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April 2010 – IN THIS ISSUE:

Lemelson Center’s 2009 Activities Report

What Does It Mean to Be “Full-Service”?

What is Thinknews?

Shopping for Innovation: What you need to know before hiring a design firm

Can Businesses Learn from College Recruiting?

The New Golden Age
Welcome to your first issue of Thinkdesign’s e-newsletter—Thinknews

You asked for more info about our firm, and here it is. In this newsletter, you will find the usual self-marketing blather. But, it also includes what we think are useful stories about how we are solving the problems of other clients like you, as well as thought-provoking links.

We hope you enjoy this and all future issues. Don’t want to get this? Unsubscribe instantly here.

Thinkdesign Produces Lemelson Center’s Activities Report for Fifth Consecutive Year

Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation 2009 Activities ReportThe Jerome and Dorothy Lemelson Center for the Study of Invention and Innovation is a unit within the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History, with a mission to encourage inventive creativity in young people and to foster an appreciation for the central role of invention and innovation in the history of the USA.

The Center uses its annual Activities Report as a marketing tool, a public relations piece, and a catalog of its many activities, both within and without the museum. Right now, Thinkdesign is completing its fifth, consecutive Report for the Center (another satisfied customer!). The design challenge posed by the Lemelson staff: continue to make the report “fun”—in keeping with the Center’s emphasis on engaging young people—but don’t let the piece look too juvenile—which would undermine its broader use.

Thinkdesign met the challenge in three ways. First, we balanced bright scenes featuring interaction with kids by adding more black-and-white historical photos. Similarly, we toned down the overall color palette, muting the primary colors that had been dominant in previous years. Finally, we set the report in Filosofia. This is a new typeface, but one modeled on the 19th century’s Bodoni family of fonts; it gave us the slightly more adult tone we were looking for.

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What Does It Mean to Be a “Full-Service” Design and Marketing Group?

Many, many design and marketing firms describe themselves as “full-service.” Mostly, that is really just…well…marketing. Even the very largest firms in the world can barely afford to maintain in-house capabilities for every client need. That’s why big firms have to charge so much, even for simple projects.

So, in truth, almost all “full-service” firms actually rely on a network of out-of-house partners, freelancers, vendors, or whatever you call them. Therefore, when you are looking for someone to help with a broad range of services, your best bet is a firm that not only maintains excellent in-house capabilities, but also controls a network of the most-qualified partners and has the experience and skill to manage that network.

This is Thinkdesign’s particular talent. We analyze your problem with fresh eyes and put together the expert team best suited to solve it—sometimes, the team is entirely in-house; sometimes, we call in trusted partners to help. The point is: we use the right tool to get your job done, while many of our competitors do not. (Remember the old joke that, if all you have is a hammer, then every problem looks like a nail?)

As important, our partner network is based on decades of testing, collaboration, and trust. Thinkdesign has been around for 15 years—some staff have been in the business for over 30 years—and that has allowed us to create a superb partner team. And, Thinkdesign’s long experience means we know how to manage a project and the project’s team. Think of us this way:

Years of In-House Experience + Trusted, Expert Partners = Actual Full Service

If you are interested in further discussion of “full-service” and other types of design firms, please check out the article opposite this one. If you’d like to get in touch with Thinkdesign to discuss your needs further, please do so here, or send us an email today @

What is Thinknews?

Thinkdesign + Communications, Inc., located in Falls Church, Virginia—just a few miles from our nation’s capital—is a full-service firm specializing in the planning, design, and production of online and print marketing and communications.

Based on our long experience in the field, Thinkdesign has put together an operation which combines all the best practices and processes that make a firm like ours truly great.

  • Thinkdesign understands that our clients have unique needs and problems that often require unique solutions. So, our first step is always to listen: to understand the details, the unstated concerns, and the budget and time requirements. Only then do we begin to develop a plan.
  • If that plan requires expertise that Thinkdesign does not have in house, then we will quickly augment the project team with specialist providers. Our years of experience have allowed us to develop a superb network of trusted partners. By rejecting the common “cookie-cutter” notion in favor of an agile team approach, Thinkdesign can provide clients with the best-qualified and most-efficient people needed to meet their goals.
  • Thinkdesign understands that customer service not only has to be solid—a big customer service bureaucracy can do that—it also has to be personal, creative, and nimble.
  • Thinkdesign doesn’t seek individual jobs; it seeks long-term partnerships with its clients. We are perhaps most proud of the fact that a majority of our clients have been with us for several years, and that many of them so appreciate our creative solutions that they trust us to help them with a very wide range of issues—from public relations, to ad sales, to copywriting, to videos.

Visit our website to see how we have helped organizations like yours achieve the maximum return on their marketing and communications efforts.

Shopping for Innovation: What you need to know before hiring a design firm

What you need to know before hiring a design firm

From: Core77, the design magazine & resource

An interesting article on how design and marketing firms might be categorized, and what you should look for when choosing a firm. Core77 is geared toward industrial designers, but this article has universal application.

What Small Business Can Learn from College Recruiting

What Small Business Can Learn from College Recruiting

From: American Express’ Open Forum

Includes some fascinating—and perhaps counter-intuitive—examples of marketing pieces used by colleges to reach and retain talented recruits.

The New Golden Age

The New Golden Age

From: strategy+business

A think piece which claims that “the history of investment and technology suggests that economic recovery is closer than you think, with a new silicon-based global elite at the helm.” Written by an iconoclastic tech investment analyst (and an old buddy of Thinkdesign’s Mike Minnicino).

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