Brad Pettengill

In addition to his role on our team as senior designer and art director, Brad is a professional photographer and long-time Kung Fu instructor. With all that fodder for blogging, Brad narrows his focus to write about design and balance in graphics, photography and life outside work.

Recent Posts

Logo, Corporate Identity or Brand — What’s the Difference?

Logo, Corporate Identity or Brand — What’s the difference? When a company begins to consider ways to visually represent themselves, their product, service or idea, these terms are sometimes used interchangeably. There are significant differences though, and building a solid understanding of these three terms is valuable for every marketer.

Posted by Brad Pettengill on 9/28/17 10:00 AM

Basic Quality Control for your Brand Image


It’s a familiar problem. You have invested a great deal of time and money to create a strong visual identity for your mission-driven organization. But the stuff that’s out there in the public eye representing you is not consistent: colors don't match, your logo is stretched or fuzzy, or your promotional materials appear disjointed and don't speak with one voice. So your brand is compromised. Which can lead to doubt, distrust and lack of confidence in the quality of your service or product. How do you prevent it?

Posted by Brad Pettengill on 8/31/17 10:00 AM

Recycling Green Without Greenwashing

As a boy scout in the early seventies, I walked door-to-door soliciting support for S.O.A.R., Save Our American Resources, in the form of money pledged per mile of an upcoming 25-mile bike ride. I drew the ecology symbol on my school notebook and remember being moved by the iconic “Native American with a tear” commercial on broadcast TV. I pored over the Whole Earth Catalog, grew up among hippies, was fascinated with solar power and Buckminster Fuller, participated in roadside trash cleanups, and dreamed of a litter-free future devoid of air and water pollution. Arthur C. Clarke and other forward-thinking science fiction authors inspired me to think of worlds where starships roamed the galaxy in perfectly controlled environments and human greed and carelessness were a thing of the past. You could safely label me “green.”

Posted by Brad Pettengill on 8/17/17 10:56 AM

A Vermont designer’s marketing observations in Morocco


For her recent birthday, my wife wanted to wake up in an exotic location. She wanted to experience Morocco, despite the warnings from friends and family about "that part of the world" in this current geopolitical climate. Nevertheless, she persisted, and soon we were poring over printouts from Google Earth, planning the route that would take us around the entire country in seven days.

Posted by Brad Pettengill on 7/27/17 10:00 AM

How to work with your designer to get the best logo design

Posted by Brad Pettengill on 6/29/17 10:00 AM

Vision Changes: Typography for Aging Audiences


A reader recently responded to my blog post Typeface Choice: Ask yourself Three Questions, by raising an important series of questions on changing vision, information accessibility and type readability for an aging population. The reader works for a nonprofit community support agency that is developing outreach materials for rural seniors, adults with disabilities, caregivers and potential volunteers, and wanted advice on the best typeface to use to “keep the printed conversation going with our target population.”

Posted by Brad Pettengill on 3/23/17 10:00 AM

Which works best for changemakers—Illustration or Photography?


You need visual impact for your upcoming, mission-driven campaign or promotion. Which will work harder for you— illustration or photography? The short answer is, whatever your marketing professional’s research shows will appeal most to your target audience. This research can include customer age, income, education, nationality, gender, political leanings, lifestyle, buying history, and more. There are many other factors, though, such as the look and feel of your campaign, your brand story, the specifics of your marketing efforts. Every situation is unique, but here are some guidelines.

Posted by Brad Pettengill on 2/23/17 10:00 AM

Design for Activism


Whether you are marketing a product to improve the environment using triple bottom line principles, working on a campaign to increase awareness of your socially responsible community service organization, or rallying support for your ideas for change using grass roots activism, impactful design will play a critical role in your success.

Posted by Brad Pettengill on 1/26/17 10:30 AM

How to Achieve Marketing Consistency in Your Materials


So you’ve decided to invest in a multi-faceted, multi-channel marketing campaign. Your presence, message and branding will appear in many channels—online ads, a website, a video on your website, newspaper ads, magazine print ads, signage, brochures, etc. Wondering how you will achieve a consistent look across all these iterations, and what just exactly is "marketing consistency" anyway? 

Posted by Brad Pettengill on 10/20/16 10:54 AM

Why should your nonprofit invest in good design?


Why should your nonprofit invest in good design? Your mission is pressing, the needs are great — why spend money on design when it seems like it would be better spent on something that has a more direct effect on your customer. Here’s why. Good design is universally understood and people respond to it.

Good design sells. Whatever you’re selling or promoting.

Posted by Brad Pettengill on 9/15/16 11:00 AM

10 Effective Design Principles You Need to Know


Whether you’re creating a new page design for your website, an online ad, print brochure or an infographic, many of the same design principles apply. Color choice, use of shapes, and page layout or composition can make or break your marketing’s effectiveness. The difference between putting information on a page and actually making it visually appealing and effective so it works well for your marketing, is a singular focus on visual hierarchy or eye path.

Posted by Brad Pettengill on 7/21/16 11:00 AM

Marketing with Color: The Good, the Bad, the Ugly


Last week I ran across a New York Times article detailing one marketing research company’s process to determine the ugliest color in the world. The winner, Pantone 448, was voted ugliest color in a survey of 1,000 smokers. As the article reports, “It was described as looking like death, filth, lung tar or baby excrement…” The purpose of this was to use that color in a social marketing campaign against tobacco—to get people to associate ugliness with tobacco use, to reinforce its detrimental health affects in a visual and subconscious way.

Yet some people have positive associations of "chocolate candy" for any dark brown color. How can you and your team decide on the best combination of marketing with color and effectiveness for your next project?

Posted by Brad Pettengill on 6/30/16 11:30 AM

Make a great impression at your next tradeshow


The last time you strolled through a tradeshow you probably made a mental note about those booths and displays that were really engaging and those that looked a bit weak or boring. Here are a few ideas about how to showcase your brand in the best possible light, for the price that fits your budget.

Posted by Brad Pettengill on 5/19/16 10:00 AM

Photo style guidelines: Seven tips for your public sector agency


You're considering an image for your upcoming campaign, but you have an uneasy feeling about its content, tone and style. Perhaps establishing guidelines for creation of new images didn't seem that important for a public sector agency, but now you have more and more calls for images, in a variety of contexts, social media, print advertising, website sliders, etc. You're starting to see the importance of consistency in feel, color, subject matter in your communication, so let’s fall back, regroup and establish photo style guidelines that tell your story, support your mission, and save you time as you move forward.

Posted by Brad Pettengill on 3/24/16 10:00 AM

Your marketing photography: how to hire a professional


There will always be a place for snapshot-quality photos, typically in testimonials and/or social media where professional polish can work against your messaging. But if you are a change agent — a mission-driven business or nonprofit trying to effect change in the world — strong images, professionally produced and on-target, are essential. Here's how to go about hiring a professional for your marketing photography.

Posted by Brad Pettengill on 12/24/15 10:00 AM

Marketing Musings from an American in Ireland


Recently my wife and I traveled to Ireland for our son's destination wedding. Here are a few observations made with my marketing, design and photography eye.

Posted by Brad Pettengill on 11/12/15 10:00 AM

In Marketing, Like Gardening: You Reap What You Sow


A few weeks ago I spent the day in our garden, playing catch-up. After 9 straight hours of weeding, clipping, digging, mounding and watering, I realized that work in the garden has similarities to the marketing efforts you use to grow a business and build a brand. From the day you decide what to grow and when to start, to the first harvest when your kitchen table is covered with tomatoes, the entire process of gardening has remarkable parallels in the marketing world. There are many metaphors for life in gardening, but they all seem to come down to the same basic thing: tend to your garden and you will be rewarded. Reap what you sow.

Posted by Brad Pettengill on 9/3/15 10:00 AM

The Five Worst Photography Mistakes


You need strong images for your marketing campaign and you've decided to use photography as the best way to evoke an emotional response, build your brand and effect change in the hearts and minds of your audience. Whether you're creating images for your blog or website, social media, or shooting high-end product photos, here are 5 common mistakes you'll want to avoid.

Posted by Brad Pettengill on 7/16/15 10:00 AM