Z Blog

The foundation of building a brand starts with taking a new perspective. The world is constantly evolving, and with it, so are our thoughts and ideas. Our people share insights on various topics within the industry in hopes of discovering common bonds and sparking conversations.
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Grow through involvement

Looking back on my past four and a half years of college, I honestly can’t remember a time where I didn’t have at least one meeting a week. Now in my fifth and final year for my victory lap as a student in the co-op program, I find myself appreciative of those stressful and tiring weeks. Those weeks are where I experienced professional and personal lessons, grew an immense network, had fun and developed into the woman I am today: confident and ready to take on the real world. It’s important to get involved for that very reason. You can only learn so much from...
Abby Otting
Posted by Abby Otting
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Design and technology

With the exponential growth of technology and all the devices it brings into our lives, designers can become overwhelmed or even dismissive of the possibilities. We have a tendency to repeat routines, reopen old files and ground ourselves with what is comfortable. We take on favorite typefaces and use them ad nauseam. We recondition the same color palettes and treatments of line and pattern in order to assure ourselves that our work is on point. We become so comfortable with our design habits that it can take quite a bit to break us of them, so when a new technology is introduced, or a new...
Abby Otting
Posted by Abby Otting
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PDFs

Invented by Adobe, the PDF (which – bonus fact – stands for “portable document format”) has been in existence for over two decades and its popularity continues grow. No doubt many of us are reading and writing PDFs on a regular basis. However, many users may be under the impression that all PDFs are created equal, but this could not be further from the truth! ###PDF Basics Most PDFs contain static content. However, PDF files can contain a mixture of content including static content, clickable links, data form fields, video and audio. Users enable various levels of security to limit access to specific users as...
Abby Otting
Posted by Abby Otting
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Developing a pitch

Pitching for the business? New business meetings can be a delicate dance between agency and prospective client. Pitches usually are a combination of an agency’s capabilities mixed in with recommendations for the prospective client, delivered in a way to showcase the agency’s expertise, personality and passion for the work. But these meetings are more than just a showcase for the agency; they’re a chance for both parties to interview each other to see if the relationship is a good fit. Here are three questions you should consider asking the prospective client to ensure the work works for both parties. ###What did you like/not like about...
Abby Otting
Posted by Abby Otting
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Technology phases

There’s a show I’ve been watching on PBS called *How We Got to Now*. Each week, the series tells stories of small inventions by often unheard of and seemingly crazy pioneers that lead to the major innovations that forever changed our lives and society. In examining early technological revolutions like keeping time, manufacturing cold and recording sound, the show makes it abundantly clear that every one of these advances — which in history books appeared to happen all at once by a few well-know inventors — in fact occurred in painfully small and slow increments by a long list of forgotten heroes. What I found...
Abby Otting
Posted by Abby Otting
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Brand Journalism

Brands can learn a lot from journalism. My background, which includes freelance jobs at community newspapers and a six-month collegiate fellowship at USA TODAY, helps mold the inventive messages I create for brands big and small. So I’m happy that something intrinsic to my process has now become a bit of a fad. Sure, brands will never be completely free from objectivity or bias, and they probably won’t be the watchdogs a democratic society needs to keep people honest. However, what they can do – what they should do – is identify their audience and give them great, engaging pieces that tell impactful stories; even...
Abby Otting
Posted by Abby Otting
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DiSC Profile

We recently had the opportunity to partake in a team-building workshop led by Sherpa Executive Coaching, which was centered on the DiSC profile assessment. For those of you who are not familiar with the DiSC profile assessment, it is a personal assessment tool that helps understand behavioral tendencies. The assessment name represents four behavioral types: dominance, influence, steadiness and conscientiousness. Each employee was asked to complete the assessment prior to our team-building workshop. During the workshop, we learned about our own DiSC results as well as our coworkers’ results. We learned how to effectively communicate with each other based on our behavioral styles. Here’s a...
Abby Otting
Posted by Abby Otting
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Online accounts security

Are you still using the same password you’ve had since 2005? Are you using it across multiple sites, logging into your email with the same password as your bank? If you are, shame on you. With over 552 million identities exposed in online security breaches in 2013, and that number only rising, managing your online security has never been more important. Fortunately, you don’t have to write all your passwords on post-it notes, keep a Google doc full of them, or follow whatever crazy method you have to remember them anymore. There are quite a few tools and methods out there that make it easy...
Abby Otting
Posted by Abby Otting
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‘Tis the season

As Thanksgiving passes, Black Friday fades and Cyber Monday extends into a newly founded “Cyber Week,” I find myself digging out of the clutter and chaos that seems to grow during the holidays. Hear me out: I am a HUGE fan of the holidays (my husband says I would make a great Elf, although I’m a bit too tall). However, even while I research for this very blog, I find myself sifting through a plethora of ads on every web page. Those shoes I looked at once are now following me, a mountain of emails and schedule requests piling up, and just like that, I...
Abby Otting
Posted by Abby Otting
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Essential to leadership

I’m a huge fan of archetypes, the monomyth and other ways our culture is based on deep-rooted psychology of the human condition. One particular interesting instance is the recurring archetype of an emotionless, untouchable leader in fiction. These depictions of leaders perpetuate a myth that to be successful in the workforce, one must strip themselves of emotion and become a ruthless stoic that is virtually untouchable. This theme of a fearless, transcendent leader – while attractive to those in or seeking power – makes most uncomfortable on some level. Again and again, research on emotional intelligence shows that the best leaders are those with whom...
Abby Otting
Posted by Abby Otting

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