By Bill Oxford – March 23. 2011.
Advertising and graphic design in San Diego at one time was at the core of all marketing initiatives. From the mid 1980’s to around 1998, most B2B companies utilized niche magazines, trade-shows and direct mail to connect with prospects.
Advertising agencies in San Diego produced outstanding creative concepts that built brands for their clients at this time. But that changed in the late 1990’s. The Internet evolved from an AOL playground to a Yahoo and then Google driven database – and a serious marketing tool. For reaching their target audiences, corporations soon realized Internet marketing and page rank was more effective than magazine advertising. Many advertising agencies in San Diego closed shop or evolved into website design firms. Sadly, the great clever concepts that wonderfully crafted a company’s brand personality vanished. Website design in San Diego has become digital brochure-ware. SEO leads the marketing initiative and Google page rank is the goal.
During that pre-Internet period, art directors in San Diego were comprised of passionate artists who hand-crafted amazing and effective works of art for their clients which evolved into dazzling brand personalities. Much of that changed when computer technology emerged. Many designers in San Diego left the profession rather than tackling the technology learning curve of digital design and production software. Suddenly, everyone could be a graphic designer. Or thought so. It was rather easy for anyone to manipulate design elements. Unfortunately, the resulting imagery was dreadful and the concepts — non existing. Eventually, the true artisans mastered the software and graphic designers and art directors began producing excellent work in San Diego. But the brand building is not what is was. Websites have become general information outlets with not much personality. Style is strong but cleverness and wit are not.
Hopefully, the future will see a re-focus of client brand building with the “new” media landscape of Internet and social media marketing.