Posted 10.05.2010

Brand New Day and Breaking the Curse

Blog friends, how I’ve missed you!

I’ve struggled to blog, but as Seth Godin would say, I’ve been busy shipping.

“What you do for a living is not be creative, what you do is ship.”

One of the projects that we got proofs back on yesterday was the LifeWay Kids Conference Listening Guide. It’s a conference in Birmingham, next week, themed “Brand New Day.”

It’s funny…well, not that funny. Most of the people on my team have been struggling creatively, myself included. We’ve affectionately(?) called it “the curse.” I know every creative person experiences it. Those moments when designing comes easy and then the moments when it’s pulling teeth, beating your head against the wall, and considering a career move. The hard part? The past month has been filled with those moments. It’s not just me, it’s been our video producers and writers too.

I’m not sure that we’re all necessarily out the dark, but it has been a good learning experience. Once we all came to the place where we admitted we were struggling, we were able to sit down over a two hour lunch to discuss how we got there and how we can help each other get out.

All that’s to say, this project, Brand New Day, has been that project for me.

When I started out, I wanted to do something similar to Carsonified’s Chirp Conference. It’s a beautiful site with great attention to detail.

Chirp Website

With Brand New Day, we were trying to communicate a new look, sunshine, breakfast, Saturday morning cartoons…a brand new day.

Definitely, not wanting to copy Chirp or rip it off, I went with a green color scheme, which naturally lent itself to a farm. In my head, I was thinking Garfield and Friends. Anyone?

Garfield and Friends

This is what I came up with:

When I walked away from the cover, I knew something was still missing, but knew I’d come back to it. Well, I struggled even more with the interior pages.

Finally, I talked to Darrel, my creative director. The good part was, I wasn’t attached to this design. So, when I had the conversation with Darrel, I was willing to walk away from “Farmville.” He was fantastic and encouraged me to go to the grocery store and look at pictures of cereal boxes.

The hardest part with the shift was feeling like cereal boxes are gaudy…which they are…but embracing that. The new (and much improved) cover:

One thing I love about the kid’s team projects I’ve been able to work on is that I can interject some personality — like saying on the cover “Free schedule inside.” Well, of course you’re going to get a schedule! Or making a cut out watch with the head of the president of our company.

I also love hiding things. We have a list of exhibitors and sponsors. Boring. How can I make it interesting? I made a word search. Not only is that better visually, but it actually helps our sponsors and exhibitors. People will spend more time looking at their names trying to solve the puzzle than they would have before. (Plus, I hid “Haywood” into the puzzle. grin )