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Remember last spring when the pundits detected "green shoots," the beginning of the end of the recession. Then other metaphors came into vogue — "jobless recovery" and "housing market meltdown" and "zombie banks" — indicating that forecasts of an upturn were premature. Now, however, there is a growing sense of optimism about a solid design market recovery. In the previous enewsletter, I cited an upbeat FunctionFox survey of small creative businesses to support the point. Now let's add two more bits of evidence: the AIGA Confidence Index and The Creative Group Hiring Index. The AIGA study, which tests designer sentiment, is at a relatively robust 98 — up from a dire 51 in October 2008 and consistent with attitudes during the relatively prosperous 2005—2007 period. AIGA respondents believe the worst is over, and are planning to invest in people and infrastructure. The Creative Group national poll finds that the job situation for creative professionals is at least stabilizing. Moreover, marketing and advertising executives are optimistic about attracting new business: 86 percent said they are confident in their firm's prospects for growth in the second quarter. Both organizations report in during Q2, and by then we'll have a better sense whether the shoots have blossomed or withered.

— Gordon Kaye


superbowl Trophy Life
The 2010 Super Bowl may be over, but Landor Associates has created a new visual identity system for all future ones. As announced by the NFL, the new system will first be used in 2011 for Super Bowl XLV. Landor's strategy for places at the heart of it the Vince Lombardi trophy, given to the Super Bowl's winning team each year. Depending on the NFL event, the new system allows for complementary elements to be introduced. The released version, for Super Bowl XLV in Texas, is the first example of a region-specific identity which will include each year's stadium venue and the appropriate roman numerals. "The focus of the new identity for the Super Bowl is the Vince Lombardi trophy, which is the most logical and iconic expression for the overall brand," said Nicolas Aparicio, executive creative director at Landor.

Going Nuts
Design Ignites Change has announced its inaugural 2009 Implementation Award grand prize winner: PieLab's Pecans! The award program recognizes exceptional proposals for design intended to make the world a better place, and grants their creators the financial support to realize those visions. Pecans! is a budding pecan product enterprise led by low-income youth in Hale County, Alabama. Recent design school graduates mentor 16-24 year-old high school dropouts participating in a Department of Labor YouthBuild Program. The $12,000 award from Design Ignites Change will provide capital to get a business off the ground and, in turn, gives the kids a chance to expand their skill sets: everything from perfecting the best pecan brittle recipe, to developing a brand identity and market strategy, all while completing their high school diplomas or GEDs.

truelemon Hyper-Real Illustration
Independent integrated branding agency Blue Marlin has created vibrant new packaging for True Lemon, cold-pressed and crystallized lemon that has "the potential to revolutionize" lemon usage. Blue Marlin explored a number of different of different routes to express the brand's personality. The final visual identity uses a mouth-watering hyper-real illustration of the fruit's skin that really jumps off the shelf at you. It is loud and proud and conveys a message that the product is real lemon, only more intense.


The deadline for entries has been extended, briefly, to March 31. American Inhouse Design Awards is the premier showcase and recognition program for outstanding work by inhouse design / marketing / communications departments. You can request a printed from by emailing Or you can download the entry form immediately at...


An Exercise In Branding (visual)
Equinox has introduced "My Body. My Biography," an advertising campaign created by the ad agency, Yard. The campaign plays on the idea that a person's body tells a story about his or her life. Highlights include gym members providing intimate interviews to go with their portraits, shot by renowned fashion photographer Kenneth Cappello, and presented in a grid fashion for print and signage.

Estate Planning
The Estate of Lester Beall, the pioneer and avant-garde American graphic designer, was seeking a web presence with a vintage modern approach. Jargon Boy's Greg Chinn found a way to showcase the history of Beall, emphasizing Beall's early developmental career, output and lifestyle. Functioning as a primer to Beall's work, the website shows salient examples form his iconic portfolio. Viewers can see Beall's early design work, drawings and paintings from the family's personal collection and peek inside his working Dumbarton Farm design studio in Brookfield, Connecticut. It's a family affair: Chinn is married to one of the artist's granddaughters.

Geyrhalter Juiced
evolution Geyrhalter Design has revamped the packaging for Evolution Fresh, a family owned fresh juice company sold in over 500 stores in the West including Whole Foods, Pavilions and Gelsons. The design firm focused on creating a consistent brand image. By introducing a revised red identity with all-red caps it enables the brand to stand out from direct competitors such as Naked and Odwalla. The label stock was changed to matte laminated finish, which creates a semi-metallic effect when refrigerated, to underscore a sense of freshness. A unique color designates each juice, and whimsical illustrations evoke a homemade feel. Kari Yu was lead team member on the project.


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Winter Park Poster
winterpark Ken Bowser, digital artist and instructor at Full Sail University, created this year's poster design for the 51st Annual Winter Park (FL) Sidewalk Art Festival. Bowser created a mixed media piece consisting of several different techniques and disciplines. The final piece was the result of a line drawing and a comprehensive color rendering culminating in a six-gig color corrected final. This is the first time the festival has allowed a digital piece to be used for the poster design.

Coupon Use Skyrockets
Annual coupon use is on the rise for the first time since 1992, according to Inmar, a promotion transaction settlement company. Coupon distribution last year hit the highest level recorded since 1988. An estimated 3.3 billion packaged goods coupons were redeemed, a 27% increase over the 2.6 billion redeemed in 2008. Matthew Tilley, director of marketing for Inmar's promotion services division, doesn't foresee coupon redemption continuing at current levels but does expect growth of 3-5% annually for the foreseeable future.

npm Poetic Poster
Each April, the Academy of American Poets creates and distributes almost 200,000 copies of the current National Poetry Month posters to schools, libraries, bookstores and community centers to help promote the month-long celebration and to increase poetry awareness. The 2010 poster was designed by Marian Bantjes and features Wallace Steven's poem "Final Soliloquy of the Interior Paramour." Copies of National Poetry Month posters from previous years are available for sale.


A polished resume and portfolio aren't the only tools advertising and marketing professionals need to land their next job. A new survey shows a sterling digital presence is important, too. Nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of advertising and marketing executives interviewed said they are likely to search for information about prospective hires online. Another 59 percent review job candidates' LinkedIn profiles and 44 percent check out their Facebook pages.

Here are five tips to help professionals build their digital reputation:

1. Create employer-friendly profiles. Make sure the information you post about yourself on sites such as LinkedIn and Facebook showcases not just your personal interests and hobbies, but also your expertise, dedication to your field and ability to communicate effectively.

2. Optimize your information. Help employers find you online by integrating key words that describe your skills, specialties and positions of interest into your profiles. For example, if you're an advertising copywriter specializing in the automotive industry, you might include terms such as "copywriter," "automotive," and "ad copy" into your profile.

3. Design for impact. Make sure all job-hunting materials have a unified look and feel, including online content. For example, you might create a Twitter background with similar design elements that appear on your resume, business cards and online portfolio.

4. Keep certain details under wraps. Use privacy settings effectively so information that you don't want employers to see won't show up in a search. Also, avoid publishing anything that could damage your reputation, even to an audience of friends. You don't want comments made in the heat of the moment to come back to haunt you.

5. Self-promote. Your ability to post thought-provoking commentary and build a large Twitter or Facebook following can influence an employer's decision to hire you. Be sure to include URLs to professional profiles when communicating with hiring managers.

The Creative Group is a specialized staffing service placing creative, advertising, marketing and web professionals on a project basis. For more information, please visit You also can follow us on Twitter @CreativeGroup and Facebook


More on the AIGA Design Leadership Confidence Index at...

FunctionFox Small Creative Businesses Survey...

See all the Design Ignites Change winners...

Visit the Lester Beall website at...

A fuller view of Marian Bantjes poetry poster...

GDUSA 2010 Web Design Awards...


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