Friends of Gerald and Joan

Client Work: EllenMcGowanArt.com

For the past few months, I've been fortunate to work with the incredibly talented and charming Ellen McGowan.

Ellen is a 91-year-old sculptor who is more energetic than most 31-year-olds, and I had the honor of spending the first few months of my pregnancy planning and designing her new website. She was actually the second person after our family that I told about the baby, and she has since become its fairy godmother -- a title that suits her very well considering that she is a petite lady with rosy cheeks and the most wonderful sparkle in her eyes.

If it isn't obvious, Ellen is one special lady. She creates beautiful sculptures and uses a computer on a daily basis. She deserved a website where she could showcase big, beautiful images of her work and share news about upcoming exhibits. I also I knew she was fully capable of adding and changing content after the site was completed -- something she couldn't do with her old site. 

We spent several hours selecting her favorite photographs that we would feature on the new site, and then I scanned and edited each image. Next we created a simple sitemap and designed the site layout. I then put together a user's guide for Ellen and taught her how to make basic updates to her site. She enjoyed every minute of her tutorial and has already made several changes. We plan to review everything again in a few weeks once she finishes a big sculpture, but she is a natural!

It has been an absolute joy to work with this lady during this special time in my life. Please check out her site and browse through her work. She is a true inspiration!

EllenMcGowanArt.com

 

G&J Collaboration: Habitat for Humanity Photo Book

photobook1 For the majority of my career (four years and 2 months), I worked for Habitat for Humanity of Greater Memphis. I arrived at Habitat with less than two years of work experience under my belt, but I immediately had an impact on the agency -- not because I was so great at my job, but because every voice mattered. In that work environment, my confidence grew, and I was encouraged to develop and implement branding and collateral materials, social media marketing, email marketing, website content, logo design, signage design, t-shirt design...the list goes on and on. Photographer? Check. Event designer and event planner? Check. I worked closely with the executive director, staff directors and dedicated volunteers on many of the projects, and to this day I consider them mentors and close friends. To call my Habitat experience life-changing is not an exaggeration. It was my life (and in many ways Jonathan's life as well) for so long, and it taught me so much. When I accepted a new job in April 2012, I was excited to start a new chapter in my career, but in my heart I felt as though I was leaving my home and family. As it turns out, I was.

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Life is full of twists and turns, but I've learned that the people who truly matter stay in our lives regardless of the paths we take. In August, my former Habitat supervisor commissioned Gerald and Joan to create Habitat's 30th Anniversary Photo Book. To say I was thrilled to take on this project is the understatement of the year. Few projects fit Gerald and Joan better than creating a book collection of photos, and this project allowed me to do that while working with my Habitat family. Can you say dream collaboration?

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For the project, we started by sorting through thousands of images from Habitat's physical and digital photo archives. After we had selected the photos that best told the Habitat story, we scanned and edited all of the final images and organized them by decade. Next we designed a custom layout that allowed us to have complete control over image, type and graphic placement, as well as the number of images on each spread. The custom layout also meant we could create special timeline pages and several pages with inspirational pull-out quotes. Once the pages were approved, we ordered a proof so that everyone could see and feel the finished project before we placed a bulk order. The books debuted at Habitat 30th Anniversary Gala last night, and they will be on sale via the Habitat website for the next few weeks.

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It fills my heart with pride that I was able to help the Habitat team create something that will be a permanent part of the organization's history. I feel inspired and encouraged, and I will definitely be adding photo books to Gerald and Joan's current offerings!

photobook7Thank you, Habitat...for everything. You are my extended family and dearest friends, and I look forward to working with you again soon!

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I also want to give a shout-out to Artifact Uprising, the Colorado-based company we used to print the photo books. In addition to using 100 percent recycled paper, their quality was impeccable and their customer service was amazing. I will be using them again soon. Love them!

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P.S. Custom photo books and photo book gift certificates make great Christmas gifts. Contact us below for details!

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Friends of Gerald & Joan: Penny and Tubs

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Since April, I have been fortunate to work with the lovely Marcie May. After more than 20 years in the music business, Marcie wanted to start a fresh chapter in her career when she dreamt about a magical underwater city. She shared the strange dream with several friends, and all of them encouraged her to write a children's book using the dream as inspiration. With her granddaughter and cat serving as the title characters, Marcie and her daughter, Vonnie, co-wrote Penny and Tubs: The City on the Sea. Drawing on her musical talents, Marcie also wrote a song and music to go along with the book. When I first met Marcie, Headline Kids had just published the book, but she needed some help sharing the book, music and characters with young readers in the tri-state area of Kentucky, Ohio and Tennessee.

As a lifelong reader and lover of the written word, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to work with Marcie. Books had one of the greatest impacts on me as a child, and I actually still have all of my childhood books (more on them later)! In college, I interned at the Lafayette County Literacy Council in Oxford, Mississippi, and that experience greatly influenced my decision to focus on nonprofit graphic design, public relations and marketing. Without books and my college internship, Gerald & Joan would not exist today, so in a way, working with Marcie felt like I was coming full circle.

For the past seven months, I've implemented a variety of projects to help tell Marcie's story and promote the first Penny and Tubs' book and song. Using the vibrant colors and book's characters as inspiration, I created branded publicity materials for Penny and Tubs including a press kit/pitch packet, publicity flyer (shown below) and 2013-14 scheduling calendar. I also built a comprehensive list of schools, libraries, YMCAs and media contacts in her target markets. So far, we have had great success scheduling readings and sing alongs at schools and YMCAs, and we're developing strong, lasting relationships with these teachers and students. Here's a blurb and photo from one of her recent readings. The kids had so much fun!

Since the launch of Penny and Tubs: The City on the Sea, Marcie has received two awards -- a Readers' Favorite Award (bronze, preschool) and a Mom's Choice Award for Fiction (silver, ages 5-8). Her second book in the Penny and Tubs series will launch in spring 2014.

If you are shopping young children this Christmas, please consider supporting Marcie's work by purchasing a copy of the book and music. They are available on her adorable website.

Thank you, Marcie, for allowing Gerald & Joan to be a part of the Penny and Tubs story! :)

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