Case Study: Symplaris

Case Study: Symplaris

Brian Behnken is a smart guy… like a really smart guy.  The kind who starts businesses, sells them for tidy sum and starts them again.  What’s more, he knows how to dig through data and find savings for clients who are eager to it in their employee healthcare plans.

But, Brian needed to start from scratch.  He needed a name, logo, tagline, a look and feel for his new company, and he needed a website and marketing materials to make a big impact within his marketplace.

He chose JSH&P.

“Symplaris” came out of the word simple, of course, and the extension aided in an ease of saying the term.  It sounds established without being trendy.  

“We tried literally hundreds of naming possibilities and worked out way through the domains to find a .com that was available,” stated JSH&P founder Mike Farley. “Funny thing was that ‘simplaris’ was available, but priced through an auction site at $8,800.  We secured ‘symplaris’ with the “Y” and made a reasonable offer to the company that owned the “i” version.  They wouldn’t budge.  Dumb on their part, if you ask me…  since we just rendered their naming convention useless.”

The Gill Rule

The Gill Rule

Bob Gill is an 88 year old graphic designer who’s had the kind of career most of us can only dream about.  In short, you want your work to endure as long as Bob has… and yes, he’s the guy behind the typeface.  Show some respect.

That said, Bob authored a book back in the 80’s that changed my life.  I was called “Forget something or other…“.  I don’t remember.  Sue me.

What I do remember is that the book did two things… it actually showed me HOW he thought about design solutions that he faced and I could follow his execution.  AND, he had a knack for simplifying the design process with a few clever rules, that, for the most part, hold up exceedingly well.



It’s pretty self-explanitory.  If you or your copywriter has written something truly brilliant, don’t let the pictures get in the way of these great and compelling words.

That’s not to say you should dumb anything down.  Just follow that rule.  Make sure whatever imagery you think needs to be there, take second place to the words that are driving the “sale”.

Conversely, if you have an image that blows your audience away, why would you muck it up with a bunch of copy that dilutes what they just saw.  This simple balancing act has provided my work with a whole lot of sanity and smarts when our natural tendency is to vomit on everyone.  Don’t let your client do it.  Don’t you do it.

Here are some great examples of each:



Catalogs & Sell Sheets

Catalogs & Sell Sheets

For good graphic design firms, websites are at the core of everyone’s branding — but not every firm knows how to handle the “old school” marketing work that so many businesses in Southeastern Wisconsin need — namely, catalogs and sell sheets.

Every sales force wants to have a better calling card than just their business card.  Leaving a great sales kit behind (one that doesn’t get tossed into the cylindrical bin) is crucial in turning cold calls into warm leads into active customers.

We know a thing or two about providing the kind of work that not only showcases your brand and your products, but also does so in a way that really “sells”.

Next time you tired materials need an overhaul, look to us at JSH&P to add the spit and polish you’re brand demands.

The 6¢/day Marketing Plan

The 6¢/day Marketing Plan

OK, for any of you familiar with Gary Veynerchuk, the foul-mouthed sommelier (and king of sagely business advice for the connected generation), this statement is a blatant steal of his $1.80/day marketing idea.

It basically goes like this:

Post your own wit and wisdom, pithy comment, probing question or laugh-out-loud retort to 9 top articles under 10 different hashtags every single day. This started as an Instagram strategy that you can view here — and I recommend that you do. WATCH GARY

As a fellow “great” marketer, recognizing and swiping good stuff is crucial to what we do.

So I stole, adapted and credited.

Unless you’re like Gary, and have a camera crew with you all the time, a smartphone attached to your face or have no other workload to accomplish for the day, reading and posting 90 comments a day is a little tough to do. I guarantee you, if you did, you’d begin to get notoriety and a whole bunch of people checking out your profile, BUT, you may lose all of the clients you have because you have no time for them.

That’s why my 6¢ strategy may actually be one you can utilize AND see real results from.

The switch it this, if your wit and wisdom is worth 2¢ (and whose isn’t?), then EVERY DAY, find three articles or posts that are within your LinkedIn feed to add something to their conversation. That’s it. Doesn’t have to be War & Peace. Just play Johnny Appleseed.

Know what?

Often, asking a great question is all that it takes for others to recognize that you “know your stuff”. Don’t go posting self-serving stuff and links back to your own website. The people you are connecting with want advice that helps THEM — not you. Honestly, do this over and over again. It works by building up your brand, while building theirs, too.

Whether you are looking for a job, new business or business connections, this simple and timely strategy is one that you can actually live up to… and reap the kind of rewards that come to those who confidently build a brand of goodwill within their industry.

As Big as Design Gets

As Big as Design Gets

Crazy Horse Memorial

When the Abbey Group of Milwaukee needed creative help, they turned to Creative Director Mike Farley at JSH&P to assist. 

The project is as big as they come… helping generate interest, visitors, donors, and ultimately fundraise for the Crazy Horse Memorial.  The monument, a work in progress by the Ziolkowski Family (Korczak Ziolkowski was one of the original sculptors of Mt. Rushmore), is the world’s largest mountain carving located in the Black Hills of South Dakota. It is considered The Eighth Wonder of the World in progress — the entirety of Mt. Rushmore fits under of Crazy Horse’s armpit!

“Storytellers” is the branded name for those who contribute to the mission of the Crazy Horse Memorial.  JSH&P helped create the logo design, brochure design and copy editing, as well as full stationery package and fundraising kit, and posters designs — both for resale and as a coloring poster for kids.