Cubicle Fugitive. Marketing Simplified.

about us >> blarg

  • Roundup #2

    by Kalvin MacLeod | Jun 28, 2012

    Just a quick list of the recent launches here at Cubicle Fugitive (and no, our new site is not one of them. Anyone know a good marketing company that has the time to build us a site?).

    Anywho, in no particular order, we've recently launched:

    Some exciting things in the works. Stay tuned.

    Go comment!
  • March Roundup

    by Kalvin MacLeod | Apr 04, 2012

    Just a quick update to announce a few recent site launches last month. Insert drumroll if you like, but here they are:

    Institute of Law Clerks of Ontario

    Established in 1968, the Institute of Law Clerks of Ontario links Law Clerks in a network that establishes and supports the highest professional standards. We redeveloped the site from the ground up to be more user friendly and manageable. The site uses our legal content management system and robust job module management.

    www.ilco.on.ca

    MedSleep

    MedSleep clinics provide clinical consultation, diagnostic services (sleep testing) and treatment for the full spectrum of sleep disorders. We provided a full site redevelopment and an intuitive and scalable content management system.

    www.medsleep.com

    AvantSleep

    AvantSleep is comprised of a team of dedicated Sleep Apnea professionals that guide patients through the entire process including diagnosis, treatment and any ongoing follow-up. We provided design their health care website building the site upon our health care content management system.

    www.avantsleep.com

    Eisenberg Young LLP

    Hamilton Immigration Law Firm with two Certified Immigration Specialists. We designed and developed their new site which includes our our legal content management system.

    www.eisenbergyoung.com

    More to come really soon.

     

    Go comment!
  • Free dog food

    by Chris Lombardo | Jan 24, 2012

    They say nothing in this world is free. I beg to differ.

    When we first got our puppy, we did what every proud new owner does and made the trip to our local pet store. We happily chatted with a very knowledgeable staff, who informed us on making educated decisions about caring for our dog. We bought some food and a few other items we didn’t really need. Over the years we continued to frequent the same shop for our pet supplies. As a courtesy they would often mention their policy - keep your receipts, after 5 purchases, you get a free bag of dog food. So the other night, I strolled in with my 5 receipts, picked up our regular 40LB. bag of food and went to the cash, proudly presenting my receipts. The cashier looked them over and said "yep. You’re good to go. Enjoy"

    That’s it? No questionnaire? No requirement to sign over my first born? Not even an ask for an e-mail address. I was surprised. I was at least expecting to have to fill out my name and address. I walked out thinking this is a huge marketing opportunity missed. What a big mistake. But then I thought about how refreshing it was. I was happy, knowing I would continue to purchase from our favourite store. I was in and out in 5 minutes with a free bag of dog food. Not a mini version of our brand, but the same 40 lb. bag we always buy.

    In today’s day and age it has become expected that we hand over our information in return for something else - a discount, prize, whatever. Facebook is worth billions because of the amount of personal information they have collected. For once it was nice to experience some old school marketing - come to our store and we’ll reward you in return. No scams, no strings, just pure customer loyalty with no hidden agenda. Sometimes simply being nice can go a long way in building your company, culture and brand.

    Go comment!
  • So, what makes a good logo?

    by Chris Lombardo | Jan 13, 2012

    Since the dawn of time we have used symbols to communicate. Today we have universal symbols, traffic symbols, web symbols and monkeys with cymbals. One of the most popular uses of symbols today is what we call a logo. A quick Wiki search yields a comprehensive explanation of what a logo is. Take a walk in any major city and you will quickly learn the power of a good logo. We are bombarded with them from the moment we open our eyes. Most people can identify more logos than tree species. We covet items (real or fake) simply because they have a certain logo on them. People revolt when logos are changed. The logo is a powerful marketing tool. However, not all logos are created equal.

    Below are just a few thoughts that should be considered before the logo is designed:

    Your company name - No matter how good the designer is they are going to have a hard time making the logo legible if it contains too many letters or words. The most recognizable logos contain one or two words, and are usually short ones at that. This approach increases recall, makes it easier to spell and say (how can someone recommend you if they can’t say your name?) and it makes it easier to search, reducing the likelihood of mistakes. Sometimes long names are inevitable. In this case reverting to an abbreviation for the logo can help achieve the aforementioned.

    The message - the logo doesn’t have to communicate what the company does. In fact, it’s often better to not be specific. While some applaud Starbucks for being so recognizable that it could drop the identifiers in the logo, in reality it was probably a strategic move to position the company as one that offers more than coffee. Once you’ve put your stake in the ground it is difficult (and expensive) to change perceptions.

    Creating a logo may seem like an easy task, after all it’s just a font with or without and icon/image. But creating a good one takes more than a computer. This is how the Cubicle Fugitive rebranding process started. We developed our strategic direction, and then began the brain dump using good ole’ fashioned paper and pencil. Sketching like this allows the artist to think quickly using their skills and experience and worry about the finer details later. Figuring out whether the logo should be in a box, circle, big, small, line, bold, or slanted, is much quicker and easier to do with a pencil. By using the computer as the sketch pad it’s too easy to get caught up in the fine details - what font, what size, what spacing, the list continues. As you may expect, this process can be time consuming, but the result is often far more compelling and strategic. To get the best logo you have to explore all the options and they are plentiful.

    The criteria for a logo has not changed in some time. A logo should:

    • be relevant

      your logo is often the first impression of the company. When it is received it should send a message about the business or culture. A professional, custom logo can and should help establish trust.

    • be simple

      The design has to work in one colour - black. Relying on colour or treatments to “sell” the design only masks the design deficiency. At some point it will need to be simplified. If the design is simple it will allow the logo to be used in a variety of sizes (postage stamp to football field) and formats. Too complex and visibility, legibility and recognition are compromised.

    • be memorable

      the easiest way to be remembered is to be different. Perhaps that means a unique shape, font or the addition of a secondary design element.

    • be versatile

      The logo needs to work in a variety of sizes, formats and situations. How will the logo look when it is on a dark background? Can it be placed over an image and still be effective? Sometimes it is what you do with the logo that is just as important as the logo itself.

    • be timeless

      Leave trends to the fashion industry. Adding unnecessary flourishes, treatments or stylization will quickly date your logo. You can change your jeans. Changing your logo is a little more expensive.

    A good logo should be all of these things. Take a look at some of the most recognizable logos and you’ll agree that they meet the criterion. Note that they do not rely on colour, fancy production techniques or animation to make them work. Of course there is more to a successful logo than just design. Here are a few necessary ingredients to logo longevity.

    OWN IT.

    If your company is lucky enough to have something that is unique, own it. If you don’t have something unique, invent it, then own it. This could be a tag line, a colour or a secondary design element, but once you have that thing that will make you unique, embrace it, love it and have the courage to show the world. Stay true to it. Today, you don’t have to spend millions to have many eyeballs on your logo. Eventually you can be known for that one thing that makes you unique and you will earn a spot in the memory for perpetuity. By being the only one or the first you can establish yourself as a leader.

    BELIEVE IN IT.

    When something new is introduced it can be hard to get everyone to love it. Decision by committee can be difficult. 100% consensus can seem like a zebra unicorn. Adhering to the “good” list can help speed the process and offers measurable qualities to cross-reference while the logo is under development. Once you have it, believe that it is great and it will be.

    LIVE IT.

    If your logo is established to communicate that the business is an approachable, friendly company, but everyone in it is miserable, than no one will believe the logo. The logo will lose credibility. The company and the people in it have to live up to the promise of the logo. You can design a logo to be luxurious, but there are many other factors that contribute to whether people perceive it as such.

    Sometimes a logo is just a logo. It doesn’t attempt to meet this criteria, it just exists. This is usually a conscious strategic decision. The logo becomes a secondary element to other elements that will shape the brand. This maybe a unique shape, colour or combination. Elements like this as well as photography and art direction can be the leaders in shaping your brand. A good design company will have these things in mind while they design the logo. It is all of these elements together that shape how your company is portrayed. Logo utopia is achieved when the brand becomes so powerful the logo isn’t even needed for brand recognition. And that is the power or marketing

    Go comment!
  • Humans Unite! CEO vs. SEO

    by Kalvin MacLeod | Dec 21, 2011

    Originally Published in TLOMA Today's December 2011 Issue.

    A little while back I wrote an article on what not to do when search engine optimizing and promised a follow up on best practices. That article got me thinking more about what it means to be Optimized (Capital O) and the consequences thereof. By its very definition, SEO is the art of building a website in such a way that search engines enjoy the reading material and reward you for it. And it is here where there is a bit of a disconnect between the means and the ends. This is not saying that appeasing the search engine gods isn’t important – for certain areas of law (Personal Injury, Family Law, etc.), it’s essential to rank well, but it is more essential that you connect with your target audience. And for that I think it’s time we stop talking so much about SEO and start implementing a CEO strategy, or what we at Cubicle Fugitive affectionately refer to as Client Experience Optimization.

    We’ve all heard the stories about the wonders of SEO and how if you stuff your website with every keyword you can think of and get every external link available and make your titles long and onerous and ensure that there are 20 hyphenated keywords in your URL, Google will probably call you directly to say thanks. The truth is, some of this works, meaning, unfortunately, that Google’s index is literally littered with obtuse and challenging websites that rank well for a chosen keyword but fail in every other category.

    Client Experience Optimization, on the other hand, doesn’t focus on beating the system and tricking search engines into giving out high rankings; it focuses, instead, on accurately demonstrating your thought leadership and level of authoritative expertise through meaningful content and strategic design. By focusing your website on information that is relevant to your clients and presenting it in an easily consumable fashion you are actually performing SEO by osmosis and subsequently improve your chances of making the all-important client connection.

    No matter where your clients are coming from—whether it is referrals, search engines, direct advertising, whatever—it’s not really about SEO. It’s about building a website that enhances the client experience and invites them to make contact. SEO experts will say, “Give me 6 months to optimize your website and Google will love you”. In some cases this is true and a website will rocket up the rankings. The problem is that these optimizations favour machine reading over cognitive understanding. The whole point of having a website is to make a connection with your visitor and engage them in a relevant conversation that demonstrates that you have the expertise and knowledge to address the need for which they have visited your site. It is obviously important that we first get a visitor to your site, but it is more important that that same visitor enjoys the experience—that is, they are greeted with a professional and eye-pleasing design, can quickly and easily find the information they need and are properly funnelled to any calls to action.

    To truly optimize the client experience you need to think as the client would (or think as you do when you’re the client). Try to understand what the client is looking for and provide it to them in a simple and intuitive manner. If your clients are the type that are wowed by bells and whistles then you may have to cater to that circus, but for the most part, people come to a website looking for an answer to a question: Can the people behind this website solve my problem? Odds are you can, so prove it to them. Give them the information that uniquely identifies your firm as the right solution to their issues and present that information where they can see it. It’s ok to put a few keywords in the context of your answer (and to be honest, if you’ve answered the question correctly the keywords are already there). To get keywords into your title ensure that your title properly reflects the answer you’re giving and the keywords will take care of themselves. Use a content management system for your website architecture and the URL will already be SEO friendly. Ensure everything your website stands for—every piece of content, every bell, most whistles—are all used for the purpose of improving the client experience.

    CEO is true for both the hyper competitive search engine-reliant site and sites that are mostly referral and word-of-mouth dependent.  After all, the visitor to both of these sites is similar in one important aspect: they’re human. Make the site easy to use and your visitor will thank you for it. Make the site a jumbled mess of keywords and 2000 character URLs and that same visitor/human will more than likely hit the back button and choose the competitor that is two slots down on the Google ranking chart, but has readily available, relevant and grammatically correct content.

    Please don’t take this post the wrong way (and don’t take me for a fence sitter either!): SEO is important, sites need exposure to succeed. If a beautifully designed website falls in a forest, and no one ever visits it…well, you get the idea. So SEO is an important tool for the marketing tool belt. What’s more important though, and what is the true measure of success, is not the amount of traffic but the amount of conversions and for that you need to focus not on what a search engine likes to see but what the client experience should be. After all, how many search engine spiders do you currently count as clients?

    Kalvin MacLeod is a principle in the marketing firm Cubicle Fugitive (www.cubiclefugitive.com) and has many years of experience dealing with the unique time constraints of law firm marketing. He also runs the online legal directory TorontoLawyers.ca (www.torontolawyers.ca). Oddly enough, in another life, he was the IT manager for a few downtown firms and still wakes up on occasion from nightmares about the possibility of blackberry servers crashing and other sordid tales. He can be reached at kalvin.macleod@cubiclefugitive.com.
    Go comment!
  • No Movember

    by Kalvin MacLeod | Dec 02, 2011

    For us it wasn’t Movember, it was November as in No posts in Movember. What a month. Between tradeshows and speaking engagements we managed to launch nothing new (except www.voodoollp.com – a microsite for our TLOMA conference), made some headway on our own website (not that you can see any of it here), got our photos done, wrote a few articles, advanced a bunch of projects on the go, used whatever precious downtime was available to build LEGO vehicles and cityscapes and basically burnt the candle at both ends.

    There really is so much to capture here but so little time. Let’s tackle some of it briefly below:

    TLOMA Conference – We work with a lot of area law firms and many are part of TLOMA (The Law Office Management Association). They held their annual conference in Blue Mountain this year and for the first time in CF history we were exhibitors. The event was great, from Friday night dinner and Friday night drinks with the Delegates to the actual tradeshow participation on the Saturday, it was a good time by all. Our super-secret tradeshow giveaway ended up being a popular item (info about it can be found here).

    Here are  few random picks:

    Branding Speaking Engagement – Morgan spoke at a Lunch and Learn to many local area law office managers at a recent TLOMA event, mainly, in my opinion, to show off her new boots (if you were there you understand).

    Photoshoot – Our great friend and often collaborator, Ian Brown, took some time out of his busy schedule to photograph our rag tag crew (and by rag tag, I mostly mean me). I’ve included a few of the shots below. Somehow he made us look like a rockband (of the Nickelback variety) which is no simple feat. Thanks Ian.

    Our website progress – I owe this blog a technology post about all the cool features we’ve implemented for our website backend, functionality like sophisticated content modules with intricate interlinking built directly into the functionality, hierarchical content control, social media integrations, megamenus and so much more. That post should also talk about how we decided to end our Azure experiment before it got too far along. Hosting in that particular cloud was expensive, frustrating and of very little added benefit. Sorry Microsoft.

    The project whirlwind – Public execution has gone dark because so much is going on behind the scenes here to ready a slew of new brands and sites. We don’t make a habit of talking about projects until they are complete. That habit continues.

    So does the habit of sporadic updates...for a little while.

    Go comment!
  • Nip and tuck

    by Morgan MacLeod | Oct 17, 2011

    It’s funny how putting something to print forces you to commit. At the 11th hour last week – right before we sent our trade show creative off to print and I left for NYC for a much needed vacation – I suddenly realized that I needed to see another iteration of our logo.

    Call me crazy, but the one I had agreed to just wasn’t working. I loved when it was big, sliced and diced, but it was still too random for me on its own. It needed some further simplification.

    We looked at it line-by-line and curve-by-curve. After a few more hours of stretching and poking, we actually found something that we could all agree on. Something that resembled the logical-anarchy Kalvin craves with the designed-freedom Chris strives for. For me, it’s all about taking something apart, looking at all the pieces and finding the best, most effective way to pull them all back together – and not necessarily the same way the instructions tell you. To me, our “revised” new logo pulls it all together.

    So with small trumpets playing here's the final final scribble (we think).

    Go comment!
  • The whole truth

    by Kalvin MacLeod | Oct 12, 2011

    So there’s Chris’s version of how we got our scribble and then there is the real truth. Not that everything Chris said isn’t actually true, it’s just more politically correct than I would have put it. Sitting around the room with five people and discussing the merits of one scribble over another is a fascinating examination of personalities as a whole. The real struggle was not to find the right scribble but to find the right identity. Exactly what scribble was going to sum up who we are as a company in 2011. It may seem a little ridiculous that any scribble could come to represent what a company stands for, but, now that we’ve gone through the process ourselves, I believe staring at scribbles is great group therapy. In fact, I'd recommend the process as a great exploration exercise to any company looking to rebrand. Get everyone involved to draw a scribble, paste them all on a board, ask the committee of decision makers to choose one and then sit back and watch the sparks fly.

    In our case in particular, and although we all get along quite swimmingly here, the Great Scribble Debate was one for the ages.  At first we all liked a specific scribble and then I didn’t like it anymore (don’t know why, but one day it just turned into a butterfly) and then, none of us really liked the scribble we had agreed upon and then some liked a different one, and I didn’t like any of them. Then there was one that I liked but everyone thought was too angry and then I was angry because no one liked what I was certain was the true representation of a scribble.

    The battle raged on. Another round of scribbles and one looked like ninja star (Perfect, JT said. No way in hell, Morgan disagreed--of course, I played peace keeper and suggested the angry scribble instead). Another round of scribbles and I think it was Andrea who said, "they are all starting to look the same."

    "Except that one," I said. It looks like the Starship Enterprise." Blank stares. No consensus.

    It's funny, if you look around my desk right now you’ll see scribbles on everything. Everyone had a pencil in hand trying to scribble like they weren’t trying to, but what I found was that when you think about scribbling you just end up drawing instead. Even worse, everything I put on paper looked like a butterfly. Erggh! The dispute boiled down to one thing, the truthfulness of a scribble. Can you design a scribble or does it need to be completely random? I thought random, Chris and Morgan thought designed. They both brought up good points. If we used something completely random, what does that say about us as a company. We’re not random are we? I can still hear them ask. Around that time, it was common to see the angry scribble appear above my head. I don’t like that they were right. As much as random, messiness appeals to me, it’s the wrong message. We take random messiness and make it simpler. We’re the anti-random-messiness, in a way. So we needed another round of designs. Chris, as chief scribbler, took everyone’s best attempt at describing what a scribble meant to them (the lines need to thinner or thicker, there should be a tail, less tail, more sharp edges, less sharp edges, no more butterflies, MORE messiness) and came up with a scribble that is actually both ordered and chaotic, designed but still messy. It’s something we call ‘calculated audacity’ and, to us, is a clear identifier of our business. Our scribble says this: We take your complex business objectives and turn them into actionable and measureable solutions. Basically, we take chore of marketing and make it simpler. I mean really, if we’re talking truths here, who doesn’t want that?

    Go comment!
  • Eureka!

    by Chris Lombardo | Oct 07, 2011

    One day I was driving and thinking (not illegal. Yet.) And then it hit. An idea!

    A scribble!

    No? A scribble? Yes. A scribble.

    A scribble is free. Unconfined. My first thought was, Had this been done before? I vaguely remembered the AOL Version. I thought about it. I pulled out my art history books and re-read about some of my favourite artists that were a part of the abstract expressionist movement. I liked the fact that this approach was slightly rebellious and anarchic, which fit well with our name. This post-war period was just as concerned with the emotions and methods of creating the art instead as they were with the message behind the art. It was a true example of how the medium is the message. And so I began to scribble.

    And scribble. I did it in pencil. I scribbled in paint. I did it in marker. I explored different lines, weights, the fluidity, the coarseness, what I liked, what I didn’t. Ultimately I started to digitize the scribble. Lets just say, scribbling with a mouse is not easy. So I bought a Wacom pad and scribbled more. I explored different brushes, went through the gamut of settings to find a brush that we agreed had the right balance of simplicity, yet interest in line weight and curvature. Of course, we are completing work for clients simultaneously so I never got too far into this, but it was quite evident that we liked where this was going.

     

    What we discovered next was that the scribble didn’t actually look like a scribble. It looked too much like an illustration of a scribble.

    Finding that balance of something that was expressive yet polished enough that we could plaster it everywhere took restraint. As a designer I wanted to control how the lines overlapped, the negative spaces it created and I wanted to be sure it would reduce and work in different formats. I explored how it looked when the shapes went 2d, 3d, different colours, big, small, fill, no fill, gradients, you name it. Ultimately everyone helped me see that it didn’t need to be designed. In fact designing a scribble no longer made it a scribble. So I scribbled until we found one that expression our vision.

     

    After many iterations and some very technical discussions, like – too fat, too round, too simple, too neat, too messy, looks like a bow, looks like a butterfly – we learned a bit about ourselves and how our personalities were shaping the identity. You would think that something we learn to do at a very early age would be easy. Whether we debated the shape or the message of the scribble, it was evident that what we were really discussing was whether it represented who/what our company is – just as any logo should. We decided the execution needed to be a combination of a controlled, smooth, pretty line and a wild, raw, unpolished scribble.

     After a few more executions we were closer to what we envisioned. The final was created by combining a polished, controlled version, and one that is raw and expressive. When they were combined there was no fanfare, parade of circus clowns, or confetti dropping from the ceiling. We were all gathered around, looked at each other and said – yes. That’s it. That’s the scribble. And so the Cubicle Fugitive scribble was born. I finessed a bit, created the black and white and reverse options.

    During this whole process we had experimented with our corporate colour palate. You can see hints of the spectrum in the first scribble above. During the process we decided to keep it simple and keep the palate limited. Today it rests with black, white, and Pantone 3255 – an evolution of our existing palate, but changed to be more contemporary and timeless. The new teal blue is fresh, yet warm, rich yet friendly. We are still discussing and developing a few other colours that would be added as subtle complements to the main palate.

    During the whole design process I had expressed some concern for legibility of the scribble when reduced. While we knew these instances would be few and far between, I wanted to be sure it met these basic design requirements.  As one of our executions we and investigated the logo in shapes. Tying the logo and scribble to the shape and having the scribble “explode” from the shape fit well with my vision of breaking free – after all it’s what we do for our clients – help them break free of the ordinary.

     

    So, with a collective gasp, the logo was created.  But, this was only the beginning. It’s not building the logo, but what you do with that makes it special. We’ll see what happens….

    Go comment!
  • Why so quiet?

    by Kalvin MacLeod | Oct 05, 2011
    So things have gone a bit quiet on the ol’ public execution site as of late. We’re currently revamping the technology that powers our sites and like all technological leaps it can be both liberating and downright frustrating. If you haven't guessed, we’re in the frustrating phase at the moment, the phase where, for me, most of the day is holed up in front of my computer like the quintessential computer geek that I pretend not to be. Write code, test, debug, repeat, has pretty much been my life for the last 4 weeks. The time, of course, will pay off as we’re currently putting the wraps on our new legal content management system, built upon the great Sitefinity CMS, that will make editing a law firm website even more efficient than our last iteration. Of course, we don’t think it's right to test these new tools on an existing, or soon to be existing client, so we’ve chosen as our guinea pig the firm of Cubicle and Fugitive LLP. Although not actually a real law firm we're also a professional service firm as well, so everything mirrors quite well. Many of the modules we’ve created—lawyer management, case management, practice area management—while differing in vocab, all coincide quite remarkably with how we’re structured: people management, portfolio management and service management). Anyway, this isn't meant to be an interesting blog post, so, to keep things dull I'll just say there’s a reason we’ve gone dark. Its name is technology. We’re really close to being able to add some of these tools to our site and once we do the real development begins.
    Go comment!

If you must visit our current site, please click here.

Our Contact Information

Cubicle Fugitive
1968 Edenvale Crescent
Burlington, ON
L7P 3L9

905.635.8067
info@cubiclefugitive.com
www.cubiclefugitive.com

 

 

Quick contact

Industries served

Client services

What others are saying

"Hands on, informed, understand and appreciate the importance of their services to the client and always deliver at an exceptional level every time on every project.”

Connect

Facebook Twitter
LinkedIn RSS

1968 Edenvale Crescent / Burlington, ON / L7P 3L9
p: 905 635 8067 / e: info@cubiclefugitive.com