Thursday, April 30, 2009

Client Profile | Blush Imagery

Blush Imagery is a boutique New England wedding photography company specializing in a natural, photojournalistic style. Owner, award-winning photographer Beth Fitzgerald, has a fun and spontaneous approach to wedding events that leads to relaxed images full of personality and life.

When Beth came to me she was looking to redesign her branding materials from the ground up. She had just moved to Maine and was looking to redefine and freshen her clean and crisp, but somewhat stale, company identity as she entered the competitive New England wedding market. As the face of the company, she hoped that the new identity would express her own fun, lively personality and her knack for capturing her subjects' lovable, if quirky, traits. At her price point, she also needed to exude enough professionalism and class to appeal to a relatively well-to-do clientele.


The Blush brand identity began with logo concepts. The final logo design came extremely quickly and easily. Beth wanted to avoid cliché wedding imagery, like cakes, presents, and dresses. She has a strong background in photojournalism, so I based many of the logo concepts on abstractions of camera shutters, which happen to look a lot like asterisks when simplified to this extent. Surprisingly, Beth seized onto the second concept she saw and has loved it ever since, even when I tried showing her additional variations—I just couldn't believe the final design could come about so easily! The somewhat muted color palette was chosen as a more sophisticated, modern twist on traditional pastel wedding colors.

From the logo, we moved on to stationery, which was printed on bright white smooth stock with rounded corners for a touch of the different.
We also designed a series of promotional postcard mailers:

Beth has a great design sense and has been able to design and maintain her own website to match the brand collateral design. However, when she needed a PDF e-brochure almost two years after the launch of her new identity, she asked me to dive into it. This was a great opportunity to continue to refine and revise the brand and bring in some exciting new elements to keep it looking fresh. A new san-serif font and round-edged box elements were introduced to echo the logo and organize information, and the color palette was expanded slightly. Since this is a selling tool, Beth's best photos were prominently featured, and the final page is an editable PDF to make signing their contract super easy for potential clients.

Following the e-brochure came the design of two additional e-tools to help Beth maintain relationships with existing and prospective clients—a blog and e-mail newsletter. These echoed and expanded on the visual design elements of the e-brochure.

What's Next?
Blush is all booked up for the 2009 wedding season and 2010 bookings are going strong, thanks in part to the new e-brochure. Beth is committed to blogging fairly regularly and just signed on to Twitter ( She is constantly revising the way she presents her clients' photos, albums and account info online to optimize the experience for them. These digital and interactive tools let her propel and market a great brand both online and off. And of course, her personalized service and beautiful images continue to delight her clients and their guests at wedding events most every weekend, all spring, summer and fall.

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Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Events |  Compostmodern ME

Compostmodern ME is an interdisciplinary conference constructed to help designers of all stripes, manufacturers, business-people, and social and civic planners and leaders to explore the range of sustainable design thinking necessary to create a socially and ecologically responsible society.

This, the first local conference, is born out of the national Compostmodern event held in San Francisco each year. Content will include webcasts from the national event, live presentations from local experts, and interactive discussions about design thinking and sustainability.

I've seen several of the national webcasts and they are extremely informative, inspiring, and, in some cases, challenging. If you're interested in sustainable design, responsible business, or healthier, more balanced products, environment and society, join AIGA and fellow sustainability thinkers at Compostmodern ME; it takes place Saturday, May 9, 2009 at One Longfellow Square in Portland.

Learn more and register at

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Monday, April 27, 2009

"I need those."

Just wanted to share this conversation I recently heard between two forty-something business-women. I was at a marketing talk, and the presenter was mentioning social media, but kept referring to to it as "new media". One of the women turned to the other and said "I don't know what that is. What's he talking about?"

The other responded, "New medias. They're like ... blogging ... and face books ... and that sort of thing."

And the first: "Oh, yeah, I need those."

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Friday, April 24, 2009

Business success, courtesy of the Stonyfield Institute

Last week I had the opportunity to attend the Stonyfield Farm Entrepreneurship Institute at the University of New Hampshire. For those who haven't heard of it, it's basically an interactive and collaborative small-business workshop, with a focus on marketing, management and finance and a bent toward socially and environmentally responsible models.

After an introduction and stories from Gary Hirshberg, CEO of Stonyfield (preceded, this year, by the President of Seventh Generation, Jeffrey Hollender) The Institute format is as follows: one at a time, a string of small business owners present their story, successes and failures to a panel of marketing or finance experts, in front of the conference-attending audience. The panel members respond with advice and possible solutions. The audience chips in. Repeat times 6 times, and add a good dose of networking plus all the yogurt you can possibly eat.

As I sat listening to the problems entrepreneurs were facing in marketing a huge range of businesses, from a farm incubator program, to a yoga-inspired back pillow, to a food additive that makes flour healthier for diabetics, I began to recognize the same questions asked and the same bits of advice given again and again.

And so, thanks to the insight of the expert panelists and the many audience members who volunteered their own stories and expertise, here follows the step-by-step formula for business success:

1. Clarify and simplify your goals. Know what kind of company you want to run, what you sell and who you sell it to, and be able to describe these things simply and cohesively.

2. Focus your efforts. Dig in deep in one arena. Do what it takes to prove you can succeed and make money on a small scale as quickly as possible.

3. Have the numbers to back up your claims. Be sure you can attach firm and tangible benefits (financial, environmental, etc.) to the thing you're selling and to your business model.

4. Cut start-up costs and establish credibility with strategic partnerships. In lieu of investment, find someone who will share their resources with you or let you leverage their name at minimal cost to them.

5. Look for new ways to engage. Sell directly to your most receptive audiences first and use the force of their opinions to reach others. Use testimonials, engage your clients' customers, etc..

6. Periodically reassess where the customers' needs are and what you could be doing to fill them.

7. Constantly challenge your own assumptions. Build an advisory board to challenge you. Seek out the points of resistance and face them head-on.


Wednesday, April 01, 2009

Vintage x-ray images

I love the shapes of the skeletons of things. And of course documentation of medical oddities is endlessly fascinating. I could spend days in the Mutter Museum.

So today, I wanted to post more images from the National Museum of Health and Medicine's public archive of US Army medical imagery. This time, vintage x-rays.

(Images shown subject to Creative Commons License)


The first two are beautiful images of things that are usually hidden on the insides of us (and a rattle snake).

This is, apparently, a grenade embedded in someone's forehead, taken during the Vietnam War:

And this, one of the more disturbing but visually interesting things I've seen lately, is the after-effects of self-mutilation with graphophone needles:

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