Ad Assembly

The Higher Ed Marketing Report will formally announce their 2015 Educational Advertising Award winners on March 1st.

Among the gold medalists is an ad campaign that Trampoline created for Paul Smith’s College.

The ads feature actual students, surrounded by the tools used to complete their degree and some of the items of everyday college life. The process to create these ads involved six different staffers, each pitching in specific skills to make the concept come to life quickly and efficiently.

The concept for a campaign to recruit college-aged kids came from a college-aged kid. We asked Rebecca Bolan, our intern during the summer of 2014, for her thoughts on teenage decision making and points of importance. She responded by saying that campus location, reputation and available majors factored into choices, but there were deeper, more personal concerns. “College is a chance to redefine yourself.” She explained. “What are you going to take with you? What will you need? How will your style be seen?”

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Concept Sketch by Rebecca Bolan, Intern

Rebecca sketched out a rough illustration of her idea, and pitched it, internally. Art director Will Fowler took that sketch and tightened it up for presentation to the marketing team at Paul Smith’s, who responded well to the idea.

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Presentation sketch by Will Fowler

We went into layout, and designer Ashley Hooker brought Rebecca’s concept and Will’s direction to digital draft form, isolating and reconfiguring elements until the layout was ready to show.

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Draft Rendering by Ashley Hooker

The full committee at the college wanted to see actual students used, so a photo shoot was scheduled. Amanda, as our lead on the account, went up on campus to provide support and art direction for photographer Nancie Battaglia.

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With real students captured, our process resumed with designer Kate Hurley taking the draft to the next level. Kate built the original concept out into a series of ads, and provided files to Matt Britt, whose production background made him the last stop before submission.

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Design by Kate Hurley

Matt made the necessary prepress file adjustments to ensure that the ad would properly reproduce in the publication, taking into account color balance, saturation and line screen.

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Our internal process included creative critiques early on and proofing stages for revisions as the deadline approached. There was follow-up and confirmation after the design left the studio. This involved even more people on a single job, but the group mentioned above really led the process, and we’re happy to have the series recognized by the Higher Ed Marketing Report.

Concept, Direction, Design, Photography, Revisions, Prepress…Repeat.

150 Years of Finch Paper

We love paper. As designers, we’re constantly following new advertising trends-responsive websites, 3D printing, avoiding QR codes at all costs-but there’s nothing like a perfect printed piece. We’re lucky to have some of the best paper in the world made just down the hill from our office. Finch paper is bright, smooth, and holds color beautifully. We love each opportunity we have to work with them and print on their stock.

2015 marks Finch Paper’s 150th anniversary. Founded as Finch, Pruyn & Company in 1865, they ran logs from the Adirondack Mountains down the Hudson River, and converted them into lumber for homes and businesses. In 1905, they began turning this lumber into paper. For the most part, Finch’s paper is still made the same way it was over 100 years ago-portions of some of their paper making machines have been on site since 1905.

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Finch has long been an innovator in paper making, and has been at the forefront of responsible multiple-use forestry since hiring Howard Churchill, the nation’s first professional forester, in the 1910s. In 2007, Finch Paper sold their 161,000-acres of Adirondack forest to The Nature Conservancy who, in turn, entrusted the Finch foresters to continue responsible management of the forest.

Beth Povie, Director of Branding and Communications at Finch, contacted us late last year to begin work on a brochure to mark Finch’s 150th Anniversary. She challenged us to come up with something unique for this important piece. We discussed the idea of a pop-up, where the Finch 150th Anniversary logo that John Coleman created last summer could take center stage, while the overall look of the piece would match the general size and feel of existing pieces, so they could continue to work as a series.

We met with Eileen Murray, Secretary to the Vice President of Sales & Marketing. Eileen is one of the longest-tenured employees at Finch, and the company’s resident historian. Sitting at a long conference table, we began to dig through photos dating back to the late 1800’s and collateral materials from the 1950’s through present day. Eileen and Beth told us stories and shared interesting bits of Finch trivia. For example, the “Impact” line of 50 lb. Finch/Pruyn stock—in shades of Jonquil, Azure Blue, Coral and Mint Green—was the base stock for the printing of Monopoly money.

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As the table began to disappear under a stack of historical materials, I thought about integrating a collage of these pieces into the booklet. I rushed back to the office and began scanning away.

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John Coleman told us “make sure they show you the photo of the guys in the plant without shoes.” As a former employee of Finch, John’s familiarity with Finch’s brand standards, historical background and knowledge of the paper making process itself were extremely helpful throughout this project.

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We began working on the production of the piece’s assembly in mid-December. Testing showed that we were able to build a template that printed two-sided on one 24” x 36” sheet, where the center pop-up section folded back up onto the piece-this allowed us to have a full four-color version of the collage appear inside the cone formed by the pop-up.

In addition to the booklet, we got the go-ahead to refresh the “How Finch paper is made” poster that the company has produced a few of times over the years. This poster is a fold-out piece that is inserted into the larger sales piece. One of the materials we borrowed from Finch was a 30 year old version of this poster. While the piece from the ‘80s was helpful for content, I was stylistically inspired by a line drawing of the paper making process from a piece of Finch/Pruyn collateral dating back to the 1950’s. I enlisted Will to help me brainstorm this insert, and he agreed to work on a “Willustration” that evoked that earlier style.

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finch_150_infographic_sketchI joined Beth on a tour of the plant to see the paper making process first-hand. I was able to photograph various elements of the process for the insert, and even borrow some of the large photos hanging on the walls to round out the historical photos featured in the brochure.

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Beth and I travelled to AM Lithography in Chicopee, MA for a press check. AM Litho specializes in unique packaging and intricate dies and folds, which made them an ideal choice for our gatefold working around a pop-up. We saw additional comps of the final die for the piece, and worked on press to ensure color was just right.

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It was fascinating to be on press with Beth. She knows all the intricacies and strengths of printing on Finch stock-in this case, a Finch Fine, Bright White, Ultra Smooth, 65# Cover. Beth challenged me on some of my instincts with regards to color correction-for example, when the cover was reading too green, we bumped up the density of the Cyan, Magenta and Black inks instead of pulling back on the Yellow. Beth told us “the paper is starving. It’s craving more ink.” The proof is in the crisp, vibrant, finished product.

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Since the early days of Finch, Pruyn & Company, paper making has been a vital source of employment in the Glens Falls area. The chance to work on the Finch account as I’ve returned to my hometown after years of being away has been a great opportunity. Finch’s history is a large part of this area’s history and it has been a great deal of fun working to bring that history to life.

Here’s to the next 150 years!

The West (Mountain) Is The Best

The author, enjoying a long-awaited payday at West Mountain.

The author, enjoying a long-awaited payday at West Mountain.

East coast skiers are accustomed to sketchy conditions. There’s a reason we have “rock” skis at-the-ready for days when snow is thin. In fact, they usually get more use than our more favored sticks.

But every once in a great while, we get lucky.

The same storm pattern that’s dumped 100 inches on Boston has left east coast ski resorts with the best conditions in decades; and skiers with a case of permagrin.

The illustrated 2015 trail map Trampoline created for West Mountain.

The illustrated 2015 trail map Trampoline created for West Mountain.

At our nearby hill, West Mountain, locals are tossing around words like “best-ever”, “legendary”, and “all-time”. This Sunday, the final day of President’s Week, there wasn’t a parking spot to be found and ticket lines stretched as far as the eye could see. Every trail was open, four inches of fresh snow fell overnight atop a fluffy 75” base, and, after a week of single digit temps, the mercury finally rose into the 30’s. Conditions were perfect.

While we’re all thanking Mother Nature, credit must be given to the mountain’s new ownership. It wasn’t long ago that the mountain’s future was in jeopardy. But recent investments and mountain improvements have revived the mountain’s spirit and returned it to its former glory. Without a doubt, it’s in the best shape I’ve seen it in my 20 years of skiing there, and I’m not the only who feels that way. On Sunday I skied with a friend who lived in Colorado for five years and skied at famed resorts like Vail, Breckenridge, Jackson Hole and Alta. Stopping halfway down an untracked glade run at West Mountain, he commented (between deep breaths) that it was as good as any runs he’d skied out west.

And it’s not just our local hill thriving. Our friends at Hunter Mountain in the Catskills, resorts across Vermont, and businesses throughout the Adirondacks who rely on winter tourism are all enjoying a well-deserved boost to their bottom line.

So let’s revel in this moment, east coasters. It’s not often we get to stick our tongues out at our friends out west and say with certainty that we have the best skiing in the country.

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Healthy options on display

Good Move is a comprehensive campaign that brings together messages from three NYSDOH initiatives: Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work and Play – Communities, Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work & Play – Worksites and Heathy Schools New York. The campaign encourages stakeholders from community, worksite and school settings to take steps towards good health and provides resources to support healthy eating, physical activity and family health. Good Move was also used to increase public awareness of and support for policy, systems and environmental changes achieved through the NYSDOH grant programs.

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Upstate New York has a significant number of low-income communities where obesity is a rapidly growing issue.  Glens Falls Hospital contracted us to conceive of a campaign using dollars from a Creating Healthy Places to Live, Work, and Play grant.

Understanding that our audience was neither accustomed to exercising nor conditioned to choose healthy foods, we opted for a campaign that played double duty as a suggestion and as a kind of “Way to go” sentiment.

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We deliberately booked billboards across from fast food messages to take digs at places like McDonalds, because laughter leads to trust more than admonitions lead to action.

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The Campaign was awarded by the American Advertising Federation and appeared in the Graphic Design USA Health + Wellness Design Awards issue. The team at Glens Falls Hospital was wonderful to work with and delivered the designed materials into the community with great success.

A Jury of Peers

A few weeks ago I spent a Friday evening having dinner at New World Bistro in preparation for the next day’s review of the American Advertising Federation’s Northeast Pennsylvania Chapter ADDY entries. Aray Montalvan from the Albany Ad Club, Eric Lansberry and Christine Medley from NEPA, and Sue Conroy from The College of St. Rose all welcomed the judges warmly.

The judges I joined were Doug Bartow, Principal & Design Director of id29; Alana Sparrow, Principal at The Foundry; and Michael Rivette. It was a fun, if frigid night with temps beginning their below zero free fall. The group offered to kick the next day’s activities off later than the scheduled 9am in deference to my nearly hour drive from Glens Falls. Preferring not to reinforce any suggestions that Glens Falls is an unmanageable trek, I cheerfully said that 9am would be fine, which it was. Pumping gas the next morning* in -15° temps was not so fine.

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They did a great job preparing the work for us to review, kindly, but firmly informing us as they handed us our judging notebooks, that this was not a process that should involve a lot of talking. We were, with the exception of student work, to draw our own conclusions about the caliber of the work and which entries should be rated highest.

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We moved about the room reviewing the work. It was fascinating, having only ever been on the submitting side of the judging equation, to pore over the work. I imagined the critiques the design teams had, the back and forth over colors and type. I wondered if there were an invisible wake of ideas that didn’t make the cut, and funny anecdotes about how that tagline came to be.

A spirited conversation about hamburgers and responsiveness took us down some twists and turns, eventually coming back to the task at hand; reviewing websites, videos, and commercials that were submitted.

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I’d had my moments of worrying that it was too much of my personal time to give away. I hadn’t anticipated the conversation and commiserating. I genuinely enjoyed myself and was reminded of the amazing design and marketing community we have in our corner of New York. I know the judging of our own chapter’s ADDY entries just happened over the weekend. Our agency is happy to be a part of the Albany Ad Club and I’m pleased to have been trusted to review the pieces and contribute to the celebrating of another AAF chapter’s body of work.

Tonight Derek will head down to the 2015 Upstate NY AIGA Student Portfolio Building Workshop to present a talk on Staying Inspired. These pockets of time outside of work are important, preserving the passion in our profession. Alliteration FTW.

*Pro-tip, always gas up on the way home, you’ll be grateful the next day!

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