One Good Turn(s)

The Slayton family loaded up their skis and headed east to Maine for a weekend of philanthropy and fun at Black Mountain with none other than Dr. McDreamy himself. Patrick Dempsey, a Maine native and avid skier was hosting a fundraiser to help honor the memory of his mother, who passed away in 2014 after a courageous battle with cancer.

straight fam shot
The Dempsey Challenge is a slope side fundraising experience for The Patrick Dempsey Center for Cancer Hope & Healing in Lewiston, Maine. One hundred percent of funds raised by Dempsey Challenge participants go directly to the Dempsey Center, allowing them to provide free support, education and integrative medicine services to anyone impacted by cancer.

laughing dereks

After kicking off the festivities, Patrick met participants at the base of the slope, asking who they were skiing for, or in memory of. It was reminiscent of our time at the Double H Ranch Winter 500 last March—where campers descended the hill and marked their name on a HH monolith at Charlie’s Chalet.

We’re proud of our long history with Double H, and their parent company SerioüsFun. And happy to have the materials for our own fundraising event be a finalist for the 2016 American Advertising Federation ADDY Awards. Along with the 2014 Annual Report for Serious Fun.
Friendraiser_Tent_SQFriendraiser_Squirrel_SQFriendraiser_Oak_SQFriendraiser_Goggles_SQScreen Shot 2016-02-29 at 11.54.03 AMOur fight against Cancer continues with The FixIt™ campaign for Glens Falls Hospital, also up for an ADDY. These ViewMaster illustrations helped stamp out tobacco marketing to kids.

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 1.31.03 PMOn Leap Forward day, here’s to design that helps influence change, raise funds for research or improve the lives of those battling the disease. Ours is a small contribution, but we’re proud to have a staff of creative pros who volunteer their time and talents to leap right past cancer.

Operation Elevation

They call it The Greatest Snow on Earth™ and I’d have to agree, nothing compares to Utah skiing. I was 16 when my Dad took me skiing to Utah (Park City & Alta). It all came full circle this year as my 16 year old son Ben came into his own as a skier. Cue the Father-Son trip. Oh, and it doesn’t hurt that our friend and client, John Duncan, is part time Alta resident and manager of Alta’s 3 on-mountain ski shops. Killing two birds with one stone, our trip couldn’t have been better timed.

We enjoyed three days of some of the most amazing conditions I’ve ever skied.

Day 1 started at Alta after a night that gifted us with a full foot of fresh snow. It was a bluebird day, full of knee-deep fluff, and face-shots for powder hounds. It was so good, in fact that several locals, including John, remarked that they hadn’t seen a day like that in 3-4 years. Mission accomplished.



Day 2 saw us venturing to Park City, the largest ski area in the country. They joined The Canyons this season to merge 7,300 skiable acres—hard to explain how enormous that is. It was all sun, plenty of skiing and legendary terrain parks that Ben could sink his skis (not teeth) into. The day was as epic as the skiable terrain.


Day 3 brought us to Brighton Ski Resort, a smaller, local fave, located high in Big Cottonwood Canyon. We inadvertently saved the best day for last— abundant sunshine, powder left over from the previous storm, and arguably the greatest collection of terrain parks seen anywhere in the west.

Perhaps best of all, this was Superbowl Sunday, not only did we end the day at a cool restaurant, but the big game came on early (thank you Mountain Standard Time).


A productive Father-Son Utah ski trip with ski epic powder, a client visit, and the Super Bowl, I consider it a big check on the bucket list. If only every winter could be like that.

W!ld About Millennials

We’ll go ahead and kick this off by saying, this is not a slam piece about millennials. We like them, we employ them, we admire them, we think we should stop talking about them like they are some rare species that is never in the room.

Late last year we were contracted to help bring to life data that was gathered during a study specifically targeting millennials. Why the study? The Adirondacks, like many destinations, have had a great run with an amazing audience that is now aging. Looking ahead, who replaces that audience? Is it Millennials, and if so, what do they want? Does it differ from what’s worked in the past. Schireson Associates conducted focus groups, doing the daring work of actually talking to millennials, rather than disparaging them and making broad generalizations. Tuns out millennials do have certain preferences that can be articulated, but as is the case with most sentient beings, they also contradict one another and don’t all fit into one tidy, little box.

Working with The W!ld Center, we are putting together an interpretation of the data along with graphic elements and other items that can be used by people and organizations that decide that yes, they would like to entertain the idea of tailoring their message and preparing their venue or service to be something that people born between the early eighties and 2000s. The project has made those of us who aren’t millennials feel a little old, but the reality is that making things look cool* gets boring, striving to make things that are relevant, of value, and cool, that’s where the meat is.

Millennials: They’re people! They love things! And, with the right invitation and welcome, they may love the Adirondacks too!

*Cool isn’t even cool anymore. It’s not on fleek. It’s a word we probably can’t even say.

Admissions of What Matters

When my daughter graduated from high school last May we already had our professional foot solidly in the higher education door. Our experience with SUNY Plattsburgh, Paul Smith’s College, Merrimack among others, we had a pretty good idea of what to expect from colleges trying to get the attention of high school kids.

The viewbooks began to arrive, sometimes 3 or 4 a day, and I was able to watch my daughter decide what was worthy of opening and what went into the discard pile. Her choices sometimes baffled me, whether it was a color she liked or a photo or just simply that it didn’t look like all the rest. We made a deal that she would wait to throw anything away until we got to see it, even if it didn’t interest her. Her criterion for opening a piece was simple: whether or not it piqued her interest.

She knew she wanted to do something with animals or biology or maybe economics. So really, she was open to anything. If she set something aside without opening it, I’d look at it and ask her “What about this place?” or “This school looks like it might be a good fit”. She’d give it a cursory second glance, which would sometimes move a piece destined for the trash into the ‘maybe’ pile. Given that we are a design shop, if it was bound for the trash, I’d snag it and add it to the ‘Comparison Work’ examples that we collect.


Eventually she narrowed her choices down to five, mostly based on the viewbooks received in the mail. We visited each school, taking the official tour, asking questions and sitting through the presentations. The best part was always talking with the tour guides, usually students who were enrolled in the programs that Julia was interested in. Honestly, the tours started to feel the same, but the tour guides were memorably different and eager to share their experience at the school (*by far the best weapon for Admissions). I was interested in the finances and logistics and Julia had more interest in whether or not there was a Starbucks on campus and what the food was like.

The decision was always hers to make; we simply wanted her to consider all of the options. She prioritized her applications and mailed them to her favorites. The acceptance letters arrived. We were in the homestretch until a University of Maine viewbook arrived. There was a female student holding a baby black bear on the cover. Julia didn’t even open the book, before blurting, ”We have to go here.” We drove the 7.5 hours up to Orono, Maine to look at the school, take the tour and talk with Admissions. She applied the night we got home, was swiftly accepted, and in August we dropped her off for her first semester. She is officially a UMaine Black bear.


The lesson for me, as a parent and the owner of an ad agency, is that we may think we know what matters to kids as far as content and design go, but ultimately it can be a beautiful photograph that makes the difference between maybe and definitely.

Stay tuned……




We started working with Dan Britten and the International Shooter Federation before anything existed visually to represent the organization or its event. It’s often the case that we send creative out into the world and then that’s it. Luckily with International Shooter we were given a shot to see it in action.

I went to Saratoga with Will and Matt one chilly January day to document the first annual Saratoga Frees and Threes Competition. Here’s how our day shaped up:

8:30am: Meet at office to pick up equipment and snacks.

9:10am: We arrive at Saratoga Rec Center. Walking in the gym, it looks like it was built for this event. Everyone is warming up, greeting old teammates and new rivals. Family and friends are here to lend support (and rebound, of course).


9:31am: Is this thing on?


9:40am: We’re getting some great shots of nothing but net. These competitors are for real. #GetBuckets


11:26am: Matt almost breaks his ankle (and his camera) when a basketball comes rolling at him and he tries to soccer pass it back. Some of us really belong behind the camera and off the court.

1:34pm: The range of competitors is amazing; young/old, short/tall, female/male. This event is up for grabs.

2:12pm: All three of us find ourselves wishing that we spent more time practicing our free throws. Will’s wondering how beer pong skills from his college days would translate to the hardwood.

3:39pm: It’s the finals and we are tiptoeing around with our equipment. The gymnasium is silent except for the swish of the ball hitting the net. You can feel the tension and excitement as the top two from each of the free throws and threes competition take their final turns.


3:30pm: We have winners! There’s great camaraderie between the winners, runner-ups, Dan Britten, and the rest of the event organizers. Here come the giant checks!


4:25pm: We’re packed up and ready to go grab a bite to eat and a drink at Druthers (one of the main sponsors of the event). The things we do in the name of work! A dozen wings, three burgers, and a few Winter Warmers later, we’re on our way out but not before we run into Dan again. He’s exuberant and exhausted after an event that has been years in the making. He tells us it was all worth it and he’s ready for the next tournament. We’ll be at the ready, too—cameras and snacks in hand.

Smells Like School Spirit*


We’re pleased to kick off the year, a little tardy, with the announcement that our work for Paul Smith’s College has earned 3 Gold Medals from the Collegiate Advertising Awards. The work has been a labor of love as we have an alumnus of the college in our family, which may explain how our woodworking skills run so deep.

The entries were in the categories of Viewbooks, Athletics, and Advertising. The creative followed a collaborative immersion into the heart of Paul Smith’s College and was heavily influenced by the passionate voices and minds of PSC faculty and stakeholders.

We’re proud to help wave the Smitty flag and demonstrate the quality of design and communication that are coming from the beautiful wilds of Upstate New York.




*Trampoline considers music a large part of the design process. There are also incredibly strong opinions about, say, the best grunge band of all time, which we understand shows our age. While Derek and Amanda duke it out over the Nirvana/Pearl Jam equation, there are others in the office who are young enough to think grunge is just another filter on photography apps.

Design delivered from the 518

Get in touch with us!