Thysse Unveils New Campus and New Capabilities.

New Address, Same Thysse Culture.

Monday, July 27 marked the next chapter in the Thysse legacy. The company opened the doors on its new headquarters, a 95,500 square-foot building in Oregon, WI. The new campus, situated just a stone’s throw from the previous Netherwood location, is the third expansion in seven years to support Thysse’s enhanced services and growing lines of business.

The building itself is as functional as it is visually impressive; featuring 2 glass lined stories and triple the production space. The new location brings together a full in-house design suite for Thysse’s Experiential Graphic Design team, moves all production, specialty graphics, and fulfillment services to a single site, creating greater efficiencies for Thysse’s customers, and enhances the close team culture for its employees. For President Jason Thysse, this is the real measure of success,

“Since my grandfather started Thysse in 1941, this company has always been about the people. We designed the new campus with both client and employee needs in mind, and the result we’ve realized with the team of Thysse architects, designers, and assistance from OPN Architects is a dream come true. We are very excited for this next chapter in Thysse’s story!”

Fleet of Thysse delivery trucks at new campus

Director of Operations, Nick Brevik knows that the new campus will start showing a return on investment almost immediately,

“The move to a larger space that can house all our services in one location minimizes our logistical inefficiencies. We’ll be able to reduce travel time, particularly in fulfillment, and we’re able to increase our service offerings, adding on foil stamping and embossing capabilities starting in August. The bigger production space allowed us to bring in a larger format and faster press, as well as the prepress workflow to support it, effectively doubling our offset printing rate. The move also increased fulfillment storage by 30%. Thysse has always looked for the best way to meet our customers’ current needs, while simultaneously planning for their future; this move is a continuation on that promise.”  

Thysse’s new address, as of July 27th, is 780 Cusick Parkway, Oregon, WI 53575.

Production space in Thysse's new campus

Although the building was completed for Thysse, it wasn’t done alone. The project had many partners involved including: The Village of Oregon, Oregon Community Bank, Wisconsin Business Development, OPN Architects, Newcomb Construction, and Thysse’s very own Experiential Design Team. Thank you for your support and assistance along this journey!

To stay up to date with what’s happening at Thysse, stay tuned on our social channels and at www.thysse.com.

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For more information, contact Jen Braga, Thysse, at 608.249.6951.

Color Sells Your Product: An Interview With Color Management Guru John Drew

An Interview With Color Management Guru John Drew

“I want ‘Color sells your product’ to be engraved on my tombstone,” says John Drew. Find out below why this color management guru is so passionate about choosing the right colors for your brand—especially your logo.

Professor John Drew
Professor John Drew

Drew takes logo colors about as seriously as anyone. A professor of graphic design at California State University, Fullerton, Drew has co-written multiple books on the topic, in addition to teaching courses on logo design for nearly 30 years.

We spoke with Professor Drew on a number of topics related to logo colors. If you’re a designer or a marketer, the following Q&A will help you understand (or remind you) just how important logo colors are. We’ll cover key areas like:

  • Why careful color selection is so crucial
  • How to ensure logo colors perform well across platforms
  • How to work more effectively with your printer
  • How to re-evaluate your logo colors   

Q: What does color management for logos mean?

From a graphic designer’s point of view, color management for logos refers to what needs to be done to accurately reproduce logo colors across all platforms, including print, screen, and 3D environments, both indoors and out. 

And that’s just for starters. Color management for logos also means considering the learned and/or psychological effects of color on people. Those are critical factors for logo design. 

It also happens to be the name of a graphic design text book I co-authored with my wife [a graphic design professor at Cal Poly Pomona]. That book is a comprehensive treatment of color issues involved in logo design and gives designers the technical know-how—and inspiration—to design logos effectively. 

Q: What are the most important design elements of a logo?

When I teach logo design, we cover the three major signifiers for how humans make sense of what they see. The first is the form or silhouette of something. Humans most often recognize an object by this signifier. Then there’s tone and texture. For example, think about seeing a shag rug. 

And then there’s color, which I believe is the most important element of a logo. 

Q: Why is color selection so important when it comes to logo design?

First, the hue and color combinations you choose will affect how well they can be seen from a distance. I’m not only talking about distance in terms of recognizing a logo on a billboard or something like that. I’m also talking about the distance from, say, a viewer’s eyes to a smartphone or computer screen or a brochure. 

Logo color selection is crucial when considering that about 1 in 12 men is colorblind, with red/green colorblindness being the most common. Now throw in another small percentage of women who may be colorblind. In addition, there are roughly 246 million people who are visually impaired or have moderately low vision.

Logo color selection is crucial when considering those who are colorblind, vision impaired or have moderately low vision.

Do you really want to create a logo where it’s possible that around 13% of the population may not be able to distinguish your logo colors—and by extension not recognize your brand? 

You also have to consider the power of color in terms of how you want people to feel about your product or company.  

Q: Can you explain what learned effects of color are?

Basically, those are the ideas about color that people absorb from the culture they grow up in. Designers and marketers need to consider the connotations that colors have in a given culture, especially in relation to the form you place the color in.

For example, I had a student who designed a beautiful red and gold color combination in a dollar bill-like form for a book cover. Another student, who happened to be from China, pointed out that the colors and design resembled paper money that Chinese people burn—during rituals for the dead.

Be aware of possible associations your logo may have.

There’s an important lesson there: You need to be careful that your logo doesn’t carry associations that are off-topic, distracting, or worse, offensive in some way. And this is really crucial if your brand’s reach is international—or you want it to be. 

Q: Can you give an example of the psychological effects of color?

Research into this is ongoing, but some hold that red, for example, has a stimulating effect on our metabolism, which among other things, can increase our appetite. 

Now think about that in terms of all the fast food restaurants where red is an integral logo color—McDonald’s, Burger King, Carl’s Jr., KFC. It’s a long list, and there’s a reason for that.  

Q: What’s a common mistake that companies make when it comes to their logo colors? 

Let’s say you have a logo mark or symbol that’s one hue and then you have the company or abbreviated company name underneath it in another color. Probably the most common mistake I see is not having enough color contrast between those two logo colors. 

The combination may look fine on a computer screen, but once you go to print it, the contrast may not be great enough to see at any kind of distance. 

Q: What can designers/marketers do to help ensure that their print vendor ultimately produces colors accurately? 

Well, to set the record straight, most of the problems that happen between designers and printers are the designer’s fault. They don’t set up the document correctly in the first place, so the printer either has to call them and tell them that they’ve got to make some changes, or they’ll do it for them.

Designers should probably use an ink-matching system. And that way the printer can pull the needed colors. Let’s say it’s Pantone 123. The file says 123, so the printer will then pull 123. So, it should be accurate. 

On the other hand, there are a lot of printers that may not take the kind of pride they should in the outcome of their printed work. 

I’ve experienced scenarios where the initial printed items looked great. But then the run continues, and maybe while the press person takes a break, the color starts to get a little lighter. That’s why printers should have good color management practices as well. 

Q: What can a printer do to help the designer in terms of color management? 

Any design firm or printer I’ve worked with usually has documentation that clearly lays out how they want you to create a file, store the file, name the file, etc. 

A file prep document from the printer is crucial.

Based on my experience, a good file prep document from the printer is crucial. When you’re told specifically how to set up a file for the printer, it can make it so much easier to hit the target the first time around, which obviously saves time and money, to say the least. 

If it’s not provided, a designer should always ask for one.

Q: What should companies know about when it comes to printing in house?

When companies opt to print materials in house, say on an inkjet printer or even on a laser printer, they should know that those printers aren’t really meant to match colors. They sort of simulate the color that you’re trying to get.

If they have really high standards and tight tolerance levels, they’re probably not going to adequately match their logo colors when printing in house on this type of equipment. 

Q: What technical steps can be taken to make sure a logo’s colors will perform well across different platforms?

First, begin by recognizing there are better and worse ways to design for logo colors across platforms. People often don’t realize that matching from one medium to another isn’t necessarily an easy thing to do.

This is really important to consider if you have a client say something like, “We’re a web-based company, so we just want a logo mark for the web.” But what if further down the line, they determine they want to add brick and mortar?

Designers should assume they need to match colors for print and screen-based experiences.

If you’re a designer, start with the assumption that you will need to match logo colors for various print and screen-based experiences. In fact, I would recommend you build colors for print first so that they match within the CMYK color spectrum. 

The process will be a lot easier than doing the reverse and starting with RGB for screen colors. CMYK is the smallest color spectrum, and if you choose your hues from this color space, you’ll be able to guarantee that the hues selected will match within the Pantone and RGB color spectrum.

Q: What should a company do if they want to re-evaluate their logo colors?

Well, I can give you a basic checklist for re-evaluating your colors: First, are the colors inclusive? Do they physically work for everybody? Or, for example, have you chosen colors that the majority of colorblind people won’t really be able to see at a distance?  

Second, are you maximizing the distance by which you can see the logo by the choice of your colors? The third is, are you maximizing the psychological effect of these colors for the culture in which it’s going to be used? 

And then fourth is, do you have enough color contrast between the colors you’re using so that it could be seen by people who are visually impaired?

These would be the top four questions I would ask. If your colors do all of those things, then you’re probably in good shape. But if a couple of those questions are problematic, you may want to consider altering your colors. Obviously that requires careful analysis because changing your logo is nothing to take lightly. 

To learn more about color management and logos, check out Drew’s book Color Management for Logos: A Comprehensive Guide for Graphic Designers

For more information on color management in printing, see Why Is Color Management Needed in Print Projects?

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Finding Inspiration in a School Bus

Nelson’s Bus Service has come to rely on Thysse to provide the “cool wow factor” for their branded collateral. Thysse has developed everything from business cards and pocket folders to giant bus-sized banners.

Most recently, Thysse completed a signage project for their facilities in Whitewater and McFarland, Wisconsin. Thysse began with a site study, identifying needed signage messaging and installation locations. We then amassed an overall signage inventory, designing a sign family that fit within the established Nelson’s Bus Service Visual Branding. We direct-printed the designs to aluminum panels with UV ink that would hold up to all weather conditions. Areas of raw aluminum was strategically left unprinted to catch the ambient light, creating a visually striking sign piece.

Who Trusts Thysse With Their Brand? – WEA Trust

Introducing a new product to the marketplace is often accompanied by uncertain anxiety. Market research is no guarantee. The best thing you can do is communicate your message. Effective communication of your message can mean the difference between immediate interest and the lack of … and immediate interest makes eventual adoption much more likely.

Where do you go? How do you begin?

WEA Trust went to Thysse for assistance with their new product launch. Thysse provided WEA Trust with creative, experience-driven ideas and guided their in-house designer through the large-format file development and production process. From creative concept to brand deployment, WEA Trust’s product launch was a success.

“My team at WEA Trust started working closely with Thysse when we began planning a big product launch. The product was new and different and we need to make a splash in the marketplace. The plan was to create an interactive experience that our guests would go through before the product launch presentation. And if that wasn’t enough, the whole thing need to be both mobile and re-usable.

Thysse’s expertise, creativity, and attention to detail were essential in bringing our vision to life. The event was a huge success and I can say without hesitation that without Thysse’s partnership, it would not have had the spark and energy that gave it life.

The team at Thysse is one of the best in the industry and I would highly recommend working with them on your next project. Very few agencies are producing the kind of truly experiential design that Thysse has been doing for years. They make incredible results and brilliant innovation look easy.”
– Dan Rose, Content and Branding Specialist at WEA Trust

Saving the Canvas, Saving the Art, Saving the Story

The art community in San José, California is evolved, involved and organized. Public art installations and murals play a significant role in the downtown landscape as almost any area lacking visual interest is seen as a possible canvas. This art community is especially vibrant at San José State University.

The San José State Art School building is located 35 feet from the Student Union building. This location is convenient for student artists – close to book store supplies, student resources and dining. However, when construction began on the new Student Union building, this location would become less than ideal.

Better Than Blue

In September of 2010, in conjunction with the San José State University Student Union Renovation and Expansion project, construction workers erected an eight-foot-high wall surrounding the Student Union construction site. The internal debate over the splintered eyesore of a barrier began almost immediately and requests from the Art Department to do something with the great plywood wall were made early and often. The school rebutted. The planks were painted. Blue. The students of San José wanted something more – something better than blue.

An extracurricular art club, the “Dirty Brushes” , saw an opportunity to create a public art piece and the blue wall was perfect for a large-scale mural project. The project know as “Better Than Blue” began in April 2011 with a small grant from the Student Union. More than 100 art and art history students would come to be involved in painting more than 45 different “self-portraits” of a diverse selection of famous artists on the blue wall.

Saving the Canvas

When exterior construction completed in 2015, the painted wall was scheduled to be demolished and discarded. Thysse stepped in. We knew the wall needed to be saved. It was artwork that needed to be preserved, it was a story that needed to be told. We hired a crew to carefully dismantle the wall, individually wrap each 8’ tall panel, place them into shipping containers and ship them to a local storage facility.

Almost a year later, as the interior construction on the Student Union was being completed, Thysse began the process of restoring the “Better Than Blue” wall by unpacking and sorting through the salvaged panels. We chose 30 panels that were in the best condition and hired a local artisan craftsman to properly restore, preserve and frame the pieces for display.

omg. These were my fav thing about campus

In August, 2016, a week before fall classes began, Thysse came in and installed the restored panels. When the students returned, the artwork that once adorned the construction fence they passed by everyday, the artwork they assumed had been lost and forgotten about, the artwork that reflected the San José State culture had once again appeared on the site. This time, inside and permanently on display on the walls of their Student Union.

Who Trusts Thysse With Their Brand? – Oregon Community Bank

The need for a corporate rebranding is usually a realization that comes from within the organization. Perhaps it starts with a logo that has begun to feel dated – a mark that doesn’t translate well to modern website and social media platforms – a mark that doesn’t properly reflect the company’s self-image. Perhaps it starts with an evolution of the company’s message and direction. Perhaps it starts with a new, energized vision of the company’s future. For Oregon Community Bank, all of these things occurred at about the same time and in 2014 they wondered …

Where do you go? How do you begin?

Oregon Community Bank turned to the branding team at Thysse. We began with a thorough examination of the existing visual brand elements, and OCB’s future plans. We then organized a series of Thysse-led employee charrettes in which we guided internal discussion focused around exposing the existing company culture and visions for the stakeholders’ outward messaging.
Thysse used this information to develop a complete rebranding that better fit an overall “Feel Good Banking” message and community mission. The finished deliverables not only included all visual identity assets (logo, typeface, color palette, print collateral, interior and exterior signage), but established the brand family for future OCB community branches.

“We were not only impressed with the end result, but the process in which Thysse employed during our rebranding process. They made it a truly collaborative effort by coming to us and leading sessions that drew out our thoughts, wants and needs. Thysse then took what we said and made it real. In the end, they effectively encompassed who we are as a bank and who we are as a brand. Simply put – success.”
– Elyse Smithback, Vice President at Oregon Community Bank