Heide Follin

Denny Hatch is the author of six books on marketing and four novels, and is a direct marketing writer, designer and consultant. His latest book is “Write Everything Right!” Visit him at dennyhatch.com.

Every time I drive by an Arby's—which have been around since 1964—and see the whimsical sign with the giant cowboy hat, I chuckle. I imagine a hot roast beef sandwich, and it makes me hungry.

Same thing with Wendy's, which opened in 1969. The sign says to me, "Stop here for a great breakfast or juicy, old-fashioned burger!"

Though only a sometimes customer, over the years both of these organizations have created positive brand awareness in my head.

So when I received the e-mail from KCSA Strategic Communications announcing a "new brand identity" for Wendy's/Arby's, I was curious. After all, the old brands were real good.

Here's how the "new brand identity" is described:

"The Wendy's/Arby's Group brand identity is designed not only as an acronym, but as a spiral continuum, maintaining the idea of continuous, flexible movement forward," said Margaret Wiatrowski, creative director, KCSA Strategic Communications. "The overall visual direction remains neutral by introducing entirely new elements to the combined entity, both formalistically and typographically. The two entities are symbolically combined through a mutual sense of innovation, authenticity and tradition."

Huh?

If you visit Little Italy in New York City and stroll down Mulberry Street at dinner time, a dozen maitre d’s accost you, each one hawking their specials, wines and cannoli. Ultimately, the restaurant that enticed me had a quaint sign and a gentleman in a bow tie and apron, flanked by an easy-to-read menu. With no distracting gimmicks or hassles, I walked right in. In direct mail design, a similar “what you see is what you get” principle induces reader response. These three tips from direct mail design experts offer insight into how to appeal to your readers and create response-driven designs. 1. Be honest

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