Logo mistakes

Posted in Strategy on by David Cecil

Branding and design aren’t topics normally discussed by media outlets like CNN and BBC. But when Gap rolled out a new logo, found out that everyone hated it, and took it back, that’s exactly what happened.  READ MORE →

Creative play is a powerful activity, one you should work to make time for if you hope to remain nimble, energized, and (hopefully) innovative. It’s an idea that can be arrived at via diverse routes; people explain it differently, justify it differently, and engage in it differently.


Pretty or effective?

Posted in Strategy on by David Cecil

We posted an article a few weeks ago that was called, “Effective or pretty?”  The point of it was to question whether designers had become so focused on being fancy strategic experts that we’ve lost sight of the fact that sometimes it works to just make something look pretty.  We concluded, of course, that you simply have to be focused on both aspects of great design – if something is pretty but not effective, it will fail.  If something is founded in sound strategy, but doesn’t look good, it will fail.

Since the last article reminded us of the value of aesthetics, we thought we’d share a great article that reminds us of why we can’t forget strategy.  Read it here.

To conclude, as a designer and when designing certain websites, your goal cannot just be to make a website aesthetically pleasing, but also to make the functions of your website easier to work with, and to integrate them together to appear as a whole system rather than appear as multiple pieces that do not connect.

With that in mind, we are not saying to eliminate the aesthetics point of design, but rather to keep an even balance of thinking about both. As with design, focusing fully on aesthetics can result with poor user interface results and vice versa.

When the road hurts…

Posted in News on by JLSA

One of our favorite non-creative related activities is running.  At some point or another, all of us have been bitten by the running bug – the undeniable call to take to the pavement and push yourself to the limit.  The experience of traveling miles and miles under your own power, listening to nothing but the sound of your thoughts and your feet on the road is all very romantic, actually.  Until, that is, you wake up the next morning and realize that your body isn’t what it used to be and you’re in quite a lot of pain.  For that reason, when we were contacted by Dr. Jesse Walden of Quest Chiropractic Center to design and develop a new website for his practice, we felt that the road to understanding his target audience wouldn’t be a long one.

Can you guess the purpose of today’s post?  Yes!  We’re here to announce the launch of the new Quest Chiropractic Center website, lovingly created by Johnny Lightning Strikes Again.

Quest Chiropractic Center Web Design & Development - Johnny Lightning Strikes Again


Jessica Halfand and William Drenttel have put together an excellent little primer about the fundamentals of what Graphic Design is over at Design Observer, what matters it concerns itself with, and what effective Graphic Design means. It’s a broad overview, but they hit most of the essentials. After all, they are veterans of the field. At the end they even kindly offer a list of books they recommend for further reading.

Long ago, to be a graphic designer was to distinguish yourself by defining your territory as fundamentally two-dimensional. Unlike artists, graphic designers had clients. Unlike architects, they delivered printed messages. Today, with the meteroric rise of desktop computing, social networking and mobile technologies, graphic design is the ultimate DIY activity. Or is it? Albert Einstein once said that the secret to creativity is knowing how to hide your sources. So don’t ask us to explain how kerning works: just trust us.

Read the rest of it here.

Effective or pretty?

Posted in Strategy on by David Cecil

We just passed around a great article by Mark Cook, a professor of graphic design at the University of Notre Dame, which questions what the purpose of a graphic designer should be. Here is an excerpt from the full article, which can be read here:

Historically, graphic designers have been commissioned to communicate messages in an attractive and desirable way using a combination of type and image. While this is still very much a part of what we do, the role of ”graphic designer” has become increasingly strategic, resulting in a conscious move away from anything that could be perceived as simply decorative. We have worked hard to hold a seat at the table, and fear that recognizing the persuasion of aesthetics will relegate our professional contributions to that of a technician adorning someone else’s thinking. But perhaps the pendulum has swung too far the other direction.

Our opinion?  Sorry graphic designers – you need to do both.  Great design work needs to communicate the right message to the right people in the right way, AND look great while doing it.  I think this is the point that Mark is making, and it’s a good one – you can’t discount the value of doing something that looks pretty anymore than you can discount the value of doing something that is based on sound brand strategy.

Client review from 801 Chophouse

Posted in News on by JLSA

Chris Dennis, the Head Chef at 801 Chophouse in downtown Kansas City, recently reviewed us on Google. He had such nice things to say about our web design project together that we couldn’t help but repost it here:

These guys know what they are doing! We used JLSA to develop and maintain our new website (http://www.801chophouse.com). I believe they are certainly the best Kansas City has to offer, and their firm could easily compete with larger firms as far as knowledge and ability. With JLSA you are getting large, professional web firm ability and reach, without losing the personal, local touch that we sometimes wish was still around. I would recommend JLSA for all your design and web needs. They took the time to listen to our ideas, about what we wanted on the site and how we would like to see it presented. Using anyone else would be a complete waste of time and money.

Thanks, Chris! You make delicious food.

Client review from Republic Tile

Posted in News on by JLSA

Brad Duff, the Owner of Republic Tile, had some nice things to say about his experience working with us on Republic Tile’s branding & website project:

Our company, Republic Tile, used Johnny Lightning Strikes Again for brand and website development. We are very pleased with the the results and have received numerous compliments for the work they did for us. JLSA was very organized, detailed and efficient. They are very good in laying out a comprehensive plan as to how they are going to work towards completion of the project. I always knew where we were in the process, and they kept on schedule for the duration. We will use them again for future opportunities.

Thanks, Brad!

Client review from Ochsner Hare & Hare

Posted in News on by JLSA

Shannon Gordon, Senior Project Manager at Ochsner Hare & Hare, recently had this to say about working with us to design and develop a new website for this iconic Kansas City company:

Johnny Lightning Strikes Again worked with us to create our new website (http://www.ohhkc.com). A young company was asked to help us celebrate our 100 year anniversary with a new web site. JLSA captured the spirit of our firm and portrayed it in the best possible way. They have the unique ability to take the most creative ideas that seem impossible to execute and turn them into reality. I whole-heartedly recommend the team assembled at Johnny Lightning Strikes Again to anyone! Thanks again JLSA!

Thanks, Shannon!

If you are a physician whose goal is to revolutionize the medical office, you could do worse than partner with a creative agency whose goal has always been to design a website that will help revolutionize the medical office. OK, we’ll admit that hasn’t ALWAYS been our goal, but it got added to the list soon after we were contacted by exclusiveMD, Kansas City’s first concierge medical practice.

What is a concierge medical practice, you ask? That was our question also. Imagine for a moment that instead of showing up at a cold, sterile, uncomfortable office to see a doctor that barely had time to see you, you arrived for your appointment at a beautiful, comfortable facility to see a doctor that had become a trusted friend. Imagine that this doctor was available not just at the office, but also for house calls, by telephone, video chat, email, and IM. Sounds pretty good, right? That was our thought also.