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Published: Monday, 7/21/2003

Downtown firm does more than logos

BY JON CHAVEZ
BLADE BUSINESS WRITER
From logo to Web site, Terry Lesniewicz's company advises his clients on how to develop a consistent corporate image. From logo to Web site, Terry Lesniewicz's company advises his clients on how to develop a consistent corporate image.
ALLAN DETRICH Enlarge

Whenever Terry Lesniewicz hears people talk about the great graphics that his marketing firm produces, he winces just a tad.

It's not that Lesniewicz Associates doesn't do excellent graphic work - the firm has won numerous awards and designed over 150 memorable corporate logos since its founded in 1976. But the company has done, and is capable of, far more than graphics, though many potential clients may not be aware of that, said Mr. Lesniewicz, the company's president and owner.

``We'll still design the logo, but now we advise people on how that logo should be used ... how to get their influence across through a marketing plan,'' he said.

In short, the firm tells clients how to project a consistent image through logo, products, printed materials, packaging, vehicles, and Web site.

The evolution from graphic designers to identity consultants has been a slow, but natural progression for the company at 222 North Erie St.

Mr. Lesniewicz started as a graphic designer at area advertising agencies and left the former Flournoy and Gibbs in 1976 to start Lesniewicz/Navarre, Inc., with partner, Al Navarre.

He bought out Mr. Navarre in 1989, changed the name, and won instant acclaim a short time later as the firm that redesigned Owens Corning's corporate logo. The firm also began getting notice for producing annual reports, brochures, and other marketing projects for clients such as Manor Care, Inc., Sky Bank, and Dana Corp.

A change began in the mid-1990s when OC hired the firm to redesign some product manuals and other company publications, and then its packaging materials.

Lesniewicz Associates even advised OC when and how to use the Pink Panther character. ``Ninety-nine percent of the Owens Corning packaging you see at Home Depot, we created that,'' Mr. Lesniewicz said.

Just before OC went into bankruptcy, the building materials company and Lesniewicz Associates parted ways. But the work done with OC had left Lesniewicz Associates more focused on advising clients on how best to be consistent with their image in various products.

Sauder Manufacturing, a division of Sauder Woodworking, has been a Lesniewicz client for nearly 10 years. A little over a year ago it asked the design and marketing firm to work on its furniture catalogs for health care and education institutional customers. The idea was to give the materials an update and a more consistent look.

``We have used them in literature development and have been pleased with the consistent look across our entire line of marketing materials,'' said Tony Warncke, marketing and product development manager for Sauder Manufacturing. ``They have given us the consistency of appears we were looking for.''

The marketing and graphics firm added a branch office in Chicago several years back and next year plans to open a satellite office in Perrysburg to relieve some of the space squeeze it has at its downtown Toledo office. The firm had $2 million in sales in 2002, but Mr. Lesniewicz feels it should have been twice that.

So, he is now taking some of the advice he gives clients and seeking a more active approach to marketing his firm, believing it needs to tell more potential clients about its capabilities: logos, graphics, marketing, and Web site design.

Small Business Profile is a weekly feature on local companies. To be considered, send information about your company to Small Business Profiles, Business News, The Blade, P.O. Box 921, Toledo, Ohio 43697-0921.



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