Portaluca Part 1

February 24th, 2014 by Lauren

In 2013, Hyperquake partnered with Dress for Success, one of the nation’s most influential charities that benefit women. The Dress for Success marketing team asked that Hyperquake lend our strategic and design expertise to help redesign the logo for their biggest driver of revenue, 4th Street Boutique. 4th Street Boutique is located in downtown Cincinnati and has been keeping women fashionable for less since 2002.

What started out as a simple re-branding project, soon evolved into much more. To accommodate 4th Street Boutique’s growing business success, expanding to multiple locations, it became clear that it needed a powerful identity system to support business growth and stand the test of time. Hyperquake, in collaboration with 4th Street Boutique, created the name and designed the identity for Portaluca.

Portaluca stands for personal strength and the power to truly realize and achieve your dreams. This is everything that Dress for Success stands for and helps women achieve everyday. We are so thrilled to have been a part of this inspiring cause and having the opportunity to create a powerful identity system that truly speaks to the cause.

4th Street Boutique will be debuting the brand later this year — more photos to come soon!


MBA Veterans Rebrand

October 23rd, 2013 by chris.mock@hyperquake.com

We’ve officially wrapped on the MBA Veterans rebrand and are thrilled to introduce the work and how we went about it.

First, a little background on the company. MBA Veterans (or MBAV for short) is a networking platform for military veteran students and alumni of the world’s top-ranked MBA programs. Founded by veterans Chris Petersen and David Chonowski, MBAV’s mission is to connect those who are working to get, or have already received their MBA degree with potential employers.

Having the opportunity to completely rebrand a company is always exciting and MBAV proved no different. Through this process we explored the idea of “Commercial Cover”, which became a central design theme for the project.

By drawing inspiration from military imagery, the mark came to life in the shape of a badge. It truly embraces the duality of the lives of Veterans and their continued journey beyond their service, with a symbolic star tucked into a strong badge-like shape…a metaphor of a “medal of honor” and their military service “tucked into their back pocket”.

MBAV recently introduced the new branding as part of their presentation at their 6th Annual MBA Veterans Career Conference this fall in Chicago.

Round 2 with The Brandery

October 11th, 2013 by Dustin Blankenship

Another amazing startup recruiting class scouted by The Brandery meant another awesome opportunity for Hyperquake. This year we had the pleasure of working with two guys that came to town to continue their quest in launching something they call Frameri. Founded by Notre Dame MBA grad Konrad Billetz and business partner Kevin Habich, Frameri looks to be the first interchangeable frame and lens system for prescription glasses. Allowing glasses wearers to truely look at their glasses as an accessory, not just a necessity.

Helping build an online fashion brand from the ground up was something that we could not have been more pumped about. Taking the Frameri guys through the process from discovery to reallization was exciting for everyone involved. From the very beginning, there was a mutual understanding that in the fashion world, your brand can mean just as much as your product, so we made sure that one informed the other and told the same story.

Currently taking pre-orders and continuing to build their funds, the guys are working hard to start shipping by early 2014. Keep your eyes open. Frameri is going places.

Zoofari Part 2

September 27th, 2013 by rachel.robbins@hyperquake.com

As Jen McLaughlin, Client Manager at Hyperquake, mentioned in our last blog post, we were named Zoofari’s Creative Partner for 2013. We had a lot of fun partnering with The Cincinnati Zoo, as we crafted the event’s visual style and print collateral…almost as much fun as we had celebrating at the event!

It was a night of wild weather as well as “A Night of Luxury” at Zoofari 2013. The heavy rain could not stop the more than 2,500 guests that attended the Zoo’s annual fundraiser. And, as you can see from the pictures below, the Hyperquake team had a fabulous time at the event. Not only was there amazing food (I think I made it to more than half of the 50 restaurants that were present), festive decorations, signature cocktails and African entertainment, it was wonderful to visit with friends and clients. Zoofari truly lived up to its tagline “A Night of Wild Luxury” (what brainiacs came up with that?) and we cannot wait until next year’s event!

Inside the tent

(it was equivalent to the length of a football field!)

Hyperquake's best dressed couple

Zoofari client leads

Framester fun

Part of the Hyperquake team

Jen, Dustin, Christopher & I


Zoofari Part 1

August 27th, 2013 by jen.mclaughlin@hyperquake.com

In January the Cincinnati Zoo selected Hyperquake as its Zoofari creative partner for 2013. Hyperquake and client team members gathered August 20 at the Zoo’s new Africa exhibit to celebrate the project’s successful completion. Hyperquake collaborated with the Zoo to develop the event’s visual style and created print collateral including a corporate sponsor piece, save-the-date mailer, poster, invitation, and program.

We look forward to attending Zoofari’s “A Night of Wild Luxury” on Friday, September 20. Thank you to our friends at the Zoo for being a wonderful partner!


Dustin Goes to Portland

August 14th, 2013 by Dustin Blankenship

Ok, really quick introduction. I attended Web Visions Portland this year, a great and worthwhile conference. I listened to a man named Andrew Hinton speak and it was the most impactful lecture during all three days of the event.

Andrew spoke of the contextual circumstances for which we design and why we should begin to think about them more deeply. He mentioned pace layers and how things evolve and change at different speeds. He related these pace layers to design and how the organization of information and technology evolve at a much higher speed than spoken or written language. Therefore, we have a better grasp on spoken language because it is something that has remained mostly the same during our lifetimes. The thing that was most interesting to me was that Andrew positioned human perception and/or cognition at the core, as the layer that moves the slowest. Then, all kinds of metaphorical doors started opening right in front of me…

Pondering Andrew Hinton's lecture at Courier Coffee, Portland

I started thinking about how our perception is formed from the time of birth. As we grow, we slowly begin to understand how certain things work in our world. Environmental cues or affordances that we start exploring lead us to understanding at the very onset of our lives. Then as we move forward in age, new things come into play such as written and spoken language and technology. Everything seems fine until these new layers start contradicting what we already perceive. We perceive certain things in our environment to behave a certain way, until there is a sign or some other semantic element telling us the opposite. Then everything gets complicated.

Think about a tennis ball. When it is just sitting still, it is just an object in an environment. When you pick it up it becomes something that can be bounced or thrown. To me, a tennis ball may also mean rulebook, boundaries, forty-love, Andre Agassi or maybe even Europe. To someone who may not know much about tennis, it will mean something completely different. To a dog, a tennis ball might just mean a lot of running and fun. Ultimately, a tennis ball is simply a round object that can be picked up, bounced, thrown, etc. One object takes on many meanings when we start adding levels of complexity, which vary depending on who or what come in contact with it.

For some reason, we insist on complicating things. As children, we start to understand environmental cues and the affordances they offer, how things work at a very basic level. When more information gets layered in, those basic affordances start to get buried and before you know it, something that should be simple to understand is nearly incomprehensible.

So, what do I think this means for design? Well, if you think about children having the ability to approach something with almost no frame of reference, no influence, where every experience is a new one, then they seemingly are some of the best candidates for testing interaction design. Be it a physical product, a digital application, or something in between, children are only going to pick it up and interact with it in the way that seems most natural.

We should be more observant of children—they take things as they are. Children use simple things that they have learned and apply those rules to almost everything that they encounter. As we grow, we lose sight of that. Problems, in design or life, need to be looked at from children’s perspective; we should try to understand and analyze problems at a raw level before adding extraneous layers that complicate it. Albert Einstein agrees: “If you can’t explain it to a six year old, you don’t understand it yourself.”


Picture This!

August 6th, 2013 by lauren.schultz@hyperquake.com

Hyperquake Creative Director Dan Barczak’s article, “Photo Finish: How product photography is elevating package design,” is the cover story for Package Design Magazine’s June/July 2013 issue. Dan discusses how using photography in package design can be engaging and differentiating, and explains how three brands are using on-pack photography to resonate with consumers.

Dan also explores four ways that photography can be used in packaging design to attract consumers: authenticity, appetite appeal, unexpected cleverness and emotional connection. Each of the three brands he explores–Qizini, Übernuts and Petcurean–exemplify the evolving methods of using photographs in packaging.

By implementing qualities of realism in photography, Qizini magnifies the freshness and quality of its pizza’s ingredients; this packaging creates authenticity and ignites the consumer’s hunger.

Übernuts uses cleverness and humor in its packaging to engage a younger consumer audience. Having nuts performing a song or playing with a basketball humanizes the product and makes it more relatable for consumers.

Petcurean’s new premium dog and cat food brands, Go! and Now, depict dynamic black-and-white action shots of an animal running on each package. The company even names the pets on the back, creating an immediate emotional connection with the consumer by reminding them about the furry members of their families.

Dan endorses photography in package design as the ideal way to attract consumers’ attention in our fast-paced world.


Download the PDF of “Photo Finish.”


An Incredible Internship

August 5th, 2013 by lauren.schultz@hyperquake.com

First, I would like to apologize for not posting more blogs during my two-month internship at Hyperquake. The fact of the matter is, I have been so incredibly busy that I haven’t had time to blog. However, I don’t consider this a bad thing.

While at Hyperquake, I have had the opportunity to learn about the capabilities and activities of multiple departments, including Strategy, Client Leadership and Operations. And, I worked on numerous projects for each of them.

I particularly enjoyed working in the Strategy department, where my responsibilities included brand-building, brand identity, brand equity and story mapping. I also created Front End Innovation (FEI) content and identity development for a new consumer products (CP) technology. One of Hyperquake’s senior strategists became a valuable mentor, offering me great career advice. We even started a book club and discussed Brand Portfolio Strategy by David A. Aaker.

But my role as an intern didn’t stop there. I researched and analyzed local and national competitors to assist Hyperquake in its corporate rebranding program. I conducted trend and cultural research to analyze market  research data, creating a holistic summary of the findings. Along with editing and proofreading internal and external documents, I also generated agency awareness through blogging and social media tactics.

Project leaders asked me to present in numerous client meetings and on conference calls. I felt honored that Hyperquake allowed me to interact with clients; most interns don’t have that opportunity.

As a result of my experience at Hyperquake, my interest in the branding, marketing and advertising industry has skyrocketed. Additionally, I have gained valuable skills that will help me solve problems in a creative and constructive manner, analyzing unconventional and challenging angles to find the most inventive solution.

I want to thank everyone at Hyperquake for investing in my future by providing me with fun and unique opportunities for training, mentoring and hands-on work experience. Thanks, also for welcoming me into this creative, collaborative community. I will miss you all. Now… it’s time to return to Hanover College and hit the books!

International lunch day at Hyperquake. One of the many fun events this summer!

Trending in Otavalo, Ecuador

June 12th, 2013 by lauren.schultz@hyperquake.com

Who would have thought that while traveling in South America, I would experience first-hand two important market segmentation trends: celebration nation and targeted messages?

This past April and May, I embarked on a once-in-a-lifetime adventure! With my professor and fellow students from Hanover College, I traveled throughout Ecuador and Peru for nearly a month for an intensive Spanish language and culture class credit. One weekend, we visited the Ecuadorian city of Otavalo, home to one of the largest, and most famous, indigenous markets in Latin America.

Shopping is one of my favorite pastimes so, naturally, I was thrilled when I entered the artesian market, which was composed of a maze of stalls, draped with colorful textiles and sparkly silver jewelry. It was amazing to see all of the Ecuadorian artisanal goods so proudly and beautifully displayed. Otavalo truly celebrates the beauty, talent and pride of Ecuador.

Otavalo’s connection with my internship here at Hyperquake hit me when I read an article from trendwatching.com entitled “10 Crucial Trends for 2013.” One of those trends is celebration nation: According to the article, emerging markets (like Ecuador) are “exporting and flaunting their cultural and national heritage.” Cultural uniqueness is infusing the marketplace, and is evident in everything from high fashion to furniture. This influx of new identities and ideas is incredibly exciting, creative and inspirational!

Otavalo’s streets were lined on both sides with dozens of vendors, each displaying their products in hopes of catching shoppers’ eyes. Vendors would call from their stalls, encouraging me to buy from them and not their neighbor. When I found something that intrigued me, I would ask the vendor the cost of the item in Spanish. Bartering is an accepted, and expected, practice in Otavalo so it is very important to ask for a price point in which to start the negotiation process.

Prepared to converse in Spanish, I was very surprised when some vendors responded to my Spanish inquiries in English. This puzzled and frustrated me. I’d been studying Spanish for nearly six years and the main purpose of my trip was to improve my speaking skills. I wanted to use Spanish in all situations—especially a business atmosphere.

I purchased beautiful scarves, jewelry and artesian goods at Otavalo!

It wasn’t until I returned home, started at Hyperquake, and read another article, “Designer of 2015 Trends,” on Aiga.org, that I realized why some vendors immediately switched to English when speaking with me. They were using the trend of targeted messages—sales pitches in English—to better appeal to their customer, me. “Designer of 2015 Trends” reports that broad messages intended for large audiences are shifting to personalized messages for a smaller audience. One way to make messages more specific is to examine the culture of the audience.

By my accent, most vendors could probably tell that I was American. It is possible that based on their previous experience and knowledge of Americans, they assumed my knowledge of Spanish would be limited and I would prefer to haggle in my native tongue. After all, I was the potential customer and they wanted to make my buying experience as easy and enjoyable as possible, so they targeted their messages to me in English.

My experience in Otavalo demonstrates the importance of understanding and respect when interacting with people from different cultures. From appreciation stems celebration!


A Captivating COOP

June 7th, 2013 by lauren.schultz@hyperquake.com

What do most college students crave during their summers? Sun and fun? Sure. But, the majority of students also are looking for an opportunity to work in the “real world.” An internship or COOP is one of the most valuable experiences that students can have because these jobs allow them to apply what they’ve learned in class and to explore different career choices. As a Communication major and member of the Business Scholars Program at Hanover College, a liberal arts school near Madison, Indiana, I craved the chance to work in the marketing and branding industry. I was fortunate to be named the Marketing and Business Development Coordinator COOP here at Hyperquake for this summer. A dream job!

Gorgeous view of Paul Brown Stadium and the Ohio River from Hyperquake's downtown Cincinnati office.

Summer interns may expect that they will be fetching coffee and taking meeting notes at their organizations. You can imagine my excitement when I learned that at Hyperquake my duties will include writing, researching and assisting with projects that full-time employees are working on. In fact, on my second day in the office, I joined a team that is creating a name for a non-profit boutique affiliated with Dress for Success, Cincinnati. My ideas and opinions were encouraged and positively received by my coworkers! Immediately, I felt as though my opinions and skill sets were valued… which leads me to my favorite thing about Hyperquake—the people.

My first day, I felt very overwhelmed—as does everyone at the beginning of a new job. But after personal welcomes from the leaders of the company and introductions from members from each department, I relaxed. Hyperquake is one big family. Through my training sessions, I experienced the nurturing environment of this community. My coworkers took time out of their extremely busy schedules to teach me the ins and outs of computers, programs and projects.

Hyperquake’s youthful, creative and inspirational atmosphere is absolutely captivating—I can’t wait to come into the office every day. This company’s unique culture fosters happy employees and, ultimately, outstanding strategic and creative output. I am so excited to learn about all aspects of Hyperquake: Strategy, Client Leadership, Design, New Business and so much more. I feel so valued and special here. Even after just one week, I can report that Hyperquake is the perfect fit for me.