Archive for the ‘The Creative Life’ Category

Contrast | Photo Challenge

Sunday, July 18th, 2010

I only took one photo that I felt was strong enough for the “contrast” category. This photography was taken of a pine tree at the Chateau Morrisette restaurant in Floyd, VA.

Floyd, VA

Floyd, VA

Driven For Inspiration – written for tba | PR + Advertising

Monday, February 15th, 2010

In the creative industry, inspiration can come from anywhere and at anytime. With creative juices constantly flowing, we decided we needed a place to capture ideas, interesting news, articles, ads, and notes. tba needed an “inspiration board!” What started so simple an idea, ended up being quite a team effort. Read on for some inspiration.


After doing a lot of research on large bulletin boards, magnetic boards, cork boards, blogs, etc. I came across this post by Shiso Mama and this one by Martha Stewart. We decided that by using a recycled material and painting the board we would be able to help the environment and get exactly what we wanted at the same time. So Homosote it was! I called Lowes, Home Depot, and every other local hardware spot in between and the majority of the people I spoke with responded with confusion and comments like, “Homo-what!” Finally, 84 Lumber in Pearisburg, VA, who has great customer service, by the way, said they would be able to get a 4’ x 8’ board shipped to the Salem, VA store in two days! I was there by noon that day to pick it up.

On my way back from 84 Lumber in Salem, VA with the Homasote board in tow

Thomas and Chris helping to carry in the board from Carolyn’s Explorer

Chris and Thomas unloading and carrying in the board

Christina admiring the board before it got painted


We really wanted the board to be simple and not take away from the pieces we hung on it, so we decided to paint it white and use yellow and red stripes to match our space. Luckily we had a few old cans of wall paint that Lowe’s kindly shook up for us. I applied two coats of primer and two coats of white. Then Christina and I adhered painter’s tape, to make sure the lines were perfect! For the stripes I put down two coats of tba red, and two coats of tba yellow. Ariel and Carolyn then had a lot of fun removing the tape. And we were finished…or so we thought.

Ariel and Carolyn removing the painters tape!

After several days of painting and clean up, I began the detail work


After painting, we ran into the issue of hanging the board on a wall that had no studs or support! Lowe’s in Christiansburg, VA had a solution. They suggested we use ¼ inch Steelworks Systems Toggle Bolts (and we ended up using all eight!) Thomas, Chris, Ariel, Dave, Christina, Sonja & I made sure the board was hung properly and aligned on the wall. We all contributed to make sure the inspiration board was a success (and not a liability). This was a true team effort!

Thomas helping screw the board into the wall

Carolyn and Ariel making sure everything is straight

The inspiration board up and painted!


Since the board was hung, there have been several posts from our employees, both internal success stories and work from outside inspiration.

From this day forward we will be able to share and contribute our ideas and success stories. We hope that you will do the same and tell us about it!

The first posting on the board!

CreateAthon 2009

Monday, September 21st, 2009

The CreateAthon was a 24-hour, no sleep, creative endeavor from 2pm on Friday September 18th – 2pm Saturday September 19th, where many local advertising agencies and local designers worked together to come up with advertising projects for local nonprofits.

Jim Dudley, the creative director of Dudley Creative in Roanoke, VA, and Public Service director for the AdFed of the Roanoke Valley, sent an e-mail to the CreateAthon participants after the event saying,

“Well…..while some were tailgating for that game, you guys took on child abuse prevention, fighting discrimination against those with intellectual disabilities, supporting a virtual non-profit incubator and arts destination, economic development in Roanoke and the NRV, a range of services that help disadvantaged youth get a head start on a better life, providing shelter for the needy, children’s healthcare, juvenile diabetes, education, and a hell of a lot more….and you guys won in a shut out. 18-zip.

The clients seemed incredibly pleased with your work. I saw a client on the verge of tears today. Now, while that may not be entirely unique in my history of pitching creative campaigns…the tears are usually born of frustration. And they’re usually mine, as my beautiful idea slowly suffocates in the stifling process known as client approval. But today, these were tears of joy and tears of amazement. These tears said, “you nailed it.” I didn’t even work on that project and seeing her reaction gave me goosebumps.”

The leadership and dedication from Jim Dudley and Carolyn Kiser really touched me. I just wanted to share this with others who are not members.

What an amazing experience to work with such great designers this weekend, and for such a great cause! My group consisted of David Hodge, the creative director of Anstey Hodge Advertising in Roanoke, VA, Kris Bailey, the creative director of Access Advertising in Roanoke, VA, and Allan Mower of WSLS Channel 10 in Roanoke, VA, who acted as our account executive.

cat0008-300x199Our group was designated as the “logo group.” Allan Mower met our group at 2:30pm on Friday September 18th to brief us on the projects we would be working on that night, and here are the results…

The group enjoyed working with this design because the target audience was ages 8-18 and it was something different from the rest of the projects we worked on. The Roanoke Youth Symphony wanted a fresh and youthful look that would separate them from the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra. Our goal was to use musical notes and instruments to form the letters “RYS,” and bright colors to illustrate youthfulness. We created the “r” from the musical notation of a trill, the “y” from a trumpet shape, and the “s” from a violin shape. We also wanted to tie this logo back into the Roanoke Symphony Logo. We did this by using the same “red” color from the logo given to us (shown second). This was our solution:



Kris, David and I really enjoyed working on this design. We got great feedback and the idea came to us quickly in the night! The Presbyterian Community Center needed a tag line and logo design. This organization aims to break the cycle of poverty. They help to keep people in their homes by offering services such as financial aid and an after school program. Currently they have an older crown volunteering and want to draw a younger group of volunteers with this logo. Our group came up with the slogan “helping others rise,” to help illustrate better what this organization does. We wanted to keep the Presbyterian denotation by using the top of the national Presbyterian logo and turning it on its side. We saw a “dove” by doing this, which goes along with the slogan and the mission of the organization. Our final design is shown first and the original design is shown second:



The Historical Society of Western Virginia logo design was fun to work on and gave us a challenge to come up with something that was not too cliche to other historical logos. They requested an updated design illustrating the Western Virginia region. Our original though was to incorporate the mountains of the blue ridge and a star, giving the idea of the American flag. The second concept was to include a gate, illustrating the concept of a of a pathway to and from the past and the future. The third idea incorporates multiple stars, to keep people away from the thought of the Roanoke Star. As of right now, the client is still deciding. I will post the finalized concept upon decision!


Apple Ridge Farm’s logo was a last minute design that Tony Pearman, the CEO/CCO of Access Advertising in Roanoke, VA, asked our group to work on. It was a straightforward project, as the visual element was the same, and the slogan had already been decided upon. Tony’s group worked on a project for them and wanted to add a logo design to the package. This organization provides outdoor and educational experiences for at-risk youth, and offers groups and businesses a unique place to learn and build teamwork. The Conference Center, Lodge and other facilities are available to business, religious, educational and social groups for meetings and overnight retreats, thus allowing Apple Ridge to generate income to fund our educational programs. Our final design is on the left and their previous logo is on the right.


It was a true pleasure to be a part of this project! The Belmont Community Health Center wanted a logo for their new name “The Roanoke Valley Healthcare Connection.” The purpose of their new name is so people know that they are not only serving the South East Roanoke area. The Roanoke Valley Healthcare Connection provides health-care services and screening to those in need. This program was started because there is no doctors office in SE Roanoke and the closest one is too far for many people to travel. The logo will be used on letterheads, business cards, stationary, and other promotional materials. The results will be posted soon!

This Downtown Roanoke Arts District project was one of the more challenging designs to come up with. It was one of the designs we spent less time on during the conceptual stage, which we quickly realized was a bad decision on our part at 5:54am! Having more ideas on this one would have benefited us greatly. The client wanted a logo and banners for the downtown Roanoke area to help entice people into the parts where the market ends. The goal was to incorporate symbols for the theater, musical, and fine arts into the design, while still having a clean professional look. The results will be posted soon!

Presenting these concepts to the clients between 12:30pm and 1:15pm on Saturday was an amazing experience to be a part of. David Hodge and Kris Bailey had a lot of experience doing this and were able to teach me a great deal about selling an idea to a client. We started out by presenting a printed version of the logo and giving an explanation behind our method. We then got feedback from the client, which was for the most part really positive! I learned that the final package given to the client should include: a color and b&w version of both .jpg, and .eps file formats. A sample e-mail should also be included, which would sound something like this (provided by Kris Bailey):


attached are the final logos for the Roanoke Youth Symphony.

RYS_4c.eps is the full color version
RYS_bw.eps is the solid black version

RYS_rev.eps is the reverse version
The .eps files are “vector” which allows them to be scaled infinitely without losing resolution. You probably won’t be able to “open” them if you don’t have the program, Adobe Illustrator. You may be able to “place” or “insert” them into some the programs you use. I am also including a 4-color and bw .jpg version that can definitely be used in Word, if you have any trouble with the .eps files. If you are ever providing a file to a printer or designer to use in a project always send the .eps version.
Please let me know if you have any trouble with the files.

Coverage on the Event – Channel 10 News

In the future I hope to be a part of many more AdFed projects. This was a great experience and I learned so much from working with people who have been in this industry for many years! I encourage anyone in this area who is just starting out in the design field to join the Roanoke AdFed and/or Roanoke AD2 as soon as possible! If you are not from the Western Virginia area, there are AdFed chapters all over the US, horny for your ideas 🙂

Please feel free to give any feedback on the logo designs and/or the event itself below! Thank you for reading my post!

Bokeh Photography

Saturday, June 20th, 2009


Bokeh photography was much easier than I thought it would be. I read several articles about the best techniques of getting this effect and finally got something I was proud of!  My next adventure I would like to work on incorporating whole subjects!

I think the easiest way to explain this technique is:
Set your camera to the manual aperture priority setting.
Use the lowest aperture setting you have available to you, I used f/1.8. If you can go lower than that do it!
Have a bright background with color variations.
Choose a subject for the foreground.
And shoot!

Hope that serves as some inspiration 🙂

The School of Performing Arts and Cinema

Thursday, September 11th, 2008

These two posters are number 2 and 3 in a series of 6. They are being displayed to promote the speakers Tom Igoe and Tim Ries who are coming to Virginia Tech to speak.