Essex Two is a vertically integrated communication practice.
We help our clients; organizations, institutions and entrepreneurs, identify the elements of their culture that connect them with their audiences. By translating values, artifacts and rituals into language, images and actions, we transform expectations, relationships and reputations into sustainable brands.
Our Design by Objectives® process identifies and defines for our clients, those strategic and the emotional tenets that connect them to their audiences, building respect and loyalty. Our Design is a Verb® philosophy produces an intellectually and aesthetically charged environment where an active, integrated hands-on approach to meaningful communication is exceptionally productive.
We care about what we do and those we serve, as well as those served by our clients.
Joseph Michael Essex, Managing Partner
WORK is both a place and an activity, a process and a product. The same can be said of DESIGN.
For more than several decades the focus of our WORK has been identification and branding. This is the strategic and cultural activity that connects needs with wants, ideas with actions, clients with customers and products with people.
We are committed to the hands-on development of research and its evaluation, strategy and positioning, language and imagery as well as the application and assessment of branding initiatives. We have helped our clients connect their products and services with their audiences in ways that are memorable and meaningful.
This website is new and far from complete, but rather than wait to publish, we have chosen to be a WORK in progress. Over the next few weeks, maybe months we will be expanding and affirming the positioning of what we do, who we serve and how we do it.
Click on ABOUT and TOOLS for more on our process and products.
Steve Jobs and Charles Eames were keynote speakers at the International Design Conference in Aspen, in the late 70s. Jobs presented a view of the future where streams of information would be racing towards us like water from a 1,000 fire hoses. Charles Eames, speaking a day later, suggested that information is not the same as intelligence or understanding.
A few years later John Massey was being interviewed, on stage, at an AIGA/Chicago event. Toward the end of the evening John was asked, What is the most important quality a designer should have? His answer, awareness.
Our approach to design and how we do what we do is shaped by understanding and awareness. To us design is both the process and a product. In the same way that work is both a place and an activity.
This methodology may not be exclusive to Essex Two, however we have embraced it as culturally defining.
George Bernard Shaw once said, professionals in almost every discipline, foster a language designed to speak only with one another and keep the rest of us out. The design profession, unfortunately, is not an outlier.
After many decades, we have determined that by actively engaging with our clients in the process of designing anything and everything the results are almost always better, certainly more satisfying and longer lasting.
We will never know or fully appreciate the businesses of our clients in the ways that they do. That is our disadvantage and our advantage.
What we know is how to identify and translate the core elements of an organization’s culture, character and values into the language and imagery that will connect them with those they wish to serve.
Posters are to design, what poetry is to literature.
Posters present 90% of an idea while providing an opportunity for anyone viewing the poster, to contribute to the experience. Just like answering a clever a riddle, completing a difficult puzzle or getting a new joke, the act of participation is rewarding. This active collaboration enhances understanding and affirms ownership of a shared idea.
All two dimensional hubris aside, a poster’s job is to attract the attention of everyone from 25 feet away. To be a successful the attraction must be meaningful enough to bring those viewers closer to the poster and than even close enough for them to appreciate how it’s content benefits them.
Posters, like all effective communication, have more to do with engagement and awareness than selling/marketing.
The idiom, You can’t judge a book by it’s cover, first appeared in the mid-19th century. It was certainly meaningful then. However, since the advent of the Internet, digital marketing experts estimate that most Americans are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 ads each day, much less those images we are receiving from television, films, books, magazines or a round trip to Walgreens.
If we don’t judge what we see, in one way or another, if we attempt to ignore, disregard or just plain close our eyes to the 10’s of thousands of images we see every day, there will be consequences. We need to make judgments, maybe even 10’s of thousands of judgments, if only avoid the dead stop of an intellectual traffic jam.
Unlike posters that are exhibited where everyone might run across them, books and publications are distributed where they have the best opportunity to connect with those who share an interest in their content. In this context, side-by-side comparisons/judgments are impossible to avoid.
So, go ahead choose; whatever attracts your attention, engages your mind or just tweaks your fancy. It’s OK.