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Archive for the ‘Just For Fun’ Category

Sorry Pat Benatar…Teamwork is a Battlefield: Lessons Learned from Laser Tag

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013

Laser tag isn’t just for kids. It’s for CEOs, VPs, Account Managers, Creative Directors and Marketing Strategists—serious professionals. Grab your team, throw on the gear, position your laser, and prepare to sweat off all that stress.

As a part of our creative approach to every project, and our desire to fully understand our clients’ businesses, we took a field trip to visit our new client, ULTRAZONE. Let’s just say that after spending eight hours a day together, Monday through Friday, the JT team warmly embraced laser tag.

We listened to the rules: no running, no foul play, laser tag each other, laser tag the bases, laser tag the hidden targets, get special powers and more. We split into three teams: Green, Red and Purple. From there all bets were off. Firing a laser at your boss was fair game. In fact, our very own intern was our most fierce competitor.

Beyond learning about our client, we found that laser tag fostered teamwork in ways that surprised us. I guess all it takes is a disruptive approach like a battlefield to bring a team together.

Personally, my first instinct was to tag as many coworkers as possible, especially Les and Charlie, collect the most points, and bask in all the glory. This strategy put me in lousy eighth place. But I wasn’t alone in my competitive thinking; it turned out that the majority of us approached laser tag with the same mindset.

Even though we were assigned teams, our instinct was to act alone and score the most points…BIG MISTAKE.

Did I mention that laser tag takes place in a dimly lit, massive maze with dead ends and hidden spaces at every turn? Needless to say, navigating the maze is a challenge; you get lost and tagged A LOT. A solo approach was not the answer.

To survive, you needed your team for protection in order to move forward and gain the most points. On our first round, the JT winning team brought in 61,009 points. Before the second round, each team huddled up and planned a strategy for success. By working together, covering each other, and staying close to one another, this time the winning team captured 82,013 points—lesson learned.

In addition to tagging opposing teammates, the team that captures the most bases ultimately wins. Naturally all teams gravitate to the bases. In other words, you need a united force to conquer the other team. In the first round of laser tag, acting as individual agents, the winning team tagged eight bases. By working together in the second round, the winning team tagged 13 bases.

The experience opened up rusty lines of communication and reminded us of the importance of teamwork. Sometimes it’s easy to fall into individual routines. Developing a team strategy before diving into a new project, just like in laser tag, we can expect to hit fewer dead ends. And at the end of the day, when we work as a team by sharing the success and shielding each other from attack, everyone wins.


WWRRD: What Would Rick Rubin Do?

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Everyone has an idol. Not necessarily a mentor who is personally involved in our lives – rather, someone we look to for inspiration, motivation and guidance. If you ask Jacob Tyler CEO Les Kollegian, my guess is that he’ll probably tell you his idol is Howard Stern.

After (re)re-reading Jake Brown’s amazing biography, I can verifiably say that Rick Rubin is my idol. The man currently holds seven Grammy Awards, has over 30 years of music production experience under his belt, and even appeared on TIME’s 100 Most Influential People list in 2007. Keep in mind, this is the same man who founded Def Jam records out of a dorm room during his senior year at NYU.

When it comes to lessons that can be learned from the man behind Aerosmith & Run-DMC’s rendition of Walk This Way, hard work and tenacity make up the tip of the iceberg.

Inspire & Collaborate

Long before the writing and recording process even begins, Rick Rubin’s first priority is to get to know the artist he is working with. With Beastie Boys, Tom Petty, Johnny Cash, Slayer and the Dixie Chicks making up a small portion of Rubin’s total discography, we can probably assume that this isn’t always an easy task.

Regardless of how much experience the artist has, or how many records they have sold, Rubin will help guide any musician back to their roots by exploring albums that have made an impact on their life.

At Jacob Tyler, the goal with our clients is to not only provide them with amazing work, but to educate and give them important tools that are invaluable to any brand.

Practice, Write & Repeat. Always Repeat.

After choosing to work with an artist, Rick Rubin won’t let anyone step anywhere near the studio until he feels the time is right. The overwhelming majority of the album-making process focuses on writing and fine-tuning a collection of 10 songs that receive the RR stamp of approval.

Careful preparation, attention to detail and an admirable dedication to his craft allow Rubin to inspire creativity, not manufacture it.

So, the songs are written and the ideas are on the paper – now what?


Work Hard. Work Comfortably.

Long hours don’t scare Rick Rubin. Have you seen his beard? Even that thing looks like it hasn’t slept in over a decade.

To make things easier for everyone, Rick Rubin will often have artists he is working with move into his Hollywood Hills home, living with him throughout the entire recording process.

Think the artist has it easy? Whether he is working from home or spending another day in the studio, Rick Rubin can often be seen resting in shea’s lounge holding a microphone to communicate with the band members in the next room.

Jacob Tyler Halloween Party

Jacob Tyler Halloween Party

The Jacob Tyler team may not have you move into the office with us. As seen in our staff profiles or recent holiday photos, Jacob Tyler emphasizes creating a work environment which maintains a healthy balance of fun and productivity.

Mix It Up, Keep It Simple

Polar opposites, right? Wrong. While Rick Rubin helps artists create timeless pieces of work, his production style focuses on removing various music elements, and is often referred to as “deduction.”

After Rubin takes out all of the glitz, glamour and overkill, we are left with an honest, genuine album that exemplifies the best abilities of any artist.

Just as any producer can help artists record an album, any agency can provide a clients with mediocre work.

I admire how the team at Jacob Tyler prides itself in finding the best approach for every campaign – and I can see it in the way they will make added revisions and pull in extra people for a brainstorm session just to get it right.

- Jeff Chambers
Front-End Developer

5 Tips to Think Tank Tuesday

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

We want to change the way our clients think about their brand. To do so, we have to change the way we think at Jacob Tyler. Cue Think Tank Tuesday.


Think Tank Tuesday: (pro noun) (verb) \think-tank-Tuesday\ a.k.a. TTT

  • a monthly team brainstorm meeting
  • a project is thrown into the think tank
  • team members work collaboratively to solve a problem
  • disruptive ideas welcome

After launching this new brainstorming concept, we came up with 5 tips for success. Check out how we trigger disruptive thinking at Jacob Tyler:

1.  No TTT is alike

There’s nothing more disruptive and exciting than the element of surprise. Every TTT pushes the envelope with new locations, unusual agendas, a creative brainstorming process, and fun elements (get your markers, paint and glue ready). One TTT may involve breaking out into teams of five and searching for an envelope that sparks a brand strategy brainstorming session. Another may be a blindfolded taste test of a client’s new energy drink versus its competitors—the more unconventional, the better.


2. Pre think

The best brand strategy thinking takes a little pre thinking. We warm up our synapses by sending out a pre TTT assignment or thought-prompt. Without giving away the TTT surprise experience, the prompt helps build excitement and gets the team in the TTT state of mind.

3. Eliminate groupthink

The purpose of team brainstorming is to generate a multitude of ideas, not one idea. TTT’s structure helps to give everyone a voice.


4. No idea is a bad idea

TTT acts as an inviting forum for every idea, thus eliminating any fear of contributing.


5. Break the rules

When you envision a company-wide meeting you probably imagine a conference room and a keynote speaker. But TTT isn’t confined to a conference room, nor one speaker. It’s organic and it breaks the rules.

Stay tuned to see what happens at our next Think Tank Tuesday.

Hipster logos…the fad that seems to not be going away as quickly as I thought.

Tuesday, August 13th, 2013

I was reading an article in Fast Company about creating Hipster Logos and was inspired to contribute to a quick blog. I have to admit, the graphic and directions they included were pretty spot on (see graphic below)

Hipster Graphic From Fast Company
and it reminded me of a logo design that Jacob Tyler was recently tasked to complete for a new local liquor brand. It’s funny… but I believe we pretty much followed the “6 steps” guideline (okay…maybe a little out of order) without even realizing it.

Below are some samples of the process we went through with the client to come up with the final logo/label design for the brand. It’s interesting to see where we started and where we ended up. Of course, where we started and where we ended up were all driven through our Discovery process with the client. As well, anyone in the design world knows that sometimes our designs end up being somewhat “butchered” throughout the process, but in the long run…as long as there is no specific reason that an image or message could tarnish the brand, the client gets what they want.

In this case…

1. We started to examine different typography treatments to get buy in on overall direction for the logo type treatment.

Jacob Tyler Hipster Logo

2. Round 2 – More versions of potential treatments that will then be used as a part of the label.
Jacob Tyler Hipster Logo

3. Now we add a “hipster” logo mark that can eventually be separated from the type as the company gains brand recognition…
Jacob Tyler Hipster Logo

4. Throw it on some label samples and add the remaining recipe items… like the “CO” as a qualifying term.
Jacob Tyler Hipster Logo

5. Add the “distressed” feeling to age the label like a fine wine… Voila… your Hipster brand is created.
Jacob Tyler Hipster Logo