Every marketing budget is tight! But this doesn’t mean you can’t do effective work.
The Triad Business Journal tasked us with developing cover concepts for its monthly special sections. Its “Fast 50” growing businesses feature and “Book of Lists” of the largest of everything in the market are two well known special sections. So we jumped at the chance to partner with our media friends.
The Business Journal team explained they needed some fresh eyes for the project. There were a lot of covers to develop and the budget was ample for the agency team, but it couldn’t cover lots of original photography. The job called for innovative concepts, in-house photography, some stock photography and plenty of Photoshop expertise.
A good copywriter and designer duo can not only nail an engaging concept, it can also figure out creative ways to execute the concept on almost any budget.
Our mission was to engage the readers with something original and thought provoking. The biggest challenge was coming up with new ideas for special features that had been running annually for some time. “We did that already,” was a heard a lot in our collaborative meetings with the publication.
How on Earth were we going to put a fresh spin on the most popular Book of Lists?
Well, it’s a book listing the superlatives in a bunch of categories covering a 12-county area. So it’s all about size! How do you measure size?
Hey, a Brannock device measures the shoe size of human foot. Of course! A Brannock Device! So art director Greg Monroy photographed a borrowed device and painstakingly revised the etched wording. Instead of shoe sizes, the reader saw Triad counties listed. Greg even altered the maker’s mark in the middle of the device to read Piedmont Triad.
About three year’s of special covers were produced, sometimes recruiting agency staff to ride hand trucks. Here are three. Click to enlarge.
The lesson here is, when you’re working with a limited budget, you can usually get better work if you allow your creative team plenty of latitude. A good copywriter and designer duo can not only nail an engaging concept, it can also figure out creative ways to execute the concept on almost any budget. And stock photography is not a bad word. We love our photographers and prefer shooting original images, but if you can make a stock image work for you in an original application, it can be just as effective as custom photography. And this was a big part of the solution several of the covers. Sometimes limitations like this actually make the creative product better.
Editor’s Note: At the time of this engagement, the Business Journal was just around the corner from us in downtown Greensboro. Starting in December, they’ll be our upstairs neighbors here at 101 South Elm Street. So we thought this feature might be apropos.