JDI Brochure for the Current Generation

As the Creative Director for the Long Range Planning Committee (of Job’s Daughters International), it was my job to not only recognize the creative and marketing needs of Job’s Daughters International, but to address those needs with viable and beautiful solutions.

One of the most important tasks LRP took on was a new brochure, as there had not been a new one in nearly two decades! With declining membership, it was imperative that the organization invest in some new brochures to attract a fresh generation of members. (Because the organization is for girls ages 10 to 20, external promotion and marketing should always be a top priority. However, limited finances have often held the organization back in this regard.)

In the process of determining that a new brochure needed to be created, several ideas where offered. Brochures for young girls, brochures for older girls, brochures for parents, brochures for our organizations own alumnae, brochures for businesses. Huge beautiful brochures that were 12″ × 12″ folders full of goodies. A brochure that could be customized at the local or state level.

Certainly the ideas were lovely, but financial limitations at all levels of the organization proved that such ideas would have been cost-prohibitive. A 12″ square folder would have cost a ridiculous amount of money to mail. Full-color booklet brochures that could be customized, and only a few dozen printed for a small chapter? Never going to happen. A half-dozen brochures with language tailored to the reader was nice in concept, but how often were you going to be able to grab the exact one you needed in the moment? (Six custom one-pagers were created for this process, but they were designed to fit on a single letter-size piece of paper, and an individual chapter could easily print them out as needed (with custom contact information included).

In addition, recent insurance requirements demanded that the organization have media release forms for all individuals who were used in any promotional materials. Lots of the photos that we had on file were off-limits. (Which wasn’t a real loss—the photos were hopelessly dated anyway.) A photo shoot was in order, and I ensured that we included real members, of all walks of life, all races, all shapes and sizes. True diversity to represent our international organization.

The pink text is placeholder text and will only appear if there is actual text to include. Otherwise, the area is left blank for a less expensive custom option, such as a label.With all that in mind, I came up with an excellent product. The final brochure includes the following:

  1. The brochure layout has two covers (to illustrate the many activities the organization offers), and thanks to a tent-design, can stand up easily to be more eye-catching.
  2. The brochure fits in a standard #10 envelope so that no extra postage would be required.
  3. The brochure’s language caters to both girls (fun, friendship, activities) and parents (poise, philanthropy, scholarships), and is a manageable length.
  4. The brochure’s photos feature a diverse array of members from all over the nation doing all sorts of things.
  5. The brochure can be customized via data merge fields on the covers (shown above with the <<Jurisdiction>> text), as well as on the center Contact Us page, and custom versions can be printed at no additional cost, when the total (bulk) order is placed. The brochure can also stand alone without the custom text, and still look striking.
  6. The brochure is affordable to print, even in full color, per quotes that I received from multiple vendors. This is especially important given the custom option—something that a small chapter could never afford without the benefit of bulk pricing.

 

 

 

 

Dynamic Print Ads

Generally, the words “dynamic” and “print” don’t go together, but hear me out.

When it comes to marketing, companies will employ all sorts of methods to track data and effectiveness. One common way is to swap out different phone numbers on advertisements, to measure how many calls a particular ad generates.

As the Senior Graphic Designer (and Acting Creative Director) for ClearChoice Management Services (which created all marketing for the scores of ClearChoice Dental Implant Centers across the United States, it was my job to not only create ads, but also ensure that an ad could be used in multiple markets and multiple publications. This meant that the phone numbers, doctors, addresses, and publications likely would need to change.

As I learned from the outsourced graphic designers who had been tasked with the job prior to my start, the process of swapping out phone numbers wasn’t hard, but it certainly was time consuming—especially when a single ad must be recreated dozens of times. Even worse, if a typo was discovered after the design had been approved, and the custom phone numbers had been inserted, uh oh! There was no way to fix the typo once. It had to be fixed in every single file. This process was extremely inefficient (but lucrative for the outsourced graphic designers).

When it was time to begin a new campaign for a specific Center (The Woodlands, outside of Houston, Texas), I decided to, as they say, “build a better mousetrap.”

Using Adobe InDesign, I created several ads of varying sizes (including a billboard). For one particular newspaper campaign, we wanted to know which newspaper would yield the most calls, and so each newspaper was issued a different toll-free number. As the campaign would include a skybox ad (the ad space in the top right corner of the newspaper’s front page), a halfpage ad, and supplement ad (to go in a medical directory insert), it was important that each newspaper used a single toll-free number consistently.

CC-ads-spreadsheetOnce the general designs were approved, I built a simple spreadsheet to assist me in creating the multiple versions of each ad. Of course the phone number (highlighted above with a red oval) had to be different. In addition, I also inserted the name of each newspaper (highlighted above with a blue rectangle) as a simple quality assurance measure. This ensured that the phone numbers would match up, but it also ensured that the ad manager at the newspaper would be sure to place the correct ad in the correct newspaper, as that was so important for our data collection.

CC-file-namesUsing Data Merge, I created several ads from a single file, saving significant time. Further, I used a special plug-in so that I could export the PDFs individually with custom file names from the data merge fields. (By default, InDesign exports data merge files into the unhelpfully named filename-1.pdf, filename-2.pdf, and so on.) This meant that when it was time to send the files to the newspaper, each newspaper was labeled within the file name, to minimize any chance of misplaced ads (as it was one company who managed all seven newspapers).

Inevitably, there was a change to the ads at the last minute, and instead of needing an extra day to recreate the 21 files (7 newspapers × 3 ads), I made the change, and re-exported the files in a matter of minutes.

Not only was this process extremely efficient with regard to time, storage space (one source file rather than several), quality and version control, it helped to eliminate a very mundane task. In my experience, it is during the mundane tasks that people are most likely to make a careless mistake.

All in all, I believe I succeeded in my efforts to built a better mousetrap.

Steven R. Berger website, ebooks

For Steven R. Berger’s website, stevenrberger.com, I created a website that could promote his three novels, available in paperpack and ebook formats (from Amazon and Barnes & Noble).

Steven wanted a website that used a content management system, preferably WordPress, so that he could make updates from time to time. Additionally, he wanted to make free samples of all his books available for download in as many formats as was reasonable.

stevenrberger.comI wireframed the site, and then created it in WordPress using the content and direction he provided, using a theme that has the option to expand to direct-to-consumer sales. The look for the original site was suggested by a bookmark his wife designed. The site also uses SEO and social media to increase traffic.

After 18 months, it was time to create a new look for the site. Truth be told, Steve saw the website I had created for another author, and wanted his site to look more like that site.

Using InDesign, I created the free samples of his work in PDF, .epub, and .mobi (for Kindle). I have since created the .epub versions of Innocent Bystander and Ursula’s Yahrtzeit Candle.

In addition, I proofread all three books prior to their publication, finding several mistakes that went unnoticed by several others, and then wrote (or rewrote) the teaser copy for the two novellas (Ursula’s Yahrtzeit Candle and Innocent Bystander).

Teaser copy for Ursula’s Yahrtzeit Candle:

Ursula Frank, an 87-year-old woman, who has lived and seen it all from Nazi-scorched Europe to pre-Castro Cuba, was looking for a clever exit from her mortal coil by going into East L.A. at night looking for trouble. Unintentionally she interrupts the gang initiation of Reuben Montanez, a 17-year-old good guy who was simply hoping for a better life than his honest hard-working (deceased) brother. Little does Reuben know that Ursula just might have the answer to his hopes of a better life, if only she can share it with him before it is too late—for either of them.

Teaser copy for Innocent Bystander: An American Tragedy:

Chuck Gray, a 40-something family man whose worked at a paper supply house for nearly two decades can’t help but be attracted to Felicia Tafoya, a beautiful Latina coworker more than 20 years his junior. In danger of missing an international flight after missing her bus, Chuck offers Felicia a ride. The next morning detectives ask Chuck some questions about the rape and murder of a woman matching Felicia’s description, and before he realizes what’s happening, Chuck is arrested.

Innocent Bystander explores the ordeal that one man faces when considered a suspect in a violent sex crime, and the resulting fallout with the people who thought they knew him best: his wife, teenage children, and colleagues. Is there such a thing as “innocent until proven guilty” anymore?

 

Job’s Daughters International, after a number of years of stagnant or even declining membership, in 2010 established a Long Range Planning committee to ensure the organization’s long-term success. The committee decided that one of the first things it needed to do was create a brand-new brand to get people excited about Job’s…

Colorado Job’s Daughters Yearbook

To continue the new branding campaign of Job’s Daughters International, Colorado’s jurisdiction (or Grand Guardian Council as it’s called) asked me to create a yearbook to commemorate their 2011–2012 term. Continue Reading

Wedding Guestbooks

After creating a custom guestbook for my own wedding, I have been inspired to create numerous custom wedding guestbooks for others. I use photos they provide, and try to create a special book that they will treasure for many years to come. Rachel and Luke’s wedding was scheduled for the peak of the cherry blossoms blooming in Washington, D.C. I used a branch of cherry blossoms that blooms as the pages progress as a metaphor of their blooming love, combined with their engagement photos (taken by Erin Lassahn), which were taken in and around D.C., in locations that had special meaning to the couple. Continue Reading

In August of 2010, the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Trade Commission released new Horizontal Merger Guidelines. However, they only issued the Guidelines online via HTML and PDF. Realizing people within the industry might want to access the guidelines via alternate methods, Bates White set forth to fill in those gaps. In the Spring of 2011 I created both a print version of the guidelines that was used as a promotional handout, as well as an ebook version that could be accessed through all major e-readers, including Kindle (.mobi file), and Nook, iPad, Kobu, and Sony eReader (.epub file). Continue Reading

USITC Year in Review 2008

The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) publishes an annual report, the Year in Review to report on all happenings at the Commission throughout the year. Using Adobe InDesign, coupled with Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Photoshop, I composed the 2008 Year in Review (published in September 2009).

Tasks included

  • designing a cover (using stock art),
  • creating numerous black and white charts, graphs and tables,
  • developing a consistent style guide for the several documents that made up the Year in Review, and
  • working with senior management and an outside print shop to create a professional annual report.

To see the complete Year in Review, click here to view a local copy (with cover)  or click here for the one hosted on the usitc.gov website (sans cover).

usitc_yir08

USITC Budget Justification

All government agencies are required to submit an annual budget to the Office of Management and Budget.  As an independent agency, the USITC submits its budget request directly to Congress rather than through the Office of Management and Budget.

When I began working at the USITC, I had heard stories of how much work the Budget would be each January, and that every year, without fail, the person in my position had to work around the clock the weekend of the Superbowl to ensure the Budget Justification would arrive to Congress by the deadline (the first Monday in February). As Henry Ford used to say, “Work smart, not hard.” While I’m a hard worker, I realized if I approached the task differently, I might not have to work around the clock leading up to the deadline. When I took a look at the previous budgets, and learned about the process in place, I realized that the Budget could be created much more efficiently using smarter processes and more current and capable software. Continue Reading

ASSET Brochure

For the launch of CGH Technologies’ software/service bundle, ASSET, I created the logo, as well as a full-bleed tabloid-size handout. This was created using InDesign, and opens from the center like French doors.

To view the original (French door opening) PDF, click here.

To view a modified version of the PDF that opens like a folder, click here.