The scAvengers!


Trampoline exists as a team of dedicated designers, wordsmiths, strategists and production pros. We’ve grown at a carefully managed pace over 15 years and have a specific process that delivers results for our clients. We work hard, and love what we do—and it shows.

It’s not always that way in our industry. We’re aware of other approaches, arrangements and outcomes because we hear about them; from clients, potential and longstanding, industry allies and vendors. There are some risky bets where communication is concerned.

These Inaction Figures set poor precedents in our forum, so we’ve done our own surveillance on seven different creative counterfeits, graphic grifters and mountebank marketers.

The Visionary:

You’ll recognize this walking idea guy because he’s wearing a blazer, holding his hands together with fingertips touching, and cocking an eyebrow at an open laptop. He’s putting the finishing touches on a presentation with slides that include pictures of the planet, watermarked stock photos and statistics.

Be ready for pointless stories that end with questions and include pauses…for dramatic effect. Count along as they make a list on their fingers! Alias: Thoughtleader

The Guru:

Gurus know that the first step to elevate themselves professionally is a bullshit moniker. Well-positioned as a guide, Gurus elevate discussions to an intellectual level, where absolutely nothing is accomplished, but much is discussed.

Imaginary marketspeak like synergy or paradigm shift create obstacles where none existed previously. Be sure to jot down their inspirational business “quote” before booking your next session. Code Name: The Maven

The Collabro:

This dude is keeping it lit. Always ready to link, always tryna build.

Despite burning through those 250 Vistaprint business cards, momentum remains elusive. Assembling teams of specialists on a per-project basis seems like an innovative model, in reality it’s a scheduling nightmare.

With a phantom support staff, Collabro ends up doing a lot alone. Yet, even in the face of limited resources, no potential project will be refused. After all, he knows a design student who will probably do it just for the exposure.

Good Time Charlie:

At happy hour, the salvo comes from your immediate left, “Put that one on my tab.”

A quarter turn, and you’ve lost the evening to Mr. Charisma. He’s on a first name basis with the wait staff and has absolutely nowhere to be.

He’s comfortable asking questions to collect the information needed to build consensus through conversation. Good Time Charlie lives up to his name, he’s agreeable, and puts his big laugh to use, making it clear What A Fun Time We Are Having.™ Don’t forget to use a coaster on any barroom deal, they’re usually all wet. AKA: “The Consultant”

The Hypographer:

Designer clichés exist for a reason. Certain creative professionals value style above all else.

These Pantone™ unicorns don’t give a damn whether it works, “Just look at how beautiful this is!”

Their artistic opinion has made a long journey from under a slouchy knit cap, past boho chunky eyewear, and through a sloppy-yet-somehow-intricate scarf. Their masterpieces are completed, only to be critiqued by a client who has concerns about type size, contrast issues, and whether or not the work actually, ahem, works.

The Designbot:

For those looking to save some serious Bitcoin, consider an online, virtual, digital, futuristic, artificially-intelligent way to create terrible content.

The Name Dropper:

Laser connected, and ready to mingle, the Name Dropper knows them all. Or, has a friend who does.

They have worked with celebrities, magnates, heads-of-state, alien emperors and everyone that you know.

Easily identified by membership lapel pins. Alias: the Story-Topper

Happy Trampsgiving

We enjoyed a bit of time off for the Thanksgiving holiday. As a matter of fact, on Wednesday we all walked out to our cars together. We swapped stories, shared plans, and maybe talked about the quirky relative we were looking forward to seeing (misbehave). Traditions, though they vary, offer a common thread. It’s often that connection we seek to unearth in the design process—creating unity through an unexpected, familiar, or striking element in communication.

Design can bring a community together, forward a mission and do good. Streamlined communication helps organizations to cut through some of the commercial clutter to deliver messaging that hits the mark.

Below are 10 non-profits that Trampoline has contributed to in 2017. As a group we’ve proudly donated design, funds and volunteer hours to assist as needed. Our reward has been seeing the impact of the effort. Whether the result is improved awareness, or an uptick in gifts—we’re on a mission (pun!) to have an impact on our region.

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6 Ways to Turn Data Into Content

Last week Derek sent me a link to an AdAge article about consulting companies like Deloitte entering the industry, armed with data, determined to compete with math. Hiring someone to run numbers for you is a great idea, and can provide insight into who cares about your organization. Consultants are a great lens to view a given marketplace through, but that perspective doesn’t matter much without execution.

Accurate research can certainly inform your message, targeting individual segments. The AdAge article seems to take for granted that concepts will simply present themselves when the numbers have been crunched. I think there’s a lot of daylight between agencies on this point.

Rock-solid data doesn’t guarantee that the needle will move, as referenced by this article on Millennial preferences online. Campaigns need to have staying power, based on the research that digital advertising isn’t a transactional experience, it’s often a long-game. We’re all looking for something to share, an affirmation, or a way to define what is important.

When it comes to communication, the best ideas win. Concepts that make people consider a point, 30-second football spots that are so well done that they bring people to tears…these are what we talk about. Comedy, whether it’s slapstick or storytelling, unites a room with a laugh—and builds the rapport that we’re all in search of.

> Audience reaction, applause.

Someone wrote that joke or choreographed a pratfall, and it’s that work that’s easily overlooked or overpowered by big data. Ideas are subjective and therefore their effectiveness isn’t easily quantified. Having said that, everyone seems to recognize a good one.

This is all terribly self-serving, a blog post about the importance of creativity on an agency website. Probably a bunch of graphic design snobs in love with their own ideas.

…True.

There are other ways that we tackle a problem that have little to do with design. Decisions we make, as a group, to determine what the best course of action will be. Ultimately there is a visual component, but there are a lot of decisions (based on data) that inform what the best course of action will be. Here are six different approaches that we stand by.

1. Customized Messaging.
Create something unique and specific to an audience that reinforces a brand, even on a local level. Don’t rely on stock content, which can be terrible to begin with. What makes you different? Does a free typeface or a system font really work to communicate that?

Custom

^ The crew at Hunter Mountain are creating a 70’s skateboard-themed event at Empire Parks. Inspiration came in the form of Steely Dan tracks with a sprinkle of Hall & Oats. We named the event for the locale, and for the competitors—who will be judged on style points.

It’s very specific, it won’t work for another mountain, and that’s the point.

 

2. Consistency.
Keep things familiar at each brand touchpoint with the public.

Consistency

^ Big Slide Brewery & Public House contracted Trampoline to create a logo for the restaurant, some help with an exterior sign design, and a sticker. I wish they’d used us for more, but the reality is that we provided a flexible system of artwork that they’ve been able to use in their own executions from neon to socks. They have stayed true to the artwork, and have built a successful suite of repeat impressions.

 

3. Positioning, relation.
Aligning your brand with similar, successful entities. This falls into the category of Use What You Have.

^ Peak Resorts knows (data) that the strongest brand in their northeast portfolio of properties is Carinthia. The size and features available, content in its own right, puts the terrain park at the top of the list for skiers and riders in the east. Our strategy was to build on that brand equity and extend the imagery and color palette—black on black on black—to other mountains. The decision was a communication response to Peak’s assessment that terrain was the area that represented the most growth from a strategy standpoint. There was no need to reinvent the wheel, and ultimately it was an image pivot that embraced existing success.

 

4. Editing.
Classic less-is-more. Be selective and segment messaging.

editing

^ How quickly can you make a point? What is necessary and what is just noise? Druthers’ culinary chops are showcased here. Briefly.

 

5. Information Architecture.
Be clear and concise in delivery.Information

^ Design decisions certainly do factor into this category, but figuring out what goes where and how elements can be arranged to make communication easy and effective has to happen before layout. Understanding typography and how a [Western] eye accesses information on a screen or a page makes a difference to the success of a piece. Iconography, groupings, visual breaks, color coding. Decisions. Revisions.

 

6. Timing.
Be nimble with your messaging and you’re already relevant.

Timing

^ Communication built around events, or current events, can be some of the easiest to relate to or participate in. Real-time responses and interaction can convert fans faster than the most strategic media buy, or the wittiest headline. These events for the Lake George area are specific (see #1 above) customized communication that creates a sense of importance and helps to establish immediate demand.

We have a healthy respect for data, and have been actively measuring the effectiveness of our own work, to make our subjective industry a little more certain, particularly for clients new to Trampoline. Research is crucial to getting the creative right.

We’ll dig in ourselves or partner with great organizations like Schireson in New York City or Mt. Auburn Associates in Boston to make sure we understand our challenge. Follow-up, interaction, A/B testing, responsive design all matter and improve the customer experience, but they’re nothing without a concept.

A Look Back

January is always a chaotic time, so many of us puffing up our chests and pledging to do things differently—to be better, thinner, smarter, stronger, kinder, leaner. It’s easy to get swept up in solving the next communication challenge or meeting the next deadline, not to say that they aren’t important, but sometimes all you really need to do is take a minute and honestly evaluate what worked and who mattered. We thought we’d spend a bit of time reflecting on the work we did and the impact we had and if we’re being totally honest, the impact the work had on us.

What we do is a lot like cooking, it isn’t about how the table looks or how perfect the meringue is on the pie, it comes down to knowing we fed someone with things we made and that in that transaction we created a connection. We don’t work with students and come away not having learned something, or help raise money for a cause and not feel changed.

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-10-20-49-amOver the course of 2016 we donated a portion of our time to organizations near and dear to our hearts, as well as some we’d only just met. These hours were spent cranking designs for Churney Gurney and Brant Lake Bike Park, bringing stories to life for ATF and Breathing Lights, creating a face to match the good accomplished by North Country Ministries, helping to spread the word for Double H Ranch (not to mention lending a hand at camp and the Winter 500), cultivating a new look for Pitney Meadows Community Farm, caring for Hudson Headwaters Health Network, and finding the way with Rensselaer Plateau. The work was challenging and gratifying, allowing the different people on the projects to feel that they were making a difference.

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-10-21-19-amPublic speaking has done the same thing, it’s a lot like living out an afternoon as a brochure we’ve created or a video we’ve shot—seeing people’s reactions in real time, having our voices crack without the option of recutting, and building off the energy of the crowd informs our understanding of what matters to people. We were lucky enough to speak close to home and on the road,  from Oneonta to Old Forge, and auditoriums to art galleries.

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screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-10-21-07-amHigh Falls Gorge, a classic Adirondack roadside attraction, offers travelers a chance to get up close to a series of thundering water- falls that cascade through a canyon near Lake Placid. Trampoline rebranded the destination with a logo that was both classic and modern, embracing the history and topography of the gorge. Redesigned collateral and an updated property map followed, and a campaign of new advertisements launched in regional publications. The updated look and signal art, combined with photos and video from the property made up a social media campaign that helped to build the new brand and create a sense of place. The strategy and design had an impact on sales, and awareness increased as well, with a 51% increase in Facebook followers and 455% more followers on Instagram.

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-10-20-41-amTrampoline began handling the social media accounts for Warren County Tourism on June 1st 2015. We took their existing presence on Facebook and Twitter as the Lake George Area and expanded it to Instagram and Pinterest. With a focus on a  consistent identity across all platforms, we were able to gain a significant number of new followers in the first month. Custom content engaged users and invited them to comment, retweet or share. By actively responding to posts and tweets about the area, whether positive or negative, we ensure that Lake George is more than just a place, but a special spot that carries memories, with people who truly care about your experience. Their Instagram presence has increased by 3,794 users since the start of the agency’s involvement.

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-10-20-31-amWhat city are we in? We’ve crisscrossed the northeast for work in recent months—visiting some of our favorite cities, including Boston and New York, but also retreating into the woods of the Adirondacks, and the areas of intercostal Maine. We worked from the summits of seven different peaks. This graphic needs revision, as it happens. We were also in Westport Connecticut for meetings with SerioüsFun Camps. And IKEA in New Haven, natch.

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-10-22-02-amA big project for us in 2016 involved the rebrand of Paul Smith’s College. Deliverables included a completely new approach to communication. From the establishment of brand pillars, to a logo redesign and a collateral overhaul, we worked with the administration, faculty and students to represent PSC in the best possible way. Ads, merch, campus signage and social content continued to tell the story of what it means to be a Smitty.

screen-shot-2017-01-09-at-10-21-34-amIt was fun to tell the story of a place in the Adirondacks that belongs on anyone’s destination list—knowing that the end product of all that selling and storytelling, the place itself, could deliver on what we were promising. A big shift in strategy included segmenting the PSC message by major, and creating content tailored to a potential student’s interests. The media buildout, and social strategy was also informed by likes, and worked to forward the focused, major messages to potential students. The results were immediate and significant, Paul Smith’s has measured online interactions and interest in the school continues to grow. Admissions saw a 16% increase in inquiries from zip codes where their new view book had been distributed.

2016 was a year of metrics, not something we have traditionally been focused on, and boy did it change things for us. The work we do in our relationships has been strengthened by the accountability and the value of examining metrics and recalibrating the creative and message to yield the best results.

Greatest Gifts: Volume 1

It’s Giving Tuesday—the perfect time to support non profit organizations in their efforts to improve the world around us. Remember all the cash you saved shopping the Black Friday Sales a few days ago? It’s time to do some good with that. Trampoline submits, for your philanthropic consideration, 10 of our current clients in the Non-Profit sector. These are groups of dedicated pros who are having an impact in our region and our world—through changing economic conditions, political administrations and news cycles. We are lucky to work with these groups, discover more about their missions and motivation, and put strategies in place to elevate both awareness and support for great causes.

We’ve also included—below these worthy opportunities to contribute—a second list of clients and contemporaries who donate their time and talents regularly. These companies set the example of community-minded philanthropy, and we’re equally proud to partner with them, and inspired by their efforts. We hope you are too. Now: let’s go make a difference. Better still, a sum.

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Paul Smith’s College, Brighton, New York

The only four-year college in the Adirondack Park produces leaders in the Forestry, Hospitality, Culinary, Science and Recreation industries. We’ve worked side-by-side with administrators, faculty and students to tell the PSC story over the past 18 months: rebranding the college and executing a strategy that targets the individual strengths of potential students. We filmed as they answered, from treetops and through kitchen windows, what it means to be a Smitty. The school is small, and faces funding challenges that many small colleges struggle with nationwide. Paul Smith’s is working hard to stay true to the Adirondacks. We hope the region will respond in kind.

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Hudson Headwaters Foundation, Queensbury, New York

The Hudson Headwaters Health Network has seen unprecedented growth over recent years. They’ve opened or built new facilities in Glens Falls, Queensbury and Warrensburg, and have just broken ground on a new building in Champlain, New York. The growth isn’t about buildings, it is about the fundamental and life-saving services that people need and the capacity to offer it without delay. HHHN exists as a direct response to need: an aging population in remote areas of the Adirondacks, in need of care. We’ll be creating a campaign for the Foundation, an extension of the repositioning and marketing work we’ve completed for HHHN over the past year. Don’t wait for a capital campaign to get involved with the future of healthcare in our region, find out more about volunteering or other ways to support the network.

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Berkshire Taconic Community Foundation, Sheffield, Massachusetts

A $40 Million endowment means a lot of good can be done, but only with the help of regular contributions to support it. BTCF distributes grants to help fund programs with high impact in western Massachusetts and Eastern New York. A gift to BTCF can be allocated to a specific Fund to support your interests. We’re excited to be a part of their progress points, with our partners at Mount Auburn Associates, moving forward into new areas of concern for the Berkshires and the Hudson Valley.

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The Lake George Land Conservancy, Bolton Landing, New York

We’ve laced up our boots to put a new spin on the Hike-A-Thon for its 5 year anniversary. There’s nothing better than the view of Lake George from one of the nearby summits. Well, maybe the view from a dock—but that’s the whole point: protect the water quality by conserving the land that surrounds it. We’ve been doing our part to make the Lake George watershed a safe place for 15 years now. Not into hiking? Donate.

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Pitney Meadows Community Farm, Saratoga Springs, New York

Sustainable Agriculture in urban environments continues to be an important issue. We’ve supported the farm-to-table movement for years with work for organizations like the FarmHouse Restaurant, CLS Farms and Capital Roots. When Paul and Sandy Arnold approached us about the Pitney Meadows project: preserving green space in Saratoga that will be used as a working farm, food hub and event space, we were ready to get our hands dirty. The property closes in December, all plans have been approved by the municipality. All that is needed is a boost in startup capital. Remember: you reap what you sow.

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Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership, Malta, New York

This passionate group of economic development pros will assemble teams of real estate brokers, community planners and municipal leaders to bring new business into Saratoga County, and help to grow the businesses already in the area. The Prosperity Partnership helps with grant applications and assists with startup and location management. It also promotes the Luther Forest Technology Campus and is involved in workforce development issues in our region—from continuing education to recruitment and more ways to incentivize and promote the efficient growth of our region’s economy.

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Double H Ranch, Lake Luzerne, NY

Our hearts and minds were won over by the staff, campers and volunteers at Double H long ago. In fact, they were our very first client. We’re proud to support the ongoing efforts to give a week at camp to kids and families who need it the most. Critical illnesses are no obstacle to having fun when you spend a week in the woods. We had the chance to interview campers, and parents of campers this year, and have learned a lot about dedication, loyalty and love. A contribution to Double H is like giving magic.

 

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SerioüsFun Children’s Network, Westport, Connecticut

The parent company of Double H Ranch, SerioüsFun takes Paul Newman’s message of philanthropy to the international stage. At places like Barretstown in Ireland or the newly opened Sola Puti Kids’ Camp in Japan, critically ill children are enjoying themselves, meeting diseases and challenges head-on, and creating lasting friendships. The Global Partnership Program is a worldwide attempt at making a difference—including efforts like December’s AIDS awareness initiative. Give the gift of camp this year!

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The W!LD Center, Tupper Lake, New York

More than just adorable otters, the Natural History Museum of the Adirondacks took a leadership role this year by completing their I♥NY grant-funded study on the travel habits of Millennials. Turns out, they’re a complicated market to predict. The study, compiled by Schireson, Assoc. of New York and interpreted and executed by Trampoline, outlined statistics, discussed misconceptions and presented strategy to address Millennial Travel concerns. Help the W!LD Center continue to make the Adirondacks a destination with a contribution.

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Safe Water Network, New York, New York

The next time clean, safe drinking water fills your glass, consider a donation the the Safe Water Network. A little goes a long way, and in certain areas, the difference between healthy communities and the outbreak of disease is access to clean water.

               .  .  .

Giving Tuesday isn’t just about the organizations that you can give to, it’s also a day to consider all the organizations who take it upon themselves to give back all year long—something we all ought to consider. We are inspired and motivated by the efforts of many of our clients and neighbors who give far more than many people will ever truly realize. We wanted to tip our hats in their general direction and say thanks for being involved in the giving world.

At Druthers Brewing Company, All-In is more than an IPA, it’s a way of operating and giving back to the community. Look for a Druthers pour at your next gala event—then offer a toast back to them for their support.

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Glens Falls National Bank does more than finance homes and host checking and savings accounts, they contribute in countless ways to education, health, community, and business. The odds are good that if you’ve been to a walk, race, festival, or performance, GFNB has helped make it possible.

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Lake George RV Park has been a family-owned business for more than 50 years. Perennial sponsors of many events, they also have recycling programs that benefit organizations like Double H Ranch. Dave king is a founder of the Adirondack Theatre Festival that brings thousands of patrons to Downtown Glens Falls every summer.

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Mannix Marketing will get you found on the internet, they also assist worthy causes, quietly making possible what traditional budgets never would have, all in the spirit of, “They need it, we can do it, and it’s the right thing to do.”

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Once we got to know the partners at Meyer & Fuller, lawyer jokes didn’t make as much sense. These are two of the kindest, most generous people we know. They make giving back fun. Objection! Your Honor, giving is fun. You don’t have to be showy about it, it doesn’t have to be on a certain day or a set figure, you just do it and keep doing it because it feels good knowing you are making a difference.

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Everyone’s favorite theme park goes beyond a Great time to support organizations throughout the North Country. They provide event space, donate workers to help with on-site needs and get behind initiatives that improve our region. Two hands up for Six Flags!

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Sunscreens

What did you do over summer vacation?

That’s the question our kids are answering during their first week of school. For our part, the change in season has produced a bumper crop of online offerings, with more launches planned. Here’s a look at some of the sites of summer, 2016.eldorWe planted this shiny little nugget back in April over beers at Bale Breaker Brewing Co. in Moxee Washington. The CLS Farms creation, gold in color, citrawesome in flavor, is so sought-after that Eric Desmarais and family had to contract farmers in Washington State and Idaho to grow the variety and meet ElDorado demands.

breathinglightsBreathing Lights is illuminating areas in the Capital Region where vacant buildings stand, unused. The project, funded by Bloomberg Philanthropies, is intended to start conversations and provoke questions—like any good art installation. The creative use of space is also the foundation for a full season of programming: workshops on how to rehab an older home, events with music and speakers that will showcase the importance of neighborhoods, communities and homes. WMHT and Mannix Marketing both made bright contributions to the launch of this site!

meyerfullerA law firm with no online presence? Objection, your honor: speculative. Meyer & Fuller raised the Bar with their new site. Mx on the dev.hhhn
Hudson Headwaters Health Network took their healthy connections online with a comprehensive site overhaul. Service lines, locations, doctor profiles and patient portal information can now be easily accessed from any device. Mannix Marketing turned out to be the perfect prescription for development.


psc
Fresh off a communications overhaul and a new rebrand, Paul Smith’s College released its Annual Giving Results online. Green, in more ways than one.
morcon-coming-soonEven though the team is all wiped-out from a summer of web work, we’re excited to announce the conversion of another new online presence. The redesigned Morcon, Inc. website will go live in advance of ISSA in Chicago, this October. It will be beautiful and you’ll wish you had tissues.

Russell & Wait

By Oliver Derosier

Back in 2013, the good folks at Trampoline stumbled upon a nifty typographic treasure right in their own backyard. From the renovation of an old Glens Falls building came a handful of throwaways, among them a vintage, hand-lettered sign. The Tramps rescued the sign from a dumpster and carried it back to the shop, no-doubt saving it from certain demise.

The typography of the sign was strikingly unique, with careful attention given to every last letter. The whole sign was so exceptional, it was decided by all that a typeface ought to be made in its honor.

The valiant task was assigned to one of Trampoline’s very own interns, Emily Ruchlicki, who took on the challenge with gusto. Thanks to a great new App: Adobe Capture, Emily was able to scan the letterforms onto her phone, and instantly convert them into vector shapes.

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From there she whittled away at the details, making sure every ascender, loop and stem was just as it should be. The end result? A typeface all its own, brought back to life from a bygone era.

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After all was said and done, Emily named her new, throwback typeface after the stationery store that had occupied the building: Russel & Wait.

As for the original creator, whoever you may be, we thank you for your diligence and hard work! Now, the team at Trampoline has a spiffy new typeface in their collection, and an awesome story to go along with it.

Sign-angle

It’s pretty incredible how many vintage design goodies are out there, just collecting dust in an old basement or flea market. To think that old sign might have been turned into wood chips is a sad thought indeed. Instead, the old beaut now stands tall and proud in Trampoline’s home base, as if it had always been there. Who could say how many more creative gems are out there just waiting to be discovered by the right person. Inspiration is so often found in the places we’d last expect, you just have to keep your eye out for it!

X marks the spot

We all want to have a better understanding of our surroundings. What’s the landscape? What am I looking at here?

That’s probably why we design a lot of maps. It’s helpful to be able to show, at a glance, where everything is. In the same way that users hope to be able to navigate a communications piece based on photo captions alone, quick references and labels deliver information in an efficient way.

It’s a process we enjoy as a team, determining which orientation will work the best: isometric? Bird’s eye? Three-quarter? Creating custom illustrations and working through coloring issues are elements that we tackle together and the results are often award-winning standalone works.

Beyond function, a map of any given location can go a long way toward defining the experience and shaping expectations of the public. An example of this can be see on our recent approach to mapping High Falls Gorge in Wilmington, NY, when compared to previous versions. 1

The first map depicts the property, trail system, and activity centers properly, but does little to create a sense of place.
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The second iteration makes good use of iconography and color coding, and is user-friendly.

We made the decision to redesign this component of the experience, in order to incorporate illustration. The goal was to bring in depth that communicates the excitement of the natural landscape. Branded elements and iconography help to build the newly redesigned High Falls Gorge look with color palette and signal art.
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As a member of IAAPA and a destination needing to compete with amusement parks and larger diversions for tourist attention, our hope was to position the Gorge as a worthwhile activity that delivers on thrills and has amenities that matter to travelers.

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We deconstruct our own on-property representations, too. Here’s a map for the Sacandaga Outdoor Center, circa 2008. Back then, the goal was to place SOC regionally, and let rafters know which river they’d be navigating.

SOCmap

Now that the Outfitter is firmly established in the Lake George, Saratoga and Capital region (outdoor, advertising, collateral, online listings) our focus in 2016 was similar to the goals for High Falls Gorge: position the rafting trip as more than just a float down the river.

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Whether we’re updating artwork for college campuses, museums, ski mountains or municipalities, our goal is always to make the experience easier for a newcomer.

Opinion-stagram

By now you’ve seen the mid-May rollout of a new look for Instagram. Icons automatically updated themselves on devices and screens, causing worldwide panic and confusion. Immediate and severe feedback filled up the internet like design hate-speech. Instagram released this video to illustrate their process, but soon had to fend off parodies and video rants from designers and whackos alike—many delivered on Instagram’s own platform, criticism so meta it doesn’t need a filter.

As an agency producing visual content on a daily basis, I’m sure the team here has opinions on the new look, but to be honest, we haven’t discussed it. One quick search revealed that the redesign had become a target online. The vitriol surrounding the brand update was surprisingly personal, with commenters presenting their opinion as belief. Others Monday-morning-quarterbacked their own versions: here’s how it should have been done.  Maybe that’s a reflection of our political climate in this election year, but I see it as a trend. One that will have a significant impact on our industry.

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Probably sounds like sour grapes coming from a designer, after all, we’re all entitled to our unique perspective. I can remember when AIRBNB updated recently.

“That’s…anatomical.” was my response. Still, I didn’t take to the twitterverse with hellfire and damnation. Who knows? Maybe body parts was what they were going for?

By and large, the opinions of anyone who wasn’t directly involved in the process can be written off as an amateur assessment. Someone without an understanding of trends or projections, or knowledge of design theory can certainly pass judgement on something that’s been created, but many times it is simply a reaction, with no consideration.

This public display of rejection as we call it, can make it difficult for an organization or a business to consider a rebrand. Change is tough. Customers are particular, donors fickle. What about the years of established brand equity? As a creative group, we’re careful in our consideration of whether or not an organization needs something new.

The company logo is like your favorite shirt. It’s well-worn, familiar, and you look great in it. Eventually though, that shirt will start to lose its shape. Or it might fall out of style. Trying on something new can be intimidating. It’s a risk, and a process—but a new outfit can mean a big boost in the confidence department.

Here are five examples of recent logo updates by Trampoline that embrace the past, or products represented, and still move forward visually.PSC_LogocompPaul Smith’s College, in the Adirondacks, wanted to differentiate themselves in the higher-ed space. Collegiate mergers and shutdowns nationwide are evidence of a competitive marketplace where experiences are as important as bookwork. Location, extracurriculars and the feel of a place are elements that factor heavily in 17 year-old decision making—and are shaped by design choices and brand impressions. In the case of PSC (heretofore never referred to as PSC—another update in acceptable representation) their tried-and-true, Times New Roman approach to communication had grown stale, and enrollment reflected a flatline in outreach.

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Our approach embraced the iconic leaning pine, and incorporated the surrounding adirondack beauty in a figurative drawing with interplay between positive and negative spaces. The intent was to capture the feeling of a destination, since the campus is located on the site of a historic hotel, owned and operated by Paul and Lydia Smith. The result is a very heroic, American approach to collegiate branding, that makes use of existing imagery in a new way.

HFG_LogocompHigh Falls Gorge, in Wilmington, NY has everything a tourist could hope for: natural beauty, the power of nature on display, souvenirs, burgers and beer. As the destination continues to grow, with new offerings every year, it was time for a new logo. Bold type and sharp edges represent the sheer force of these falls and the sharp twists and turns help to position the Gorge as an exciting Adirondack destination.

MockupOur approach to update the appearance was to embrace both the history of the attraction, and the actual physical representation of the falls themselves. The mark opened the door for angular signal art and a family of marks and mascots that created additional offerings for different age groups and interests.

 

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Hudson Headwaters Health Network had handled marketing internally for 33 years before involving an agency in a rebranding effort. The result of a repositioning attempt was that the team at Hudson Headwaters had an emotional attachment to their letter cross. The organization abandoned the chunky Rockwell Bold face for something sleeker, and the team at Trampoline scrubbed-in for an emergency serifectomy.

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By removing a single serif in their existing logo, we created a conversation bubble. This type of negative space play can offer a number of options for communication, and create an aha! moment for those interacting with the brand. It’s letting the public in on the joke, a wink and a smile. And, in this case, it offers access and options for healthcare conversations to begin.

 

MOR_LogocompNearly $40 million annually means that a lot of paper was being converted at the Morcon plants in upstate New York and South Carolina. New ownership meant updates in infrastructure, specialized equipment, additional staff and an identity conversion. While the end result is markedly different from the old Morcon look, it stays true to the product in a completely new, but still representative way.

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This new identity, with an advance tagline that builds upon the business name, set the tone for sub-brands that create a family of products with a consumer bent. The entire process has influenced sales and how the product is positioned, presented, packaged and photographed.

 

 

FSO_LogocompAfter 5 years in a very challenging retail market for bricks-and-mortar sellers, Fountain Square Outfitters was ready for an update to their image. Their original mark, set in Friz Quadrata, featured a male hiker in a circle. The proprietors wanted to elevate the FSO look for use in private-label merchandise, and build on their market share as more established retailers like Eastern Mountain Sports were in decline.

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The strategy for redesign began with research. After discovering that 70% of their transactions were completed by women, we understood that the consumer wasn’t really represented in the Fountain Square branding, and revised the original male hiker with a female form. Extensions of the FSO update helped segment their marketplace and offerings by activity, and created an interchangeable family of marks that could be used at specific adventure events or help to build partnerships with other retailers like Grey Ghost Bicycles or Rocksport Climbing Gym.

. . . . . . . .

Are these revised logos better than their originals?

We certainly hope so, that’s the point after all.

Is there a debate to take place? We’ll always debate design, as long as those engaged in the debate are doing so to move things forward.

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