March 10, 2015
Posted By: MSLK

MSLK-GCI-Branding-Order-of-Implementation

For many of our clients that are new to working with us, the design process can seem subjective and overwhelming. They know what problems have to be solved, but do not know how and where to begin implementation. GCI magazine asked MSLK to shed light on the best way to navigate implementation of a branding or rebranding initiative. In the article, we explain how the creation of a retail brand’s touch-points begins with packaging, followed by the website design and support collateral. Each design deliverable builds upon the next ensuring for a cohesive system that is easily expandable. A recap of the article appears below:

Read more

September 22, 2014
Posted By: MSLK

MSLK-GCI-State-of-the-Industry-Issue
GCI Beauty Magazine asked MSLK to demonstrate how creating distinct audience profiles can inspire a unique beauty brand. We’ve found that clear profiles are invaluable tools for the success of any brand. They free us from personal bias, enabling all parties to make objective decisions at every step of the brand creation process. This article appears in GCI’s September 2014 issue, “State of the Industry,” and a recap appears here:

In today’s crowded marketplace, brands have an extremely limited time to engage customers. Therefore, it’s imperative to captivate your “it” girl or guy quickly and easily.

To do this, marketers need to understand what makes their customers tick by clearly defining targeted audience profiles. The goal of this process is to gain an in-depth understanding of your customers on all levels, from their demographics and motivations, to how and where they shop. This knowledge will lay the foundation for all strategies moving forward, allowing a unique voice and visual design to emerge naturally. Your brand will be set up for success, containing all of the visual and verbal triggers to speak to your customers directly and succinctly.

Read more

July 25, 2014
Posted By: Sheri

DSC_5248-copy2When Marc and I first started MSLK back in 1998, I was armed and ready with lots of training as graphic designer. However, like almost every other design business owner before me, I’d never received any training on how to run a business, much less a graphic design business, which has its own unique challenges.

My formal training had shown me how to translate the spoken and unspoken needs of a business into compelling visuals. I could simplify messaging, choose the right typeface, colors, and imagery, but I barely knew how to guide a client through that process. After all, I wasn’t pulling a prefabricated design off the shelf, but rather creating something unique for each client and starting from scratch each time.

So that’s how I sold creative. We are going to create something unique and custom-tailored just for you. It will never have been done before because it’s just for you. Then I’d show them all the beautiful visuals in my portfolio of lovely artifacts I had created for other clients. If I was lucky there was a solution in there that was similar to a challenge the prospective client was experiencing. Then I could talk about that similarity; but mostly what I was selling was style alone. I was also inadvertently selling risk. Take a chance with us because we are so innovative and creative we don’t have a set process.

It was around this time that some colleagues, Marc, and I started the group Spark. Spark is a group of design business owners who get together each month to talk about the issues relevant to running a design firm. Instantly, I saw a few themes emerge:
1. Every design business owner felt exactly the same as we did, and were experiencing the same challenges.
2. All of them were trained as graphic design practitioners with little to no experience running a business.
3. Each designer was inventing his or her own solutions, akin to silently working on reinventing the wheel without even knowing that a wheel exists.
4. Everyone was lonely and sought more camaraderie and support. Read more

June 23, 2014
Posted By: Marc

Screen Shot 2014-06-23 at 1.59.29 PM

 

MSLK’s Creative Director and Principal, Marc S Levitt was invited to speak on HuffPo Live about what inspires graphic designers to strive for greatness in what is basically an “invisible” field. Marc is featured in author David Zweig’s fantastic new book “Invisibles: The Power of Invisible Work in An Age of Relentless Self Promotion.”

April 10, 2014
Posted By: Marc

mslk-friend-and-johnson-webby-award-honoree

For Immediate Press Release:

Long Island City, NY — April 10, 2014

MSLK announced today that their website design for premiere artist representative agency Friend + Johnson has been honored for Best website in the 18th Annual Webby Awards. Hailed as the “Internet’s highest honor” by The New York Times, The Webby Awards, presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS), is the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet. The IADAS, which nominates and selects The Webby Award Winners, is comprised of web industry experts, including media mogul Arianna Huffington, Skype CEO Tony Bates, Mozilla CEO and Chair Mitchell Baker, Instagram co-founder Kevin Systrom, mobile-phone inventor Martin Cooper, and Creator of the Gif Steve Wilhite.

MSLK’s iconic branding and design for Friend + Johnson’s website uses the latest technology and trends — with a fluid layout which adapts to devices at all sizes, as well as lightbox and social sharing integration.

“Honorees like MSLK are setting the standard for innovation and creativity on the Internet,” said David-Michel Davies, Executive Director of The Webby Awards. “It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 12,000 entries we received this year.”

“We took everything we’ve learned over the past 16 years designing award-winning, user-focused portfolio sites and applied it to the Friend + Johnson website,” said Marc S Levitt, Partner and Creative Director of MSLK.  “It was a careful balancing act, combining two goals which are often in opposition: having the largest imagery possible, while also keeping the F+J brand prominent so that it is top-of-mind amongst the world’s most discerning art buyers and art directors. I believe we succeeded in doing that, as well as creating a site that is very easy to navigate. We were also very excited to partner with the development team, Lookbooks, making the most of their amazing technology platform.”

The website features a Pinterest-style home page showing a wide variety of new portfolio images and news items relating to Friend + Johnson’s exciting roster of talent. Individual artist pages feature large imagery with easy-to-navigate thumbnails available only one click away at any time. A frequently updated blog keeps an actively engaged audience informed of all agency and artists news and achievements.

 The 18th Annual Webby Awards received 12,000 entries from over 60 countries and all 50 states. Out of all the 12,000 entries submitted, fewer than 15% received this honor and were deemed an Official Honoree.

About MSLK
MSLK is an NYC-based design and marketing agency specializing in 360° solutions for clients in the creative services, fashion, and beauty industries.

About The Webby Awards:
Hailed as the “Internet’s highest honor” by The New York Times, The Webby Awards is the leading international award honoring excellence on the Internet, including Websites, Interactive Advertising & Media, Online Film & Video, Mobile & Apps, and Social. Established in 1996, The Webby Awards received nearly 12,000 entries from all 50 states and over 60 countries worldwide this year. The Webby Awards is presented by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences (IADAS). Sponsors and Partners of The Webby Awards include: Microsoft, Dell, Vitamin T, MailChimp, Engine Yard, Funny or Die, AdAge, Percolate, Mashable, Business Insider, Internet Week New York and Guardian News and Media.

# # #

March 27, 2014
Posted By: Marc

invisiblesbook2

We are pleased to announce the June 12th release of colleague, friend, and sometime-collaborator, David Zweig’s book, Invisibles: The Power of Anonymous Work in an Age of Relentless Self-Promotion. (In an act of relentless self-promotion, I am even more excited to have been included in the book, too). Already named a “Top Business Book 2014” by Wharton professor Adam Grant, the book’s premise is that in nearly every profession there are always the conspicuous tops of any profession — the surgeon, the rock star, the “starchitects” and so on. Yet, in nearly every case, there are individuals whose talents are completely under the radar, yet are essential to the outcome’s successes, and in some cases, failures. The book details many cool examples such as Radiohead’s guitar tech, the engineer of the world’s tallest building, and a UN interpreter. I was interviewed to help shed light on the ways a graphic designer can make or break a project — namely the folly of the infamous consequence of “butterfly ballot” design in Broward County in the 2000 presidential election. For design nerds, there’s a whole section about wayfinding, too.

Check out the website to find out more about the work of the unsung heroes we take for granted in our daily life here: http://www.invisiblesbook.com. And please, if you know an Invisible in your life, give them hug and say “thank you.”

December 7, 2013
Posted By: Sheri

MSLK-Brand Archiitecture Article

A clear understanding of how each of your products relate to each other, helps customers navigate your product line to finding the product to fit their needs.  GCI beauty magazine asked us to explore how Brand Architecture is relevant to large and small brands in their November 2013 issue, “Your Brand is Our Business”.  A recap of this article is below.

The term “Brand Architecture” has variety of meanings and uses. However, the core purpose is universal. Brand Architecture is the relationship between brands, product lines, and products themselves in a company’s portfolio.

If you are aware that Ralph Lauren has several brands, such as Ralph Lauren Collection, Ralph, Polo by Ralph Lauren, etc. you have seen brand architecture in action. This form of brand and product organization is often referred to as a “branded house”. It also goes by many other names and has a few subsets, including Monolithic, Endorsed Brand, Family Brand, or Umbrella Brand. Regardless of what you call it, the name or equity of the company is leveraged again and again across every product or line extension it creates. Read more

September 30, 2013
Posted By: Marc


We are honored, flattered and humbled to be featured in the new Phaidon book, Wild Art. Our eco-art installation, Urban Tumbleweeds, is included in the section titled, “Wasting Away”. Jeremy Mayer kicks off the section with the quote, “We’re going to make a lot more junk, and there’s going to be a lot more junk art. I think people are going to have a lot to say about it, and more people need to think about it.” We couldn’t agree more.

Read more

August 1, 2013
Posted By: Sheri

Recharging an existing brand comes with unique opportunities and challenges. We believe that turning the subjective creative process into an objective one, helps brands best achieve their goals. GCI beauty magazine asked us to codify our thoughts on Best Practices for Existing Brands in their July 2013 issue, “Recharging Brands”.  A recap of this article is below.

Change is necessary and inevitable in today’s fast-paced market. In addition to new competition entering the market, existing brands are constantly extending their overall product line and positioning, launching new products to keep up with retailer and consumer demands. Read more

February 14, 2013
Posted By: Sheri

There are so many challenges start-ups face, few feel they have time to slow down for strategy. However, we believe this is what secures a start-up’s success. GCI beauty magazine asked us to codify our thoughts on the Beauty of Strategy in their January 2013 issue, “Map Your Success”. A recap of this article is below.

Statistics provided by the U.S. Small Business Administration* indicate that 50% of start-up brands will not survive their first five years of business. There are many factors contributing to this failure rate, and one of them most definitely is certainly insufficient capital. To combat this, start-ups need to define a clear brand strategy for differentiating themselves in the market. This crucial element of planning is what separates the 50% of successes from the rest of the pack.

Read more

FEATURED CASE STUDIES