Branding: Cool Business Cards Prove Creativity is the Order of the Day, Every Day

As internet surfing usually seems to yield, some exciting sites and fellow blogs came ashore. Today’s catch? What Alexander Kjerulf’s blog “Chief Happiness Officer” calls the “coolest business card ever.” A lego! Cool, indeed. What, too elementary for your sophisticated business? Not to worry, check out these babies. Granted, most of these business cards undoubtedly belong in the hands of graphic designers—oozing creativity is in the job description. But check out the dentist card with teeth marks, a testament to creative branding in a traditional field, often the ones which require the most originality to separate from the herd!

We take full advantage of this opportunity to once again stress the importance of branding your business, in everything from print materials, signage, right down to the logo itself. Creativity is a must and not always out of reach, even in times like these. A simple flair, something innovative and untraditional, shows you have the talent to think on your feet and view any situation with a fresh take. Isn’t that what we need, in our current “condition” and in any other business climate?

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“That to me is not light!,” A Lesson on Copyrighted Copy Writing

A recent State article detailed the tumultuous battle between local writer Mary Kent Hearon, whose WeeklyBeet.com blog harps on health and natural remedies, and super-star-turned-health-guru Gwyneth Paltrow. After a mutual college friend set the two up to chat about natural health habits, Paltrow apparently duplicated much of Hearon’s original work in her own blog, Goop.com.

While still in fierce litigation, the story illustrates an important point for anyone in the writing/advertising/overall marketing business (either personally or professionally): don’t steal other people’s stuff. Though copyright law is continually violated and usually only enforced if the original author finds out, copyright infringement is still a valid risk. There’s a whole government office devoted to it.

So, to avoid unnecessary legal hassle, repeat the following mantra to yourself regularly, and especially when entering into a questionable copyright quandary. “ANY CREATIVE WORK FIXED IN A TANGIBLE MEDIUM IS INHERENTLY COPYRIGHTED.” That’s right. The U.S. Copyright and Patent Office used to process millions of copyright requests each year to verify original work and use of the copyright symbol, but this system is no more. Now any creative endeavor from music to books to BLOGS is automatically under the author’s complete control for purposes of use and reproduction, so long as the work is recorded on a CD, written down on paper or saved in cyberspace.

So what happens when you do want to use someone else’s copyrighted work, but with their permission and without claiming it as your own? The best way is just to ask the author. Regardless of whether you get a resounding “no” or a whopping invoice for the use, both options are better than messy, protracted and publicized litigation. Just a friendly reminder from your neighborhood marketing guru (move over Gwyneth)!