Greg Callaham Graphic Design recently won four American Graphic Design Awards. Graphic Design USA, a national trade publication sponsors the annual competition. Insider had a chance to interview Greg Callaham on the recent success for his firm.
Greg, congratulations on your four American Graphic Design Awards. Can you provide us with some background on the award process and organization?
The editors of Graphic Design USA, a national design industry trade publication, hold a competition each year to evaluate, judge, and honor the work of creative professionals in the graphic arts community. They’ve been doing so for more than fifty years. As with similar competitions, criteria is set, a call for entries is issued, and graphic designers submit their best work by a deadline to qualify for entry. The competition is open to graphic design firms, advertising agencies, in-house corporate and institutional designers, publishers and other media across the United States. There are twenty-three categories from print and packaging to internet and interactive design. To win an American Graphic Design Award means the design is recognized as one of the best and brightest from among the thousands of entries received. It’s something both designers and clients should be very proud of. I’ve been blessed to receive an award in at least one category each year since 2009.
How about walking us through your four design winners?
Audi Chattanooga, a well-known local dealership, has been an outstanding client for years. They understand incorporating digital billboards into their monthly sales promotions is a successful strategy. This design quickly delivers the message that you can drive an Audi A4 for a very reasonable monthly payment, while reinforcing the Audi brand and giving a nod to German engineering via the ghosted gears in the background. The high contrast between the white automobile and the background is designed to make viewers really focus on the car and the selling message.
Micro Outdoor has been a loyal client since I started my own design firm eight years ago. Their advertiser, Oliverio’s Ristorante, wanted a billboard that instilled an upscale feel while still conveying a sense of invitation and welcome. They are very proud of the food they serve and the manner in which it is presented, so stock imagery wasn’t going to get the job done. I was able to work directly with them to coach their local professional photographer to capture the right lighting and angle on one of their signature dishes, so it presented well in the medium. The advertiser really devoted themselves to pulling their share of the load, and they deserve full credit for the excellent photography they provided.
I’ve been serving Fluhman Outdoor, the fastest-growing outdoor advertising company in Texas, for several years. They are dedicated to providing their advertisers with expert advice on the proper messaging and use of out of home advertising. J&S Tractors had purchased multiple boards and wanted to do something different to really stand out. But they had to maintain the manufacturer’s corporate branding standards to qualify for co-op dollars. It could have been a frustrating series of proofs and resubmissions to the manufacturer, but we seized the opportunity to have fun with the messaging while using pre-approved photography. The resulting campaign became one of those projects that not only was a joy to work on, but also zipped through the design and approval process quickly and easily.
The fourth winner is a logo design that came to me through another wonderful client, Stokely Outdoor. Their advertiser, Riverbend Ranch Steakhouse, is part of a partial rebranding effort by an event facility housing several separate businesses in Oklahoma. Part of the old logo had to remain as part of the new logo, yet the overall result needed to be fresh and exciting, so viewers would notice the change. As I learned about the advertiser’s facility and the multiple businesses it houses, the concept for the logo took shape and transformed into the finished product. Once the logo was approved, we designed the billboard. They loved it on the board and couldn’t wait to start using it elsewhere.
What else is new at Greg Callaham Graphic Design?
I could sit here and give you a boilerplate answer about staying abreast of trends and changes in the outdoor industry, upgrading systems to improve workflow, or constantly looking for more efficient ways to serve my clients. But that’s not really “new.” That’s just part of business if you want to stay competitive.
What’s really new at Greg Callaham Graphic Design is this: Every Day.
Every day brings a new challenge, a new customer, a new opportunity, new knowledge about the industry or an advertiser’s industry, a new way to serve a client and/or their advertiser. I’ve been in advertising and marketing for almost thirty-five years, holding positions from Art Director to Marketing Director to Sales Manager, and running my own company since 2009. Along the way I’ve designed more than 11,000 billboards. And every day is still new and exciting because I’ve been blessed with making a living by doing what I love and doing it for the best clients in the world!