Jun 02

T-shirt Marketing for the Construction Industry

construction company mascot

The Rebarbarian Construction Company Mascot

This is not a new concept but it is a tried and true marketing vehicle that does work if you use it correctly. T-shirt marketing can build brand awareness with those in your industry.  I’m going to share with you how one of my clients uses it to build his brand awareness with his target audience in the construction industry.

Rather than give away t-shirts to the general public, these t-shirts are given specifically to a variety of construction workers. The recipients of the t-shirts then wear them on job sites creating a buzz with other construction workers, subcontractors and general contractors who see them. And of course, the artwork is printed on bright yellow or orange t-shirts, which are safety colors, making them perfect for use on job sites.

Background Information

My client sells products and installation services of reinforcing steel, better known as rebar. He started with a great idea for a business mascot. He hired me to create a barbarian character called The Rebarbarian that he could trademark and use as his company mascot. The marketing idea was to create a new T-shirt to give away each year, slowly and steadily building the brand and audience appreciation for The Rebarbarian’s yearly appearances.

Designing the Character

First we discussed the character in detail (product attributes he would represent, character’s physical attributes, expressions, cartoon style, clothing, and several other points of interest). Once he was defined, I then designed a character to include these physical attributes and embody the product attributes of strength. We chose a comic book style of cartooning as that was sure to appeal to the targeted workers in the construction industry that would wear the t-shirts as they worked on the job site.

T-shirt Marketing Campaign

Our campaign began with an initial T-shirt design (2016) introducing The Rebarbarian mascot character along with the text of “The Inception”. With some slight modifications and additions to the art, the client was able to reuse some of the artwork for the t-shirt and obtain new artwork to print a poster of The Rebarbarian Inception concept. The idea of the posters would be to frame each one and showcase them around his office thus reinforcing his brand and the mascot’s existence with employees and visiting potential customers.

t-shirt design for 2016 construction company mascot

2016 Rebarbarian T-shirt Design

poster design for 2016 construction company mascot

The 2016 Rebarbarian Poster

The next year (2017) a new t-shirt design was created featuring The Rebarbarian again and the newest business concept the client wanted to share with his audience. Again, with some slight modifications and additional labor, the client was again able to reuse much of the artwork illustrated for the t-shirt and have me create new artwork to print another poster of this year’s concept for only a little more cost.

t-shirt design for 2017 construction company mascot

2017 Rebarbarian T-shirt Design

 

poster design for 2017 construction company mascot

The 2017 Rebarbarian Poster

Each year the client receives high resolution artwork files for that year’s t-shirt design and poster. In addition, he also receives high resolution artwork files of the mascot character’s pose separately for that year. This gives the client additional branding assets of different character poses to use on business cards, flyers, brochures, or any other marketing vehicle he decides to print now and in the future.

The T-shirt Marketing Results

The t-shirts have been getting rave reviews with the recipients and creating a buzz.  It’s not uncommon to see The Rebarbarian adorning the backs of many construction workers who work on the job site long after the rebar installation phase has been completed. To be continued next year…


About Malane Newman
Malane Newman is a professional illustrator and cartoonist for over 25 years. She is a master with color and eye candy. She has illustrated a variety of consumer products such as games, childrens books, board games, food and product packaging, magazines, greeting cards, and other consumer products. She provides new character design for clients and offers the copyrights at affordable rates. She can match most cartooning styles and works with creative directors on licensed character art (Barbie, Popeye, The Swan Princess).

Jan 17

My Freelance Illustrations for Barbie Magazine

dress and barbie magazine cover

Dress and Barbie Magazine Product

Recently I was hired as a freelance illustrator to provide illustrations for three issues of Barbie Magazine being developed in Germany.  This article explain the requirements and will show some of the work for each Barbie Magazine issue that I illustrated as well as some sketches created during these projects.

Barbie Magazine and Dress

Each issue of Barbie Magazine would feature Barbie wearing a specific dress to a particular event.  The really fantastic part of this product was that each Barbie Magazine issue, also distributed the actual Barbie Dress being featured in each issue, in a plastic sleeve attached to the front of the magazine! Little girls could dress their Barbie Doll in the same dress as they were coloring, drawing, and reading about!

Hand Drawn Illustrations

The Barbie Magazine issues I illustrated included several drawing lessons for Barbie wearing that issue’s featured dress and other activities related to it, such as Barbie’s hair style, Barbie’s makeup, cut out accessories and other elements. To that end, one of the requirements for the freelance illustrations was to create each drawing lesson illustration, and the intermittent illustrated steps, to look as though the work was hand drawn using colored pencils.

freelance illustrations of how to draw barbie wearing her carnival dress

Some illustrations of Barbie’s Carnival Dress drawing lesson.

Hand Drawn vs Electronic Artwork

All of the illustrations needed to be delivered quickly and in an electronic file format. There was no time in the production time line to deliver actual hand drawn illustrations by snail mail. The publisher also wanted to be able to request revisions to the hand drawings in some or all of the individual illustrated steps. This could not be quickly and easily implemented unless the “hand drawn” illustrations were actually drawn on computer. So I illustrated all of the “hand drawn” illustrations in Adobe Photoshop using custom brushes designed to replicate colored pencils.

freelance illustrations of how to draw barbie wearing her spring dress

Some illustrations of Barbie’s Spring Dress drawing lesson.

Vector Requirements

Other illustrations for each issue, other than the illustrations used in the drawing lessons, had to be illustrated and delivered in a vector file format using Adobe Illustrator. As a result the final illustrations for both the drawing lessons (hand drawn look) and other magazine artwork (vector work) were created, downloaded, revised, and delivered several times from California to Germany instantly by direct electronic download from my server.

freelance illustrations for barbie magazine, issue #1601

Some of my freelance illustrations I did for Barbie Magazine, Issue #1601

Issue 1601 Barbie Goes to Carnival

The first issue I illustrated was Barbie attending Carnival. It included several drawings for the individual steps involved in drawing Barbie wearing the Carnival dress. Other drawing lessons in this issue included how to draw Barbie’s makeup, how to draw Barbie’s mask, how to draw Barbie’s hair style, and Cut-Out Accessories that the child could color, cut out, and paste over their drawings. It also included coloring pages of each of the drawing lessons final art.

freelance illustrations for barbie magazine, issue #1602

Some of my freelance illustrations I did for Barbie Magazine, Issue #1602

Issue 1602 Barbie’s Spring Dress

The second issue I illustrated was Barbie and her Spring Dress. It included a drawing lesson with several drawing steps of Barbie wearing the Spring Dress. It also included a drawing lesson with several steps illustrating how to draw Barbie’s makeup, how to draw Barbie’s fascinator, how to draw Barbie’s hair style, and several Cut-Out Accessories that the child could color, cut out, and paste over their finished drawings. It also included coloring pages of each of the drawing lessons final art.

freelance illustrations for barbie magazine, issue #1605

Some of my freelance illustrations I did for Barbie Magazine, Issue #1605

1605 Halloween Barbie

The third issue I illustrated involved Barbie wearing a Halloween dress and items related to her costume. As with the other issues I illustrated, this issue included several drawing lessons and illustrating the individual steps involved. The drawing lessons included how to draw Barbie wearing her Halloween dress, how to draw Barbie’s hairstyle, how to draw Barbie’s makeup, how to draw bat wings Barbie will wear, and several Cut-Out Accessories for the child to color, cut out, and paste over their completed illustrations. It also included several coloring pages of the final drawing lessons and other coloring pages that included Barbie and her friends wearing Halloween costumes.

Sketches of Barbie I Created

Barbie Sketches

In Conclusion

I hope you enjoyed this recap of this project and the freelance illustrations I created for Barbie Magazine. I thought it was a wonderful product; each magazine issue designed to feature a particular Barbie Dress, the actual Barbie Dress being distributed in a plastic sleeve on the front of each issue, and the exciting How to Draw Barbie drawing lessons included inside each issue. I was both flattered and honored to provide freelance illustrations for Barbie Magazine.


About Malane Newman
Malane Newman is a professional illustrator and cartoonist for over 25 years. She is a master with color and eye candy. She has illustrated a variety of consumer products such as games, childrens books, board games, food and product packaging, magazines, greeting cards, and other consumer products. She provides new character design for clients and offers the copyrights at affordable rates. She can match most cartooning styles and works with creative directors on licensed character art (Barbie, Popeye, The Swan Princess).

Sep 01

How to Get Your Customers to Advertise Your Business and Make a Profit Too!

lizard cartoon character designed by Malane NewmanI know it’s hard to believe that it’s possible to get customers to advertise your business for you, and even harder to believe that you could make a profit at doing it too. It happened for my client and I’m going to share with you how he did it.

Background
Let me start by giving you a little bit of background about my client’s business. He cannot do normal business advertising because his product is unique and his customers are different from you and I. My client owns a remote weapon testing facility and his customers are military, government research scientists, and law enforcement. It makes sense that he cannot advertise to the public like most businesses do.  These unique customers come and stay at the facility for a few days at a time and often eat at my client’s onsite café.

Adding a Sense of Humor
All across the test site are little horn lizards and geckos running around, so many in fact that they often have to tell their visiting customers to “watch out for the lizards and geckos”.  And with all the loud sounds of firing and testing large weapons, my client imagines that they’re all probably deaf too. So they derived a name from this and appropriately named his onsite café The Deaf Lizard Café.

lizard character and tag line

Business Mascot
My client looked around at all the available clip art choices, but felt they just didn’t represent the uniqueness that his business encompasses. So I was hired to design a mascot that would represent the facility and The Deaf Lizard Café; a cross between a gecko and a lizard with a little touch of chameleon eyes to give a mischievous look. He wanted the mascot to wear clothing similar to the attire his customers usually wear when visiting the test site; a tactical vest, ear protection, and a boonie hat…thus ensuring a character that his customers could relate to. They named him “Gunny”, again appropriate for the character in relation to the business. Originally they intended to use the character on a sign in and outside the café.

Make It Memorable
Although his customers are being paid to do a job at his facility, men and women in occupations like the military, government, and law enforcement thoroughly enjoy going to my client’s facility and being paid to play with large powerful weapons. It’s more like an enjoyable vacation than it is a work assignment. My client wanted their visits to be even more memorable, so he thought of selling t-shirts that they could purchase and take home with them, essentially a souvenir. We designed a concept where the same art could be used on both t-shirts and signage so my client would get more bang (no pun intended) for his buck.

tshirts with character and tag line

Product Debut
The t-shirt debuted at a big VIP event. The Deaf Lizard Café and the company mascot “Gunny” was a big hit. During the event, they sold over 180 t-shirts and customers from all over the USA, UK, Australia and Canada will be wearing Gunny and talking about The Deaf Lizard Café. The volume of t-shirts they sold during this 2-week event not only reimbursed my client his initial investment but, also made a profit at the same time. And from this point on, the t-shirts will be available and profitably sold at The Deaf Lizard Café for all future customers to take home, wear, and remember the great time they had.

The Recipe
Let’s recap the recipe used and the ingredients for this success.

  • Start with what is unique about your company, products or services.  Not just what you think is unique but what your customers like most about your business, products, or services.

  • Add a sense of humor to the mix in the form of names and character traits. Put a spin on the uniqueness. Touch your customers through humor and emotions.

  • Design a character that your customers can relate to. Some elements to consider might be attire, expressions, cartoon style, features, attributes, pose, occupation, props, etc.

  • Tie it altogether with what your customers enjoy so they will remember and put it on something usable or wearable so it remains out front and not in a drawer.

  • Make the investment. Hire “me” <grin> to design your company mascot or your product. Seriously, hire a professional to bring it all to life. Don’t use clip art. It needs to represent your uniqueness and clip art is not unique and usually has a “clip art” sterility to it.

  • Don’t be afraid to put a price on it and sell it to your customers. If it is truly usable or wearable, and your customers can relate to it or have an emotional attachment to it, they will pay for it.

  • Hold an event that your customers will come to and debut your product.

 


About Malane Newman
Malane Newman is a professional illustrator and cartoonist for over 25 years. She is a master with color and eye candy. She has illustrated a variety of consumer products such as games, childrens books, board games, food and product packaging, magazines, greeting cards, and other consumer products. She provides new character design for clients and offers the copyrights at affordable rates. She can match most cartooning styles and works with creative directors on licensed character art (Barbie, Popeye, The Swan Princess).

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Aug 11

Malane Newman Design Receives 2016 Best Businesses of Los Angeles Award for Second Year

Best Businesses Award for Malane Newman Design 2016

2016 Award for Malane Newman Design in Web Design Category for Second Year!

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Malane Newman Design Receives 2016 Best Businesses of Los Angeles Award for Second Year!

Los Angeles, July 27, 2016 — Malane Newman Design has been selected for the 2016 Best Businesses of Los Angeles Award in the Web Design category (for second year in a row)  by the Best Businesses of Los Angeles Award Program.

Each year, the Best Businesses of Los Angeles Award Program identifies companies they believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and their community. These exceptional companies help make the Los Angeles area a great place to live, work and play.

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Mar 14

Malane Newman Design Receives 2016 Award in Printing & Publishing

Best of Hemet Award Printing & Publishing 2016

2016 Award for Malane Newman Design in Printing & Publishing Category

Press Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Hemet Award Program Honors the Achievement

HEMET March 1, 2016 — Malane Newman Design has been selected for the 2016 Best of Hemet Award in the Printing & Publishing category by the Hemet Award Program.

Each year, the Hemet Award Program identifies companies that we believe have achieved exceptional marketing success in their local community and business category. These are local companies that enhance the positive image of small business through service to their customers and our community. These exceptional companies help make the Hemet area a great place to live, work and play.

Various sources of information were gathered and analyzed to choose the winners in each category. The 2016 Hemet Award Program focuses on quality, not quantity. Winners are determined based on the information gathered both internally by the Hemet Award Program and data provided by third parties.

About Hemet Award Program

The Hemet Award Program is an annual awards program honoring the achievements and accomplishments of local businesses throughout the Hemet area. Recognition is given to those companies that have shown the ability to use their best practices and implemented programs to generate competitive advantages and long-term value.

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