Monday, December 31, 2007

Is it the Frame or What Goes in the Frame?

Red Lobster pushed my design buttons at the end of the year and we created a great certificate for them. Same great ICON frame presented at a different level. Is it the frame or what goes in the frame that makes it look great? I've often wondered about how that works? I've had artwork of my own framed in a wonderful way and it seems to elevate the art to a new level when it is framed. The opposite seems true for our certificate frames. Yes, they are shadowboxed with unique foil details but, it is a simple mat and frame. Yet, place a certificate that fits a corporate purpose into the frame with a non-traditional certificate design approach and you have something that transcends a plain old certificate or plaque. SO... is it the frame or what goes in the frame that makes it work?

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Congratulate, Celebrate, Motivate and Appreciate

Eight New Business Gift Ideas
HIGH POINT, N.C. -- How does a business distinguish itself in new, meaningful ways with business gifts year after year? The key is customization.

The most successful gifting programs include plenty of personality and replicate the company's culture.

That's why the Business Solutions Specialists at are using their unlimited framing, printing and engraving abilities to create new, custom-made presentations for creative employee recognition and corporate gifting.

"Gifts become unforgettable when designed as masterpieces," explains Jane Rhem, Business Solutions Specialist.

"We're able to design business gifts at almost any price point because printing capabilities range from photo to fine art giclee quality and framing options range from metal to fine hardwoods."

Ideas to fuel your next corporate gifting campaign:

For Employee Recognition

-- Acknowledge the creativity of employees with "Create Your Own Masterpiece" gift certificates.

-- Celebrate revolutionary developments with news articles framed in archival presentations to preserve the moment.

-- Appreciate employees every year with awards and certificates, optionally engraved with logos on the frames. When the certificate is replaced, exposure continues.

-- Commemorate events with framed group photos. Add a message engraved into the frame or mat.

For Key Customers, Clients, Donors & Partners

-- Appreciate key partners or donors by creating and framing a special limited edition with engraved plaques just for them.

-- Celebrate a new partnership by sending custom canvas art with imagery relevant to the relationship.

-- Create a commemorative poster and archive in "My Gallery" at By changing the mat and frame presentation style, the gift can be given to new clients over time.

-- Share in the giving season with a donation to their favorite charitable organization and then frame the document announcing the contribution.
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Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Award Design & Framing Going Green?

I have been working on our environmental statement over the last few months. We are committed to change. We are recycling packaging at the warehouse, using recycled paper content in all of our mat board, using only wood frames from responsibly harvested wood sources. We do have a water cooler- not bottled water.

Maybe we can get ISO 9001 certified in 2008?

The trick is not passing on our desire to go green to our customer through increasing the cost to operate. Currently there is no way to avoid increasing the cost of materials to build products green. If the material is green in the awards or framing business, then it is custom or hard to find. The industry is slow to change. I hope we can be a leader in making that change.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Increasing the Local Profile

We find ourselves giving more and more money to our children's schools, volunteering more and more time to committees, and donating to auctions, book sales and bake sales. When our son's elementary school lost a corporate sponsor we thought we would step up. One of the sponsor's responsibilities was to provide certificates for Honor Roll. Hellooo Fusion Frames. I took a little time to re-design the certificate and slugged our website in 6pt type along the bottom edge for free advertising. Why not? Louis says... not our market. True, one frame for a kid's honor roll certificate is not the business growth direction we need. We are not the local plaque shop. But, it is all about volunteering, giving to the school (which we'll do anyway). So why not try to get back something in return? And if not, well, we have great looking Honor Roll certificates. Before shown on top, after on bottom.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Online Marketing

The fact is: not even a 3rd of our business is from online sales. Why the buzz about online marketing? Are our customers online? That is a bigger question to answer. We spoke with an online marketing consultant last week. Chip was impressive. He knew his stuff. It really made me think about our growth directions. It is all connected. Yes, we are reaching customers by Google Adwords. I'm in agreement with Rick & Louis that we need to move into vertical markets. The pot of gold is not exclusively with Google. It is the fact of our market. Chip's background is gaming. That whole market is online. We have to diversify our marketing to reach customers. I think the website is more of a tool to hold onto customers and give them an easy way to buy our products. Here is a link of note that we should certainly pursue to achieve that goal of "website as tool." It is all about service and recognition... no matter how you approach it eh?

Case Study: COKE

Coca-Cola Company understands. They get the product. They understand our capabilities as designers and manufacturers. They understand the product's flexibility to customize graphics. It is hard for customers to visualize sometimes. But, I think this is a great case study that illustrates how on-target our products can become to reflect corporate identity and graphic standards. My hope is that you can see the photos showing the original Fusion Frame Quantum Medallion product and the modified Coke solution on this post.

BSA Product Research

William has his first Cub Scout meeting this weekend. We are proud and excited. The uniform needs work. It would not pass inspection. We hope to get tips on completing the uniform at this first meeting. The benefit: our son learning about being his personal best. The added benefit: product research. See our product line at:

Happy Birthday Joshua

Susan, our warehouse manager, had her baby Friday. Everyone is happy and healthy. Our best to her as she adjusts to her first baby. Our best to us as we adjust to her maternity leave.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Ugly Plaques

What is the attraction to ugly wood plaques? Is there some kind of mystique? Is it the cultural connotation to an award that people expect? It all seems so dated to me. The wood plaque is stuck in the 1970's.

It is our goal at Berkeley Tandem to further research and develop new ways to recognize achievement, creating alternatives to the ugly wooden plaque. I also feel a new generation of buyers are looking for new, fresh presentations. We'll keep pursuing good design and with hope the industry will follow.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Google Ad Words

Fusion Frames is certainly going through some changes these days. As we utilize Google Ad Words to get the site in front of customers it continues to amaze me the power the technology has to hand you everything on a silver platter. How many pages get clicked, how far the customer drills down, how long they stay on your page, which page is the most popular... it is a remarkable tool there to access in real time.

We are a small niche market. But, if you are looking for an inexpensive way to frame a certificate and you use a search engine to research products on the web WE ARE THERE ready to fill one frame or thousands of frames for the corporate market or the individual. Since the business's conception in 1995 we have been down many avenues trying to reach our customer. I'd say this is the most direct road yet!

Monday, January 08, 2007

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