A Retrospective, A Mid-Life Crisis or Just a Look Back
A couple months ago, I marked the 9th anniversary of my time at Fusion. When this was mentioned around the office, Morris said to me "You mean I've known you for a third of your life?" and holy bleep-this-out, he was right.
Nine years ago, at the ripe age of 21, I graduated from college and a week later I took up my first "real job" at Fusion. At the time, I was double-digits younger than any of the other creative team members and felt a lot like a clueless kid trying to run with the big boys. But I pulled up my chair, faked confidence, absorbed everything I could from the smarter people around me and pretended to know things I didn't while furiously figuring them out before anyone knew I was bluffing. I guess it worked, because I never got fired.
Now, when Claudine suggested yesterday that I put together a "favourite work from the past nine years at Fusion" post, I felt a little like Bieber doing a memoir at the wise age of 20 (is he even 20? I refuse to google Justin Bieber.). But hey - if the Biebs can do it, so can I. So, behold some of my favourites from the time between then and now. I'm happy to say I have learned a few things along the way and am faking it a lot less often now.
This fundraising brochure for the Canadian Museum for Human Rights was one of the first things I got to work on at Fusion. It was designed by Terry and I do not in any way want to take credit for its beauty, but as a junior I was overjoyed to just get to take his started vision and run with it. And what a run it was, because look - blind emboss! Not one, but two, varnishes! Special inserts and fold out panels! Welcome to designer heaven - it never happens, so when it does you must relish in the glory of it.
This annual report for Destination Winnipeg was the first big thing that I got to do on my own, from concept to completion. (I even got to sneak in an emboss AND a varnish again.) I was pretty excited about and happy with the report myself and the fact that this won a national award was pretty cool for me, but the thing that really blew my mind and filled me with pride was Leighton telling me that Terry had said that he was "impressed" with it. I'll never forget hearing that.
This little booklet was a self-promo mailer for Fusion and is definitely one of my favourite projects ever. We were under a time-crunch to get this produced and I remember coming in one morning and sitting down in the boardroom with the team, and telling them "So, I was brainstorming for this last night and it was late and I was tired so maybe I'm crazy but, like, what about we do a flip book that reads two different stories from each side, and one side is from our perspecive and the other side is from the client's perspective, and they meet up in the middle to show how they're meant to be together and also - it's a circus theme. Who's with me?!" And to their credit, not one person in that room told me I was insane, and instead we ran with this fairly off-kilter idea and turned it into the cutest little book that I had an absolute blast designing. Working overtime has never been so fun.
Lastly, I could never pick just one St. Vital Centre campaign or piece as THE favourite, but here are three of my personal faves from the archives. Much of my time over the last few years has been spent on this one client's work - and what a client it is! They are always so open to any new or crazy idea we dream up, and the team I've worked with for the St. Vital account over the years has made me love every minute. Ok, so some of those minutes were pretty crazy and maybe hard to love, but when you're working with a great group of friends, it's easy to look past that.
In closing: I realize it is only Thursday, but let's pretend it's Friday, raise a glass, and say "Cheers!" Cheers to the past and what has been, and also to the future and the exciting times ahead.
Skulls, Skies and Georgia O'Keefe
Last weekend, a good friend and I loaded our dogs into my truck, told our husbands to fend for themselves and headed west to spend the weekend at my parents' place in the south west corner of Saskatchewan. I've always been someone who loved to be outside and I think as my years living in a city creep closer to equal to my years lived in the country, I start to realize more and more just how good I feel when I leave behind the concrete and pavement for some gravel roads and wide, green scenery. Sometimes you just need some fresh air and no cell service, am I right? So, feast your eyes on open skies:
While quadding along the beaches of the South Saskatchewan River, we came across a number of interesting relics (which my dad strapped to his quad for us with a bungee cord that he naturally had along for such things). We found a deer skull with antlers intact, several shed antlers and this cow skull, bleached white by the sun:
These and the many other antler sheds and skulls that my dad has collected and displayed at the cabin, lead me back to a conversation I'd had at that week's Creative Team weekly huddle about Georgia O'Keefe, and how I've realized that the reason I've always loved her work may be that it reminds me a bit of home, and I relate to the landscape and the moods reflected in her beautiful paintings.
If you don't know Georgia O'Keefe's work, you should really look her up. It was fascinating for me to take a trip to Arizona this winter and see first hand the setting that was so inspirational to her work (she lived in New Mexico for most of her working life) and at the same time to be reminded of the area I grew up in and feel inspired myself. If your heart is like mine and longs for hills and valleys and skulls (what, that's a totally normal thing to say), you'll love her, too.
So the moral of the story may be that no matter where you go, home is always where your heart is... or something sappy like that. Or maybe I just wanted an excuse to talk about slamming through mud on my quad.
This Smile Brought to You by Science
As a pretty intense dog lover, I was super excited when I found out that Fusion was going to be working with Kane Biotech on the launch of their new pet oral health care product StrixNB. I was even more excited to be a part of the team that got to put this launch together and I'd say I jumped into it with both paws (come on, you knew there were going to be pet puns).
Right away, the focus was on big doggy smiles and the key differences that StrixNB brings to the table in oral health care water additives - a strong scientific background and a guarantee of only safe, human-grade ingredients. Sounds like a reason to smile to me! Maybe it was my love of the subject matter, but the look for this one and the pieces themselves seemed to come together almost on their own, and I can say that spending several weeks staring at these happy puppy grins was a total blast.
The product launch was centered around two big events in February - CenCan, an annual veterinary conference in Manitoba, and National Pet Dental Health Month.
To start, we put together a package to send to vets around the city, introducing the product and informing them of a promotion that would be running throughout Pet Dental Health Month. This information lives on one side of a fold-out poster, while the other side is a non-branded promo of Dental Health Month, advising pet owners to ask their veternarian about oral health care . We also included pins for vets to wear for this same purpose, and of course a dog bowl full of Hershey's Kisses, with a note on the bottom that every kiss should be so sweet (since StrixNB has the added benefit of improving doggy breath). On a side note, we ended up printing extra of the Pet Dental Health Month poster to fill requests from the vets.
Next, we created a tradeshow booth for use at CenCan. A special guest at this event stole the show and became quite the media darling - Leo, Barrett's Vizsla. Leo worked it for the camera, set off by the gorgeous booth that housed bottles of Strix and a fact sheet, which can double as a piece of the sales kit. The launch was picked up and featured on various media outlits, including the Winnipeg Free Press and CTV.
Finally, we developed a POP display for clinics who are carrying StrixNB, and a sales kit for the sales team to use down the road while continuing to sell their fabulous product.
I learned a lot about pet oral health care while working on this project and can't wait to get my little gal started on a StrixNB program - along with her regular scaling and brushing, of course. And if you want to get your dog started too, give your vet a call, as it will only be available through vet clinics. Cheers to healthy puppy teeth and the end of doggy breath, and thanks to Kane Biotech for making my job so much fun over the last couple months.
Zombies, eskimos and more take over Fusion
Here at Fusion, we think nothing of getting an email from Dave, our owner/CEO, that looks like this:
The above red-eyed, green-skinned zombie is Dave. Far from being a scary brain-eating undead, he's a pretty fun guy. So when we here at Fusion decided (on October 30 at 3:30pm) that we should come to work in costume for Halloween this year, no one had a problem with that - least of all Dave.
So this week our monthly potluck was held on Halloween and in attendance were The NHL Lockout, a MuayThai fighter, an Eskimo (complete with sled dog), a taco, a spider, a terrifying lion, a jet pilot, Peter Pan and a guest appearance from one ridiculously cute tiger.
We work pretty hard around here, where timelines are always ticking and deadlines looming, but luckily we manage to have a pretty good time doing it. Happy Halloween, everyone - hope yours has been as fun as ours so far.
Another St. Vital Centre campaign leaves the nest
It's always exciting when a new campaign launches, but this year's fall campaign for St. Vital Centre was one I could hardly wait to share. Luckily, my wait is over, as the Your Life. Your Style campaign has officially taken off! This season, we've turned the spotlight on our shoppers and are letting eight of them show the city why St. Vital Centre is the place to find your style.
We prefaced the official campaign with a pre-campaign, focused on our search for shoppers with a uniquely defined sense of style and a personality destined for local fame. The result was a slew of fantastic applicants which we narrowed down and interviewed, eventually choosing eight stylish and unique personalities to feature.
We brought in Alana of F2 Styling + Events, who hit the ball out of the park with styling that showcased each person's unique fashion sense perfectly. Photoshoot day was a blast and our winners each got to feel like a star as they were primped and styled and sent out to work it for the camera. All of the energy and enthusiasm from each person made photoshoot day a blast, and we carried each personality through into the doodles surrounding each person in their respective campaign pieces.
The resulting creative is up now around the city, online and in the Centre. To further the fun, the campaign also features a contest component which involves a custom Facebook Connect app - built by our good friends at Visual Lizard - that walks users through a simple and fun game to determine your style type, with each style being linked back to one of our finalists. Check out the contest at www.YourFallLifestyle.com to play and be entered to win a $1,000 Giftcard!
As usual, we have our wonderful client to thank for allowing us to continually push each campaign to be better than the last. It's a team effort to be sure and one we can't get enough of! And speaking of... we're now on to Christmas. Stay tuned. ;)