Tag Archives: corporate identity

  • The Road To Ten - Part 3

    I know there has been eager anticipation ;) for The Road To Ten - Part 3, so without further ado I bring you part three of our story:

    Last post we left off somewhere towards the end of summer 2008. In Q4 I started working on our next product guide for 2009. I have no record of pictures from CES in 2009. I'm sure Aluratek went, I probably just didn't go and I don't remember why. The idea for this brochure was to produce something different from the traditional book bound or saddle stiched books. It would be small and fun and cost effective. The panels would fold in on each other and are sealed. We could concentrate on our three main product categories - digital frames, storage and the new internet radio category that was launched in the May of 2008 with our first Internet Radio

    2009 brochure layout Aluratek 2009 product guide layouts.

    Here are some close-ups of the product guide. I wish I could show you what the final piece looked like but I only have three surviving pieces and they are currently pinned to my wall and I am not taking those down - sorry ;)

    2009 product guide front Aluratek 2009 product guide - front.

    2009 product guide - frames Aluratek 2009 product guide - digital frame panel.

    2009 product guide - internet radio panel Aluratek 2009 product guide - internet radio panel.

    2009 product guide - storage panel Aluratek 2009 product guide - storage panel.

    The idea was also to place an insert card - sort of like a quick start guide to becoming a partner and or customer - in the center so it would stay in place when the panels were folded down and sealed. Ha, those urls - yikes!!

    2009 product guide - qsg Aluratek 2009 product guide - storage panel.

    Like I mentioned, in 2008 we started rolling out our line of Internet Radios. After the first Internet Radio we came out with the Internet Radio Jukebox. Here's a look at a better packaging design - not the first, but one from late 2009 where we try to explain in easy to follow steps how this thing works. It was a challenge getting the customer to understand what this flash drive looking thing is. Ha, we actually wrote, "Not a USB flash drive / thumbdrive" on the package. We also used the line "Free music for life".

    jukebox package Jukebox package layout and close-up 1-2-3 steps.

    Another internet radio followed in early 2009 which was a tuner for the home theater. Here is a view of the back of the package which shows installation and the close-up of the 4 step process on the front of the package. At the time I was pretty happy about this illustration. Although I would probably do this different today I think these application diagrams was very necessary and effective in explaining the product.

    WiFi/Wireless Internet Radio Tuner - Home Theater Edition application.

    WiFi/Wireless Internet Radio Tuner - Home Theater Edition 4-steps to connect .

    These internet radios were great for us for some time until the emergence of smartphone music apps like iHeart, Spotify and Pandora made these radios a bit obsolete until they made a comeback with our newest WiFi Internet Radio which features these apps built-in!

    WiFi/Wireless Internet Radio Tuner - Home Theater Edition 4-steps to connect .

    The website started to fill out more with more product arriving. Our product offerings got more diversified with the addition of internet radios. Digital frames, Storage, Video / Multimedia and USB peripherals rounded out the list. I began to incorporate graphics on the product landing pages as ween below.

    2009 Internet Radio landing page.

    Here is a look at a complete product page in 2009 for a big product at the time - USB Internet Radio Jukebox. Main image on white background with reflection. Thumbnails of more images to the left a slot for any type of Flash videos we would do - this product needed one for sure. Info about the product separated into tabs below the image. We added links to quick start guides, datasheets and drivers were applicable in a support bar in the margin. Up until this point we had no way for a customer to make a purchase from the site - crazy right? - especially with how eCommerce and CMS is such a standard among sites these days. We would be making that leap in 2010 but for now we had a "BUY NOW" link which sent you to a different site in which to purchase. I don't even remember what site that was.

    2009 USB Internet Radio Jukebox product page.

    2009 product categories page.

    In celebration of our 10 year anniversary we are offering 10 items for $10! These deals will stick around for the rest of the year. Stay tuned for part 4 coming soon.

    Have you been a long time customer of Aluratek's for the past 10 years? Visit our FacebookTwitter and Google+ pages to let us know, or leave a comment below!

  • The Road to Ten - Part 2

    I am happy to bring you The Road to Ten - Part 2. In writing the Part 1 post I forgot a few items I thought would be cool to include. This was my first take on the Aluratek business cards. Here are two different designs from 2006 / 2007 trying to use spot varnishes and corner radius which proved to be not worth the trouble.

    Aluratek business card layouts Aluratek business card layouts.

    The first product we launched was a Bluetooth Headset and a Bluetooth Adapter. This seems like yesterday when these products arrived on my desk and the clamshell di-lines appeared in my inbox. Here is a photo of my product silkscreen illustration for the headset that I found taped in my sketchbook.

    Bluetooth Headset (ABD202F) product silkscreenBluetooth Headset (ABD202F) product silkscreen.

    Here are some clamshell layouts for the headset and adapter. At first I was using the "A" logomark as a design feature. The "dial" as I call it being used for callouts. Initially I really liked this approach but the coming different clam sizes, product cavity placement and the addition of French for our Canadian customers made this design unworkable and inconsistent.

    First clamshell insert layoutsFirst clamshell insert layouts.

    Every product package includes a quick start guide or manual. Here is a look at how I used to illustrate products for the qsg's.

    First version quick start guidesFirst version quick start guides.

    KVM quick start guideKVM quick start guide.

    I redesigned the clamshell packaging hoping to improve consistency. The clam insert on the right was an early design. I was really trying to make this "dial" work with the logo inside this time. The halftone pattern was used just to fill space (which really isn't a good reason). I can tell the version on the left was updated with different halftone and refinements to the dial. We used this design for a while on clams, blisters and boxes. But like the first design, this design was also fazed out because I couldn't find consistency across the board. It worked on some packages but not for all. I was limiting my "real estate" by having this dial and stripe take up a third of the space. Some boxes and clams were too small for this design so scale was also an issue.

    Second version clamshell insert layoutsSecond version clamshell insert layouts.

    Before I scraped this design I made other improvements to the dial and stripe. You can see version 3 on the left and version 4 on the right. I really had fun working on this mark. We used this through 2008 and into 2009.

    Logo treatment for packagingLogo treatment for packaging.

    Had to throw these in there - illustrations I used to create in this style. These were for a product that was never launched, the Game W.A.V.E. (wireless audio / video entertainer). Ha, that guy in the second illustration, sitting on the couch closest to the TV is me!

    Game W.A.V.E. package illustrations

    Game W.A.V.E. package illustrationsGame W.A.V.E. package illustrations.

    In 2007 we moved to our own offices down the street from our leased office. This was a big step for us and a great feeling to have our own facilities. It was a good size for us at the time. Reception area with a conference room and one large room where everyone worked. The building we moved into was a mess at first. The floors were linoleum so winter mornings were sooo cold (even in SoCal). We eventually got carpet so that helped.

    I found the farthest corner I could to get away from all the ringing phones and conversations but really there was no escape. I found a pair of headphones worked well to drown out the noise. I remember how cool it was that the office had motion sensor lights. Here are some pics from those early days. Top left: John assembling hard drives. Top right: Dave and Andrew doing the same. We all must have assembled hundreds of these during this time. Bottom left: First coffee maker resting on our trash can coffee table - very important. Bottom right: Our first server propped up on a roll of paper towels, nice!

    12A Mauchly building12A Mauchly building.

    We have a front door! I had a vinyl logo produced and installed on the window. Now we are going places!!!

    Front door signageFront door signage.

    The warehouse space was on the small size. We quickly realized we needed more space. For a while we had to store our pallets in the middle of our workspace, bathroom hallway, conference room, kitchen and lobby. We even stored product in row after row in the parking lot. It was another milestone when we had the warehouse racks installed and purchased our first forklift.

    Front door signageBoxes, boxes, boxes!

    During our time at Mauchly, we all chipped in where we could. We all wore several hats. We spent hours and hours in the warehouse unloading containers and labeling product for shipping. I spent uncountable hours in there hand making signage for retail displays with tape, staples, cardboard and spray mount. Top left: Here's Andrew among a pile of Cinecam boxes. Top right: Our National Sales Director, John Messenger, visiting us from our Ohio office. Bottom left and middle: Andrew assembling our Libre eReader point of purchase displays. Bottom right: New gondola shelving on castors showcasing digital frames, hard drives, and internet radios. This is the first time we had enough skus that I can show package identity across multiple product families. I remember this gondola system because of how heavy and cumbersome it was to transport. We dragged this thing to CES in 2008 and displayed our product in a hotel suite. We finally made it to the show floor in 2010 although we would drag it back for the 2011 show.

    Work, work, work!Work, work, work!

    In late 2007 I produced our first official product guide: 08' Aluratek: Digital Technology Made Fun." Simple accordion fold design focusing on our two largest product categories at the time - digital photo frame and storage. Up to this point I was only creating quarterly line cards. It turned out to be nice printed piece. I followed up with yearly product guides up to 2011 which would be our last physical guide. We still produce them but in digital form only. That's the trend. Thanks internet! Good for the company, not so good for print shops and designers. A funny sidenote - you may notice that the studio shots of our products have a reflection. This is easily achieved by photographing the products on glass and cleaning up the image in Photoshop. I can still remember shooting our first half dozen skus on a hand held mirror!

    Aluratek booth at The Source show, Toronto, CanadaAluratek booth at The Source show, Toronto, Canada.

    One perk for me early on was the opportunity to travel with the sales guys and help out at vendor shows. My first "sales" trip was in August, 2008 when John took me to The Source show in Toronto. I wrote in my sketchbook "spoke more words in three days at the show than three weeks in the office." A bit out of my comfort zone and challenging talking about the products to potential customers. It's one thing to know and understand the technology and another to explain it. One afternoon after the show we drove to Niagara to see the falls. To be there in person to witness it was unbelievable.

    Aluratek booth at The Source show, Toronto, CanadaAluratek booth at The Source show, Toronto, Canada.

    Who are these young fellas?Who are these young fellas?.

    In celebration of our 10 year anniversary we are offering 10 items for $10! These deals will stick around for the rest of the year. Stay tuned for part 3 coming soon.

    Have you been a long time customer of Aluratek's for the past 10 years? Visit our FacebookTwitter and Google+ pages to let us know, or leave a comment below!

  • The Road to Ten - Part 1

    10 Year Anniversary logo Aluratek's 10 Year Anniversary logo.

    This year marks Aluratek's 10 Year anniversary! More specifically the month of March marks the start. I have been with the company from the very beginning - the companies first and longest tenured employee. I felt it necessary to reflect on the past ten years with a series of blog posts.

    I have been in the fortunate position to see this company grow from very humble beginnings as I started my time with Aluratek in a rented office through several other offices and buildings to our current most at home office. I wish I had some pics from that first office and all of us jammed in there. The office was no bigger than 100 square feet. I worked alone for the first six months (ok by me!) until our second employee arrived. My fondest memory of that office was the smell of strawberries that filled the room because a huge strawberry field was directly behind the office building. It was a nice time. Those quiet first months really helped me to build the Aluratek brand.

    The one thing that has stayed with me every single day at Aluratek is my prized Wile E. Coyote and The Road Runner mug. I've actually had this mug since college - at least I started using it then. Not sure how old it is or where it came from. I took it from my father's cupboard and never put it back.

    My favorite mug My favorite mug. Been with me every step of the way.

    I remember being excited about the opportunity to be involved in a start-up. I was ready to move on to something bigger in my career. From a design perspective, I was excited about designed the logo and branding a new tech company - and that's something I realized later on that never stops. It's a constant growing thing. I'm always looking to improve and adapt and as we grew in employee numbers and sales accounts, the work grew and grew and it became clear I had to take on more challenges as my role evolved. The professional growth has been unmeasurable and I am thankful for that. Here are some snapshots from my sketchbook back in '05 when I started working on the Aluratek logo.

    Aluratek logo type compsLogotype comps experimenting with cyan and magenta.

    logomark-roughAttempting to add some type styling to the logotype.

    logo mark sketchesLogomark sketches.

    First Aluratek logo First Aluratek logo (with awesome reflection)

    Also had the opportunity to design our first website. First one for me as well, working with our developer at the time we came up with something that worked, but wow, the art of web design has really evolved in the past 10 years. Our first site was only informational and had no ability to purchase directly from the site. The site debuted sometime in 2006 and was up until 2009 when we made a big leap forward with our first CMS eCommerce solution. Here are some sketches and (shocking) web layouts I made back then.

    web sketchesWireframing sketches for the home page.

    web sketches and navigationNavigation planning and icon sketches.

    2006-website-inagural banners2006 inaugural home page banners

    2006 website - home2007 home page

    2007 company contact page

    2007 newsletter subscription page

    2007 reseller resource library page

    Our first big public exposure came at the hands of the TV show Deal Or No Deal. Remember that show? It was hosted by Howie Mandel where contestants choose numbered suitcases full of varying amounts of cash. Our 10 inch Digital Photo Frame was featured as a gift on the Christmas show. We were invited down to Warner Brothers' studios to attend the taping of the show and get a behind the scenes tour. It was very cool to be on set and see how the production of the show worked. Here are some pics of that day.

    Deal Or No DealBehind the scenes at the Deal Or No Deal show taping.

    In celebration of our 10 year anniversary we are offering 10 items for $10! These deals will stick around for the rest of the year. Stay tuned for part 2 coming soon.

    Have you been a long time customer of Aluratek's for the past 10 years? Visit our FacebookTwitter and Google+ pages to let us know, or leave a comment below!

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