Alison Tagliaferri

Pantone’s 2018 Color of the Year, Ultra Violet, marks the fourth time Pantone has selected a purple, or a variety of purple, as the Color of the Year: Radiant Orchid, a solid purple, in 2014; Blue Iris, a blue purple, in 2008; and Fuchsia Rose, described by Pantone as a “bright pink and purple” but looks like pink to most of us, in 2001.

When Pantone named Ultra Violet, a deep royal purple, the latest Color of the Year, the news thrilled our Bright Lights because we’re passionate lovers of purple.

It’s not because of our hometown pride in the purple-clad Baltimore Ravens, a team that, like A. Bright Idea, began in 1996. Beyond visually representing A. Bright Idea, purple is our brand.

Pantone sets the standard for colors used by the print and design industry. As a graphic designer, when I sit down to begin a logo or design, I sit down with a Pantone book. Like every designer, I turn to a Pantone book when it comes time to pick a color palette for a project. That helps me find colors that work together well in the Pantone swatch book. I also bring a Pantone color book to every press check to make sure the print color matches.
The Pantone Color Institute staff has selected a Color of the Year since 2000 and bases the selection on their analysis of pop culture, fashion, design and current events. Last year’s pick of Greenery as the 2017 Color of the Year represented a new beginning. Pantone describes Ultra Violet as the color that “lights the way” for what is to come. That phrase also resonates with us as Bright Lights who help light the way for our clients.

“Complex and contemplative, Ultra Violet suggests the mysteries of the cosmos, the intrigue of what lies ahead, and the discoveries beyond where we are now,” Pantone wrote in the announcement. “The vast and limitless night sky is symbolic of what is possible and continues to inspire the desire to pursue a world beyond our own.”

Courtesy of Pantone

Purple inspires creativity. A mindful color that energizes, yet calms, purple can represent sophistication, happiness, brightness and so much more. Purple’s not feminine or masculine. It’s gender neutral, allowing for a wide range of uses.

Pantone’s Color of the Year influences design trends across industries. In addition to A. Bright Idea, the designer handbag company where I started my career always incorporated the Pantone Color of the Year into the new line.

While it’s complementary to yellow, purple works well with a wide range of colors. Its popularity with designers may be one reason Pantone has picked a shade of purple four times for Color of the Year since 2000. Unlike a red or orange that tries to grab your attention, purple conveys tranquility and contemplation. A designer also can use it in larger color blocks.

For those of us at A. Bright Idea, purple always remains in style, providing our graphic designers with versatility. Tell us how you plan to incorporate Ultra Violet in the new year by commenting below.

Shawn Nesaw

Marketing businesses using Facebook and Twitter has become a growing tactic in marketing plans across all industries. Social media platforms serve as an effective tool for circulating branded messaging, but Internet usage and trends continue to change every day.
In a recent article, Bulldog Reporter found that 90% of all Internet traffic and 50% of mobile traffic is now made up of photos and video. For growing visual media platforms like Instagram and Pinterest, this means an opportunity for continued expansion. Instagram’s more than 200 million users make up an attractive market of young people for PR and marketers. Digital media reporting site Mashable has also found that 1 in 5 U.S. adults are now using Pinterest. These large groups of users of both platforms are at the ready to receive visual content that could ultimately lead to better connecting and capitalizing on consumer and brand relationships.
With the expanding use of visual media, it is more important than ever to control your brand’s messaging. People make decisions based on trust and brand promise. Using photos and visuals helps create another tangible connection to brands. As we can see from these recent statistics, it is becoming a greater means of communication – that old adage “a picture’s worth a thousand words.” Having a strategic presence in visual media can serve as a key tool to further brand development as part of an integrated marketing approach. Everything you do or say influences what people think about your brand, so providing them with a visual example of what your brand promises also helps demonstrate that your brand delivers on this promise.
No matter the medium, the ability to connect users with your brand is crucial to developing brand loyalty, and will ultimately lead to a better consumer experience. It’s important to assess your own brand strategy as it compares to trends, as not all trends serve brands equally. With the expanding use of visual media, now is an opportune time to analyze your own brand and consider the most strategic uses of visual media and how it can potentially become part of your integrated marketing approach.

Shawn Nesaw

A. Bright Idea recently received recognition from the 2013 Communicator Awards, receiving Award of Distinction honors in three different categories.CommSilver1
Earning two Awards of Distinction, for a Cultural Institution and a Government website, the Battle of Bladensburg website was a project for the Maryland State Highway Administration in commemoration of the 200th Anniversary of The War of 1812. The site features interactive maps, timelines, paintings and an interactive video recount of the battle. Check it out here:
Additionally, a wedding menu designed for Grapevine Catering also earned an Award of Distinction in the Marketing/Promotion category.
View the menu here:
We are certainly proud of our talented team, as well as the results for our clients.
Thanks to our clients for giving us the opportunity to work on these exciting projects!

Shawn Nesaw

A. Bright Idea’s creative minds are always staying on top of trends and tools in the industry to ensure our creativity and perspectives stay fresh and innovative for our clients. In the spirit of sharing, we’ve compiled a quick list that our team uses as a go-to for inspiration and ideas. If you find yourself stumped, try checking out one of these sites or turn to one of our creative teams – marketing, graphic design or interactive – for some of our creative insight.

Advertising & PR


Graphic Design

Shawn Nesaw

By: David Wells

A few things immediately evident as I travel across the U.S., hoping to take advantage of the best dining our country has to offer:
1. Smart phones and Google are the best invention ever
2. Not everything you read on the internet is true
3. Nothing beats the eye 
Making my way from one coast to the other in a good, old-fashioned road trip, I can’t help but notice the branding and signage along the route. Before I hit the road, I made a rule of no ‘chain’ restaurants – I wanted local, unique and creative. I’m not sure if I’ve been blessed with good luck at picking out great places to stop, or if I simply know how to use the information available to me, but every stop fulfills my need for not only good food, but a great and memorable brand experience.
Queen City CreameryThe first stop, although not too far from A. Bright Idea headquarters in Bel Air, was in Cumberland Md., at the Queen City Creamery. A simple Google search on my smart phone for “best places to eat in Cumberland” provided me with a plethora of rating websites, Yelp reviews, locations and more. After seeing the Creamery appear on several sites, I decided to check out their website. You notice a historical feel to the logo, which matches their historical building on the main street. When we pulled off the highway and onto the street, the building, signage and quaint nature of the place caught my eye, and I know it would be what I expected and wanted. The creamery is known for its homemade ice cream, but the deli sandwiches were a treat. You can tell it’s a local favorite by the number of groups of people laughing at the diner-style tables and talking with the staff like they were friends. I indulged in one of their well-known milkshakes as headed West. For me, a restaurant brand is not just about the outside looks and website, but from the moment I visited their website, I formed an expectation and the physical restaurant, atmosphere, service and fare didn’t disappoint!
Another stop along the way, thanks to another Google search and Trip Advisor recommendation landed me at Wild Eggs in Louisville, Kentucky. From the reviews, to the social media, to the website, I knew we were Wild Eggsin for something special when I decided to stop at this breakfast spot. Like some of the reviews proclaimed, we got to the restaurant and had to wait almost an hour for a table. However, from the time you walk in until the time you walk out, guests wait in the lobby and even outside in the cold to eat at this restaurant, so you know they must be doing something right. This family-owned restaurant has a great history and photographs of their delicious food on the walls, and a somewhat ‘wild’ appearance from the outside with bright colors. The Wild Eggs ‘story’ hangs on a poster in the lobby, providing something to read and learn. The Wild Eggs brand is all about tradition, history and comfort. With signature dishes and favorites, the waiter had no problem steering us in a direction he thought would please our palette. Their specialty strawberry tall stack, Eggs Bennie, grits and cinnamon roll did not disappoint, and looked just like the photographs on the website, foursquare photos and on the restaurant walls. For locals and tourists alike, the Wild Eggs brand is set for success.
For great views of downtown St. Louis, those who are 21 and over should stop here to view the city from St. Louisabove at 360 Rooftop Bar. With some of the best views of City Hall, the Gateway Arch and Busch Stadium, the 360 Bar is an upscale tapas restaurant and bar with modern amenities. Cool fireplace features on the outdoor patio and outdoor TVs to watch sporting events, the 360 degree glass walls allow you to see any feature of St. Louis, even a Cardinals game from above. The 360 brand is modern and speaks to a certain crowd, and features DJs at night for this crowd. The modern website and logo pair with the created brand and atmosphere of the business. The tagline, Sip See Savor, captured my attention – I’m a sucker for three word taglines – and spoke true to the 360 mission and brand.
A final brand on the road trip thus far included Andolini’s Pizza in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Deciding where to stop and eat on the way to Oklahoma City was a challenge, but my smart phone and Google helped out yet again. Two local places sat next to each other and had favorable reviews, so we decided to check them out from the outside before making the final selection. One review for Andolini’s said, “If you’re looking for something with an ambiance, Ando’s is not your place, but if you want fresh ingredients and great food, this is your stop.” Well, as soon as we saw the place, it screamed ambiance. The outdoor fireplaces and brick walls welcome visitors. The chefs tossing pizza in the air in the windows was the final seller. The menu was designed well and included a great selection of signature pizzas, local craft beers and more. I’m not sure what the reviewer meant when he said the place had no ‘ambiance,’ but I’m glad we chose Ando’s, and the waitress even provided me with my very own Ando’s glass as a souvenir.
From experience, I know many local joints depend on their loyal customer base and word-of-mouth, but an investment in a solid brand is never wasted. For those businesses looking to grab the attention of a traveler, hope you have good reviews, have a website and be true to your brand in all aspects of your business, and you’re bound to earn a stop from this guy.

Shawn Nesaw

We’ve made it to week two of 2011 – did your resolutions make that far? Here’s a look at a few creative resolutions we’d like to see stick this year.
1. Word is for writing, not designing
Yes, it’s true! Microsoft Word should be used for writing. Sure, you may get that creative itch to throw together some cool colors and fonts, maybe even some clip art, but there are many other creative outlets! Be strong and stay clear of designing in Word this year.
2. Use your Twitter
Twitter is an effective marketing tool – if you use it! This year, make it a plan to set up a Twitter account and keep it active. Ten Tweets over the year doesn’t count. Set up a plan or a simple rule to live by: One Tweet a day, keeps the competitors away!
3. Only use a few cohesive fonts in your design
Using six fonts won’t make your message stand out any more – it just creates more clutter! Stay true to your brand and let it speak for itself. If you’re still having trouble with this one in 2011, consider a Brand Style Guide to help keep your usage in check.
4. Allow white space to be your friend
Clutter kills and more white helps the important parts pop. Now that we’re finished dreaming of a White Christmas, let’s hope for a whiter 2011.
5. Know when and how to use key messages
They’re there for a reason – use them! Key messages are designed to keep your target audience engaged and keep your brand identity strong and consistent. With that, we’d like to see businesses utilizing their key messages through all forms of communication in 2011.
6. Be realistic about your advertising ROI
Don’t expect the results of your advertising campaign to simply pay for your media budget. This year keep in mind, return on investment can also be seen through increased awareness of your service/product and word of mouth buzz among your target audience.
7. Say no to ‘to be’ verbs
Instead of using ‘to be’ verbs – am, is, are, was, were, and be – try infusing some action into your everyday list – remains, continues, stems, maintains, analyzes, etc. These action packed verbs will liven your writing and intrigue the reader.
8. Avoid using stock imagery
If you have access to stock imagery and photography so does everyone else with a computer. Set your print collateral apart from the competition with custom photography, illustration and imagery, and say goodbye to stock!
9. Set a trend, don’t just jump on one
Of course you always want to be on top of the trends, making your target audience aware that you’re on the forefront. Take it a step further this year but making the trend your own with an innovative approach or interpretation suited for your target audience and their needs.
10.  Proofread, proofread, proofread
Make 2011 a year of proper grammar and punctuation, free of spelling errors and typos. A fresh set of eyes continues to be a great way to double check your work and make sure all written communication remains in tip-top shape!
Here’s hoping 2011 is a year of creative resolutions kept. Cheers!

Shawn Nesaw

Yep, it’s that time of year again. The one night a year when it’s acceptable to wear a costume in public and eat ridiculous amounts of sugar – Halloween! To celebrate this crazy “holiday,” we’ve picked the top 10 most creative costumes. After all, we do kind of like creativity around here at the purple palace.
1. Natty Boh and the UTZ Girl
Really all you need is a case of beer and some snack packs if you’re Trick-or-Treating in B’more. A mustache for Boh and bow for UTZ is a good idea too!
2. Pantone Colors
It’s like the grown up version of crayon costumes. Pick your fav and match it – it’s that easy.
3. Snooki
Fist pump your way through the night with a nice poof and comfy slippers. The only thing missing will be the rest of the Jersey Shore crew!
4. Black Mail
Black jump suit with a letter attached to the chest. Here’s the catch: you have to “wear” a sketchy look all night too.
5. Lipton Tea Bag
All you need is mesh fabric, potpourri and poster board. This one is so easy, fun and smells good too!
6. That kid from ET
A classic from back in the day and all you need is a red hooded sweatshirt, a bike and an ET doll in the basket.
7. Charlie Brown
Good grief, this is a good idea! Perfect for the little kid or little kid at heart. A perfect pair for this costume – a Snoopy stuffed animal.
8. Mount Rushmore
Be famous for the day! Just replace one of the presidents in the famous monument with your own face. The question is: which president will you be?
9. Sue Sylvester (Glee)
Not only a popular TV show character, this is also a great Halloween costume as long as you portray the personality with it!
10. Stimulus Package
This one will really put the attention on you, I mean, who wouldn’t do a double take on a person wearing a great jump suit with fake money stapled to them. Really want to get attention? Substitute fake money for real money!
Here’s hoping you have a safe and fun Halloween this year. Don’t forget to check back in for our top 10 list next month. It’ll be a good one (I mean, aren’t they all!)