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Tag Archives: branding

Focus Magazine: LGBT News, Products and Services Find a Home in Print
28 Jul

focus-midsouth-magazine-memphisJuly 28, 2015

For Immediate Release

LGBT News, Products and Services Find a Home in Print

Focus Magazine to publish September 1, 2015

MEMPHIS, Tenn. – Ray Rico Freelance is doing what has not yet been done in Memphis. The Cooper Young-based design agency will publish “Focus Magazine” in September 2015. The magazine will provide a centralized place, online and in print, for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) news and information, and product and service advertising. The inaugural edition is aptly named, “The Coming Out Issue,” and will hit stands on September 1, 2015.

“The LGBT population in Memphis and regionally is being overlooked when it comes to news that is just for LGBT persons. There are many organizations that serve the needs of this audience, but nothing that is published regularly with aggregated content that is completely LGBT-centric,” said Ray Rico, owner of Ray Rico Freelance. “We want to fill that void.”

The decision to publish Focus comes on the heels of The Supreme Court ruling in favor of marriage equality for same-sex couples. “The ruling is a game changer,” Rico says, “and bolsters the ability for LGBT products and interests to become mainstream instead of marginalized.”

“The long fight for marriage equality has had many allies in the heterosexual community,” Rico said. “Focus Magazine is for our them, too. It will be an opportunity for these friends, or really any business, to reach this unique target audience. Our readers are typically well educated with an above-average disposable income. They are kind of every marketer’s dream!”

To assure comprehensive coverage, Ray Rico Freelance will collaborate with individuals and LGBT-focused groups like Friends For Life, MGLCC, TEP, and Mid-South Pride who will have active roles as contributors. Focus Magazine will offer news, arts & entertainment, community, lifestyle, and trending topics content.

“We want everyone to have access to this important publication, so we are offering Focus Magazine for free online and in print,” Rico said. “The printed version will be published every other month while the online version will be uploaded frequently with new and engaging content.” The free print version can be picked up at businesses in the Memphis area or readers can subscribe for mailed copies for $1.00 per issue.

Full-color advertising space in this 32-page slick is also being offered at a low cost. “Obviously, we have to pay for the production and distribution, but this is a product from our hearts,” Rico said. “In fact, part of the profits will be donated to non-profit groups that serve the LGBT community.”

Those interested in contributing content or placing ads are encouraged to contact the agency before its August deadline. Ray Rico Freelance can be reached at 901.800.1172,, or online at



For more information, contact: Ray Rico, 901.800.1172 or


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Ribbon Cutting Set For August 14, 11-noon
14 Jul

Back and Better Than Ever!

Our expansion construction is over. We’ve moved back in. We are still unpacking but glad to be home. Join us and the Greater Memphis Chamber August 14th from 11-noon for a special ribbon cutting ceremony. Get a first peek at our new digs at our Big Reveal!





Ray Rico Freelance expands agency in Cooper-Young in both office space and staff

Ray Rico is doubling in size. Well, not the ad man himself, but his Cooper-Young-based firm Ray Rico Freelance recently doubled the size of its staff and the size of its offices.

In recent months Ray Rico Freelance added Senior Graphic Designer Joan Allison, Traffic Manager Zan Roach, and Interactive Designer Ben Bauermeister. This doubled the current staff of Owner Ray Rico, Digital Media Development Manager Amanda Bolton, and Junior Graphic Designer Daphne Butler.

On June 5, 2015, Ray Rico Freelance hosted an event to announce the physical expansion of its offices, located at 2294 Young Avenue. The firm has expanded by acquiring the space next door, which formerly housed a women’s clothing and accessories boutique. It has doubled in size from 550 square feet to 1,100 square feet.

All of these changes, says Rico, will allow the full-service advertising and marketing agency to further its mission of meeting its clients’ many needs, serving nonprofits and the community, and helping support local businesses.

“One of the reasons we have made this growth move,” says Rico, “is to deliberately create more jobs and to do so in the Cooper-Young community we’re so invested in. We are very adamant about using local resources to help grow the community and Memphis. We do a lot of printing work for our clients and we work with only local printing businesses. By doing that, we are able to support local small businesses. We keep more money here in Memphis creating more jobs.”

One of the few minority-owned, diverse advertising and marketing firms in Memphis, Ray Rico Freelance prides itself on the many community initiatives it helps support and the many nonprofit clients it works with at a special nonprofit rate. Just some of those are the Soulsville Foundation, Madonna Circle, Mid-South Pride, Friends For Life, and numerous others.

Rico added, “We make it a practice to give back to local charities, organizations, and support efforts through volunteering time and resources, in-kind donations, advocating, printing, social media promos, and by just being a good neighbor.”

Tim Sampson, communications director for Ray Rico Freelance client the Soulsville Foundation, “Ray Rico Freelance is like a dream agency. They are great business people in that they are efficient, talented, affordable, and proactive, but their commitment to diversity and passion for community support is real. It’s not lip service. It shows in everything they do and it makes them that much more enjoyable to work with.”


For more information please contact Ray Rico 901-800-1172 or For more information about Ray Rico Freelance visit


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Meet Joan Allison
16 Jun

Meet Joan Allison


She is both a native Memphian and Memphis College of Art graduate. Joan Allison joins us with an extensive background in digital and print design. She began as a freelancer, then accepted the Traffic Manager position and was later promoted to Senior Graphic Designer. You can say she is a real go-getter. She has deep roots in Memphis creating artwork that gets noticed. If you take a look around you can see her handy work. When she is not creating stellar campaigns, her passion is fostering dogs and finding them permanent homes.

Joan’s role with our agency is to create designs that evoke response and sell. She is highly skilled in psychology of imagery, colors, typography and graphics and loves all things design. On behalf of our agency, please join us in welcoming her! – Ray Rico

Please add his contact info to your address book for future reference.

Joan Allison

Senior Graphic Designer

Ray Rico Freelance

2294 Young Avenue

Memphis, TN 38104

Office 901.800.1172

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Join us for an Open House & Special Announcement – June 5, 6p-9p
17 May

Life’s adventures are better when you’re surrounded by friends. Thanks for being part of the Ray Rico Freelance Family.


Click this image for Facebook event information.



FRIDAY, JUNE 5 from 6P – 9 P

2294 Young Avenue | Memphis, TN 38104 | 901.800.1172

yelpsocialmediaiconsYelp! will be helping us to celebrate and announce our big news.

Be sure to check out our page here.

CYBA15-1245.01 Art Tour Decal_We are also an official stop for the #CYArtTour.

Heavy Hors d’oeuvres & Wine while it lasts.

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3 ways to help clients appreciate the value of good design
15 May

3 ways to help clients appreciate the value of good design

Being able to educate your clients on the value of good design is an essential skill. Here are three tips.

It’s a frustrating fact of life that clients don’t always appreciate the value of good design. So what can you do when faced with a client who just doesn’t get it?

Being able to educate clients on the value of design is a crucial skill. Communication, as always, is key: you need to involve your clients in all stages of the creative process, and make your case early – as these three industry pros explain…

1. Make your case early in the process

“Occasionally we have to ‘make the case’ for design, perhaps with a less experienced client who views the process as a ‘client/supplier’ model rather than collaborator,” says branding legend Michael Johnson, who founded brand consultancy johnson banks.

“But in order to get a large-scale branding project, we will have made the case for change months – sometimes years – before the design actually starts. In other words, our clients have clearly committed to the process. It’s our job to subtly educate, inform and inspire as we go through the process – without coming across like idiots, obviously.”


2. Explain your reasoning

“Branding is no longer something that sits with the marketing department, a brand is something that sits at the heart of a client’s business and organization, and affects everything they do,” says Karen Hughes, creative director at True North.

“As well as increasing profits, an effective brand can mean happier employees, engaged audiences, better products and services, greater brand awareness and recognition.

“[To convince a client of this], try to take the subjectivity out of decisions,” she continues. “Don’t just talk about colors and fonts, talk about the reasons behind your design choices.”

“All the time, link these choices back to the original brief and always link the creative back to the core business aims and brand proposition.”


3. Apply logic

Helping clients appreciate and value design makes a designer’s life so much easier, agrees Gareth Howat, creative director at hat-trick. Like johnson banks, the London-based multidisciplinary design company also won big at last year’s Brand Impact Awards.

“It does help to have a clearly thought-through logic to your work, and we spend a lot of time thinking about how to communicate that,” Howat explains. “That way clients are far more likely to appreciate your design strategy.”


Original story from

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(Our) Proven Branding Process
24 Feb

What is our Branding Process?

Branding is what people say about you when you’re not in the room.

In a past blog, I explained the difference between Branding, Identity and Logos. Understanding  branding is important when you are trying to develop yourself in the marketplace. Knowing the difference between Identity and branding is what sets you apart. Customizing a logo that depicts your identity and brand is what makes you shine. To read the article click here.

Screen Shot 2015-02-23 at 11.58.20 AMKnow that when you begin to set out on your journey to brand yourself there is a process you should follow. Like in life, there are many different ways to approach this. This blog is intended to help guide you on proven ways we have found to be helpful.

First, let’s review our steps:

  1. The Creative Brief
  2. The Branding Process
  3. Creating Your Identity
  4. The Logo Design

The Creative Brief

This step is one of the most important steps in the entire process. This is where we ask tons of questions and get a solid idea for what you expect from you goals. Then we go through the discovery process and find out  more about your organization from the inside out. We ask specific questions that help us determine the direction of your project. Then we use what we found to review with you. At that point, we determine our plan of action and describe the scope of the project with an outline, we determine deliverables and timelines, then we begin working on executing our plans.

Check out our Creative Brief Form Here

The Branding Process Explained

Before I talk about The Branding Process, let’s define what Branding is exactly. Branding is the process of naming, designing or other feature that distinguishes one business from those of others.

Branding is:

  • Your Mission
  • What Sets You Apart
  • The Personality of Your Business
  • Your Story
  • The Emotion Your Business Evokes
  • Your Core Values

Branding is NOT:

  • Your Logo
  • Your Tagline
  • Your Slogan
  • Your Icon
  • Your Product or Service

During The Branding Process it is a good idea to start with an inspiration board full of images, colors, fonts, etc. that a group can look at. From this session you will begin to get the perception that the brand is leaning towards. This will help in your design and concepts for the full branding effort. Next, we create a selection of fonts and logo variations for review. Once you determine what the best set is, we complete the The Branding Process by creating a Style Guide for use on all collateral related to the brand. Finally, we begin to carry out the designs in collateral, on social media, and interactive designs.

The Branding Process Step-by-Step

Brand Mapping – Benefits: Gives business its sense of purpose.

  1. Brand Audit – Understand existing customer perceptions
  2. Brand Position – Create a place in hearts and minds of relevant potential customers
  3. Brand essence – Describes your core values as they relate to the brand

Brand Implementation – Benefits: Determines what sets the company apart from others.

  1. Brand Elements – Visual and verbal components of what identify the brand
  2. Brand Marketing – Utilizing marketing activities to build positive brand associations
  3. Brand Communication – Setting the tone to inform, persuade and remind customers about the brand

Brand Training – Benefits: Gives purposeful direction to the employees and staff

  1. Corporate Training – Provides conceptual brand training and guidelines usage
  2. Internal Branding – Aligns employees and staff with brand and what it personifies

Creating Your Identity

Once you’ve determined your branding strategy, it is important to create your identity. Are you fun and quirky, or are you more serious and to-the-point? Do you want a fun script font or something more sans serif? Do you want your graphics to speak to a creative mind or something more toned-down? Establishing your Identity as a brand really hits home about your brand’s persona. Building your persona = creating your identity. Plain and simple.

Design that Logo!

0d4637d431e236e0097595e1f160cf06The logo design process is the fun part. We take what we’ve found in discovery, direction we’ve reviewed from our branding efforts and give it a personality we came up during our Identity process. Here, we begin with sketches of what your logo could look like and develop concepts. Next, we review with you our concepts and get feedback. Then, back to the drawing board to wrap up design and execute final files. We create your logo branding in every version you’d need and deliver the goods. Easy peasy.




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Meet Amanda Bolton
08 Jan

Meet Amanda Bolton

Amanda Bolton headshot

I’d like to take this opportunity to introduce you to our newest team member, Amanda Bolton.
Amanda is a University of Memphis student graduating in May 2014 with her BBA in Marketing Management. She is joining our team as our Digital Media Development Manager. She will be managing accounts and working directly with our team, clients, community partners and public in all facets of our business. Amanda moved to Memphis in 2008 and has quickly found ways to help the local community, now she’s here to help you grow your business.

We are certain her skills will exceed your expectations. On behalf of our team, please join us in welcoming her! – Ray Rico

Please add her contact info to your address book for future reference.
Digital Media Development Manager
Ray Rico Freelance
2294 Young Avenue
Memphis, TN 38104
office 901.800.1172
direct 901.236.4228

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