Gale Peck. Client: Viansa Winery

According to Werner Muensterberger, the author of “Collecting: An Unruly Passion”, horror vacui is “fear of empty space”.

His book is a wonderful look at why we collect things and how no matter how much we have, why we still think we need more.

There is a tendency for beginning designers to want to fill all the available space with something, anything just to get rid of “white space”. What they learn over time is that “white space” is actually an important part of the design and gives the eye a place to rest and allows the important elements to really pop.

In good graphic design, everything is an important part of the whole. It’s all there for a reason (well, sometimes not a big reason, but it does have a job to do). To discover how great graphic design can work for you, check out www.icebergstrategic.com or call give Gale at 707.545.4253.

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Copywriting: it pays to be careful!

Illustrator: Gale Peck. Sketch for fashion layout.

Illustrator: Gale Peck. Sketch for fashion layout.

In advertising, accuracy is everything. As we’ve all learned the hard way, just one tiny slip-up can change a friendly message into something we never intended to say.

In a hasty letter to his boss (a diminutive man of great charm and eloquence), Martin Sorrel of J Walter Thompson meant to sign off with “See you shortly.”

What he actually typed was: “See you shorty.”


Iceberg Strategic Creative has the experience and know-how to do it right the first time. And get results. Check out what our clients have to say at www.icebergstrategic.com!

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Too much of a good thing?

Graphic Design: Gale Peck. Illustration: Margaret Chodos-Irving. Client:  Abodio

Graphic Design: Gale Peck. Illustration: Margaret Chodos-Irving. Client: Abodio

We all love having options, but did you you know that having too many choices can actually have a negative effect on sales?

A classic example of this is a study conducted by Columbia University which offered customers a choice of strawberry jams. In one test, the customers had 6 jams to choose from and in another they had 24 different choices.

While more customers were drawn to the larger assortment, only 3% of those customers actually ended up making a purchase. For the smaller assortment, 30% of the customers ended up making a purchase.

The lesson here? Too many choices often leads to paralysis.

How many times have you been overwhelmed by a very busy website? Or gave up on a brochure because you couldn’t even figure out where to start reading? Good graphic design is all about making information user-friendly and conveying your message clearly and concisely. Iceberg Strategic Creative helps you cut through the clutter.

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A genius by any standard

Ad created for Standard Oil by Theodore Geisel

Ad created for Standard Oil by Theodore Geisel

A good rule of thumb for creative advertising is, if you feel like you’ve seen it before, don’t do it! To stand out, it’s got to be original (in a good way).

It would be hard to imagine someone creating something more original than Theodore Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss.

Theodore Geisel actually developed his distinctive style early in his career creating advertising. His first nationally published cartoon appeared in The Saturday Evening Post. Other satisfied clients included General Electric, NBC and Vanity Fair.

A very successful ad campaign he designed for Standard Oil ran from 1948 until 1941. A recurring tagline was “Quick, Henry, the Flit!” and the ads featured wildly imaginative insects who were prevented from attacking thanks to a bug spray.

What made Geisel so successful in both careers was that he created something fresh and original, quite unlike anything else. And very, very memorable. A good thing for a book or an advertising campaign.

For fresh creative advertising, check out Iceberg Strategic Creative. The initial consultation is free of charge!

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Typography talks!

Graphic Design: Gale Peck

Graphic Design: Gale Peck

You may have heard about the teenager who proposed a way for the federal government to save millions of dollars a year (in ink) by simply changing the typefaces it uses for printing.

But were you aware that selecting the right typeface can also increase readership? If you’ve ever found it difficult to read through a block of copy and then just gave up, you’ve experienced reader’s fatigue.

As an advertiser, you want to engage your reader and keep their attention as long as possible. Have you ever tried to read a paragraph set in all capital letters? Don’t you feel like someone is shouting at you? Or here’s a common mistake on websites: light or white type on a dark background. Again, it isn’t long before you’ve given up in frustration–it’s just too much work.

In graphic design, there are thousands of different typefaces, and it’s important to understand how to use them thoughtfully in order to ensure your reader has a positive experience. And keeps on reading!

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For success you need talent and…?

the-beatles-1963-grangerIn his best-selling book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell talks about an important differentiator he believes makes talented people extremely successful.

In addition to their obvious talent, Gladwell points out another factor he believes worked in their favor: the Beatles’ early years of performing in Hamburg and small clubs. He attributes their success in no small part to their having put in over 10,000 hours of practice before hitting the big time.

Gladwell credits the many years of drudgery and fine-tuning their skills as a key element in their rise to the top. In other words, no matter how talented you are, putting in the time and gaining the experience counts for a lot.

This also is true when it comes to achieving success in marketing. Marketing is a field that requires many diverse skill sets acquired over years of experience. Iceberg Strategic Creative has finely honed marketing expertise that is the result of over 30 years’ worth of experience in design and advertising. Experience does make all the difference

Call or click to schedule a free of charge initial consultation:




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Hello. Hola. Meow.

Creative Director: Gale Peck. From "Hello. Hola. Meow." Postcard.

Creative Director: Gale Peck. From “Hello. Hola. Meow.” Postcard.

In marketing, identifying your target market is key. These special people need to feel you’re are speaking directly to them and know what they want.

Successful businesses know they aren’t trying to sell to just anybody and everybody. Those messages end up being so general they don’t really speak directly to anybody at all.

Identifying your target market allows you to be specific and talk to prospects about what they’re interested in. Not only will you be able to connect with your desired customers, by targeting your market you’ll spend your advertising dollars wisely, resulting in more hits and fewer misses!

Helping you target your market is what we do! For a free consultation, contact Gale Peck at Iceberg Strategic Creative.

Posted in Advertising, Branding, Graphic Design, Marketing | 1,064 Comments

Just do……what?

nike-swashDan Weiden, the co-founder of Weiden & Kennedy, was working on a new series of ads for Nike. The ad campaign featured athletes performing different sports and was visually compelling but it needed the added punch of a good tagline.

Weiden was still struggling to come up with a new slogan the night before the campaign presentation when a random thought popped into his head. He suddenly thought of the final words of condemned murderer Gary Gilmore as he stood before the firing squad: “Let’s do it”.

With a little tweak it became “Just do it”.  It perfectly captured the essence of the ad campaign and went on to become one of the most famous advertising taglines of all time.

Great creative advertising is not the result of a standard formula. What may seem pretty random is actually someone paying attention to what bubbles up from their subconscious and recognizing a great idea, regardless of its origin!

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