Contact Us

Drop Joe a message if you would like to connect or learn more. Simply fill out the form at the right and we will see what we can do.

Grand Rapids, MI



Thoughts about Design from all industries

Starbucks New Logo


The uber coffee house of Starbucks has simplified it's logo. I am sure that people will be in an uproar about branding but this is nothing new. Starbucks obviously is a strong brand along with Apple, Nike and McDonalds. Starbucks has spent 40 years cultivating this mark and now by pairing the logo to it's essence — will allow Starbucks to move into new ventures. Much like Apple dropping the "Computer" from it's name and rainbow colors. It allowed people to see them as more than just a PC maker. I find it fun. Below is comments from the CEO of Starbucks:

2011 and Beyond


Well it has been quite some time that I have posted here. In 2o11 I will post once a month (at least) about design, web, branding etc. This being a new year I have moved JosephBecker Design to a new server. I must say migrating a WordPress site was a little more difficult than I remembered, but it looks like it is working now! More to come!

The Wordperfect Axiom


This is a Blog by Seth Godin and it could not be more relevant. As new media designers it is important to understand the next platform. For us it may be the mobile catagory. I.E. smart phones and tablet devices. As the internet platform changes so should we. Read his blog, a very smart guy.J

The Wordperfect Axiom

Things to ask before you redo your website (SETH GODIN)


head-clickme2 Hi all, from time to time I find things on the web that just make too much sense. Seth Godin is one of those things. His blog is one of the best out there so give him a look see. His latest is about websites and things you should think about before you begin. While I won't cut and paste it here, please, please follow the link below and give it a read. You will thank him.

Things to ask before you redo your website (Seth Godin)

Twitter Redesigns main page


twitter_redesign_jul09 Twitter redesigned their main page to reflect the use that as taken over Twitter. Over the last few months Twitter has become a powerful news search. It brings the reactions of individuals to things that happen instantly. From politics in Iran to a Dell Taco opening up in Michigan. Twitter is becoming something that will be as pervasive as radio, only now you can pick and choose feeds. Newspapers are you listening?

Design for Mobile


iphone It is becoming very clear that most people in the future will interface with their phone more than any other device. Phones have become the personal computer. Can design keep up? As technology evolves, we as designers must be prepared to evolve. Does the design work in a 640x480 (again!)? Can it zoom and still be clear? Is messaging the same as for a print piece?

Yes the Cell phone has grown up, in fact I agree with the PC writer John C. Dvorak's article "The Perfect Mobile Phone Is (Nearly) Here." Here he states that our mobile phone  will be our personal computer. Something that we carry with us and "dock" when needed. Makes sense. So as designers we need to fully embrace and begin our new transition into designing for this platform.

The best is yet to come.



It is often overheard, whether by in-house or design agency, the word "clients". Usually this is followed by some sort of sigh or moan. Really? Is it that bad? Someone hires you because they have faith enough that you will execute? Sometimes things can get frustrating, but the client is most important person for your design business. It is our job as designers to create heroes out of all of out clients. Remember they have been tasked to deliver a job, whether to a superior or to their own client/customer. We are the ones that help them deliver. We are a service industry. Always put yourself in the shoes of a client. Most of us are clients all the time. Do you like hearing a negative attitude from your server at a restaurant? Do you like being nickled and dimed by your cell phone provider? Good services is the key, go the extra mile. Hit there deadlines, all-nighters are common.

This does not mean you don't offer an opinion, after all they hired you for that. The job here is to work with your client. Help educate them on design issues. Create a relationship that is trustworthy and beneficial to both. Show them how design can help their messaging. Show them you are a true partner and not just here to be billable.

And don't forget, THANK THEM.

Without them you will be irrelevent.

So clients....I thank you!

Graphic Design and Cost


cost There is a common misconception that Designers are "high priced". Unfortunately in this economy many marketing teams and businesses think that cutting the designer out by purchasing templates or pre-made design will save money. Cutting a cost for the execution of creative could cost you audience and loss of revenue. Most of the time Design or Creative is seen only as "cost". When in fact it is revenue generating. look at the best brands like Apple, Nike, and Honda. All those companies put Design as a priority and is viewed as a way to generate revenue. It is not a coincedence that these are successful companies.

Hiring a Designer should be thought of as a partnership. The Designer should compliment your team and work with your Marketing team to achieve a unified goal. A Designer's expertise is to deliver your message to the intended audience. Interpreting your creative brief to maximize the potential of the overall marketing plan and generate revenue. Would you hand over an architects plan to build your house to your sisters stepson who knows how to build forts? Then why hand over your Design to the same person that "knows" Photoshop?

The market today has plenty of opportunities to buy "cheap" design. The design may "look nice". It probably is. However, is it yours? Did another company use the design as well? A good Design partner will work with you to maximize budget, time and execution. A Designers time is valuable but not necessarily expensive. So when you think you are "saving" money with purchasing some online template or logo, ask yourself this...What is the actual cost?

GM, What they should do


Now that GM has entered into bankruptcy they have a chance to start over. What they should do is completely change the buying model. Be the first to actually perfect on time delivery. Let the shopper completely build and order their car with any options they would like via the web. No more "packages". No more bloated inventory that needs incentives. No more high pressure sales. Direct interaction with customers. Become the car brand of the future by eliminating dealerships altogether. Crazy? Not really. Change all dealerships to certified service centers and test drive outlets. Yes this seems outlandish, but the shoppers of the future are the ones to grab. They shop in a different way, they think differently. GM can start new. For once I would like to see real change.

2 types of Design Firms


As my experience has moved me around, I have noticed 2 types of Design Firms. Firms that only concentrate on making pretty design, getting the work done as fast as they can and charging as much as they can. The other, Firms that believe in the process of design (the VALUE that it brings) learning about your business and helping you cut through the clutter by creating a differentiation in the marketplace. Your bottom line helps theirs. Of course design is a business, but is it one that is based on time or value? The Design Firm that you choose should be your partner, not just a service. Your Design Firm should be just as passionate about your success as they are their own. It should be a relationship that you should feel good about. There are Design Firms that will squeeze every cent from you if they can. Are they really in it for your well being or just theirs? Are they a true partner? A good Design Firm helps you assess your opportunities and connects you to new tools that move your business forward, effectively manages your budgets, all the while helping you build real brand value.

You shouldn't feel like your talking to a used car salesman in nice suit and slick hair ready to sell you "the next big thing"! So the next time you meet with your agency, ask yourself this. Am I getting value? Am I moving forward? or Am I just paying someone for their time, while they keep doing the same old thing?

Why Microsoft needs Bill Gates.


Microsoft is fighting back to a competitor that was unlikely 10 years ago...Apple. The masterful job that Apple has done in the last 10 years from creating new product to capturing the music industry has put Microsoft in an interesting position. The "I'm a Mac, I'm a PC" ads, Apple has painted the PC as a boring old computer that doesn't work and is not fun. What is interesting though is the one you actually like is the PC guy. The Apple guy is kind of a pompous ass that gives you that "I am much cooler than you could ever be" feeling. Here is the opening that Microsoft can exploit.

This brings us to the CEO's. Steve Jobs (while currently on hiatus) has propelled Apple to new areas and created the cool company with all the cool stuff, iPhone, iPod and various computers. Steve Jobs also has become that pompous ass that is now the "I'm a Mac" guy. Arrogance, as leader can breed contempt. The major problem though for Microsoft is CEO Steve Ballmer. He looks like the angry bully that beat up the geeky kid in school. This of course doesn't mean he is. He could be great, but he just doesn't represent the company well.

The only person that can really speak for Microsoft is Bill Gates. He is the "PC Guy". He is the one that people can route for. Microsoft also thinks so, they put him in ads with Jerry Seinfeld. However they didn't make sense. What it did do was create a new persona for Bill Gates. Funny, not as uptight etc. Microsoft has an opening here that has been created by the economy (PCs are cheaper, see laptop ads), timing and the love for nerds.

Bill, become that "PC" guy and speak for Microsoft again! Maybe even spoof the Apple ads with Bill as the "PC" guy, that would be fun.

Now anyone that knows me, understands my affinity for Apple, however I do love a good marketing war!

What do you think?