Author Archives: Ben Hock

Weekly Reads – Small Brands Can Gain Traction by Targeting Their Perfect Customer

Small brands are discovering that they can grow by targeting the customers that big brands leave behind. By discovering niche audiences that industry giants ignore in advertising, small companies have found a way to thrive while also making their customers feel unique. Meanwhile, Reddit is punishing trolls, Uber is infringing on customer privacy and Netflix finally allows content to be downloaded for offline viewing.

Social Advertising

Entrepreneur: What Small Brands Do That Big Brands Can’t

Small brands are cropping up and taking advantage of customers who feel left behind by big brands. Many of them are using social media to target their unique customer, allowing them to grow intelligently with a fraction of the advertising budget of their larger competitors.

Read more after the jump…

The Storytelling Power of Animated GIFs

Animated GIFs became more accessible than ever when Apple created its GIF keyboard for iOS 10. The addition offers users a fun, easy way to interact with friends on mobile that has further broadened our digital forms of expression. GIFs provide us with a visual way to describe how we’re feeling. My wife knows exactly what I’m trying to say when I send her a simple GIF of Michael Jordan crying, or Kim Kardashian rolling her eyes. Though sending these types of GIFs is an entertaining form of expression, they don’t even begin to show how powerful animated GIFs can be as a storytelling device. Businesses have an opportunity to use custom-designed GIFs to help tell their story and expand their reach. There are many super-talented artists creating amazing GIFs that transcend how most people view the medium, and companies should take notice. I’ve listed some of my favorite artists below:

Read more after the jump…

The NFL’s Social Media Policy Won’t Fix Their Ratings Problem

The NFL recently decided to ban teams from posting gifs and videos from games on their social media accounts. Under the new policy, a team can’t post footage before or during games and may only retweet or share media that has already been posted on social by the NFL. This new move has prompted some teams to poke fun at the league by using creative workarounds to distribute game news to their fans and followers. It’s also made some people wonder if the NFL instituted the move to help increase viewership after a downward trend. The NFL seems to think that by restricting access to video on social, TV viewership will increase and all their problems will be solved. What the NFL doesn’t grasp is that restricting access to video on social media is counterintuitive to growing the NFL as a global game.

Enter the NBA. Read more after the jump…

Weekly Reads – New Look, Same Formula

We’ve given Weekly Reads a CenterTable facelift. Since the news and notes revolve around social media and digital trends, it seemed appropriate to officially transfer Weekly Reads over to CenterTable, GroundFloor Media’s sister agency. It’s a new look, but the Weekly Reads formula will remain the same.

Read more after the jump…

A Visual Analysis of Trump and Clinton’s Twitter Accounts

Barack Obama is the first president to have a Twitter account (@POTUS), and it is clear that social media will continue to play an increasing and integral role in politics. This election cycle, no candidate has moved his tiny thumbs more than Donald Trump, whose 140-character rants have put him in the spotlight almost as often as his orange glow and atrocious comb-over. Though his tweets have often gotten him into trouble, he’s found a committed audience through social media. Hillary Clinton has also amassed a strong following on Twitter, though her tweets are wisely curated, unlike Trump’s stream-of-consciousness dumps. Read more after the jump…

Design Dictionary: Creative Terms Explained

I’m in the middle of an important meeting, with a room full of eyes looking at me as if I’ve lectured about quantum physics. Glazed over stares trying to hide that they have no idea what I just said, nodding along in agreement. I can tell by everyone’s faces that I’ve drifted a little too far into the design lexicon, leaving them in a trail of tracking, kerning and leading. I retrace my steps and dive back in, this time speaking in terms that normal people will understand. The confused looks melt away and genuine smiles reappear on their faces. Read more after the jump…

Past is Present: Graphic Design in 2016

Design evolves year after year, naturally growing from changing styles and trends. Elements of design are appropriated from the past and refined. We take trends that seem over the top and scale them back, stripping away the audacity to craft subtlety. What was a trend 20 years ago becomes a visual element that informs contemporary design. The bold neons that pervaded design in the 90s are now used more conservatively. In retrospect, we can see that design with too much neon is outdated and looks overwhelming, whereas contemporary design that pulls in a little bit of neon can look clean, fun and modern. As designers, we learn from our mistakes and use them to elevate our work.

Read more after the jump…

Best Beer Labels in Denver

One of my home-brew labels from 2013

One of my home-brew labels from 2013

One of the most important things about being a professional designer is staying inspired. Many people outside creative fields often confuse the lines between design as a career and a hobby. Just because I love what I do doesn’t necessarily mean it’s always easy. Creativity is hard work. When I find myself in a design rut, I look to creative friends and colleagues to bolster my mind and get my creative brain back on track. I love checking out what other artists and designers are posting on Instagram and Twitter, but I also find inspiration in everyday objects. As a designer AND home-brewer, beer labels are one of my favorite sources of inspiration. Read more after the jump…