What’s in a Sign?

•November 14, 2008 • 2 Comments
Grandfathered Exterior Sign, Arketype

Grandfathered Exterior Sign, Arketype

“And the sign said,
‘Long-haired freaky people
Need not apply.’
So I tucked my hair up under my hat
And I went in to ask him why.
He said, ‘You look like a fine upstandin’ young man.
I think you’ll do.’
So I took off my hat and said, ‘Imagine that.
Ha, me workin’ for you.’ ”

Whoa, sign, sign.
Everywhere a sign.
Blockin’ out the scen’ry.
Breakin’ my mind.
Do this. Don’t do that.
Can’t you read the sign?”

Ah, the words of the Five Man Electrical Band from 1970. Back then, as it is still today, signs are just as important to keep order, as they are to keep “order!” When we purchased the Grace Presbyterian Church and renovated it into our offices, it came with a signpost along Monroe Street. According to Wisconsin DOT, Monroe Avenue’s annual average daily traffic count is well over 10,000 vehicles per day. That’s a lot of look’n! Giving that figure to our controller Kurt Anderson, he promptly worked it out to 416 per hour and 6.9 per minute year around 24/7!

So what do you do with that kind of opportunity? According to President Jim Rivett:

“This little old sign once communicated the preacher’s weekly sermon topic but now is used as a sustainable marketing vehicle, not only to promote the Arketype brand but to illuminate the many partnerships Arketype adopts for investment clients (not-for-profit) partnerships.”

How does that work? We have a sign that should be used to identify Arketype’s offices to clients and suppliers but it does not always do that literally. Our signature building helps; we are one of four main buildings on Jackson Square in downtown Green Bay. The Lutheran and Methodist Church are located on the north and south, the YWCA on the west and we are located on the eastside of the square, easy to find. And being such that our clients and suppliers see our offices as a destination, and that we do not rely on street traffic to maintain our business, the sign lends itself to going beyond the traditional use.

“What a wonderful way to have fun with a brand message and swap it out, changing and morphing it so the daily ‘drive by impressions’ are greeted with something new and informative,” says Rivett. “People get to witness the power of the Arketype brand at street level. What can be better than that?”

So yes we might be “block’n out the scenery” and break’n into minds, but this signpost has been doing that for over 90 years. Let the tradition continue!

Paul Meinke
See what else we’ve been up to at:


Creativity. Culture. Community. Commerce.

•February 7, 2008 • Leave a Comment


Over the past several years I have had the honor of serving on the Wisconsin Arts Board. This state agency engages Wisconsin’s people in the creative process, whether in traditional arts or in the art of business.

Our diversified board of professionals, appointed from areas statewide, has reformulated the agency. It offers many rich resources beyond just capital, and as such is now reaching out deeper, farther, and more effectively to art organizations, businesses, industries, local governments, and Indian nations that reside here in the state.

On January 22, we held a press conference in which our chair, Lt Governor Barbara Lawton unveiled a new strategy complemented by a new identity for the Wisconsin Arts Board in the form of a new logo. Arketype stepped up to the challenge and developed a new look that both in form and function best reflects this new direction—a new direction that blurs the boundaries of traditional arts and creativity to include community culture, arts education, and the creative thinking process required for daily learning, working, and playing. A direction that also stresses how art and creativity can benefit the economic power of a place through commerce.

Arketype designed an icon and logotype that captures it all. With a professional presentation of the logo type, playful intent on the word “art,” and a mark that could be a brush stroke, a dancer, a piece of sculpture, or a punctuation, if you will, integrated and seated into the logo type itself. In fact, the icon hints to the birth of a new idea! This new face of the Arts Board has appeal to both the artist, as well the accountant.

In its inaugural presentation to the people of the state of Wisconsin, Arketype created a multimedia presentation that illustrates the new positioning statement and graphically tells the story of the benefits that arts deliver as represented by the four “Cs.” Creativity. Culture. Community. Commerce.

CREATIVITY does not occur in a vacuum. Rather it takes place within an environment through the human experience and the intellectual exchange between people. This exchange nurtures thinking that results in traditional arts, like a painting, a book, or a dance. But well beyond this simplification, creativity also produces products, goods, and solutions. With that said, creativity is really a product of a COMMUNITY, which can be observed on many different levels; i.e., a town, a geographical area, or even the world.

Over time, a community’s creativity efforts build a “brand” which could also be called a CULTURE identifying the community. An obvious example of this would be the Oneida Nation. But let’s extend that concept and apply it to the entire state of Wisconsin, or to a specific location such as Northeast Wisconsin, or to a place like the city of Green Bay. How then do these communities survive? Through COMMERCE, which in turn is the quality of goods or services produced through creativity, community, and its culture!

Paul Meinke
See what else we’ve been up to at:

Respectacles or Respectaculars?

•January 31, 2008 • 1 Comment

Our nation appears to be having difficulty showing respect for one another. Sadly, examples of disrespect and a lack of civility are rampant.

Recently, talk-show host John Gibson laughed off Heath Leger’s death by calling him a “weirdo with a serious drug problem.” He then played quotes from Leger’s Oscar-nominated performance in “Brokeback Mountain,” “How can I quit you?” followed by a biting comeback, “Well, he found out how to quit you,” Gibson said, laughing into his microphone.

In Washington, DC, after a snowstorm left three inches of snow on the ground, a high school senior left his name, number, and a message on the superintendent’s answering machine asking why he was keeping school open. The superintendent’s wife responded by leaving the young man an angry, condescending message, including calling the students “snotty nose little brats.” Her rant found its way onto the Web and into America’s mainstream media spotlight.

And let’s not forget our politicians who have filled news outlets throughout this election campaign with disrespectful rhetoric, especially during the week in which we celebrate the ideals of Martin Luther King, Jr.

What can you do?


On Monday, January 21, the official holiday recognizing Dr. King, Arketype once again closed its doors as it has for the past three years and took it as “a day on.” We spent the day volunteering and engaging the community in which we live and work. This year’s theme centered on respect…how timely!

Four Arketype teams visited area schools, acting out scenes for second-graders that illustrated the use of disrespect in various situations. Students were given pairs of “respectacles” [colorful eyeglasses] and asked to wear them in order to see ways of changing each situation. The teams then replayed the scenes using the students’ tips and advice. The program ended with a song and slide show illustrating the importance of diversity and respect.

Ray Faccio, who is responsible for business development at Arketype, participated in the event and had this comment about the experience:

“Interacting with a class of second-graders on MLK Jr. day always reminds me of the absolute innocence of these little ones. I watched a little girl sitting in the front row faintly mouthing the words to the song, ‘Don’t Laugh at Me,’ as it played. She obviously was thinking deeply.


“As much as we hear how children are growing up faster and faster, these children are innocent and impressionable. They just need adults to show them a good path.

“I think Martin Luther King, Jr. would be happy with the small acts of caring we extend each year on his birthday.”

Arketype is compelled through communication to be a positive influence in the development of today’s youth. After all, designing and building communication is what we do in business every day for others. And we believe that design has purpose. With that comes responsibility above and beyond our own industry.

MLK day is a great reminder for everyone to engage in respectful behavior. Imagine the spectacular results if everyone engaged in just a little respect.

Paul Meinke

See what else we’ve been up to at:

Halloween Madness Struck!

•November 11, 2007 • Leave a Comment


Like a bolt of lightening grabs hold of the earth, 612 Stuart Street’s Grace, home to Arketype, was engulfed in a sea of creatures on October 31st, Halloween. Not that the building has never been visited before by creatures of the night. Since we made this nearly 100-year-old building our home in downtown Green Bay, there have been several eyewitness accounts that we are not here alone.


A few of us lucky (or would that be unlucky?) ones have heard the echo of deliberate footsteps along the floor of the atrium balcony. A slow methodical pace…heel against maple-slotted wooden walkway. Yet when one gets up to look into the area, the sound disappears, and no one is there.


There was also a sighting of a figure in the bell tower windows, seen in the twilight of this fall. The figure moved from window to window before vaporizing right before our eyes. The interesting point about this sighting is that the floor in the bell tower is a good ten feet below the windows, which means the figure had to be floating!


But this Halloween, the ghouls and goblins on Stuart Street took on many material forms, and believe me they were real because you could poke them with a stick! Especially after feasting on a potluck lunch of gnocchi eyeballs in a bloody red sauce, pumpkin soup, ghostly cupcakes, and we can’t forget our favorite, snot-on-a-stick. These were just a few of the ghoulish delights enjoyed by our crew.


Alive or dead, in spirit or earthly forms, there was much thunder in the celebration with a good time had by all! It was a great way to build camaraderie as we now stare winter square in the face!


Paul Meinke

See what else we’ve been up to at:

Rock around the clock tonight!

•October 10, 2007 • 1 Comment


Well, we’ve made it at last. Now 15 years old and moved into our new space with all the fix’ns, it was time to kick back and celebrate! On September 27th, we opened our doors and invited our clients, suppliers and friends into our new space for a gathering that rocked the streets of Monroe and Stuart combined.


More than 500 hundred people attended to dine on quintessentials from JR’s Chives restaurant, with desserts from Benjamin’s. And yes, even Elvis was in the building!


Elvis appeared, sang a tune or three, and then disappeared. But along came the Divine Temple Mass Choir and got you up and movin’. If you made it past security, maintained by our front-doormen, what you found inside was a delicious buzz, a refreshing breath of conversation, music, and song and dance.


It felt good to feel the energy envelope the building. What was once a place where lights grew dim and the carpet turned grey through the dust of time was now back in her place of “Grace” and beauty, trumpeted only by the kind, good folks who came to the rescue and celebration.

For lots of fun filled pictures click here!

Thank you to all who came and made it possible.

From all of us Arketopians!


•May 24, 2007 • 1 Comment


Nothing like warmer weather, sunshine, green leaves, and thunderstorms to bring life back to the planet at the 44th parallel. Outside work on Grace has been completed with painting, Plexiglas, and new plantings.


After the outside window pains were scraped, repaired, caulked and painted, over 90 custom panels of new Plexiglas were installed to protect the stained glass from the elements.


Included in the landscaping is a plethora of texture and color. From five different types of Hostas to Brunnera Jack Frost, Boston Ivy, Yucca Bright Edge, Artemesia Silver Mound, Black Lace, Sedium Purple Emperor and Firwitch to name just a few. Over 48 different types of plants have been used around the building and on the grounds. Now we just have to water and watch them grow!

Mary our landscape design and planner scopes the grounds.

The building has become a jewel in downtown’s Navarino Neighborhood. Located across from Jackson Square Park, our place here is quickly becoming a sanctuary of creative justice, working forward problem solving in the communications industry. Already every meeting space has been occupied, already the staff is engaged in multiple ways by design and layout of work areas, already we’ve bonded over lunches prepared out of the kitchen, already we are engaged in our community, not as an observer but a participant in making this the best place to work and live.


Next up on the docket, the finishing touches on our hot lot!

Paul Meinke

See what else we’ve been up to at:

Hello Grace!

•March 12, 2007 • 276 Comments


When you finally make it through your first week in a new place there is a sigh of relief. Are all the bugs worked out? No. Did all the furniture arrive on time? No, in fact it’s just being ordered. What about our front desk, is it installed? Not hardly, and still in the making. And that new telephone system sure must be awesome! Well…not quite yet, but we are getting there.

The rush of events, the timing, and organization of moving to our new location was handled by our very own Bobbie Fredricks.


“There really wasn’t any major challenges,” said Bobbie. “There was a lot to do, yes, but once we knew where everyone was going to be located at the new building, everything seemed to fall into place. The after-move is more challenging to me. There are boxes to unpack and everyone, including me, are back to meeting project timelines.”


And her biggest surprise? “That EVERYONE helped pack and that all the packing assignments were completed. With an unpredictable daily schedule in the advertising world, a person never knows what will happen when he or she walks in the door for the day.”


Before our move, however, we held an open house for the former members of Grace Presbyterian Church and other members of Presbyterian congregations in the Greater Green Bay area. Although the original Grace congregation was at one time very large, by September 2004 it was as few as 12 members. We had a wonderful turnout and many positive comments.


Some were bittersweet as in what Barbara Anderson wrote in our guest book…“My child was baptized here, wonderful and sad to see the church I grew up in.” Some were grateful, as in Ken’s comment…“Thank you for restoring this beautiful old church. I was a member, sang in the choir, and married here in 1952.” And some, like Wendy and Steve Mangless, were proud! They came for one last look…“Thank you for the open house. I was a fifth generation member!”


Cards and letters came in after as well. “What a special day it was for us! Thank you for the honor, respect, and care you’ve shown in your design of our former church. You did a wonderful job.” Written to us from Ruth Henschel a 25-year member.


“Closing a church is never pleasant and the circumstances surrounding the closing of Grace left us unhappy and with many unanswered questions. We were concerned that the building would be sold to someone wanting just the location. After seeing what you’ve done, I have a sense of peace and acceptance with the closing of our church. I hope you will continue to enjoy the beauty of the building. Sincerely, Margaret Letts.” We will Margaret, we will.


And finnally Marguerite Lussenden wrote to us about how much more prominent the windows are now that they are cleaned up. Not only cleaned, but also now seen…on the second level, the hand-painted glass scenes were once covered by risers and pew backs extended over four feet that we removed.

I catch myself at least once a day taking a second look at a window, a stream of sunlight breaking through the colored glass. Whether it is the large gothic arched painted scenes, or a simple window in a stairwell that the sun has illuminated sending a burst of color across the floor. I pause and stop to look at its splendor.


Grace is a masterfully crafted space where people gathered in spirit for over a 130 years. That will never change. So many of us here now enjoy its proud presence, its renovation, its renewed spirit, and continue to build upon the memories of its past—a bit differently, but with respect and through the professionalism of our craft.

Paul Meinke

Look what else we’ve been up to at: