Mixed messages

I noticed this eye-catching display outside of a restaurant in Rome. What a great idea! Too bad the cigarette butt and ashtray were left carelessly in the scene. Suddenly the idea of dinner here is much less appetizing. What a great reminder about the importance of minding the details when we reach out to our audiences. Happy marketing and buon appetito!

The handwriting on the wall…

Brush script calligraphy on book covers is having quite a surge of popularity these days. I’m not sure where the trend started, but I now imagine book cover designers being held captive until they agree to pick up the brush tool and swirl out letterforms. The irony is that all those handwritten covers are trying to project attributes like “unique,” “quirky,” and  “personal.”

Although design conformity can feel delightfully comfortable, you give up the opportunity to carve out your own distinctive brand position. Looking like our competitors will also be a major stumbling block if we hope to attract new prospects.

Baltimore Murals: A beautiful way to brand neighborhoods

Do neighborhoods have brands? Of course they do. And, thanks to area businesses and community associations, many neighborhoods in Baltimore have murals that represent their brands.

Baltimore’s neighborhood murals never fail to grab my attention. Each mural is different; one focuses on a historical event, one celebrates a cityscape, while another makes an economic or social point. Who creates these murals, who funds them, to what extent is each neighborhood involved?

I learned that over 250 murals have been produced in Baltimore City as a result of the Baltimore Mural Program. The process begins when a Baltimore resident wants to host a mural that displays an idea specific to his or her neighborhood. Once the community association approves the painting, a location is picked and approved by the property owner. Although the Baltimore Mural Program does not have state or city funding, most funding comes from local Baltimore businesses or fundraising within the community. The mural program coordinator works with the community members to select a topic and artist for the painting. Once completed, there is a party to celebrate the artist and artwork. See more here.

Baltimore Murals are more than paintings on a wall; they brand an area of people with a name, symbol, or design that identifies and differentiates one neighborhood. It’s a great way to show community pride to everyone who passes by. -Contributed by GCF intern Cat Lee