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

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

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Fellowes, American Red Cross, Lifewater, Unicef, MDA, Invesco PowerShares, Allstate, Sears, Kmart, Appleton Coated, Neenah Paper, Team RWB, USG, Quite Revolution, American Cancer Center

Reviews

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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
President, O'Neil Printing
 
Verified
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
Marketing Manager, Appleton Coated
 
Verified
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

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, and they do a great job with creative every time we work with them."

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

The client is Fellowes Brand Incorporated, a manufacturing company for office supply products with more than 2,000 employees and operations in 15 countries. Due to their broad product line and diverse consumer base, the client was in need of fresh marketing and advertising strategies. Rule29 Creative provided the marketing strategy for one of the client's new products, including messaging, video production, and media buying. The client has an ongoing partnership with Rule29 Creative.

The Reviewer
 
1001-5000 Employees
 
Itasca, IL
Senior Marketing Communications Manager Fellowes
 
Verified
Feedback summary: 

The client is very satisfied with their long-term partnership with Rule29 Creative. The client is consistently impressed with the creativity and innovation of their designs as well as their receptiveness to feedback. They have seen an increase in sales because of Rule29 Creative's campaigns and highly recommends them to others.

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

"Rule29 Creative is a small agency that can act like a big house. They are very adaptive to different business needs."

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

The client is the former vice president of marketing for Wiley, a major New York publisher. His challenge at Wiley was to take three brands – the For Dummies series, Frommer's travel guides and CliffsNotes – and to expand the reach of these three brands to the digital universe to engage the consumer more directly. Rule29 Creative was given the responsibility for managing this entire effort, from analysis and planning to implementation through multiple campaigns for several years.

The Reviewer
 
1001-5000 Employees
 
New York, NY
Chief Marketing Officer at Multinational Publishing Firm
 
Verified
Feedback summary: 

The client is extremely satisfied with the work of Rule29 Creative. Through their work with Wiley, all three brands increased their outreach and involvement with the consumer. The client is particularly impressed with Rule29 Creative's flexibility, creativity, and ability to partner, intends to bring them into his current company and recommends them most strongly.

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

"We currently sign up around 3,000 new members per month without really any marketing spend. It's all organic and word-of-mouth, driven by the strength of the brand Rule29 Creative created."

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

The client is Team Red, White, & Blue, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting veterans as they reintegrate into civilian life. Rule29 Creative has worked with the organization since its founding in 2010 to create its logo, website, and brand identity. While the two organizations initially only had a business relationship, Rule29 Creative has since become a partner of Team Red, White & Blue alongside companies such as Nike, Microsoft, and Conoco Phillips.

The Reviewer
 
11-49 Employees
 
Tampa, FL
Founder, Team Red, White & Blue
 
Verified
Feedback summary: 

The client is extremely satisfied with the work delivered by Rule29 Creative. Since Rule29 Creative's work began, the organization has grown to more than 100,000 members. The organization is currently adding approximately 3,000 new members a month with hardly any marketing spend. The client attributes this success to the strength of the brand developed by Rule29 Creative. The client would recommend Rule29 Creative to others without hesitation.

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 being 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.