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Two facts:

  1. I am a fan of Fast Company.
  2. I am a fan of the Pure Michigan ads.

But the intersection of both has me confused. In the past two issues of Fast Company, Michigan has placed a two-page spread. The left page highlights a specific community and a business success story; the right page reflects the quality of life aspects and how they relate to business. Sounds like it could work, right? Individually, the designs are pretty good.

  

  

(insert record scratching sound here)

Until you see them placed side-by-side as they appear in the magazine.

Who is designing these?! Clearly two different agencies without any coordination, right? That’s the only possible explanation, and I’m not saying that is a good model to have. However, the alternative is that one agency did both, knew they were being placed side-by-side and threw all consistent branding out the window. (Note the logo placement, text treatment, and the odd ways the images interact when placed next to each other.)

My suggestions for improvement: design content across the full-spread. Why is the logo placed twice and in different ways? Why is the URL listed twice? Pick a photo any photo; they could have easily used the photo from the left side across both pages. If a common design can’t be utilized, place the ads throughout the publication instead of on facing pages. The current designs appeal to a different audiences – one to those who want all the info and the other to those who are drawn by emotion. By separating them, you have a chance to catch both audiences at least once and potentially twice.

For what it’s worth, I hope they continue with the bad designs and placement. After all, Indiana is a great place to do business and we have a notable quality of life. Keep up the good work, neighbors! 🙂

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