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SILVER OAKS COMMUNICATIONS BLOG

Goals, delivery, results. Put Silver Oaks on your team.
August 13, 2018
What are your corporate goals? Boosting brand awareness? Growing sales? Keeping customers - and gaining new ones? Silver Oaks' in-house team of experts will help you meet those goals.
The Power of Sound
August 9, 2018
There is no movie, commercial, or video game that can be considered high-quality without  a professional audio engineer. It's the audio, music, and sound effects that truly tie a project together -- setting the mood, the scene and the emotion.   At Silver Oaks, we're lucky to have one of the best audio engineers in the midwest, Archie Kukarans. With over 25 years of experience, Archie has the tools to  make any project come to life. From interactives and games, to commercials and documentaries, audio is one of the most important elements that often goes unnoticed. And editing sound is surprisingly time consuming. From taking out breaths and passing car sounds, to making sure the sound of crunching leaves is just right, Archie puts time and creative energy into every project he touches. When it comes to music selection, Archie says, “I get the most satisfaction in finding the right piece of music that just fits, it’s very rewarding.” However, he says, “silence is just as important as sound,” referencing French composer, Achille-Claude Debussy who said, “The music is not in the notes, but in the silence between them.” So the next time you're moved by the dramatic music in movie, wow'd  by the booming voice of an announcer, or shocked by the blast of an explosion-- thank a sound engineer, like Silver Oaks' own Archie Kukarans, our go-to guy for audio. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XLlEkYoXWrw
To Infinity and Beyond! Exploring the Science Behind Pixar
August 8, 2018
I was three years old when Pixar released Toy Story. I was introduced to Flick from A Bug's Life when I was five. At eight, I fell in love with the big blue furry monster, Sully, from Monsters Inc. I grew up with Pixar, its adorable characters, amazing animation, and storylines that hold deep meanings that even adults can understand and appreciate. Pixar characters became my very best friends. So when I heard that Chicago's Museum of Science and Industry was hosting the exhibition, The Science Behind Pixar, I knew I had to go.  As a self-proclaimed 'museum nerd', I always try to see as much in a museum as I can in one day. But that's like trying to fit a month's worth of clothes into a weekend suitcase. This time, however, I decided to just attend the Pixar exhibit to make the most of my time -- and I'd encourage die-hard Pixar fans to do the same. Take the time to enjoy the experience without the rush to move on to the next thing! With that said, here are my Top 8 favorite parts of this exhibition: Two galleries. I'm not sure if every institution lays out this exhibition in the same manner, but MSI did it right. This exhibit has A LOT of content. By splitting the content into two separate galleries, it allows visitors to take a break before visiting the second half (especially if you really want to visit a different area of the museum). In addition, entrance to the first gallery is controlled to limit the number of visitors at one time. Photo-ops. Life-size Pixar characters? I'm in! These photo-ops fill wait time and create something fun and memorable for all ages. Interactivity. There are plenty of touchscreen interactives that allow visitors to learn what it takes to animate, add texture, manipulate lighting, and make elements like hair and grass move just right. There are also plenty of opportunities for very young children to interact with physical objects, such as building magnetic robots. Text. Highly technical concepts are presented in this exhibition -- rigging, lighting, virtual modeling, programming, and set design. And yet all of the text is presented in easy-to-understand phrases. Standing video stations with commentary by actual Pixar employees helped to fill in the gaps of information. Flow. The flow of the exhibition is 'station-based'.  That means self-standing stations are dedicated to specific concepts. This approach allows visitors to sit and learn about each element in no particular order. In addition, there are duplicate interactives at each station. Sometimes there are three separate touchscreen kiosks displaying the exact same activity, or eight hands-on magnetic robot building stations. This drastically reduces the amount of wait time at each station. Dwell time. All of the touchscreen interactives in this exhibition allow visitors to 'play the role' of an animator just enough to understand the general idea. Content can be customized within a short time frame. I would say most visitors spend 2-3 minutes at each station. ADA accessibility. I give high praises to the The Museum of Science, Boston, the creators of this exhibition, for making ADA accessibility a priority. All of the kiosks include free-standing stools that are easily moved to allow a wheelchair access. All videos are captioned. And each video station, featuring Pixar employees, have speaker audio, but also have a small phone that can be used to listen to the audio if needed. There's also an audio button that will read text aloud on each kiosk. STEM oriented. This exhibition is clearly STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) focused. The creators did an incredible job of making math and science 'cool' by relating the concepts back to the beloved characters we see on screen. The concepts are tangible. For example, visitors can see the results of complicated mathematical algorithms and geometric coding in the way blades of grass in a field or hair on someone's head behave.  Not-so-favorite parts of the exhibition: What about script writers, voice over talent, and music production? As an employee at a creative media company, I know the talent and importance of script writers and audio engineers. I would have appreciated just a slight nod to the creative minds who write scripts, produce voice over, and write the musical scores of every Pixar movie. While the exhibition was STEM focused, an acknowledgement to other creative roles would have been nice. Team-oriented interactives. I feel like there was a missed opportunity to highlight the teamwork that's necessary to pull off a large exhibition like this. There were no multi-touch tables and no group activities. It would have been a great lesson to work together to create something, just like the real team at Pixar has to do. A gap in levels of understanding. While the animated characters appeal to a very young audience, the content and messaging is very technical and caters to a more mature audience. Many kids just wanted to touch buttons, not learn about what the buttons do. No take-aways. At Silver Oaks, we're constantly trying to come up with new ways visitors can take their experiences with them. This exhibition did not provide any opportunities to email creations back home, or print anything out. [gallery columns="5" link="file" ids="5578,5576,5581,5577,5582,5583,5584,5585,5586,5587,5592,5593,5596,5597,5598" orderby="rand"] Overall... I LOVED THIS EXHIBITION!! And I realize that I'm a millennial who grew up with these characters and can recite movie scripts in their entirety by heart -- so I'm biased! But not only did I get to experience the characters and sets from my favorite movies in real life, I also learned about the technicalities of how the movies were made and how the characters came to life. All the intricacies of every single element were discussed, which added a level of appreciation to the creative minds behind these beloved films. At the beginning of the exhibition a quote from the President of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, Ed Catmull was displayed on one of the walls, that spoke to me: At Silver Oaks, we solve problems every day. And we're creative in how we solve those problems. That's what I love about working at Silver Oaks. We're creative people using creativity to solve problems.  The Science Behind Pixar is on display at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago through January 6, 2019. You don't want to miss it!
Nick Scott slices 35 Years Anniversary Cake
Silver Oaks Celebrates 35 Years of Business
July 31, 2018
We did it - Cheers to 35 Years! 1983 was the year of the “Moonwalk”, Return of the Jedi, the first cell phones, the very beginning of the internet, and the founding of Silver Oaks! On June 1st, Silver Oaks celebrated 35 years in business — and we’ve been celebrating ever since with cake, of course - and special visitors from the Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce. June was a big month for us! Without you and our talented employees, we wouldn’t be where we are today! It’s been a wild ride filled with many memories, laughs, and creative projects we are proud to call our own. In honor of our anniversary, we would like to extend to you our most sincere THANK YOU! This month we have been reflecting on our past, but most importantly - our future. What will the next 35 years bring? We are in an ever-changing industry, and it’s up to us to grow and adapt with YOU. No idea is too big. Our creative team can’t wait to explore and tackle your next project from start to finish to make your business, museum, or visitor center stand out. We’re ready to bring your ideas to life. Here's to 35 more, The Silver Oaks Family
Branded Environments Help Boost Employee Productivity
July 18, 2018
Is your workplace inspiring? Have you considered how strategic and creative interior graphic design of your office space can help with employee productivity? Without a question it can! Research and workplace analysis shows that an employee’s physical environment can enhance overall productivity. It can affect how they are motivated, how they feel about their job, company and day-to-day work experience. An inspiring, branded environment can help your company communicate brand loyalty, goals and history, as well as bolster employee appreciation that will resonate throughout your staff. An inspiring office space is the first step to having motivated employees. And a motivated office makes a successful business! Create a workspace that has life, color, and meaning. Consider the look of your wall spaces, windows, floors, ceilings and everything in between. Showcase your successes. Highlight your people. Accentuate the core of your business. Silver Oaks specializes in graphic design. Our team of designers create pieces that make you feel inspired, innovative, motivated, and proud. Interior graphic design projects at Silver Oaks have been some of our favorite to complete, and have won rave reviews from our clients. It’s time to analyze your workspace from top to bottom. How can you turn your workspace into a place that sparks creativity and builds a better business from the inside out?         Check out an example of a branded environment that Silver Oaks created.    
Get The Most Out Of Your Partnership With Silver Oaks
July 9, 2018
How do you maximize your advertising dollars and build brand loyalty? When you hire a creative agency, solidifying strategy is the first step. To maximize your return on investment you must have these three things ready to share with our team to ensure success. A Deep Understanding of Your Customers Who are your customers? Do you have a buyer’s matrix developed? If you are selling B to B, what are the positions and titles of your buyers? What are their roles and responsibilities? What challenges do they face? What is their status quo, and what are the change drivers? Having this data will help guide the messaging and the tools that need to be developed to deliver messaging to your customers. Your Current Marketing Plan Share with us all aspects of your marketing plan and the goals that you hope to meet. Having the big picture and an understanding of your approach will allow us to identify holes and explore key areas for improvement. Analytics Share any and all of your company’s analytics with our team. We want to understand how your website is converting traffic into leads or sales. We need to know if your digital strategy is successful, and what the return on investment is. How are sales leads generated? Are they coming from landing pages, Facebook, outbound calls, tradeshows, TV, or radio? Having this data will help us understand your revenue, customer acquisition, lead and engagement goals. When you partner with Silver Oaks, our team will be with you from start to finish to bring your ideas to life. By combining strategy, data, and a team of creative professionals, we’ll help you build your brand from the ground up.

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