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Carbone Smolan Agency Founders Tell Tale Of A Beautiful Partnership in Dialog

November 8 brought the long awaited release of Dialog: What Makes a Great Design Partnership by Ken Carbone and Leslie Smolan, founders of independent branding agency Carbone Smolan Agency (CSA).

To celebrate, CSA held a book-signing and launch party at the AIGA in Manhattan, and the CSA DiGennaro Communications team – Sam DiGennaro, Jordan Katz, Kendra Peavy and Marni Raitt – were on hand to raise a toast to their clients’ success.

DiGennaro Communications with Carbone Smolan agency at launch of Dialog

(from l-r) DGC’s Marni Raitt with CSA’s Ken Carbone & Leslie Smolan and DGC’s Sam DiGennaro, Kendra Peavy and Jordan Katz.

Ken and Leslie, who have done design work for such iconic brands as the Louvre, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, the Brooklyn Botanical Garden and Aether, are celebrating the 35th anniversary of their partnership with the book’s release.  Thirty five years – that’s longer than most marriages!

Ken Carbone Leslie Smolan Carbone Smolan Agency CSA

Carbone Smolan Agency Founders Ken Carbone and Leslie Smolan

CSA’s success is based on the successful integration of art and design, along with the melding of the unique talents and leadership skills Ken and Leslie both bring to the table.  Although they approach their work from opposite sides of the spectrum, they are like yin and yang, like the left and right side of the brain working in concert.  Ken is the right brain – the artist with grand ideas – while Leslie is the left-brained pragmatist who keeps Ken grounded and the business running.

“The key to any collaboration is trust and aligned ambitions,” explains Carbone.  “As long as you have those things, which we do, the rest will always fall into place.”

Dialog, coffee table sized and stunningly rendered, visually documents CSA’s portfolio, 35 years in the making.  Chock full of gorgeous imagery, the book also features commentary from some of the world’s top designers about Ken and Leslie’s partnership and creative vision, including Massimo Vignelli and Steven Heller.

Dialog is an active demonstration of a truly successful partnership,” said Vignelli.  “It is hard to distinguish the work of one from the work of the other, and that is precisely the main point of a meaningful collaboration.”

And the press love Dialog too: Ken, Leslie and Dialog have recently been featured by a number of media outlets including Adweek’s6 Questions,” a byline by Ken in Fast Company, a best practices piece in Business Insider, with more coverage on the horizon.  The book is definitely poised to be a hot seller this holiday season!

Dialog: What Makes a Great Design Partnership is available for purchase at the Pointed Leaf Press web site.

Hit Board Feature Friday – PanelPicker for SXSW Interactive 2013 in Austin is here!

Our Friday Feature usually recaps some of our clients’ best media coverage of the previous week. This week, we want to draw attention to the good work our clients are planning at SXSW Interactive. In other words, the second most important voting event of 2012 is upon us: the SXSW PanelPicker 2013!

A number of our clients are vying for a spot on the stage at SXSW Interactive 2013, and even our very own DGC executive team has thrown their hats into the ring with two panel ideas.

The SXSW Festival has increasingly become one of the most popular events of the year among the advertising, music and film industries. The event uses a crowd-sourced format to populate the speaker sessions, along with input from the event’s advisory board and SXSW staff.

The process for voting is simple. First, you have to sign up for a SXSW account, if you don’t already have one. After you’ve signed up, search/vote for any and all of your favorite panel ideas by hitting “thumbs up!” Voting closes August 31 at 11:59pm CT. Take a look below at a roundup of a number of great sessions you definitely don’t want to miss.

DGC – Building Buzz for Your Company via PR & Social

In this session, learn the basic steps to create buzz among your target audience. Hear practical and actionable guidelines from Sam DiGennaro, communications strategist and founder of DiGennaro Communications, the leading PR agency serving the advertising, media, marketing and entertainment spaces. Sam has been an integral force in managing the public image and strategic messaging of well-known C-suites, in addition to serving as counselor to many independent companies on the road to acquisition.
Learn how to use PR & social media to get news coverage in today’s complex media marketplace, align PR strategy with new-biz goals, raise an exec’s profile, recruit A-list talent & establish category expertise.

http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/5223

DGC – How Your Personal Brand Makes Your Company Shine

It is critical today for business leaders to build and manage their personal brands. A CEO’s brand can add incredible value to an organization as a whole. In this age of social media and self-published content, smart business execs must position themselves as thought leaders for industry “street cred” and to raise their companies’ profiles. In this session, former Forbes Executive Editor Melanie Wells explains the value of developing a strong personal brand and shares “inside” tips on how to craft a compelling one.

http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/5675

MEC – Is Big Still Beautiful?

Can and how do big agencies and small agencies partner with start-ups effectively?

In today’s changing landscape, big and small tech and media companies equally have an opportunity to partner with big name brands to create transformative marketing programs for consumers and clients – but is that really true? Is that really happening?

http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/5156

RAPP – E-tymology. How Digital Decimated the Dictionary

OMG. OMG is an official word. Mankini is in the Oxford English Dictionary. FOMO, tablet, and occupy have been nominated for Word of the Year. In this session, we explore the dramatic changes in language over the last decade, unprecedented in human history. And we ask educators, anthropologists and linguists: WTF?

http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/3558

RAPP – Graphic Design: Data Is The New Vector

Data has become the new fodder for design. As we become a more mobile focused on the go consumer of data, interface design is taking a back seat to data design. My discussion will focus on how to design around data, for data and with data as a means to influence interface design. Harnessing the power of data and being creative with the types of data that is available can be one of the most creative endeavors one can undertake. Designers now must think beyond just the aesthetic and move into the realm of big data and creative ways to design with it.

http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/544

Organic –The Endless Aisle

The future of retail lies in the intersection of online, mobile and in-store behaviors and experiences — what we call “the endless aisle.” Think real-world purchase experiences that build off real-time data and stores that know you. Future retailers will suggest products that may best fit personal styles, or even help navigate through stores better. Consumers have become more educated than ever before, with the ability to check prices on the fly. This session will give a glimpse into the store of the future, and spell out the big opportunity for brands and emerging technologies in the retail space.

http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/6696

Organic – Kiss Cash Goodbye

Rumors of cash’s death are very real. Consumers have made clear their interest in going cashless — with major marketers beginning to reap the rewards. But there are still barriers to entry. The mobile payment space is highly fragmented and consumer trust in new technologies must still be established. This panel will give an overview of the mobile payment landscape –from major players to emerging companies — and insights about consumers’ behavior around mobile payment. It will outline the big opportunity for brands in mobile payments, and show how going cashless will go from mere concept to reality.

http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/3452

Wing – El Nuevo Gringo: Quantifying the Latino Influence

Latino influence on American culture is hard to miss. From food to fashion to entertainment, Americans are embracing Latino culture like never before. But evidence of that influence has always been solely anecdotal — until now. In this panel, Wing and Experian Simmons will reveal the results of a first-ever study quantifying this phenomenon, The Latino Influence Project. Panelists will demonstrate how non-Hispanics are taking on more and more traditionally Hispanic attitudes and behavior when it comes to food, travel, technology use, and media consumption. Attendees will walk away with stats about the changing consumer landscape and ideas for engaging Hispanic and non-Hispanic audiences alike.

http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/2188

Hyper Marketing Inc. – Mind Space, Digital Space, Shelf Space

Connecting with your audience is one part art, one part science. It begins with understanding your customers’ behavior (which reflects their needs and wants), sparking consideration for your product or service, and then converting that progression from mind space to digital space to shelf space to a sale and ultimately back again. That’s what it takes for marketers to win today.

http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/3320

Carbone Smolan – Video That Connects

No matter the product you’re launching or service you’re selling, it’s your goal to spark the interest of customers and inspire action. You need to connect with your audience, whether its buyers, recruits, internal teams or investors. What’s the best way to do this? Storytelling through video.

http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/243

Cole & Weber – Project Butterfly: Escaping the Net to Be Sociable

Just being in social media and accumulating “likes” doesn’t make brands sociable.
So we set out to understand how sociable people interact in the real world, and apply that learning to help brands behave differently. Project Butterfly is a multi-city, online and offline project that merges social psychology, digital anthropology and cutting edge ethnography to dissect the DNA of highly sociable people, how they behave both on and offline, and how they differ from “hyperconnectors” – people who are extremely active on social media.

http://panelpicker.sxsw.com/vote/5811

Carbone Smolan’s Paul Pierson Talks Mobile and Canon at PDN PhotoPlus Expo

Last Friday, Carbone Smolan Agency’s Partner and Design Director Paul Pierson took a moment to talk with DGC during PDN’s PhotoPlus Conference and Expo. He was onsite to discuss the role mobile technology is playing in the photography industry, touching on everything from the best apps on the market to the way brands can create magic with mobile innovation. In addition, he unveiled the agency’s latest initiative – Canon Idea Mine – an app developed for Canon and the Canon Digital Learning Center set to help inspire creativity with photographers (and fill an app need in the sector) before the holidays.

Take a look and let us know how mobile technology is transforming your industry.

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