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We started with one project and ended up with a new family

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"They want to be a true partner. They are integral to our success, and I think of them as an extension of our team. I feel like we’re on the same page with most projects, but they know when and how to push the envelope and challenge us. They’re a group with a big heart too – active in the community and always looking for ways to improve their surroundings."

— Susan Claus, Marketing director

Our relationship started back in 2009 working with only one of the three divisions, VividBoard. VividBoard specializes in creating custom whiteboard designs much like you would see in a healthcare patient room, a restaurant or on the floor of a production warehouse. At first, they thought they may just need a new designer, but we quickly realized that the best solution would be one that never aged and was ever-evolving. They were struggling with burnout, hiring designers onsite to churn out boards all day, everyday. We were in a unique position to support at the time, with access to multiple designers at various levels of experience. The custom board designs were perfect for new designers. And we’re always meeting new designers, so it kept designs fresh while allowing us to help them avoid their burnout issue.

We started down this path together and within the first couple of months they began to realize the added value we were able to bring. As part of this partnership, we put our heads together and developed a complete systemized approach for creating these designs, from start-to-finish, using a tool called Podio. This allowed us to ensure consistency, even with different designers working on boards, and allowed us to adhere to consistent timelines for each project, which supported VividBoard’s ability to serve their customers effectively. We even created a custom color matching process to coincide with their proprietary process for creating these custom whiteboards. Our solution helped them grow from 10 designs per month – to over double in the second year – to 70+ each month today.

How do you work as an in-house equivalent of a brand design team?

As they saw the success with VividBoard, they began to bring us on board with Ghent, Waddell and GMi Corporate support. Early on, we were getting a taste of how they work, who all the important players were and what the environment was like. This was incredibly important to us in order to begin making recommendations. In the beginning they utilized our support with basic brand design, but it quickly grew into photography requests, email designs, tradeshow support, digital design, video, marketing and more intentional branding efforts. Not only were we able to support in all of these areas, we also made some considerable improvements to their overall workflow within the organization!

Like with any long-standing relationship, working through challenging conversations and situations is inevitable, especially being so closely integrated to a team like we are with theirs. Nonetheless, we have enjoyed working with all of our friends at GMi over the years (you know who you are!) and we continue to serve as their brand design team to this day.

A little fun fact: We’ve supported placing two creatives within their organization. Both times the person was working on our team prior to joining GMi. Additionally, they’ve worked with as many as 20 creatives, ranging across various specialties, over the course of a year through CreativeFuse. So…yeah, we’re close.

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