Georgia Cancer Specialists is getting a fresh new look just in time for spring.

Designed by Scott Sanders, Creative Director at Lenz, the new look is an evolution of the existing logo with fresh graphics, a new typeface, and bright colors that create a clean, contemporary look.

The leadership at Georgia Cancer Specialists was involved throughout the creative process, which lead to “an evolution, rather than a revolutionary change.” The logo will be phased in on signage and printed materials throughout the year, Sanders said.

Those intimately familiar with the former GCS logo, developed in 1999, may notice the removal of the practice tagline, “The Cancer Answer.”

“The Cancer Answer remains the practice tagline,” said Lenz CEO, Richard Lenz. “In fact, by separating the tagline from the mark, we will be able to feature it more prominently and more clearly communicate its meaning to the public.”

While logos reflect the brand they represent, most companies refresh and refine them every 10 to 15 years, Sanders said. Additional evolutions to the GCS brand identity will be rolled out throughout the year.

This morning, my wife and I were getting ready to send out a birthday card, and we were having our children sign them as we usually do. My two-year-old daughter Ellie took her turn with the pen, and she scribble-scrabbled something on the card.

Afterwards, she dropped the pen on the table and said “I want french fries.”

Where did this come from?

My wife asked Ellie and she replied “McDonald’s has french fries and that’s McDonald’s” as she pointed to the card in which she had scribble-scrabbled a close facsimile to the logo of the ubiquitous American fast-food titan. I just had to take a picture and share, because it’s fascinating to me that McDonald’s has already imprinted their brand on my two-year-old’s brain.

There’s a common statistic thrown about in marketing that says the average American sees 3,000 advertising messages a day. So perhaps it’s no wonder that even very young children are able to identify with a brand such as McDonald’s so strongly.

In one study during the famous “Pepsi Challenge,” 67 people’s brains were scanned during a blind taste test comparing Pepsi and Coke. During the blind test, half the subjects chose Pepsi, and Pepsi generated a stronger response in the region of the brain thought to process feelings of reward.

But when the subjects were told which beverage was Coke, not only did three-fourths said that Coke tasted better, but the scans proved they were also using a different area of their brains—one thought to be tied to cognitive abilities and memory. This indicated that the consumers were thinking about Coke and relating it to memories and other impressions.

In other words, people overwhelmingly preferred Coke because of their positive associations with the brand, not the taste.

The quality of your product is important, sure, but is it as important as the strength of your brand?

Celebrating its fourth birthday this weekend, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution Decatur Book Festival Presented by DeKalb Medical (DBF) is drawing praise from both authors and participants.

International best-selling thriller author Lee Child, appearing on Fox 5’s Good Day Atlanta Friday, September 4, said, “In its fourth year, Decatur is already one of the major book festivals in the U.S. You’ve got to go to the L.A. Times Festival and maybe Decatur. This is now a big deal. It’s all very exciting.”

DBF Executive Director Daren Wang agreed, calling the festival a “tremendous success” and citing the standing-room-only groups at the 900-seat First Baptist Church of Decatur and the 700-seat Decatur Presbyterian Church. The 400-seat Target Children’s Stage was also packed throughout the weekend with families and children lining up to hear popular children’s authors such as Judy Schachner, Jon Scieszka, and Elizabeth Dulemba.

Rob Jenkins, DBF board member and Director of the Writers Institute at Georgia Perimeter College said that in only its fourth year, the festival has “come of age.”

Jenkins, who has been involved with the festival since early in its history, joined scores of participants in observing the overwhelming success of the event that brought tens of thousands of book lovers to hear more than 300 authors at venues around the Decatur Square.

Jenkins commented that the event ran so smoothly because of the maturity and experience of the organizers and 500 volunteers who worked on the event.

While total crowd figures are not available, organizers estimate a 15 percent increase over last year’s event.

Starting with a packed 800-seat Presser Hall at Agnes Scott College Friday, September 4, for the keynote address on the future of print by Sir Harold Evans, and ending with a Sunday evening picnic by the Southern Foodways Alliance and Concert on the Square by bluegrass group Sweet AlizAbeth, the festival provided something for everyone.

With 12 additional venues, ranging in size from 75 seats at the Decatur Conference Center Stage to 300 seats at the Old Courthouse, back-to-back events all day Saturday and Sunday afternoon were at or beyond capacity.

On Saturday night, those lucky fans who bought tickets early to the only festival-sponsored paid event, a sold-out concert at Agnes Scott honoring the 100th anniversary of Eudora Welty’s birth, were thrilled to hear Kate Campbell, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Caroline Herring, and Claire Holley perform in honor of the late Pulitzer Prize-winning writer from Jackson, Mississippi.

Comments filled Twitter and Facebook over the weekend from excited book lovers and festival attendees.

From Karlene Barger of Sandy Springs, “I think this is the best book festival yet. I especially enjoyed being one of the 1,100 or so people who attended the ‘Vampire’ session with Charlaine Harris, and Michael Malone was also wonderful! A very well organized (and fun) event!”

Decatur’s Steve Vogel wrote: “Just got back from the Decatur Book Festival — what a great event! Props to all who made it happen and those who came and enjoyed.”

Melanie Wright of Lawrenceville posted on Sunday, “The Decatur Book Festival yesterday was wonderful! Excited for today’s line up! No better way for me to spend Labor Day Weekend!”

Rachel Moore Hawkins of Auburn, Alabama, wrote:  “back from Decatur! Had a BLAST! Got to spend time with The Mama, see old friends, make new friends, hang with some truly kick-a** writers, and meet awesome bloggers. Oh, and got Richelle Mead to sign a book. All in all, a fabulous weekend!”

Interviews available upon request.

“We had record sized crowds for the Vampires session and Charlaine Harris signed everything she could in the allotted time. We also had a lot of compliments from booklovers, saying thanks for putting on this event.  The authors were great, the crowds patient and the weather beautiful.  We will be contacting the publicity departments of Random House, Penguin, Simon and Schuster with photos of how well their authors drew crowds in hopes that they will continue sending us such well-known writers.”

–Doug Robinson, owner, Eagle Eye Book Shop.

We have been proud and excited to organize the programing for — as well as do book sales at — the kids’ stage for the last four years (and the teen stage for the last two), and the 2009 festival was no exception.

The illustrators and authors sent to us increase in their prestige every year, and it’s because the publishers know what an awesome festival this is. But they aren’t the only folks responding with tons of enthusiasm — we had fantastic crowds and sales in the store and at both stages this year, and we’re particularly proud of how packed The Escape teen stage was. We are raring to go for 2010!

–Terra McVoy, Co-Director, Youth Programming, AJC-Decatur Book Festival, & Bookseller Extraordinaire at Little Shop of Stories

Lenz, an integrated marketing company located in Decatur, GA, recently assisted DeKalb Medical in launching a re-branding effort that includes a new hospital name and logo. Lenz also worked with the hospital and another agency, Milwaukee-based BVK, to develop an advertising campaign centered around the tagline, “Pushing Beyond.” The campaign features print, TV, online, and radio ads, as well as billboards and bus wraps.

“‘Pushing Beyond’ is descriptive of a new attitude at DeKalb Medical that says we are dissatisfied with the status quo in healthcare. Our culture as an organization is to stretch further, address the broader issues patients and families with illness face, and to do whatever it takes to help. Sometimes we do the unconventional and sometimes that surprises people, but we embrace innovation and respect the passion our employees and physicians have for their work. Our patients feel it and it’s time to share this attitude with our community and those unfamiliar with us,” said DeKalb Medical president and CEO Eric Norwood.

With its newly improved and strengthened services, DeKalb Medical found a new name would help “reintroduce ourselves to our community and signal a new era,” Norwood said. By dropping “Center” from its former name, “DeKalb Medical Center,” the hospital hopes to more clearly communicate its three-campus system that includes DeKalb Medical at North Decatur, DeKalb Medical at Hillandale, and DeKalb Medical at Downtown Decatur.

Richard Lenz, president and CEO of Lenz, said he is “proud to support DeKalb Medical because they care about the health and overall well-being of the community.”

Cheryl Iverson, vice president of business development and marketing at DeKalb Medical, expressed gratitude for Lenz’s hard work. “We’ve been thrilled to find and work with Lenz, which is right here in our own community. Their approach to helping us launch the name, logo, and campaign actually personified the “pushing beyond” attitude we’re communicating. It’s been a great partnership.”

DeKalb Medical is a not-for-profit hospital system serving approximately 500,000 patients annually. A leader in progressive medical technology and compassionate care since 1961, the hospital system includes the 451-bed DeKalb Medical, the 76-bed DeKalb Medical at Downtown Decatur, and the 100-bed DeKalb Medical at Hillandale.

Lenz Marketing, a Decatur-based full-service marketing company, recently received three Gold Kaleidoscope Awards for its poster and web site designs as part of the 2007 Annual Southeast Festivals and Events Conference awards program.

“We’re thrilled to receive such prestigious recognition,” said Richard Lenz, President/CEO of Lenz. “It’s an honor to promote events that are so important to the Decatur and Atlanta communities.”

Lenz received two Gold Kaleidoscope Awards for its involvement in the 2006 AJC Decatur Book Festival (DBF), winning top prize in the categories of “Best Promotional Poster” and “Best Web Site” for events whose total cost is over $75,000.

For those events totaling under $75,000, Lenz received a third Gold Kaleidoscope Award in the category of “Best Promotional Poster” for its 2006 Decatur Wine Festival poster design.

Scott Sanders, Lenz Art Director and designer of the DBF poster, envisioned a design that would apply not only to the poster, but also to DBF ads, signage, maps, and eventually to the award-winning web site. Inspired by the 1940’s era Royal Arrow typewriter he keeps at home, Mr. Sanders thrust outlines of isolated typewriter keys into the design’s foreground, cleverly incorporating strong color combinations of red, black, and yellow. “I thought the individual keys had enough character to be strong graphics by themselves,” Sanders said. “It just made sense.”

The award-winning 2006 Decatur Wine Festival Poster, according to Lenz graphic designer Kali Sanders, was conceived to “evoke feelings of richness, abundance, and celebration.” Sanders first created a painting of the design using oils and acrylics on panel, then photographed the painting for reproduction on the festival’s poster. The composition, distinctly eye-catching in its judicious use of deep, swirling reds against a subtle yellow-brown gradation, “seemed to capture the atmosphere of the festival,” Sanders said.

This year’s Annual Southeast Festivals and Events Conference (ASFEC), held in Nashville, TN on February 19-21, provided educational sessions and panel discussions to 160 event professionals. The ASFEC Kaleidoscope Awards, sponsored by RSC Productions, Inc., recognizes top festivals and events throughout the Southeast for their outstanding contribution to the festivals and events industry.