Saturday, February 27, 2010

Bolton Design Creates Compelling Referral Piece

Over Valentine's Day, I received this gorgeous marketing piece from my trusty graphic designers, Tracey and Nat, at Bolton Design. I was blown away!! So much so, that I immediately called Tracey to get the full story on the concept.

Happily, she was willing to share the whole story on the creation and execution of their "Refer Your Love" marketing campaign.

"For the past couple of years we had been toying around with ideas on how to ask our Clients for referrals in a creative and fun way. But, it wasn't until reading a case study about a Refer Your Love promo campaign in The Designer's Guide to Marketing and Pricing, by Peleg Top and Ilise Benun that our idea really gelled.

Since Valentine's Day and the Chinese New Year fell on the same day this year we combined themes from both traditions into a unique seasonal promotion. We selected the color palette, hot pink and white. We found hot pink take out containers and filled them with custom fortune cookies. The raspberry colored and flavored fortune cookies perfectly matched the containers and were stuffed with custom messages we crafted ourselves:

Bolton Design hearts you.
The first step to a better brand is to imagine it.
You will find great success in creative endeavors.
The perfect solution is closer than you think.

Then, we took this simple promotion one step further. Each of our clients also received a custom card that said, "Refer Your Love" on the front. Inside we wrote a witty and gracious message that conveyed our appreciation for their business and our desire to work with more people like them. Enclosed was a custom designed reply card with a SASE. In keeping with the theme, it was stamped with Chinese New Year postage. To really highlight the hot pink of the packaging and envelopes, all pieces were placed in a plain white box and cushioned with white paper shred."

-Tracey Bolton, Bolton Design

Tracey and Nat are the branding experts I have trusted for the past five years - they have been the source of several marketing and design solutions for me, including, and the identity for my photography brand. We'll be working together again in the very near future so stay tuned for what they do for me next!

Oh, and I forgot to mention, the cookies were delicious. Thanks, Tracey and Nat!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Broken Glass

This glass was a gift from a restaurant owner, not far from the marketplace in Rome, near where my friend Rachel used to live. The owner was charming and extra attentive, as we were the only guests in the tiny restaurant that evening, and he seemed amused to hear us carrying on in English. Rachel had explained to him, "My friend loves your glasses!" And the owner insisted that I take one home with me to America. Why did I love it so much? Well, to be honest, it was the name of the restaurant and the logo imprinted on it, Il Picolo Grande Chef, which literally translates to mean, "The Little Big Chef." I mean, how cute is that?!

The glass was laid to rest this week, after an untimely incident in the sink. It will be missed, and its memories never forgotten. Luckily, I still have the dessert plate with the little brown Scorpion imprinted on it, that Rachel scored for me from Il Scorpio.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Fall 2010 - New York Fashion Week

For the uninitiated, it may seem strange that Fashion Week, Fall 2010, occurred in February. Like many traditions, fashion has its own innumerable quirks. My friend Rachel works in fashion, for an agency in their hair and make-up department, and she has recounted many fantastic tales, such as the time she shoved boxes and boxes of eyelashes into a friend's stuffed suitcase as she left for Paris, the only conceivable way to get them overseas to her artist even sooner than FedEx could have, in order for them to arrive in advance of the fashion show for which they were required (needless to say, Rachel's hair and make-up artists think she is a miracle-worker).

I have been a photographer for years, and have worked on lots of film, television, and commercial sets. I thought I knew a thing or two about make-up, beauty, and even styling. But when I first arrived backstage at fashion week, I realized that Rachel's stories were the tip of an abominable, art-centric, impeccable iceberg. There were people everywhere - crammed into every inch of available space. Tables stretched along all four walls of every room, covered in carefully laid-out hair and make-up application tools and products. Cameras of every size and shape clicked away, while their operators bumped into each other, almost politely. In fact, the protocol I noticed immediately, was an acceptance of the chaos, and an incredible sense of respecting the need to share the space - what very little of it there was. The other thing I noticed immediately was the amazing professionalism, the way everyone knew how to do their job and try to stay out of other people's way - how everyone had a specific detail to which to attend, whether it be clothes, modeling, hair, or make-up, and they focused intensely on doing their job well, despite the chaotic environment.

Sephora hired me to cover 27 fashion shows, behind-the-scenes, over the course of 8 days. It became kind of like a dance, jetting from place to place around town, reporting to the beauty writer Sephora had assigned to the show, and figuring out which model had a nearly-complete look ready to be photographed for the blog. The goal was to create images that would show off the make-up in a way to do it justice, as it's Sephora's Beauty and the Blog's job to show their customers how the make-up really looks on someone, and how to use it. Mostly that involved using existing light to create a beauty look -- often having the model sit right in front of the same light used to apply her make-up -- so I found it an extra special treat when the show was taking place in a studio with great window light.

I had many, many little adventures during the week - a lot of which were commemorated for your viewing pleasure on my facebook page. I felt honored to document the hard work of so many talented artists whose skills delineated the quality of the brand they're representing. The week yielded lots of successful shots, as showcased by the photos linked here to their original posts on the Sephora blog. One personal, hilarious moment was showing up to a show on Ash Wednesday with ashes on my forehead; a story Sephora liked so much, they let me blog about it for them! I'm officially a fashion week convert - bitten by the fashion bug and loving it.

(Photo of me by Nicole Grippo.)