Ad Placement: How to Ruin a Good Design in One Minute!

Ad Placement

How to Ruin a Good Design in One Minute!

JUNE 29, 2018

A key tool used to add overall quality to a company is graphic design. Clever logos, trending ads, and creative banners are instrumental in getting the people's attention enough to search more about you. However, as many entrepreneurs know, getting your ads noticed is no easy feat.

“We never know where the consumer is going to be at any point in time,
so we have to find a way to be everywhere. Ubiquity is the new exclusivity.”

- Linda Kaplan Thaler, Chief Executive at the Kaplan Thaler Group

Now, from billboards to bus benches, there is an ad wherever the eye can see! But is it worth it simply to "get in where you fit in"? I'd argue that poor ad placement can highhandedly ruin an ad.

Just the other day, I was driving through downtown where I saw the following ad that made me say “Eww!!!"

It had nothing to do with the design. The ad itself was actually designed clean and simple, the portrait photographed really well, and the color and layout were chosen wisely. It also had nothing to do with the fact that the ads were installed on garbage bins all over the Chicago Loop.

What made this ad so appalling to me, as you may have already deduced, was the unfortunate facial piercings used to screw the ad on. Perhaps this would have been effective for an ad about facial warts, but sadly that is not the case here. Poor ad placement such as this distracts entirely from the message the ad is trying to communicate.

Let's imagine Disney World is your ad and the weather is your ad placement. It would be pretty hard to enjoy the trip if it were pouring rain the whole time, right? While on the other hand, Disney World thrives on a sunny day. That's the effect ad placement can have on an ad.

When it comes to graphic design, it is important to always remember that, in order to have the best impact, a good design must not only be good but it must also launch at the right time and in the right place.

Color Matters

Color Matters

Color is powerful marketing tool that helps you send your message and makes your business, service, or product stand out.

When you were first setting your color pallet, you may have asked yourself a few questions. Most importantly, how do you choose the right color palette for your brand?

1 |Did you pick your personal color preferences?

2 |Did you pick colors based on your services or products?

3 |Did you pick colors to send your message to your audience?

Colors carry emotion; each color will send you a different message and will give you a different feeling. Colors can make us feel happy or sad…they can make us feel hungry or relaxed. It is important to understand the psychological effects that colors on your target audience.

For instance, look at nature; each season has their own colors. Spring green is not the same as Summer green. Even the color of sky and earth is different from season to season and climate to climate. Also, look at insects; some are warm and bright, some are natural. Their color is based on their need, used to help them in terms of hunting or hiding.

The same applies to our life. Colors connect to feelings in a unique and memorable way, making them a powerful marketing tool for any design project. You want to discern what message you want to share about your upcoming event, business, or product and make sure your color choices reflect that. It is easy to fall back on your personal color preferences when creating your marketing design, but the most important thing to remember is that your design needs to speak to your prospective audience.

So instead, ask yourself these questions:

1 |What colors will grab your target audience’s attention?

2 |What colors best represent the message you’re trying to share?

3 |What colors consistently represent your business brand?

Color resonates with people in different ways. We all have a favorite color or color that we use more during specific periods of life, but the color you use in a design project can say a lot about the work itself. That’s a scientific fact.

At the end of the day, especially for small businesses, you need to feel comfortable with your color palette. Like the color(s) you choose to wear to go to work, you have to show your confidence, so don’t forget to find a way to find the balance between your personal color preference and the colors that help send a message to your prospective audience!

How To Be Seen In The Mess

How To Be Seen In The Mess

Our eyes and ears are filled with pictures, colors, lights, songs, and slogans! Subway turnstiles bear messages from Geico auto insurance, Chinese food cartons promote Continental Airways and US Airways is selling ads on motion sickness bags. There are TV’s in cabs, lobbies and hospitals as well as ads on socials media that are based on your interests and needs (which let’s be honest, is scary!). For instance, just the other day I was thinking about buying something, and the next day when I opened Facebook there was a small ad on the right side of the page giving me an option to buy what I was thinking about! It was like a scary movie!
Now, imagine yourself as a business owner wanting to sell your product or services in this mess. What makes you stand out? Think about it. You’re walking down an aisle in a supermarket looking for your favorite coffee; there are hundreds of other brands there, what makes you change your mind and try a new brand? A brand your friend suggested? The one you’ve just seen the ad on your way home? The package? It could be one or all of these!
Packaging design is the silent salesman that will grab busy consumers’ attention in-store. It informs consumers about the product’s properties and visually differentiates the brand from the competition on the shelf. There is a lot competition to promote and sell products or services online, so to put it quite frank, you need professional market research and advertising.
Advertising is a powerful tool to create and shape a brand universe as it is very visual in which it tells a story about the product/company. As John McNeil states, “If you do it the right way, you actually win points”. This is why your cousin who knows Photoshop is not enough to help your business succeed (sorry not sorry).
There are lots of questions you need to ask yourself and find answers to even before you run your business…
- Who is my audience?
- What is the age range?
- What are their needs?
- Who are my competitors?
- What is missing?
- What do they do to promote themselves?
- What are the colors, symbols, shapes, and languages they use?
Each of these requires professional research. Behind every successful company is a group of analysts who interact with the business stakeholders and subject matter experts to understand their problems and needs, along with the creative group who visualize and bring everything together.
Black Rhino Marketing Group is capable of delivering the right strategy, effective marketing campaigns, and definitive results. We will help your company grow your revenues and develop a plan for success!

Graphic Design in Iran

Graphic Design in Iran

About a week ago my colleague asked me what the difference was between graphic design in Iran and the United States…

I responded:

“Actually, not a big difference. If the U.S. has beautiful actress/handsome actor shown on a billboard who is enjoying a bottle of water, there is an image of a Persepolis soldier being used for the same concept in Iran. Both are trying to show their identity.”

I moved to the United State 6 years ago and am still struggling with language and so it’s not been easy to express myself in a way I want to. But while Farsi is my first language, I find good deign is a language of its own.

Even though the relationship between Iran and Western countries, especially United State, hasn’t been great, one of the most sensitive parts in studying graphic design is our relationship with the graphic design of the West. Our graphic culture has constantly looked to the West as an example, it has been shown in all aspects of graphic design in Iran, and this influence hasn’t been just in graphic design, you can see the foot print of the West in all kinds of art in Iran, such as music, fashion and Fine Arts.

Iran is a country in which its people are tied with its art and design; walls are decorated with tiles and floors are covered with carpets. Every shape and color in the carpets have been designed to represent something in our life: a flower, an animal or even a special event such as wedding, birth or death. Some carpets have been made based on a plans which have been designed by a designer and some like “Gabeh”, have been improvised based on daily events. I believe living and seeing these extraordinary arts and designs make them ordinary in our eyes and this could be on of the reasons that Western graphic design has been imitated by Iranian designers for decades.

In the modern age, where the internet breaks the walls between countries, we expect to see more influence of West in Iranian design but what we see instead is the revolution of getting back to our roots while still being able to communicate with the world. Artist and designers of all kinds, such as fashion, furniture, jewelry and of course graphic design, try to use their identity in their works while still being able to send their message to people who have no knowledge of the Iranian culture. Some believe that the identity in graphic design is only applicable to cultural graphics, because graphics in the area of information and publicity take form based on the content, information, message and relationship with the audience. Communication requirements leave no space for identity, but the current graphic designers in Iran prove it is wrong.

The influence of the West has been happening for decades and having thousands of years of history in art and design, helped Iranian graphic designers be able to communicate the rest of the words while having their identity in their works.

Recent Rhino Projects: Website Launch

Recent Rhino Projects: Website Launch

Black Rhino Marketing Group is excited to announce that we have launched a brand new website this past week!

Our client, Alison Henderson, offers a fascinating and unique service that involves Movement Pattern Analysis. So without further ado, please put your hands together for Moving Image Consulting:

As often happens, Alison Henderson’s career path has not been a linear one. With multiple degrees in theater and directing, she has experienced life both in front of and behind the curtain. While doing corporate work to support her theater aspirations she found herself wondering “Why is there more drama in my office than there is on my stage?”

This query led to post-graduate training at Columbia College Chicago, to receive a Graduate Laban Certificate in Movement Analysis. She immediately used Laban’s work with actors, but felt there was more she could do. Rudolf Laban wrote, “Man moves to satisfy a need.” This statement inspired her to uncover the need she had that required fulfillment. The answer was in Warren Lamb’s application of Laban’s work called Movement Pattern Analysis (MPA). 

Ms. Henderson is proud to be one of only twenty-two Certified Movement Pattern Analysts in the world. This unique specialty was the answer to how she could blend her theatre-behavior observation with an accurate and highly effective tool for the entrepreneur and business leader.

As a theater director and acting coach, she examines what motivates characters to take action. The same applies to people in business. Identifying what motivates you and your employees benefits your organization by increasing efficiency of teams and clarifying communication to reach company goals.  Morale is boosted and company culture improves.

Shakespeare nailed it when he said, “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” Approaches to decision-making are neither good nor bad until a colleague reacts based on his own thought processes. Moving Image Consulting uses MPA Profiling to combine verbal and non-verbal communication for greatest impact on company messaging, effective presentations, increased sales, and workforce communication. It gives us an enlightened alternate perspective on our thought processes.

Check Alison out and learn more about MPA at:

Recent Rhino Projects: New Lifestyle Brand

Recent Rhino Projects: New Lifestyle Brand

All of us over here at Black Rhino Marketing Group are excited that we launched a new lifestyle brand this week and we wanted to introduce you to Velocity:

We're moving through life fast. Working, playing, traveling, surviving. And our phones help make it happen. They're our lifelines, our unsung superheroes, our assistants.

Maybe they've been dropped a few times. Dented, cracked, bruised. Or maybe they're still pristine. Either way, they deserve protection, and you deserve style. Unfortunately most cases either break on impact or turn your phone into an ugly brick.

Velocity changes the game. Good design, dependable protection and performance, plus choices that let you do you—all without breaking the bank.

I created Velocity because I've always loved beautiful cars that also perform beautifully, and wanted that same combination in my phone case. So take a look. I hope you’ll appreciate our attention to the whole package: price, design, performance, materials, and choice.

You want it all. Now you can have it.

Tom Myer - Founder

Check it out and learn more:


Is It Time To Update Your Logo?

Is It Time To Update Your Logo?

It’s a tough world out there for businesses. There is an ever-growing need to make sure your business is evolving in order to survive. But during that evolution, you might be forgetting something. Your logo.

Think about visiting a website designed a decade ago. Like that puffy vest you thought was the coolest thing around, you can now tell it’s dated. Trends change. What was once modern and chic, now looks like socks with sandals. Nobody wants that. Your logo deserves better.

This doesn’t mean that you have to do a complete change. There is a fine line between changing your logo entirely and simply breathing new life into the logo. The point is to make it look like it belongs in the modern world, while making sure your customers still feel that is represents the brand they know and love.

The question to ask yourself is: ‘Is it a matter of evolution or revolution?’

“Evolution” can be a good option when companies are trying to reach new audiences or signal a change in their business strategy. Logo changes can range from functional to cosmetic, subtle to significant, but the overall message is one of continuity. There are many brands out there who have continuously refined their logo over the years, yet, are able to keep it vital yet still immediately recognizable. Google has mastered this art.

“Revolution” may also be necessitated as a company matures. My favorite examples of this are Apple and Adidas. Both original logos where downright folksy, but it made sense for the current times. They knew when it was time for a complete revamp. And it worked well for them. Here are some other great examples of famous brands then and now.

So, take a good long look at your logo and think to yourself, “Do I want to be the puffy vest of my industry?” Please say no. You’ll thank me later.

8 Ways Your Brand Is More Than You Might Think

8 Ways Your Brand Is More Than You Might Think

A lot of people use the term “branding” as synonymous with “brand identity”. They think it’s referring to the logo.  Or maybe the logo, colors, and typography.  Some know that it goes beyond that to include the entire story, all imagery, the tone, the look.  In other words, everything that grows to represent the product or business verbally and visually in advertising and marketing.  The Voice.

But branding goes even further beyond that.  A lot further.  Your brand is made up of every interaction the customer has with your product, business or service.

Every. Single. Interaction.

Think about what that means.  It means that EVERY touchpoint a customer has with your brand is what creates—or destroys—your brand.  This applies to any and every product or business, no matter how big or small, local, regional, national or international.

So go ahead, test your Brand. Ask yourself:

  1. Is every marketing tactic consistent in voice, tone and overall message? That “Voice” can be playful, edgy, sweet, sophisticated, friendly, serious…it doesn’t matter what it is.  But everything needs to be consistent.
  2. Is every media choice consistent with what your brand stands for?
  3. Is the customer’s experience of your website easy, enjoyable, pleasurable, interesting, gratifying…and reflective of that verbal and visual Voice?
  4. Is your Facebook page and all social media speaking to the customer in a way that fully supports and reflects your brand? (I won’t mention a certain president here.)
  5. What about your customer service? Are your people trained to speak in a way that reflects everything your brand stands for—whether that’s in person, on the phone or via email?  I remember the first time I flew Southwest a few years ago.  The flight attendants were light-hearted, upbeat, a tad irreverent and even entertaining and funny. What?? On an airplane??
  6. If your brand is a retail establishment, does the environment—the look, sounds, scents, music, organization, space flow, product displays, menu, signage, seating, entrance, window treatments, checkout area—reflect your brand?
  7. Have you trained your employees to create an experience that reflects the character of your brand? My local Ace Hardware just oozes customer service—there is ALWAYS someone close by (or approaching me) to provide friendly, patient help.  The checkout person greets me every single time I walk in and at checkout they are efficient and appreciative. I come back time and again.
  8. Do your employees manner of dress, persona and attitude reflect your brand? I went shopping for cars a couple years ago;  Subaru had down-to-earth, outdoorsy looking representatives. The Mini Coop booth had fun, affable, with-it, twenty-somethings helping me.

I could keep going. On and on.  Seriously. This may seem exhaustive (or maybe even exhausting), but it’s worth examining every aspect of your brand and every interaction your customers have with it.  Because one bad experience can lose a customer. Unfortunately it’s common human behavior that people like to complain about a bad experience to others more than they like to talk about a good experience.

So think BIG and BROAD about your brand.  Because bit by bit these poor representations of and interactions with your “brand” destroy your brand (sometimes before it even gets off the ground.)  It’s so much easier to train people up front than to correct them and a situation after the fact.  So much easier to pay attention to these qualities as you’re creating the brand than fix them after the fact.

So much better than having to say “Bye bye Brand!”  Right?



Why You Need A Brand Style Guide

Why You Need A Brand Style Guide

So, you just spent a ton of time, money and effort getting a logo created for your company. Feels like a big relief, right? You can sit back with your margarita and let all the world’s worries pass you by, right? No! Get up, finish that margarita (let’s not waste now), and get back to work! There is so much more that needs to be done to protect your brand!

This, my friend, is where the brand style guide comes in. I’m about to get technical here, so bear with me.

brand style guide sets the tone of your business and defines proper usage of your brand. This is just as important for small organizations as it is for any larger ones. It is a resource that defines your brand and makes sure that no matter what media platform you are using, people know who you are. This ensures that no matter who has access to your brand, be it your mom, your printer, your agency, your dog (no judgment), they will know exactly how to present the brand you worked so hard on.

This is great and all, but what’s in a brand style guide?

Don’t worry, I got you. Most brand guidelines will have the following:

  • Logo
  • Color Palette
  • Fonts
  • Iconography
  • Photography
  • Brand Voice and Tone

If you want to get fancy, (like, bowtie on a dog fancy) and I know you do, you can throw these into the mix:

  • Core values
  • Mission
  • Guidelines for print and marketing collateral

Dropping some more knowledge


Your logo is like your first name. It’s who you are. And if someone mispronounces your name, it can get weird (I'm looking at you, Geoff).

Same goes for your logo. A proper style guide will outline logo usage and placement to enforce that no stretching, skewing, or distortion occurs. This will also address how to keep your logo's presence or dominance when paired with other content. It proves an important resource for any designers working on collateral, web developers who might be placing your logo online and for printers working with your brand. It will also address when and how to use primary, secondary, and tertiary logos, should your brand be a little more in-depth.


Red is red is red, right? How dare you. You need to lock that color down. If you want to get something printed, or have a website, or embroider that big beautiful logo on your dog sweater, you’re going to need the correct Pantone, CMYK, RGB values and hex codes for your brand colors. Otherwise, things could get real awkward, like the time you accidentally added that red sock to your load of white undies.


I know that Microsoft Word loves Times New Roman, but is that the font you so carefully picked out? Let’s hope not. A strong typography section in a style guide eliminates the guesswork. This allows designers and web developers to work more quickly, eliminating headache and keeping your brand and messaging consistent.


No one see Coca-Cola or Target running around throwing burnt orange (hopefully) onto their branding. It’s because they know the important of brand consistency.

The primary goal of a style guide to keep your brand consistent. It’s important for big brands, but it is even more important for small businesses as they grow. If your branding and messaging are all over the place, your audience will have a difficult time following your story. Putting the time and effort into your brand now, will save you from having to play catch up later.