Monday, March 7, 2011

★ 5Qs with Paradzai Jawona

Rob: I have never had the opportunity to interview a marketing and branding specialist before on 5Qs, so today it is my extreme pleasure to introduce to you Paradzai Jawona. Paradzai Jawona locally known as PJ, brings to the table years of expertise and an in depth understanding of global marketing. Please help me welcome him to the 5Qs!

Q1: Good Afternoon PJ. Can you tell me a little about yourself?

PJ: My name is Paradzai Jawona, I was born and raised in a small Southern African country called Zimbabwe, where I was raised, attended school, and completed part of my college education. I have often surprised people by my perspective on life which is often considered extraordinary. I however, think this is one of my greatest strengths as a marketer because I am able to present ideas and concepts in very unique and interesting ways. I consider myself an all around marketer who is interested in the development of concepts. I have worked in marketing research, advertising, and also in the development of brands. My perfect day is when I can sit in the sunshine and read a good book.

Rob: I do think you have a very unique perspective on marketing. Because you traveled from Africa to the USA and have worked in marketing in both countries, you can see the bigger picture and the details who others that don't have your background may be oblivious to.

Q2: When did you first realize that you wanted to work with marketing and branding?

PJ: Oddly, I got into the field of marketing by accident. There used to be a 1990's TV series called Falcon Crest. The show had a character played by Gregory Harrison named Michael Sharpe. Each time he made a sale he used to be so excited about it, and as a young boy I was fascinated by how he would cleverly close a sale. So I was first interested in sales rather than marketing, and I worked in sales for about a year before I switched careers. I made the switch because I found the marketing process more interesting especially creating brands. It is a challenge to create a successful brand.

Rob: That's very interesting.

Q3: What do you feel is your strongest asset?

PJ: My background in research and sales helps me to have a clear perspective of what the expectations of the target market is. Often marketers fall in love with their ideas that seem brilliant on paper, but fail to achieve intended goals because they lack understanding about the target market's mindset.

Rob: PJ, it's so true. I have definitely fallen in love with some of my ideas. They have seemed so great and yet produced such poor results. Because my target audience had no connection with my ideas, they didn't move my audience like they moved me, and as a result, were useless.

Q4: How does the process of branding differ between Africa and America?

PJ: The way different markets consume different products and services, also determines the branding process. What is key is understanding the social classifications and the differences in cultural and traditional aspects and what the need is. In America the diffusion of concepts is done through a very advanced communications infrastructure, and the main challenge in Africa is that the media is not as developed as in America. However, this can be considered as an excellent opportunity to introduce new products and actually go through all the stages of the branding process from something as basic as formulating a name for a product.

Rob: Again it's all about knowing who you are marketing to and knowing how to visually communicate your brand in a way that can be understood by all.

Q5: What is one easy way every entrepreneur can market better?

PJ: The simplest way to market a product is by offering a good service or product that exceeds the expectations of customers. Soon people will start talking and the business will benefit through word of mouth.

Rob: I have always tried to be upfront and honest in my business. If I can't do the project right, I will tell my client, that I can't. If I think I can get the job done in 2 days, I will tell them 3, so when my client receives a proof on the 2nd day, they are excited! Procedures such as these always give me tons of referrals.

PJ is currently a part of the wonderful staff at Rising Tide Capital, where they are "Transforming Lives and Communities through Entrepreneurship™."

You can click here to visit Rising Tide's Website or follow them on FaceBook and Twitter!

Keep clicking and My Ink Pad for more 5Qs: Interviews with the Best in the Industry.

Monday, February 21, 2011

★ RJS Marketing Cheat Sheet

Recently, Rising Tide Capital, one of CNN's "HEROES," contacted me with the invitation to coach some of their up-and-coming entrepreneurs. I was delighted at the opportunity to invest into my local community. After carefully sifting through strategies and tactics I have learned from studying rock-star companies like Apple®, MTV™, Timberland®, and StarBucks Coffee®, and from my own eight years of personal experience, I wrote the "Marketing Cheat Sheet" booklet.

This simple guide will teach you how to firmly establish your company's identity and personality by using design, branding, and marketing to create a consistent and memorable impression on your target audience.

Click here to read through these helpful tips today, absolutely FREE!

Please note that you need Adobe® Reader to view this booklet. Click Here to download Adobe® Reader. Control-Click or Right-Click the link to download the pdf file to your computer for future reference.

Monday, December 6, 2010

★ Inspiring Young Minds

A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of visiting the Art Department of Technology High School in Newark, New Jersey and speaking with one of the Art teachers, Ms. Davis. From the moment I started speaking with Ms. Davis, I was impressed by her love for her profession. Since I generally deal with designers or printers on a commercial level, it was refreshing to see someone that loved the traditional side of art. Above, is a stock print of an American Flag that her class laminated, dissected into little pieces, and then reassembled using tiny metal rings. Besides teaching her students that art consists of creativity, hard work, and precision, she has also imparted that even familiar things can become beautiful in the right hands. Notice the beautiful mosaic effect the piece now has and the motion of the flag blowing in the wind that is captured! Great job Ms. Davis and Technology High Students!

Monday, October 11, 2010

★ 5Qs with Radim Malinic

Rob: Today I have the extreme pleasure of chatting with a man who is globally known for his unique concepts, vibrant use of color, and award winning style, today I welcome Radim Malinic to 5Qs!

Q1: Hello Radim. Can you tell me a little about yourself?

Radim: On an average day you’d find me tapping into my Wacom tablet, listening to loud music of pretty much every genre, being sarcastic, happy giving advice to people who ask for help and generally smiling all day. Though technically I work as a freelance art director, commercial illustrator and print designer. I’ve been full time freelance since Spring 2007 and I can proudly say I have been having a lot of fun working on some amazing campaigns during that time. My commissions have been very different and provided me with generous scope to experiment with various media and platforms. My up to date portfolio can be found at

Rob: I am such a big fan! I came across your Book of Colours when it first came out in a design magazine and have been hooked ever since. You have been contracted by so many awesome companies!

When did you first realize that you wanted to do this?

Radim: I wish I could put a finger on that moment that made me realise that I could be creative and get paid for it too. I believe in happy accidents and getting into design could be counted as one of them. As a teenager I was fascinated with all then new graphics applications but only had a little play back then. I wanted to do music and decided to spend next few years playing in a band and then djing, traveling and generally not thinking about what I’d like to be or do. Then when I was almost in my mid twenties, I’d pick up the basics that I learned almost a decade ago. I was fascinated how far graphic design and computer graphics have moved on and I wanted to know everything about it. I guess the moment when I realized I wanted to be a designer, it was when I got my first job as a junior designer and I never looked back ever since.

Rob: Creativity always seems to start with curiosity and fascination.

Q3: What do you feel is your strongest asset?

Radim: I’d like to think it is the diversity of my art direction and work itself. I was lucky not to struggle in the economic down turn, due to a fact that I can be approached with a lot of different projects. My signature style plays a key part in new commissions but overall the end result is always something new. I’m primarily working in CMYK for print, which still accounts for 85% of my overall output but in the recent years I’ve been increasingly working for web and interactive tools. I don’t follow templates, I don’t follow formats therefore I can always produce something that doesn’t look out of the box.

Rob: That's great to hear you say that print is still 85% of your work. A lot of the work in our industry has seemed to migrate to screens, but I too have found that designers who can produce high quality work will still be sought after now matter what state the economy is in!

Q4: What would you like to be known for?

Radim: I’d like to think I’ve been very generous with help towards anyone who approached me for advise or help at some point of their and mine career. I’m rather plain speaking person and I do hate when people try to cheat their way in the front of you. Creative industry is full of people who’d like to achieve celebrity rockstar status but don’t really have the talent to back it with. I had never thought I would be making pretty pictures for living and I never thought I would be making them for some of the biggest companies in the world. It was never my plan and for that reason I think it worked out. I would like to be known for putting smile on people's faces.

Rob: Radim, you are a "rock star" of design and yet you responded to my interview request. I think I'm still surprised, lol.

Q5: What was your most successful moment?

Radim: If I was only allowed to pick one moment, I’d pick the day when I realized I could quit my day job and be full time freelancer. There have been many successful campaigns, amazing illustration jobs and the press coverage ever since, but none of it would be possible if I was still working in the environment that wasn’t as fun to work at. I believe one can only produce work of the best quality, if they work for themselves and put their time and passion into creating it. If you were to look at the majority of amazing work produced now and very recently, you can spot the majority of that chunk would be done by individual artists. They can be left to their own devices to experiment with new styles and techniques as they don’t feel under pressure to obey companies corporate guidelines and rules.

Rob: Words to live by and a great note to end on!

Brand Nu, it has been such a delight to have you with us today. Please make sure you to view all of Radim's work on especially this promo vid for Book Three, Central St Martins, and this campaign illustration for Fuze. Follow Radim on Twitter for all the @Brand_Nu News!

Keep clicking and My Ink Pad for more 5Qs: Interviews with the Best in the Industry.

Monday, August 2, 2010

★ My Stop Motion Fetish

To jump start my week a classy designer I know, my very good friend, Oscar Furtado sent me a link to a video called The Pen Story. This amazing display of creative genius, utilizing over 60,000 pictures, animates a story of a life with my new fave technique, Stop Motion, left me speechless.
Needless to say, after watching this vid I had to watch the second production entitled Pen Giant (pictured above) where Olympus cameras contracted the source of their inspiration forThe Pen Story, 26 year old director, Takeuchi Taijin.

Click Here to visit the set and learn more about this wonderful project.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

★ Spot Light on Invisible Creature is nifty little showcase of creativity put to good use. With 4 Grammy nominations for music packaging and a client list of heavy-hitters such as: Target, Nike, New York Times, Interscope, Sony, MTV, Nickelodeon, etc. they are their own creative community.

My personal IC Favs include: the Pedal Punk Poster, Spin the Stork Game, the T-Shirt design for Grain Edit , Ivoryline's "There Came a Lion" packaging and the grand finale- Hawk Nelson "...Is My Friend" packaging which unfolds into a candyland looking game!

Hurry and surf their site and tell the world which IC masterpieces are your favs!

Friday, July 2, 2010

★ Spot Light on Patrick Boivin

The other day I stumbled upon a Tweet that contained a stop motion video by Patrick Boivin. Patrick Boivin is the super genius behind stop motion animation pieces such as AT-AT day afternoon, Black Ox Skateboard, Iron Man vs. Bruce Lee, and the below, which is my favorite Jackson vs. Bean.

Even though Patrick is Amazing at directing, writing scripts, and the art of stop motion animation, he has also produced masterpieces in the categories of short films, music videos, and even some interactive games. Click here to see more of his work and intellect on YouTube and Vimeo.