More than one way to skin a catalog

When HRDQ approached us to redesign their catalog it became one of our most collaborative projects to date. HRDQ worked with us to develop a focus group of clients so we could gather information and opinions on the state of the existing catalog and what would improve future experiences. This provided a foundation for the design and layout of the catalog. The audiences' priorities became ours. The layout was designed to be light and airy. This improved legibility and provided the reader with the information they valued most and the space to find it. Topics were recategorized and recombined to reduce their number. The catalog went from 60 down to 40 pages. This reduction allowed HRDQ to focus reader's attention on the products that were most relevant to them. The result, more than a year after implementation, was a 17.5 percent increase in their average order! The costs of production and postage went down, orders went up, and together we helped HRDQ reinvigorate their sales.

ROC stars

American Chemical Society

The membership division of the American Chemical Society wanted to increase their impact at their annual meeting by communicating the importance each member holds for the ACS. FIREBRAND worked with ACS to develop the theme, messaging, logo, design, and implementation of their campaign—Rockstars of Chemistry—the message being that each member of the Society is treated like a rock star. Three band members: Beakman, Fuge, and Amy, were created, each with their own backstory, as ambassadors of the campaign. This project incorporated many diverse pieces including: print and online ads, badges, posters, promotions, ten-foot banners, photo booth backdrops, and more. The membership booth was busy signing new members and renewing existing members and the campaign attracted VIPs in the chemistry world to attend their reception.

Effective elegance

Club Managers Association of America

Being a member of a club should not be a routine experience and its promotional materials shouldn’t be either. The Club Managers Association of America (CMAA) provides a range of services for clubs all around the country but its presentation kit consisted of a hodge-podge of flyers and inserts stashed in a generic pocket folder; hardly the caliber of materials CMAA’s clientele would appreciate. FIREBRAND designed a custom-presentation system that highlights CMAA’s identity and mission and is flexible enough to contain customized inserts that the association can print on its own. The carrier includes piece-specific pockets to hold the brochure, business cards, and inserts. What was once a scattered and generic piece is now a cohesive, and classy original.

Triple Win!

ASAE Member-Get-a-Member

Twice a year, the American Society of Association Executives (ASAE) launches a membership recruitment campaign that is designed to encourage existing members’ participation. In the past this “Member-get-a-Member” drive has been promoted mainly through email. But ASAE wanted to improve the campaign’s effectiveness and asked FIREBRAND for a fun new way to get existing members to recruit new ones. We created a bright, colorful, and fun board game design. It emphasized the benefits of ASAE membership while spurring a sense of competition conveyed by a dedicated Web page that charted the results of the campaign. Direct mail, emails, and advertisements increased the campaign’s exposure and results. The first one to greater membership wins!

Finding their voice

Fleet Reserve Association

This ad campaign was part of the large rebranding effort FIREBRAND completed for the Fleet Reserve Association. Each ad targets a distinct issue that the FRA addresses: legislation, enlisted community concerns and military leadership. All three ads share the headline, “Worried about losing your voice?” Today, FRA’s members are being heard loud and clear.

The business of government


IBM’s Business of Government division awarded FIREBRAND its publication contract, which involved producing more than 25 reports a year and a twice-yearly magazine. IBM needed a firm that could provide quick turnaround, accurate production skills and writing and editing services. FIREBRAND met all of those requirements but this client needed even more. Its outdated brand needed to be refreshed. We developed an updated look for both the reports and magazine while continuing to reflect the sophisticated but business-oriented perspective of a federal government audience. Six years after the roll-out, the brand is still going strong.

Shining Examples


  1. 1. The winter holidays are an exciting time and our promotion helped our clients count down the days. Long cartons containing 24 custom-made boxes were bound with a matching printed rubber band. We filled each box with candy, ornaments and toys that made each day a special one.
  2. 2. Our “Twelve Ways to Brighten Your Holidays” package was inspired by the classic “12 Days of Christmas” carol. The box contained a dozen tea lights and snowflake luminaries and a personal greeting, all wrapped in a colorful belly band. Composed of silver metallic paper, the luminaries and box glisten and twinkle with the spirit of the season.
  3. 3. Here’s a simple way to bring some holiday cheer: Take an accordion-fold card, add some perfs, include some funky designs and one piece of string and there you have it, a DIY ornament kit! But why should ornaments be displayed only on certain holidays? We say, “No! Give us an ornament to use all year long! One we can proudly display on our desks.” The time has come for the Desk Ornament! Maybe we should trademark that: The Desk Ornament™. There, that’s better.

The future looks bright

Resources for the Future

Resources for the Future (RFF), an environmental research organization, has an eye on the future but knew its magazine, Resources, had one foot in the past. RFF asked FIREBRAND to help give Resources a new look, reduce production costs and make the magazine as accessible and relevant in digital version as it was in print. We began by developing a layout grid and style sheets, providing a color palette and element library, and resizing the publication. The resize from an oversized magazine to a smaller journal would allow the in-house designers to fill space more easily while transforming Resources from a relatively “light” read into an influential scientific journal. And the journal’s the smaller size reduced printing and postage costs. We also recommended co-mailing to further cut expenses. Working in tandem with the in-house editor and designer, we handed off the templates and brought Resources up-to-date with ease. After we completed the magazine redesign RFF asked us to continue the new look to its annual report and a study that was being produced in-house. These additional pieces reflected the new style sheets and some of the visual language but used a different format to distinguish these materials from the new magazine. The report and annual contained imagery that juxtaposed natural elements with environmental issues. The designs are clean and open, making the many facts they contain easier to digest.

Strong foundation

National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies

The National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) sought a new look for its corporate brochure. The association wanted a visual style that focused on the human element and didn’t look so engineered. FIREBRAND created a piece that emphasizes the people behind the plans and projects. A rich, earthy color palette and dynamic imagery present the content in a warm, engaging way. Its marketing brochure features a pocket that holds preprinted shells to which NICET can add customized copy, giving this piece the flexibility and longevity required. We provided NICET with a strong foundation on which to focus on, not just engineering but engineers.

Think of the children

American Academy of Pediatrics

Ensuring continued funding for the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (SCHIP) is the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) top legislative priority. AAP entrusted FIREBRAND to deliver that message to Capitol Hill and the public. We created this impressive ad to run in special issues of The Hill and Roll Call. Relying on the telling statistic that there are 9 million uninsured children in America, the copy is supported by strong visuals and a call to action that is easy to read and understand. The ad was well received and AAP returned to FIREBRAND to design its next advocacy campaign.