One of the best ways to come up with new creative advertising is to take a walk down memory lane. Memorable design work never goes out of style. Taking a good look at some of these great pieces of art can put new ideas into the mind of a designer – opening up their creativity to new takes on the classics. Here are a few of my personal all time favorites – and what I feel are the key successful tips that can be drawn from them.

  1. West Side Story movie poster

    Way before the iPod commercials with dancing silhouettes, there was this beautiful movie poster. The silhouettes in white stand out bold yet artistic on a deep red background while the black of the title in a large grungy font are constructed to appear strong, like a building in the city – the setting for the movie.
    1961 :: Saul Bass, designer
    Read more about Saul Bass’s legacy at

    TIP: You don’t need 4-color to make a piece stand out. Simply using 2 colors effectively can create an eye-catching design.

  2. Bud Light Real American Heroes Ads

    Listen to one of the ads!

    One-minute radio spots don’t get much better than this. The quick humor in these commercials had you turning up the radio. The solemn voice with the hair band in the background had the audience hanging on every word, avoiding laughing so that we could hear the rest of the ad. Very rarely does a radio spot accomplish that – and help its product stay in the audience’s mind long after the radio spot is finished.
    Starting in 1998 :: DDB Chicago
    The ads changed names to Real Men of Genius in 2001 but the approach stayed the same. Listen to the majority of these ads at this link:

    Playing with contrast can make a piece unforgettable. Imagine these ads without the play of the narrator’s serious voice or the rock band lyrics in the background. The ad doesn’t work. Only through the contrast of the two voices does the ad make us laugh and listen at the same time.

  3. Volkswagen Bug ad campaign

    The original Volkswagen Bug advertising campaign is a favorite of designers everywhere. The designs were simple – image and text – but were catchy and memorable. I can imagine if I had been around when the ads were originally published; they would have been cut out and displayed on my walls – as great pieces of art should be.
    1960 :: Doyle Dane Bernbach
    For more on the history of the Volkswagon campaigns visit this link:

    Simplicity. An ad doesn’t have to be complicated to be effective. Sometimes the use of white space and a basic message make a loud impression.

  4. Absolut Vodka Ad Campaign

    Place a picture of your product smack in the center of the page and dress it up with accessories and a clever short tag line. Seems easy enough. But the designs of the Absolut Vodka ads of the 80’s and 90’s made the idea into a work of art. I will bet an entire generation of young designers scoured the pages of magazines looking for the newest ads each month. I know I did.
    Starting in 1980 :: TBWA ad agency
    There are dozens of Absolut ads to view – check out this gallery:

    TIP: Constant repetition can lead to memorable moments. The ads didn’t need to change drastically each month. They simply needed to keep relaying the same overall message of the beauty of the bottle and the name of the product. Simple adaption’s made the ads perfect and clever.

  5. To Kill A Mocking Bird movie Title sequence

    Click to View the Title Sequence

    Those close to me know that this movie and book top my list of favorites – and have been since I was very young. But what most don’t know is that the title sequence was one of my first big design inspirations. Again, another piece of art simplicity – but this time in motion. The title lines move onto the page with grace and ease as the child’s view of the little items move slightly. And I can’t forget the sound: the mix of music and child sound effects pull the entire thing together. I always rewind to the sequence and watch multiple times before beginning to watch this movie treasure.
    1962 :: Stephen Frankfurt
    This is a great read on the development and thought that went into this classic:

  6. TIP: Changing a perspective can be powerful. The entire title is in the view of a child’s eye – although the audience is typically much older. This sets you up for the entire movie as well as introduces a new way of looking at basic objects.


Public speaking.

It’s actually #2 of our top 10 fears. If you are in any type of leadership position, or want to be someday, you have to move through that fear and become tolerant, if not entirely comfortable, with speaking to a group.  Here are some tips gleaned from a lot of experts who train managers and company leaders everyday on developing successful presentation skills.

  1. Know how to start strong. People respond to what is real and accessible about you. Tell a story about everyday matters that are interesting, even just a funny “Guess what happened on my way here” story. Even talking about a quote that ties into your theme works.
  2. Know how to get focused. Nothing will help your confidence level more than creating and reviewing an outline. Choose your message, know why your audience wants to hear it, and then list out how you will reinforce the message. Then simply organize your thoughts into bite-sized pieces in an order that makes sense.  For a 30-minute presentation, having 4-5 key points is best.
  3. Know your audience. Be sure you really have a grasp on who you are talking to – know their needs, and what will be of importance to them as a takeaway.
  4. Know your material. Don’t skimp on research – you have to know your topic and points are solid so you can respond intelligently during and after the presentation. Even experienced extemporaneous speakers don’t talk about what they don’t know!
  5. Know how to bring real-life examples into your talk. Having examples of your key points helps to tie your presentation together. Your audience wants to know what has and hasn’t worked.
  6. Know your points so you don’t read them. It is assumed that most people you will present to can read, so don’t do it for them. It’s boring.  Have only your key points listed, and tell them the rest. Your job is to inform and illuminate your audience about your topic.
  7. Know what will be your Plan B. You should always be able to do your presentation sans technology so when the computer connections go awry, you don’t miss a beat. Keep extra digital and printed copies of your presentation, a spare microphone, an extra pair of clothing, batteries, even some duct tape so you don’t trip on a cord. (Really. I speak from experience.)
  8. BREATHE. Just relaxing and breathing in and out slowly will calm your body and your nerves. And remember, a 15 minute talk only requires 900 seconds of bravery.

Laura Nestler

The demands placed on young business leaders often come with long hours, extensive travel and last-minute schedule changes – a lifestyle that can take time away from the personal relationships that matter most.

We are proud to announce that our very own, Laura Nestler of Springfield, IL, recently joined the Young Presidents’ Organization, Inc. (YPO) Illini Chapter Board as their Youth and Family Officer to help our local chapter’s members alleviate some of those stresses.

As a 2013-2014 YPO Illini Chapter Board Member, Laura will work to coordinate programs for YPO Illini Chapter members, spouses/partners, and children with an understanding that strengthening families is integral to building better leaders. Laura will also coordinate programs that are focused on bringing YPO parents and children (ages 6-18) together to become encouraged to strengthen their relationships and improve their interpersonal communication skills, team-building and listening skills.

Her first event, Becoming Your Best / A Flight Plan For Life, is tentatively scheduled for December 7, 2013 in Champaign, Illinois. More information is to follow.

YPO (Young Presidents’ Organization) connects you with successful young chief executives in a global network unlike any other. Founded in 1950 in New York City by a young president named Ray Hickok, the organization unites approximately 20,000 business leaders in more than 120 countries around a shared mission: Better Leaders Through Education and Idea Exchange™.



Two major global advertising players are using the “Proud to be an American” message to promote their products, and not solely to capture Independence Day interest.

When Apple® rolled out its “Designed by Apple in California” ads shortly after the Mac Pro introduction, the content promoted how much creativity and engineering the Apple team puts into their products – presumably the American Apple team. Perhaps this was in response to the backlash that many corporations have been getting regarding their products being manufactured in low-wage countries.

Fast forward to the new motorola® ad (lowercase ‘m’ intended – new branding, new owner and all) running in major publications in the U.S. to promote the Moto X smartphone. The copy, message and imagery is similar to Apple’s ad, touting domestic design and engineering talent from the USA, but the big ‘sell’ includes the phrase “Assembled in the USA”.

For those who can translate marketing-ese, this is a term to promote that a product is made domestically, even if only a portion of the production process is completed here.

The big question is, how does the American consumer view these messages? Does it make a difference knowing that at least part, if not all, the products you purchase are made in America even in today’s global economy? Do ads like these create consumer preference for the brand because some part is American-made?  And, finally, do consumers understand the subtle difference between “Designed / Assembled in the USA”, and “Made in the USA”, or do they feel that advertisers are taking advantage of that subtlety to promote an image that may not be all that it seems?

What do you think?


In the past few months, Omni has been working on several rebranding projects. Rebranding is an exciting time for companies, and we enjoy experiencing that excitement with our clients. But a lot more goes into creating a logo than just a bit of art and type. A successful logo is the most important representation of your company, and gives an instant message to your potential customers, either drawing them to you or pushing them away. So how does one decide on a brand identity that sends the right message?

Below is a list of things to consider when deciding on a new corporate image:

Does the new brand stand out among the competition? Will the clientele be drawn to your company as opposed to the competition?

Does the new logo make sense? Yes, it might stand out from the competition but if it doesn’t send a clear message to your clientele, they may be drawn to competitors.

Will the logo stand the test of time? Think clean and simple – they never go out of style.

Does the brand have room to grow? If you were to add a new product, are their ways to tie that product into the original brand?

Does the logo appeal to your target audience? Know your customers and decide on a logo that is likable to them. For instance, a high-tech logo may not appeal to a low-tech crowd and might be intimidating.

Do a little research. What are other companies similar to yours doing that works? Know your competition and others in the same market elsewhere. Learn about other company logo successes and mishaps.

A great article featuring big rebranding projects is

Need a partner in creating this new company image? Give us a call.


I recently came across the trailer for the film Art & Copy, a 2009 documentary by Doug Pray about the world of Advertising, and I always feel compelled to stop and make time to watch parts of it over and over again, so I thought I’d share this gem of a film with those of you who are not familiar with it, so you can meet the real Mad Men. I too share the belief that advertising can be revolutionary. Enjoy!

Art & Copy Trailer (youtube)


“Art & Copy: is a powerful film about advertising and inspiration. Directed by Doug Pray, it reveals the work and wisdom of some of the most influential advertising creatives of our time — people who’ve profoundly impacted our culture, yet are virtually unknown outside their industry. Exploding forth from advertising’s “creative revolution” of the 1960s, these artists and writers all brought a surprisingly rebellious spirit to their work in a business more often associated with mediocrity or manipulation: George Lois, Mary Wells, Dan Wieden, Lee Clow, Hal Riney and others featured in ART & COPY were responsible for “Just Do It,” “I Love NY,” “Where’s the Beef?,” “Got Milk,” “Think Different,” and brilliant campaigns for everything from cars to presidents. They managed to grab the attention of millions and truly move them. Visually interwoven with their stories, TV satellites are launched, billboards are erected, and the social and cultural impact of their ads are brought to light in this dynamic exploration of art, commerce, and human emotion.”

“Good advertising makes food taste better, it makes cars run better,” Lois says. “It changes everything.”

ART & COPY Trailer

Art & Copy is available on DVD, iTunes, and is also streaming on Netflix.


So the designer in me has to admit, I absolutely lOVE this little gem of a video, “So God Made a Designer” a tribute and parody to designers by David Brier, created for Fast Company.  This video was inspired by this year’s incredibly heartfelt RAM’s commercial, that made it’s debut during the Super Bowl, “God Made a Farmer” with Paul Harvey, narrator done by legendary impressionist Jim Meskimen. Don’t let me delay your viewing any longer, Enjoy! So God Made a Designer


Script sample:

“And on the 9th day,

God looked down on this blank canvas of life and said, “We need a way to be reminded of the finer things.”

So, God made a designer.”


Ok, if you haven’t seen it already, Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” campaign has completely gone viral: The YouTube video has over 9 million views at the time I wrote this, has attracted responses from several major media outlets, and been shared several thousand times on social media websites. Not only that but it has inspired a parody of the original version, which itself has gone viral.

In a nutshell, Dove recruited several women from a variety of ages, ethnicity and backgrounds to participate in a new campaign. The spot features an FBI forensic artist sketching these women, which he can not see, by the way in which they describe themselves physically. Then strangers were brought in to describe those same women who had been sketched earlier. The two sketches are then hung side by side, resulting in stark contrast. The concept is that women are simply too critical of themselves. Hence, the tagline: “YOU are more beautiful than you think!”

After viewing it, I for one am not surprised that it went viral so fast. It’s a perfect combination of true emotion and honest insight and really pulls at the heart of the consumer. I love seeing marketing efforts get honest buzz amongst the public that goes beyond traditional advertising trade publications! Kudos for taking such risks Dove.

Published on Apr 14, 2013

“Join the conversation at: #WeAreBeautiful
Watch the whole experience at:
Women are their own worst beauty critics. Only 4% of women around the world consider themselves beautiful. At Dove, we are committed to creating a world where beauty is a source of confidence, not anxiety. So, we decided to conduct a compelling social experiment that explores how women view their own beauty in contrast to what others see.
And don’t forget: YOU are more beautiful than you think!”

Have a look at the ad yourself, if you haven’t seen it already! Dove Real Beauty Sketches

We’d love to hear your thoughts on the spot.


Many businesses are figuring out how to capitalize using all the social media avenues open to them. Honda created a very cool Pinterest campaign for one of it’s models that had a great twist to engage consumers and build their brand. Check out the full article by Marketing Magazine.


What inspires you?! When I’m feeling uninspired, unmotivated or need some creative energy, I look for inspiration anywhere I can find it. I’m loving Entrepreneur’s new Inspiration Station topic board, where you can share inspiring ideas with others in an organized and visual way. Check out this inspiring quote from Barbara Corcoran to help inspire you, and go ahead sign up for board and start clipping items that inspire you!

Inspired Reclip
What inspires Barbara Corcoran

“Whenever I feel stuck, I get up from my desk and go outside. I’ve never had a really creative idea sitting at my desk. I’ve found all the big ideas that make a sizable difference in my business when I’m playing outside. Fun is always good for business! Whenever I conduct my business as usual, it results in usual business. But when I take the time and put in the energy to plan something fun for myself and my company outside of the office, it always results in extraordinary business!”Shark Tank investor and real estate mogul, Barbara Corcoran @whatsinspiring


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