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VOL. 127 | NO. 72 | Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tactical Magic Design Featured in Textbook

By Sarah Baker

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Tactical Magic has been featured in a graphic design textbook for its logo design of Eyewear Gallery in East Memphis, marking the third time the boutique branding firm’s work has been highlighted in a college-level publication.

The Eyewear Gallery logo appears in chapter five (“Good Gestalt”), and store signage and a billboard appear in chapter 10 (“What is Advertising Design?”) of the sixth edition of “Graphic Design Basics.”

“The logo and its applications are bright, upbeat and very well designed,” said book author and professor emerita at the University of Wisconsin Amy Arntson. “A fine combo and an excellent example for students.”

The Eyewear Gallery’s logo has also been published in LogoLounge3, a hardcover collection of trademarks from around the world.

The first college textbook to pick up Tactical Magic’s client logo work was “Design Evolution: Theory Into Practice,” devoting an entire chapter to the firm’s “War Room” methodology of logo design. Then the 11th edition of “Contemporary Advertising” spotlighted the business-to-business feature created for Fulmer Helmets.

“The point of branding is not to do things, not to get ink on paper or pencils on screens,” said Trace Hallowell, founder of Tactical Magic. “The point of branding is to launch impressions in hearts and minds.”

In the Eyewear Gallery’s case, Dr. Warren Johnson had been operating for years as Memphis Eyecare Optical at the Humphrey’s Center before business became flat.

Tactical Magic came up with a simple, singular identity of “brand refinement” with a yellow and orange eyeglass logo. That effort was in turn supported by outdoor and print advertising, direct mail and a website.

Combined with a more visible retail location at 428 Perkins Road Extended in East Memphis and the extension of the Eye Gallery’s product offerings to include designer frames, the rebranded business watched its sales grow.

“We bounce off thousands and thousands and thousands of brand messages every day because we just can’t take it all in; we don’t want to, we don’t have the capacity to remember it all,” Hallowell said. “Our particular focus is to ask the question, ‘What do we need to do strategically, cognitively and creatively to dust through the clutter and be relevant and be remembered positively by the folks that we care about?’”

Midtown-based Tactical Magic calls itself a branding specialist firm that combines the skills of an ad agency, a brand consultancy and a design studio. The company celebrated a decade in business last September and is advancing to the District 7 ADDY competition in Nashville Friday, April 13.

At the local ADDY awards in March, Tactical Magic earned four honors for the logos of Visible Music College, Angel’s Route 66 Barber Shop, Delgadillo’s Snow Cap Diner and the Tenth Anniversary Logo Book for Tactical Magic.

The firm has also recently set up a “strategic alliance” with public relations and affairs professional Susan Thorpe, which goes back to Hallowell’s business model of keeping the time and the passion that goes into creative problem solving, but without the big overhead.

“We have from day one been devoted to a collaborative business model, so working with a focus outside of the organization, it’s been in our DNA,” Hallowell said. “She’s extremely aware of everything that’s going on in Memphis and is highly respected. Susie brings a specialty of practice that just really augments what we already have in place.”

New clients Tactical Magic has added to its portfolio include Donati Law Firm, Triumph Bank and Memphis Opportunity Scholarship Trust.

“Now I think clients are starting to turn loose of budgets because they do realize the importance of branding,” Hallowell said. “You can only hold your breath so long.”

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