Marketing & Design Firm, MANIFESTO, Celebrates 19 Years

Zoinks! Another year already? Things have been a bit busy and the blog/news area here on the website has been ignored for awhile. Anyhoo, MANIFESTO celebrates 19 years today! Yea! The traditional theme for a 19th anniversary is chili pepper. Yes, the hot stuff.

Chili peppers are hot because they contain capsaicin. When consumed, capsaicinoids bind with pain receptors in the mouth and throat that are responsible for sensing heat. Once activated, these receptors send a message to the brain that the person has consumed something hot. The brain responds to the burning sensation by raising the heart rate, increasing perspiration and releasing endorphins. Some like this sensation. Some do not.

Elephants fall into the latter group. Conflicts between farmers and elephants have long been widespread in Africa, where pachyderms nightly destroy crops, raid grain houses, and sometimes kill people. Farmers are now fighting back with chili peppers. By planting a few rows of the pungent fruit around valuable crops, farmers create a buffer zone through which the elephants are reluctant to pass. String fences that are slathered with chili-infused grease and mounted with cowbells that act as alarms when the fence is disturbed are also used.

And then there are Chili Dung Bombs. These are briquettes of crushed chili and animal dung. The bricks are burned, creating a noxious smoke that keeps hungry elephants out of farmers’ fields of maize, sorghum, and millet.

Chili peppers give farmers an economically feasible means for keeping elephants away from crops through nonlethal methods. It is self-sustaining, harms nothing, and also becomes another source of income for farmers growing this crop.

They also make food delicious. Happy anniversary, MANIFESTO. It’s time to celebrate with some Thai food!

MANIFESTO is Best in Illinois in Graphic Design

It’s official; MANIFESTO is Best in Illinois in Graphic Design according to QuizUp, a mobile game developed by Iceland-based Plain Vanilla Games. The game is a mobile trivia app similar to the game Trivial Pursuit. QuizUp is a single-player game in which one user competes against another during seven rounds of timed multiple-choice questions of various topics. There are over 680 total categories of topics available to users to choose from and all the questions are voluntarily submitted by content contributors. Most categories are available in different languages.

QuizUp was initially released for iOS November 2013. Plain Vanilla Games released an Android version in March 2014.

As of May 2014, QuizUp had 20 million users and has raised over $26 million from venture capital investments. Over a billion matches had been played in over 197 countries by March 2014. The company claims that users play an average of 30 minutes each day.

MANIFESTO logo design for Forest Preserves of Winnebago County

MANIFESTO logo design for Forest Preserves of Winnebago County

MANIFESTO designs new logo for Forest Preserves of Winnebago County. The latest element in the years-in-the-making rebranding project will officially roll out October 1, 2014. The preserves are more of a destination and the organization needed to be branded as such. The new logo helps to identify the preserves as fun and educational destinations for experiences— as opposed to boring, government-run parks depicted by a generic-looking county seal-type logo. Think more “interactive zoo” where you are immersed within beautiful, natural environments— rather than a stuffy “hands-off” museum where you are removed from the experience. Of course, there is more than just wildlife to see. The preserves also offer camping, equestrian trails, hiking, golf, fishing, canoeing, year-round organized activities for kids and families, etc.

The fresh new look is bold, fun, and captures the essence of what the preserves are about. It welcomes—with consumer flair— the visitor to explore. The shorter, new name puts emphasis on the preserves themselves rather than just forests (we have so much more than that!) or the county they happen to reside within. The new logo will will feature across all media: website, email campaigns, posters, print ads, vehicles, uniforms, brochures, maps, signage, stationery program, etc.

Rockford, IL Ad Agency, MANIFESTO, Celebrates 18 Years

“Lines form on my face and hands… I’m eighteen and I like it!”—Alice Cooper
Rockford, IL Ad Agency, MANIFESTO, Celebrates 18 Years

This May Day (May 1) MANIFESTO turns 18. I always thought it appropriate that MANIFESTO’s anniversary was on May Day— not only is it a traditional spring holiday (yeah, Germany!), but it is also International Workers’ Day. Maypoles (Maibaum) throughout Bavarian towns have symbols denoting local craftsmen’s guilds. The Maypoles are decorated with wreaths and ribbons. Dance, food, drink— and a host of other interesting traditions ensue. Celebrating life, craft, hard work, and the hope of what’s ahead are all worthwhile. And all are attributes of MANIFESTO.

On this May Day (aka MANIFESTO Anniversary Day), take stock. Reflect on what’s been done and what lies ahead. Take pride in your craft, working hard and helping to propel others forward. And don’t forget to celebrate a job well done.

Prost! — Brad Carlyle

MANIFESTO’s Brad Carlyle invited to be Design Guest Speaker

Brad Carlyle, Creative Director for MANIFESTO graphic design / marketing / branding / advertising, was invited to be guest speaker at the Department of Art at Rock Valley College. The event took place on 4/22/14. The discussion was about graphic design and how it pertains to students preparing for the professional world. Topics included psychology, concept, composition, color, typography, illustration, photography, production, media, and appropriateness for the intended audience. Technology  and professional ethics were also addressed.

“As designers, it is our responsibility to not only make things better with design, but to also make things appropriate for the target market,” says Carlyle. “You must remember the target market is actually who you are designing for— not for yourself nor even for the client.” he continued.

Carlyle, who has won numerous design awards, has spoken to multiple college design departments, and most recently, at the University of Wisconsin. He can be contacted at or 815.969.9100.

photo: courtesy of Colleen Vandenberg

Rockford, IL | Website Design for Winnebago County Forest Preserve District Revealed

MANIFESTO graphic design / marketing / branding / advertising has just completed the website design for Winnebago County Forest Preserve District. The highly-detailed and easily updated (client will change content often) website features all offerings of WCFPD and each of it’s 41 forest preserves. It includes a comprehensive calendar of events promoting nature and fitness year-round. The website showcases the natural beauty of the forest preserves and for authenticity, uses only photographic images shot within the preserves. It also encourages budding wildlife photographers to submit their own images of elusive creatures to be featured on the website.

As part of an ongoing branding program, the new website fits perfectly with other elements in the campaign. Continuity is essential and the warm, natural look and feel works well with other newly designed materials; maps, brochures, educational displays, logos, e-newsletters, e-blasts, print ads, etc.

To visit site, click here.

Time Away —or— Desert Life and a Vortex

Desert Life
Time away from everything is good to do once in a while, especially during a Midwestern winter. At the time I took this photograph, back home the snow was piled well above the top of my mailbox. Behold the healing power of massive cacti in the warm, late-afternoon desert. As I stood before these giant succulents, with the warm desert breeze floating by, I felt right. I needed to be at that place at that time. The beers didn’t hurt the situation either. Midwestern winters are long, cold, and gray. Oh the gray. That’s the worst part. So here I stand. Blue sky, wisps of white clouds, warm sunshine, beautiful, old desert “trees”. A ten-year-old Saguaro cactus might only be 1.5″ tall which tells me these 30-footers have seen many beautiful days like this. Breathe it in. Tomorrow, northward to a vortex.

A Vortex
I had experienced my first vortex a couple of years ago. I needed to go back to visit one again– preferably the same one (to do an apples-to-apples comparison)– to see if it had the same effect on me. Thankfully it did. What is a vortex? They are “energy fields” for lack of better words. There are a number of them around Sedona. Native-Americans held these special areas in high regard. Spiritual and religious folk visit them today to reinforce their beliefs. My theory is purely scientific– a concentration of minerals within the earth that makes some connection to the minerals/chemicals (potassium, calcium, iron, etc.) within the human body. Like a magnet. Higher concentrations of certain elements result in a more pronounced feeling. For example; I feel it strongly, my wife feels it a little bit, my kids feel nothing. What is the feeling? It is like a gentle magnetic pull. Not oppressive, but positive in nature. It brings a feeling of utter relaxation and contentment, an almost slow-motion floating, and it lasts well after you leave the site. A good 24+ hours for me.

So, what is the point to this entry? It’s a reminder to take a break– to change things up periodically. To keep your eyes and your mind open. To have both new and reinforcing experiences. To appreciate life. This makes you better; as a person and as a creative professional. —Brad Carlyle

Marketing, Rockford, IL | MANIFESTO Earns Agency Showcase for Print Communications Award

MANIFESTO recently designed the piece which earned the Print Communications Award at the Illinois Association of Park Districts Agency Showcase held at Hyatt Regency in Chicago on January 24.

The winning entry titled “Visitor’s Guide & Map” for Winnebago County Forest Preserves is part of an ongoing branding campaign to promote Winnebago County and its natural beauty. This brochure was selected for the award from over 60 entries in the print media category which were judged on numerous criteria. Over 4,200 IPRA professionals, appointed officials and students attended the event. The event also hosted 200 educational sessions and 300 exhibitors.

Graphic Design, Rockford, IL | MANIFESTO’s Work Announced as Award Winner in 2013 Graphics Excellence Awards

The Great Lakes Graphics Association (GLGA) has announced the work of MANIFESTO, Rockford, IL, has won an award for client, Top Sports Prospects. The judging was conducted on works produced throughout 2013 with nearly 1,000 print entries in the competition. The GEA competition is one of the largest printing competitions in the nation.

MANIFESTO’s work won the award for Best of Division: Service Catalogs (4 or more colors). A panel of out-of-state judges with extensive experience in printing and print production was brought in to examine the work. Each entry was judged on its own merit in a category with similar printed pieces. The judging criteria included design and overall visual impact with attention to special techniques and included registration, crossovers, clarity and neatness, sharpness of halftones and line drawings, richness and tonal qualities of color, paper and ink selection, ink coverage, difficulty of printing, effective contrast or softness, finishing, and bindery.

Since 1886, The GLGA has been dedicated to advancing the success of the printing and graphics industry. Working together with Printing Industries of America, the world’s largest graphic arts trade association, GLGA provides training, resources, and a voice of advocacy on both a state and national level.

GLGA is a trade association representing the graphic communications industry in Illinois, Indiana and Wisconsin. The Graphics Excellence Awards (GEA) competition, owned and managed by The Great Lakes Graphics Association (GLGA), is an annual event that recognizes and rewards companies who combine fine craftsmanship with technology in order to produce outstanding finished products. The award-winning companies are honored each year at the GEA Celebration, to be held this year on June 19th at Lake Lawn Resort, Delavan, Wisconsin.

MANIFESTO Photo Studio Really Clicks

MANIFESTO has purchased new equipment— the latest in photographic technology— to continue to offer the best digital imagery possible. From table-top to high-speed photography, MANIFESTO is able to capture and create the ideal images to best represent you and your brand. Investing in the importance of the visual image is paramount in today’s marketplace. Your potential customer is bombarded with images and messages continuously— you need to make sure yours rises above the clutter and gets noticed. So, is your product (company or service) ready for it’s close-up? If not, let MANIFESTO make it happen.