Posts Tagged ‘Ad Campaigns’

All I can say is, get your tickets early this year for the Mendocino Music Festival. As the designer and printer for the Festival these last three years, I’m one of the first to be privy to what’s coming. Lemme tell ya: It is going to be so fantastic. You can read all about it on their web site (designed by Studio Z Mendocino!!): mendocinomusic.com

Every year for the last twenty-four, the Festival has mounted a gigantic white tent right out on the headlands on Mendocino Bay. Inside that tent, for a couple of weeks in July, occurs the most gorgeous, inspiring array of musical offerings you can imagine. From classical orchestra to opera, from world to blues, from folk to JAZZ, we get to feast our ears and eyes on music music music, making our world go round a little bit faster and happier in the middle of summer. I LOVE the MUSIC FESTIVAL!! Here is the inside of the ticket brochure I designed for this year’s Festival.

Yummy, no?

OK, I have to go get ready for the Ball. Oh, didn’t I tell you? I am going to a masquerade ball in San Francisco tonight! Wait till you see the invitations we printed for it. I will tell all when I get back to town. Meanwhile, get your tickets so I can see you here in July at the Mendocino Music Festival!!

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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!!


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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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.

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.


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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.

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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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Yesterday, Saturday morning, I woke up early and completely tore up a little three-fold brochure I designed last week. Two colors (didn’t need to be, since it was going to be printed digitally — I planned it that way), kind of a cornball Dean-Martin-swingin’ bold script, combined with a nice, clean sans serif for the main information. Not at all my usual style, but I liked it for its straightforward, ‘Fifties vibe, and, though I wasn’t totally crazy about it, it had a certain appealing consistency and rhythm of its own. It was okay, you know,¬† and since this was a “quick turnaround” thing, a “no big deal” thing, a “let’s get it to the printer, this is an emergency” thing, I dashed it off and delivered the PDF to my clients in record time. They LOVED IT…and then decided it really had to have some pictures.

Uhh. What most non-designers don’t know is that once a design is close to being finished, it is just about impossible to add unplanned-for elements and have it retain any of its original integrity. So, dutifully, and knowing this, I stuck in the tiny photos and it was, predictably, terrible. I could not let it go out that way. No way. NOOOO way!! That is why six a.m. Saturday found me excitedly redesigning it from scratch.

The good news is, it’s a lot better than the first one, actually, and it has pictures and it’s not going to be a smirch on my design reputation…and the clients like it way better too. I feel much relieved and much happier all around.

In spite of the happy ending, this episode reminded me of the hilarious¬† YouTube video about what if a corporation were trying to redesign the Stop Sign — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwqPYeTSYng–

If you are a designer, you will totally die laughing. It’s our life! But it also makes me curious about this process. It’s almost as if the design, be it a new logo, a flyer, an ad or total redesign of an identity, wants to be a certain way. It’s the designer’s job to find the path to it. There is this interior exploration on the designer’s part to understand and “get” the spirit of the company or client, the intention, the vibe, and translate that so it becomes a truthful, emotional depiction of it, visually. In truth, there are infinite possibilities available, but there is only ONE that will be chosen. This means that every comp the designer delivers needs to be GOLD. The designer ethically must believe in every iteration, because the client could chose any one, and if he chooses the one Ms. Designer threw in as bait, she is sunk. She is saddled with a smirch on her reputation.

Yep, every design concept is completely, absorbingly crucial. It takes hours and hours of creative digging and fooling around and playing and going back and forth, tons of experience and study and knowledge of typography and placement. I have been learning these things for thirty-five years of so now and I still feel such angst over design, such elation when I hit on something that really “sings.”

Hardly anyone but another designer knows the creative tussling this requires. So when a designer delivers something, there is usually a lot of love in it, to tell you the truth. We fall in love with our work, unfortunately, and that is possibly a bad mistake, but a natural piece of creativity too. In a sort of woowoo context, designers are mediums…artistic witches interpreting the clients’ hopes, and passing them through the filter of our own aesthetics and skills, to come out with an ineffable something that does its job with elan and grace. We aim to please, but get our own volition involved in there too.

Graphic Design is a crazy mystery. We love the process and the struggle. We love the work itself, and we love the clients too, almost all of them.


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