Posted on December 12, 2014
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 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.
- The brochure fits in a standard #10 envelope so that no extra postage would be required.
- The brochure’s language caters to both girls (fun, friendship, activities) and parents (poise, philanthropy, scholarships), and is a manageable length.
- The brochure’s photos feature a diverse array of members from all over the nation doing all sorts of things.
- 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.
- 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.
Posted on September 10, 2013
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.
Once 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.
Using 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.
Posted on September 1, 2013
I have worked with Job’s Daughters International in a creative role since 2003. In 2011 I was invited to join the Long Range Planning Committee to help the organization as a whole determine what its long range goals were, and to achieve them. One of the Long Range Planning (LRP) committee’s tasks was to revamp our branding, and appeal to a new generation of girls. An additional goal was to assist the Board of Trustees with determining an appropriate revenue stream for the organization via fundraising. As the organization is often compared to Girl Scouts, it was our mission to “find our cookie,” so to speak.
To promote Job’s Daughters International’s new brand among our target audience (10-20 year old girls) while simultaneously raising funds for JDI.
StikPockets are vinyl stickers that attach to the back of any smartphone or case, turning your phone into a wallet. They can be customized with a logo and sold or handed out for promotional purposes.
I found the product via social media in June 2013, and worked directly with the owner/inventor Brian Owen to get all necessary information. I also negotiated a price point that would be mutually beneficial so that we could raise much-needed funds, and Mr. Owen could get important client feedback for the fundraising branch of his business.
I designed four Stik Pocket designs (two for the initial launch, two for a follow-up fundraiser).
I did market research and data analysis to determine the appropriate number of Stik Pockets to order, how many of each (black and white), and multiple price points (two retail, two wholesale) to ensure healthy profit margins for the organization.
I wrote a proposal outlining all details of the promotion, costs, and projected profits. (Submitted June 24, 2013.)
I secured a booth so that the Long Range Planning Committee could sell Stik Pockets at the organization’s annual conference (“Supreme Session”) in Oakland, California.
I wrote a press release and sent it out prior to Supreme Session to get people excited, and come prepared to buy our product (or buy a bundle and bring it back to sell locally).
I created fundraiser bundles, including a pricing chart, incentive ideas, feedback request, and a tracking form.
The Long Range Planning Committee came to JDI’s Supreme Session (i.e., annual conference, July 22-27, 2013) with 1,000 Stik Pockets. In two and a half days of sales (about 16 hours total), we sold out of all 1,000 Stik Pockets. Our final gross profit margin: 88%. The fundraiser raised nearly twice as many funds as the next two top-grossing fundraisers combined.
Posted on February 8, 2013
I began working for Bates White Economic Consulting firm shortly after they decided it was time for a new brand and identity. This included a new logo, new website, new business cards, new corporate templates (primarily in Word, Excel, and PowerPoint), just to name a few.
It was my job to take the new logo and brand and create or update countless files, and in many cases expand upon the determined brand identity. For example, the new brand’s color scheme only had 6 colors. With the type of economic work the firm does (lots of charts and other visual graphics), it was necessary to expand the color scheme to accommodate up to 15 colors that were easily distinguishable from each other, both on screen, and in print (in both color and black and white). Continue Reading
Posted on April 11, 2011
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
Posted on March 22, 2011
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
Posted on October 1, 2009
The United States International Trade Commission publishes several investigation reports each year (primarily Section 332, 337, and 731 reports). Originally, it was part of the Printing Department’s job to create covers for all investigation reports. Continue Reading
Posted on February 9, 2009
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
Posted on July 7, 2007
Invitations, save-the-dates, a wedding website, programs, a guestbook, a wedding album… this is kind of stuff a graphic designer loves to do. It’s even more satisfying when the client is yourself.