Tips for the Yosemite Traveler

[Photos & video below]

As an East Coast kid, California seemed like a fairytale world where movies were made and surf bums lived out their days in Volkswagen vans in search of the epic wave. I admired it from a distance like a child admires his or her favorite superhero; unsure whether I’d ever get the chance to travel there. That dream came true recently when my now-fiancé and I (I’ll touch on that) visited Yosemite National Park.

We spent a total of three days in Yosemite, flying cross-country from Albany to Fresno and renting a car  — a gas-sipping Ford Fusion Hybrid — for transportation. Tip #1: Rent a hybrid over an SUV. Use the money saved on a nice dinner. We booked our accommodations on March 1st: three months early, but still not soon enough to get the prime campsites on the “valley floor,” where you’re a stone’s throw from the trailheads and attractions. Instead, we bounced around: from a campsite on night one, to a bed and breakfast in Groveland, CA on night two, and returned to the valley for the third night to stay in a “tent cabin” — which wasn’t quite “glamping” but close. We weren’t complaining about having a bed to sleep on after a full day of hiking. 

Tip #2: Reserve your campsites early, like February, if you want to snag a campsite on the valley floor for consecutive days. 

We made the most of our three days in Yosemite, setting out at sunrise and not returning to base camp until well past dusk. We checked off an impressive number of sights: Tunnel View, the Tuolumne Grove of Giant Sequoias, Glacier Point, Sentinel Dome, Yosemite Falls, Bridalveil Fall, Vernal Fall, and meadows and roadside vistas that seemed untouched by the passing of time.

Thanks to our friends (and Trampoline client) Fountain Square Outfitters, Alexis and I were well-equipped for our adventures. In addition to the FSO gear we already owned, owners Matt and Nancy Fuller hooked us up with some essential (and lightweight) gear, including the MSR Mutha Hubba three-person tent; Thermarest sleeping pads; Luci rechargeable solar lights; ENO Doublenest Hammock; Patagonia Torrentshell rain jackets, which kept us dry when I proposed to Alexis at Bridalveil Fall (yeah, that happened!); and GSI stainless steel wine glasses that kept our champagne ice cold when we celebrated later that night. Not from FSO but worth mentioning was my zero-degree EMS sleeping bag circa 1974 passed down from my father. We stuffed all of our gear into the waterproof Patagonia Black Hole Duffel and didn’t have to check a bag at the airport — clutch for cross-country trips where you risk luggage being lost in transit.

We capped off our trip by driving from Yosemite to San Francisco. We had dinner at a great restaurant/brewery, Thirsty Bear (awesome branding!), and then headed to our hotel near the airport, where we were able to take our first shower in three days and sleep in a real bed before we flew home the next morning.

My first trip to the Golden State exceeded my expectations, and I’ll miss it. What I won’t miss is the traffic and congestion during peak hours; from noon until about 5 p.m., when Yosemite Valley turns into a carousel of cars and buses on the valley’s only main road. Tip #3: Get an early start, pack a lunch and hike outside of the valley floor during peak hours. Return in time to catch sunset.

Unfortunately, photos don’t do Yosemite any justice — which brings me to Tip #4: Go and experience Yosemite for yourself. 

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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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Root for Recruitment!

The Collegiate Ad Awards were just announced for this year, Trampoline and our university counterparts are celebrating in gold and silver.

College is competitive, and we don’t just mean being accepted. Our work really hones in on the critical nature of recruitment materials. While they often get delivered by mail, we cannot mail it in if we hope to help our clients be contenders. Our approach to recruitment is completely custom, what works for one institution will not immediately work for another. Understanding the audience, the campus, and, ultimately the spirit of the faculty and alumni, is what allows us to create materials that will make prospective students, from high schoolers to transfer students and on through graduate studies, look forward to as they enroll.

Colors, contacts, communities, and legacy. We listen to students and professors, collaborate with the teams from Admissions to Athletics, we consider Institutional Advancement and Travel Teams. We don’t set out to make viewbooks or mascots, we go in pursuit of hearts. We aim to win them for the school, but more so for the student, because if we do our job right, it will mean the best decision of their lives.

We are proud to share the award-winning work we’ve created on behalf of the people who are meant to love SUNY Geneseo, Paul Smith’s College, and the University of Maine at Augusta.

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GeneseoViewbook

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PSCMap

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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.

A Year in Review

2016 has been a whirlwind of activity here at Trampoline. Not only have we added some amazing new clients; we’ve also barnstormed across nine states for photo shoots, meetings and book tours; saw the launch of two websites; built our relationship with longtime clients; and stacked our team with three new Tramps: Staci Oswald, Rob Hendricks and Leslie Buccino. Oh, and we may have put down a few cold ones along the way. Here’s what that looks like by the numbers: 

2016 at Trampoline

We’ve seen unprecedented growth and feel incredibly fortunate to put out work that we’re proud of for some of the best clients you can ask for.

Here’s to hoping the New Year brings you and yours health and happiness. Cheers!

 

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.

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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!

Fly the coop!

Chicken Shack Window Mockup

We’ve been huge fans of Russell Porreca’s cooking for years (our last office was next door to the original Raúl’s location). Way back when we created packaging for his homemade sauces and dressings and even some custom posters for his walls. We may have even enjoyed a beverage or two there on Margarita night.

This winter, Raúl’s moved to the (much larger) space next door, leaving the original restaurant space open. You can read more about that in this week’s Chronicle. While we loved the intimacy of the original location, we were excited to see what Russell was going to cook up next. After toying with other ideas, he landed on chicken & waffles. That really buttered our biscuits…ba-dum-ching!

We quickly started working on branding, signage and menus. After lots of sketches, comps and revisions, we landed on the final mark.

Chicken Shack Branding Sketches

Chicken Shack Logo

The savory color palette reflects the redesigned interior, which features corrugated tin roofs, barn wood and retro furnishings.

We had our friends at FastSigns in Saratoga help us with window graphics.

For the menu, we wanted to build on the “homestyle” theme of the cuisine. The sign painter typeface and gingham texture lends a down home feel that pairs well with Russell’s comfort food.

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Chicken Shack Menu

While the restaurant is still a hatchling, it’s quickly become a popular lunch and dinner destination. We can’t wait to push the brand even further with apparel and maybe even some custom artwork for the walls! Stay tuned.

Choices, Choices

Living and working in the Lake George Area has many perks. Topping the list for me is the ability to throw some gear in a pack, hop in my car and in just a half an hour be in a place where you can no longer hear the buzz of the city.

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The Adirondack Great Range: a source of inspiration (and reference) right in our backyard.

I feel like I cheated. Most professionals my age had to move to a big city to find work, relegating an outdoor experience to a long weekend or worse, a holiday. And here I am, able to ride a world-class network of cross-country mountain bike trails or paddle on Lake George after work.

Now that’s not to say a big city isn’t an inspiring and stimulating place to live and work — especially for a designer; but as someone who grew up in the Adirondacks and enjoys all that it has to offer, I didn’t have to try living in a big city to know that I wasn’t cut out for that pace of life. Where some find inspiration on a graffiti-covered brick wall in Brooklyn, I find mine in the alpenglow after sunset on an Adirondack mountain summit.

Some of my most difficult decisions these days involve choosing a place to explore on a weekend. Do I fish for native brook trout, go hiking, or play 18 holes of golf?

It’s a problem I’m happy to have.

Ever Upward!

 

New York's entry from the "50 and 50 - The State Mottos" Project (by Dan Cassaro)

Dan Cassaro’s entry from the “50 and 50 – The State Mottos” Project

A few weeks ago, this correspondent traveled to the fair city of Syracuse, New York for the annual Create Upstate design conference. The two-day event is hosted by various Upstate AIGA chapters with industry-leading sponsors (Adobe, Mohawk Paper, et. al.) and an impressive roster of guest speakers.

Diligent note taking during the presentations.

I took diligent notes during the presentations.

I actually won the tickets at the AIGA’s Cocktails with Creatives event at Superior Merchandise (an amazing design boutique and coffee shop in the heart of Troy).

The presenters touched on a range of issues we all face as creatives; staying inspired, balancing work and life, knowing when to fire a client, dealing with copycats, etc. Many of the speakers recounted their humble beginnings through old, embarrassing photos and admittedly bad high school art projects. While each presentation was nuanced, the common thread was clear: Although we come from varied backgrounds, we all share an enduring drive to create.

Becky Simpson teaches us how to embrace the awkward.

Becky Simpson teaches us how to embrace the awkward.

None of us are born with the talent of Picasso. We have to work hard to cultivate our creativity. No amount of inspiration can replace rolling up your sleeves and getting your hands (or mouse finger) dirty. The keynote speaker, Dan Cassaro of Young Jerks, reminded us that we’re all Commercial Artists—emphasis on “Commercial”. This is a business, after all, and we should consider ourselves lucky that we get to pursue creative endeavors. In our deadline-driven industry where budgets often trump vision, it’s easy to lose sight of what’s important: we get to create for a living!

The conference was a welcomed refresher that allowed me to step back and gain some perspective. Speaking with other attendees it was clear that we all need the occasional reminder that our industry is a pretty unique one. I came back feeling reinvigorated and ready to take on the next challenge.

And I’ll definitely be back next year!

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