6 Top WordPress Designers Share Their Keys to Success

Running a successful WordPress agency is no easy task. The landscape changes quickly and what worked yesterday may not be the best practice today. As you will see, some things change, but many things will always stay the same.

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing six of the most successful WordPress agencies in North America to understand what makes them great.

Read the full article on AccessWP by Anthony Tran.

Jason Schwartz, Bright Bright Great

Jason is a self-confessed process nerd. He is always watching both business operations and processes looking for ways to improve.

What is your biggest tip for running a successful agency?

“New tools and products come out every week that making it easier for both our internal team and our partners to communicate. Always being open to test and potentially change our tools is important.”

How do you make sure your customers are happy?

“This is something that is really important to us. Happy customers mean both referrals and repeat projects. We put everything we have, heart and soul into all projects to push beyond what is expected. Clients are typically not designers, developers, UX specialists, so when I hear from them that we went beyond anything they could have dreamed up, that’s a win.

What makes Bright Bright Great special in the market?

“We have our own in-house type foundry called Avondale Type Co. We can design and license unique typefaces to global brands.”

Key Takeaways

  • People: Taking on the right clients and hiring talented team members.
  • Process: Having an efficient and effective process that you always look to improve.
  • Products: Providing great service and going the extra mile.
Posted By
Jason Schwartz

New Work: Strong Analytics

Strong Analytics Website

Bright Bright Great recently created new brand identity and website for Strong Analytics. Strong is a leading data science, machine learning, and artificial intelligence consultancy. They help companies build and deploy custom end-to-end machine learning and utilize artificial intelligence (AI) solutions.

Strong Analytics Web Pages

Strong Analytics Business Card Design

 

Strong Analytics Branding Elements

 

Strong Analytics Mobile Design UI Strong Analytics Illustrations

About The Project:

Since 2016, Strong Analytics has grown to an elite team of PhD-level data scientists. Strong is trusted by top brands including Mercedes-Benz, H&M and Dictionary.com. They lacked a cohesive brand language and strategy appropriate for their level of expertise. BBG developed a robust brand, including a custom word mark, marketing materials, and new digital experience.

Strong Analytics Web Modules

About Strong:

Strong is a one-stop shop for designing, building, and deploying custom data science and machine learning solutions.

View All New BBG Work

Posted By
Jason Schwartz

New Work: Equilibria, Custom CBD Routines

Bright Bright Great is excited to have worked with Equilibria, custom routines of premium CBD — from farm to home — with a dosage concierge on call.

BBG handled updated branding, packaging and photography as well as propose new digital strategy for the Equilibria team.

Equilibria Women CBD Equilibria Women CBD Packaging on Display Equilibria Women CBD Medical Dosage Dropper Equilibria Women CBD in EnvironmentEquilibria Women CBD PackagingEquilibria Women CBD Packaging

About CBD:

Cannabidiol (CBD) is a naturally occurring compound found in the resinous flower of cannabis, a plant with a rich history as a medicine going back thousands of years. Today the therapeutic properties of CBD are being tested and confirmed by scientists and doctors around the world. A safe, non-addictive substanceCBD is one of more than a hundred “phytocannabinoids,” which are unique to cannabis and endow the plant with its robust therapeutic profile.

From Equilibria:

Industrial hemp is a cannabis sativa plant grown specifically to exhibit 0.3% THC content or less — this is why there’s no discernible intoxicating effect, but also why it’s legal. Any industrial hemp plants that cross the 0.3% line in the sand become marijuana plants, federally illegal, and (after approximately the 10% THC mark) psychoactive/intoxicating.

With our industrial hemp-grown CBD, you get a huge portion of the clinically-observed benefit of medical cannabis plants, with none of the illegality or impairment. Equilibria’s CBD is farm-to-home, at the highest quality available in the US market (straight from our 1,100 acre farm in Colorado!). All of our products are lab-tested with results readily available.

New Work

Posted By
Jason Schwartz

Where Did The Name Bright Bright Great Come From?

We regularly get asked where the name Bright Bright Great came from, so we finally want to share that story.

What Was the Process?

First and foremost, we wanted a unique name that conveyed our personality. Prior to formally starting the company, we took a few days to brainstorm names, ultimately coming up with something like 10 pages of double-sided notebook paper worth. Names ranged from pretty crazy, to expected.

From there we whittled down the list to 1 side of 1 page of paper and did some web diligence. Was the name in use? How open were social handles? How open was the internet for the name.

Ultimately it came down to about 5 potential names, some better than others, but with huge digital opportunity. Although that list has been packed away (*it will be found someday) 2 of the names on that list were KILO and April O’Neill. KILO always represented the weight of a design project and the impact it can have. April O’Neill was a throwback to our favorite cartoon tv reporter from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

The interesting thing about both of these names was that KILO was almost impossible to gain internet space with and we uncovered that not only was April O’Neill a TMNT throwback name, it was also an adult film star, a special part of the web that we could never compete with from an SEO standpoint, but also we didn’t want potential clients having to go through to find us.

We chose the best name, Bright Bright Great.

Bright. Bright as in intelligence. It has always been a paramount personality attribute of our brand to craft smart solutions for all projects we work on. Design by definition is problem solving. Our goal is to always think about the problem and solution for all creative projects.

Bright. Bright as in colorful. We aren’t talking so much here about our personality, but more so the literal vibrancy of color. When we first started and Jason Schwartz was our Creative Director, neon was the name of the game.

The brighter the neon, the better. Although that has somewhat subdued over the years, we still highly value the importance of color in not only brand strategy, but also in other areas like visual accessibility and interaction design.

Great. Simply put, great work.

Did it Hold Up?

13 years later, we are still proud of these principles as they continue to encompass who Bright Bright Great is. So although the logo has changed a few times, the name holds true.

Posted By
Jason Schwartz

BBG is Hiring a Digital Designer

Update: Feb 14 – This position has been filled. 🙂

Bright Bright Great is hiring a Digital Designer to join our team in Chicago.

BBG is focused on brand strategy including user-experience, art direction, user interfaces, branding, and typography. Having digital work in your portfolio is important to us– our balance of digital to print is 70/30.

Requirements:

  • Contribute to all parts of the design process, from ideation and art direction to production design and development hand-off
  • Develop branding for existing and new entities
  • Design digital experiences while considering the technological and physical constraints of the user]
  • Develop user experiences and interactions for digital product
  • Create and implement unique visual language systems for client projects
  • Create sitemaps, user flows, and wireframes
  • Communicate with clients and incorporate their perspective while educating them on the design process

About You:

  • You’re optimistic, friendly, and organized
  • You’re incredibly process-driven and detail-oriented
  • You understand the principles of good design, current trends and are aware of the best design and branding inspiration from around the world
  • You are passionate about designing stunning, usable experiences for screens, innovative layouts for print, and robust brand guidelines
  • You have illustration chops and are able to create illustrations, icons and convey information in a beautiful manner
  • You understand social media and can create engaging snippets for brand marketing
  • You feel comfortable communicating with clients
  • You find inspiration all around you– often from unexpected places
  • You are interested in pushing your skills forward and are open to exploring new techniques and mediums
  • You care about accessibility, responsive design, and best practices for web design
  • You are excited to work with a small team of designers, strategists, and developers
  • You have 2-5 years professional experience and formal training in design
  • You have experience with the Adobe Creative Suite, Sketch, and prototyping tools like InVision or Marvel

Bonus:

You have photography chops for both studio and on-site, or culture shoots.
You have motion graphic skills for animations, gifs and vignettes.

About Us:
BBG is a close-knit team of designers, developers and strategists who genuinely enjoy our time working together. We value diversity and empower all employees to have an active role in steering our team forward.

Our office is dog-friendly as well as human-friendly!

How to Apply:

Send an email to careers@brightbrightgreat.com with:

  • Subject line: 2018 Digital Designer Application
  • A brief introduction to yourself, highlighting relevant work experience
  • Why you are interested in this role at BBG
  • Salary requirements

No recruiters. BBG is an equal opportunity employer.

Posted By
Jason Schwartz

BBG Creative Director Amy Schwartz and Managing Director Jason Schwartz Profiled by the American Marketing Association

A Life, Redesigned: How Married Designers Balance Life, Work and a Rebrand

Originally posted by the American Marketing Association on 1/31/2019
Article by Hal Conick, Photos by Alyssa Schukar

Amy and Jason Schwartz have a new baby and run their own agency, Bright Bright Great, which they’re rebranding. As life has changed, so has their work.​

Amy and Jason Schwartz

​​Amy Schwartz sits on a couch next to Lucas Nelson, a young designer on her team at Bright Bright Great, a design and branding firm in Chicago. A cold, bright November day shines through BBG’s frosted windows as Amy, creative director of BBG, taps her fingernails on a coffee cup and sings aloud to herself. “OK!” Amy says, focusing on Lucas’s laptop screen; he’s pulled up illustrated icons he designed for Health Champion, a startup client whose website and brand BBG is building from scratch. Health Champion will be an app that collects patients’ health data, making medical records portable—Amy and her husband Jason Schwartz, founder and managing director of BBG, are fresh from the belly of the healthcare system, having given birth to a child three months prior. They felt a personal connection to the startup’s mission of easy access to medical records. Part of their work philosophy is to collaborate with people who are innovative and passionate, another is to put good work out into the world. If you’re creating something that’s bad, Amy says, you’re a jerk; if it’s neutral or mediocre, what’s the point?

Bright Bright Great Ideation

“If we add multicolor icons, do you think it’ll be all over the place?” Lucas asks Amy.

“I don’t think that it’ll be good for these,” says Amy, 28. She has a cherubic face and wears a hoodie with torn jeans. “Keep it single color.”

The heart of Bright Bright Great—ceilings covered in copper and aluminum pipes, walls decorated with murals, awards, wacky toys and bizarre photos of women pouring mustard into a high-heel hot dog—is a rectangular group of 10 white desks bunched into the middle of the room, including Amy’s desk, which is filled with half-sheets of paper, a purposefully misspelled pennant that says “problmes” and a note to herself posted to her monitor that says “green is not a creative color.” Jason’s wooden desk sits just 15 feet east, a sparse arrangement highlighted by a bright-pink Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man. Jason’s slightly graying beard rests in his left hand as his right hand scrolls his calendar, which looks like a disastrous game of Tetris. At 39, Jason is the BBG patriarch, a veteran compared to his young staff. He wears a black hoodie and cuffed jeans, his legs pumping like pistons underneath his desk. Amy turns around and asks Jason if he has time to take another call today.

“I’m booked at 10, 11, 1, 2, 3…”

Bright Bright Great Morning Meeting

BBG Team Work Session

Read the full article on the American Marketing Association website.

About The American Marketing Association:

The AMA leads an unparalleled discussion on marketing excellence. Continuing in the tradition of Borden and so many others, the AMA offers differentiated content that focuses on the tension between Best Versus Next Practices™.

With content coming from unrivaled scholarly journals, like the Journal of Marketing, and award-winning publications, like Marketing News, the AMA offers a robust perspective that understands marketer are expected to provide both solutions for today and solutions for tomorrow.

No other organization provides more ways for marketers and academics to connect with the people and resources they need to be successful.

About The Dracula Family

The Dracula Family is the Creative Output from Amy Schwartz, Jason Schwartz and Hype Schwartz. This includes speaking engagements, creative works and more. More about The Dracula Family.

Posted By
Jason Schwartz

New Work: Cranbrook Academy of Art

Cranbrook Academy of Art Sample Art

“The Cranbrook Academy of Art website is often the first official touchpoint that potential students have with the Academy. It is critical that the website clearly explain the untraditional academic structure of the Academy while capturing the unique attitude of the artists, designers, and architects who live and work there.”

Amy Schwartz, Creative Director

About the New Creative Shift:

Cranbrook Academy of Art Website

Cranbrook Academy of Art is the nation’s top-ranked school devoted exclusively to graduate education in art, architecture, craft, and design.

Each year, more than 100 self-motivated students come together to form an artistic community in which each individual develops with the mentorship of renowned Artists-in-Residence. Our goal was to accurately capture the unique spirit of this iconic institution and explain the unconventional academic structure to potential applicants. We extended the existing brand (which was created by Elliel Saarinen in the 1930s and updated by Elliott Earls in 2014) to reflect the attitude of the Academy– bright, open, unpredictable yet structured, and work-focused.

The new website is part of the Academy’s recruitment efforts. 11 newly designed recruitment pieces were created for each department in the Academy.

“By re-structuring the website, we are able to tell the Academy’s story in a new way. We also surface student work as a core part of the brand, giving it equal standing with the Academy name. This reflects that Cranbrook is a living community, ever evolving and changing with the times, while remaining true to itself.”

Amy Schwartz, Creative Director

Cranbrook Academy of Art Recruitment Print Materials Cranbrook Academy of Art Recruitment Materials Detail

Core Style & Function Points:

We sought to capture the feeling of living and working in this artistic community by creating a sense of space on the website. The pages are white and open, like a critique room wall or a blank slate for an artist to work upon. Student work is given equal prominence with the Academy’s logotype on the home page, which reflects that Cranbrook is a living community, ever evolving and changing with the times, while remaining true to itself.

Large typography succinctly communicates what images cannot. Small linework details reflect the architecture of the physical space, allowing the website to be a stand-in for the Academy itself.

About Cranbrook Academy of Art:

Cranbrook Academy of Art is part of the 319-acre Cranbrook Educational Community, founded by George Gough Booth and his wife Ellen Scripps Booth, Detroit newspaper proprietors and philanthropists, who hired Eliel Saarinen to design the idyllic community.

Departments are led by practicing artists, designers and architects who each lead a robust studio practice. Cranbrook is a true community with Artists-in-Residence who live and work alongside our students.

Cranbrook Academy of Art is ranked sixth in the nation among fine art graduate programs by U.S. News & World Report. Of all the schools ranked in the top ten, Cranbrook Academy of Art has some of the most individual program-specific rankings, with seven departments ranked in the top 20 of their program.

Alumni have gone on to capture the imagination and accolades of some of the world’s most prestigious organizations, winning medals from the AIGA and AIA, Cooper Hewitt Design Awards, Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Awards, Guggenheim Fellowships, USA Fellowships, and they have been inducted into the American Craft Council College of Fellows. And Cranbrook continues to be, per capita, the highest producer of student Fulbright scholars in the United States.

Visit: Cranbrook Academy of Art Website

In 2017, The Dracula Family (Jason & Amy Schwartz) lectured at the Cranbrook Academy of Art.

Posted By
Amy Schwartz

New Work: Stern Pinball Digital Experience and Strategy

Bright Bright Great is thrilled to announce the launch of the new Stern Pinball website and digital experience. This project is a dream for our team. Honestly, we could not be more proud of this launch and collaboration.

“Everyone on the Bright Bright Great team is a gamer in some capacity, so the ability to peek behind the scenes as to what goes into making a pinball machine is a dream come true.”

Jason Schwartz, Managing Director

Stern Pinball Website Detail New Games

Home page detail with new games and merch.

BBG worked to not only updating the user experience, but also includes an introduction of the Stern Insider loyalty program, for those looking for insider access, exclusive merchandise, and more. Additional functionality includes, a pinball machine locator, a games archive and use of a unified Shopify Plus login for the website and online store.

Stern Pinball Stern Insider

Stern Pinball Stern Insider all-access sign-up flow.

Stern Pinball Shop

The shop experience is a surprisingly technical integration with Shopify Plus. This includes a unified login for both the website (Stern Insider) and the online store (Shopify Plus.)

Stern Pinball Online Shopify Plus Store

Stern Pinball Website URL

About Stern Pinball:

Stern Pinball, Inc. is a global lifestyle brand based on the iconic and outrageously fun modern American game of pinball.

Visit: Stern Pinball Website

Posted By
Jason Schwartz

Should I Update WordPress 5.0 and the New Gutenberg Editor?

WordPress logo

WordPress announced TODAY that they would be releasing WordPress 5.0, a major update to their platform (view information on WordPress 5.0 Gutenberg.)

Although the ability to utilize 5.0 as a Beta has been around for a minute, every WordPress site now has a large “Update Your Site to 5.0.” The main question is, should you update now and what you need to be concerned with.

What is WordPress 5.0

WordPress 5.0 is a major release to the WordPress CMS. It has been in the works for some time and was released December 6, 2018 with almost no notice to digital agencies that utilize WordPress and hundreds of thousands of companies who utilize WordPress as their CMS.

WordPress 5.0 Call To Action

Should You Update to WordPress 5.0

There is a lot to consider before updating. How many plug-ins do you use? How much of your site is tied to custom plug-ins, or 3rd party technologies? Have those technologies updated to be compliant with 5.0.

A good example of this is Advanced Custom Fields, a plug-in used by MANY WordPress developers.

Here is what you see as of this morning. 100% compatibility with WordPress 4.9.8. and Unknown for 5.0.

Advanced Custom Fields

Personally, BBG considers this an issue and would not update a site until that says 100%. WordPress sites could utilize many plug-ins, so checking into every single one and every single technology connection is important before making this update.

Back-Up Your Site!

Before you update to WordPress 5.0 create a back-up of your site. This is critical. Your digital ecosystem is comprised of the WordPress CMS as well as connections to external sources and external sources talking to your CMS. You want to make sure that all of these work.

Our Recommendation Is To Wait

As this is new TODAY, BBG recommends waiting on updating your site. Plenty of early adopters will find bugs, transitional issues, non-compatible plug-ins and there will be a scramble to fix over the next few months. Let that happen before you update.

If You Need Help With This Update, or Help Understanding Gutenberg Reach Out

Feel free to contact Bright Bright Great. Happy to help!

Update 2018 12/14: WordPress 5.0.1 Security Release is out with a sizable amount of security patches and updates. We still recommend backing up and checking your plug-ins for compatibility, but we can now safely recommend the update knowing that most plug-ins have updated and security issues have been patched.

Posted By
Jason Schwartz