Changemakers

In the Spring of 2017, there were 11 Tramps creating in our studio. Over the course of the next three quarters, we added 5 more positions—accounts, production, design and social teams all benefitted from additional personnel.

Change can be hard.

Staff configuration, client needs, business plans…we’ve always been nimble with an ability to stretch and flex as needed. The last twelve months—and the 14 years previous—prove that we should not fear change but we should embrace it.

Without change we would never have assembled this amazing staff.

Change continues.

We’ve made space for even more positions in 2018. A videographer, a proofreader, and more designers, creating award-winning work in Glens Falls.

Change adds up.

A 2016 study found that the daily ritual of staff buying coffee and lunch can total $3,000.ºº annually. This summer, 19 hungry Tramps will hit the sidewalks of downtown, for a latte, a rice bowl or the Chef’s Whim. That’s a $57,000 change to our local economy in meals alone.

Change creates space.

Revising our structure has created room for new opportunities, relationships and revenue.

A change in approach.

Our growth led to the creation of necessary processes to guide our business.

Do you see a pattern?

Don’t fear change. Move with it, accept it. There are good things ahead.

 

Nature Makes Life Better.

As an agency, when we have free time, we’re all happiest outdoors in our beautiful Adirondack backyard.

To that end, we are always excited for the chance to work with The Nature Conservancy-Adirondack Chapter. We just completed the design of a series of ads slated to run this spring.

We had the chance to review and select amazing photography as we put our own local spin on the brand identity updated by The Nature Conservancy last summer. If we can’t be outside, this is the next best thing!

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Now, if it would warm up again so that we can hit the trail…

A video paints 50,000 words

Our research consistently tells us that prospective college students want to be able to picture themselves at a school before they ever set foot on campus. To that end, video content is a crucial component for outreach and impact with teenagers. Trampoline and Paul Smith’s College have teamed up to produce a series of videos highlighting various majors and disciplines that are far from run of the mill.

In just shy of six weeks, the first four videos have amassed over 50,000 total views on the Paul Smith’s Facebook page. Each video has been shared over 200 times, drawing positive comments from students, faculty and alumni alike.

We’ve seen the campus in all kinds of weather and have been lucky to have a bird’s eye view of what it truly means to be a “Smitty.” Telling these stories in this way is an example of doing what you love.

 

“Live in each season as it passes; breathe the air, drink the drink, taste the fruit, and resign yourself to the influence of the earth.”
― Henry David Thoreau, Walden

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We didn’t just get our boots dirty, we got our faces wet and had our breath taken away by the spectacular campus, faculty, and students.

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Here’s a first look at the next video in the series, highlighting the Baking program and, yes, as a matter of fact we did sample the confections. Maybe twice.

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Four additional videos are in the editing suite and will be premiering soon. We’re looking forward to showing all that is available and maybe showing off some of the skills we picked up along the way.

A particularly compelling message, on campus and beyond, is that transfer students are quickly accepted into the Smitty life. The idea of being able to restart or pick back up without fear of having missed your chance is incredible. The team that supports transfer students at the college is passionate and driven.

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There are so many avenues for getting out, and in the case of Paul Smith’s College, it means outdoors and out into the workforce.

Arboriculture:

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Surveying:

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We’re headed back up to the “middle of everywhere” tomorrow to capture footage for the next video in the series—Recreation and Adventure. Forecast calls for snow, we anticipate another lesson in the incomparable beauty of the Adirondacks.

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.

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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.

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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……

 

 

From Ice to Mice

The way we cultivate clients at Trampoline differs greatly from client to client—some we research and approach over time, some come to us by way of a traditional RFP, many come from existing clients who share our work and some seem to arrive completely by chance.

We did not set out to work with Embryotech Laboratories, Inc., a company that specializes in cryopreserved mouse embryos, but when an introduction was made at a Bruins game in Boston it felt like a good fit.

We started with a rebrand for the 20-year old business, based in a beautiful 3-story brick building in Haverill, MA.  Their facility operates seven days a week and produces the highest quality products and services to the Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) community.

 

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Following the rebrand we tackled their trade show booth.  The booth had to stand out among its competitors at trade shows both here in the US and internationally.

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We are in the midst of redesigning their website which should go live in early 2016. From ice to mice we scored with this client.

Culture by Design

It’s hard to believe I’ve been working at Trampoline for eight months. It’s even stranger to think that last month marked my tenth year working in advertising.

As I initially cut my teeth at an agency of over 100 employees, I experienced a number of the nuances of a “traditional agency.” Many a Sunday night in the late 2000’s, the goings on at the various iterations of Sterling Cooper mirrored those I encountered in real life, despite a 45-year time difference (heck, sometimes I was even meta enough to be watching Don and Peggy on a conference room TV). I became accustomed to having a particular niche: I was the Production Guru. Every position on the organizational chart had a well-outlined role and projects were approached within a specific framework to get the job done right. The structure and process did evolve—both naturally and intentionally—but it was usually clear what responsibilities were and were not part of my job.

The Trampoline process also follows a traditional structure—but the beauty of a shop of nine employees (or upwards of ten when the dogs come to play) is that we’re encouraged to do a bit of everything. Everyone manages their our own accounts, but teamwork and flexibility reign supreme. Whether gathered around a table for a formal critique, or simply shouting out ideas in our bright, sunny space, communication is key. Projects dance from designer to designer to balance workflow and take advantage of individual skillsets. Copy lines can come out of focus groups or under-the-breath asides. I’m getting to wear a whole bunch of hats these days (both of the baseball and professional varieties). The best ideas win. That’s how we work.

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The dog days of Spring. Photo by Derek Slayton.

 

The teamwork doesn’t end when the office door is locked for the evening: Darts, Running, Trivia, Cornhole: if there’s a competitive event happening in the area, Trampoline is probably fielding a team. There’s always something wonderful about a crew that wants to spend time with each other even after the day is done. I’m thrilled to be a part of that—just as I am for the benefits that come from trading Times Square for trail markers.

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Last Saturday’s impromptu solo hike up Buck Mountain.

 

The agency I worked on in New York created the show posters that adorned my walls in High School. I’m now designing the Finch brochures that were on a shelf in that New York office. I’ve come full circle.

I’m still the “Production Guru.” McSweeney’s still does a great job of summing things up, even after all these years. It’s a comfort to know that some things will never change.

A Night to Remember

Last Friday, the Trampoline team stepped out to Michael’s Banquet House in Cohoes for the Albany Ad Club’s 2015 ADDYs. This year’s theme was PROM, billed as “just like High School, but with no class.” Never ones to shy away from a chance to dress up, we dusted off our fanciest duds—after we spent the afternoon listening to Journey and Phil Collins and sharing old photos. Three of us (Kate, Cara and I) were first-time attendees, and while John was in attendance at last year’s awards, this was his first year as a finalist. Dressed to the nines, we brought ten awards back up the Northway to Glens Falls.

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Photos by the Albany Times Union http://www.timesunion.com/seen-events/article/SEEN-2015-Addy-Awards-Dinner-6120797.php

Here is the work behind our new glassware:

Our posters that now adorn the walls of Raul’s Mexican Grill took home the Gold ADDY in the Poster Campaign category.

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The Finch Opaque Brochure was our first silver ADDY winner of the night for Collateral Material – Brochure, Single Unit.

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The New Year’s Eve materials we created for Loews Don CeSar Hotel landed a silver ADDY for a Special Event Material Campaign.

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SUNY Plattsburgh‘s Acceptance Packet and Hashtag Directive found acceptance of its own as the silver winner for Non-Traditional Advertising, Single.

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The Giving Report for 2012-2013 at Paul Smith’s College won a silver ADDY for Digital Advertising, Online Publication/Annual Report.

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In addition to the 2015 Educational Advertising Award that it won earlier this month, our student recruitment campaign for Paul Smith’s College was a silver ADDY winner for Advertising for the Arts & Sciences, Single Medium Campaign.

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Our four-season outings with the Town of Newcomb won silver in the Color Newspaper Campaign category, completing a nice circle around the sun after the Newcomb logo was a winner in 2014.

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Our work for CLS Farms in Washington State was also a winner for the second year in a row, with the Medusa Logo joining the CLS Farms parent logo with a silver ADDY in the Elements of Advertising: Logo category.

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This year’s Trail Map for West Mountain was a silver ADDY winner for Elements of Advertising, Illustration.

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And last, but certainly not least, we were honored in the Color Photography category for last summer’s staff lumberjack photo (Photo by Rachael Leigh Rodenmeyer, ser.en.dip.iti photography). Seeing our staff projected onto the big screen was a nice curtain call to end the evening.

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It’s a meaningful experience to gather together with exceptionally talented advertising professionals and celebrate quality work—it’s even better when you’re doing so at your own table as well as across the ballroom.

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!

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