Since 1979, we've partnered with companies who understand how design can drive culture (inside and out), ideas and sales. We bring together problem solvers, strategic thinkers and conceptual designers to develop compelling brand stories.

FORGET TRUST FALLS, LET’S MAKE SOME ART 

Last week, in search of fresh air and fresh ideas, our creative and production teams took a field trip. We had a few goals—team bonding, creative inspiration and a fun afternoon—and we didn’t think trust falls or happy hour specials were going to cut it. So, we hung up the proverbial “Gone Fishing” sign and headed over to Hamilton Ink Spot to get our hands dirty.

Located in downtown Saint Paul, Hamilton Ink Spot (Formerly Big Table Studio) is a retail and creative space run by Wisconsin-based Hamilton Wood Type & Printing Museum. When our crew arrived, Hamilton staff had set up stations for us to create whatever we wanted with ink, paper, wood type, dingbats and anything else we could think of. We rolled up our sleeves, laced our aprons, and got to work (or rather, to play), bonding over pizza, beer and a love of making art. Not bad for a Thursday. Consider our batteries recharged.

See more photos from our day here.

MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES TO WORK WITH LITTLE TO REFRESH BRAND EXPERIENCE

 

MINNEAPOLIS — June 9, 2014 — This off-season, in addition to hitting the gym, the Minnesota Timberwolves are revitalizing their brand. Minnesota’s NBA team will bring aboard Little (www.littleco.com), a nationally known branding and design agency that specializes in Branding from the Inside Out, to develop a new brand platform, employee platform and brand identity. Terms of the assignment were not disclosed.

"We are partnering with Little to refresh our brand, for both fans and employees, to enhance the entire Timberwolves experience," says Kristy Badger, VP of Marketing. "Little’s employee engagement work for companies like Target, Lowe’s and Microsoft, plus its successful rebranding efforts, like American Public Media’s ‘Marketplace’ programs, proved very attractive to our organization."

"The Minnesota Timberwolves are a beloved hometown team with an international reach, and we are looking forward to enhancing their brand for fans and employees alike," notes Joe Cecere, Little President and Chief Creative Officer.

Cecere adds, “We will explore new ways for fans to emotionally embrace the team, but also recharge the value proposition for the organization’s employees – helping all to better understand the vision and mission of the team. This paves the way for an enhanced fan experience across all touchpoints.”

 

About Little

Little is a Minneapolis-based design and branding agency specializing in brand strategy, corporate identity, employee engagement and brand experience design. For over 35 years, Little has been helping companies like Target, Microsoft, Wells Fargo, DC Comics, Lowe’s, Sealy, Medtronic and American Public Media tell their whole brand story from the inside out.

Using award-winning creative to drive workforce and customer engagement, marketing and corporate communications, Little’s designs inspire both internal and external audiences, transforming business challenges into brand success stories.

Little boasts a rich philanthropic legacy and is a Nationally Certified Women’s Business Enterprise. It has been named one of Minnesota’s Top Marketers, a 2013 Small Business Success Story and one of the Top 100 Best Places to Work.

For more information — or to interview Joe Cecere about the Minnesota Timberwolves assignment  — please contact Martin Keller, Media Savant Communications, 612-729-8585, mkeller@mediasavantcom.com

INSPIRING LIFELONG READERS WHILE BUILDING A LIFELONG BRAND

You’ve probably heard about it. The Reading Rainbow Kickstarter campaign has been a runaway success – not only meeting its $1 million goal in 8 hours, but nearly doubling it within 36 hours.

It’s not entirely surprising. We’re talking about the delightful coming together of a nostalgic brand’s cult followers, the undeniable cause of early childhood education and literacy, and generations always looking for a worthy (and heartwarming!) cause to support.

That said, this is more than a bunch of people wanting dinner with LeVar Burton or a now-coveted Reading Rainbow tee. This is a hugely, immediately successful combo of branding, fundraising and PR..

First and foremost: early childhood education and literacy strikes a nerve with people. We feel it inside our walls at Little, in our cities and towns, everywhere. Combine that with a bunch of purpose-driven individuals who can still hum the theme song without pause and you’re flying out of the gates. People are looking to support brands that not only provide them value, but also make them feel good about who they’re giving their money to.

Secondly: people still have an undeniable connection with Reading Rainbow. We know the logo. We know the song. We can picture the layout and images of the show in our heads. We intimately know the brand inside and out. Reading Rainbow has stayed true to its purpose – never straying from what they believe and what they know is successful. It makes sense that the masses would look at this opportunity and say, “Heck yeah! Reading Rainbow! I want to offer this to the next generation of readers!”

Plus, this brand connection is seamlessly integrated within the campaign’s promotion. Supporters receive a thank you tweet, making you feel like a valuable part of the cause, but also further promoting the campaign itself. LeVar Burton (or, his staff) will even call you out specifically with a large enough donation.

It’s no surprise that the Kickstarter campaign has been wildly popular. It’s authentic to what Reading Rainbow has always stood for - improving childhood literacy and creating lifelong readers  While not all brands can rely on childhood nostalgia and LeVar Burton’s star power, we think it’s a great example of how knowing and staying true to your brand can capture your audience for a lifetime.


The deadline for the Kickstarter campaign is July 2. Any bets on how far this will go?

INSPIRING LIFELONG READERS WHILE BUILDING A LIFELONG BRAND

You’ve probably heard about it. The Reading Rainbow Kickstarter campaign has been a runaway success – not only meeting its $1 million goal in 8 hours, but nearly doubling it within 36 hours.

It’s not entirely surprising. We’re talking about the delightful coming together of a nostalgic brand’s cult followers, the undeniable cause of early childhood education and literacy, and generations always looking for a worthy (and heartwarming!) cause to support.

That said, this is more than a bunch of people wanting dinner with LeVar Burton or a now-coveted Reading Rainbow tee. This is a hugely, immediately successful combo of branding, fundraising and PR..

First and foremost: early childhood education and literacy strikes a nerve with people. We feel it inside our walls at Little, in our cities and towns, everywhere. Combine that with a bunch of purpose-driven individuals who can still hum the theme song without pause and you’re flying out of the gates. People are looking to support brands that not only provide them value, but also make them feel good about who they’re giving their money to.

Secondly: people still have an undeniable connection with Reading Rainbow. We know the logo. We know the song. We can picture the layout and images of the show in our heads. We intimately know the brand inside and out. Reading Rainbow has stayed true to its purpose – never straying from what they believe and what they know is successful. It makes sense that the masses would look at this opportunity and say, “Heck yeah! Reading Rainbow! I want to offer this to the next generation of readers!”

Plus, this brand connection is seamlessly integrated within the campaign’s promotion. Supporters receive a thank you tweet, making you feel like a valuable part of the cause, but also further promoting the campaign itself. LeVar Burton (or, his staff) will even call you out specifically with a large enough donation.

It’s no surprise that the Kickstarter campaign has been wildly popular. It’s authentic to what Reading Rainbow has always stood for - improving childhood literacy and creating lifelong readers  While not all brands can rely on childhood nostalgia and LeVar Burton’s star power, we think it’s a great example of how knowing and staying true to your brand can capture your audience for a lifetime.

The deadline for the Kickstarter campaign is July 2. Any bets on how far this will go?

THIS LAND IS OUR LAND

Minnesota is known for many things: 10,000 lakes, frosty winters and one-of-a-kind accents, to name a few. But Minnesota has much more to offer visitors, whether you’re a Twin City-dweller heading “Up North” for the weekend or an out-of-stater coming in for a vacation. At Little, we’re passionate about our home state and we channeled that love into creating a new logo for Explore Minnesota Tourism, the state’s tourism promotion office, that would encompass all that we are.

But how do you create a mark that’s all things to all people in a state as unique as ours? We started by drawing inspiration from Minnesota’s boundless nature. We wanted to convey the feeling that there is always more to explore and something new at every turn. And, of course, we had to capture our “Minnesota Nice” charm, which we represented with softly rounded lowercase letters. Joe Cecere, our President and Chief Creative Officer (and born and bred Minnesotan), said it best: “Now Explore Minnesota can more effectively communicate the optimism, opportunity and adventure of the Minnesota experience.” To which we say, “You betcha!”

A STONE’S THROW

Did you find yourself getting lost in more than a few games of curling during the Winter Olympics? We sure did. The thrills! The spills! The drama! Ok, so maybe curling isn’t quite that boisterous. But there’s just something about it that kept us coming back for more. So much so, in fact, that when it came time to plan our annual Spring Party, we decided to forgo the annual pilgrimage to the bowling alley and instead head over to the St. Paul Curling Club to give it a go. Olympians, we are not. But we had a blast. And only a few wipe-outs (don’t worry, no Littles were injured). Here are a few snapshots of the Little bonspiel.
A STONE’S THROW

Did you find yourself getting lost in more than a few games of curling during the Winter Olympics? We sure did. The thrills! The spills! The drama! Ok, so maybe curling isn’t quite that boisterous. But there’s just something about it that kept us coming back for more. So much so, in fact, that when it came time to plan our annual Spring Party, we decided to forgo the annual pilgrimage to the bowling alley and instead head over to the St. Paul Curling Club to give it a go. Olympians, we are not. But we had a blast. And only a few wipe-outs (don’t worry, no Littles were injured). Here are a few snapshots of the Little bonspiel.

A STONE’S THROW

Did you find yourself getting lost in more than a few games of curling during the Winter Olympics? We sure did. The thrills! The spills! The drama! Ok, so maybe curling isn’t quite that boisterous. But there’s just something about it that kept us coming back for more. So much so, in fact, that when it came time to plan our annual Spring Party, we decided to forgo the annual pilgrimage to the bowling alley and instead head over to the St. Paul Curling Club to give it a go. Olympians, we are not. But we had a blast. And only a few wipe-outs (don’t worry, no Littles were injured). Here are a few snapshots of the Little bonspiel.

THE NICKNAME GAME
In celebration of Ron Gardenhire’s 1000th career win, we created a so-simple-it’s-brilliant nickname-generating website to honor the Minnesota Twins Manager. Besides having a firecracker personality and a propensity for getting ejected from games, “Gardy” is known for calling his players by nicknames. However, the careful listener will notice that those nicknames follow a certain formula. We used his format to assemble the Ron Gardenhire Nickname Generator.

Within hours of launch, the site was drawing coverage in the local media and garnering thousands of hits as users looked to get their name Gardy-ized. Our final tally came to more than 18,000 hits on launch day. Some of our favorite anecdotes were from those who didn’t get the joke. “This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen,” said one radio personality, while continuing to spend the next several minutes on-air entering names into the site. Like Gardy knows, you can’t win ‘em all, but, as it turns out, they’ll love you just the same.
THE NICKNAME GAME
In celebration of Ron Gardenhire’s 1000th career win, we created a so-simple-it’s-brilliant nickname-generating website to honor the Minnesota Twins Manager. Besides having a firecracker personality and a propensity for getting ejected from games, “Gardy” is known for calling his players by nicknames. However, the careful listener will notice that those nicknames follow a certain formula. We used his format to assemble the Ron Gardenhire Nickname Generator.

Within hours of launch, the site was drawing coverage in the local media and garnering thousands of hits as users looked to get their name Gardy-ized. Our final tally came to more than 18,000 hits on launch day. Some of our favorite anecdotes were from those who didn’t get the joke. “This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen,” said one radio personality, while continuing to spend the next several minutes on-air entering names into the site. Like Gardy knows, you can’t win ‘em all, but, as it turns out, they’ll love you just the same.

THE NICKNAME GAME

In celebration of Ron Gardenhire’s 1000th career win, we created a so-simple-it’s-brilliant nickname-generating website to honor the Minnesota Twins Manager. Besides having a firecracker personality and a propensity for getting ejected from games, “Gardy” is known for calling his players by nicknames. However, the careful listener will notice that those nicknames follow a certain formula. We used his format to assemble the Ron Gardenhire Nickname Generator.

Within hours of launch, the site was drawing coverage in the local media and garnering thousands of hits as users looked to get their name Gardy-ized. Our final tally came to more than 18,000 hits on launch day. Some of our favorite anecdotes were from those who didn’t get the joke. “This is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen,” said one radio personality, while continuing to spend the next several minutes on-air entering names into the site. Like Gardy knows, you can’t win ‘em all, but, as it turns out, they’ll love you just the same.

MINNESOTA LIFE FOR LIFE

We’re excited to announce our new partnership with Minnesota Life, the group insurance division of Securian Financial Group, Inc., St. Paul. With a reputation for excellent service, Minnesota Life serves many of the country’s top employers. We’re already digging in developing new marketing strategies for the company that will help it stand apart in the marketplace. Watch for more to come.

TAKING HOME SOME HARDWARE

Last week we had the honor of taking home five gorgeous and surprisingly heavy new pieces of office décor from the 2014 AIGA MN Design Show. The winning projects were the Fair State Brewing identity and the Fair State website, this year’s Little Valentine, LSI City posters, and the APM Marketplace identity. There was some absolutely amazing work from our peers on display, we’re extremely proud to be among such great company!

WELL HELLO, HOJO

Let’s give a warm welcome to HoJo Willenzik, our newest Copy Director at Little. Aside from his sharp wit, HoJo brings us more than 15 years of experience accumulated while working at Kruskopf Coontz, VSA Partners and HartungKemp. Oh, and apparently he’s a ringer when it comes to Nerf hoops, but we have yet to test his skills on the court.

HoJo’s client roster includes Target, Cargill, 3M, IBM, GE, Harley-Davidson, Mack Trucks and United Healthcare. HoJo has been featured in Communication Arts, Print, Ad Age, ADWEEK and Creativity. His awards include The One Show, AIGA365, AR100 and the Mpls Show. He holds a Bachelor of Arts, History from Tulane University in New Orleans.

GETTING IN WITH THE VIPS

Remember spending hours at the playground? Of course you do. Parks do a lot more for kids than provide a distraction and help them get fresh air. Studies have shown that they can actually help support safer, cleaner and healthier communities. Landscape Structures, Inc. (LSI), a Minnesota-based playground manufacturer, wanted to start conversations about the importance of parks with mayors and city planners around the country and understand what drives certain cities to invest in parks and playgrounds more than others. They had their list of targeted cities, but they needed a way to get their foot in the door.

We knew we had to cut through the clutter to help LSI grab the attention of these busy city employees who are often inundated by various requests. And what better way to make them take notice than apply a little flattery? We used maps of each targeted city to create large format framed prints that were then silkscreened with a graphic statement declaring the importance of parks to the community. After each mailing, LSI President Pat Faust followed up with a request for a meeting.

Seen as works of art rather than just another marketing piece, the posters opened doors to a number of discussions and the start of important relationships with mayors and other key leaders from the targeted cities, and LSI continues to rely on these mailings to secure additional meetings.

LITTLE DEVELOPS NEW IDENTITY FOR EXPLORE MINNESOTA TOURISM

MINNEAPOLIS — April 29, 2014 – Minnesota: home to more than 10,000 lakes, four full-throttle seasons, abundant culture and now, an all-new logo identity to inspire visitors to experience all the state has to offer. Minneapolis-based design and branding agency, Little (littleco.com), has developed the  new identity for Explore Minnesota Tourism, the state’s tourism promotion office.

"The new Explore Minnesota logo signals rich opportunity and enthusiasm and was designed to modernize the look of our mark," says John Edman, director, Explore Minnesota Tourism. “Like our great state, the look is inviting and progressive, yet humble and grounded.

Channeling Minnesota’s Boundless Nature Through Design

"The arch of the ‘n’, which grows from the ‘m’, invokes the feeling that there is always more to explore," adds Little Associate Creative Director Ian Davies. "That in Minnesota, every turn reveals something new. For this project, we deliberately chose lowercase letters with soft, rounded edges to reference the state’s welcoming charm and easygoing spirit.”

"Our creative design team really was inspired by Minnesota’s boundless nature and rich culture — at all levels, embodying what’s best about our state," notes Joe Cecere, President and Chief Creative Officer at Little. "Now Explore Minnesota can more effectively communicate the optimism, opportunity and adventure of the Minnesota experience."

Little has previously helped to boost Minnesota’s tourism industry through their 10+ year relationship with the Minnesota Historical Society. During that time Little developed strategic marketing plans for the organization’s premier sites, including Mill City Museum, Split Rock Lighthouse and Historic Fort Snelling, as well as develop brand platforms, identity systems, fundraising collateral and comprehensive campaigns for advertising and special collections.

Downtown Minneapolis