Dean McNeill Logo
  • "All businesses, no matter what they make or sell, should
    recognize the power and financial value of good design."
    Adam Swann
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TARGETTED MESSAGING

Boomerswork.com offers a unique service. They source short-term or contract-based talent for employers looking for experienced professionals. They attract their talent from the growing pool of talented semi-retired baby-boomers looking for challenging and rewarding opportunities. To get their message out, and to grow their candidate database, they recently embarked on an ambitious regional billboard, newspaper and on-line campaign featuring creative and design developed by Creative Solutions.

Three creative executions each use visuals uniquely identifiable to the target market and a strong call to action. The clear simple design translates beautifully to billboard, small-space newspaper and naimated on-line executions. The campaign is still running but early indications are sign-ups have increased ten-fold since the launch. And the client made a point of how is delighted they are with the creative as well as the consistent and clean approach for their marketing.

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HALIFAX GRAMMAR SCHOOL GRADUATE AD

Halifax Grammar School is an independent private school with an enviable record of graduating successful, well-rounded students. I’ve helped them communicate their messages to parents and the general public for over a year now. In the past they’ve published a year-end grad ad using a class picture approach. This year they wanted to change it up and were open to exploring a few different approaches.

The individual photo option they chose allowed us to portray the unique personality of each graduate, identify the graduates and stand out from the grad ad norm.

By utilizing a pop-up, or oversize, ad option of the Metro News we managed to “own” the paper for the day of its insertions, create a memorable keepsake for the proud parents and grads while reinforcing Halifax Grammar School as a progressive and thoughtful option for education.

Communicating messages using emotion, coupled with innovative approaches, is what we do. Getting the most bang for a client’s budget is all about careful thought, exploring new approaches and understanding their needs.

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GUILDFORDS GROUP'S NINE SITES ALL MANAGED THROUGH ONE CMS

Late in 2014, Guildfords Group requested an update to their websites. Established in 1906, with its origins as a ship’s chandler, the group now comprises eight different companies across Canada—each with their own website.

It was important to show a strong visual link between each of the nine websites while ensuring they functioned well individually. Graced with some excellent photography we set out and defined a content architecture and navigation menu approach that would work throughout the sites. Once armed with an approved  architecture we proceeded with a few concept designs and presentation.

Upon client approval of a design we built the sites, all nine at a time, online, which allowed our clients to view progress and provide feedback wherever they were across Canada.

A key component of all our sites is the inclusion of a complete content management system (CMS) allowing client editing of all content. We implemented one CMS that integrates all the nine sites and allows ease of sharing of related content from one site to the others.

Reactions to the site both internally and externally is extremely positive. Traffic to the new sites is also soaring which means they are receiving more exposure due to the advanced SEO work we did on aligning their content to search terms. Based on their supplied search terms, each site now is routinely present on the front page of search results.

Check out the Guildfords Group site, and all their related companies, here.

We’ve worked with Guildfords Group for a number of years and appreciate the confidence they continue to show in our skills.

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IDENTITIES

I don't just design logos... I'll work with you to craft an identity that captures your firm's personality. One that is as unique as your fingerprint.

An identity is more than just a logo. It’s how the logo is used, what other elements are associated with it, what stock it's printed on, what typeface is used for other text elements. How do the other elements like letterhead, business card and envelope work together?

When asked to design a logo or an identity, I'll always supply applications for how the identity is used to ensure that it works at its very best in communicating your message. You’ll receive guidance on applications and how to keep your identity consistent.

Here's a selection of identities I've helped craft over the years...

Logos

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HALIFAX GRAMMAR SCHOOL

It started with a request from Halifax Grammar School to help develop a new, simpler look for their traditional year-end graduate ad. They also needed, at a later date, to remind parents of the benefits of attending HGS to support continued enrollment. Smaller class sizes, a balanced approach to academics, athletics, arts and community service all combine at HGS to offer "The Complete Package".

Instead of placing two ads weeks apart, we recommended placing two ads in the same paper for higher impact. We suggested, and developed, a sister ad for the graduate placement, which appeared just a few pages later in the newspaper. It used a similar layout as a visual tie-in to the previous graduate ad but featured an emotional focus on how Halifax Grammar School could help parents realize their childrens's potential. The ad series, running on various days in two local newspapers, proved to be very successful in raising the awareness of Halifax Grammar School.

Based on the success of the initial adverting approach HGS engaged us to produce various marketing materials, posters, banners, a kitfolder and publications to further communicate the message. All materials effectively utilize the forward thinking "potential" approach and visually play a strong role in consistently supporting the Halifax Grammar School brand.

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IFDS 2014 WORLDS

I live near the ocean and it has an effect on you. I love the water, always have and I'm lucky enough to be able to go sailing. I've helped promote a number of local sailing events and clubs over the years, so it was a natural fit when I was asked to help attract and then market the Internation Federation of Disabled Sailing's 2014 World championship event to Halifax in 2014.

The event features the world's very best disabled sailors competing in races over several days as a pre-qualifiing event for the 2016 Paralympics.

As in many projects, there's two distinct audiences to reach. In this case there's the participants (athletes, coaches, volunteers, etc.) and the contributors / sponsors / media. The identity and entire brand needed to engage both groups, while being clear and memorable. With these kinds of events it's often best to think of creating an identity for it's most simplest usage... if it works on a t-shirt, it'll work across a much broader spectrum.

I explored a number of concepts and arrived at a simple icon of a sailboat, heeled under power, capturing the excitement and drama of the event. Coupled with clear typography combined to create a simple unit suitable for applications on t-shirts, hats, letterhead and the numerous other uses leading to the event.

If you spend any amount of time talking to these athletes you'll learn there's a cheekiness and sense of humour that permeates the group. I've done marketing for disabled events and right off the batt, this isn't about garnering sympathy. These are high-calibre athletes competing at the highest level – many of these athletes go on to compete in the Paralympics Games. We really wanted to capture some of that irreverence so I developed a 'bug' to use on various pieces that captures some of that 'attitude' while using a few familiar icons.

Next I followed up with an all-important Sponsor Brochure outlining the goals and information about the regatta. I also developed a detailed Sponsor Benefit Guide on the back that allows potential sponsors to understand what they receive for their involvement.

I also developed a website allowing organizers full editing control over all content, participant registration, event calendars and real-time results.

It was a pure delight working with, and being part of, the organizing committee during the more than four years leading up to this incredible and worthwhile event. Check out the closing video we developed to get a flavour of the event: IFDSWorlds2014 Wrap Video

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UNITED WAY OF HALIFAX REGION

United Way of Halifax wanted to update it's stark and utilitarian website (image on left). Their site was an unorganized collection of menus and sub-menus which buried useful information and tools. As with every website project, we started with a detailed review of their menu and navigation. In consultation with staff and users of the site we identified the key elements neccessary and the best flow through the site. Our client not only welcomed the sipmplification of the menus and navigation, but challenged us to make it as simple and clear as possible. Together we identified four key areas of influenece that they focussed their efforts upon. We presenting a streamlined navigation architecture for their site and upon approval proceeded to develop a number of visual approaches for the site and it's interior pages.

The existing site was fact-based and had virtually no emotion or engagement – an approach at odds with a charity with such an incredibly personal mandate. We drew from the wealth of positive, personal stories from their agencies, featuring a number of them front and centre through a front page slider. We developed a prominently displayed icon-set for their four key areas of influence and integrated both news and feature article areas. The current site (image on right) features considerably more easily accessed content, a streamlined architecture and immediate validation of the importance and success of their efforts.

As with every site that we develop, it contains a complete, user-friendly Content Management System that allows United way staff to make their own updates to any area of the site. Fully responsive, as are all our sites, it reconfigures the content based on the browser window available on the device it is viewed on.

The new United Way Halifax website presents local stories of accomplishment in a new clean look built on a fully editable architecture... that's just the way it should be.