No matter what we’re dreaming up here at Shamlian Creative, we’re always building brands.

It’s our passion, and our secret sauce. Here’s a look at three creative challenges where we tackle branding in very different ways, from designing an award-winning logo to marrying two brands on one credit card.

– Fred Shamlian, Creative Director

Re-inventing a Beloved Local Brand (and Winning an International Design Award)

After Hurricane Sandy struck Long Beach Island, a favorite local bar was shuttered. Restaurateur Marty Grims came to the rescue. True to his lifelong passion, Marty took it to the next level, adding a raw bar, a new dining room, vintage nautical decor, and a new name: Tuckers Tavern.

Marty’s vision seemed clear enough: evoke a classic American tavern with a touch of British pub, and make Tuckers Tavern feel as comfortable as a well-worn shoe. Then, he shared his two favorite design inspirations: simple, unadorned type…and flambuoyant 3D letters. How do you bridge the gap between such polar opposites??

Then it hit us: woodblock printer’s type. The vintage letterforms were dimensional and flavorful, yet simple – a perfect expression of the tavern’s weathered, masculine style.

We collected photos of woodblock letters, which we used to experiment with varied fonts and sizes. The design really came to life when we framed the letters in an antique type box. To create the final artwork, we composited all of the components and even created several of the letters in Photoshop, finessing each letter’s hue and lighting to our heart’s content. Marty was thrilled, and we’re delighted to have our work featured in the 2015 Graphis International Design Annual.

The key to successful branding is to produce wide-ranging designs that feel like a family. To explore the complete brand suite, including menus, signage, business cards, ads, and a website, check out the case study.


How we keep Chestnut Hill’s Top-selling Realtor one Click Ahead

Michael Sivel wanted more buyers for his upscale listings. We suggested a new luxury nameplate, but he worried about discouraging less affluent shoppers. Then we showed him how effectively we target market segments across multiple media. Here’s how “Sivel Group Luxury” is selling more million dollar homes while building a new luxury brand.

Our success strategy for The Sivel Group’s new luxury service called for (1) a bold visual identity and (2) targeting qualified buyers via the most effective channels. We envisioned the service as an extension of the existing branding. So, we deepened The Sivel Group’s signature blue, designed a sophisticated type treatment, and added rich gold accents. The centerpiece of the campaign – and the click-thru destination for ads and emails – was a new custom landing page. presents fabulous homes in an upmarket setting while capturing and responding to new leads.

The launch was a multichannel affair. We created new print and banner ads for upscale media; strategized new lists for direct mail and emails; and established precise targeting criteria for a series of luxury banner ads. The success of our online ads, which are generating clicks at up to 10X the national average, can be attributed to five factors: choosing the right media; effective targeting; bold headlines; photos that stand out in even the smallest online ad spaces; and using analytics to continually improve our targeting, creative, and media choices.

In addition to selling luxury homes, we also build brand awareness for The Sivel Group, cultivating a loyal following via a strategic mix of advertising, articles, Facebook content and other social media. See the full range of solutions we created in our case study.

A Short Tale of Brand-Building, one Wallet at a Time

Ask me to sum up RV life in a few words, and I’d say “The Road to Adventure.” Alliance Data, a leading credit card issuer, asked us to capture that feeling for their co-brand partners, the Good Sam Club and Camping World. Here’s how Shamlian Creative’s two decades of card design experience produced a standout image for RV enthusiasts.

The partners wanted a design that would speak to both older and younger RV enthusiasts. The challenge was to create an image without showing (a) people or (b) an RV.

Initially, our goal was to celebrate camping. To start a dialogue, we shared a mood board of photos: campfires, trail signs, pristine wilderness. But the more we read about the 1,500 Good Sam Club chapters and Camping World’s success as the leading RV retailer, the more we realized that this card was all about the journey.

We looked at thousands of majestic vistas featuring the wide open road – including Camping World’s own vast image library. Over a series of rounds, we shared designs created with select photos, conceptual ideas, and even scenics illustrated by Shamlian’s senior designer, Josh Phillips. Right away, Josh’s art struck a chord. Still, we continued to refine both our illustrations and their favorite photos. To ensure that partner logos and key details made an impact, we composited our own photos, artfully positioning mountains, lakes, highways and sunsets amidst the clutter of the smart chip, Visa symbol and embossing.

In the end, the partners selected our illustration as the image that would delight all their members as they travel their road to adventure.

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