DESIGN MAKEOVER

 ABOUT DESIGNER

 JAKE WIDMAN

CLIENT Kleiss Gears / www.kleissgears.com

smooth-running brochure

Kleiss Gears started in 1991 with the innovations of current CEO Melanie Kleiss Boerger s father. "He developed a novel way to design gears that results in better strength, lower friction, less noise, and longer gear life," she says. Now at 22 employees, the company has expanded its services to include all aspects of manufacturing gears, including inspection, tooling, molding, and testing.

The company s customers make products ranging from robotic toys and vacuum cleaners to tractors and cars. Customers see the Kleiss brochure at trade shows, during sales visits, or on company visits. Kleiss also distributes the brochure at job fairs, so that potential employees can see what they do.

Melanie Kleiss Boerger designed the current brochure, but she s having difficulty getting it to project the image she wants. "I m having trouble effectively integrating my photography with the logo and the taglines, to create a clean, high-tech-looking, professional page," she says. "The elements of the brochure don t seem to relate or connect to one another but rather look like separate objects simply placed on the same page." She likes the photographs —they convey the wide range of products the company offers —but they re not working with the other elements to meet the goals of the brochure. She also doesn t think the overall brochure goes with the company website.

Kleiss s customers value the company s personal service and wide range of expertise. Their products do often cost more than their competitors  but Boerger says, "We re more cost-effective in the long run because we enable superior products and longer part life." Ideally, she d like a new brochure that conveys their cost-effectiveness and efficiency but maintains the idea that their products are custom made. "With us, the customer is in good hands," she says. We asked three designers to crank out the kind of cutting-edge brochure that would properly represent a company like Kleiss.

DESIGN MAKEOVER

DESIGNER

Chad Bill / www.linkedin.com/pub/chad-bill/33/733/38b

The present Kleiss Gears flyer lacks visually unified pages. My redesign achieves a more cohesive flyer by incorporating several graphic elements throughout both sides of the brochure. One of these graphic elements —a collage of different gears —also showcases a bit of product variety and helps pull the viewer s eyes into the body copy on the backside of the flyer.

My overall goal with this redesign was to create something that mirrored the cool, dark colors of the logo: a well-organized, simplistic, and corporate layout that jumps off the page. I used blue-to-black gradients to add dimension to the piece. The ovalesque gradient partitions also help create movement and an organized structure. Plus, of course, their glossy appearance plays well with the Kleiss product.

Another goal in my redesign was to incorporate more contrast than the original. Design without contrast tends to be flat, not very exciting. I chose a white background, which creates a nice contrast against the dark, cool colors in the gradient, logo, and the gear collage element.

Helvetica works into this redesign very well —a clean, versatile, easily read font that fits with existing collateral. We re talking about a manufacturer of custom plastic gears; to me that means geometry and machinery. Elegant scripts and serif fonts seemed too organic. Helvetica gives the mechanical, harder-edge look that I want.

This redesign maintains brand recognition by incorporating the current logo, sans-serif font, and white background in a clean, professional appearance, using colors similar to those on the logo and current website. I wanted this piece to scream "Professional!" and so I avoided distracting background layers and excessive graphic elements, or "visual vomit," as one of my design instructors would frequently say.

ABOUT THE DESIGNER

CHAD BILL

Chad earned a B.A. in English from the University of Minnesota Duluth, and an A.A.S. in advertising design from the Minnesota School of Business/Globe University. He currently works as the in-house graphic designer for home-office marketing at Federated Insurance in Owatonna, Minnesota. The bulk of his work involves designing for incentives: "Everything from logos, rules, and results posters and travel booklets to inserts for the company magazine, Web graphics, and commemorative charms, plaques, and etchings," he says. While the majority of the incentive design tasks happen on a regular schedule, Chad always looks forward to the next "special project" that starts with, "So I hear you do graphic design...."

Most of his free time is spent outdoors with his wife and kids playing in the yard or gardening, or else "I m futzing in my man cave," Chad says. His favorite line about graphic design is: "We have all the mystique of a traditional artist with none of the cleanup."

APPLICATIONS USED Adobe Photoshop CS5 and Adobe InDesign CS5

DESIGN MAKEOVER

DESIGNER

Tirzah Vogels / www.tvart.jobrary.com

My goal for the new Kleiss Gears brochure was to create a simple design that would generate greater brand awareness. I wanted the logo to be the focal point of the cover, and designed the layout to be consistent with the look and feel of the website. I changed the background from dark black to white for a clean, professional look that can be printed on a typical office printer without losing quality.

I wanted to use the client s photography to bring color and depth to the cover without distracting from the logo. I chose pictures that showed a variety of subjects to appeal to a broad audience and give a quick preview of some of the services and products available.

For the tagline and the body of the text, I chose Segoe UI, a font used in a lot of Microsoft marketing materials and user interface applications. Segoe is an easily readable font and very similar to the font used on the company s website. I felt that using a similar font as the website was important to maintain consistency and reinforce the brand image. I used Segoe in various styles throughout the copy to develop a sense of structure and variety.

For the second page I wanted the text to be more reader-friendly, so instead of having each section indented differently,

I kept all of the sections aligned. To keep the page visually interesting I added simple gear illustrations in the background, reminiscent of mechanical drawings. Their placement guides the reader s eye throughout the text. I wanted the company s call to action easy to locate, so I placed it in a gray box separate from the rest of the text on the page. I also included the call to action —the company URL —on the first page for instances where this would be viewed on the Web.

ABOUT THE DESIGNER

TIRZAH VOGELS

Currently, Tirzah is an intern at Agilent Technologies, located in Little Falls, Delaware. She manages the design and functionality of packaging and labels in the marketing department for consumables and supplies. "My internship was recently extended for six months, so I m excited for the opportunity to gain valuable, hands-on experience," she says.

Tirzah graduated from Millersville University in May 2011 with a B.S. in communications and a double minor in art and graphic communications. Part of her education was a semester abroad in Australia at the University of the Sunshine Coast in Queensland.

She enjoys photography and, sometime in the future, would like to gain professional experience in the field. Tirzah has recently become a member of the American Society of Media Photographers. She also recently moved to Phoenixville, Pennsylvania, with her boyfriend and their two dogs. They love cooking, trying new foods, and spending time outdoors.

APPLICATIONS USED: Adobe Photoshop CS5, Adobe Illustrator CS5, and Adobe InDesign CS5

DESIGN MAKEOVER

DESIGNER

Kevin Anderton / www.linkedin.com/pub/ kevin-anderton/2/94b/975

My idea was to give the new design a clean technological look using visuals that focus on the precise and elegant nature of Kleiss Gears and their products. I started by making a monochromatic graphic, using photos of their products and engineering tools. ! chose blue for the color to give the design a cool and controlled feel. I think it helps relate to plastic gears, which are the client s specialty. After using a few tricks in Photoshop and adding a grid element, I had a strong cover graphic on which to base the rest of the design.

The company logo is placed in the upper left to note its importance and to make sure it gets seen. I added the website to the front of the flyer to give readers a way to respond, in case they only saw the front. This allows the flyer to be hung or posted on a wall and still be effective.

I used the tagline "Molding the Future of Gears" instead of "Innovative, High-performance, Affordable." This is the same slogan Kleiss Gears uses on their business cards, and I think it s a better fit with the rest of the flyer and graphics. I set the tagline in Fereydoun Rustan s Mobitale Original and added some drafting lines to give a little life to the words and to show the idea that the company does custom engineering to fit customer needs. Then I added a border around the edge and two tabs to outline the logo and website, creating the clean technological theme I wanted.

Since the client said they were happy with the format of the second page, I decided to keep it mostly the same. I repeated the new typeface from the front for the headlines and used Arial for the rest of the copy. I also repeated the tab shape from the front and added a QR Code.

ABOUT THE DESIGNER

KEVIN ANDERTON

Kevin is an in-house graphic designer for United Country Real Estate and a freelance designer and illustrator. He graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2003 with a B.F.A. and has been working in design ever since. After getting his start in the Washington, D.C., area, he relocated to Kansas City in 2004 to be part of a growing art community. During that time, he has worked for companies such as Ferro + Ferro, Long and Foster Realty, Lifetouch Publishing, Icon Document Services, and a large number of freelance clients in both cities. "I ve met some of the most amazing people out here," he says. "I feel living in KC has taken my abilities to the next level."

Kevin s work ranges from designing magazines, catalogs, brochures, posters, T-shirts, and postcards to painting and drawing commissioned artwork. "It feels like I have worked on projects of all shapes and sizes."

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