‘Tis the season to be all judgey about who’s been naughty and nice, so we’re taking this opportunity to evaluate some schwag we received at the recent Town and Mountain Realty 5th Annual “Home for the Holidays” FUNdraiser.
There are few sectors of the American aesthetic in which both truly bad ideas and truly great ideas compete and dominate in the marketplace. Off the top of my head, I can think of two particularly strong bad/good polarities in the US commercial landscape: Diner food and product design for schwag like koozies.
Today, we will be examining consumer product design in the form of a koozie, coozie, or coozy. According to a combined definitions of two half-authoritative sources at Wikipedia and Urban Dictionary, all of these spellings are correct.
What makes a great koozie? Here is my breakdown of what makes this Town And Mountain Realty koozie a great koozie.
- Simple sleeve design: Lays flat, easy to pack, ages into softness. Not too rigid, overwrought with zippers and other unnecessary complexities.
- Smart color scheme: Pleasing low key color, Forest Green, exudes a quiet confidence and color palate that compliments in many scenarios. Also, the color is relevant to the ‘mountain’ forest. Additionally, the koozie can get dirty without significant deterioration, extending the life of the koozie in the hands of your most enthusiastic fans.
Informed printing technique: Who ever designed this understands that when you are printing a single color on a solid background, there are few stronger print quality options then one very light color on a deep color backdrop. This design taps into the essentials of silkscreen printing success, and bringing the old school principles to the new school applications is smart, be you an iPhone photo artist steeped in the principles of film photography or a Koozie designer for the local real estate company.
- Compelling slogan: Everyone at Flood absolutely loves this slogan: “Some companies have branches, we have roots!” It’s topical and evocative of the Town And Mountain Realty idea: Trees, branches, forests, mountains, roots. This has a natural logic and fit our inner branding guru can’t get enough of.
- A horizon or a medallion: To make a design effective on this small scale, designers are restricted to stringent criteria for high visibility and visual ‘legibility.’ Design for this koozie mirrors best practices for Icon and Emoji design craft. These are designs on a small scale that need to “read” in a simple and recognizable manner for viewers. Collectively, consumers reference a shared visual vocabulary we have been taught unconsciously by the commercial world, the ‘commercial landscape,’ if you will. Emblems, medallions, and landscape horizons organize visual information into a graphic ‘sign’ that shows an awareness of the commercial landscape that helps the viewer see your graphic. In this case, the implication of a landscape with some kind of horizon gives a more open and space oriented feeling, appropriate to life in the mountains. The Town and Mountain design features a cloud and some kind of academic or authoritative structure peaking out of the clouds on top. This is likely a local landmark I’m not familiar with, being new to town, but it conveys a sense of both space and place. (If you have information on this landmark, please add it to comments below!)
- May have been printed locally: We don’t know for sure, but the raised white lettering sure looks like real silkscreening. The suggestion that your local business may have/likely uses local vendors for making promotional material is a great suggestion. If anyone from Town and Mountain would like to comment on this, we will happily update this post the the latest information below!
- Free and useful: People love free stuff, even people who spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on houses. Putting out a free koozie says, “We want your support no matter who you are! We support the culture of our community, as well as the economy. We want everyone to join us!” This attitude is at the core of prosperity, because it paves the way for anyone to participate.
- There is a lot more information about how opening participation to everyone makes people who are wealthy feel more welcome and comfortable to participate in your project or business. On this topic, I highly recommend the short-read, The Spirituality of Fundraising, a concise book on this topic for both businesses and non-profits looking to raise money and involve the entire community.
How to detect a bad coozie:
- It’s always left in the bin when friends come over.
- It came from a wedding you want to forget.
- It has no inspiring medallion or landscape to make the design memorable.
- It is transparently asking the user to represent the company, without giving a compelling reason to do so. (Note: In many ways, this is a core branding issue. The strongest brands have no need to explain why people are repping them. They have worked hard to craft their brand in advance. This allows a strong brand to basically just throw on a logo. The consumer is happy to piggyback on that identity. Coke. Converse. Coachella are a few examples in the category of C.
- There is nothing printed on it that goes beyond the fact, “We exist.”
- There is no visual or text that is inspirational or aspirational.
- It is not collapsable, therefore is hard to transport and unnecessarily bulky.
- This is probably more than you ever wanted to know about koozie design and marketing, but a few of these prinicples apply to design, brand and marketing in general. May the forces to cross apply this knowledge in the future be with you!
- And if you are designing a koozie right now, everyone down here at Flood Content is happy that we could help point you in the direction of amazing koozie design! Congratulations to Town And Mountain Realty for a winning promotional design!
Wishing Everyone Peace, Prosperity & Protection For 2017!
Update 12-19-2016: From Sophie, an owner at Town And Mountain Realty, “I wanted to let you know that we did in fact have the koozies made locally, they were made by Image420. ” So yeah, they hit a home run on #6. These koozies are made locally!