Case Study :: Swizl :: Content and Social Marketing
For any brand in today’s marketplace, social and content marketing has become a pillar of both the outreach platform and the brand itself. This is especially true of Swizl because of its unique value proposition at the center of a nexus between savings and content. I personally led the charge on all of this for the brand, creating the social and editorial voices and standards for Swizl, marshaling internal and external resources to write, design and shoot content and often diving in hands-on and creating work myself. It’s been crazy, but a ton of fun!
TasteCrate Full Package Development
This was the flagship of Inmar’s consumer exploration into subscription commerce. This one is very “me,” folks. I devised and sold the original concept, developed the identity, created the overall style, generated and designed the sales materials, scripted and directed video production, wireframed and creative directed web assets and acted as lead designer on a range of things from outdoor applications to packaging (crucially important for this concept) to “selfie walls.” We were working with a “sensible” budget, but that only added to the challenge and the fun. Though we couldn’t ultimately do everything we wanted, this was playtime to an extent for me. Fun!
Special thanks for working with me on the web for this, Javon Greaves. You are a talented gent! Romeo Mariano got a shoutout on the Baby Bundles work, but he was the man on the video work here. Thanks for putting up with my direction, my man. Big ups to Chris Dick on this one, too. His crazy animation skills were brought to bear.
Propper Tactical Brand Launch
I’m pleased to share the final result of the Propper Tactical brand launch. In an earlier post, I shared a colorful and engaging exploratory concept for this assignment. In contrast, the selected approach shown here is rich, textural and “engineered” with a clear lifestyle focus. It was paramount with this brand launch to do something genuinely different; something real for a real, savvy consumer target audience. The iconography and brand elements here speak to the concept of a “tactical system” with integrated imagery and clarity of purpose. Sleek, tactile textures bring touch and a decided sense of quality to the piece while the white graphic bar overlays underscore the central concept of the rank of “officer.” This is a bold, smart brand for well-engineered gear for today’s intelligent tactical law enforcement professionals.
Again, I was the hands-on designer for all of this, a co-concept lead and wrote the line descriptors (“Be Cool.,” Blend.,” “Perform.,” and “Move.”) for the brand.
Shown Here: Teaser Videos, Brand Identity Elements, Hangtags, Sample Advertising, Site Design
“Annabelle Lee” Sarah Jarosz Music Video
This was a labor of love that I created both inspired by and in tribute to the amazing work of three amazing artists ::
First off, the bone-gleamingly pure Sarah Jarosz who adapted a macabre classic into this bit of musical perfection. The second is the man behind that definitive poem, the peerless master Edgar Allan Poe. The third is less well-known (and it’s a crime). Lotte Reininger was a filmmaker and animator from the early 20th century, who’s seminal works include the oldest surviving full-length animated feature film, “The Adventures of Prince Achmed,” from 1926. That’s 12 years before Walt Disney’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves” was released!
PLEASE view this in full HD either below or at this (preferred) Vimeo link. It’s meant to be viewed that way.
Words and Music — ©2011 Sarah Jarosz and Sugar Hill Records
Inspired By — “Annabel Lee” by Edgar Allan Poe
Video Concept, Illustration and Animation — ©2016 David Edward Johnson
Whole Foods Market Flagship App
The Whole Foods Market App is a discovery engine. With almost 4000 recipes and the ability to search, filter and add them to a shopping list in addition to cooking guides and other rich content, it’s meant to be a tool to both enable that discovery as well as help users begin to actualize that discovery.
I recently had the wonderful opportunity to lead a massive UX / UI redesign for that flagship app and am leading the process of reworking and augmenting it as we move forward. Whole Foods worked with the team at SapientNitro on the project in addition to our robust internal iOS team. I creative directed the entire project, both managing the agency creative relationship and our internal design resources while partnering with the tech resources leading the development process. As a part of the relaunch of the app, we created our first Android version as well.
The app itself is an immersive look at the recipes, guides and content within, leveraging rich photography, typography and bold color to draw users in. This was a big step forward for the 4 year old app. We are, however, already beginning a process of evolution of elements of this design system to both optimize, capitalize on any shortfalls and create further opportunities for engagement.
This evolution is part of an overarching cycle of rework and augmentation as the app marches forward. This is a key part of the project as it allows us to listen to user feedback and adjust to that feedback, making the app better in a cycle of constant deployment. I am leading the UX/ UI team making the design adjustments on all of those features and improvements moving forward. No project is perfect when launched, nor will it ever be, so this is a vitally important part of the process of continually meeting user need in more meaningful ways.
Shown Here: Sample Screens from iOS App for phone and tablet
STL Symphony Save Powell Hall Campaign
The Boston Symphony tweets: “Ha. Ha. Amazing. :-)”
The Riverfront Times says: “Save Powell Hall: Concert Marketing Doesn’t Get Any Better Than This”
From STLToday: “SLSO begs public: Save Powell Hall!”
An LA arts and music blog crows: “…By far, the best orchestral marketing and advertising effort I’ve seen lately — probably ever — is St. Louis Symphony’s “Save Powell Hall” campaign.”
STLMag.com states: If we don’t take action now, Powell Hall is going to explode.
I love creating disruptive marketing solutions. I feel it’s been a hallmark of my career. This very recent campaign for the St. Louis Symphony was a wonderfully fun example of that.
I acted as the concept, design and copywriting lead for the campaign, creating the initial idea, flowing it out to a signature style for the campaign, penning copy throughout and creative directing any other moving parts with the Symphony’s internal team and contract specialists. The campaign featured postering, an engaging website that acted as a hub for the campaign, outdoor applications (both for billboards and metro transit stops) and a “viral-style” video shot by Brant Hadfield with SFX and production by Terry Coolidge.
All of the coverage for the campaign was gratifying to see, but the fact that sales were up was the real “reward,” here. In all, a fun and engaging solution for a gem of the nation’s arts landscape.
Shown Here: Campaign Video, Mark Design, Sample Poster & Wheatpasting, Website, Sample Outdoor Applications and Poster Concept
The Goddard School Video Microsite
This microsite for The Goddard School is a wonderful example of a laser-targeted solution for the digital space that puts users’ wants and needs directly at its center. Representing Phase II of a brand development / launch that I was very pleased to be an instrumental part of, this project is also a great example of how brands can come to life in very innovative and visceral ways.
Here’s how it works ::
Users select what is most important to them in an early childhood education solution for their child by clicking boxes next to qualities inherent in the Goddard experience. The qualities are all represented by branded iconography, both underscoring the brand style itself, but also encouraging users to interact and play with the intuitive interface. When users submit their choices, the system auto-stitches together a custom video showing them the true Goddard School experience based on their input. Each custom video is organized into chapters showing the qualities selected and featuring authentic video of real Goddard parents and teachers speaking to their real-world experiences. After each video users are then prompted to sign up for their own tour of a local Goddard School location. Tours are the primary conversion point for the schools and our go-to call-to-action for all outreach. Users were able to perform all tour scheduling functions on the site directly. The site is also responsive, resizing and adjusting the experience for the range of mobile screen sizes.
This was my concept and I was the design lead on the project. I also acted as hands-on creative director for the project as it moved into production and my ever-talented UPBrand team of creatives and video editors got involved.
Perhaps the best feedback one can receive for a project like this is that it’s working in spades for the client. The conversion numbers have been great here. A recent potential customer sent a follow up email to his local school after experiencing the site that read :: “If your school is half as impressive as your microsite, I know I’ll be sending my children to The Goddard School.”
PS — I can’t share a link to the site here as it is a private direct-marketing tool for each school.
Shown Here: Screens / Interaction Paradigm and Detail Images
Hardee’s 50th Anniversary Campaign + Tour
50 years of great Thickburgers, beautiful girls and good times, now that’s something to celebrate. When Hardee’s was looking for a unique way to spread the word about it’s 50th anniversary, 4ORCE got the call. This concept incorporates a heavy brand push into a buzz-generating tour and social media campaign. The central idea: building the ultimate girl country band for a national Hardee’s 50th birthday party — “Electra Starr and the Heartstrings” (and then “Stealing Angels”). The campaign is a home run for Hardee’s midwestern values with a mildly sexy wink and builds on existing brand sentiment while providing bold new texture to Hardee ’s reputation in the marketplace. I lead the development of all aspects of this brand campaign. From development of the campaign’s central theme and brand integration down to design of all touchpoints personally, I had a ton of fun with this one.
I’ve included just a few selected examples of my design work for the campaign for flavor below. Shown here :: Posters, Vehicle Wrap, Apparel and Digital Assets
My Work Video Montage
This is a collection of my work set to some rock and roll. It works as a really fun overview. For the best view, click the “HD” button in the upper right corner of the video. Turn it up and enjoy!
The Goddard School Rebrand
In this business, we all have projects that are as rewarding as they are challenging. This rebrand for peerless early childhood educational leader The Goddard School falls directly into that category.
At once contemporary, approachable, bold and authentic, this new approach to the brand breathes a very fresh wind into the sails of the 25+-year-old franchise education provider. I was a creative lead on the project, filling the roles of Creative Director, Lead Designer, On-Set Director, Producer, Motionographer and (in some cases) Copywriter. Operating on a tight timeline, we executed a full rebrand plus campaign-driven materials to better tell the Goddard story. I was very blessed to work with a very talented crew internally at UPBrand that brought the signature style established here to a variety of additional projects not pictured here, a totally first-class DP and shooting crew, a really great editor / video team and a savvy and very hip client on this as well and I wanted to give props.
When the brand was rolled-out to both internal and franchisee stakeholders at an annual event in Florida, I am gratified to say that the work actually inspired some tears from those closest to the brand. A rarity, but always fun to see.
Shown Here: Sample Television Advertising, Brand Identity Elements, Responsive Site Design, Collateral, Print Advertising
Paric Corporation Rebrand
It’s VERY gratifying when a client simply does it right. Not only when they engage creatively with a progressive solution in mind, but also when they build out the solution across touchpoints from the macro to the micro. Regional construction leader Paric did exactly that. I was grateful to act as Creative Director and design lead throughout the process, designing both identity materials as well as a full signature style for the brand.
A revisioned Paric wordmark was at the heart of a new visual approach for the brand. The conceptual center of the design for the wordmark is within the “A.” The interplay of positive and negative space creates a dual image of both the cupola of a building, capturing what Paric builds every day and also a red pencil, representing the pre-construction process, a planning cycle that Paric is a recognized industry leader in.
Coupled with the revisioned wordmark is an iconic new logo. The new mark takes the building / pencil shape from the wordmark and builds on it, further driving the concept home. The mark leverages design touches from the international Art Deco period to echo a rich history of building; a nod to a time of fascination with and belief in the power of construction worldwide.
These core elements form the basis for a wide range of materials.
I also personally wrote the new tagline: “EXPERIENCE. EXCELLENCE.” The periods within the tag allow it to be read two distinct ways. Both “experience” and “excellence” are elements essential to a great build process and the periods allow us to call those qualities out in a specific way. The tagline does also read as a directive for clients to “experience excellence.”
I also acted as Director and Creative Director on video pieces for the new brand. I had the VERY distinct pleasure of working with Brant Hadfield as DP on the project, Susan McMichael who crafted the overarching story arc and Kyle Dufendach as editor. I LOVE framing up architecture in-lens and this was wonderful to shoot. The resulting style is progressive and elegant in turns. The motion graphics elements within the piece are also the result of design and motion direction on my part with Kyle using his great skills and knowledge to give it nuance and touch. I am showing a slice of the long format video here with the motion graphics logo build.
Shown Here: Mark, Brand Colors, Site Sign, Advertising Sample, Hard Hat, Truck Concept, Safety Logo, Business Card (Front and Back) and Selected Video Samples
LER Brand Concept
Laclede Energy Resources is a subsidiary of the Laclede Group focused on buying and selling natural gas from and to a wide range of industrial and consumer customers. These style frames were built to communicate the unique position LER holds in the marketplace and their commitment to their client base. Bold, strong, and progressive with a strong sense of movement, these designs give a fresh, compelling and honest face to the organization.
STL Symphony Ads
I acted as director on the shoot for a series of video pieces for the STL Symphony, framing shots and providing overall look and feel direction for the pieces. I also worked as creative director in the edit suite, creating motion graphics for the pieces in addition. Rob Durbin was the shooter on this and Scott Conger acted as the editor on the series. Both did a really wonderful job and really made the pieces what they are. Jeff insco was also fundamental in developing the story here. Great job by all for a wonderful client!
Shown Here: :60 Spot(Recommended), 6 Minute Brandumentary (Recommended) and Motion Graphics Detail
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Parkway Schools Rebrand
Founded in 1954 and now serving over 17,000 students, the award-winning Parkway School District has long had a reputation for excellence, innovation and advanced thinking. However, Parkway was ready for a new face to the world to coincide with an exciting new strategic direction for the district.
The excitement of a “new day for Parkway” catalyzed my work and provided inspiration throughout the process as I developed everything from a progressive new visual brand platform with a new identity and brand standards to new print and video applications to tell the story of the galvanizing change redefining this educational leader. Overall, the approach is fun, clean, classic and friendly.
The mark itself carries a double meaning through a hidden image. At first glance, the strength of a sunrise image provides a clear link to the concept of a new day. With a longer look, the image of a open book, with pages actively spread reveals itself.
For video, I personally created the motion graphics aspects of this including the logo sting and type and graphic animations. I acted as director on shoots for both video and still photography for all district rebrand materials and also directed the edit of video elements. Editor Christina Geisen acted as the video editor here and I had a ton of fun working with her on this. Brant Hadfield and John Fedele did an amazing job of shooting video and still photography respectively and I really enjoyed working with them as well.
As the father of a daughter in the Parkway district, I was thrilled for the opportunity to create such an exciting new face for a brand I care so much about personally.
Shown here: Brandumentary Video, Mark / Wordmark with Color Choices for Individual Schools, Brand Standards Book (In Spreads) and Strategic Plan Book (In Spreads)
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Connexio Media Presentation Materials
Connexio Media offers college and university campuses a new way to reach students, faculty and visitors with information and alerts. Each campus gets its own network of state-of-the-art outdoor digital displays to connect the campus community with vital information — providing both safety and better engagement.
On this project, the client came up UPBrand with a logo and nothing more. As part of our storytelling approach, we took Connexio through a full discovery process, giving them a complete brand platform to work from. These presentation materials came out of that.
Bold, engaging, dimensional and textured, the visual “signature style” I developed was devised to convey a strong sense of movement and inter-connectivity. Coupled with a system of iconography, the overall approach balanced clarity with excitement and engagement. This rich style was a natural fit for a motion graphics piece and the animation I created leverages the dimensional overlays and shapes to interesting effect.
Shown here: sample presentation screens, iconography samples and motion graphics company overview
UPBrand Brand Package
Recently, I started my tenure as the Vice President / Creative Director of UPBrand, a St. Louis-based agency focused on building brands through storytelling. I’ve already been having fun with great design and concept and one part of that has been establishing the aesthetic and visual brand for the agency itself. A good friend and talented independent designer Ben Franklin had started the proceedings with identity work before I arrived. I have taken the mark that Ben established and created a look and feel for digital assets, packaging, presentation materials, apparel and motion / video.
The work strikes a balance between a very clean, linear, type-driven, Bauhaus-inspired approach and found ephemera and organic, hand-wrought design elements used both metaphorically and to bring a human touch to the designs. It’s always very rewarding to bring a brand that I am close to like this to life.
“Friday Night Fights” Title Sequence
This is a title sequence for “Friday Night Fights” — a series of social usability “deathmatch” videos where live lab footage is shown pitting two similar websites against each other to determine which is more usable. The FNF wordmark is also mine. It’s all custom letterforms and ties in with the suite of other 4ORCE wordmarks for various initiatives.
NGAGE Video Case Studies
These video case studies for NGAGE show a touch of my motion work. I love to work with video and motion graphics as it brings such a visceral element to the mix. As a creative who believes very strongly in storytelling, the interplay of motion graphic design elements, footage and music / audio powerful and compelling and very enjoyable to work with.
Scottrade Broadcast Concept
This TV concept for online-broker Scottrade builds on the idea of social norming to spur new accounts. It’s a graphic-centric campaign that uses numbers and statistics to highlight the amazing things Scottrade accomplishes each month, driving home the idea to potential account holders that “everyone’s on board with a company that’s moving in the marketplace, perhaps I should be, too.”
CEO Rodger Riney, a powerful symbol for the company, kicks off the ads, and the numbers do the rest of the talking. The ads would be updated each month with new statistics, announcements and achievements creating a campaign unique in the sector. Visually, rich motion graphics underscore both a sense of movement, time and mood.
Shown Here: Sample Screens + Details
“It’s A Totally Different Experience” Brand + Campaign Materials + Video
Faced with a target enrollment pool that were either attending the “feeder” Principia private boarding high school or being pushed by their alumni parents to attend, Principia College had an image problem. The college needed a way to differentiate itself from its’ high school “sister” while conveying to an international student audience that this was definitely not their parents’ Principia College.
To combat this, I led the “itsatotallydifferentexperience.com” campaign. The fully branded campaign featured a compelling site with real stories from real students wrapped in a progressive design that differentiated itself from the more stately main Principia College brand. I also created video motion graphics pieces set to music recorded by college students themselves to help convey the “PC” experience. Live events at unique locations also carried the brand and the campaign directly to select groups of prospecive students with video pieces and live Q / A sessions with current Principia College students. other promotion materials such as posters and a “Summer Survival Kit” helped prospects take the brand home.
Moving away from the overused beer advertising paradigms of beautiful people in beautiful bars, this elegant redesign of Michelob.com put food pairings at its center. Celebrity food network chefs Ming Tsai and Todd English added an air of authenticity to the mix while creating special featured Michelob recipes for use on the site. The redesign also featured a fully interactive “Recipe Finder” that allowed users to search for executive chef-created food recipes by beer, course or ingredient. I led the Design / User Interface aspect of this rework and was a key contributor on concept here as well. Overall, a huge update to the digital brand for this iconic beer.
Hanes “Dave’s Detours” Campaign Package
Hanes needed to reach males 18-34. But the brand assets they had weren’t going to work. Outtakes from Michael Jordan ads? I don’t think so. To the target they were looking at for this campaign, Kobe Bryant was an old player. They needed something brand new.
We sent an average guy (Dave — a real estate agent from Illinois) on the road to challenge celebrities to feats of smarts, strength and skill to show that anyone can be comfy in their Hanes Comforsofts in any situation.
The results were overwhelming. Dave arm wrestled rapper 50-Cent for watches, Challenged Paris Hilton to a pose-off, jumped rope with Cuba Gooding Jr. and got in Tom Brady’s face to name a few. The campaign lived on Dave’s site, in social media and on affinity sites like ESPN and Comedy Central.
I was a design and creative direction lead for the full campaign. I have shown two selected elements here.
Budbowl 09′ Campaign Concepts
These concepts were driven by the firm belief that the time had come for a new approach to the iconic Budbowl campaign, one that reflected the current trends in social media and consumer interaction. Each idea does this in a different way. I was the design and ideation lead on these ideas.