STARMEN Wins Its First “Innovator” Award


We're honored to have received an Innovator Award from Summit International's Emerging Media Awards (EMA) in the Real Estate/Neighborhood/Community Website category for our re-brand of Linda May Properties. But the reason why we're proud to have received 'Innovator' might surprise you.

The Year Of Making Brands Work


We believe that the only way to predict the future is to create it. And at our core, we are an agency dedicated to the creation of positive change through strategic brand development.

STARMEN Wins the Prestigious MarCom Awards Platinum and Gold


We are deeply honored to have won MarCom’s Platinum and Gold in the website category. Our web branding of Linda May Properties —a consistent award-winner —took the Platinum, while our website for Anoush Catering —another frequent award winner — earned the Gold.

2015, the Year of Speaking Human


2015 promises to be an exciting (and disruptive) year. Everything is changing fast … especially, the way consumers interact with their online environments. Paradoxically, the digital age is requiring branding and marketing to become more human.

In reviewing what the branding and marketing gurus are expecting to happen in the New Year, we see some inspiring trends. Put on your helmet and fasten your seatbelts. Here we go.

STARMEN’s Integrated Branding Campaign is Recognized by the Davey Awards


Winning the Davey Awards’ Silver for Visual Appeal is thrilling, but the visual appeal of our “Live Your Luxury” campaign for Linda May Properties — a top 1% international luxury real estate team in Beverly Hills—is only the tip of the branding-berg. Nine-tenths of the campaign lies is in its cohesive strategy, designed to compel people to feel Linda May Properties expertise within the luxury real estate industry, along with their personalized care and “always on” mentality.

Five Ways to Deliver an Optimal Brand Experience During the Holidays


The holidays are, of course, the busiest shopping time of the year. That means they’re also the time when consumers have the most contact with brands. In October, SDL published a report that found that 90% of holiday shoppers expect consistent brand experiences. How can you optimize your branding and offerings to engage consumers, and, in turn, sell your products? Here are five key elements to making your brand experience consistent—and excellent—this holiday season.

STARMEN Wins W3’s Silver for Creative Excellence on the Web


We’re exceptionally proud to have earned W3 Awards’ ( Silver for Creative Excellence on the Web for Silver for the videos we produced as part of our integrated branding campaign for Coldwell Bankers Realtors® Linda May Properties (, a top 1% international luxury real estate team located in Beverly Hills.

Customer Service is the Next Brand Differential


There is no such thing as a ‘customer for life.’ Companies have to work hard to win and keep customers. What used to be thought of as the customer’s loyalty to a brand has reversed to become the brand’s loyalty to the customer experience.

STARMEN Wins Summit International Awards’ Platinum for Marketing Effectiveness


We’re deeply honored to have won Summit International Awards’ Platinum for Marketing Effectiveness in the website category for our branding of Anoush Catering, Southern California’s premier Mediterranean caterer.

How Did Diet Coke’s Latest Campaign Personalize The Customer’s Experience?


Coca-Cola’s latest Diet Coke campaign “Extraordinary Collection” is vibrant, unforgettable, and cleverly packaged. AdWeek’s Tim Nudd calls Diet Coke’s latest campaign to print 2 million unique labels as an “individualized design on steroids.” AdWeek reports “Coca-Cola Israel created the campaign, with help from the Gefen Team, Q Digital and HP indigo. For the Diet Coke project, a special algorithm led to a unique design technique that allowed millions of designs to be completely auto-generated.”

STARMEN Awarded IMA Best In Class For “Live Your Luxury” Campaign


We feel extremely honored to have won the 2014 Interactive Media Award’s™ Best In Class Real Estate category for the website and video created for Linda May Properties. Entries were judged by an impressive lineup of IMC members and submissions were scored for their usability, feature functionality, content, aesthetics, and cross-browser compatibility. The Best In Class title is only awarded to contenders that receive a close to perfect score on every scale.

Context Matters


You won’t reach the people in your market if you don’t understand them, and you won’t understand them unless you pay attention to context. Context is the compass that guides allsuccessful branding and marketing.It’s about delivering the right content, to the right people, at the right time.

STARMEN takes home the Gold Hermes Creative Award


Client satisfaction is our gold standard, but earning notoriety in a competitive award category, feels one of a kind. We are honored to be a recipient of The Gold Award by Hermes Creative Awards as voted by the Association of Marketing and Communication Professionals.

Let’s Talk Strategy


Brands are beginning to wrap around people in every which way. Similar to being introduced to another person, everything can change based on first impression and appearance. So what makes this first impression so memorable and impactful, while creating an appealing nature that people can identify with? It comes down to the power combo of integrating business strategy into design.

Turn On The Telly: STARMEN Brings Home Two Trophies For Promotional Branding And Cause Marketing Video


The start of 2014 brought a wave of accomplishments at STARMEN. We’re happy to share that we’ve won two Telly Awards, in the Best Promotional Branding and Cause Marketing categories.

Don’t Have to Invest a Million for a Commercial
Photo credit:

When it comes to getting your brands message across to a lot of people, most jump to the first thought: “we need a lot of money.” Why do you need a lot of money? “To do something really cool.”

Today, not the case. Brands are moving and moving fast. Your content is being seen on Youtube, Instagram, Facebook, and wherever else Google can find in a simple search. Most of it, your brand isn’t even producing. So your message is now being retold by your customers, and remember it’s not what you say your brand is, but what they say your brand is.

LA Just Wants Their Coffee

You’ve heard of it and you have your opinions: Dumb Starbucks.

The close by Los Feliz parody shop, that is using the Starbucks name and logo but adding the word dumb in front of it, gained national buzz over the weekend. This was all before its doors were shut by the Los Angeles Department of Public Health on Monday.

Awarded Best In Class at the Interactive Media Awards


Awarded Best In Class at the Interactive Media Awards

Creating award-winning work is always our goal here at STARMEN, but when two of our clients, Hampton Inn and Discover Your Path, each earned a distinguished accolade in the Interactive Media Awards we were particularly excited. Both organizations launched a revitalized website to highlight their refreshed brand identity, and we’re so glad to have been involved.

Creative Versatility Shines As STARMEN Wins Three Silver Awards at Two International Competitions


Our Story Featured In The Los Angeles Business Journal


Our Story Featured In The Los Angeles Business Journal

MARKETING: STARMEN ditches fixed-rate jobs for retainer relationships.

Story by Subrina Hudson, Staff Writer

Armen David was working at his father’s Sun Valley shoe manufacturing business when he hired his friend Anthony Wiktor to help design the company’s brochures and fliers. David quickly decided the two should branch out and start their own marketing firm, STARMEN Design Group Inc. in Hollywood. They sold their services to family and friends – even door to door – mostly designing business cards and direct mail. Then one day, only three months in, they got a call...

Who approved that? The top 5 cringe-worthy marketing mishaps


Who approved that? The top 5 cringe-worthy marketing mishaps

Whether you're driving to work, flipping through the radio, surfing the web, or watching the latest Breaking Bad, it's impossible to escape a barrage of advertisements.

They're everywhere- billboards, bus stops, park benches, FM airwaves, the top of your computer screen, and in between your favorite shows. With such an overwhelming amount of ads whizzing by us, it's become increasingly more difficult to "cut through the clutter." 

So what's the solution? Keep reading for more...

Marketing Isn't A Science?


Marketing Isn't A Science?

Or is it?

The way you learn it in marketing school, marketing is a science. How could it not be, with all that jargon that puts everything into neat compartments? Unique Selling Proposition. Positioning. Niches. The four Ps. The Marketing Mix. All those rules of advertising and copywriting. Close fast and early.

So if marketing is a science, how come some people do it better than others?

Scientific method says, in essence, that if two researchers do the same experiment in the same way, they should get the same result. When that happens a couple of times, then the first person who did it is said to be scientifically correct. Does that happen in marketing?

Of course not.

But we all have the same tools. Market research. Public relations. Publications, such as brochures and newsletters. Seminars and speeches. Advertising. Direct mail and telemarketing. Even networking.

We all know the same things to do. Publicity. Newsletters and brochures. Niche marketing. Client surveys. And so on.

Yet, all results are not equal. Some firms emerge as giants, and others, including those that started in business at the same time as the giants, either go out of business or are still two-professional firms.

Why? What are the variables that make a difference in the same thing?

Or then, too, maybe marketing isn't a science. Maybe it's an art.

The Challenge with Facebook Pages — and 6 Strategies for Dealing with It


The Challenge With Facebook Pages

Here's the Challenge:

Your posts on your Facebook business Page are extremely limited: your reach is "throttled" to an average of just 16% of your fans.  Some posts will reach more, some will reach less, depending on how many people talk about it (comment, like, share). In general, that means only your most passionate and active fans (plus a small percentage of their friends) will see your posts.

That's why Facebook should go back to using the term "fan" instead of "like": those who simply like your Page and never interact with it again may never see you again.

Once you reach your fans, the engagement rate is only about 1% (studies show it's 1.4% for the top 200 brands on Facebook, and less than 1% for most everyone else). So even if you're a hot brand like Nike, 99% of your fans don't care about what you're posting.

In fact, in the article linked above, a Facebook executive essentially said that fan interaction is not as valuable as basic reach and frequency. In other ads, basic advertising works better.

The conclusion is obvious: Facebook wants to sell more ads. That's totally understandable – Facebook isn't a charity. The irony here is that social media was supposed to be an improvement over basic advertising.

So what can you do to make your Facebook Page worth your time and effort? In lieu of spending thousands of dollars on Facebook ads here are...

The Making of the New American Airlines Logo (Video)


American Airlines Logo

January isn't even over and one of the largest re-brands of the year has just been announced. American Airlines unveiled a new logo along with a new ad campaign Thursday, as part of an effort to revitalize the brand. Will it be enough? Does it work? This will surely be talked about for months to come.

"Since placing our landmark aircraft order in July of 2011, we've been building anticipation toward a moment in time when the outside of our aircraft reflects the progress we've made to modernize our airline on the inside," said Tom Horton, American's chairman and CEO, said in a press release.

Read more to see the behind-the-scenes video

12 Famous Brand Logo ReDesigns of 2012


Some of the biggest brands in the country ditched their old logos for new ones this year.

Microsoft ditched its logo after 25 years, and Wendy's changed up its girl with the pigtails for the first time since 1983. But even though a company's logo is one of its most valuable, and certainly visible, marketing tools, we're willing to bet that you missed a few of the major changes.

Continue reading to see all 12 redesigned logos of 2012.

5 Design Tips That Will Make Your Visitors Remember Your Site


Can you remember the last website you’ve visited? Unless it’s Facebook or another website you visit often, chances are you don’t remember much about it. 

There are 644 million active websites on the Internet, but most of these websites are so poorly designed that people don’t want to revisit them. Don’t make one of those websites! You want to create a memorable online experience for your visitors and to have them keep coming back for more. 

Your website needs to be easy to navigate and to provide some value to your visitors. You can go the extra mile and implement a few design tricks to make your visitors remember your website more than any other website with similar content. 

Here are 5 useful web design tips that may help you improve the overall customer experience on your website.

Think Color Can’t Make a Difference?


Yellow is a cheerful color. Ask anybody. It’s bright, warm, and refreshing, just like the sun. It’s an innocent color…

Or is it?

Logo (Re)Design: Behind The Scenes


A simple logo. A not so simple process.

Adobe's CS6 Beautiful New Identity


It's about time the new visual identity of Adobe CS6, looked more artistic and individualistic. They've come a long way in their graphic presentation and software development since last year's release of CS5. I'm glad Adobe embraced the idea of "creative freedom" as their brand platform for their latest edition of Creative Suite. Props to Adobe for truly being committed to its users and the emotional power of the creative process.

Photoshop CS6 New Visual Identity SystemNew Adobe CS6 Branding

Designing for YouTube: DISH International


We were excited to be a part of DISH International's social media initiative by developing and launching a series of branded YouTube channels to target their long list of language communities. The channel includes a custom video slider, drop down menus and custom banner feature. DISH Filipino, the first of DISH International's channels we worked on can be seen here live on YouTube.

Click below to see our design for DISH International...

Milton Glaser on Failure: Embrace It!


"The consequence of specialization and success is that it hurts you. It hurts you because it basically doesn't aid in your development. The truth of the matter is that understanding development comes from failure." -Milton Glaser

via Swiss Miss

Enjoy this video of Milton Glaser, one of the founders of Graphic Design, on success and failure and the dynamic relationship between professionalism and personal development. Watch the video below, his words are truly an inspiration to us all...

Happy Success!!

3 Strategies for Building a Stronger Brand in 2012


The New Year always sparks a renewed interest in making changes! For a business, this should include taking a close look at your brand – both from your perspective and from that of your market. Questions to consider: How do your customers perceive your brand? Is it aligned with how you see yourself? Do people hear and understand exactly what your brand is saying?  

Yes, there’s always room for improvement. And, starting with these three strategies, you can help strengthen your brand in 2012.

Build a Consistent Brand

Consistency is the name of the game in brand identity. Do you think Coke and Apple became what they are by not showing the same face to everyone, everywhere? The more consistent your brand is across all customer touch points, the more likely it can create a powerful impression and be easily recognized by your market.

One of the most important (yet often overlooked) aspects of branding is that it MUST remain consistent through all communication channels. From business cards and collateral pieces to your online marketing tools, there should always be a clear, consistent look and feel to everything you present.

Innovate Your Brand and Image

Keeping your brand up-to-date doesn’t mean changing it to stay current with every trend or fad. But, being attuned to what is happening in your industry and what appeals to your target demographic should play an important part in the evolution of your brand! 

With 2012 upon us, it might just be the right time to consider modernizing the visual image of your brand in terms of logo, tagline, typography, color palette, and design. Small changes, tweaks, and updates can re-energize an existing customer and catch the eye of a new one! This is one step in the right direction towards staying ahead of your competition and becoming a category leader.

Be Social, Diversify Your Online Presence

Online today means much more than having a website. If you are not on Facebook and Twitter or don’t have a content rich blog - in the eyes of some consumers, you might as well not exist. Your online presence “speaks” volumes to those who will buy from you. A successful social media engagement model is not about spitting out corporate messages, but instead includes developing a two-way dialog with your audience. Of course, you’ll want to make sure your “voice”, through status updates, tweets, and blog posts, is aligned with your brand. Aim to be human in the social space.

Getting the right help to strengthen your brand is also pivotal to your success. STARMEN Design Group (Los Angeles) is here to help with a diverse team of brand professionals who are experts at making your business look and sound its absolute best.

The End of An Era...


The inevitable as arrived... and with it, an end of an era too. As Apple's creative visionary, Steve Jobs steps down as "leader" a sense of loss is felt throughout the 'tech' world and more importantly the business world. The man who has pioneered so much innovation and ideation that fundamentally changed the way we live, has also been credited with rising a struggling computer company from near bankruptcy to become the world's most valuable company. Now it has come to end, and for that... we can't say anything more than Thank You.

Steve himself published the following letter:

I have always said if there ever came a day when I could no longer meet my duties and expectations as Apple's CEO, I would be the first to let you know. Unfortunately, that day has come.

I hereby resign as CEO of Apple. I would like to serve, if the Board sees fit, as Chairman of the Board, director and Apple employee.

As far as my successor goes, I strongly recommend that we execute our succession plan and name Tim Cook as CEO of Apple.

I believe Apple's brightest and most innovative days are ahead of it. And I look forward to watching and contributing to its success in a new role.

I have made some of the best friends of my life at Apple, and I thank you all for the many years of being able to work alongside you.


UPDATE: just published this awesome timeline of 'The Life of Steve Jobs - So Far' great read!

Your Logo Is Not Your Brand


It’s time to clear up a common misconception, a logo and a brand are not interchangeable terms. In fact, they are not the same thing at all! 

My mentor and brand guru, Marty Neumeier 'dispelled the myth' in his book The Brand Gap, "A brand is not a logo, an identity or a product". A brand, is a gut feeling, a consumers emotions about a particular company or product. The logo is a visual representation of that a company or product. However, it’s isn’t the brand itself. In contrast, a brand has a much broader definition. Your brand comprises everything that defines your company – who you are, what you do, where you want to be, and what you believe in. It’s the emotions people feel when they think of your products or services (back to Neumeier). This is far more than a creative image. And, an expertly designed logo is worthless if your brand is terrible.

Think of one of the world’s most recognized logo icons – the Apple. Would the logo be as powerful for the company Apple if the products they produced weren’t so spectacular? If they didn’t continually push the technology envelope and bring cutting edge products to market, the Apple logo would have little recognition.  The fact that Apple is wildly popular with consumers, their products are easy to use and understand, and they have incredible marketing has created their powerful brand. The logo is just a visual representation of this message.

So, if you’ve been considering getting a new logo developed, you may actually want to start with a review of your brand and what is truly saying about your business. From there, you can start looking at the elements that support what you’re trying to project, including that pretty image on your website.

If you're hungry for more on this topic check out one of my favorite books, Your Brand Is Not Your Logo: It Is an Experience that Lives in Your Customer's Gut by Robert Brunner, Stewart Emery & Russ Hall

Logos Define Candidates, As Well As Businesses


2012 GOP Canidates

In celebration of Independence Day, here's a look at how the 2012 GOP candidates are treating their brand like a business.  

Could you imagine if George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, or Abraham Lincoln had a campaign logo? They ran for political office in the early age of marketing, when a good campaign slogan would literally make or break a candidate.  It would certainly be hard to create a logo that matched Lincoln’s catchy slogan “Don’t swap horses in the middle of a stream.” 

The end-goal for any politician or business, for that matter, is to build awareness and ultimately win – whether it’s a vote or a sale.  And to accomplish that goal, voters and customers alike must be able to quickly and effectively communicate their brand offering.  These days, a great logo may be the first, last, or only thing someone remembers.

A recent CNN article provided some great insight into the importance for political candidates to choose a memorable logo.  This reality also holds true for any business.  To be effective, it is critical that a logo resonates without offending.  It should make a statement without turning off potential clients. A thoughtful, expertly-designed logo can set a business apart from the rest of the playing field.  Accomplishing this strategically and creatively is the most difficult part.

Interestingly enough, it may have been Obama’s creative but risky 2008 campaign logo that helped him with the election.  His eschewing the use of his entire name was a bold statement.  Early on, many joked that the “O” logo was a nod to his friend and supporter Oprah.  Surely, the association with Oprah didn’t hurt him either.

You certainly don’t have to be a politician to hire a professional team to design a logo.  In fact, because this vital component of your brand identity may be your first or only interaction with a customer, it’s simply a smart decision to make sure it’s both memorable and impactful.  By working with experts to create a logo that represents your brand in the best possible way, you will make your brand “pop” and get it working for you. To learn more about how a logo can help take your business to the next level, contact STARMEN Design Group today!

UPDATE: Starbucks New Identity Revealed


It's been over a week, and if you haven't had a chance to stop by your nearest neighborhood coffee shop, then you haven't noticed the new Starbucks logo in action. In our previous post, we focused on the iconic "Siren" logo itself and wondered how this would evolve into a refreshed identity. Needless to say, we are impressed! From the bold typography, vibrant use of green, and dramatic packaging this makes for a modern, fresh identity.

To promote the new identity and positioning, Starbucks introduced a great video seen here, that communicates how its brand relates to the consumer to encompass a total brand experience that "goes beyond coffee" and solidifies the statement, "You & Starbucks".

Share your thoughts with us?

Read more on the new Starbucks identity.

Starbucks Evolves Logo Into Lovemark


Starbucks New Logo Coffee Cup

The world's largest coffee company, and one of the world's most beloved brands, just stirred up a bold new roast of its identity.  Starbucks unveiled an updated version of their iconic logo, which had been unchanged since 1992. The simplified logo focuses on its mermaid symbol and removes the company name from around the border of the "Siren." That's right, Starbucks no longer feels the need to reinforce its name.

Starbucks Logo Evolution

The new wordless logo features nothing more than its real star, the Siren, transcending her from logo to Lovemark. A term coined by Kevin Roberts brand genius and CEO of advertising giant Saatchi & Saatchi who writes, “Lovemarks transcend brands, they deliver beyond your expectations of great performance and they inspire 'Loyalty Beyond Reason'.” Transcending the Starbucks brand seems to be the new focus for Chief Executive Howard Schultz who plans to evolve Starbucks into the future and to “think beyond coffee.” The world is changing, and Starbucks is changing with it.  It is not changing the ‘essence of the experience,' but rather, enhancing the connection with their customers.  In her simplest form, the Siren connects with each and every coffee drinker. 

Overall, the visual simplicity makes a meaningful impact and the new focus on brand extension makes perfect sense. However, for those of you who think dropping the name, "Starbucks" wasn't such a good idea you should read this. Only time will tell, but Starbucks believes its best days are ahead of them -- regardless, it's going to be exciting to see how the new identity system evolves into Starbucks future plans.

Take a peak into the ‘Future of Starbucks’
Learn more about the power of Lovemarks

Naked Juice: Good Sustainable Packaging


New Naked Juice Redesign Bottles

A Recycling Revolution - All Naked Juice Flavors Now Available In New reNEWabottle® Packaging

Naked Juice initially unveiled the reNEWabottle in 2009 for its 32-oz. bottles—the first nationally distributed beverage to do so. The reNEWabottle, also known as rPET (renewable polyethylene terephthalate),is made of 100% post-consumer recycled content. These PET bottles are plastic coded #1, which is easily recycled and clear—showing off the vibrant juice inside. This seems to be the new responsible trend in design which other brands have been incorporating into their packaging.

The transition to the reNEWabottle helps Naked Juice to reduce its overall carbon footprint and will save more than 12,000 cubic meters of space in landfills. Using recycled bottles instead of virgin PET will also reduce the bottle’s greenhouse gas emissions by 35 percent, the equivalent of saving more than 500,000 gallons of gas a year.

Every Bottle Counts


Pounds per year, reducing virgin plastic consumption


Oil saved per year (equivalent of taking 497 cars off of the road)

When Naked Juice finishes transitioning its entire line, virgin plastic consumption will be reduced by 8.1 million pounds per year, saving 57,000 barrels of oil every year—the equivalent of taking 3,460 cars off of the road.

To learn more about the Naked Juice reNEWabottle visit

Video: New MySpace is now My_____??


MySpace's new logo... features an actual space ______ Get it?

New MySpace Logo

Okay, neither do we. But enough logo bashing (see previous post), this redesign is less about the newly unveiled 'logo' and more about the brand. YES!!! The team at Pereira & O'dell got it right! We all know MySpace has virtually unbranded themselves off the face of social media, when at one point they were, social media. But, despite the odds and that new logo, MySpace... wait My_____ is trying to stage a comeback. The site on Tuesday announced a major revamp that aims to go beyond image tweaks, repositioning itself not as a social network that can compete with Facebook or Twitter, but as a "social entertainment destination for Gen Y."

Read more here:

The site nor the logo are actually live, but we found this promotional video MySpace just released.

Web Pick of the Month:


Skittle Website Adventure

The new is so fresh we just had to show you!

We know it's been a while since we shared a really sweet web site with you all, forgive us... we've been very busy, so it's a good thing. Those of you familiar with our blog know that we surf the web A LOT and discover some really cool web sites. We love highlighting the best of those sites with you. We also encourage you to send in some awesome sites you find while browsing too!

Enjoy an interactive experience driven by a never-ending stream of content, courtesy of Flickr, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and more. rewards fans with the ability to scroll infinitely, like an adventurous journey through Skittles digital landscape.

So 'Experience the Rainbow'... Love it or Hate it?

Gap can change its logo, but not its brand!


gap new logo before and after comparison

Let it be known, I'm not one to jump on 'bandwagons', whether it's politics, celebrity gossip, sports, or even in business. But I'm all aboard the latest bandwagon traveling along Gap's crossroads to logo disaster. It's widely been referred to as the 'Gapgate' controversy,  a questionable attempt by the company at designing a new logo and an even more tasteless approach at trying to market it. There has been way too much recent attention around the new Gap logo that I actually feel comfortable speaking my mind about it because unlike Gap's story, there's a happy ending here. Yes, keep reading and you'll see I offer a solution to this visual problem.

To much of my shocking surprise, I first came across the new logo while reading my favorite design blog '' where one designer so aptly recreated the Laird + Partners version of the logo in all of 3 minutes and retitled it, "Crap".

Before I critique the logo, I want to point out that one of my first jobs was working at the Gap and working in such a corporate environment with such good control over its brand propelled me into marketing and design. While working as an Old Navy and Gap associate I particularly became a fan of how Gap was able to engage and sustain a 'loyal audience' by constantly staying fresh in all aspects of their brand (fashion, marketing, advertising, etc.) Unfortunately this hasn't been the case over the past few years, revenue at Gap stores (including Old Navy and Banana Republic) have been declining (-8% in 2009). Pinpointing the problem by blaming 'The Economy' would be foolish. The Gap has a bigger problem, and it's not their logo... it's their brand.

A Brand Panic Move

One of my motto's is, "Your logo is not your brand!" This is a message we at STARMEN communicate to our clients all the time. But it seems Gap didn't listen, they officially rolled out their new logo last week, that came off more as a panic move, than it did with any real design thinking. Some credit this sudden change as a response to their declining sales, but as Abe Sauer from Brandchannel explained, "the brand decide[d] to change the one valuable element it has going for it." Changing the logo makes this obvious because it's the most recognizable thing the customers sees, but doesn't feel. A typical mistake most high-profile brands make in an effort to make a valuable 'change'. Just ask Pepsi how they feel about the whole Tropicana mess. With very notable brands, a complete brand identity redesign or even just a change to the logo can be the hardest task for any design firm, if not done right. Laird + Partners has done some great work for Gap in years past, and if the result improved the former, this probably wouldn't have been an issue.

Louise Callagy, a Gap spokeswoman, explained the new logo was intended to be the latest "evolution" for the brand and added that this was in the works for the last two years. Callagy explains "[the new logo] is more contemporary and current and honors the heritage of the Gap brand, but takes the blue box forward." Ehh... I don't think so... I'm sorry maybe back in 1965 but not today, there's absolutely nothing new about using the typeface Helvetica, just ask Eric Spiekermann. Simply typing Helvetica font over the former iconic blue box with a default gradient to offset the contrast of the black and blue is not the way to "take the brand forward" nor "honor the heritage".

We have a solution...

new gap logo identity concept

We at STARMEN came up with a relatively realistic solution for Gap. In honor of this 'heritage' Gap so greatly expresses, we found it easy to reflect on the first Gap logo and store back in 1969 and found a new way of embracing Gap's original essence with a more contemporary approach, something with similar mainstream flexibility as seen in MTV's new logo redesign. Rather than just an 'add-on' approach, this logo becomes more 'integrated' with the brand campaign, allowing the Gap to align its brand initiatives with its loyal customers. Rather than simply placing the retro typeface proportionally in the center of the iconic square shape, we more dramatically enlarged it to bleed over the edges. The clean, bold and organic lowercase font gives Gap a fresh new energy that's friendly and inviting. Our approach gives the logo opportunity to fuse the distinctive Gap imagery and the square shape, showing the flexibility of the new branding. So, what do you think of our alternative? More importantly, what do you think of Gap's perspective? We want to hear your thoughts... and we'd love to hear from you Gap!

Also stayed tuned to our blog later in the week, to hear what I think about another Helvetica logo redesign nightmare another popular company is trying...

UPDATE: By no means, are we saying that the above solution, is 'the solution'... we all understand that there is a deeper problem with Gap, and it's not just their logo, but rather their brand. However being neurotic creatives we couldn't help but offer our version of what we think their identity could be. Thanks for all the feedback, we hope you this will be a case study for brands to come!

As most of you know by now, Gap pulled the logo just as quickly as it put it up (overnight). There probably won't be much long-term damage to the brand, but we all hope that Gap will know how to approach the whole brand identity redesign, more hollistically, focusing on the brand itself and not just the logo.

Apple design explained in "Objectified" film


WATCH: Jonathan Ive talks about Mac design

In this clip from Gary Hustwit's docufilm "Objectified" we want to share with you one of our favorite clips, which features Apple's creative genius Jonathan Ive discussing the industrial design approach to creating the MacBookPro and iMac products. This is a great look inside the world of Apple's design 'process' and how that translates into the ideas which make up the Apple philosophy. Learn from this short clip just what makes Apple such a beloved brand and a great product

Check out Gary Hustwit's other docufilm "Helvetica" which I'm sure all you graphic designers have seen. We're looking forward  to the 3rd installment of the design trilogy, "Urbanized".

New Website Explores Titanic Wreckage


explore titanic wrekage website

Expedition Titanic. The dive aims to help further preservation of the ship, which sits 2.5 miles below sea level, and to give the public an intimate view of its history. The site itself transports viewers 2.5 miles below sea level and includes a 3D virtual tour of the wreckage, all of which is embedded with historical information. The campaign also includes social media initiatives to drive viewers to the site, such as video interviews of the crew seeded on YouTube and Facebook. Come August 22nd, the audience can get real time updates on developments on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook.

Imagine if MadMen created today's ads?


Modern Software Ads - Mad MenSomtime in 1951, between the advent of the color television and the ending of World War 2, advertising took on a new role in mass media. Businesses teamed up with ad agencies to convince the masses on products and services that they wanted to sell. Content was key, and copywriters were kings. They weren't as creative, or extreme from what our eyes are used to nowadays, but it was groundbreaking content nonetheless.

Engadget had a few modern day companies, Youtube and Skype (credit to the artist), with a 1950s style and content. They are spot on, and actually pretty funny! Imagine what 1950s advertisements would look like for modern day companies.

Enjoy Your Weekend!

Top 7 Brands With Social-Media Buzz


The above list courtesy of AdAge/ OneRiot Brand Buzz Chart

In this new weekly chart -- a collaboration between Advertising Age and real-time buzz tracker OneRiot -- they monitor discussions on Twitter, Facebook, MySpace and Digg, and present the good news and the bad news for big brands with current social-media buzz. Take a look at the top 7 for this week...

For more stats, data, research and analytics about marketing, advertising and consumer trends, please visit the Ad Age Stat blog 

Facebook Marketing: 8 Success Criteria


The 8 Success Criteria For Facebook Page Marketing

Social media marketing has become a hot topic amongst brand marketers and businesses, now more than ever looking to establish themselves within a social network. As a means to advertise/promote their products and services at low cost, the biggest being, Facebook. But it's knowing how to use it and what to do with it, that counts. The proper use of Facebook goes beyond 'setting up an account' as the focus becomes more strategic in being 'interactive' with your audience by taking the right steps to increase engagement and promote word of mouth through advocacy and peer-to-peer interactions, or solicit business call to actions that result in transactions. Simply stated, if a brand makes their community happy by generating a vibrant place, then then have the option to start generating business impacts (revenue).

The Altimeter Group compiled data by analyzing companies posts, comments, 'likes' on Facebook and found a clear pattern. There was a consistent set of criteria they heard from the industries experts, and they found the following 8 criteria:

  1. Set Community Expectations
  2. Provide Cohesive Branding
  3. Be Up To Date
  4. Live Authenticity
  5. Participate in Dialog
  6. Enable Peer-To-Peer Interactions
  7. Foster Advocacy
  8. Solicit A Call To Action

Okay great, now you know the 'key points' to creating a social media presence on Facebook, but how is your business going to execute a plan that meets this criteria to capture an audience and build your business through the social media platform? Look no further, STARMEN Design Group can take your brand from Content To Commerce by using a unique approach that bridges "people stories" to "product stories" through social media and branded content. Get in touch with us and get current, we are social media experts, and are here to to help you achieve true consumer engagement.

Web Pick of the Week:


HBO New Web Site

Newly revamped flash-based features enhanced interactive and video features, personal dashboard

Our good friends over at HBO have relaunched their website, adding interactive features and enhanced video support. The HBO Go web site itself is visually stunning, with lots of full-screen visuals for each of the featured TV shows, movies, and other bits of programming that scroll past once a user is logged in. Browsing through the different featured sections — Movies, Series, Comedy, Sports, Documentaries, and Late Night — is quick and painless, with each offering up an easy-to-navigate interface for choosing between titles. Users can customize the viewing experience by choosing between cover, grid, and list modes of viewing available content.

We wanted to create a rich, interactive online destination worthy of the HBO brand," said Alison Moore, vice president, Brand Strategy and Digital Platforms.

Here's a quick list of the site's key expanded features:

Streaming Video – high quality videos of HBO shows in full screen resolution, regardless of monitor size, that provide users with more of a TV-watching experience than a PC-viewing experience.

Enhanced schedule – easy to use and accessible from every page on the site.

Community –upload your photo, create a personal identity and establish a unique voice by posting comments and stories throughout the site.

Shareability – share content with friends in and outside of the HBO community, with a robust set of share tools that includes email, video embed and post functionality.

Personal dashboard – create a dashboard of favorites, plus bookmark discussions, clips, and even get recommendations for new content based on favored programs.

Overall, we think this is a prime example of how entertainment companies can expand their online presence in today's digital age. uses the best in web design techniques in conjuction with the latest technology to accomplish an optimal viewing and user experience for its users. I feel the HBO approach can set a standard of design for companies who stream video content online, i.e. hulu, youtube, vimeo, etc.


CONFIRMED: Apple 4G iPhone Unveiled


UPDATE: Gizmodo Editor Jason Chen Arrested, Home Searched And Computers Seized. The lost iPhone investigation begins...

UPDATE: Yes, it has been confirmed by numerous sources in news and media including online that Apple lost the next iPhone, in a bar.

Is this real? Could it be, that one of Steve Jobs secret service agents was sleeping in Cupertino? How did this slip through the cracks? Easy. Disguise it with a Belkin 3GS case. Though it's unofficially unconfirmed, there's a strong chance this is the next iPhone. Gizmodo, a high-reputable online source and popular blog for all things technology, recently posted this discovery.

You have to see to believe!

Hertz Launches New Brand Identity


As part of a major re-branding effort, Hertz Corp. wants to woo cash-strapped consumers by urging them to "journey on" in a new campaign. For the first time in two decades, the company is updating its logo, uniforms, ads and 2,100 rental locations, as well as adding snazzy sports cars to its fleet. Omnicom Group's DDB is creating the campaign, which includes TV spots, print ads and online elements. Hertz also worked with Landor Associates to modernize the yellow and black Hertz logo.

Our goal in the logo redesign was to create a more contemporary corporate image that reflects our strong brand recognition, and is in touch with the mindset of current and future customers who appreciate superior service, personalized choices and value," commented Mike Senackerib, Hertz Chief Marketing Officer.

The new identity remains recognizeable by the strong use of its iconic yellow corporate color, but loses its familiar 'drop shadow' an element which made it look very dated. The new logo itself has been successfully updated to today's contemporary, friendly, and less-corporate consumer, but its going to take a lot more than aesthetic changes to re-energize the consumer and their views toward the Hertz brand.

Reviewing the New Look for Microsoft MSN


Microsoft debuts MSN's new logo and site design

During the late 90s internet boom MSN rose to the top, to become a popular and admired resource for finding information and news online. They seemed to have it all right, a brand identity that was familiar with its parent company, (Microsoft) an appealing television ad campaign and a whole lot of money to support their place in the online community. Fast forward 10 years lately, and the site, logo, marketing, consumer connection, virtually everything about the brand had evaporated. MSN quickly fell behind the emerging internet giants Google and Yahoo! and never seemed to catch up. It wasn't money or colors, the MSN brand simply lost its connection with its audience, which seemed to be outgrowing the company. The explosion of social media is where MSN failed to connect its audience with their new favorite networking tools. So with a new logo, added features, being too little too late for MSN remains to be seen. If it's similar to what AOL did last year, it might just be. AOL if you haven't noticed (recently gave themselves a much needed and highly criticized brand identity refresh.)

Will the new MSN re-energize today's online users back to its brand?

Microsoft lags behind Google Inc. and Yahoo Inc. in search share despite efforts to turn the money-losing online business around. The software maker is saying goodbye to's blue background and its blocks of text links. Instead, giving the site more white space, fewer categories and more organized navigation. Hoping to bring back to what it once was (way back in 1997), a leading online search engine and news source. Microsoft Corp. hopes to get more Web surfers using its Bing search engine. Microsoft says Bing searches from MSN jumped during tests of the new design.

One highlight we can point out is the new MSN has a top news section that features photos more prominently. The addition of the Bing 'branded' search box stands out more, and people can scan lists of hot discussion topics and local posts on Twitter. What we did not like was that this facelift seemed to be just a new facade for its homepage. We discovered some of the interior pages still look cluttered and resemble too closely to the old version, leading us to believe this was done fairly quickly. We also noticed the MSN logo takes a backseat on the 'sports' page where, "FOX SPORTS" seems to dominate the page. This seems to be the case with most of its pages beign external link, making it confusing for some users who may think they've left the site.

Final Thoughts...

MSN is definitely taking a step in the right direction, unfortunately we think it's too late in this rapidly evolving technology market. They just seem to be pressing the emergency button on their re-branding efforts rather than taking a strategic approach, especially coming off the heels of competitors AOL's new launch and Yahoo's new "My Yahoo" updates. Still MSN has a lot of work to do before they can successfully recapture their audience. They need to assess what the brand stands for and how they are different and how to they can effectively communicate it.

Overall we think the site has been greatly simplified but still needs work, and we wish they would have been more creative with the logo! The site doesn't seem finished or complete and lacks in areas where others are stronger. The logo looks as if it has taken taken a step back, with the butterfly closely resembling a more generic icon which doesn't have the right balance or proportions of colors and shape it predecessor so recognizeably had. Regarding the type treatment, said it best...

The new one suffers from Bing syndrome: It wants to be cool and modern but it suffers from complete lack of typographic decency. In this case, the whole is not so bad, but the parts are."

Tell us what you think? About the web site? The logo?

Upgrade Your Web Browser: Get Firefox 3.6


We've always been a fan of this friendly and easy open source web browser since it's release in 2004. The latest version of Firefox introduces cutting-edge features, support for a wide variety of Web standards, and access to more than 6,000 free add-ons that allow users to customize their browser to their liking.

The World's Best Browser Just Got Better!

Firefox 3.6 is more than 20 percent faster than Firefox 3.5 and includes extensive under the hood work to improve performance for everyday Web tasks such as email, uploading photos, social networking, and more. It also delivers new features like customizable browser themes called Personas, a ground-breaking Plugin updater, improved JavaScript performance, and enhancements to familiar favorites like the Awesome Bar for a better, more personal Web experience.

Upgrade to the latest Firefox here.

Why PepsiCo's Rebrand Failed?


PepsiCo's first big company meeting since 2006, CEO Indra Nooyi admitted the company learned it's lessons from some of the recent controversies regarding the sudden design overhaul of it's key brands.  She stated, "2009 was not a good year for North American beverages. We didn't like the North American beverage results" Really? You didn't, oh we're glad because we thought it was just us. I mean who really liked the so called, "refresh everything" campaign? I found myself asking, why fix a problem that wasn't broken? Was this iconic brand really in need of such a drastic change, but I'll save the design critique for another time, but the fact that Ms. Nooyi has acknowledge that the company made a mistake and quite frankly realized it's too late to "sweat the details" thus moving forward, is an even bigger letdown than it is "refreshing."

What's the rush?

Ms. Nooyi said the first lesson learned from the beverage portfolio overhaul is that the organization has to buy into the program. Realizing that it couldn't overhaul only two brands or drag out the revamp for several years, the company made a lot of changes in a short period of time. A task that was too big for itself... let's look at the key failures.

Remember Tropicana

Arnell Group's dramatic Tropicana rebrand at the beginning of 2009 was immediately scrutinized by consumers, media and the advertising industry, resulting in a replacement of the old product packaging and positioning. The "squeeze" campaign all together was a failure, including Arnell's advertising campaign which was missing essential clarity. But how cute was that squeeze cap at the top.

What's G?

Most Gatorade loyals only drink the popular 3 or 4 flavors that Gatorade has been known for. For years they've remained the No. 1 brand in their category of sport beverages, but recently they embarked on a massive rebrand during the economic recession of 09. The rebrand included redesign of more than a thousand packages, national advertising campaign and an increase in product line. As a result, Gatorade saw a decline in shares and criticism among media and analysts who have decried the brand's decline. Just ask yourself, how many flavors can you name? They've become overcomplicated and over saturated, forgetting their "core values" and simplicity that made them a success.

Tiger Woods: Breaking Brand Values


In preparation for the April comeback of Tiger Woods to the Masters I want to take the time point out how a key brand mishap, caused a deep wound in his legacy, which could have been avoided. What Tiger really needed was not a caddy, or a publicist, but a brand manager.

This is not to jump on the media barrage of articles streaming the web related to his "incident" or "incidents" (excuse me), but merely I feel this is the perfect opportunity explain how the success and downfall of the Tiger Woods relates to branding 101. I can't help but make a point of how it a key fundamental of branding was neglected and how it using the Tiger Woods 'case study' as an example for all brands, products or services.

Breaking the "Core Values"

I couldn't help but hear a loud undertone in this recent exclusive interview on ESPN with Tiger Woods when Tiger said, "I gotten away from my core values" and let me tell you, we're not just talking about Buddhism here. More importantly he forgot his "core values" were what drove his successful "brand". Like it or not, Tiger Woods is brand, a 'personal brand' which focuses on the individual, in this case a 'performance brand'. The Tiger Woods 'performance brand' can be interpreted by his success as a dominant golfer (athlete), his role as charasmatic family man, and more so, a marketable global figure. Like all branding, the 'brand' must be authentic, trusted, and faithful. These are the 'core' traits of which all brands must personify, it's the core ideas or values that drive the organization.

Up until this past November, the Tiger Woods brand had outward consistency, power and most of all loyalty. But internally, he was about to collapse. As he said himself, he became removed from his "core values" as a person, husband, and father. We won't get into his embarrassing "transgressions" and the details of his pathetic saga but it's important to note that because Tiger had abandoned his core values and ideas is how he got himself into this mess in the first place. The same way many companies and other brands become victim of their own success and become unmanaged. As brand expert Wally Olins states in his Brand Handbook,

"There always comes a time, however, in a successful organization when the informal, intuitive, perhaps muddled, but shared vision or core idea has to uncovered or rediscovered; when it has to be recreated, formalized, clarified and made coherent".

The steps to recovery is what Tiger is doing right now, but is it too late? Has he permantly damaged his 'brand image'? Will he ever be able to win over the hearts and minds of his loyal fans and followers he once had? Theses are the challenges that make for a great case study and with a brand manager in place, he should be able to overcome his woes and ultimately regain brand success.

Web Pick of the Week: Hawaiian Airlines


Everyweek, STARMEN will share with our readers, our favorite website picks from around the web. We look for first and foremost, overall design visibility, technology, navigation, and how they all apply to effective web design. These picks are meant to inform, excite and inspire you to see how we as internet users are affected by web design everyday. Feel free to submit your favorite sites to us, we'll consider adding it!

Forgive us, we've been on the topic of Travel & Tourism lately, because the STARMEN team has been recently working on a huge identity and design project for a very popular airline carrier (Shhh... details coming soon!). Through our findings and research, one of our delights with approach to online identity and web design is We don't know too much about the brand itself, but what we found from visiting their site is a refreshing and appealing treatment of simplistic navigation (making the user experience very easy and organized). Using a stimulating background image of Hawaii's rich landscape provides powerful design layout that differs from most travel sites. See our post on the new The result is a colorful, memorable and simple site which features easy navigation for its users, supporting the ideas of the brand itself. Much like one of our other favorites: Virgin America.

What do you think? We want to hear your comments... Gets Another Facelift


One of our favorite airline companies and admired travel brands is Southwest Airlines. We also have been fans of their web site and apparently you are too (in 2009, Nielsen/Netratings reported that was the largest airline site in terms of unique visitors). Not only do they run an efficient, affordable business, but their online destination is friendly, and very easy to use.

We recently booked a business trip to Las Vegas, and while visiting, we immediately recognized they had done another upgrade to their user interface. We weren't sure how we felt about it at first, but then after comparing it to the old site we realized that Southwest just made a good thing, even better! Allow us to point out some of the new features, in case your're wondering what's so great about it.

  1. Most popular booking features are right there on the home page.
  2. Use of more elegant black, shying from the corporate "orange" (We liked the orange?)
  3. "What's New" page, for latest Southwest news and info.
  4. Revamped the menus at the top of the home page (We prefer this easy-to-find).

Unlike most redesigns, Southwest was smart about their updates. They didn't do a 360! Causing unfamiliarity with a dramatic design overhaul or cause chaos to their loyal followers by adding on too many features, instead they did a moderate "improvement." Keeping the same popular features, just making them better by improving the user experience.

Take a look for yourselves, we'd love to hear what you think?

Brand Marketing Is Not a Science


During our daily industry readings, we came across this encouraging article by brand consultant Tom Hinkes, a contributor to It was refreshing to hear from a well-respected and experienced brand marketer that great marketing requires a balance of strategy and creative. Currently, companies have been scaling back on creatively-led brand solutions and focusing more on "the numbers" approach.

More Data Is Not Better Data

Marketing departments used to be the creative engines powering successful corporations. Now they're overrun by number-crunching nerds. As a direct consequence, despite all the conspicuous focus on "change management," the way brands respond to change in the marketplace has deteriorated. A McKinsey Quarterly article several years ago argued that the key to "better branding" is to build brands "more scientifically." If managers would combine "forward-looking market segmentation" with structural-equation modeling, they could "build a better brand more efficiently." In short: more data, more regressions and more conjoint analysis mean the "brand crisis" is solved. But fluency with buzz words and expertise with spreadsheets do not guarantee brand-marketing competence.

We agree that there is a need for consumer research, but brand marketing is not a science, it's not driven solely by metrics or statistics. It requires analysis, discipline and detail. Even more, it requires emotion, vision and ideas. STARMEN shares this perspective. We manage and balance both successfully and have the marketing abilities and creative talents to do so.

Enjoy the full article here.

Follow STARMEN on Twitter


Now you can get all the latest, up-to-the moment happenings from STARMEN and around the design world. No matter if it’s thirty seconds or 140 characters, we create ideas that don’t just talk, but get talked about.

Follow us now! @starmendesign

Our New Site Launches Today!


As an award-winning creative agency specializing brand design, we are proud to announce the redesign of the STARMEN web site. But "redesign" doesn't really cover it. This more than a aesthetic adjustment or surface-level change. This is more of a "refresh" both internally and externally. The new reflects our new ideas, new thinking, and new outlook for our clients, and their brands. For those of you familiar with us, you'll find a lot of new and exciting information, about us, the services we offer and see new design work!

Our LA headquarters is buzzing with excitement! This site has been a labor of love, created with synchronized hard work, absolute enthusiasm, and meticulous attention to how effective design can be. The new STARMEN believes happy users means happy business. One goal of ours that hasn't changed is this: We are here to produce solid, valuable results for you! Now, we just look even better!

Visit our new virtual home and experience the new STARMEN!

Couture Glamour Returns to Hollywood


Before Angels became synonymous with lingerie, Hollywood’s elite wore Juel Park Lingerie. Started in the Roaring Twenties, Juel Park designed lingerie for women like Elizabeth Taylor, Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner and Katherine Hepburn.  Over the years, the Juel Park has passed down through the ranks of talented women; and now, the youngest partner is ready to make a comeback.

STARMEN found their history very engaging and applicable in our day and age – all can be revived!  We’re excited to help Juel Park sponsor their new launch and showcase the growth of their company! To honor the many proud survivors and to remember the family and friends lost to breast cancer, proceeds from this event will benefit the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.

For event details, please visit:

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