Nov 11

inspiration_blog_1

There has been a lot of talk inside the creative design team at Oblique about the idea of inspiration. Who and what inspires us? Why is inspiration important? Where do you find inspiration?

We realized that although everyone is different in their tastes and origin of inspiration, we all agree that it is very important as a creative to feel inspired by what others are doing around us. At Oblique, we want to be both inspiring and inspired by those around us.

Who inspires us?

Marissa Mayer, the CEO of Yahoo has once stated that when she needs to make the right decision, she likes to “surround myself with the smartest people who challenge you to think about things in new ways, and do something you are not ready to do so you can learn the most.”

Marissa’s idea speaks directly to us here at Oblique. The main source of our inspiration and mentors that we look up to are those who are challenging the status quo and not afraid to do so (or even if they are afraid, they are still brave enough to do it anyway). Those who have the passion and motivation to create the world they want to be a part of are the people and projects we at Oblique most gravitate towards.

The experience levels may be different here at Oblique, but it has been interesting to see over the last few years how much all of us inspire each other. One of the perks of being in a small agency is that we have the flexibility with our design thinking, and we have the ability to be creatively agile with our clients. We can experiment with inspiration more than a larger agency might because they tend to have more boundaries and guidelines to follow.

We asked Oblique’s Kelsey (Designer) and Natalie (Senior Designer) to name a few other people they are inspired by:

Natalie: “I was more drawn to past artists that I consider to be designers – I was obsessed with Russian constructivism and their poster art as well as Bauhaus when I was first getting into design. But recently I’ve been really inspired by designers like Mike Perry, Jacob Eisinger or the designers of LAND, who are all absolutely brilliant.”

Kelsey: “There are so many people that have inspired me over the years. But to name a few, Tina Roth Eisenburg (aka swiss-miss) has always been someone I look up to and was someone who inspired me to push outside of my comfort zone when I was first getting started. I’m also a HUGE Aaron Draplin, Jessica Hische, and Gemma Obrien fan. All brilliant designers and people that have always motivated me to work as hard as I possibly can and to always push the status quo of design.”

What inspires our creative design agency as a whole?

 While inspiration is extremely subjective,. we found that very commonly we are inspired by certain projects, websites, packaging, etc. not only because they are beautifully designed, but more importantly because they are creating a new solution that has never been done before. We are drawn to People in the design world who are creating a movement with their innovative thinking. Even though we might not have the freedom to be as experimental as we would like with certain clients, revolutionary creative solutions pushes us to think outside of the trends and norms and to always try something different.

Where and when do we find inspiration?

 If you ask any creative where they find inspiration, you won’t find a clear answer. Inspiration is absolutely everywhere and cannot be defined. We decided here at Oblique that it doesn’t matter where or when you find inspiration, but it’s important to always be looking for it and to be open to it. The more places we can pull inspiration from, whether that be different cultures, different industries, or even different mediums, the more rounded and unique designers we can become and the better solutions we can create.

How to be inspired and how to inspire others:  

Oblique tends to be inspired by being as open minded as possible. It seems so obvious, but with so much access to so much information, we sometimes find ourselves digging through the same design themes or same inspiration boards.

In order to combat this, we suggest being very conscious about accepting opportunities to be inspired by others. We found that the easiest way to do this is to get involved, wherever you are. Get to know the world that surrounds you. Go to lectures in your community, visit art galleries, talk to companies and people who are making a difference. Surround yourself with those smarter than you and become what we call a “learn-it-all.” Learn everything you can about what motivates and pushes you (and others) to be better designers, and then communicate and share those ideas and experiences. The things you share with those around you is what in turn, inspires others.

Jan 25

Lisa_Blog_Photo

Creating smart and impactful design to empower those around us is what we here at Oblique design do best. We are so lucky as a small Boulder design agency to have been a part of many incredible organizations all over the world. Working with Lisa Smith-Batchen and Run the Nation has been no different and has again reminded us why we are so passionate about the design we do and the impact it has.

Lisa is attempting to run 3,100 miles across America starting on March 22, 2016. Her goal is to beat the men’s current record of 46 days and 8 hours. To break the current record, Lisa will have to cover more than 50-68 miles per day, an amount that seems nearly impossible to most. But most people aren’t Lisa.

Over the course of her running career, Lisa has completed 35 ultra marathons (greater than 50 miles), over 90 marathons and has received 5 ironman championships. But most notable, Lisa has raised over $2,000,000 for charity through racing. Continuing her passion to help those in need, Run the Nation is partnering with St. Jude Children’s hospital and will be raising money for the cause throughout the race.

Lisa approached Oblique about creating a custom website design for her race so that the public could follow, support and share her progress. We of course agreed to help and created an interactive website design that allowed for weekly updates, progress videos, and access to sponsorship. We are truly amazed every day by Lisa and her commitment to helping others and are so excited to be a part of this amazing event. Check out the site coming soon!

Nov 3

how to_blog

Here at Oblique, we have been thinking about the relationship we have with our clients and why they work or don’t work. We know that looking for a new design agency can be a tough process, so we wanted to dive a little deeper into what is important in making that decision. We also sat down with our fearless leader, Janice Ferrante, and talked about the specifics of Oblique and what makes the Boulder creative agency so special in a firm-filled world.

AGENCY UNIQUENESS
Every agency is different, and is made up of a variety of different people with diverse skills. Depending on what you need, it’s important to keep an eye on those differences; they can have a large impact on your results. It is important that the agency is willing to understand your company and use your voice to create creative solutions that work.

What makes Oblique unique?
JF: “I’ve been challenged with this question from the day I started Oblique. It’s one of the hardest questions to answer. Clients hire Oblique because of two main things: the people and the creative. I know other agencies can say the same, but there isn’t another Janice in the competitor’s office (or Garrett, or Corrie, etc.). People see our commitment, drive, passion and creativity the moment they call or meet Oblique. It’s who we are, always pushing the boundaries as much as we can while still being on brand. Clients also know we just make their lives easier.”

Are there clients/projects that Oblique is specifically drawn to?
JF: “[Oblique is] drawn to organizations that are making a difference in the world. Even when we partner with clients that could be considered to work in a ‘boring’ industry, we put our hearts and souls into the work because we have developed a strong connection and relationship with their team. They make it interesting because they are sincere. They want to grow their company and they believe in Oblique to get them there.”

AGENCY SIZE
It is important to make sure you know what sort of relationship you need before making this decision. The right agency could very much depend on the size of the job because it’s important that the company has the right resources and time to accomplish the job with quality.

Why would someone choose Oblique (a smaller design agency) over a larger agency?
JF: “Smaller teams mean fewer layers and nimble solutions; more flexibility with limited budgets, and scalability when necessary. We are able to have close relationships with our clients (they have our cell numbers). We study their brand and make them feel like they are our only client. Fewer layers means quick turnaround.”

CLIENT VS. AGENCY RELATIONSHIP
When it comes to relationships between both client and agency, there should always be a careful balance of adaptability, collaboration, and communication between parties. A great ad agency will believe in your brand, see its potential, and therefore want nothing more than to create a successful solution for you.

In your opinion, what does an ideal relationship between Oblique and a client look like?
JF: “Why do certain people choose their friends? Common value systems, good chemistry and the fact they are fun to be around. That is how we decide if a client is a good fit for Oblique. Can we be open and honest with them? Are we passionate about their product or service? Are they fun to work with and intelligent in their industry space? Simply put: does the chemistry work? If we don’t feel a connection to the brand, service or client, that would show in our work and spirit.”

What helps you decide if a client will work out or not?
JF: “A client will work out of we have a foundation of solid communication and trust. We work well with clients who value the design process and have a deep understanding in the creative journey. The more we know about a clients history, problems and future goals, the better the outcome will be for an effective and relevant solution.”

FINAL THOUGHTS
When it comes to choosing an agency, trust your gut. Move forward with an agency that you feel most comfortable with. Also, try not to be guided by price. Remember that you are paying for the level of service you are going to receive. The more time you spend working to find the right partner, the more likely you’ll be happy with the level of service and value they provide. Ultimately you’re more likely to be successful in the long run.

Jul 24

Print

We live in an image focused world = Truth.

We define ourselves against these images = Truth.

Girls and women of all ages face body shaming because of these images = Truth.

It doesn’t have to be this way. = TRUTH.

 

Images of “super”model women are everywhere we look. We are inundated on a daily basis through TV, magazines, Social Media and beyond. Let’s face it, images are powerful. They prove to have a negative impact on a girl’s self-esteem and self-respect. In fact, 69% of girls in one study said that magazine models influence their idea of the perfect body shape[1]. It’s time for change.

Women across the world are taking a stand and fighting back for their body image independence. As a women-owned advertising agency, we at Oblique Design are proud to witness this movement through multiple advertising efforts.

Who among us didn’t tear up when we watched women describing themselves to a sketch artist in the Dove Real Beauty campaign? Not because we felt bad for these women, but because we could relate. Since the kick-off of this multi-level campaign, Dove has almost doubled their revenue.

Lane Bryant’s #ImNoAngel campaign is a bigger hit on Social Media than Victoria’s Secret “The Perfect Body” campaign. It also led to a noticeable increase in new customers; proving that women are ready for change.

American Eagle has joined the fight with their new lingerie line, Aerie. They’ve stopped re-touching their advertising photographs to proudly show relatable models with healthy bodies. Since making this bold move, they’ve seen a 9% rise in sales.

The real truth is that we may never see society change enough to fully remove unrealistic body images and photo re-touching from advertising. But it’s refreshing to see more and more companies taking the right steps in that direction. So we raise our glass to them, to those that come next and to you – Beautiful. Perfect. You.

[1] Eating disorders: body image and advertising. (2008, December 11). Retrieved from http://womeninads.weebly.com/statistics.html

Jul 9

Print

As the founder of Oblique Design, my personal definition of success and the goals of my company are intertwined. The success we experience today wasn’t given to me by a little fairy that fell from the sky. Oblique was founded small and built up over the years through vision, hard work, and a determined team of design and marketing professionals who believe in Oblique. Together, we built an award-winning boulder web and design agency. In my time as the owner and Creative Director of Oblique Design, I often ask myself what I really want in life. It’s a hard question to answer, so let’s start with an exercise that starts with a few simple assumptions:

// MONEY makes you RICH.
// INDEPENDENCE makes you your own BOSS.
// STATUS gives you a position of POWER.
// SECURITY gives you a SAFE JOB.
// SIMPLICITY provides LESS STRESS.
// TIME gives you FREEDOM.

What do you really want and what defines success? Does success mean having freedom, money, status, security or simplicity? It is completely subjective to each individual and their personal life objectives. For me, success is winning a pitch that you’ve been working on for weeks and other times it’s gaining the courage to tell a client “no”.

Below is my constitution and it is the cornerstone philosophy of Oblique’s success. It can be used not only in the advertising and design world but in all industries (and life).

// Surround yourself with people that give you energy, rather than taking it
away from you.
// Don’t ever underestimate your creative potential.
// Have confidence and always show it.
// If you don’t have passion for what you do, get out. It will show and in the end,
everyone loses.
// Sometimes you have to be lucky.
// Mostly, it’s about hard work.

It is from my personal experience that these statements need to be evaluated yearly, monthly and even weekly. What worked for me when I founded Oblique 13 years ago is irrelevant to what my needs are today. Once you decide where you want to be, with whom you want to spend your time and what you want to do, everything will fall into place. Trust me.

What has made my Colorado design firm stand out all of these years is leadership based on authenticity, honesty, boldness and confidence — within the Oblique design team and with our clients. Internally we share a sweet balance of respect and humor, which goes a long way day in and day out.

As my mom once told me in my growing teenage years, “the only constant in life is change.” These are words I live by daily, and allowing your goals to change with who you are is a perfect way to stay in balance.

Jun 30

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The days get long and the weeks get longer. Do you guys get worn out like we do? We all need to take time to reset our minds and rejuvenate for the next day or week. We love what we do here at Oblique, and we thrive on upping the ante. That being said, that comes at a cost and lots of hard work. We are constantly delivering at our highest potential because we take time to recharge ourselves from the everyday agency hustle.

Coming from Texas where I’ve been all my life, I’ve been able to push myself to new limits up here; literally. My past year here in Colorado has been one hell of a ride. From climbing a sketchy glacier during a heavy blizzard, to surfing the sand dunes in the dead of heat, I’ve gotten the most of the outdoors to say the least. I feel like I’m always on the go and traveling to different spots, but it all makes it worth it when you arrive at the destination. From little to no sleep, I’ve got to shout out to all my weekend warriors out there, it’s a crazy life! One trip in particular really inspired me that the sky is the limit in anything that I wanted to do. I took my first trip to Moab, Utah this past spring with a few buddies of mine, and man was it epic. One night we all got to witness the insanity of stars underneath the Delicate Arch with no one else in the park. At this moment I never imaged that I would be traveling as much as I had and knew that it had been the best thing that had happened to me. Getting away from all the distractions and noises of the world is nothing short of refreshing. I felt renewed and was able to reset my mind from all the past weeks building up. This experience inspired me to keep getting out there and expose myself to all the creative elements that surround me. That’s what its all about.

Getting out of your comfort zone and pushing yourself only makes you better at what you do next, you guys feel me? I can’t stress that enough. Reward yourself. When it comes time for the new day or week, I feel like I’m set to succeed because I took the time to decompress and get my mind right. That goes for everyone in the office too. This time of recharging greatly affects our business and how we work so well with others. If we feel overwhelmed or stressed out, we take that time to reset. New perspectives and outlooks are what drive our creativity and open us up to new opportunities. This process goes far beyond web design and advertising in general; its what makes us, us. Powering through the week and working hard, pushes us to play hard on the weekends. We welcome the challenge.

Sep 23

Purpose_Design_Blog

Oblique works hard to create designs that are relevant, unique and allow our clients to stand out in the marketplace. Overall, the purpose of design is to communicate with your audience and solve a given problem. Here at Oblique, we like think of our purpose from a slightly different angle.

We aspire to work with companies who are making a difference in the world today. We enjoy working with people who have unique views on education, environmental issues, social change, healthcare, and more. Our clients have amazingly fresh perspectives and our goal is to be a part of their movement.

Team Oblique wants to use our branding, web design and print design skills to empower companies to make a difference. Let us strategize, create, design, and be that voice to stand behind your cause in the world today.

Jul 3

After watching this video and taking on the challenge ourselves, we encourage all of you to try something new for 30 days. It could be something as simple as reading part of a novel every day or as difficult as writing a piece of a novel every day. Try something sustainable that you wouldn’t normally do. You may find that it changes your perspective, gets you more active, or you might find a new hobby!

Feb 3

At Oblique, we have had our fair share of interviews. Some were promising and some were disastrous. It is sometimes hard to find that happy medium between someone who is creative, outgoing and has a good business sense. Not to mention, a candidate who meshes well with our eclectic personalities. Last week, Business Insider posted an article listing, “15 Bizarre Things That Candidates Have Done In Job Interviews.”

We were shocked because we thought we have had some weird encounters during interviews, but these topped them all!


The candidate with helicopter parents.
“After answering the first few questions, the candidate picked up his cell phone and called his parents to let them know the interview was going well.”

The candidate who was really into her looks.
“When told she would meet with another interviewer, the candidate said, ‘Wait just a minute.’ She then took out a large bag from her briefcase and proceeded to reapply her makeup and hairspray, all in the first interviewer’s office.”

The candidate who didn’t understand references.
“When the hiring manager called the candidate, she asked him to bring several copies of his resume and three references. He called back an hour before the interview and asked to reschedule, saying his references couldn’t come with him.”

The candidate who called her current employer in front of her interviewer.
“After arriving for an early morning interview, the job seeker asked to use the hiring manager’s phone. She proceeded to fake a coughing fit as she called in sick to her boss.”

The candidate who ate breakfast during the interview.
“The candidate asked for an early morning interview. He showed up with a box of doughnuts and ate them during the meeting, saying this was the only time he’d have to eat breakfast before going to work.”

The candidate who was uncomfortable talking about money.
“When asked what the candidate was currently earning, she replied, ‘I really don’t see how that is any of your business.'”

The candidate who brought his dog to the interview.
“The person got up to leave just a few minutes after the interview had begun, saying he left his dog in the car and needed to check on him.”

The candidate who lied on his resume.
“After being complimented on his choice of college and the GPA he achieved, the candidate replied, ‘I’m glad that got your attention. I didn’t really go there.'”

The candidate who loved the outdoors too much.
“The job seeker halted the conversation about work hours and the office environment, saying she didn’t like being confined to a building, but would consider taking the job if she could move her desk to the courtyard outside.”

The candidate who planned ahead of time about skipping work.
“In response to the hiring manager’s offer to answer questions about the position, the job seeker replied, ‘What happens if I wake up in the morning and don’t feel like going to work?'”

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/15-bizarre-things-that-candidates-have-done-in-job-interviews-2013-12#ixzz2nfxswtj8

Jan 10


At Oblique, we know there will never be an agency like us in the future of the universe. One that shares our same values, has the same experiences and passions. We have multiple layers and ever-changing perspectives. We understand that being unique is important to our clients as well. As a team, we try our best to align our beliefs and passions to those of our clients’. Being unique is important to us and we take pride in who we are and who you are.

Some may confuse being unique with being different. Being unique is who you are and being different is what everyone else is trying to be. We see this all too often in our industry. Who can stand out the most? Who is the most different? Why is it so compelling?  The need for authenticity gets lost in what everyone else is doing. At that point, your brand is no longer conveying what makes it unique. We want to help you in your journey to authenticity.

We are here to encourage your brand to not only be different, but to be unique. We want to know: What are your strengths and weaknesses? What are your beliefs, values and passions? You may not even know who your brand is or where it is going. That’s OK. We will help you uncover the answers and make sure your company’s behaviors are in line with its values and goals.

Don’t be afraid to take on this challenge. Look in the mirror and let your brand be what it was created to be. Don’t worry if you are ridiculed, because in this world what you are doing today will be popular tomorrow. Then, as a team, we will be faced with another challenge!

“The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice…it is conformity.”
– Rollo May, Man’s Search for Himself.