Planting Roots

Of all the rebrands I’ve been involved with at Trampoline, Capital Roots holds a special place on the list.

The partnership between Trampoline and Capital Roots began in 2014, when Executive Director Amy Klein reached out to rebrand an organization then known as Capital District Community Gardens. They had outgrown the name, which dated back to its formation in 1975 as a small collection of community gardens.

I was new to the Trampoline team. With just a couple of months under my belt, I was still timid when it came to speaking my mind in a room full of more seasoned designers. Nonetheless, the prospect of renaming such a great organization was something I was eager to be involved in.

We began with a process we call “namestorming,” where we gather around a whiteboard, throw out names and see what sticks. All the while we vet names to be sure there’s no competing trademarks.

The session produced a list of 50 names. We narrowed it down to seven that we sent to the client. None of them quite hit the mark, so went back to the drawing board. Then, a breakthrough: “What about Capital Roots?”

Eyes lit up. Someone ran to a computer and did a Google search. The name was free and clear of trademarks and patents. We pitched it to Amy and she and her team were as excited as we were. We got the green light to begin logo design.

As with renaming, logo development involves a lot of trial and error. Our first concepts were safe and conservative: words inside a badge or geometric shape; clean and legible. I felt that if ever a logo lent itself to an organic, unrefined shape, Capital Roots was it. I started sketching out logos where the “O’s” in “roots” were made of fruits and vegetables: apples, tomatoes, etc. After some lighthearted debate, we ultimately landed on beets. After all, beets are a root vegetable, reaching out as if searching for fertile ground to take hold and grow. The client liked it, too, and—after some fine tuning—it was adopted as their new mark.

Then it was on to creating system of word marks and taglines for the family of 11 programs and services they offer, like the Veggie Mobile food truck, The Produce Project, and the centerpiece of their transformation: the Urban Grow Center, a 12,000 square-foot headquarters and food hub in Troy, NY.

 

Since the initial rebrand, we’ve worked with Capital Roots on various other projects, including a 40th anniversary mark and, most recently, a case statement piece for Phase II of the Urban Grow Center project.

 

Maybe it’s because it was one of the first rebrands I worked on, but it remains one of the most memorable. I love seeing how logo has been embraced and implemented by Capital Roots: as vehicle wraps, apparel, tote bags, and even a mosaic mural designed by a local artist and collaboratively installed by the community.

 

I look forward to seeing what the future holds for this special partnership.

Stock in Photos

Consumers are surrounded by photography in their public, personal and social lives. With more visuals cluttering up the landscape, it’s more important than ever to invest in the best imagery possible.

Photo capture is at the top of the features list for new product offerings from Samsung, Google and Apple. Faster sensors, enhanced ISO and smart HDR combine with bokeh and depth control to produce better pictures—and there are reasons for that.

Visual content is more than 40 times more likely to get shared on social media than other types of content.*

When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.*

Posts that include images produce 650% higher engagement than text-only posts.†

Tweets with images receive 18% more clicks than tweets without images.On LinkedIn, 98% of posts with images receive more comments than those without.‡

A common element in many of our most successful campaigns is the Trampoline strategy to show, not tell. The simplicity of a well composed image can communicate a concept easily. Here are 12 examples of how our staff leverages photography to turn heads.

1. Excitement

It’s FOMO, plain and simple. Show a consumer what they’re missing, and you’ll have them eager for an experience.

Photo of telemark skier Jack Fagone at Wildcat Mountain by Rob Hendricks.

2. Occasion

Captured moments are rightly seen as significant. Events are special when they’re worthy of a photo.

Photo of John & Alexis Coleman at High Falls Gorge by Staci Oswald.

3. Personality

Our expressions, emotions and humanity are on full display in a portrait.

Photo of Donnelly Construction worker on Rt. 66 in Chatham, NY by Allison Valiquette.

4. Quality

Professionally shot products imply that the seller values presentation. It speaks to pride, craftsmanship and quality.

Photo of burger lunch special at the Riverview Café by Staci Oswald.

5. Perspective

Offering a look at things from a different vantage can help an audience find ownership in big-picture concepts.

Aerial photo of downtown Glens Falls by Derek Slayton.

6. Emotion

Tension, elation, suspense, concern, sorrow or laughter—all of these can be easily interpreted in a single snap.

Photo of John Coleman on Arbutus Lake by Meg Erickson.

7. Inclusion

Candid shots work to make viewers feel like they’re part of the activities.

Group photo of hikers at Thompson Falls in Pinkham Notch, NH by Sean Magee.

8. Placemaking

Landmarks help travelers to orient themselves. Seeing a photo of a destination, and then experiencing that place, creates a repeat impression that reassures and provides familiarity.

Photo of the Hudson River at Glens Falls by Amanda Magee.

9. Opportunity

Behind-the-scenes photos or before-and-after shots show what is possible, and empower viewers to go out and experience their world.

Photo of Sawmill Terrain Park workers by Derek Slayton.

10. Delight

If it’s advertising, products in use by satisfied customers is a safe strategy.

Photo of outdoor adventure at West Mountain by Sean Magee.

11. Action

The act of doing, whether it’s a low-tech chore, or more state-of-the-art interaction, always makes for compelling content.

Photo of Woodsman’s Team at Cobleskill by Allison Valiquette.

Photo of Thoracic Surgeon at Glens Falls Hospital by Allison Valiquette.

12. Priority

Put the focus on what’s important.

Photo of Purchase College student: Shelley art directed by John Coleman and Rob Hendricks.

* Source: HubSpot
† Source: Medium.com
‡ Source: Wordstream.com

Turning a Location into a Destination

As a full-service marketing agency, we have our hands in a lot of pies. Marketing as a whole may sound straightforward, but the marketing needs of, say, a small business are worlds away from that of a university, and marketing for a destination is another matter altogether. Even within the specific niche of destination marketing, no two locations are alike, and each place has unique strengths and pain-points that we take into account when developing a strategy.

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National Write Your Story Day: The Story of Trampoline

Today is National Write Your Story Day. As a partner at an agency that specializes in storytelling, through visual elements and words, I can’t help but approach this day with delight. We’re celebrating our 15th year in business and I want to take the opportunity to look back on all that has changed around us, personally and professionally.

It was late fall 2003 when we incorporated. We shook hands as newlyweds and new parents at a campground in Dorset, Vermont, pledging to create a company that put family first and would have an unerring focus on design and communication that hit the mark. The early months were lean, with late nights and light paychecks (if any). Two of us held full time jobs to keep us all covered by health insurance, the books were done after bedtime, headlines written before sunrise.

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Surviving Instagram in 2018

Instagram has over 800+ million engaged monthly users. The photo-sharing platform is on track to hit a billion users this year, and currently boasts an estimated $100 billion market value. And while it falls behind its parent company, Facebook, in size and value, it outpaces Facebook’s engagement rates by over 15%.

While using Instagram may seem as simple as posting an image and calling it a day, the Instagram algorithm plays an important role in determining what each person sees when they open their phone. These parameters are an ever-changing puzzle, but if you understand how to leverage the rules you can take your Instagram—and your business—to the next level.

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The Price of Admission

Free of Charge! Live Music! Open Bar! 

These are a few qualifiers that never fail to draw a crowd. The first makes the wallet of a casual event goer happy and the second assures them they’ll be entertained (for free), while the third sets them up to crack open that very same wallet for other goodies.

I can confidently say that every one of the above exclamations has enticed me into an event of questionable interest.

Catch the eye of a stranger (and pique the interest of those who already support the product):

Events marketed by Trampoline are usually hosted by one of our clients. They have a brand that we need to reinforce, a clientele of their own to consider, and a regular means of sharing information. The point of event marketing is to reinvigorate the interest of those people and draw in newcomers.

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You have 215,000 new friend requests.

Here at Trampoline, we create a lot of content. How much content? Check out our “30 Days of Logos” series on Instagram. It’s easy to share rebrands and video clips on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, but it’s harder to condense what we do for social media down to 1920 by 1080. Our work for Warren County Tourism has been a case study in growth and maintaining long term success. As our three-year contract comes to a close, we’re taking a moment to reflect on our time with @LakeGeorgeArea.

In the summer of 2015, we jumped at the chance to apply our take on the region we call home. Warren County tasked Trampoline to increase their online footprint, drive traffic to their sites, and add followers. Our solution was to push high quality content with a consistent brand voice on a regular basis. Rather than telling people to come visit, we wanted to show them exactly why a trip to the Lake George Area was worth their time and money.

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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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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. Read more

Draplinspiration

Good designers know that there is always more to learn. It’s an interesting industry to be a part of, like a log rolling contest. The rules and methods are constantly changing, and designers are systematically challenging the status quo. You have to keep shifting your feet to keep up, otherwise you’ll end up in the drink.

One of the ways we do that is to learn from fellow designers. On Monday, four of our designers attended an intensive logo workshop at SUNY Adirondack with one of the greats, Aaron Draplin of Draplin Design Company.

We filed into a tightly-packed classroom filled with computers, and waved hello to a few friendly designer colleagues and students who we recognized. The room buzzed with excited anticipation, wondering how many swear words and pearls of wisdom Mr. Draplin would bestow upon us.

Aaron Draplin running the design workshop.

Dressed in one of his signature trucker caps, full beard and sweat pants (he is a rockstar on the road, after all), he absorbed the energy in the room and began the workshop. He whizzed through Illustrator quick keys and stories about past clients as we fervently scribbled notes and sketches in our books. He told the story behind his work for President Obama and opened up his working files to show us how he works on a daily basis. “Don’t tweet this!” he’d proclaim, followed by “Keys to the kingdom!”

Aaron Draplin running the design workshop.

One of the most interesting anecdotes he shared was his journey from Michigan to Portland, Oregon. (He and Staci later shared a moment when they talked after the workshop and discovered that his mom hails from the same hometown that she does: Livonia, Michigan.)

Draplin's hand drawn map of Michigan.

After the workshop, the entire team sat in on his presentation—filled with the same heartwarming, hilarious and inspiring design stories, more swear words, and insight into the design industry.

Our team came away feeling inspired and refreshed, excited to have touched base with a designer we all admire. We laughed and shared, and came to work the next day with the tips we’d learned fresh in our minds.

Design is all about evolving, listening to the world, and moving people with the art we create. And when we learn and get inspired together, we benefit as a team. You see it in the work we produce. As he stated when he closed out the workshop, “I know this is going to sound really ‘Bob Ross-y’, but inspiration is infinite. Catalog those things around you.”

Draplin puts Rob in a headlock.

Joy-of-painting-Bob-Ross

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