Posts tagged ‘Entrepreneurs Organization’

August 21, 2010

Deficits at the Top

overview
In times of prosperity, organizations want to show off graphically. In times of recession, organizations proudly do a lot with a little. Yet there is always a line of professionalism to uphold. Except for nonprofits. Amateur graphics run rampant, which can’t do much for a group’s credibility!

As digital tools allow groups to create amateur graphics more easily, the overall quality of design has diminishes. Ironically, design is more important than it has ever been due to the Internet. An even playing field allows small groups to compete with large groups, local orgs to compete with national, national with international. The scope has exploded!

In completing my evaluation of the Midwestern nonprofits, the 80/20 Rule is in full force. Of the 700 evaluated, 160 have graphics that score highly enough to discuss. Yet to find a consistently strong graphic strategy seems impossible. None score high in all five categories!

Beginning with the overall graphics of those who score the highest:

DEFICITS AT THE TOP:

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, preview, review, is strong in every category but publications.

Metals Service Center Institute, preview, review, could have a better website.

Second City, review to come, has an unimaginative logo and scan publications.

Popcorn Board, review to come, has a confused identity but strong in all other categories.

International Association of Lighting Designers, preview, review, is compelling graphically but weak in publications.

Entrepreneurs Organization, preview, review, compiles a strong package that could go one step further to be truly distinct.

Churchill Centre, preview, review, offers a lot of online features but is weak in publications.

Perhaps the two organizations that come the closest to being a true blend of excellence are the Entrepreneurs Organization and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Both prove that big budgets and fancy approaches are not as good as following basic rules in good communication.

Each week, I will examine organizational graphics that are of the Not the Best but Could Be category. Visual communications include the most important membership benefits and the biggest ways to attract prospective members. If improved strategically, each group explored has tremendous, if not unlimited, potential.

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The Sebastian Study 2010, national review will be available at the end of the year. If you want to be sure that your organization is included, please click here.

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August 12, 2010

Entrepreneurs Organization

overview
Few topics are more difficult to express than general business. Most organizations with such a wide range of constituents resort to horribly cliqued images of brief cases, conference rooms, coffee cups, and computer screens. It is hard to stand out. But the Entrepreneurs Organization brings a fresh and vibrant approach to express the challenges of entrepreneurialism.

Five Criteria for Graphics that Work:
Evaluating Entrepreneurs Organization

spiral bullet Use of logo: An organization’s logo has a story to tell—encapsulating the personality, philosophy, and tone of an entire organization.
Using the simple letterforms, the Entrepreneurs Organization’s logo embellishes simple letterforms with a few equally simple geometric shapes that convey time, success, business, measurement, and progress. It is quite remarkable how much can be done with so little! The single red color adds pizzazz and recognizability. Infinitely flexible, this image is a good example of ‘less is more.’

spiral bullet Theme: The visual first impression is dominated by the total gestalt—look, feel, purpose, and benefit. Further contact is consistent and supports personality and philosophy.
Building from the “O” in the logo, the Entrepreneurs Organization incorporates the symbol into other headers. The typographic style and use of black, orange, and white gives publications a clear geometry.

spiral bullet Content composition: Building from a recognizable theme, the presentation is easy to grasp, clear, and engaging.
Clear and crisp, the Entrepreneurs Organization’s home page does not allow the photography to visually dominate. Instead images accent the four major topics, organized under the main tabs. Although there are many choices, the composition simply groups selections, fitting the screen perfectly. Media choices are expertly handled and also don’t predominate but support the presentation.

spiral bullet Consistent style: A series presents a visual language and an ambient atmosphere, promoting a positive experience and relationship with the audience.
Entrepreneurs Organization blends a multimedia delivery in a seamless and consistent way through style and color. Their publications expertly use interactive platforms. Their newsletter builds from the blog structure. But their magazine mimics print, albeit technologically advanced, through the KnowledgeBase platform. Although it requires a lot of scrolling (and does offer a print version), this example shows the difficulties in trying to design one media through the principles and features of another.

spiral bullet Distinctive: The most successful presentations have a memorable twist—something extra that is unique.
Although they may not be the most innovative, the Entrepreneurs Organization’s graphics certainly are on the visionary end of the strategic design spectrum. Weaving various media delivery into a thematic cohesion is one of the marketing manager’s greatest challenges. A study of EO’s offerings is a lesson in what to do right.

See the Overview of the best Midwest organizations to present strong and compelling graphics.

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