There are 2 kinds of art directors… those that love to watch the SuperBowl to find the latest (and greatest?) ads and those who can successfully tune out anything that wreaks of advertising. (yes, I realize the irony, since I’ve worked at some the best agencies in the world) I’m the latter. I tune out. I tune out TV ads, radio commentators, etc. so I know it must be bad when even I can’t wait for regular commercials to come back on TV. The negativity, the lies, the waste… As I grow older and become more in tune with politics, I wonder if the political landscape has always been this way. My guess is no, considering not even Big Bird went unscathed this election. The political arena is rough, to say the least. However, being heavily involved with a political campaign this season, I understand the importance. A mans (or womans) career is at stake. I’ve witnessed first hand that these political figures are fully invested in the future of the community and go to great lengths to protect and uphold their values.
I’ve never been involved in a political campaign before, unless you count my battle for 6th grade office. However, I’m always up for a challenge and eager to do something new. Turns out, working on a political campaign is not so different than working with any of my other clients. Basic branding techniques apply: 1. Clear, concise messaging that will break through the clutter. 2. Be consistent with the look and feel. 3. Know your audience while staying true to your message. Pair these simple tactics with the integrity of a great candidate and it’s a win-win. Congratulations to my client for a landslide win taking over 75% of the vote. Thank you for shedding a positive light in the world of politics.
I grew up in the country and rode the bus to school. I was the first on and the last off, so needless to say…we were really good at finding ways to be entertained along the route. “Cootie-Catchers”, “MadLibs”….. all tools which helped us to create fantasy stories about friends, boys and our future. We named names and picked numbers, both of which would determine our destiny. Fast forward to the digital age and StoryBeam fills the same gap for young girls.
Our client, StoryBeam.com is a subscription based website with “choose your own adventure” stories. The short, easy-to-read, customized stories (or “Beams”) are written with girls in mind for the lead character and the content is most appropriate for girls between about 10-14. In a time when everything is immediate, I find it refreshing that the “Beams” are delivered on a weekly basis, which creates suspense, rather than instant gratification. Just like in life, once a choice is made, you play out the story.
It has been so satisfying to work on a project that empowers young girls, provides a positive outlook and encourages adventure. In a time when StoryBeam moves from Beta mode to its official launch, StoryBeam is offering a free trial to anyone that is ready for an adventure. Take a look at our design, visit the site, and share with a young girl you might know.
To take advantage of the free trial:
1. go to: www.storybeam.com
2. click on sign up
3. enter your information
4. enter password: moonbeam
I love designing for events. There’s great satisfaction in designing for an event, no matter how big or small. (invitations, posters, programs, decor, etc.) Sparklefurry takes the same approach with event design as we do with any brand development project. We ask questions, understand your goals, and have a solid understanding of the feeling and ambiance you want to demonstrate. A successful event is dependent upon meeting your guests expectations. Invitations set the tone of the event and prepares your guest for the type of experience they will have. Having been involved with The Brides Project for a year, I find myself surrounded by lots of colleagues and potential clients in the wedding industry. While I typically work with many corporate and non-profit events, I took the opportunity to offer a selection of customized wedding invitations. Sparklefurry offers original wedding invites by custom order to make your event truly unique.
AIGA | Detroit offers a variety of ways for local designers to get involved and I’m happy to say Sparklefurry usually rises to the occasion. When the opportunity came up to be a part of the InsideOut Literacy program, Sparklefurry didn’t hesitate. InsideOut engages children in the pleasure of reading and writing. They place professional writers in schools to help students develop their self-expression and give them opportunities to publish and perform their work. Once the stories or poems are ready to be published, InsideOut partners with local designers to make the books a reality. A great gift came in the mail the other day…two copies of the book we designed for Pasteur Elementary School. We were so excited to see our book in printed form!
Again it’s no secret I love the four-legged friends and love companies that strive to make their lives better. Sparklefurry just completed a re-brand and website design for Green Pawz Pet Supply. Located in Ann Arbor, Green Pawz boasts the title of Ann Arbor’s original holistic pet store. They provide nutritional expertise to dogs and cats by carrying a vast supply of USA and Canadian made foods, as well as dehydrated and raw food options. They strive to carry products that are good for your pet and have little environmental impact. In creating a new brand for the store, we adopted the line. “Love you pets and your planet.” to express their commitment to both. We’ve chosen tightly cropped photography to portray the emotional bond between people and their pets. Green Pawz Pet Supply is involved in various pet related activities, including the Huron Valley Humane Society’s Walk & Wag. For this event, Sparklefurry created promotional material to be distributed to participating dog owners, and in sync launched the new website in Content Management System to provide the ease of updating events, product news and resources relevant to customers needs. If you have a dog or cat and are passionate about providing the best care possible, I highly recommend stopping by the store. At the very least, check out their new site at www.greenpawzpetsupply.com
Don’t get me wrong, I love the challenge of marketing all types of businesses. (technology, healthcare, finance…) But there’s something extra special when your work falls in line with your passion. It’s no secret that my passions are food, fashion and pets. (Not necessarily in that order)
Recently, I was fortunate enough to work on a brand that I am extremely passionate about. Uckele Health & Nutrition creates a broad spectrum of nutritional supplements from concept to shelf for the equine and canine and even human category. As many of you know, I have 22 year old Quarter Horse, that I am crazy about, so keeping her healthy is a primary concern. I typically turn to Uckele to meet many of those needs. Uckele just launched a product line called U-Balance, that takes the guesswork out of your horse’s supplement program. Take a look at the package design and promotional material designed by Sparklefurry to support this launch! This is a great example of how passion paired with great brand direction and a solid product mission can produce great results.
Today I was lucky enough to be invited by the AIGA Detroit to review student portfolios at my alma mater, The University of Michigan. I still remember pulling up to the school 15 years ago for my Portfolio review with the Dean. I left very disgruntled. I remember being in his office for less than 10 minutes and thinking what a waste of time. Within weeks… my acceptance letter to the school arrived. At that moment, I realized I knew very little about assessing art and design. How could he possibly have spent so little time with me and yet think he was capable of making such a crucial decision that would impact my life forever?
As I grew in my professional career, I began to understand the things he was able to see so fast. First impressions are established quickly. This is a lesson we carry throughout our design careers. There’s only one chance to make a first impression. I try to remind clients of this every day as they launch new companies, products and brands.
These students are lucky. They had a great opportunity to get a “free” first impression. Get some kinks ironed out and obtain some great feedback to help them craft that “real” first impression. I’m lucky too. I got to spend an afternoon with some very inspiring designers. It was so refreshing to hear new perspectives, share their excitement for their future and know that these young professionals will soon be my peers. I also got to spend an afternoon in one of my favorite places, one which inspired me 15 years ago and apparently it still has the power to do so today.
Best wishes to all those I met today. Thank you for sharing you work, your passion, your anxieties and your dreams with me.
For years there have been debates about the value of award shows. Designers either love ‘em or hate ‘em. (I have a sneaking suspicion it may be tied to a win/lose ratio, but what do i know). In the last month alone I’ve heard the retort from designers as.. “there’s no value in design awards”, “design shows are just ways for organizations to make money” or even “eh, been there done that”….
Um,ok…let’s examine that…
1. There’s no value in design awards.
How about the value of sharing your clients work with a new audience? An audience that may not have had the opportunity to see their message? Isn’t this business about building exposure for our clients and their brands? Why wouldn’t you take every opportunity to showcase their business? I know for me, this year at the Ann Arbor Addys, I was handing out more business cards for my client, The Brides Project, than my own.
2. Design shows are just ways for organizations to make money.
You say that as if it’s a bad thing. Design shows are a great way for organizations to make money. Many organizations, like the Ann Arbor Ad Club for instance, are in dire need of funding. As designers, we should be supporting these arts organizations the best we can. The volunteers within these groups provide a forum for creative individuals to collaborate, inspire and mentor peers as well as the upcoming future designers. At the Ann Arbor Addys, I was approached by multiple student designers, asking my process, my thinking, my technique. These students were thrilled to have a chance to interact with professionals and have a forum to showcase their work. So— if you mean by making money off design shows, organizations are providing a forum where creatives can collaborate, learn, socialize and grow…sign me up.
3. Been there done that.
mmmm-k. I know it gets old… your peers telling you how great your work is. Praising you for how effective you can come up with strategic, innovative solutions. I hate that.
No. Actually I don’t. I love supporting local arts organizations in any way I can, I love mentoring young designers and most of all I like sharing my clients stories with the world, or local community, whatever the case may be. To celebrate we even won Best of Show and People’s Choice this year! Check out more about that at: http://www.sparklefurry.com/about-us/press-releases/
The Brides Project website has officially launched, just in time for their opening day, this Saturday. (September 17th) It’s all so exciting to see this project come to life, as we’ve been involved from the initial logo development, the print materials and finally the website! A big thank you to gadget web design for once again making our designs/concepts a reality. For those of you who don’t know, the brides project offers brides eco-friendly couture at a substantial cost savings, while the proceeds benefit the Cancer Support Community of Ann Arbor. Go to thebridesproject.org to find out all the ways you can get involved in this great initiative!
There’s nothing more satisfying to a graphic designer than receiving a packet of sample materials, right off the press. Yesterday we got the print materials for The Brides Project and we couldn’t be more excited to get them into the hands of our target audience. Sparklefurry designed the logo, business cards, letterhead, envelopes, note cards and brochure. Printed on a recycled stock to go along with the recycled, eco-friendly nature of The Brides Project, we couldn’t be happier with the results. Take a look and watch for the next phase (web & signage) soon!