Archive for Publishing

flipped out

Featured Items, Portfolio, Publishingon July 10th, 2013No Comments

Practically elegant sounds like a contradiction but, in this case, that’s exactly what this sales tool for Isovolta is. It’s a field tool that shows customers the company’s product categories. Because it’s a piece that gets used—a lot—it needed to be not only very sturdy but easy to use as well.

The ringer here was the low quantity needed which meant that I needed to get clever about the printing in order to preserve some economy of scale. I did that by using a trick from early children’s book where the pages were often printed as 4/o then folded in half and bound. The one-sided printing provided some economy of scale back in the day before most printers were running perfecting presses and the folded page added some heft and durability.

The result was both a unique looking piece that could take some abuse…and look great doing it.

vermont law school fund mailer

Featured Items, Portfolio, Publishingon July 10th, 2013No Comments

First, it’s a law school, then it’s a piece of direct mail. Really, how exciting could it possibly be?

Really exciting, actually. Let’s face it, the client who lets you do what you’re actually capable of is a rare thing. I’m not complaining, just saying that most clients never let you really explore the boundaries of what could work. So, when you get those opportunities, you want to make the most of them. It was all the more unusual to have that very chance with, what most folks would think, was a conservative client.

This turned out to be one of those simple but elegant pieces that I love to do. Black and white photography contrasted against vibrant blocks of color and spare text.

woodstock high school

Portfolio, Publishingon October 16th, 2010Comments Off on woodstock high school

I do quite a bit of work in education, partly because I have the opportunity but also because I like the idea that the work contributes to the community good. In a small state like Vermont, schools are struggling to keep funded in a tight economic environment and being able to clearly communicate the benefits the bring to the table helps them make a case for local support. I’ve done quite a few view books and I always enjoy working on them. But, I wasn’t prepared for the unexpected turn the Woodstock High School assignment took.

I almost always start these projects by interviewing as broad a spectrum of faculty, staff, students, and parents as I can manage. It’s a good way to get to the core of what a school is about and to develop a rounded view. And so it was with this book. I spent a few days interviewing, then dumped the interview transcripts into a mash-up from which I typically edit down the final copy. That’s when things took a weird turn. While reading through the interviews I was struck by the absolute authenticity of the voices. Truly, there was no way I was going to be able to improve on the interviews and I approached the school’s principal with an idea—to make the book a series of vignettes featuring the best of the material. I think it takes a lot of courage on the part of client to try something that is clearly out of their comfort zone, but the headmaster agreed.

The result was a uniquely personal and powerful view of the school through the eyes and voices of those to whom it mattered most.

mount st. joseph academy

Portfolio, Publishingon October 16th, 2010Comments Off on mount st. joseph academy

This was one of my favorite assignments—a view book for a small Catholic private school—because of the latitude given to develop a presentation that spoke to both the benefits an education from this prestigious academy as well as the faith that drives it. It didn’t hurt that the school and a 125 year history of preparing young men and women for careers and colleges. It was more than a bit humbling to be given the responsibility of representing not only the current students but also the alumni and the community as a whole.

I wanted the unique qualities of MSJ to be represented not only by the pages but through the pages, communicating the respect, achievement, and opportunity that are a Mount St. Joseph education. Through a collaboration with a local photographer who was sympathetic to the budgets constraints of the project, I was able to afford the publication the benefit of original and purposeful images. I think the results peaks for itself. It’s a view book with depth and  weight. A book that honored the school’s past while looking to its future.

overland outdoor

Portfolio, Publishingon October 16th, 2010Comments Off on overland outdoor

Of all the disciplines within the design spectrum, catalog layout and production with it’s tight page layouts, precise space usage requirements, and formatting has to be one of the most challenging. Add to that a photographer in Colorado, copy writing in Iowa, art direction from Vermont, and printing New York and you could have a project management nightmare.

But not so with the Overland catalog thanks to 37 Signals’ BaseCamp webware. This handy tool made communication simple and effective despite the geographic diversity of the design team. The result? On time performance of a demanding design with a  tight (and immovable) deadline.

casella annual report

Publishingon September 1st, 2010Comments Off on casella annual report

Taking one of the country’s largest publicly-traded waste companies and getting past the obvious to the real story behind the essential activity is a real challenge…and a chance for us to flex our creative muscle.

Vivid color and original photography allowed us to capture the energy and excitement of the company and authentically represent people and activities to tell an interesting, hopeful story of a group of people who strongly believe in their role as public servants.

More than just a pretty piece, this ‘boxed set’ was executed under extremely tight deadlines and a strict no-room-for-error policy. Not only was it important to convey the message artistically and accurately but to successfully coordinate the army of partner vendors—printer, bindery, shareholder services, attorneys, and investor services—necessary to bring this project to a successful conclusion.

A picture can, indeed, be worth a thousand words.

Log Splitting 101

Publishingon June 3rd, 2010Comments Off on Log Splitting 101


We work with quite a few niche businesses—companies that are generally at the top of their field with a need (but not necessarily a budget) to communicate their leadership position as well as sell product. While it’s not exactly ‘design on a dime’, companies like Timberwolf—a manufacturer of wood processing equipment— have little luxury for literature that’s ‘pretty good’. Everything they do needs to work and work well, giving customers all the information they need…quickly, concisely, and with style.

This integrated collection of sales literature uses original photography and vivid color to capture the energy and enthusiasm of the young company while combining it with densely packed but very readable copy and product vignettes to deliver the information that the consumer needs to help them make a fast, accurate decision. The brochure, rack flyer and poster all integrate with Timberwolf’s web site to deliver a complete shopping experience.

I'm Not Junk Mail!

Publishingon June 3rd, 2010Comments Off on I'm Not Junk Mail!


Another catalog in the mail (yawn, circular file). So, how do you get a customer to not only read the catalog…but make a purchase?

Getting the design to really jump off the page and communicate the quality and character of what’s inside is a good place to start. In this 28-page mail order catalog for Overland—a high-end outdoor clothing company—we started with a simple, striking cover design and continued on the inside with an easy to read layout that made the customer’s buying decision a simple one.

In mail order, helping your customer to quickly and clearly understand product attributes and value is the fastest way to a sale. Strategic product placement and text positioned in ways that enhance the merchandise made this catalog look as good as it works.

Now, about that anniversary present…

casella core values

Portfolio, Publishingon June 3rd, 2010No Comments

Many (maybe, most) companies have core beliefs—values—that drive their decision-making and shape their business. Sometimes a company has the vision to make these ideals more than something that they hang on the wall and into something that can be a day-to-day guide enabling everyone who works for them to fully support the character of the company. Casella Waste Systems had such a vision and turned to us to bring it to life.

Core Values…Mastery not only highlights the five essential values of the company, it translates them into operational principals that the people in the field can apply…every day. Each spread of pages highlights a value and provides a set of baseline behaviors and improvements in an concise, easy-to-understand way. The spiral bind makes it easy to locate a favorite section or unique value…taking what Casella believes from a statement on a wall to practice on the ground.

Delivering the Message

Publishingon June 3rd, 2010Comments Off on Delivering the Message


Taking one of the country’s largest publicly-traded waste companies and getting past the obvious to the real story behind the essential activity is a real challenge…and a chance for Small Planet to flex its creative muscle.

Vivid color and original photography allowed us to capture the energy and excitement of the company and authentically represent people and activities to tell an interesting, hopeful story of a group of people who strongly believe in their role as public servants.

More than just a pretty piece, this ‘boxed set’ was executed under extremely tight deadlines and a strict no-room-for-error policy. Not only was it important to convey the message artistically and accurately but to successfully coordinate the army of partner vendors—printer, bindery, shareholder services, attorneys, and investor services—necessary to bring this project to a successful conclusion.

A picture can, indeed, be worth a thousand words.