Here Through It All

Communicating a message seems straightforward until of course, you add in the noise, competition, misinterpretations, and fleeting attention spans. The ability and willingness to refine a message, as well as the presence of mind to make it about the audience, is imperative.

Glens Falls Hospital wanted to use the Olympics as an opportunity to speak to a happily captive audience. Using lush imagery that fit within the epic winter vistas of PyeongChang, a message of rebounding from injury much like an athlete, and concise iconography to illustrate the services that Glens Falls Hospital offers, this general awareness spot communicated without interrupting, because there is a time and a place for disruption.

 

We enjoyed creating this spot, but even more than that, we enjoy seeing it as we cheer on the fearless athletes.

Resolve to Be Your Brand

As the calendar flips from December to January, the internet fills with articles on critiques, primers, and how-tos about branding. If the articles work for you, high-five. If they don’t, it’s ok. Here’s a small contribution from us and if you are a tl;dr type:

You are your brand, not the guy pontificating on LinkedIn or the x,y,z experts.
Decide who you are, what you want, and make sure other people understand that.

We like to say, “We’re with the brand.” It’s a little bit playful and also very true. Like the people who’ve committed to trekking, trucking, or thumbing across the country to follow they’re favorite bands, we match pace with our brands. Weaving through glades at Attitash or walking the halls at Glens Falls Hospital, traipsing through hop fields and boning up on the periodic table.

Our approach to creating, supporting, or strengthening a brand will always be rooted in really getting to know it. We also retain an outsider perspective because even the most focused among us can fall victim to forgetting how things look and feel for someone outside of the brand.

Personal Brand

On Brand

Corporate Brand

The phrases are real, the potential is significant, and the power is yours. Your definition of your brand and your execution are completely up to you. It’s important to consider things from the outside in, which is why getting outside help can be productive. It’s a little like the friend you know will say, “Yeah, navy isn’t your color.” That said getting too wrapped up in how people say it must be done can ultimately do more harm than good.

Our advice to you is in 2018 be proud of your brand—play with it, own it, and share it.

Join the Team-UPDATED (a second time!)

Summer is winding down and things are revving up here at Trampoline, which is why we are here sharing this throwback commercial from Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. It’s time for us to find that perfect mix as we grow our team. This clip will demonstrate that we aren’t afraid of a little bit of low-res cheese. It’s also foreshadowing that we are looking to do more than staff an open position, it’s to connect people and ideas in a way that strengthens our team and gives you an opportunity to sweeten your skills.

 

 

Ideally, you will be open to learning new things, being flexible to adapt to changes in workflow or assignments, and also a fan of this area.

Things we aren’t: a massive agency, a huge town, users of words like maven, thought leader, or ____-preneur.

Things we are: Passionate about design, solving communication riddles, flaky pastries, craft beers, and kombucha. Ok, so that last one may only be Megan and Amanda.

Graphic Designer

We don’t take adding designers to our team lightly, but the time has come. We are looking for someone with 3+ years working as a designer. We value opinions and confidence, particularly when they are paired with an appreciation for design, typography, process, and clear communication. The process at Trampoline involves collaboration between the different members of the team—one of the reasons why we do require that this position be on-site.

Designers (we currently have 8) work with clients as well as production vendors. The work in the shop ranges from branding projects and ad campaigns, to print magazines and annual reports, with a bit of social media and digital advertising thrown in for good measure.

Fine print: Must have a mastery of Adobe Creative Suite, Word, ability to do battle with Publisher through clenched teeth and a smile. Some familiarity with HTML, video, and photography would be swell.

This position will report to an Art Director and assist in mentoring junior designers.

Please respond with work samples, availability, and references.

 

Junior Graphic Designer

We don’t expect you to be an expert, but we do expect you to be proficient in the Adobe Creative Suite. You can anticipate acting as a support for our current design staff. This could involve re-sizes and re-prints, assisting with proofing and research. If you have video/animation skills, or an interest in learning, all the better. We love a well-rounded, knowledge-hungry designer. As a member of the team, you will participate in creative concepting sessions and the crit process. There will be times when you go on-site for client meetings and events. Our clients range from higher-ed and health care to ski resorts and non-profit organizations.

You’ll have a senior team member who will serve as a mentor. We understand that there will be times when you have questions or need guidance; there isn’t a day at Trampoline when someone doesn’t learn something from a co-worker. Our goal is to have you grow into a larger role, but to do it at a managed pace. There are opportunities to allow everyone a chance to spread their creative wings.

We hope that you will be someone who wants to be here for a while.

When you respond, please send work samples and references.

 

If you think you might be a fit for either of these positions please send us an email with your resume.

 

It’s Up to You

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People like to give advice, sometimes it’s a gift, other times it’s predictably hot air. 

Specialize in something.

Establish your niche.

Narrow your focus.

Stay in your lane.

The tricky part of navigating life, relationships, and the marketplace is to know when to listen, when to nod politely, and when to trust your instinct. Over the course of our nearly fourteen years in business we have heard a lot of advice, some we quote greatly for its evergreen brilliance. 

“If it doesn’t work, kill it quick.”

“If you don’t love it, don’t show it.”

“That’s not how the internet works.”

There are other moments we look back on and realize we should have listened to our gut. This is a long-winded way of saying that no one knows what’s best for you, but you. Have some fun. We guarantee that when you enjoy what you are doing and who you are doing it with, it comes through in the final product. 

Listen, keep what works, and move along.

Building a tower of TP for Morcon at the Wood Theater in advance of the Adirondack Theatre Festival‘s production of  The Boy in the Bathroom .

Branding Fun

“That’s work?” is something we hear a lot as we post snippets from our days. It’s undeniable that we get to do some pretty fun stuff in pursuit of the shot.

Putting a face on things is something we love—that can be places, products, or even events. Is it luck or strategy that so much of we get to brand are activities we love? It’s both. Combining work and play means that the passion we have will translate to the mark that’s created. This isn’t to say that non-playful projects get less passion, in fact, it means that our satisfaction keeps us alert, hungry, and game to push concepts to make them stronger, whether it’s an annual report or an ad campaign.

Here are a few identities we’ve created for activities that take you from bike seat to chair lift, from river rapids to mountain peak (on foot, Jeep, or wheels), and maybe—when you’re all done—to a nice hammock.

Over the Top—a new 10k Mountain Bike and 5k Trail Run at West Mountain.

Over The Top

The New Country of Saratoga 5K Race and Obstacle Course was also on West Mountain. Over snow, above icy water, alongside fire, and through a good deal of ice, runners and to hoof, crawl, leap, and tube their way to the finish line.

New Country
We have some major cycle nuts on staff, this has always been a mark we wanted to take a swat at. The Black Fly Challenge—a 40 mile cycling event from Indian Lake to Inlet (or Inlet to Indian Lake depending on the year)

BlackFly

The mind behind Brant Lake Bike Park asked us to help him create an identity to match his vision—A project to create single track trails across 200 acres of beautiful Adirondack terrain.

Brant Lake Bike Park

For their 5th anniversary the Lake George Land Conservancy wanted an updated mark for the  Hike-a-Thon—A day with 17+ hikes to choose from in the Lake George Area.

Hike-A-Thon

Kaatskillz—A pro-Am event at Hunter Mountain with skate park inspired features including hips, bowls, and rails. Making this was as fun as taking to the slopes.

Kaatskillz

Some jobs just fall in your lap. John Duncan, the genius behind SOC, strolled into a coffee shop 12 years ago. He liked the branding, asked who did it, and then came knocking. We’ve been working together ever since.

SOC

Turns out you can do more than ski at Hunter Mountain. They asked us to build upon the icon system we’d created for other events.

4x4

Our work with Hunter expanded to work with Wildcat, Crotched, and Attitash. This Alpine Slide icon is for the feature at Attitash, which, for authenticity’s sake we just had to try.

Alpine Slide

A new twist was to introduce some of our favorite places to a foreign audience. Go North is a brand, an invitation, and an itinerary to take travelers through our part of the state, produced for The Wild Center in collaboration with the Adirondack Regional Tourism Council, Warren County Tourism, the Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau , and I Love NY.

Go North

 

Branding is fun. Maybe we can work together…or should we say play?

 

Go North: an Adirondack Invitation

“We have a story to tell and a vacation to market, but no name or look…we would like you to create that.”

It’s kind of the ideal scenario when the story and journey are situated in one of the most picturesque regions of New York State and the client is someone you enjoy and admire. Working with the Wild Center in conjunction with the Adirondack Regional Tourism Council, Warren County Tourism, the Saratoga Convention and Tourism Bureau , and I Love NY, on this project was exciting.

The goal was to package a tour-based itinerary that would loop through Saratoga Springs, Lake George, Tupper Lake, and Lake Placid to be presented on an international stage. For us, this meant creating something that was not rooted in insider language or regional specificity. Consideration was given to translations and scalability to include other parts of the region at a future date.

We presented half a dozen name options, each with its own spin. The concept that was selected, Go North was followed by the simple line: The sights, shops & stories of Northern New York.

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The itinerary was unveiled at the U.S. Travel Association‘s annual business conference, IPW, in Washington DC earlier this month. We created shirts to allow the team at the conference to represent Go North in both language and person. The itinerary branding on the front of the shirt, paired with the partner brands on the back, created the opportunity to spark more conversations with attendees.

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According to The Wild Center, the project aims to recruit new tour companies and travel agents to highlight Northern New York in their travel product offerings online, in print catalogs, and brochures. “We found that for the international market, the Adirondacks is a tourism ‘black hole.’ There just isn’t information out there to help draw people up and out of New York City,” said Patrick Murphy, Group Sales Coordinator at The Wild Center and one of the GoNorth team members.

Once the branding and naming were established, we worked to create iconography, maps, and other visuals to bring Go North to life. A brochure told the expanded stories of the potential stops on the tour, from the activities they could enjoy:

Go Hike

Go Eat

Go Learn

as well as the places they would experience, from waterfalls and fountains to casinos, museums, and shopping. Each  A rack card and preloaded, branded flash drives made it simple to share information.

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The website for Go North, to support the print collateral, was developed by Mannix Marketing, who worked swiftly to ensure that the Go North was ready to Go Live for the conference.

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The Luxury of Pickiness

Picky

Selective

Discerning

Choosy

Overparticular

Opinionated

Fickle

As we all participate in the sprint/marathon/obstacle course for people’s attention the truth is that consumers, with very few exceptions, have the luxury of pickiness. They get to go full on House-Hunters-judgey and define their own expectations and reasoning.

 

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They can tune you out, be drawn to new things by a fleeting sparkle, or even change their minds without explanation. Being sneaky, disingenuous, or half-hearted is no way to win someone over. So what the heck are you supposed to do when algorithms constantly change, ad rates soar, the market gets crowded, and something like a fidget spinner comes along and makes your product or service as appealing as week-old potato chips in a bag that wasn’t properly closed?

 

We would suggest that the first thing you do is laugh. We’re all misunderstood, burned, and wounded from time-to-time, and the stories are often amazing. Honestly, finding true love is hard and the pitfalls along the way are inevitable, brand love is every bit as tricky.

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If consumers are picky, let yourself be upbeat, undaunted, and unyielding in your offering of your service or product. Remember that what you offer is something of value, it serves a purpose, produces an emotion or an outcome that is desirable. When people try to define you in a way other than that, go back to center.

We sell candles—-> We deliver light.

We write copy—–> We bring stories to life.

We have cabins for rent—–> Your yet-to-be-made memories live here.

It isn’t necessary to be like everyone else or to feel it’s a failure if you don’t appeal to all people. Be you and for the right people that will be more than enough.

Learning the Ropes

“Hey Allison, would you be open to sharing your impression of Trampoline from the perspective of a new-to-the-team person?”

“Sure,” she said, “Could I do it in a comic?”

Everyone thinks about it for a minute. “Don’t see why not.”

“Great,” she said cracking a sketchbook.

“Thanks!”

Here it is:

Comic-Spread-01

Chemistry is the essence of communication

 

Chemistry does not happen in a vacuum, well, maybe high school chemistry does, it wasn’t my best subject. The chemistry I’m talking about is connection; the emotional or primal response people have to a person, place, or thing. It’s sensing as you walk into a place for the first time that you belong there. The voiceover in a commercial that makes you feel happy. The lines on a page that transcend ink on paper and instead become a battle cry or a love song.

Chemistry is the fuel in everything we do at Trampoline, because in the end getting market share isn’t about numbers it’s about hearts. Successful campaigns build loyalty and momentum, both of which are rooted in an emotional connection. It may be related to value or quality, but it is sustained by the relationship.

It’s ferreting out the words, colors, and placement that will allow an audience to feel the spark of connection, a literal pull to read more, get closer, and to commit. Keeping sight of the importance of chemistry is how we can let an idea we love or a font we think is beautiful be replaced by the elements that will mean the most to the gazes we want to hold. This is about us, as in more than one person, one agency, or one client.

A recent meeting at the studio to present creative had us crackling with anticipation. We had arduously pulled, poked, pared back, and refined a large project. At one point as the entire team was gathered around the table, Derek said, “You have too many wonderful things going on, we need to give a few of them more space to just be amazing.” He was right and we all knew it, but it was still daunting to edit. Hands grazed the paper, Staci said, “I just love what you’ve pulled out and how it feels.” We got quiet, Rob nodded. “I know you’re right, this is good. I can do that.” We stood around the table taking it all in and knowing that the changes would make it that much stronger.

“Chills. Gorgeous work,” and then murmurs of “beautiful” and “really great work” as we all walked back to our desks.

Sometimes I think it’s actually that struggle that is the best part, almost like a sub chemistry between the designers and writers. I believe that effort stays in the piece, invisible, but there.

As our friends from Double H reviewed the pages we waited. “It’s really…I love it.”

We laughed and exhaled and called for high-fives.

 

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International Women’s Day

Last week rumblings began around the internet about plans for “A Day Without a Woman,” which would highlight how much women do, at the same time that the celebrations of International Women’s Day were being planned. Neither has been without controversy, which actually seems to be par for the course for days-of-awareness and grassroots initiatives lately. Writing this as a business owner, mother of three daughters, and married to a man who was raised by a single mom, I have some opinions on all of it.

I’m not here to pick fights or sling harsh words, I’d really like to just talk about women, not because men don’t matter. I want to talk about women because our agency is women-owned. This isn’t lip service or “abusing the system” as I once had a man say to me. The reality is that of the 12 people who work here, 6 are women. Two of those women, Staci and Leslie, have been hired within the last six months. We didn’t set out to hire women, but as candidates for the open positions, they exemplified the skills and character traits needed in the mix at that time. They could not be more different from one another in how they design and think. I laughed at great length when Staci said, “I do none of the cooking and very little of the cleaning at home. Karl and I like to challenge gender roles.” Leslie talks about parental responsibilities over the dog she and her husband share.

I enjoy having women as a part of our team and I am proud to be a woman in a position of power who is able to open doors for other women. This doesn’t mean that I coddle women on my staff or set different expectations for them, in fact, I may be considered the least nurturing of anyone in the office. It’s ok.

I spent last week out of the office in order to be with my children during the school holiday. I haven’t always felt comfortable doing this and earlier in my career I chose not to a lot of the time in order to project a “professional appearance.” I understand, particularly as I follow the discussions online about participating in A Day Without a Woman and how someone women who have to work feel left out, that the flexibility and autonomy I have to take the time is not something that everyone has. I also know as a business owner that the work is still there to get done when I return, it’s really just delaying what needs to be done.

My business partner is out for a few days to spend time with her daughter who is away at college. Her absence in the office will be felt, but it is also understood that we all take time off and that we have different things that fuel us and root us. As a result of our personal lives and professional decisions, we bring different things to the business.

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Grace Bonney of Design Sponge and author of In the Company of Women: Inspiration and Advice from Over 100 Makers, Artists, and Entrepreneurs said in an interview with Business Insider about women and work-life balance:

“… I think the biggest sort of eye opener for me was realizing that almost all of these women had in common the idea that they had given up work/life balance, because I think that it’s a concept that doesn’t — it is not rooted in reality. I think that life and work are constantly in flux, and the market in which we’re all working is constantly in flux.”

Everyone is looking for balance, personal fulfillment, and professional growth. I happen to believe that the more we surround ourselves with people who have different perspectives and desires, the better we are able to navigate the world, service our clients, and define our roles.

This morning a friend of mine with a fierce digital business included Trampoline in a round up of women-owned businesses. The article below highlights women in the design industry who are making waves, gorgeous, bold waves.

 

33 Women Doing Amazing Things in Graphic Design

Today we sit at the precipice of more hires. Maybe they’ll be men, maybe they’ll be women, who knows? What I can say with certainty is that the jobs are available because of the contributions and sacrifices of women. I am grateful for the women and open minded men who came before me and made it not so outside the realm of possibility that I do what I do. It’s because of them that a meeting in 2005 played out in this way:

“Uh, hi, I’d like to speak to a manager about some work I’d like done.”

I smiled as I stepped forward with an outstretched hand and said, “You can talk to me.”

He did a double take and said with a laugh, “They let the women do the meetings here?”

I smiled again, “Actually, they let the women do the owning. What can I help you with, sir?”

 

 

 

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