SpaceHost™: Peralta Design Now Offers Web Hosting!

Desk with laptop against earth seen from space

SpaceHost has blasted into the web hosting arena!

Fasten your seat belts, We’re Ready for Lift OFF!

The crew of the Starship PD at Peralta Design has blasted into the world of web hosting at warp speed: introducing SpaceHost! Teleport to a new dimension of web services at Shop.spacehost.pro and you will access an array of new services such as:

  • Web Hosting
  • Spam-free Email
  • Web Marketing
  • Secure SSL Certificates
  • And more!

Exploring a new frontier?

Today, all businesses need a well put together responsive website. Here at PD we’ve been supplying our customers just that for years. However, many companies who approach us have yet to purchase their domain name or web hosting. A business name is often guided by what URLs are available. Always looking to help, we would gladly refer people to other sites for their hosting plans or to register their domains. But we realized as startup specialists, it is our duty to provide entrepreneurs with as many resources as possible. The launch of SpaceHost is another step along the road to being a one-stop-shop for startups.

Why SpaceHost?

Two words: Convenience and Value. Adding these services allows our customers the convenience of purchasing a domain name, web hosting, security, web development, and branding all in one place. In short, you can come to us with your idea and name and leave us with everything needed to begin marketing and business operations. All with the guarantee of high quality and reliable service that Peralta Design has provided for years. Furthermore, for an affordable price customers can purchase Web hosting with:

  • Unlimited websites
  • Unlimited space
  • Unlimited Bandwidth
  • Plus more

We have packages to suit all sizes and types of businesses.

Ready for launch? Visit us today to get your business off of the ground!

We Launch Brands®

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Pokémon GO: 5 Things Nintendo Should Do (If They’re Smart) To Capitalize On The App’s Success

By Moises DeLeon

Tuesday, July 12th, 2016

 

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Today I make a statement that, in 1998, would have made all of my 5 year old dreams come true: It seems that Pokémon have entered the real world. That’s right, Nintendo’s latest goldmine is the new app Pokémon GO- an augmented reality game that is taking the virtual reality based genre to never before seen heights while taking the entire world by storm. The game officially launched on July 6th and in the week since, Nintendo has been on a gargantuan winning streak. Some milestones being:

  • Generating over $1.5 Million USD per day from In app purchases
  • Nintendo stock value increasing over 35% since the first day of the game’s release (With stock value rising 25% on July 11th alone)
  • An increase of over $9 Billion USD in market value (With an increase of $7.5 Billion on July 11th alone).
  • Amassing a longer average time stayed in app than both Snapchat and Whatsapp
  • Being on track to having more daily active US users than Twitter according to data tracking site SimilarWeb
  • Topping both the Free App charts and the Top Grossing App charts simultaneously in the App store

With all of this newfound success, any good company should be focused on how to both sustain and increase it. Here are 5 things I believe Nintendo should do to continue monetizing their Pokémon platform. :

  1. Cross Company Poké-Promotions

Pairing Pokémon with company promotions is sure to be another big win for Nintendo. How might this look you may ask? Well, now when Target has a sale on jeans, they may also have a 40% higher chance of rare Pokémon appearing in their Men’s section. This could also expand to generating branded versions of their creatures. . So for our Target example, Pokémon caught inside of the store might have a red target around one of their eyes like the Target mascot dog, “Bullseye.” I for one am definitely hoping to catch a Machamp wearing a Supreme tank top.

  1. The Ability to Buy or Bid On Poké Stops For Long or Short Term Brand Presence.

Your local pizza place or coffee shop just beat out the competition. By giving businesses both small and large the ability to buy or bid for their establishment to be a Poké Stop or Gym, they can easily increase foot traffic to their businesses. Many companies would pay Nintendo good money to create that type of foot traffic. A way to bolster engagement directly from this feature might be to take an in app picture of something inside of the establishment, like a restaurant menu, to increase the in-game rewards for the consumer.

With regard to the short term, If there’s a small concert or live band performing at a venue, the event promoter should be able to purchase a 3 hour Poké Stop or gym pass to attract people. Couple that with a few “Lure Modules” to bring more Pokémon around and you have a recipe for a packed event!

  1. Tie Pokécoins or Items to Products

This is where you buy a Subway sandwich and get 10 Pokéballs or some incense (an in game reward that attracts Pokémon to your character). Nintendo could make a load of cash from companies who want to offer free in-game items or Pokécoins as a bonus to their products. Here’s my prediction for a Chipotle comeback if this comes to pass.

  1. In Game Advertising for Free In Game Items

Hear me out on this one. We all hate in game ads, but Nintendo could stand to make a lot of money if they make them optional. A small message appearing asking if you “would like to watch this 60 second advertisement to earn 20 Pokéballs” might not be too annoying for players and might garner a lot of click throughs. Companies being able to pay for their logo to appear on the game map could be a large value-add as well.

  1. Social Initiatives to Create Good Press Around Nintendo

Nintendo can foster a great company image by doing things like setting up Poké Stops or influencing rare Pokémon appearances at blood drives or community service events. They would actively inspire more people to get up and get out to places that need the support, as Nintendo quite literally has the power to control where people move through incentive now. If Nintendo ever wanted to throw their hat in the political realm, they could make polling stations Poké Stops on Election Day and watch voter turnout explode.

Another initiative could be fitness. The gamer population, often stereotyped as couch potatoes, are now up and walking more than ever (Oh how I wish this was around in grade school when my mom would tell me to put the game down and go play outside). Nintendo can set fitness incentives for gamers, all the while increasing average time spent in application. For example if a player jogs for a certain distance with the app open, from that point forward their chances of running into stronger fighting type Pokémon increases.

With the rapid growth of Pokémon GO, Nintendo has collected a consumer base that, thanks to augmented reality, can be utilized and marketed to in ways never attempted before. The main question on the table now is: Will the success continue or will this be another fad? Well, with an expansion plan that already includes giving the ability to trade Pokémon and battle each other more consistently they definitely have people excited for the time being. . Couple this with the nostalgia factor from a generation of past Pokémon trainers from the GameBoy days, and the prospect of an app update with new Pokémon from the Johto, Hoenn, Sinnoh, Unova, Kalos, and Alola regions (Yes, these were all game versions) and I think Nintendo will have our attention for years to come.

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Moises DeLeon is the Director of New Business Development & Sales at Peralta Design. Moises is a Syracuse University Class of 2015 Graduate with Dual Bachelors of Science Degrees in Entrepreneurship & Emerging Enterprises and Finance. He is also the founder of two startup companies: Young Black Successful, LLC. (YBS) and Labyrinth Consulting Group, Inc.

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The Art of Email Response Time

our clients are happy clients smile on business card

Happy Clients are Good

Responding to client emails is an art form. Of course, using proper English, grammar and tone is important. For now, let’s focus on the timing of client email responses. How quickly (or slowly) you respond can determine whether that client is a Tier One, Tier Two or high/low priority. Response times can sometimes be taken personally: it lets a client know where they sit in the food chain. I’ve never heard anyone complain about getting a response too quickly, if you take too long, however, you run the risk of losing an opportunity, or worse, losing a client. Rule #1: Respond as soon as possible. We can honestly say that we’ve won business simply for responding quickly. Sounds simple, but far too many people take way too long to reply. Being too busy is not an excuse. Before you know it,  you might find yourself busy looking for work.

Negotiating has its own set of rules when it comes to response timing. “Making them sweat” might work well when negotiating , but that’s off topic. For the sake of this post, we’ll just talk about the back & forth communication that take place during project management or a workflow.

There is a true science to response times. If your ‘business hours’ are the standard 9-5, you may find yourself facing challenges when responding to clients in our new global economy with different time zones, whether it be different parts of the country or different parts of the world. Our mornings are their nights and vice versa and in many cases, you can use those time changes to your advantage. But let’s assume we’re all in the same time zone…

Recently, we had a ‘learning’ moment when a team member responded to a client at 12:30am. Normally, this wouldn’t be an issue for a client or strategic partner in Nepal for instance, but when you are in the same time zone, emailing a client at 12:30am may not actually be a good idea. Here’s why:

Providing a client 24/7 access can get very expensive. We currently don’t have any clients that are paying a high enough retainer to expect to reach us at 12:30am, let alone get a reply. We don’t want to be reached at that time either. What happens when you email a client at 12:30am? You imply that it is OK for THEM to email you back at 12:30am. When you do that – you go back to Rule #1: Respond as soon as possible. That might be 9am – which is over 8 hours later. In this case, we just don’t want to ever encourage or imply that we’re up late working a night shift (even if we are) and that the same customer service experienced during the day will also be delivered during the graveyard shift.

No. If there is a graveyard shift, which there often very well might be, let the communication be between team members, not clients. When its team members, we might be using G-Chat or some other instant messenger app to communicate anyway. The other reason that sending an email to a client during the middle of the night might not be a good idea is because it just might not get seen. Tons of spam comes through at night and your very important update might get pushed down and never even read.

So what can you do if you’re up late, need to blast out an update and might not be in the office the next day? Remember, just because its convenient for you doesn’t make it convenient for your clients. Save the email as a draft, get up early and press send in the morning. Alternatively, having a fellow team member send the update/communication at a later time might have its own advantages: looping someone else into the thread allows that person to reply in a timely manner when you can’t.

Basecamp®, or other project management software comments are excluded here because although they are a great way for clients and service providers to communicate, its understood that comments made here will be/can be replied to the following day. If I’m commenting on a project status on Basecamp, I’m doing so so that there is a record of it, in one location and its also time-stamped. I also know that everyone is getting a push notification that an update has been made. I don’t have to worry about it not getting read.

Best practice is to keep your communications as close to business hours as possible. Rule #2: Respond during business hours. I know that our workforce is changing and everyone’s a road warrior / work from home / work around the clock digital mad max type these days, but we have to have some standards. Remember: when anything goes, everything goes. I think you can justify a 2-3 hour swing in either direction and still be on point (7am/8am/9am through 7pm/8pm/9pm) because we do end up working early / working late. Anything outside of that time frame and you are entering the danger zone of something not being read.

Side bar: don’t even get me started on Florida time (we’re about to change that forever). We’ve recently expanded into Florida and have already encountered the phenomenon of sending an email out and not hearing back for (gasp) 24 hours. Its like sending an email to someone in Florida is like the Bermuda Triangle. I know its laid back down there, and we’re from the rush-rush-rush North East, but there is something to be said about priorities and attention. We’ve already begun to bring our style of rapid response time to some new Florida clients and they appreciate it as part of the world-class branding and customer service experience we’re bringing down south.

The art of email response time: Is it the end of the world? No. Is it something that can help set the tone of what the company culture is? Absolutely. You are training your clients on what type of customer service experience they can expect to have when they deal with you every time you communicate with them. Whether it’s having someone courteous with a clear, calm and friendly voice answer your phone when a call comes in, to the way in which you phrase your emails, to the timeliness or time of day/night of your reply; the way you communicate is the way you do business.

At the end of the day you want happy clients that will not only keep coming back, but that will send more clients your way. Every single client we’ve ever met wants to be treated special. They want attention. Responding to them promptly and during “normal” business hours is one easy way you can let them know that they are your #1 priority.

Ramon has over 22 years of experience in award-winning, market-proven, print collateral, marketing material, iphone/ipad app and website design specializing in corporate identity and branding. Ramon’s passion for entrepreneurial design was borne out of 10 years as Creative Director for Jay Walker at Walker Digital, the Stamford based idea laboratory and business incubator holding over 300 US Patents. Ramon served as Senior Art Director on the start-up launch team behind Priceline.com, a Walker company and invention. Most recently, Ramon’s led his team in developing creative projects for the Clinton Foundation’s Alliance for Healthier Generation and the Chicago Cubs Charities.

Need help with your brand identity or need a responsive cutting edge web development project completed? Contact: ramon@peraltadesign.com

Follow Ramon on Twitter @Peralta_Design

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FABIO PERALTA: The World’s Greatest Cab Driver Passes On

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I wanted to honor my cousin, Fabio Peralta, known affectionally in some parts of NYC as the “World’s Greatest Taxi Driver” not just because of his charming personality, strong work ethic, superior driving abilities, (which all Peralta’s think they have), but it was because of something special that he inspired his passengers to do.

You see, Fabio Peralta’s goal was not only to get you from Point A to Point B in the Big Apple, but he wanted to inspire something in you. He had a gift for inspiring all of his passengers to create something, anything at all. He was known to hand his passengers a blank pad and a pencil, or at times a pen and a stack of copy paper (hey, you might mess up the first time) and asked them to create art.

“I don’t care what it is. Whatever comes to their brain, I say.”

Fabio didn’t do it for the money either. He found a special joy in what many might think was a non-glamorous job. Fabio knew that each moment we spend is precious, even if its a moment with a perfect stranger and he inspired his passengers to “create art.”

Fabio’s story is one that many NYC Dominican immigrants share: he arrived here as a teenager at the age of 14 in 1965 and immediately made a positive impact in his community. He spent over 46 years driving a Crown Vic yellow cab in NYC and over the course of his career, collected over 20,000 sketches from random doctors, lawyers, computer geeks and the like. Fabio had the gift of vision, a passion for inspiring creativity and although he never had the right opportunity to let it flourish or refine it in a university or online, he used his gifts to make the world a better place. Had he been born a few years later, he might’ve been a Youtube sensation or even inspired a reality TV show.

Fabio collected the sketches from his cab and would save up enough money to get them published. Once he got them printed, he would just give the books away. Initially he gave them away to anyone who would let themselves get filmed by him for another vision – a movie about his passengers.

The New York Post’s Tom Namako once interviewed my cousin for an article (you can view it here: http://nypost.com/2009/06/15/every-rider-is-his-art-fare/ where Fabio claimed to have created videos of over 214 passengers. He was a filmmaker too. He was a creative director. He was an inspiration.

Fabio goes on to explain why he asked people to draw in his cab, “They have to enjoy the ride, not be worried about the things going on around them..”

The last time I saw my cousin Fabio was just a few short weeks ago at the NYU Medical Center in NYC. I brought him a sketchpad and an artist kit full of markers, pastels and colored pencils. I wanted HIM to draw something for a change, but he may have been too weak to even do that by this point.  He was somewhere around #600 in line for a liver transplant. He left the earth this week, suffering from complications from his illness. Fabio spent his last days surrounded by loving family, his children and his grandchildren and I can say that even though I was afforded the opportunity to study Visual Arts in college at age 18, and Fabio made a career out of driving a cab, he didn’t let his job stop him from his passion. He lived with a genuine love for creativity and inspiring others. He was a ‘ball-buster’ and a prankster right until his last days. He loved making people laugh and he was fascinated with creativity and inspiring others.

Fabio, you inspired me and everyone you came in contact with and I know you are up there with the angels collecting drawings in the sky.

Video about Fabio Peralta in action produced by Italian media company:

Resources:

Another post as featured in TaxiGourmet.com

http://taxigourmet.com/2009/12/07/featured-cabbie-fabio-peralta/

http://theworldlink.com/news/local/nyc-cabby-turns-taxi-into-art-studio/article_0bb4a94f-1e6d-5677-932b-7cf03ffa7d81.html

Ramon has over 22 years of experience in award-winning, market-proven, print collateral, marketing material, iphone/ipad app and website design specializing in corporate identity and branding. Ramon’s passion for entrepreneurial design was borne out of 10 years as Creative Director for Jay Walker at Walker Digital, the Stamford based idea laboratory and business incubator holding over 300 US Patents. Ramon served as Senior Art Director on the start-up launch team behind Priceline.com, a Walker company and invention. Most recently, Ramon’s logo and identity work was selected to be published in “Typography and Enclosures” the fourth book in the Master Library series by LogoLounge.

Need help with your brand identity or need a responsive cutting edge web development project completed? Contact: ramon@peraltadesign.com

Follow Ramon on Twitter @Peralta_Design

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Bob Scinto a Hometown Hero

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As an active member of the Bridgeport Regional Business Council (brbc.org) I can personally attest that as a business organization, it affords many opportunities for networking within the Greater Bridgeport area. Fearlessly and selflessly led by Paul Timpanelli, the BRBC is the largest business association in the region, and is comprised of three Chamber of Commerce affiliates: Bridgeport, Trumbull and Stratford. Throughout the year, the BRBC hosts a variety of professional development and networking events and this morning I had the pleasure and good fortunte of being amongst the many local business leaders to attend “Inside the CEO’s Office”, billed as an exclusive opportunity to connect with the region’s top chief executive officers.

This morning’s event featured Robert “Bob” D. Scinto of Scinto, Inc. and it was not to be missed. A legend in my adopted hometown of Shelton, Bob Scinto is a world-class real-estate developer with real estate holdings representing almost 5% of all taxable property in the city. What impressed me the most during this morning’s presentation was not that he’s recognized as Shelton’s Top Taxpayer, but how a man from humble beginnings from Bridgeport’s West End can become successful while giving back and remaining a blessing to so many along the way. That is truly something to aspire to. A true rags to riches story that continues to this day.

I was so inspired by his candid talk with us this morning, that I wanted to share some of the many bits of wisdom and insights into his life that he dropped on us, as I’m sure will inspire you as well.

Here are some the notes I jotted down into my iPhone’s note pad and photos from the event:

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Bob Scinto’s Plumbing Truck

Bob Scinto – humble beginnings, troubled student, pushed through school and graduated without being able to read. He was diagnosed with a speech impediment and was dyslexic. Despite these difficulties, he worked hard as a plumber, driving this truck around the streets of Bridgeport’s West End, earning $93.50 a week for over 5 years, servicing clogged toilets and fixing furnaces until one day, while eating a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, sweating, while covered in coal-dust, he thought to himself that there must be another way.

Mr. Scinto’s first property was a 3-family home he bought in Bridgeport. By the time he was 24, he was collecting 39 rents a week on another property he had saved up for and purchased. He was on his way to be one of the most successful real-estate developers in New England.

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Bob Scinto’s in Action

“If” by Rudyard Kipling

Bob shared with us one of his first major deals and how he waited 8 hours for a chance to speak with Frank D’Addario about purchasing a property along the Merritt Parkway. He quoted the poem “If” by Rudyard Kipling’s famous line: “to wait and not be tired by waiting.” Bob went on to share how he recites the entire “If” poem every other day when he practices his yoga.

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Bob showing us the famous headline that first labeled him a “businessman”, a headline written by Shelton legend and friend of mine, the late Herman Wolf

Overcoming Obstacles

Asked about his lowest point as a developer, and Bob said “1990” without hesitation. He said he woke up one morning and was $70 million in debt and was losing $500k a month with about 360,000 square feet of empty office space in his inventory. It took him 11 years to get out of that debt, but he never gave up.

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The view from the top of Bob’s marquis property – The Renaissance, a high-rise luxury condo building in the heart of his corporate park here in Shelton. It is actually the highest point in Fairfield County. In the distance is Long Island Sound and Seaside Park of Bridgeport. One thing Bob made clear is that he never wants to forget where he came from.

Sound Advice; Bob Scinto Quotables:

On Self-Worth

“Your self worth comes from your mother and your father.” A big reason that Bob Scinto gives back to the youth is that he realizes how important early education is to the development of our young people. He can often be heard saying how much he loves speaking to young people. He shared a very personal story of his battle against ringworm as a child, and how his mother’s constant care and sacrifice made him feel that he ‘must be worth something’ for her to be going through all that trouble of taking care of his affliction.

Bob’s Three Pillars

  1. Service:

“Doesn’t matter what you do, you can always be of service to other people.” Bob shared a story from his plumbing days, and the look of joy on the faces of three little boys who were finally able to use the bathroom after Bob came by and unclogged it. I found it fascinating that he still travels with the same plumbing auger that he used back in those days. It’s a reminder of where he came from. Something that is very important to Mr. Scinto.

  1. Compassion

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During his days a plumber, Bob often traveled with a camera and would often try and capture people from different walks of life going about their day doing everyday things, making pancakes, going for a walk, doing work around the house. He was very inspired by a book he passed around, “The Family of Man” which features people from all over the world. Having compassion for your fellow man is something very near and dear to Mr. Scinto.

  1. Imagination

“See what you are, become what you see. See yourself as a good person, and become that. Use your imagination to get your life in the right direction. It was during his days as a plumber that he had his epiphany: he used his imagination to drive him towards the world of real estate. A world that he is dominating in today.

A Good Landlord

During the question and answer period, someone asked Mr. Scinto how he has adapted to an economic climate where there are fewer workers in Connecticut in 2015 than there were in 1990. A world where many telecommute, how can a real estate developer that sells office space not only survive, but thrive. Mr. Scinto’s answer was as sincere as the man himself: he quickly replied, “If you’re just going to rent office space, you’ll go out of business. You’ve got to rent a lifestyle.”

What he meant by that is that his customer service and treatment of his tenants and his entire Scinto experience is what sets him apart from the rest. He personally calls each tenant on their birthday, and prides himself in the finest of tenant gifts during the holiday season. With pride, he shared how there were over 1,500 photos with Santa taken over the holiday season. Bob Scinto knows how to treat his tenants. But he is also a very shrewd business man, and has placed a hedge bet by securing and developing rental properties at various affordable price points so as to assure a home within the Scinto family for anyone who may be in need of office space.

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Bob Scinto’s office is full of inspirational books, quotes and posters. He quickly turned on some music and said that he ‘loves to play music from his youth, it keeps him young.” Carol King’s ‘I Feel the Earth Move’ was playing in the background during our tour.

Time Management

“80% of your income comes from 10% of your time.”

Bob Scinto is very careful as to how he spends his time and thus says that he has become very good at hiring ‘brains’. He surrounds himself with people smarter than him and then trusts them to do their jobs. That way he can focus on retention and maintaining the client relationships and still have plenty of time to actively participate on 15 boards. Among these are Big Brothers/Big Sisters of Fairfield County, Discovery Museum, Junior Achievement of Western Connecticut and the Boys Club/Girls Club of Bridgeport. He is also very passionate about the Bob Scinto Foundation which provides full scholarships for local youth.

The Thrill of the Solution

As a creative director, you may wonder why did I leave so inspired from a real estate developer’s talk, but I can honestly say, that I haven’t been as inspired by a successful person such as Mr. Scinto in a very long time. My favorite Scinto quotable was actually about happiness, but it was also about problem solving, something that as a creative, is part of my job. Mr. Scinto said that , “The secret to happiness is your ability to solve problems. The thrill of the solution is the thrill of business.”

I can completely relate and agree to that. We are all be in the problem solving business in one way or another and there is a thrill that we all chase. I hope these notes and photos were able to inspire you as much as they inspired me. Mr. “Bob” Scinto is proof positive that you don’t have to look very far to find a real-life “hometown hero” – sometimes they are literally in your own backyard.

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For more information on Bob Scinto and the Bob Scinto Foundation, visit:

http://www.rdscintofoundation.com/bob_scinto

Commercial Real Estate & Office Space Rental

http://scinto.com

Ramon has over 22 years of experience in award-winning, market-proven, print collateral, marketing material, iphone/ipad app and website design specializing in corporate identity and branding. Ramon’s passion for entrepreneurial design was borne out of 10 years as Creative Director for Jay Walker at Walker Digital, the Stamford based idea laboratory and business incubator holding over 300 US Patents. Ramon served as Senior Art Director on the start-up launch team behind Priceline.com, a Walker company and invention. Most recently, Ramon’s logo and identity work was selected to be published in “Typography and Enclosures” the fourth book in the Master Library series by LogoLounge.

Need help with your brand identity or need a responsive cutting edge web development project completed? Contact: ramon@peraltadesign.com

Follow Ramon on Twitter @Peralta_Design

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The New Captain Citrus is Marvelous

Like millions of kids, I always dreamed about working for Marvel Comics as an illustrator, when I grew up. I can remember just sitting up late at night, thinking about how cool it would be to draw comics for a living. As an avid collector, of both Marvel and DC titles, some of my favorites included Spiderman, the X-men and the Fantastic Four. As the years went by, I kept drawing, kept collecting, and kept dreaming.

Today, although my dream has changed, I can honestly say I’m living it. While I don’t work directly for Marvel, I have come pretty close. So close in fact, that Marvel has recently redesigned a character that I named and designed for the Florida Department of Citrus (FDOC) just 3 years ago for an agency client of ours. That character was Captain Citrus and lately he’s been taking a flack for being a bit on the ‘husky’ side and I’m here to defend him.

When I was first pulled into this assignment, the FDOC wanted to create a character that could help make drinking Orange Juice fun and could promote it locally in Florida. He needed to be fun, kid-friendly and of course super-healthy. The first step in the process was to begin developing some ideas from a directional standpoint. Would he be a human, a hillbilly gator (yes, this was a concept) or a fruit? Would he have super powers, be a talking head, an animation, or some sort of a mascot like the Jolly Green Giant® or Hamburger Helper®?

Here are some first draft concepts that led to what would become Captain Citrus:

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Early concept where the idea of a ‘super-hero’ was first presented. He was still called “Captain O” at this point, and by the time we launched, he had been renamed.

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Yes. This was also one of my first batch of concepts. Needless to say it didn’t get very far. I never presented it, but when you’re brainstorming, every idea is a good idea lol.

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This was an early version of what ultimately became Captain Citrus 1.0

It was during this stage that his name evolved as well. Originally, he was going to be called Captain O, and as I began to develop and flush out the type treatment, I came up with Captain Citrus… “From a not-too distant galaxy comes an orange hero full of vitamin C” (I had a blast writing copy too).

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He’s not fat, he’s just short for his weight!

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This is what the materials and the character actually end up looking like. We were all quite happy with it, and it survived as Captain Citrus for a few years. But alas, all good things must come to an end.

There were so many places that I wanted to go with Captain Citrus, I had even developed his partner, “Ms. Vitamin C” and was really proud of the high-heeled boots that she wore. I don’t think we ever presented her to the FDOC, but the agency I was developing creative for was also tasked with a curriculum packaged into quarterly ‘kits’ that were to be mailed to the Florida school systems. They included postcards, posters, teacher guides and student activities. For the amount of time we had, and the amount of creative and curriculum pieces we developed, it was a great run and the FDOC really got a lot of value for their buck.

Eventually, the FDOC, who obviously owned the rights to Captain Citrus 100%, decided to develop an actual life-sized costume so that a living and breathing Captain Citrus could go and visit school children. We got to look at concepts for how the digital character might translate over to real-life. I think this is where he jumped the shark. In the digital illustration, Captain Citrus is clearly an Orange. His body, is therefore, ROUND. He wore a cape, had skinny arms and legs with gloves and boots with a “C” on his chest. I spent a lot of time modifying the original royalty-free stock art M&M type of character that he was loosely based on in order to get the “orange” texture on his body, and add the leaf to his head ever so gracefully. We even worked on getting his eyebrows to appear more friendly. Finally, he was ready for prime-time.

FDOC-captaincitrus

Here he is in the flesh, er I mean, foam! You can see how the cartoon character didn’t exactly translate well to real-life. I think this is when it started to get its stigma for being overweight…

For the next couple of years, Captain Citrus visited kids and brough a smile to their faces, but at some point, and I don’t know when, but I can only imagine, someone pointed out that Cap looked fat. When they made him into a life-size mascot, he probably had some trouble getting in through the door due to his ‘round-ness’. I know kids can be brutally honest, so I’m sure it wasn’t long before he was getting picked on or teased for being on the large size. Keep in mind though, he was supposed to be an ORANGE, and oranges are ROUND…

By this point, the agency that had hired our firm to develop this character no longer had the FDOC account. The FDOC owned the rights to the character and as with many mascots, they evolve over time. Imagine my surprise when found out that Marvel Comics themselves had been tapped to create the new and improved Captain Citrus! I have to admit, it was bittersweet. On the one hand, I was completely honored and humbled and grateful to be associated with Marvel, a company that I at one point dreamed of working for, and am still a huge fan of to this day. On the other hand, I didn’t appreciate everyone calling Captain Citrus ‘rotund’ or that he would imply that somehow, drinking orange juice wouldn’t be healthy or good for you. Maybe I’m being sensitive, but I never looked at this way. I designed him to be a super-hero orange who made it cool to sip on a juice box of vitamin C.

captain-citrus*304xx527-789-0-9

This is what he looks like now thanks to Marvel. He’s a bada$$ dude ready to kick some butt! Times change, and the market changes, and well, now he’s part of the Marvel Universe!

It feels really good to see our artwork used alongside the new $1,000,000 Marvel version. Granted, we didn’t have no where near that Marvel budget, but we sure did have a blast with this campaign and love the direction is going in. We wish the FDOC and Marvel all the best in their new partnership. It truly is a dream come true to be using our gifts and talents to help encourage kids to be healthy.

Like Uncle Ben once told Peter Parker, with great power, comes great responsibility!

Resources to some articles:

IGN:

http://www.ign.com/articles/2014/09/26/marvel-redesigns-floridas-captain-citrus-mascot

Adweek:

http://www.adweek.com/news/advertising-branding/story-marvels-new-branded-superhero-captain-citrus-160346

Newsarama

http://www.newsarama.com/22235-captain-citrus-is-marvel-s-newest-1m-dollar-hero.html

New Website:

http://www.floridacitrus.org/captain-citrus/

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Ramon has over 20 years of experience in award-winning, market-proven, print collateral, marketing material, iphone/ipad app and website design specializing in corporate identity and branding. Ramon’s passion for entrepreneurial design was borne out of 10 years as Creative Director for Jay Walker at Walker Digital, the Stamford based idea laboratory and business incubator holding over 300 US Patents. Ramon served as Senior Art Director on the start-up launch team behind Priceline.com, a Walker company and invention. Most recently, Ramon’s logo and identity work was selected to be published in “Typography and Enclosures” the fourth book in the Master Library series by LogoLounge.

Need help with your brand identity or want to overhaul your existing brand? Need a responsive cutting edge web development project completed? Contact: ramon@peraltadesign.com

Follow Ramon on Twitter @Peralta_Design

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A-B-H: Always Be Helping

We Are Here To Help Chalk Illustration

 

“A major reason that prospects do not buy is because they do not fully understand what you are selling and how they can use and benefit from it.”

– Brian Tracy, “Be a Sales Superstar”

 

Last night I closed a deal on a proposal that I originally submitted back in February. It took a full 6-months for a client to finally decide to not only move forward with the project, but to go with our firm. There are many reasons why clients drag their feet on projects: budgets, staff changes, shopping other vendors, fear of getting ripped off or all of the above.

In this case, it turns out that the client simply did not see the value in our proposal, at least not initially. Like anyone else would, they decided to shop their website project to other firms and when they lined them up side by side, they were simply looking at the top line (the deliverables) and the bottom line (the price). The mumbo jumbo in the middle, the technical specs, the details and the benefits of what they were actually getting were quickly scanned over.

Since we had a prior relationship with this client, (we had completely rebranded their firm about a year ago) they were more inclined to stick with us, but couldn’t get their heads around why some of the other firms were promising the moon and the stars and still coming in at a lower price point than our bid.

My first reaction was to see what I could do for them on the price, and truth be told, I was already extending a generous discount, and since I do my best to not price myself out of the market, there really wasn’t much margin to work with.

I needed to see what in fact was being promised by the other firms. What ‘value’ wasn’t I delivering in what was actually a very competitive Scope of Work? Looking at what other firms are promising, and what tactics they employ and learning what gets buried in the mouse-print can be very enlightening. 

“Take a low-pressure/no-pressure approach and position yourself as a teacher and helper instead of a salesman.”

– Brian Tracy, “Be a Sales Superstar”

 

Our client was looking to redesign their website and frustrated with their previous developer, a one-man shop that took forever to make updates, they specifically wanted a website that they could take ownership of and maintain in-house if necessary. They needed a CMS, a Content Management System and it didn’t sound to us like they needed a proprietary one. Because of the industry that they were in, compliance was an issue and for that reason alone, I think they were steered towards some industry specific template website firms that promised to be compliant out the box. We’re big fans of WordPress, not just because it’s a very user-friendly platform, but more importantly its open source, thus thousands of developers are constantly creating new plugins for it. For example, if you wanted to start accepting BitCoin on your website, there is already a plugin for that for WordPress. We priced out a custom, responsive WordPress build-out that included user-training for the client. We requested the documentation required to be fully compliant and found out that it came down to securing the proper web hosting company which wasn’t a big deal. It actually made our job easier in that regard because this was something the client could handle.

But why was the client reluctant to sign? Unbeknownst to us, they had been comparing our proposals with several others that included lots of “extras” social media updates, monthly maintenance and even an fully functioning app! All for less than what we were quoting for JUST the website. There was no way this could be done at break-even, much less a profit, but I remember emailing the client. At this point, I turned off the sales pitch. I simply said that if all this were true, and that they are actually getting a website built on an open-source platform that they OWN, then they should absolutely go for it, because this was the deal of the century. A smartphone app alone can cost you upwards of $20k, never mind that they threw in a full website build and the kitchen sink. The more I thought about everything these other firms were including in their proposals, the more I began to suspect that something was fishy. The only way to pull this off was if their entire website was going to be built off a template, on a proprietary platform, and that the app was actually also a pre-built template with a logo-swap. The catch with proprietary content management systems, is while they are cheap (and often have a high monthly ‘subscription’ attached to them) is that you don’t OWN it. If you decide to try and ‘move’ your site to another hosting company or another web development company, you can’t take your site with you. Your held hostage by the firm that owns the ‘secret sauce’ behind the platform. No one else can ever work on it, and if you want to part ways, you’ll have to start over from scratch.

Sure enough, it turns out that every other bid that the client was comparing ours to was in fact a firm trying to sell their proprietary CMS. Sure, they’ll re-skin it for you with your brand colors, etc. but its still their website. It lives on their servers, and only their plugins will work with it. My client had absolutely no clue about any of this. Her exact words were, “You need to spell this out earlier in the process, because THIS is your value.” She felt duped by the other firms that didn’t really explain the fine print either. They were too busy selling. In many ways, so was I. You can’t assume that clients know everything about what you’re selling unless you explain it to them. As soon as I stopped selling, and started teaching, consulting and advising the guard came down and I further earned their trust. At that point, I didn’t care whether I won the job or not, I wanted to make sure they were doing what was right for them. Truth be told, I’m not slamming companies who use this business model. If creating a template for a particular industry and then re-skinning it for different clients and packaging it for a very low price is your thing, go for it. Totally legit. The subscription model can be a very lucrative business model and can be just the low-barrier to entry website solution that an emerging startup or small business needs. There’s nothing wrong with it, but you should EXPLAIN it. Make sure the client knows what the pros and cons are before they sign on the dotted line. Both clients and service providers tend to focus on the bottom line, instead, we should focus on whether or not what you are selling is the right fit for the client’s needs.

What happens when you assume? We all know and this was a classic case of it. I assumed they completely understood what my firm was offering because it made sense to ME. The client assumed that all the website proposals were equal. They were not. A responsive, custom-CMS built on a WordPress platform that the client OWNS and can build upon, take with them to another firm, or switch hosting plans down the line, which has hundreds of plug & play bells and whistles, is one thing. A closed, proprietary, monthly subscription-based, branded website template that only plays nicely with that firm’s own proprietary limited selection of bells and whistles that each require ‘activation fees’ and additional monthly costs is another. It wasn’t fair to line them up side by side and choose the least expensive option. It wasn’t apples to apples.

When you take off the salesman hat, and take the approach of teacher or helper, you can explain exactly what it is you are offering. You now have the opportunity to really listen to the client and educate them. Help them understand why what you’re selling really is the best solution for them. If it really is, you won’t have to sell too hard, it will sell itself.

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Ramon has over 20 years of experience in award-winning, market-proven, print collateral, marketing material, iphone/ipad app and website design specializing in corporate identity and branding. Ramon’s passion for entrepreneurial design was borne out of 10 years as Creative Director for Jay Walker at Walker Digital, the Stamford based idea laboratory and business incubator holding over 300 US Patents. Ramon served as Senior Art Director on the start-up launch team behind Priceline.com, a Walker company and invention. Most recently, Ramon’s logo and identity work was selected to be published in “Typography and Enclosures” the fourth book in the Master Library series by LogoLounge.

Need help with your brand identity or want to overhaul your existing brand? Need a responsive cutting edge web development project completed? Contact: ramon@peraltadesign.com

Follow Ramon on Twitter @Peralta_Design

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Our Next Client May Be One of Yours

Social Network Of African American Businesswoman

How’s that for a controversial headline. Grabbed your attention, didn’t it? Let me explain. What I’m talking about is cross-pollination, lead sharing, or referral business.

Every entrepreneur I’ve spoken to will tell you that up to 100% of their business is referral or ‘word-of-mouth’. Some firms, like my own, can go 6 years plus on a fast track of growth and success relying upon repeat and referral business. But as every business owner knows, you have to follow the 80-20 rule: you should be spending 80% of your time working ON the business and not IN the business. That means growing the business by making sure the hopper is full.

One great way to expand your network and get more ‘feet on the ground’ is to set up meetings with service providers that offer a skillset or service that compliments your own. In some cases, some of your services may overlap, but your core competency shouldn’t.

We’ve dedicated a good portion of our budget towards membership dues in various business and networking organizations such as the local chamber of commerce and even volunteer in several community service / corporate responsibility organizations. All in an effort to meet new people, specifically to meet other service providers. If you’ve attended a business expo recently, you have experienced the whirlwind of sales calls that bombard you in the week following heavy networking. Don’t brush off a service provider because you may not necessarily need their services at that moment. Instead try and identify if there may be some synergy between the companies. Is there chemistry between the founders or the company philosophy? At the very least, get together for coffee and explore the possibilities.

Recently we met with a company that specialized in video production. They had been around for quite some time, but things had slowed down for them in the last few years so they downsized. They had let go of their full time staff and were down to outsourcing and using freelancers. Over the years they had amassed quite a strong network of clients and had done some very high profile work. We invited them to tour our studios and meet our full-time staff. They got a close-up view of Peralta Design in action. We admired their work, they admired ours. We were on the same page when it came to our attention to detail and cutting edge design solutions. It made total sense for us to work together. We offered to white label some work for them if they needed a team, and we would have them white label for us if we were able to offer their services to one of our clients. In cases where it made the most sense to simply refer the business to each other, we will agree on a commission percentage that works. As far as what ‘wholesale’ rates we’ll offer each other, we’ll remain flexible so we can both ‘eat’. As I like to say, slow money is better than no money.

Some things you might want to consider and require when sharing leads with another company:

• Reciprocal NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement)
Basically, its an NDA that works both ways. Both parties agree to keep their dealings with clients secret, thus allowing for the white labeling to happen. A white-label product or service is a product or service produced by one company (the producer) that other companies (the marketers) rebrand to make it appear as if they made it.

• Trust, Chemistry and Synergy
Go with your gut here. Are you willing to put your company’s reputation on the line for theirs and vice versa? If the client is used to you delivering without any excuses, will this company do the same. Founders should be cut from the same cloth. The same level of dedication to quality, high standards, turnaround time and execution must be on par. You don’t want to partner up with a client who doesn’t feel the need to work as hard as you do. You will be referring clients to each other and the purpose here is to gain business, not lose it.

• Hourly rate, retainer or project by project
Keep it simple. To start off, it is best to begin with a easily manageable project to test the waters. Offer your new strategic partner a rate that is lower than you standard so that they can mark up your time and make money. Additionally, they will be Project Managing the whole thing since they will want to continue to interface with their own client as you would as well.

The best thing about this arrangement is that you have more feet on the ground. You have just doubled the size of your sales team. Your new strategic partnership offers you a whole new set of potential clients (which remain your partner’s clients) and your partner can now offer your company’s services in addition to their own so they can now cast a wider net. It’s a win-win.

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Ramon has over 20 years of experience in award-winning, market-proven, print collateral, marketing material, iphone/ipad app and website design specializing in corporate identity and branding. Ramon’s passion for entrepreneurial design was borne out of 10 years as Creative Director for Jay Walker at Walker Digital, the Stamford based idea laboratory and business incubator holding over 300 US Patents. Ramon served as Senior Art Director on the start-up launch team behind Priceline.com, a Walker company and invention. Most recently, Ramon’s logo and identity work was selected to be published in “Typography and Enclosures” the fourth book in the Master Library series by LogoLounge.

Need help with your brand identity or want to overhaul your existing brand? Need a responsive cutting edge web development project completed? Contact: ramon@peraltadesign.com

Follow Ramon on Twitter @Peralta_Design

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Trust and Teamwork

“Whether you’re on a sports team, in an office or a member of a family, if you can’t trust one another there’s going to be trouble.”
― Stephen M.R. Covey, The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything

cover blog_Trust

We spent all day hiking through the bamboo forests on the north coast of Maui. My wife and I are on vacation in Maui and here I am writing a blog to the sounds of ocean waves crashing right outside my balcony. Yes, I know, I should unplug. If that’s not bad enough, as soon as I finish this, I’m going to dabble with a few logos that need to be worked on for clients that can’t wait until I get back. On the plane ride I worked on some design ideas and wrote a proposal. Being an entrepreneur means you’re always “on”. It means that you are maintaining relationships and always delivering more than expected. Most of all, my clients TRUST me. If they need something done before I get back, they know it will get taken care of. They know I travel with my MacBook Pro. I open up virtual PD offices all over the world: France, San Francisco, DR, PR, now Hawaii – yes, if I’m working from my hotel room then that is now an official PD satellite office. The main HQ back home is always in full swing. I trust that my team back home is holding down the fort. My clients trust my team. Fostering trust amongst your team and your clients is vital. Its vital to all relationships.

Flashback earlier today and we’re driving along the north coast of Maui on the twisty, amazingly beautiful, treacherous and infamous Road to Hana. I was behind the wheel zooming along in a rented red (branding) Camaro convertible hugging the curves while my wife calmly co-piloted, checking the tourist map and her iPhone simultaneously. She knew I wasn’t going to go too fast or swerve to hard to put us in any danger. I trusted that she knew which road we should be on. Later on as we hiked through the dense bamboo forest in search of a series of waterfalls and waterholes that became increasingly difficult to access, I had even more time to ponder this idea of trust and how vital it is to teamwork.

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Trust in Families:
We worked as a team all day, for example, to access one of the waterfalls, there was a rope that had been left to help climbers up the rocky terrain. I went up first and kept the rope taut so that it would be easier for her to climb. On another incline, there was a man-made ladder that was precariously perched against the face of the cliff. I went up first then waited for her at the top, and made sure the ladder was stable and made sure she was OK. If I ever went too far ahead, she trusted that I would wait for her. On our way back towards the car, she pointed to an “X” she had made with sticks and motioned to me that I was going the wrong way. I didn’t question her – I auto-corrected my steps and followed her lead. I trusted that she knew where she was going. We bonded. Our relationship got stronger through teamwork.

“The first job of a leader—at work or at home—is to inspire trust. It’s to bring out the best in people by entrusting them with meaningful stewardships, and to create an environment in which high-trust interaction inspires creativity and possibility.”
― Stephen M.R. Covey, The SPEED of Trust: The One Thing that Changes Everything

We left our two adult kids at home (we did feel guilty for a split second) even though they would’ve loved to come along with us. We have to trust that they will do the right thing, even when we’re not home. We have to trust that they’ll turn lights out when they leave the house, that they won’t have raging parties, that they will take care of the dog and that they won’t come home too late. We have to trust that they will do the things they need to do. We give them responsibility and we give them the benefit of the doubt. We empower them and then we TRUST them.

Trust at Work:
When you make the leap from a one-man shop that hires freelancers to becoming the founder of a company that has an in-house team of full-time employees you have to trust the people that you hire. They become an extension of you and as a result, as you grow your team, your clients will trust them by default – because they trust you. You foster a culture of teamwork and you don’t micromanage. You set expectations and you lead by example. The beauty of building a team and running a business is that even when you are not there, the business can still run. Your clients can still be serviced and deliverables will remain on track. Spending the day hiking made me think how great it would be if I could organize an activity with my team where we could do some team-building. Not the cliché corporate team building where a co-worker falls backwards and he/she is caught by another co-worker, but perhaps doing something a bit more exhilarating like zip-lining or perhaps doing a hike or trying out one of those outdoor obstacle course places. I’m inspired to go back to the office and plan some fun trust-building, team-building offsite activity.

“Without trust there’s less innovation, collaboration, creative thinking, and productivity, and people spend their time protecting themselves and their interests – this is time that should be spent helping the group attain its goals.” –MindTools

At the office,  I know that when I’m away, the work will still get done, but I believe that we could all benefit from getting out of the office for some team-building (No, the next company field trip won’t be to Maui). Trust is the glue that fosters creativity and safety within the company so that people aren’t operating on fear.  Trust your team, at work and at home,  and you will do great things together.

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Resources:
Building Trust Inside Your Team
http://www.mindtools.com/pages/article/building-trust-team.htm

15 Quotes to Inspire Great Teamwork
http://www.inc.com/dave-kerpen/15-quotes-to-inspire-great-team-work.html

Team Building Activities

http://www.huddle.com/blog/team-building-activities/

 

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Ramon has over 20 years of experience in award-winning, market-proven, print collateral, marketing material, iphone/ipad app and website design specializing in corporate identity and branding. Ramon’s passion for entrepreneurial design was borne out of 10 years as Creative Director for Jay Walker at Walker Digital, the Stamford based idea laboratory and business incubator holding over 300 US Patents. Ramon served as Senior Art Director on the start-up launch team behind Priceline.com, a Walker company and invention. Most recently, Ramon’s logo and identity work was selected to be published in “Typography and Enclosures” the fourth book in the Master Library series by LogoLounge.

Need help with your brand identity or want to overhaul your existing brand? Need a responsive cutting edge web development project completed? Contact: ramon@peraltadesign.com

 

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Broadway’s First Black Phantom

My Review of Phantom of the Opera starring Norm Lewis and Sierra Boggess

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The Famed Marquis of the Majestic Theatre – The Phantom of the Opera has had a 26-year run on Broadway

I don’t usually review Broadway shows in my design blog, but this time I’ve been inspired to make an exception. Last night, my wife and I were blessed to witness what she described as ‘the best Broadway show ever’. Our favorite special ocassion date night getaway includes a trip to NYC for dinner and show. We’ve been to Mamet’s Glengary Glen Ross, Fela, Wicked, Lion King, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, A Streetcar Named Desire, Chicago, Top Dog / Underdog, and In the Heights to name a few.

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Our view from the Center Orchestra seats – 3 rows from the stage

We were really looking forward to Phantom, now in its 26th year on Broadway, a true classic that somehow neither one of us had seen before. The classic love story of beauty meets beast. What better way to mark our wedding anniversary? LOL To impress, (and it was a last minute decision so not many options) I splurged on some premium Center-Orchestra seats, just several rows back from the stage. I wanted the evening to be special and the show did not disappoint. To our surprise (we had no idea who was starring), when the scene in which the Phantom first appeared close up, the first thing I noticed was his black skin, specifically his black hands. Was it makeup? No, the role of the Phantom was being played by Tony Award Nominee Norm Lewis, an African-American actor most recently seen playing Senator Edison Davis on ABC’s popular drama Scandal.

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 The great Norm Lewis as the “Black” Phantom of the Opera. Photo credit: Tumblr.com

As an artist and Creative Director, visuals (the special effects were fun (and hot) up close) are something I play close attention to. The set was elaborate and the costumes were intricate. The songs were timeless and Christine’s voice was angelic. You literally were transported to another place and time. Sitting so close to the orchestra was also a special treat, and I left the theater humming the Phantom theme song all the way home.

Listen to the theme song here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-JaeBxYCI9k&feature=kp

So, why do I feel compelled to write about Norm Lewis’ captivating performance opposite Sierra Boggess? Why is Broadway’s first Black Phantom such a big deal? For me, it has to do with the story and how I saw it through my eyes. I identified with the title character through shared experiences. Here’s my breakdown:

Deeper Storytelling

When you first see the Phantom’s (Lewis’) black hands reach for and caress Christine (Boggess) on stage, you can cut the tension in the theatre with a knife. As much progress as we think we’ve made as a society, there is still the taboo of the interracial relationship. With a black man as Phantom, you see another dimension in the drama unfold as Christine is pursued by her white suitor, saving her from the black Phantom. In the end, Christine gives in to the Phantom’s wishes and engages him in a passionate kiss. The Phantom however, having never been loved, having lived in isolation and in the shadows, does not know how to even embrace Christine, and in the ultimate display of love, sets her free, so that she can go and be loved by someone (Raoul), something that he cannot, or perhaps will not do, because he knows that pulling her into his world is not fair to her. Him joining society at this point is not an option either. Additionally, by this point, he is also a wanted criminal. 

 The Lynchings

Throughout the story, the Phantom murders several actors in the opera house. His method of murder: hangings. Everytime a noose dropped down from the ceiling, and the victims were white characters (there was only (1) one other African American actress in the entire cast), and the ‘hangman’ was the ‘black’ Phantom, visions of the atrocities of hangings of black people throughout America’s history played repeatedly in my mind.  The contrast, rather the juxtaposition, of a black man hanging white men, for me, was very jarring. I’m pretty sure that when Gaston Leroux, originally wrote the novel that Phantom’s based on, he did not have that in mind. Once again, the tension was high in the theater, which provided an added element of drama to the storyline. For me, it made once again, made the storyline deeper, at least for American audiences in NYC.

Behind the Mask: Disfigured and Colored

When Christine pulls off the Phantom’s mask, and reveals his deformity, she also fully reveals his blackness. Yes, the special effects show a disfigured man, but the audience also sees a black man. Christine at first, repulsed, begins to empathize for the Phantom, as does the audience, who over time begin to see a glimpse of a man longing to be loved and embraced by society. Anyone who has ever felt the sting of racism, or ever felt discriminated against for a physical trait they had zero control over, such as the color of their skin, or a birthmark, or an injury or handicap, can identify with the curse of being different. As the Phantom bellowed his beautiful haunting song of being born disfigured, I couldn’t help but think of his skin tone as well. This was a sentiment that I could identity with and loved how it updated the story by not only the obvious metaphor of how many of us live behind masks, and how life is a masquerade, but it also introduced all of society’s stereotypical and racial prejudices as well as their consequential reactions.

Two Thumbs Up: A Classic Improved with a Unique Twist

A must see. A great update to a Broadway classic. I’ve been a vocal critic of the recent wave of updating traditionally white characters with black characters in comic books and movies. Will Smith’s Karate Kid is one movie that comes to mind. Many of my friends will disagree with me on this one, but I don’t think that it needed to be remade at all. The original is still just as good. Do we need more positive black and latino imagery in pop culture? Yes, of course. I just don’t’ think that its always necessary, and only agree that it should be done when it IMPROVES the story. Too many times it feels gratuitous. But not in this case. It makes perfect sense. It usually isn’t supposed to change the story, but in this case it improves it. Not only does Norm Lewis deliver a Tony-Award level performance, but his mere presence in this ground-breaking role gives the Phantom a new modern twist with a deeper storyline. Perhaps it even goes as far as changing perceptions and dismantling stereotypes. I know that not only was I entertained, but I was moved. I know it sounds cliché, but this is one Broadway show that you don’t want to miss!

Bravo!

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Ramon has over 20 years of experience in award-winning, market-proven, print collateral, marketing material, iphone/ipad app and website design specializing in corporate identity and branding. Ramon’s passion for entrepreneurial design was borne out of 10 years as Creative Director for Jay Walker at Walker Digital, the Stamford based idea laboratory and business incubator holding over 300 US Patents. Ramon served as Senior Art Director on the start-up launch team behind Priceline.com, a Walker company and invention. Most recently, Ramon’s logo and identity work was selected to be published in “Typography and Enclosures” the fourth book in the Master Library series by LogoLounge.

Need help with your brand identity or want to overhaul your existing brand? Need a responsive cutting edge web development project completed? Contact: ramon@peraltadesign.com

 

Follow Ramon on Twitter @Peralta_Design

www.peraltadesign.com

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