Sep 15

I guess you could say Chef Ann is our latest celebrity crush and all the recent media hype she’s received has made us giddy. We’re huge fans of this renegade lunch lady and her initiatives as she works to reform US school food programs one district at a time. Oblique has recently teamed up with the Chef Ann Foundation to create a fresh new brand for their new program, the School Food Institute. We came up with the name, mission statement, logo, tagline and website copy for this thriving organization.

If you’re unfamiliar with Chef Ann Cooper, you won’t be for long. Her goal is to create an organization that grants children daily access to fresh, healthy food in their school cafeterias. At this time Chef Ann oversees the cafeteria food preparation for 50 different schools in the Denver area, which leads to 13,000 meals prepared each day. With the introduction of programs such as the School Food Institute, these numbers will only continue to grow.

The School Food Institute is an online educational program that provides in-depth training, operational skills, and strategic vision to food service professionals. These skills will help to bring healthy and sustainable food into lunchrooms across the nation. The program also hopes to bring attention to issues within the school food system and inspire change among them. Already, they have been recognized for their outstanding efforts in changing the Denver school food system and they recently received a $520,000 grant from the Colorado Health Foundation that will allow all Colorado food service workers to enroll in SFI courses at no cost. It’s encouraging to see so many school districts coming onboard and participating in this outstanding certification program! You can read more about Chef Ann and the School Food Institute in recent articles from the Denver Post and the New York Times.

We’re proud to have developed the face to this impactful name that is already making a difference in our local Colorado community, and in communities across the country. You can learn more about the Chef Ann Foundation or donate to their cause here.

Jun 13

Oblique Design is teaming up with the oldest and most premiere zipper company, Talon Zippers, to rebrand their TekFit technology. Talon has been the leader in zipper and trim since 1893; they’ve worked with the some of the most recognized apparel companies in the world, including Ralph Lauren, Reebok, American Eagle, Vans, Kohls, and Levis.

Always striving to be ahead of their industry, Talon’s introduced its newest division, Tekfit. The patented technology allows waistbands to stretch and contour to the user’s body to ensure maximum comfort. Since the initial launch, Talon has modified their design to improve the quality and incorporate it into collars and other apparel goods. With the technology’s recent success, the company is rebranding TekFit to fit the athleisure category and expand into an international market. Check out the technology here

Talon believes in the spirit of collaboration and that design is in the details — qualities that Oblique stands behind and loves to see in our partners. Keep an eye out on Talon’s Website for an updated TekFit name and logo.

May 30

We recently sat down with Janice Ferrante, owner of Oblique Design, during the 15 year anniversary of her company.  We asked her to tell us about the changes and challenges she experienced within the advertising industry over these years.

What has been the biggest changes you’ve seen within advertising and branding in the past 15 years?
The biggest change I have seen is that everyone is now able to work remotely and collaboration has grown through online mediums. Oblique was started in New Jersey, but relocated to Boulder, Colorado, because it became feasible to serve clients remotely and see them when needed. Quite honestly, clients don’t have the time like they used to for face to face meetings with agencies. Advancements in video conferencing, sharing ideas through the cloud, and of course, social media, helped make client/agency collaboration seamless. It has been remarkable to see how easy accessibility has become with all these new advances.

It’s been also interesting to see the progression and continual evolution of web design trends. Whether it’s parallax scrolling, responsive or collapsing menus, it’s a whole new world. If I were to go back to school to study graphic design, the classes would now focus on social media, UI/UX and interactive web design.

How has Oblique adjusted and adapted to these changes?
Throughout the years at Oblique, we have done everything the design industry has to offer: brand strategy, naming, logo design, taglines, print brochures, ad campaigns, websites, creating content for social media, you name it. However lately our sweet spots are brand strategy, interactive and packaging.

We have also become a small boutique agency, by design. Although we have taken advantage of the technology around us, we always prefer face-to-face communication. We enjoy the simplicity that technology gives us, but Oblique still believes in old fashioned teamwork and partnerships.

What do you see as biggest threat to the future of advertising and branding?
The biggest threat is that logo and web design are turning into a commodity.  A myriad of new companies are now offering inexpensive standardized logos and  “cut and paste” website design.  These might be solutions for certain businesses, but more serious companies need tailor made solutions to support growth potential and build memorable and lasting brands.

Any last words of wisdom you want to share after 15 years in the design industry?
Change is inevitable. Irrespective of your industry, the world is changing at an ever faster pace.  My advice is to embrace change, make it your business to stay ahead of the curve, and enjoy the stormy ride.

To see Oblique Design’s portfolio, click here.

Jan 20

With the fresh start of a new year (Happy 2017, everyone!), also comes reflection and resolutions. Team Oblique couldn’t be happier with the projects we completed, the clients we worked with and the growth we have gained as a company.

Last year, Oblique made the big decision to give our portfolio a complete makeover. Our updated and improved portfolio contains new projects and an original look. We went even further and created a micro-site (obliqueslant.com) to give potential clients a quick (and might we add, beautifully designed) overview of what Oblique offers. It’s different from what you’ll see on your average Colorado design blog and that’s what we’re after.

For Oblique’s new portfolio, we demonstrate how our Boulder interactive agency creates a fully rounded brand, not just a logo or website. For example, we show that a logo like the one created for Handcraft Kitchen is not only built to be executed on a web page, but how those elements are conveyed through menu design and exterior signage. This is the full-circle design that Oblique thrives on.

2016 offered opportunity for Oblique to build several brands from scratch. One of our favorites, “BOOM Properties”, was especially unique because this client wanted to push all boundaries when it came to creative solutions. From naming their company, designing their logo, tagline and stationery, all the way to a fully functional responsive website, BOOM is just one of the many satisfying accomplishments we encountered last year. Check it out in our (new!) portfolio here.

Alongside BOOM, some other companies we created identities for were CUE, CONGRUEX and Clove Hill. These all started without a name or identity and are now developed, mature brands ready to take on the world. Other 2016 highlights included designing a new product catalog and beautiful Comuni-tee apparel for “Women’s Bean Project”, as well as working with Gro.io and Coadria to build two beautiful and unique tech-based websites. We also created packaging for Clove Hill’s skin-care lines, Love the Wild, Biozen Skincare and Power Plant. We even helped League Collegiate Outfitters celebrate their 25-year anniversary by giving their website a new and timeless look. Be sure to check out all of this and even more on our portfolio page!

From the bottom of our hearts, we want to thank every single person, client and company that we interacted with in 2016. We cannot wait to see what 2017 has in store in the future!

Dec 21

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This year, Oblique was reconnected with League Collegiate Outfitters to update the design of their website to match the look and feel of their new 25th anniversary catalog. Since we designed their original website a few years ago, we were excited to create a new look to with them and are happy to announce that the site is officially live!

League is known for their smart vintage-inspired collegiate apparel designs, iconic logos, and all-around American aesthetic. You can find their clothing at most colleges and universities across the country. League has lead the way for ethical practices and global consciousness in the workplace and have always been a valued client of Oblique. Check out the site and let us know what you think!

Nov 17

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After collaborating with BOOM Properties, a local commercial brokerage and property management company, Oblique is excited to announce the launch of their brand new website!

BOOM Properties recently came to Oblique with a task of a complete re-brand for their Boulder-based company. Our team created their name, tagline and is now launching their new website. BOOM! With such a unique and dynamic identity, Oblique gave the BOOM website an energetic interface to match . From a horizontal scrolling to colorful and vibrant photography, BOOM has by far been one of our all-time favorite projects.

Check out the site here.

Jul 15

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If you haven’t noticed already, we love the Colorado community that surrounds us here at Oblique. Oblique takes pride in working with local companies, partnering with similar minded groups, and most importantly, working our absolute hardest to make a difference wherever we can.

The Women’s Bean Project, a nonprofit based in Denver, employs chronically unemployed and impoverished women and provides them with stepping stones to self-sufficiency through social enterprise. Through transitional employment, The Women’s Bean Project helps them earn the job readiness, interpersonal and life skills to create a new future. (Amazing, right?)

We have worked closely with Women’s Bean Project over the years, and so we were more than excited when they asked us to design t-shirts and hoodies for them through our ComuniTee program. We worked closely with their core values and branding to create two killer designs that evoked empowerment, transition and the power of women.

Check them out or buy them on their site, and look for them on our Oblique site soon!

SHOP NOW! >> 

Jun 20

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As an intern from Germany, I had a unique and rich experience at Oblique Design. As my time here draws to a close, I want to share the experiences that I’ve had so far.

Coming from a huge, corporate and perfectionist company like BMW, it was quite a drastic change to enter the small but highly fashionable Boulder advertising agency, Oblique. The team welcomed me with open arms and made me feel a part of the business before I even got started. Honestly, it was a great kick off to this whole new adventure, and I’m more than thankful they made it so easy for me. We Germans, especially, are relatively stiff and distanced around people we don’t know and it takes quite some time for us to open up.

Some of you might be asking: ‘how did you choose an advertising agency based in Boulder; a little hippie town that the majority of Americans might not even know about?’ Great question! I got asked that a minimum of 10 times (I’m not exaggerating)! The answer is actually quite straightforward; Oblique Design partnered with BMW for a photoshoot in Barcelona and Munich for a Performance Parts consumer catalog. Janice, founder of Oblique and Helga, my previous boss at BMW, collaborated on many projects together. Helga liked me as a person as well as my work ethic,and suggested I ask Janice if she is in need of a new intern. I instantly knew that it was an opportunity I couldn’t refuse, especially to gain experience in a small creative design agency. Plus, who wouldn’t want to spend time in the beautiful nature of Colorado, surrounded by the breathtaking Rocky Mountains?

Even though I’m neither a designer nor an account assistant, the team always supplied me with a fair amount of work. My daily tasks ranged from writing blog posts to research projects. I also had duties such as helping our Account Manager to set up weekly reports for clients and discussing taglines.

We sometimes have lunch with the team to re-fill our creative minds with new energy and brilliant ideas. It’s crazy that I would describe the team here as friends rather than colleagues (even though some of them are over 40!). Not only is it fun and refreshing to come to the office every morning, but it’s also full of new challenges and experiences.

The work schedule is diverse in many ways, due in part to the different types of projects we get and the various kinds of companies we get them from. Our main focus here at Oblique Design is branding, interactive design, print design and strategic marketing.

At the end of the day, I enjoy my free time exploring the charming corners and little shops of Pearl street or chillaxing down at the Boulder Creek. I also spend lots of time hiking and chatting with the local farmers at the Boulder Farmer’s Market.

Overall, I’m more than happy to be part of this little Boulder family here at Oblique Design. I can’t believe I’m already leaving in less than a month. It is challenging to find the right words to express my gratitude to be part of this unforgettable and life changing experience. Thank you Oblique Design, thank you Helga, and thank you Boulder for making this time one of the best experiences I have had so far.

May 23

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Have you ever walked into a grocery store and been completely bombarded by hundreds of cereal box options? Us too. Many times, it’s the packaging design that catches our eye and helps make the final decision.

Over the past few years, packaging design has become incredibly important for companies as they realize that good design translates to increased sales. Think about it; when you are at a grocery store, picking up a pack of delicious Jerky, don’t you find yourself drawn to some packaging designs over others? That’s no mistake.

In most cases, packaging is a consumer’s first point of contact with the product.  A creative, eye-catching package design may entice someone to try a product line they’ve never heard of, just because it stands out among others. Especially when it comes to new product launches, package design is one of the most important elements for a successful market entry. No matter how good the product itself is, poor packaging can drastically affect sales. Here are some important questions that should be addressed for a successful custom packaging design

1. How should the packaging represent the brand?

All successful brands think about brand identity and the way they want their message to be conveyed to the target market. Brands communicate by use of color, fonts and textures. The aim here is to project a brand’s story, where every detail on the packaging is part of the consumer’s experience.

2. What is the desired price point for this product?

Research has shown that we make assumptions on a product’s price before we even see the actual price tag. Sometimes a package design is so over designed and sophisticated in appearance, that the consumer will think it is too expensive. On the other hand, if the design seems too generic and unappealing, the audience will think it is low quality. Therefore, it is important that the design is communicating the right price direction for the customer.

3. What types of materials should you use?

How durable does your package have to be? How long does it stay intact before a consumer uses it? How will the consumer handle the packaging? Does it need to be waterproof? Does is have to be shipped? Is it organic or sustainably sourced? These are only a few of the many questions that should be addressed when deciding which material would best fit your product.

4. How well do you know your audience?

Knowing your target audience plays a vital role when designing packaging. Your intended consumer needs to relate to the product. Factors such as their socioeconomic situation, gender, race, and personality traits within this defined group, play a key role when establishing a suitable design for your product. Studying your target group of customers is one of the most critical aspects of any product launch or redesign – if you know exactly who you’re talking to, it is easier to communicate your message effectively.

Regardless of whether you’re getting ready to launch a new food, beverage or a line of medical devices it pays to bring in a team that specializes in not just graphic design or retail marketing, but custom packaging design. The best packaging design is a combination of branding, messaging and design in a way that speaks to your target audience.

If you’re looking for help with packaging design, get in touch, we’d be happy to help.

Feb 27

 

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As a senior in college, all marketing majors were required to take a final capstone class from one of the head marketing professors. My capstone professor happened to be my advisor, and since he liked me, he had an assigned seat for me at the front of the classroom so he could harass me (all in good fun of course).

Every day in that class, he drilled a saying into our heads that I can still recite nearly 17 years later:

“If you build successful relationships, profitable transactions will follow.”

That “profit” isn’t always monetary, but it is always beneficial. My approach to all the work I have done since college has been with this in mind. Over the years, I have learned a few things about this. Here are my 4 Tips to Better Business Relationships…

1. Listen

Don’t be that annoying guy on the 1st date that only talks about himself (for you guys that do that…this post may be about more than just business relationships). Clients want to know that you care about their business, and are listening to the challenges that they have. Don’t fill them full of jargon on why your design agency is the best. Find out what they need, how they work, what their company goals are, and anything else they are willing to share.

2. Be A Partner

You should take as much interest in your client’s business as they do. Understand their market position and the challenges they face; then help determine the best solutions to help their business thrive. Help them conserve budget where they can, and place it in areas that truly need it. Don’t be a salesmen trying to make extra profit for your company; your business will grow by helping theirs grow.

3. Communicate

Be prompt in responses, up front about timelines, and learn how they best communicate. Some clients prefer to talk on the phone. Others prefer email. Then there are the clients that are so busy, the only way to get a quick response is a text message. Texting should not always be the first resort; use it when you REALLY need an answer quickly.

4. Be Real

Be honest. If there is a problem, tell them. But don’t expect them to fix it. If you’re going to go to them with a problem, present solutions on how you’re going to fix it and when it will be fixed. This will instill confidence that you know what you’re doing.
It’s also okay to show them the non-professional side sometimes. You have a life outside of work, and so do they. Take interest in them as a person, not just a client.
Have fun. Go out for drinks with them. Talk about the kids. Tell them about vacation. Share that embarrassing story about what you did in college. Laugh. It will make those stressful days easier.

There you have it. Follow a few of these simple tips, and build those long-lasting relationships. It will ultimately build a mutually beneficial relationship for both of you. Your conversation may begin with an interactive design problem, but if you get to know your clients, you’ll be a trusted advisor long after that first problem is solved.