Making Creative Matter®

We love the immediate and lasting difference our work makes for our clients, for their customers, for the world. We grow businesses, tell stories, meet challenges, exceed expectations, change lives, explore wonder, help clients sleep well at night. We’re a creative strategic firm whose approach is built on collaboration, commitment and caring. We work with companies that value design thinking, that appreciate design’s role as a competitive advantage, that embrace teamwork.

Our clients tell us we take a big-picture, long-term view toward solving their business problems. Whatever the project, be it an annual report or a documentary film, we pour into it our passion and design thinking and energy. We make creative matter®. And we’re ready to do it for you. 

Let's talk about your: Brand Strategy, Brand Management, Design, Advertising, Packaging, Social Media, Web Design, Logos, Books

 
$25,000+
 
$150 - $199 / hr
 
10 - 49
 Founded
2000
Show all +
Geneva, IL
headquarters
  • Rule29 Creative
    501 Hamilton St
    Geneva, IL 60134
    United States
    630.262.1009

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Fellowes, Make-A-Wish, Cargill, American Red Cross, Lifewater, Unicef, MDA, Invesco PowerShares, Allstate, McDonalds, Neenah Paper, Team RWB, USG, Quite Revolution, CDK Global, Northwestern Medical

Rule29 Reel

"It's not what you look at that matters, it's what you see." –Henry David Thoreau)

We decided to wake up one morning and see if this was true. Here's what we found.

View the video here

Special thanks to Wonderkind Studios for DP'ing the project and Sleeping at Last for the use of the song "Light" from his latest Atlas Project and his EP of the same title.

Make-A-Wish Brand Refresh

Headquartered in Phoenix, Arizona, Make-A-Wish® creates life-changing wishes for children with critical illnesses. They serve children in every community in the United States and in 50 countries worldwide. Make-A-Wish has granted more than 415,000 wishes to children worldwide!

Make-A-Wish is one of the most recognizable non-profits in the world, however, it had been quite some time since they had taken a comprehensive look at their entire brand and they realized that the organization had grown beyond the dated look and feel of their logo and identity. In 2015, Make-A-Wish decided it was time to create one, truly global brand...and we got the chance to get in on it!

In the Make-A-Wish logo of generations past, the grainy star trail and whimsical typeface was difficult to reproduce, hard to read in certain contexts, and troublesome to integrate with chapter and region names. Our goal with refreshing the logo was to preserve critical visual cues, while...

Team Red, White & Blue

Team RWB wanted to offer veterans a new kind of experience upon returning home – one filled with physical fitness, community, and a sense of purpose. 

Team RWB wants to see every veteran connected to their greater community. Rule29 partnered with Team RWB early on their history, helping the growing organization create a recognizable, uniting brand for America’s veterans. 

Rule29’s first task was creating an updated logo, inspired by iconic American imagery and military patches, that introduced a core component of the Team RWB brand: the Eagle. 

From there, we created their annual reports and a number of evergreen brochure pieces, as well as flexible poster templates, that share the organization’s mission and efforts. With so many local chapters and events, we also assist their internal team with ensuring brand consistency wherever possible.

Team RWB's updated website was carefully designed to showcase the organization's extensive library of imagery...

Mellody Farm Promotion

Mellody Farm was to be built on land with a long history as a dairy farm, and was envisioned to be a truly immersive and unique shopping destination. Reclaimed wood, brick, and steel were utilized to create an industrial aesthetic that recalled the property’s previous use. From this, we created a brand that found its inspiration in farmland and lines created in these fields.

We utilized the new logo and accompanying brand to build out the Mellody Farm wayfinding signage and this leasing kit to help Regency Centers attract top-notch retailers. This kit included a beautifully-designed brochure that featured high-end print production to emphasize the elegance of the space, as well as vibrant colors to accent various aspects of the retail center. Additionally, a custom-branded Google Cardboard was included so potential companies could virtually experience the space.

Fellowes Follow the Bankers Box Video

Inspired by the brand’s “Organization Made Easy” tagline and the versatility of the product across all kinds of businesses, we developed a motion graphics video that featured these boxes being used in a variety of different environments. The hope was to convey that Bankers Box is an ally for any company’s record storage needs. We created a campaign that was fresh and own-able for the brand, using a 3D animation style to make the video feel like it had depth and movement.

View the video here

Quiet Revolution Website

Susan Cain, who is known for her book, Quiet and for her life-changing TED talk, “The Power of Introverts“, and her team of introverts and extroverts alike partnered with us to discuss an interesting prospect – a website that would serve as a central hub of resources for introverts to find community and for others to understand them better.

The result was Quiet Revolution. With beautiful imagery, intelligent contributors, and thoughtful design, Quiet Revolution is a site that allows introverts to feel at home and grow.

Reviews

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Marketing & Web Design for Gift Wrapping Manufacturer

“I love their creativity. Each designer from Rule29 Creative brings something unique to the table.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Mar. 2011 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Rule29 Creative provides ongoing print design, digital marketing, and web design and support for a partner’s websites and campaigns. The team uses an organized workflow and a variety of tech tools for each one.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Liz Ruh
President, Richwrap Inc.
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Rule29 Creative brings an innovative spirit to the design projects they attentively support. Corporations who purchase their print deliverables praise the wrapping paper selections each new holiday season when business peaks. Internal employees find the revamped site’s UX and navigation seamless.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm the president of Richwrap. We manufacture gift wrap on site. We curate boxes of wrapping paper, bows, and ribbon for companies to give away as corporate gifts during the holidays.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Rule29 Creative?

I hired Rule29 Creative to help me with digital marketing, web design, and print design for some components that go within the gift-wrapping boxes we produce. 

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

First, I usually meet with the whole team to go over exactly what I'm looking for. Last year, they revamped my website entirely. Rule29 Creative uses an array of modern tech tools for all our projects together.

During our marketing campaigns, they show me how to become more searchable online to bolster my web presence. We use a systematic method all the way through until we launch either a website or marketing campaign. 

What is the team composition? 

I work directly with the owner and president. One of two employees typically serves as the lead designer on many of my projects. They assign me a point of contact to liaise with the design team, as well.

How did you come to work with Rule29 Creative?

Rule29 Creative produced some excellent projects for my company before I purchased the business. I’d heard about their strong reputation in the design community. I followed them on social media and liked what I’d seen in their work.

Former clients of theirs also gave me great feedback about their experiences working together. When it came time to hire a team, Rule29 Creative was a natural choice.

How much have you invested with them?

We've spent between $100,000- $125,000 on their services. 

What is the status of this engagement?

I've been working with Rule29 Creative ever since I bought my company in March 2011. They're still supporting us with ongoing social marketing and design services. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

My business is so seasonal that it's hard to gauge specific metrics. We only really do business during the fourth quarter. Every single year more and more people are being driven to my website. 

Qualitatively, I've gotten lots of positive feedback from my customers about Rule29 Creative’s deliverables. My in-house staff loves the website. It flows so much better than the old version. I was especially pleased with a video we produced in conjunction with their external resources.

How did Rule29 Creative perform from a project management standpoint?

Rule29 Creative is excellent at keeping in constant communication. They listen attentively to my needs and make requested changes promptly. The team stays on schedule with the timelines they set out. One resource serves as my liaison to the rest of the team. I get a status updates virtually every day, and they regularly send me their work in progress to approve. They keep everyone abreast of what's going on and answer any questions I have along the way.

What did you find most impressive about them?

I mostly appreciate their overall communication. I've had experiences with design firm vendors who don't give me much insight into our status and progress. Rule29 Creative gives me consistent feedback on projects’ status. They always keep me in the loop, which is very important to me.

I love their creativity. Each designer from Rule29 Creative brings something unique to the table. I'm consistently pleased with their quality of design and innovative spirit. We're not a big city market where we live, but they bring big city firm qualifications and work experience to our projects. I really appreciate that. 

Are there any areas they could improve?

I can honestly say no. I can't think of anything that’s disappointed me at all. 

Do you have any advice for potential customers?

Don't shy away from the fact that they're not a big city firm. They’re every bit as qualified for any job a prominent firm can do. Rule29 Creative has excellent outside resources, including for video production. Even though they're not a huge company, they deliver everything their clients need.

5.0
Overall Score It's been great, and I have no complaints.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They've never missed a deadline. For urgent requests I need right away, they'll flexibly modify their schedule to ensure quick delivery.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    I've loved their design work for my wrapping paper and gift cards. It brings a lot of value to my product regarding ROI.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    I'm very impressed with their excellent design work and creativity. Their mode of execution works well for my functional needs.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I definitely would recommend them.

Brand Identity for Global Automotive Software Company

"I was compelled with their art of storytelling. That’s what sold me over other agencies..."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
3.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
4.5
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
July - Nov. 2017
Project summary: 

Rule29 cultivated a brand story and identity using previous user feedback to lay out a brand foundation that is relatable to both employees and customers. They incorporated brand essence, values, promise, and voice.

The Reviewer
 
5,001-10,000 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Chris Farrar
Director of Integrated Marketing Communications, CDK Global
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

They collaborated on a brand story that improved the customers' ability to identify the brand through ad testing. Improvement is needed from a project management standpoint, but overall, Rule29 is adept at recognizing the power of emotion and storytelling in developing a brand.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I am the director of integrated marketing communications for a global technology company that provides software to automotive dealers.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Rule29?

Rule29 addressed our lack of brand identity. We had no guidelines in terms of color, fonts, typography, and templates, thus no brand story. They gave us an identity that we could share with our customers.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

We asked for research from Rule29 about customer feedback we received over a year and a half time frame. They did additional research on our brand perception and what dealers said in roundtable discussions. They pieced this research together to form our brand identity, and through that, our brand story. Their team created a brand foundation that included our brand essence, values, promise, and voice. They created something that our employees can resonate with. The end result was a booklet that explains our brand story to our employees so they know who we are and why we do what we do.

What is the team composition?

I mainly worked with the founder Justin Ahrens. A brand strategist and creative producer were involved as well.

How did you come to work with Rule29?

I found Rule29 because Justin and I live in the same town. We talked about what we do for a living and he told me about his company. I was compelled by their focus on storytelling. Many other agencies focus on tactics but not the story. There's an art to this, and this is what separated Rule29 from the rest.

How much have you invested with them?

We spent about $20,000. Overall, we've spent over $250,000 on a number of projects.

What is the status of this engagement?

We worked with Rule29 from July 2017 to November 2017. We still work with them today on a number of other projects.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

The best metric we can share is that we started to incorporate several pieces of the brand story Rule29 created into our advertising last February. We perform an ad study every year with a third party that tests the viewers’ ability to recall our ads. Over the past two years, our scores improved. This year, they are at an all-time high.

 

How did Rule29 perform from a project management standpoint?

 

I thought they did well, but there was room for improvement. Their investigation was thorough and they asked several questions upfront when appropriate. The project manager updated us on scheduling and progress. When the project was completed, they gave us a final presentation where we instructed them to make minor language changes. It was a straightforward project that required constant communication.

 

What did you find most impressive about them?

 

They understand how to tell a brand’s story and the importance of capturing emotion in a brand. Their team understands that emotion best relates to capturing an individual’s attention. Other agencies also concentrate on emotion, but I believe Rule29 is the best at connecting the emotion to the brand story.

 

Are there any areas they could improve?

They’re great storytellers and exceptional at understanding the power of emotion, but as an agency, they could improve project management. They could be better at capturing the fine details and the status of the project.

4.5
Overall Score The only part that needed improvement was project management. Overall, the team was great and the end result was incredible.
  • 3.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    The project management could be stronger.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    I’ve worked with other agencies that cost more. The price was very fair.
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Good creativity and would love to see them stretch even further.
  • 4.5 NPS
    Willing to refer
    Anyone who hires Rule29 will have a great product.

Rebranding for Clean Water Nonprofit

“They delivered a high-quality product. … I'd definitely work with them again.”

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
Project summary: 

Spearheading a rebranding campaign, Rule29 travelled abroad to meet with the field staff, performed a competitive analysis, and then developed a new logo, brand identity, and brand standards.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
San Luis Obispo, California
Justin Narducci
President, Lifewater International
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The revenue increased from $1.6 million to $6 million in five years. They went above and beyond to understand all the needs and capture the essence of the brand, while their expertise in a nonprofit sector helped them establish a smooth process.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I'm the president of Lifewater International. We're a nonprofit that provides clean water access to vulnerable children and families in rural villages of Africa and Asia.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Rule29?

We were rebranding our organization and we wanted to make sure our new brand was aligned with the future, rather than the past. We were looking for a company to help us with our rebranding efforts.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

They visited our work sites and met with our field staff in Ethiopia and Uganda. Then, they did a competitive analysis and started the creative process. They produced a logo, created our brand standards, and developed a new letterhead.

What is the team composition?

We worked with 2–3 of their team members.

How did you come to work with them?

I worked with them on a similar project at another organization and had a very positive experience. Besides, they have a strong understanding of a nonprofit sector.

How much have you invested with them?

The project cost between $60,000–$200,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We worked with them in 2013.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

The year before we finished the rebranding campaign, our total revenue was $1.6 million. This year, it's $6 million, so it went up four times in five years.

How did they perform from a project management standpoint?

They did an excellent job. We hit all the milestones on time.

What did you find most impressive about them?

They do their best to understand your business and apply that knowledge to the creative process. That helps them produce a better product that is aligned with a true essence of the brand. Also, they have good aesthetic.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Nothing comes to mind. I'd definitely work with them again.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Creative processes take time, but there is always an opportunity to make it faster.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Brand matters a great deal in our industry.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    They delivered a high-quality product.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I often recommend them to other people.

Rebranding for Insurance Consulting Firm

"The partnership’s been awesome; I’ve learned a lot from them."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Feb. 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Rule29 Creative provides branding services to attract potential new consumers. Services include survey research, video production, and graphic and logo design. An in-house rebrand is currently in progress.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Chicago, Illinois
Jaime Feinberg
VP of Risk Control Services, Captive Resources LLC
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The team has cultivated a collaborate process. Impressive designs reflect their ability to translate ideas into effective visualizations. They’re diligent problem-solvers and they bring a valuable perspective to industry-specific challenges.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m VP of risk control services for Captive Resources, an insurance consulting firm.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Rule29 Creative?

We wanted to rebrand the insurance captive. It needed a freshened appeal for the newest generations that are purchasing insurance. We also needed to rebrand our company in-house for captive resources.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

First, they did focus groups and surveyed 400 members. These tools showed them how external stakeholders perceive the company.

The team then created logos, brochures, annual reports, and branded merchandise. They also designed letterhead and presentation slides. Additionally, Rule29 produced live-action and motion graphic videos and uploaded them to our website. We’re able to leverage that content at meetings and sales events.

We rolled out the original project – the captive program –in September 2017. Currently, we’re in the middle of an in-house rebranding project.

What is the team composition?

I primarily work with the principal and a brand strategist.

How did you come to work with Rule29 Creative?

One of their previous clients recommended them. The company was 100-years-old and underwent a successful rebrand that updated its look and appeal. My team wanted to do a rebrand, but our leadership wasn’t convinced. Rule29 came in, pitched their services, and persuaded upper management.

What is the status of this engagement?

Work started in February 2017 and is ongoing.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

The team is organized and attentive. Their ability to apply our feedback to graphic designs is impressive, as is their overall branding strategy. We won’t have data for approximately another year because the in-house project is still in progress.

How did Rule29 perform from a project management standpoint?

Rule29 could be more assertive with reminders and deadlines. They try their hardest to keep us on top of the project, even though branding is not my team’s priority. Since they have to email us multiple reminders, we can’t blame them entirely if we’re not hitting target dates.

What did you find most impressive about them?

The principal and brand strategist are a pleasure to work with. The process is very collaborative; it balances our vision with their expert guidance. They use our feedback and preferences to direct the scope. Rule29 is honest when our ideas are unrealistic, but they’ll never upsell us on unnecessary services.

Are there any areas they could improve?

They need to be more assertive when they disagree with our decisions. Sometimes, we establish too may parameters that reflect internal preferences. However, those decisions may not be best from a functional or client perspective.

While Rule29 was more vocal during the captive program, I’ve noticed they’re less assertive on the current project. But I admit our guidelines may be stifling them.

5.0
Overall Score The partnership’s been awesome; I’ve learned a lot from them. Their outside perspective is a great benefit.
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They’ve had good resolutions for scheduling conflicts, but they could still be stricter with us.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    They put considerable time and effort into high-quality products. I don’t know the price, but I expect it’s very reasonable.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    The first project captured the essence of the company. Their work was spot-on the first time around.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I love working with my two contacts. The communicate and listen well. I assume their whole team is equally talented.

Branding for Print Communications Company

"Rule29 is able to understand our DNA and translate that into tangible messages that engage our clients in memorable ways."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
Feb. 2000 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

The client hired Rule29 Creative to update their company brand to accurately market their new products and services.

The Reviewer
 
51-200 Employees
 
Phoenix, Arizona
Tony Narducci
President, O'Neil Printing
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Rule29 Creative pays attention to detail and cares about engaging customers through creating memorable brands.

BACKGROUND

O'Neil Printing is a 108-year-old print communications service provider located in Phoenix, AZ.  We offer our clients comprehensive traditional and digital ink on paper solutions as well as automated marketing programs, wide format graphics and online fulfilment storefronts.  Our target markets include education, hospitality, financial, medical and retail store clients.

As president, I have overall responsibility for the vision and continual development of our team, products, services and performance as we seek to increase value for all our stakeholders.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

The challenge for Rule29 was to take this very old brand "Since 1908" and make it relevant for the products and services we were currently offering.

SOLUTION

We had worked with Rule29 on other client projects in the past and found them to be a partner that took the time to understand our business goals, culture and to be able to tell a story around the value proposition that was relevant and relatable.

Our rebranding included everything from a new website to all printed collateral including signage, wall graphics, and a showroom in our wide format facility. The project has spanned over 15 years now and we are about to launch a new website.  They are truly an extension of our marketing team and function that way internally and externally.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

We always receive favorable feedback from clients (existing and prospective) on our marketing communication tools.  Rule29 is able to understand our DNA and translate that into tangible messages that engage our clients in memorable ways.

5.0
Overall Score Rule29 gets it.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Schedules are predetermined for each project and reviewed with us weekly.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Always within budget.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Great attention is paid to details and no short cuts are taken.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    It would be an honor.

Branding for Paper Products Manufacturer

"Rule29's speed of execution is truly unparalleled."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
 
2014 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Rule29 Creative is the client's go-to agency for all creative needs, such as branding, event materials, print promotions, copywriting, photography, as well as social media management.

The Reviewer
 
501-1000 employees
 
Combined Locks, Wisconsin
Ferko Goldinger
Marketing Manager, Appleton Coated
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Most of the client's work is print and is thus harder to judge ROI [return on investment]. However, customer feedback has been very positive, and Rule29's work has won various American Advertising Awards and other design competition awards. The client particularly praises Rule29's speed of execution and high accountability.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

Appleton Coated is a single-site paper manufacturer based in Combined Locks, Wisconsin. We have over $350 million in annual sales and around 600 employees. We are self-owned by the management team.

I am the marketing manager of the company. I, along with my team of 3, am responsible for all public-facing brand touchpoints, including website, print, social media, signage events, and so on. I've been in this position since 2000, but I've been working for the company since 1996.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Rule29 Creative?

We've had very few creative firms of record, using one from 1996 until 2004 and another from 2004 to 2012. Rule29 has become our go-to, comprehensive, creative shop.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

Rule29 Creative is responsible for anything that we can't do, including branding material, strategy, creative work, events look-and-feel, as well as many print promotions, which are our primary means of communication and advertising as a print shop. Rule29 has been an advisor and manager of our social media.

Rule29 took care of almost any brand touchpoint in the market that we couldn't create using our internal design team. Alternatively, we've repurposed material created by Rule29 for brand consistency. Rule29 has also provided copywriting, photography (either through their team or other partners), and most anything else.

How did you come to work with Rule29 Creative?

I've known Rule29's principal professionally and personally since the early 2000’s. They have worked on some small projects for our Chicago representative, and I also introduced Rule29 to our design firm in the early 2000’s. We've worked on various projects with Rule29 since that time, even before they became our of-record firm.

How much have you invested with Rule29 Creative?

Because we do a lot of work with Rule29, it's hard to say. They were initially placed against another small firm from the east coast, as well as our incumbent partner at the time, for the quoting process. What I can say is that Rule29's pricing was better than both of those.

What is the status of this engagement?

We began our of-record relationship with Rule29 in August 2014. 

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

While we do engage in social media and email marketing with Rule29, 60-70% of our work is print, which is much harder to judge in terms of ROI.

I can gauge success from a customer feedback standpoint, as well as based on the awards we've received from the ADI Awards and other design competitions. These are people judging outside of the world of people, so our material was held up to the same level of quality as with other bigger firms. We've won tons of silver and gold awards. From a quality of design and level of engagement standpoint, our work sits very high.

How did Rule29 Creative perform from a project management standpoint?

Rule29's speed of execution is truly unparalleled. We have lots of revisions, which is something not all firms handle well, if at all. Rule29 remained hands-on in the best possible way and also responsive and sensitive to the need for change.

Communication levels are extraordinarily high and transparent. Rule29 is extremely good at project scoping, making estimates, informing us whenever we go outside of the scope, and telling us what the re-estimated amount will be. Rule29 has never blown a deadline. Overall, there is a high level of account handling through a dedicated manager. We also work directly with Rule29's principal and with the designers themselves. We have a very good back-and-forth. Our project management tool is Basecamp.

What did you find most impressive about Rule29 Creative?

"Excellence" is a term which can be used to an excess but isn't heard as much currently. It is the quality I like most about Rule29. Every facet of what we're working on and how we're working on it, in terms of communication creative aspects, questions, and execution, is handled flawlessly. Rule29 also has extremely high accountability. I've worked with firms which decided for themselves when the work was done and refused to make changes.

Prior agencies we've worked with were staffed with members in their 50’s, within the managerial level and with account managers, creative directors, and art directors in their 30’s and 40’s. The age of Rule29's team skews down by 6-8 years. They're a younger crew, which gives us insight into that specific age group and how they view our work and products. We almost have a built-in focus group. I often tell Rule29's team that, if they can make the work make sense to themselves, it will make sense to our audiences. The clientele for paper and the graphic design for it can be old, but we also engage with people in their 20’s. Rule29 is wonderful at capturing this and distilling out the 3 paragraphs which were typical for older material into a few bullet-points. I've challenged Rule29 on this, and they've delivered well.

Are there any areas Rule29 Creative could improve?

The only area in which we've seen improvement is print production. Most agencies don't do print at our high-end level. No errors are acceptable, which is something we've had to teach to every firm we've used. Rule29 has been very good at adapting to our standards and has shown a good retention of the principles we've outlined.

What tips or recommendations could you share that might increase the likelihood of success with Rule29 Creative?

Account management is one of the keys to a relationship. I have a weekly standing meeting with our contact from Rule29. For any clients running as many simultaneous projects as we are, a regular meeting should be standard operating procedure. Our account manager knows exactly who is working on what, how busy they are, and so on. There is a great degree of transparency with Rule29, which was often lacking on the ad agency side with our previous partners.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Rule29 Creative is usually waiting on me.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    A 5 would mean free work.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Brand Creation for Character Education Nonprofit

"The most special part of Rule29 is that they feel like true teammates."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Oct. 2015 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

In developing a full brand identity, Rule29 Creative created a new logo, website, typography, and color scheme for the client to widen their reach and appeal to school communities across the nation.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
New York City, New York
Jeff Bryan
Co-Founder, The Positivity Project
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

From day one, Rule29 Creative showed up as an ideal business partner. They really listen to their clients in order to come up with the best creative solutions for the business need.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

The Positivity Project is a nonprofit organization dedicated to empowering America’s youth to build stronger relationships by seeing the character strengths in themselves and others. Our vision is to create citizens and leaders who will enhance our communities and country by internalizing the belief that “Other People Matter.” We are building a movement and we aim to reach 2,000 schools and 1 million students by 2022. 

We partner with schools across the United States to provide educators with the resources, confidence, and inspiration to consistently teach character. Positive psychology’s 24 character strengths serve as the foundation of our approach. We believe that character is more than just behavior – it’s what is inside all of us. 

I am the co-founder of The Positivity Project. My primary responsibility is designing a strategy that empowers schools to consistently and effectively teach the 24 character strengths. 

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Rule29 Creative?

We needed to create an entire brand identity that appeals to school communities (educators, students, and parents) across the United States. These school communities include public, private, and charter schools in urban, suburban, and rural demographics from grade levels K-12. Our goal is to be partnered with 2,000 schools by 2022 and 10,000 schools by 2030. 

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

For our brand identity, they created our logo (a plus sign that forms into the letter "P"), website, colors, typography, social media quote meme format, and t-shirt layout. They provide ongoing support on an as-needed basis -- which is nearly every other week -- to provide technical and creative expertise on a variety of items, such as visual assets, videos, and physical assets for schools.

How did you come to work with Rule29 Creative?

My co-founder, Mike Erwin, worked closely with Rule29 at a veterans service organization that he founded, called Team Red, White & Blue. In October 2015, Rule29 offered to help The Positivity Project develop our entire brand identity and provide ongoing creative support.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

At The Positivity Project, we believe that organic growth is the best way to scale. We grow through word-of-mouth, which includes face-to-face interactions, local and national publications, and social media. This means our brand must be strong. And, if our growth is any indication, Rule29 did a tremendous job in helping us design our brand. We grew from one Partner School in 2015 to 33 Partner Schools (in 11 states) in 2016 and plan to partner with 200 schools in 2017.

What did you find most impressive about Rule29 Creative?

It was clear from my first days working with Rule29 that they were an amazing partner. In addition to their technical and creative expertise, they truly listen and have great patience. They ask questions and seek to understand not just what resources we think we want, but why we want them. Although they are the experts, they always remain humble and kind and have the patience to listen to our partial ideas and iterate until we get it just right. This iteration process has been crucial to our brand's success and specifically our visual assets that summarize complicated psychology theories into easily understood images. 

The most special part of Rule29 is that they feel like true teammates. They always go the extra mile to ensure a product is excellent and meets our needs. And, they're also willing to be honest and tell me when something isn't working or when I need to clarify my thinking. 

5.0
Overall Score As evidenced by my above scores and comments.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    Rule29 is highly responsive and consistently gets us resources before due dates.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Rule29 has provided tremendous service at a great price.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Rule29 creates top-notch products that help us clearly communicate complex subject matter.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I have already referred Rule29 to friends' companies seeking creative assistance.

Branding Strategy and Marketing for Office Supplies Company

"Rule29 Creative consistently brings fresh, new ideas to the table. They are very good at designing innovative solutions."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
Project summary: 

Rule29 managed marketing strategy for an office supply manager. Focusing on bringing a fresh perspective to specific product campaigns, they provided high-level messaging, video production, and media buys.

The Reviewer
 
1001-10000 Employees
 
Itasca, IL
Todd Roos
Senior Marketing Communications Manager, Fellowes
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Rule29 has their finger on the pulse of what’s current in marketing, and they apply that knowledge to great effect: their strategic ad placement resulted in a surprisingly low cost per click, as well as increased click-through rates. The team is always available and receptive to feedback.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

I work for Fellowes Brand Incorporated. We manufacture consumer products for offices, such as paper shredders, record storage solutions, binding and laminating machines, and air purifiers. We also have a full range of mobile accessories.

What is your position?

I am the senior marketing communications manager. I oversee the entire creative department that handles our advertising, packaging development, and digital strategies.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Rule29 Creative?

We needed an agency that could come up with quality branding and messaging. We have a broad range of products and a diverse set of consumers. We were looking for an agency that could bring fresh marketing and advertising strategies to the table.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in detail.

Rule29 created the marketing strategy for one of our new products. They managed the messaging and go-to-market strategy for our digital campaign as well as video production and media buying.

How did you come to work with Rule29 Creative?

One of my colleagues had a connection to an employee at Rule29 and passed me their brochure. We had them in for a capabilities meeting, and I was immediately impressed. Their portfolio included many similar projects to what we were looking for. Since we are a relatively small company, it was important to us that we met the people who would be doing the work.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

The cost was between $200,000 and $500,000, which includes the creative work as well as media spend.

What is the timeline of this project?

The timeline for our first campaign was about four to five months but, since then, we've worked on five or six additional, significant campaigns with them. They continue to do a lot of work for us.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

We have been overwhelmingly impressed with all the campaigns Rule29 has run with us. Both the number of impressions and the click-through rates have absolutely exceeded our expectations. The cost per click was also less than what we anticipated. They have surpassed what they've initially targeted, and we have seen an increase in sales because of their campaigns.

What distinguishes Rule29 Creative from other providers?

Rule29 Creative consistently brings fresh, new ideas to the table. They are very good at designing innovative solutions, and they do a great job with creative every time we work with them. They have a very good pulse for what's trending, but they are also very receptive to feedback if they are not on the mark for what we want.

Is there anything Rule29 Creative could have improved or done differently?

Honestly, no. They've been a good partner. The follow up and response time is excellent, and they're always there when we need them. I don't have anything negative to say about them.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Various Marketing Projects for Publishing Company

"They're experts at branding and positioning, so they became a key strategic partner for us."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
2009 - 2015
Project summary: 

Rule29 served as a brand management partner for a multinational publisher. They articulated a marketing strategy for the digital era, which focused on eliminating middlemen and engaging customers directly.

The Reviewer
 
1001-10000 Employees
 
New York City, NY
Chief Marketing Officer, Multinational Publishing Firm
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Rule29 increased market penetration and customer engagement on each campaign. They were a small company with the capabilities of a large one, from extraordinary detail-work to high-level visioning. Their team of talented creatives excelled at building trusting relationships.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization and your role there.

When I was working with Rule29, I was the CMO [chief marketing officer] at a major publishing company in New York.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Rule29 Creative?

The challenge was largely around brand management, which included positioning, advertising, marketing, and outreach. We needed to cover several different areas of marketing, but we were mostly concerned with brand management. We engaged Rule29 to work with us on a product we had, which was both a print and digital travel publication. We actually had them work on the brand for three separate product lines.

One of the challenges that we faced was how to translate a print product into a digital environment – how to engage with customers in a different way. Book publishing is run mainly through intermediaries, so we work through wholesalers and booksellers, but we needed to go more directly to the customer. We wanted to evolve the brands so that we could move more directly to customer engagement. Those are the concerns we worked on with Rule29.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in detail.

Their work covered just about everything. First, Rule29 did an analysis – almost an audit – of where the brands stood and what we wanted them to evolve into. After that, they articulated a strategy that detailed what we needed to do, and then went on to the execution and the positioning. Their work touched on all of those areas.

How did you come to work with Rule29 Creative?

The marketing director of a magazine we were advertising with referred me to Rule29. We were struggling with the creative, so he recommended that I speak to them and see if they could help us. That was how the introduction took place.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

During the course of the whole relationship, it would probably be in the $150,000 range.

What is the status of this engagement?

My work with them started sometime before 2010 – I would guess in 2008 or 2009. I continued to work with them until about a year ago when I left the company.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics, metrics, or other feedback from your work with Rule29 Creative?

I don't have access to the metrics anymore because I'm no longer with the company, but I would say we significantly increased both our outreach and the ways in which we engage with customers. The metrics behind that were more campaign-oriented, but they developed during a long period of time. These were multiple campaigns for different projects, not just single shots. Rule29 significantly increased our penetration in both the travel and the consumer markets.

What distinguishes Rule29 Creative from other providers?

Three things make them stand out. Number one, Rule29 Creative is a small agency that can act like a big house. They are very adaptive to different business needs. The three projects they did for us, those were all entirely different sorts of projects. The execution of those campaigns ranged from very detailed to very broad based. That was the first thing. 

The second thing that makes them stand out was their ability to partner. They're experts at branding and positioning, so they became a key strategic partner for us, which was critical. They weren't just simply a design agency – they were able to partner.

The third thing is their creative talent. They're a very talented agency. Their creative work is top-notch. Our relationship with their entire team was really solid. They were adaptive to different sorts of projects, and the project actually gained scope as a result of our ability to work together. Their pricing was great.

Is there anything Rule29 Creative could have improved or done differently?

There are some areas of the technology that they're just not involved in. They are not a Google Analytics shop. They are not an SEO [search engine optimization] shop – things like that. That's not a negative comment on them. I had to work with some other folks on supplementing some things, but that's par for the course.

5.0
Overall Score They're great. I recommend them all the time and, as a matter of fact, I'm about to bring them into my work with my current company. I actually have relied on them for a variety of functions in the different roles I've had – definitely.
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I do that all the time.

Brand Creation for Nonprofit Organization

"Their commitment to remaining a relationship-based company, to me, just speaks volumes about who they."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
2010 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Rule29 was involved from the beginning in creating a holistic brand for a veteran’s nonprofit. Beginning with comprehensive brand guidelines, they designed all logos, websites, and promotional materials.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Tampa, FL
Mike Erwin
Founder, Team Red, White & Blue
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The strength of Rule29’s designs eliminated the need for an ad budget; membership is growing rapidly. Rule 29 went beyond a transactional relationship to truly integrate into the team. Their ongoing involvement keeps the brand fresh and current.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

I've worked with Rule29 in two different organizations. The first one is Team Red, White & Blue. We're a veteran's support nonprofit with more than 100,000 members. Our mission is to help veterans reintegrate into civilian life. I was the executive director for the first two and a half years of the organization.

The other organization is the Positivity Project, which is a nonprofit I started a few months ago. Our mission is to help kids and teens see the good in themselves and others by harnessing the power of positive psychology.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Rule29 Creative?

We needed to establish our brand from our logo to our website to how we were going to communicate who we were to the world.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in detail.

For both organizations, Rule29 was with us from the beginning. They created the brand and vision for how we would portray ourselves to the public. Practically this looked like creating a logo, website, brand guidelines, and so on. Building those documents, putting them on the website, was crucial to gaining momentum for our organizations in the early stages.

How did you come to work with Rule29 Creative?

For the first one, it would've been back in 2010. A member of our board, who was in charge of our marketing initiatives, recommended them. As CMO [chief marketing officer] of a large publishing house, he had worked with a dozen or so creative companies, and said Rule29 was the best. After he joined the board, he said, "Hey, we really need to figure out our brand, our logo, etc". This was sometime in the spring of 2010.

When it came time to launch the Positivity Project here recently it was a no-brainer to use Rule29. From my perspective, Rule29 is the best that I've ever seen in terms of their ability to be invested in the relationship. In today's world, it's very easy to be transactional when delivering products, but they actually see themselves as members of the team.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

It's definitely been north of $100,000 but, in time, they've come on and sponsored some of our initiatives, which has obviously changed aspects of the business relationship.

What is the status of this engagement?

We've been working with them since 2010 for Team Red, White, & Blue. They still do our creative design and are currently working with us on a website redesign, and branding refresh. The Positivity Project work is still ongoing as well.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

Objectively, our growth has been in no small part because we've been able to build a movement to inspire people to respect and help our veterans. We currently sign up around 3,000 new members per month without any marketing spend. It's all organic and word-of-mouth driven because of the strength of the brand Rule29 Creative created. I've got a meeting in the Oval Office with the president in April [2016] to commemorate the organization going past 100,000 members. Our growth has been significant.

In terms of the other ways, they've been beneficial, they've helped us to roll out various iterations of the logo. We've done something called the Old Glory Coast-to-Coast Relay, where we move a single American flag from California to D.C. in 60 days. We've done other events like that, and Rule29 has played a key role marketing them through creating specialty logos, flyers, and things like that. 

What distinguishes Rule29 Creative from other providers?

I think they have this unique blend of being very responsive and customer-oriented but, at the same time, knowing how to be creative and execute the work. They really blend that quite well. The most important thing for me has been the relationship we've developed. To me, that is so important and sets organizations apart. Obviously, they want to grow, and they've been growing, but their commitment to remaining a relationship-based company, to me, just speaks volumes about who they are from a core values standpoint.

Is there anything Rule29 Creative could have improved or done differently?

For me, the only thing, is that we always want the product faster and to be kept in the loop when there are delays. I think all companies can improve on that.

5.0
Overall Score Off the charts good – really strong.
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I already have to multiple people.