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JennAffairs salmon-edged black business cards. Photos by Pablo Abuliak.

The first question many people ask me is,  ‘How much will my new logo and business card cost?” This is a loaded question. More to the point, what do you want these things to do for you? What is it worth if it is so powerful that it increases your business? The second question many people ask is, “How long will it take to make me a new logo?” Super loaded question. Sometimes it takes one minute. Other times it takes a year and a half.

In the case of Jennifer Chapman, South Carolina entrepreneur extraordinaire and total new BFF, the more pressing question was the second one. How long. Jenn had found my website and loved what she saw there. Her dilemma was that her fabulous new Charleston showroom location was opening in a few weeks and she still had not found The New Branding. What could I do and how fast. After talking to Jenn for not very long, I was hooked. We decided on a price for the work and to tell you the truth, I was stumped. I wanted to do a monogram but “J” and “A” are really hard letters to put together in an artistic way. What to do? She needed these fast and she would also need a rack card or brochure to take to a big show she had signed up for. All within two weeks. Could I pull this rabbit out of this hat?

A couple of nights later I woke up in the middle of the night with this arrangement of letters in my dream. JA! OMG. I drew it in the notebook I keep next to me at all times and in the morning executed it on my computer and sent a PDF to Jenn. She was mad for it almost immediately. I had the idea to put it on black, super-thick museum mount with gold foil and Caribbean Sea blue foil (for the dots that cross the A and top the J, plus her tag line, “Fine Floral & Event Decor”) that would shimmer and shine. Then I told her about edge painting.

It was a crazy scramble to collect all the things we would need to make these cards and ship them to her in time. Edge painting for the show was out of the question, but guess what…we got the cards to her AND the rack cards in record time. This black letterpress card with foil stamping and edge painting has resulted in much attention to the new shop, which features Jenn’s gorgeous floral arrangements and wedding and event decor rentals,  like candelabra, furniture, tabletop and accessories for big events and small.

The first shipment of cards arrived in the nick of time for her show, but of course they had black edges, not salmon pink. The remainder of the cards got shipped to the edge painters and then to Jenn a bit later, in time for her next show. According to Jenn, people are stopped in their tracks by these beautiful cards. This is the point. This is what we go for. Will the business card do the job of making you and your business memorable.

Successfully utilizing the spectacular latent power of a great business card’s potential is not so much about the cost per card, nor is it in the amount of time from conception to completion that is the main question. It is really about what is my business card doing for me and my business. Is it the ambassador I want out there working for me, doing the delicate diplomatic work of reminding potential clients to call me up and give me a job. Jenn’s cards are so unusual, so fabulously amazing that people won’t put them in their purses. They ask permission to keep them. They want to talk about how the logo looks like a chandelier or the Eiffel Tower or a tent, and how perfect and how fun, etc. They are little pieces of art that speak volumes about Jenn’s taste and attention to detail and her giant store of creativity. Yes, each card costs over a dollar, but if that dollar brings in a $1000, or $3000, or more job, what is the value of that card, that dollar? Priceless.

Jenn is so much fun to work with that I often call her up in the morning and have coffee with her over the phone. Sometimes I send her an email at 11 o’clock at night and she is still up…3 hours later in South Carolina…answering my email. She is amazing and funny and we have developed a friendship in a short span of time that I can hardly imagine happening…about as fast as the business card concept came to me, we are friends.

I love this business. I love the modern world that allows things like this to happen. I love the creative trance that brings such beauty and effectiveness for my clients’ work. There is no other process that is capable of accomplishing a card like this: only letterpress can print on this type of paper, and only a great deal of skill and experience can even begin to attempt the technical aspects of it.

When I show people these cards, they literally gasp. They turn them over and handle them, rub their fingers over the impression, turn them on their sides to admire the little flash of color. It is like a magic trick. Stunning. This is what we want to see in a business card. This is the real work a business card needs to do.

Next time, I will show you Jenn’s rack cards, and all the stationery and envelopes and other things we are making for her right now.

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WAYZGOOSE! invite_Page_1

YOU’RE INVITED!

Dateline: Studio Z Mendocino, 711 North Main Street, Fort Bragg, California, Mendocino Coast, Edge of the Continent Overlooking the Vast, Rocking Pacific, Storm Coming, 24 Foot Waves Expected —

It’s a crazy madhouse in the shop. The champagne and bean-feast is tomorrow and we are in the middle of a maelstrom of activity, and have been all week. Getting ready for two or three hundred party-ready people takes some preparation. The questions of what we want them to see when they walk up the street and in our door requires  discrimination and decisions. After all, twenty-five years of work is a lot of little pieces of paper, a lot of … just everything. Sorting through this history is an opportunity for introspection that you would not believe; I deeply feel  the import of this moment in my life.

A while ago I had an exhibit of work called “Generation X (Excuse Me, That’s No X) — Ten Years of Letterpress Printing In the Wrong Century.” Now it’s been a quarter of a century already, and I find myself poised at a Moment, a really superb moment. Looking back. Looking forward. I am feeling very happy today. I wish you could come to the party tomorrow and maybe you can.

Here is what a Wayzgoose is, in case you missed other posts. It is right off the invitation insert:

A wayzgoose has a long tradition in the history of printing. The first time we heard the word we had to look it up in the OED*. These days, a Wayzgoose is more often a dinner where letterpress printers gather to talk about the art they love, and believe me, that is some talking. A keepsake is often printed to commemorate the occasion, sometimes
printed up right at the affair, & there can be entertainment as well. Always ready for an excuse to throw a party, Studio Z Mendocino long ago adopted the idea, turning it into an appreciation of our customers & an opportunity to show off the beautiful craft we still get to practice.
“It is also customary for all the
Journey-men to make every
Year new Paper Windows…;
Because that day they make
them, the Master Printer gives
them a Way-goose; that is,
he makes them a good Feast,
and not only entertains them
at his own House, but besides,
gives them Money to spend
at the Ale-house or Tavern
at Night. These Way-gooses,
are always kept about
Bartholomew-tide. And till the
Master-Printer have given this
Way-goose, the Journey-men
do not use to Work by Candle
Light.”
*Oxford English Dictionary
“Carriages were chartered,
an enormous quantity of
eatables and drinkables
provided, and away we
went, a regular wayzgoose
or bean-feast party.”
The Cruise of the Cachalot, by
Frank T Bullen, 1897

When we saw the part about the “bean-feast,” we had to look that up in the OED too. It actually means a feast, but we decided that it meant beans, and that is what our tradition became. A bean-feast with actual beans, and we would spare no creativity in serving beans from every corner of the world. Everyone was very, “Oh, ho ho, beans and champagne!” but then they would just eat the whole feast up and drink up all the champagne, even though it was quite cheap champagne (which is what we serve instead of giving out money to go to the Ale-house), and a regular Wayzgoose was had by all, in Fort Bragg. Somehow, with all the printing and designing and whatnot, we let our Wazygoose tradition go by the wayside, but for our Twenty-fifth Anniversary, how could we not revive it? We won’t be making paper windows, nor printing by candlelight at the Studio Z Mendocino Wayzgoose, but there might be a lagniappe to take home, if all goes well. We certainly look forward to seeing you here, to showing you our recent work, to serving champagne and beans to you and to ushering in our next twenty-five years. We hope to greet you at our party.

WAYZGOOSE! invite_Page_3

One other thing we added to the fete is Dessert and Shopping downstairs. It’s going to be so much fun I can’t stand it.

If you would like to read more about our work and history you can see the interview Arjen Noordman just posted to his online magazine, Cranbrook Design http://cranbrookdesign.com/index.php/topics/more/letterpress_by_zida_borzich/

Wishing you every good thing in the world as I dash off to glue some more business cards on a board and bake another batch of chocolate chip cookies. Quarter of a Century… how did this happen???? !!!

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As part of the ad campaigns I have been creating for the Mendocino County Lodging Association and the newly named Visit Mendocino County, Inc. I was charged to design a 10 x 10 foot booth. Look!!

MCLABooth

It was design on a much bigger scale than usual (from business cards to billboards in 60 seconds) so it was a fun and interesting project for me. Mendocino County is overflowing with richness: our beautiful blue Pacific, of course, the interesting little towns and villages, the vineyards of our Anderson Valley wine country and our splendid redwoods — getting the message in a non-jumbled way is the trick. We used shots from our incredible local photographers, John Birchard and Rita Crane to tell the story.

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Sac 4.625 x 4.875 sac5

Last season the Mendocino County Lodging Association (MCLA) commissioned me to design an ad campaign. Most people identify Studio Z Mendocino with letterpress printing, but, as we like to say, there are many ways of getting ink onto paper. And one of those ways doesn’t involve our doing any of the inking at all, but creating graphic design that’s compelling, informative, subtle and, of course, beautiful.

The project was on a tight deadline. Working closely with Project Manager, Louis Bohannan and MCLA director, Scott Schnieder, I went into my creative trances over the inspiring work of several local photographers. I feel I have actually rediscovered my home place through looking at it through the eyes of these talented artists.  In the ad above, “it seems like a dream,” I used the photo taken at a beach north of Fort Bragg, done by noted Argentine photograper, Pablo Abuliak. You might notice a certain similarity to my blog header. Pablo let me use his photo for this because the person in the shot is someone very close to me.

Working on this project put me in even closer touch with how incredible my County is, how beautiful and full of wonders, north, south, east and, of course, for me, west, where I love to live.

Diablo Mag 5.125 x 4.75 diablo5

“Show, Don’t Tell” was my watch phrase as I pored over images that told the big story, that Mendocino County is not only about the justly famed eponymous town (can a town be eponymous? In this blog it can.), but that everywhere you go in Mendocino County, you will encounter compelling gorgeousness that makes you never want to go back home. The ad above appeared in Diablo Magazine. The photograph of that Lone Tree near Boonville is by Anderson Valley author/photographer/philosopher/logger Bruce Patterson. I accidentally found him secluded away in a web site of Anderson Valley artists and totally fell in love with his work. You have to buy his book, Walking Tractor. You can’t believe how funny and smart, true and heartbreaking his stories are, and how distinct and rich his voice.

Nature, Nurture, Amazing Wines, Unpopulated Beaches, Little Towns, Homey Atmosphere, Redwood Trees, Famous Skunk Train, Fabulous Eating and Lodging, and Swoony Romance — let’s put the word out about this spectacular Place. The lower photo of Main Street in the Village at sunset is by Mendocino photographer, John Birchard.

OVM 3.64 x 8.44  ovm

This ad, with pink sunset photo by Mendocino local photographer, Rita Crane, was in South Bay Accent Magazine, and says more about the west side of the county, about getting away, and away from it all.

South Bay Accent 4.625 x 4.875 4-09 FINAL2

When I came up with the tag line, “Come see. Come stay. Come back.” everyone just sighed a sigh of rightness. Yep. Copy writing While-U-Wait. At Studio Z you get the whole enchilada with your ad campaign.

SF 9.5 x 5.625 03 FINAL APRIL

The ad above emphasizes again the allure at the center of our County, a shot of a wisteria covered barn in Anderson Valley by Rita Crane. Bet you didn’t know all this before, right? OK, here is one more. This is about the South Coast, an often-missed section of Mendocino County. This appeared in On Magazine. The awe inspiring photo of the lighthouse at Point Arena is by Eric D. Sharp.

ON 3.625 x 4.5 on4

We are hard at work just now creating the next campaign for the newly named, and differently assigned, Visit Mendocino. The organization must be doing something very right. With almost every county in the state submitting significantly downsized contributions in bed taxes, which herald how their tourism industry is doing, from 10% to 30% down, in fact, Mendocino County showed only a 4% drop from last year. Can a well placed ad campaign have anything to do with this? Can a story this graphically gripping pull those numbers in a weird economy? I wouldn’t mind taking a tiny bit of credit for it, honestly.

Here is the last one I will show you today, though there are many others. This one also was in On Magazine, a different month. The pet-friendly photo of Hairy Putter, canine restaurant critic, super-model, Mendocino County dignitary and extra-cute bon vivant running on the beach with his new compadres, was taken by my friend Alan Ahtow, one of Hairy’s People.

ON 3.625 x 4.5  on5

In the many worlds of places to go, I am blessed to live in this sublime place. That we get to share it with visitors, and that I get to work with all these fabulous artists, what a bonus. I hope you have fun when you come see, come stay and come back.

Z

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John Ford Poster

Have you seen the movie, Food, Inc.? If not, run, do not walk, to find it; watch it; take your kids; put its admonitions into practice, ASAP, for the good of your health, your family, and the planet. OK, advice column over. This post is actually about the branding campaign we did for the John Ford Ranch, which for years, and long before the sustainable movement took the world by storm, has lived and worked a sustainable, compassionate animal husbandry. Because it was always right, not because it was a trend.

After we created Amy Ford’s business cards for her own project management business, she had an idea that she wanted to surprise her mom and dad by having Studio Z Mendocino design and print up a unified look for her parents’ Grass Fed Beef business.  John and Charline Ford sustainably ranch in Willits, California, and sell their amazing product in farmers markets around the county, living the localization movement as well. They meet their customers face to face, every week.

Amy had drawn a silhouette of her mom and dad when she was just a teenager (“Honestly, I never drew another thing in my life!” she said) and we incorporated it into the logo with great results. It really has the perfect look for what we wanted to achieve, which you can see on their box label below.

John Ford Box Label 2

And here is the front of their digitally printed business card:

Pastured BC_Page_1

and the back:Pastured BC_Page_2

As you can see, Studio Z Mendocino, though famous for letterpress printing, has many ways to get ink onto paper, and these days, digital printing is one of them. It’s a different look with a letterpress sensibility, honed over the last 35 years of our chequered past. It also has a lower price point and four color, so there are advantages to all the ways we have to get your work into the public eye. If it’s a good design, it is a good thing, and we love the outcome for John Ford Ranch.

We made their meat labels too, and a sign for their truck and for their Ranch too, so everything has this recognizable, attractive, rustically sophisicated look. Call us for your branding needs too: 707.964.2522.

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Studio Z Mendocino is proud to have designed all the printed advertising for this year’s upcoming ART IN THE GARDENS, the primary fundraiser for the Mendocino Coast Botanical Garden, the only botanical garden in the United States that is situated right on the coast. It’s a beautiful day of Art and Craft, with Pacific vistas, masterful gardens, great wine tastings, food yumminess and community love fest-ing, and, guess what, you still have time to get tickets for the August 1st affair. Here are some of the pieces we created using featured artist, Julie Higgins’s ravishing painting, “Back to the Garden.”

This is the rack card:

AIG Rack Card_Page_1

And this is the paoster:

AIG Large Poster FINAL 18 x 24

We also did this post card:

AIG Post Card_Page_1

We are all so excited for the big day to arrive next Saturday. Will we see you there?

As a designer, there is nothing more exciting than feeling into an event and a piece of art and matching the typography and layout to that mood. My experience with this image, Eve in the Garden with her pomegranates and figs, and the ubiquitous raven… the glowing color palette that just reaches out and whacks you over the head…now, that was what I call FUN, that was happy. Never mind that I totally adore Julie-Higgins-the-person, anyway. This is my first go-round getting to play with her scrumptious work and also my first time to work with the Botanical Garden here, so I feel doubly blessed.

Make sure you get your tickets soon: www.gardenbythesea.com

And if your business or non-profit is planning an event for the next year, please don’t hesitate to call my studio here on the Mendocino coast to see what we can do to increase attendance and get noticed. We love this type of thing very much and get very good results.

Here is the invitation to the unveiling of Julie’s painting:

AIG Unveiling Invite

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Studio Z Mendocino designed the promotional advertising pieces for Mendocino Music Festival for the second year in a row. The logo we designed last year carries through everything, even though we changed the colors and musical image completely. When I do a logo, I like to make it as flexible as possible, so it can be played with in all kinds of ways while strongly retaining its branding mojo. The MMF logo is a perfect example of this. Big, bold lettering, all lower case sans serif, can be split up, run up the side, and really used in every way that’s required of a mark, with no question about who’s boss around here. Set over this year’s egg yolk yellow and deep orange color palette, it draws the eye with a vivacity that echoes the Festival’s eclectic appeal. I love this photo by Nicholas Wilson that shows the great white tent on the glorious Mendocino headlands.

Mendocino Arts Mag 3

If you’re in the neighborhood, may I say there could not be a better way to spend an evening (or two) here this coming week than to get a ticket to one of the concerts at the Mendocino Music Festival…IF you can wangle one, that is. During the first week, the tent was quite often sold out. Aside from the stellar posters and other things we did for them, this year’s concert offerings have been uniformly delicious…thrilling, inspiring, breathtaking, swinging…love, love, love!

Believe me, I hate to listen to people rhapsodize over music they just heard as much as you do, so please forgive my gush…

I have been Festivalized…Wednesday, The Seldom Scene brought down the tent with their full, fat bluegrass sound and harmonies that pulled us into the ecstatic zone. La Boheme made me cry all over the place on Friday night. Alexander Markov produced nothing less than rapture in the village both times he played his violin. And last night’s Big Band night was a triumph, particularly Julian Waterfall Pollack’s breathtaking arrangement of My Funny Valentine. Brilliant piano improvisation by Julian, jamming away with the full band, and his dad, Allan Pollack, the conductor, who blew a scintillating sax vamp that brought down the house. Ja’i Michele chanteused her sparkly red dress through a plummy lot of favorite standards with moxy and verve. This week’s lineup is amazing too. Particularly a coup to have Joshua Redman here from New York on Friday night.

It’s been fantastic to be involved in the promotion of this incredible community event this year and last, and especially to see that sales are actually up. People usually associate Studio Z Mendocino with letterpress printing, but you can also find us doing other types of printing and lots of design and ad campaigns and printed collateral of all sorts. I designed the posters, the ticket brochure, rack cards and a ton of print ads, plus the program cover. Above is one of the ads and below is the poster. We also did the Mendocino Music Festival’s web site, which you can go buy tickets from right now. If there are any.

8.5 x 11 Yellow Poster FINAL

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