On a cold, rainy day in November the ABC team gathered for our annual new year game-planning. Amidst the lunchtime rush at Hu Kitchen in Union Square, we took time to reflect on 2016 and have an honest conversations about where we’re headed in 2017.

Full disclosure here: it’s been a whirlwind year for ABC. We kicked off 2016 in black-out mode, working quietly and internally on our own rebrand and website launch. Our calendars were booked in the spring with new brand projects, website design, and developing the communication strategy arm of the business. During the summer we took…

If your cell phone is Robin, then your Contact Book is Batman. With the touch of an app, you can have an Uber pick you up in five minutes, suavely (or not so suavely) flirt with someone across town, or order a perfectly customized burrito bowl (extra guac, no cheese).

The smart phone has helped us master the art of living seamlessly and effortlessly.

But it’s still failing us at the one thing it was originally created to do — making us better at life and work, by connecting us with the people who matter most.

How many times have…

It’s no secret the book publishing industry is tough. Getting a coveted book deal is harder than ever, and the self-publishing boom means a higher saturation of other people’s books with less face-time for your own.

Competition is even fiercer when you’ve got your eye on one of the Big 5 publishers. It’s not enough to have a beautifully written book; as companies themselves, publishers judge manuscripts by their business prospects.

“Think of publishers like venture capitalists but for ideas,” said author Jenny Blake, in the Pivot Podcast. “What they really want to see is a business plan: who are…

Thoughts in progress.

In the startup world, we know that the brands that resonate are the ones with crystal clear identities and powerful aesthetics. So it’s no wonder creative agencies and design firms have been identified as the key to business success.

But design is more than just knowing how to use Adobe Illustrator or finding that perfect company typeface. At ABC, our work is fueled by inner motivations that go beyond what we do day to day. It leads to meaningful client collaboration, and seeing ourselves as members of the greater community of design, tech, and brand innovators.

So what’s inside the mind of a Brooklyn design agency? Here are soundbites from our everyday conversations that speak to why we do what we do.

“Branding requires a multifaceted…

Image courtesy of Unsplash.com

They say a picture is worth a thousand words.

And it’s true. Design and visuals are freaking awesome.

But when was the last time your business successfully did anything without the use of at least a few words? A sentence here, a catchy line here, a joke there?

I mean, have you ever created a contract with hieroglyphics? Done an interpretive dance to make a sale? Didn’t think so.

In today’s image-focused and newsletter-ridden business landscape, we all know that brand is emperor and content is king. But the thing is, brand and content must work together for optimal benefits.

Image courtesy of Unsplash.com

There’s something really exciting about branding your business. Or nerve wracking, depending on who you are. You’ve got your business idea down, as well as a sense of who you are. You’re ready to make some bold moves in your industry, and now it’s time to unify all this strategic thought and ambitious energy into a strong brand identity that would make anyone want to swipe right.

As a multidisciplinary team with diverse backgrounds, we’ve seen the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to branding: from creative breakthroughs and perfected logos, to baggy eyes and fights over…

Pattern design via Spillover Club

With 543,000 new businesses created each month (and at least as many shutting down), it’s all about survival of the fittest. And to be fit, you need to constantly ideate, iterate, test and repeat.

Surviving to the next economic cycle means being different, being cunning, and being smart about your use of energy. In the quest for market share and customer fame, you can’t have it all, like that prime Mountain View office space and the fancy lunches.

But what’s the one thing that can’t be pushed aside? Your brand—your company’s number one spokesperson.

But before you go out and…

We get it. In the throes of passionately doing what you love, it’s easy to throw up a website, scribble a logo, and bang out a mission statement for your business. After all, it’s the work that you want to do that matters. Not your brand. Right?

Wrong answer.

Your brand is your organization’s number one spokesman, shiny shoes and all. And you know what happens to shiny shoes?

They get scuffed up. You grow out of them. You decide to go barefoot in the rain.

Before you know it, it’s time to get a new pair. And just like…

After a five-month sprint rebranding and redesigning our entire company identity, we’ve got some stories to tell. There have been late nights. There have been fights over triangles. Somewhere along the way someone might have snapped, “Shut it, Gemini!”

This is pretty normal. At least in our house.

In our business-think, design-do world, creativity is our currency. That means we’re hyper-aware of our team’s personality types — and, naturally, astrological signs.

We’re tight with the planets, and we’ve seen how the astrological signs of our team members operate during the rebranding process. Here’s what to expect:

Aries: Fire-breathing grasshopper.

As an eager and…

We at ABC like to call Gen Z the Boundless Generation. It’s the first generation to not know a world without wi-fi, smartphones and social media. Incredibly tech-savvy, they will become the youngest generation ever to control 40% of the consumer spending by the year 2020.

As the generation grows up, the education, retail and technology industries continue to evolve to better serve this digitally native, supercharged consumer group. And now that Gen Z is pushing past 50% of the campus population, it’s time real estate developers start paying attention to them, too.

So what is Gen Z looking for…

ABC Design Lab

ABC helps businesses evolve through strategic branding, communications, and digital design. www.abcdesignlab.co

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