Quick Service Restaurants — To create an engaging print/web strategy that captures the soul of a QSR, Alarcon Design has to completely understand these core questions: what are they serving, who are they feeding, and what are they eating? To find the answer, we had to delve into the history of the restaurant and its distinctive food culture. Each QSR has its own devoted followers: regulars who crave what the chain’s restaurants serve and will seek them out. But there are also potential customers who can be lured in by the right packaging and promotions. We catch the eye and tempt the tastebuds of both, through traditional media, web, and mobile branding.
Banks and the Financial Industry
Working with the financial industry since 1986, we have learned the ins and outs of banking and the myriad business and legal details that must be taken into consideration when creating brand strategies for financial centers with multiple branches. Beginning with Bank One, Alarcon Design provided field marketing support and promotional materials, custom-designed for each region; for Frost Bank, we developed interactive tutorials and demonstrations for banking customers; for Texas State Bank we designed their Website, showcasing the motto “Common Sense Banking.” J.P. Morgan is a current client for which Alarcon handles both internal and international design and promotion, creating graphics for conventions, tradeshow booths, posters, banners, and promotional giveaway items such as pocket calendars. Banks have highly sophisticated (and often very thick) brand manuals, dictating colors, photography, typography, and countless other guidelines — which is when Alarcon’s twenty years of carefully built-up equity with the industry comes in handy.
Authors and Architecture:
haciendastyle.com and mexicanstyle.com
Alarcon designed beautiful, informative websites for the award-winning authors and antique dealers Joe Carr and Karen Witynski Carr, who have been at the forefront of the Mexican design movement for more than a quarter century. We built a content management system and created image-rich websites to complement their eight books on Mexican architecture and interior design inspired by these Old World estates. Our challenge was to provide ample space for their expansive photography while showcasing a multitude of Hacienda-inspired furnishings and accessories. (The Carrs have even paired with Pittsburgh Paints to offer a new palette duplicating eighteen traditional hacienda colors.) “I have a deep understanding of the culture and architecture of historic Mexico,” says agency founder Marco Alarcon. “We wanted to make the site user friendly while maintaining the beauty of the photography and displaying their inventory to full effect.” To peruse the region’s handcrafted traditional arts, vibrant textiles, cool tiled floors, massive antique doors, and forged ironwork, haciendastyle.com and mexicanstyle.com are hard to surpass.
Emory’s Office of Technology Transfer, a division of Emory University, acts as the liaison between investors and academic researchers who are bringing inventions and innovations to market. Alarcón Design has served as the creative arm of the OTT, branding its pipeline, broadcasting its success stories, updating its website and designing graphics for printed materials. In promoting the OTT brand, Alarcón employs both digital and traditional platforms. The calendar and postcards are sent to current and potential investors, CEOs, venture capitalists, and entrepreneurs. Posters are used to showcase successes for visitors to the OTT offices (displayed on a “Wall of Fame”) and at conferences. We also created a DVD to be handed out at trade shows. We built a CMS that allows staff members to upload images themselves with software already running on their server. The updated website proved sticky enough to keep viewers around longer than the average few seconds. “I was most proud of the way the site displayed all the scientists on one page, so the user could get from one success story to another with one click. It’s very user friendly,” says Marco Alarcón, agency founder. “Compiling all of the innovations — which ranged from cardiac diagnostic software to HIV/AIDS medications — into a common theme was challenging, but I think it worked out well.”
Interactive DVD for teaching Italian
When an Emory lecturer in Italian wished to convert her textbook into a DVD of images, audio, and video to complement the printed word, Alarcón Design had the technical ability to produce Interactive Multimedia Instruction (IMI)/Advanced Distributed Learning (ADL) courseware with the interactivity that Emory required. The instructor had authored an Italian language textbook that integrated her creative teaching methods, blending real people, art, food, and landmarks with the language to engage her students with the culture immediately. The robust DVD we created from her text, rendered entirely in Italian, became a virtual tour guide of the land and the language. Teaching materials were organized by region, so that students could progress systematically through Italy. Alarcón incorporated previous interviews with residents, allowing students to hear different dialects, embedded links to related online resources, and allowed for easy printing of discrete sections of text. A DVD was included with each copy of the textbook and was sent to several other colleges’ language departments, where it garnered much interest as a prototype. “This was the first DVD that was developed for the department, taking the old technology and making it paperless,” says Marco Alarcón, agency founder. “I also was charged with making sure the disk could not be duplicated, so that proprietary information was secure.” The result: a portable, interactive, less expensive text that taught Italian through a total immersion experience, anytime, anywhere.
Emory Creative Group and Emory Magazine
Our first project for Emory Creative Group, the communications, design, and publication office of the University, was to produce an issue of Emory Magazine, the University’s quarterly alumni magazine, essentially acting as interim designer. The issue focused on Transitions, covering both commencement and an end-of-life conference the University had hosted, and we were called upon to portray these very different rituals in an appropriate and dignified manner while staying true to the theme. We inherited the previous designer’s files, which took some flexibility. The production of a magazine is a true team effort, from brainstorming with editors and photographers over usable images and cover design to working with production staff and a local press to develop the publication’s look and feel. Editors were quite pleased with our work, and have recommended our firm several times since. We have worked with the Emory Creative Group on many other projects, creating admissions brochures with a new design, developing templates, designing brochures aimed at the Latino community in Spanish. “I understand the Emory brand and have been designated an approved designer for Emory, so there’s less of a learning curve when different Emory departments use our agency,” says Marco Alarcon, agency founder. “Emory’s Visual Brand Guidelines are very detailed as to specific colors and fonts that can be used, so it really helps to have a previous familiarity with those.”