Web & Design

3 economical ways to tell your company’s story at work

I recently designed a poster series for Portland Fruit Tree Project (PFTP). It hangs on the wall space just outside their two offices.

pftp-triptych

PFTP needed an economical way to highlight their three central programs to passersby in their building: harvesting, community orchards and tree stewardship. The previous display was a cardboard trifold with spray mounted paper and photos…

Old PFTP display board

…so the laminated gator board-mounted 3-piece was a mighty improvement.

Many staff members made note of the number of people who had positive feedback about this change, and it got me thinking about how we tell stories about our work at work—and in particular, how small companies do it. Since they don’t have waiting areas or receptionists who can spontaneously deliver the low-down to a curious onlooker, expectant interviewee or potential stakeholder, small companies need an office that speaks for itself more than their larger counterparts. The ability to utilize their space to wordlessly express their work is paramount.

The obvious challenge in this situation is of course, that small companies don’t have the funds to hire a designer, to purchase awesome decals or to put up lettering that will make gingerbread icing look like child’s play. So what resources are left?

Having worked for smaller operations for years, I’ve seen a number of different design choices that put together a brief list of 3 different options that I’ve relied on for companies with limited budgets who want to show the kind of work they do without breaking the bank. Here’s what I came up with:

1. FedEx Posters with gator mount

As much as small companies tend to want to support other small companies, sometimes it’s just too darn difficult to do it for everything. I’ve had a number of pieces printed through FedEx, including Portland Fruit Tree Project’s poster above, with great satisfaction. They are big enough that you can submit something online, but delightfully flexible, in that they’ll allow you to email a specific store with a file if you can’t figure out how to indicate your print preferences via their online platform. If you don’t have a dedicated graphic designer or communications person on staff, this is very helpful.

FedEx also has regular coupons available online—I generally go to RetailMeNot—and religiously includes them when you pick up orders for them. For the nonprofits out there, they also offer a 10% discount to you if you create an account with them in advance.

These posters are also great because they are lightweight, durable, moveable, and can be laminated (in case you accidentally throw your morning coffee at it. You can also easily hang these, and allow for re-hanging with Command picture hanging strips.

What’s the cost out the door? PFTP paid $200-ish for three 20×30″ posters—which are non-standard size—that were color printed, mounted on gator board, and laminated to boot.

2. Mpix Standouts

Mpix standout sample
An image from Mpix’s website.

I found out about Mpix through their owner, Miller’s Professional Imaging, which creates photo products exclusively for pro photographers. Mpix may be aimed towards so-called amateurs, but there’s nothing amateur about their product. These standouts are quality prints mounted on 1.5″ thick pieces of foam board. They arrive with 4 pre-made holes in the back to allow for easy wall mounting, though there is the option to simply stand them up on a desk or other flat surface.

They come in a plethora of sizes, so that even if your small company doesn’t have photos taken on a big fancy camera (which tend to shoot in a 2:3 ratio), you’ll be able to print them without having to crop off a vital part of your image.

What’s the hit? The smallest standout starts at $30, but if you get on the Mpix list for promo codes that will take the price down when the time comes.

3. Premium Shutterfly Books

The above two options are great if you have control of your wall space, but many small companies don’t have a lot of easily utilized wall space to their name. Maybe you have brick walls and vaulted ceilings, maybe your walls are covered by dry erase boards, and perhaps you are further disadvantaged by the lack of any reception area (that’s a lot of lost wall space). What kind of portable story device can you make available to clients, partners and passersby to explain your company’s work? That’s where premium books by Shutterfly come in…

Shutterfly premium book
An image directly from Shutterfly’s website boasting about this admittedly deserving product

Shutterfly markets these books to wedded partners-to-be, but I can assure you, they are just as functional for sharing words and images related to many, many other events and causes. They are highly customizable, available in a variety of sizes from 8×8″ to 11×14″, and the Shutterfly interface allows you to easily upload images from Instagram and Facebook if desired. The pages lay flat for easy reading, and the cover can be made of a range of materials, from leather to crushed silk, depending upon your needs.

Pricing for the 8×8″ book starts at $70, but similar to FedEx and Mpix, they have frequent sales and promo codes that you can access by signing up for their list.

Web & Design

Marriage to mitzvah with a little help from Wix

Last fall a lovely family from the Los Angeles area approached me to design a website for their son’s bar mitzvah over the 2016 Presidents’ Day Weekend. They were so darn friendly and excited to save on paper, I quite happily agreed. To add cherries to sundaes, my good friend and mentor, Tamara, of Tamara Leigh Photography was in charge of head shots for their dapper tween, so there was no question that I’d have a selection of stunning photography to consider in my design efforts.

The client and I wanted an economy website with short-term and ad-free potential, that was youthfully playful yet clean. After reviewing some custom and template avenues, we ended up choosing this Wix wedding site template. “Wedding?” you ask? Yep!

The original template was for the much-anticipated nuptials of Zoe & Amelia in 2023 (they were clearly planning ahead):

Original Wix template homepage

But with a few changes in color and content, I came out with something a little different for Saben (the star of this website and the weekend festivities).

Saben's homepageI kept the homepage (above) fairly simple and pattern-free, especially considering our choice of photo, which already boasts some geometric wall design.

event-resized-900w

Drawing inspiration from the app culture of today, I decided to make most of the site buttons a simple monochromatic circle with a self-explanatory icon centered within. Each of the icons linked to the appropriate subpage of each menu button. Like many big occasions, this one had to accommodate some local and out of town guests, some very close family members and some friends, so I made a couple of dropdowns to indicate the events available to each.

shabbat-dinner-resized-900w

Friday night “shabbat” dinner was an event for everyone, and so merited a handy dandy interactive map.

plan-resized-900w

I added a “Plan Your Visit” dropdown with some helpful subpages to direct those guests who might be less familiar with Los Angeles, our traffic patterns and weather. Speaking of weather…

packing-resized-900w

I couldn’t resist this one. It’s odd, but so many of my own out of town guests during my years in LA never thought to bring more than flip flops and shorts. But like any desert, temperatures can actually drop quite a bit at night despite the warm days.

Transportation page screenshot

And of course, I would be remiss if I did not include some tips for the most important consideration of an LA visit: transportation. The rise of Uber made for a fourth option and a delightfully distinct icon for inclusion on this page.

Overall, I was quite pleased with the user-friendliness and customization options of the Wix template process. My previous sites were built in WordPress and Blu Domain, so this was an exciting opportunity to expand my horizons in site template platforms.

 

Web & Design

It’s never too early for love and letterpress

I recently has the pleasure of taking a letterpress workshop with Rosanna and Joel Kvernmo of Iron Curtain Letterpress in Los Angeles. A part of the Hammer Museum’s urban renewal project, Art ReSTORE LA, this workshop is one of many events scheduled throughout the month of November in temporary storefronts of Westwood Village. With my stationery spending habit and excitement about accessible arts in Westwood (a paradox of sorts for folks who are familiar with rent prices around there), I couldn’t resist an experience in this so-called “pop-up village” of artisans and creatives.

Given that the Black Friday is just days away, this workshop was the perfect opportunity to get a head start on those Christmas cards that we all promise to send out each year. But when I found these beautiful giant letters amongst the drawers upon drawers of typeface options, I was struck with an idea for another holiday: Valentine’s Day. Here’s what I came up with against my favorite festive backdrop…

Letterpress cards 1

Can you see those paper envelope inserts? Are they donuts, you ask? Why yes, they are. As fate would have it, the good people of Paper Source have diversified their print designs to include my most frequent midnight craving.

Letterpress cards 2

Web & Design

Creating a website for Tamara Leigh Photography

I built a website for Tamara Leigh Photography, consisting of a home page, 6 photo galleries, an about page, a client portal page, an additional services page and a contact page.

The photo below pertains to the Events gallery. It’s one of my favorite images from this particular subject of TLP’s portfolio.

events-portfolio

This image below is within the architectural gallery.

architecture-portfolio

The additional services page…

additional-services-page

The about page, for which I also drafted the bio…

about-page

And last but not least, the contact page…

contact-page