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Read label. Drink wine. Repeat as needed.

About 95% of the work I do is for the web, and I love it. But, as a writer and lover of books and words on paper, print projects hold a special in my heart. Perhaps even more exciting are the opportunities when I get to help create something that exists out there in the world. Product, people, product!

My talented Blue Ion friends called on me a while back to help with the renaming, new identity, and website for a Napa Valley winery. The new identity included new labels for the wine bottles, and I was psyched. Remember, I’m a reader and a writer, which means I’m also one of those people who actually reads packaging, labels, invoices, etc. Let me just say: a little humanity or humor on any of the aforementioned pieces can make a huge difference in the customer experience. Promise.

The larger website for Mira Winery  is still in development, but friends, the wine bottles have arrived! And I could not be more jazzed with the results. Major kudos to the Blue Ion team (shout outs to Katie, Josh, David and Robert) for the beautiful design, and stay tuned for the website awesomeness to come. Here then, is the back label of Mira Chardonnay.

Did you choose to be human?

I just love it when a plan comes together. Here then is the final piece of the Alliance For Full Acceptance’s media campaign. Billboard design by Gil Shuler. The video below comes courtesy of Liz Oakley and Ed Bates of IVS Video and the sassy, unstoppable Jessica Mickey. Copy/script by me. If you like what you see, please share it. Thanks.

Angie Hranowsky & James Plummer

It’s such a buzz to work with people whose work you admire. I met designer Angie Hranowsky about three years ago and instantly fell in love with her work. She created an incredible brochure for a historic Charleston waterfront event venue that I was helping promote.

Fast forward three years, and I’m having drinks with friends at Enoteca, an intimate, handsomely decorated wine bar just down the street from Trattoria Lucca (owned by the same folks). We were all so intrigued by the interior design that we asked Christy, the manager, who had done the work. None other than Angie, who’s now bringing her keen design eye to interiors in truly amazing style.

The next day I sent her an email to congratulate and compliment her on Enoteca and catch up.  Before I knew it, she graciously asked me to rewrite her bio for new website. Here’s a taste:

In 2005, Angie launched her interior design firm, reinterpreting her print design sensibility and color acumen for dynamic, three-dimensional spaces – and quickly vaulted onto the national interior design scene. Driven by a passion to engage and nurture each client, Angie crafts beautifully balanced, inviting spaces that are both personal and timeless.

Find the rest here. Congratulations, Angie. You continue to amaze.

Should your interiors need help, do give this talented lady a buzz.

In other fun designer news, my pal, UX designer and front-end developer, James Bergen, recently launched his solo gig. I met James a few years back, and he never fails to make me smile. He’s also crazy talented and warm. You can’t really beat that.

James asked me to help out with his bio as well. Here’s a snippet:

Fueled by a seemingly endless stream of iced coffee, James pairs his design skills with solid technology to create beautiful, high performing interactive experiences for clients large and small. Equally at home in the print universe, he digs deep into his clients’ brains and hearts to craft identities and print materials that tell a story and inspire action.

Peruse the rest of his bio and the rest of his super fab site here. Thank you, sweet baby James!

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A porch named Poogan

Super designer and pal Jay Fletcher (He also makes great pies!) hit me up a while back to help with a project for the folks of Poogan’s Porch. Named for the lovable neighborhood dog that made the establishment’s front porch his home, Poogan’s Porch is one of Charleston’s most celebrated culinary haunts, serving up homemade Southern favorites since 1976. Jay crafted an incredible new identity and rack card that speaks to the restaurant’s vintage vibe and rich history while artfully blending in modern elements and the dog that started it all. I had the opportunity to write copy. Thanks, Jay. It was another pleasure!

A bit of the copy I wrote:

We believe in conversations on porches, Sunday brunch, old Southern dogs, ghosts, seersucker, biscuits, homemade and handmade, sweet tea, handwritten recipes, friends old and new, great stories, gracious hospitality and our Moms. Not necessarily in that order.

And…breathe: a public service announcement

Part 2 of the Alliance For Full Acceptance’s media campaign. Billboard design by the one and only Gil Shuler. And the video below comes courtesy of Liz Oakley and Ed Bates of IVS Video and the seriously awesome talents of one Jessica Mickey. Copy/script by yours truly.

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Did you choose to be tall?

Building off the momentum of the AFFA billboard we created with Gil Shuler Graphic Design, I’m proud to launch the video below. Extra special thanks to Liz Oakley and Ed Bates at IVS Video, Jessica Mickey and Channing Proctor for their time and talents.

Happy Hour

The Charleston area has been the subject of some fantastic press lately. Named one of the Best Places in the Southeast to Retire by The Wall Street Journal. Profiled in The New York Times “36 Hours In..” series. And, randomly, in Travel + Leisure’s List of America’s Most and Least Attractive Cities. (Sorry, Santa Fe, times are tough.)

Those of us who live here know the magic of this place. How it can leave even the most jaded souls gob-smacked and struggling for description. We don’t mind. It’s a rather nice problem to have.

With all that said, here’s the latest ad for the town of Mount Pleasant for the South Carolina Vacation Guide. Design by Mark Lawrence from Gil Shuler Graphic Design; copy by me.

Maverick Southern Kitchens Ads: So Tasty.

Our special today is hand-clicked graphic design by local graphic goddess Katie Kosma and Charleston’s own Blue Ion with essence of New Jersey-raised copy by me. (Don’t worry, it’s neither bitter nor polluted.) See that endearing self deprecation? Get it while it’s fresh and hot!

Only at Maverick Southern Kitchens. Or…you know…here.

Darkness To Light: It Takes A Village

A while back, my friend Robert Prioleau invited me to help with a re-branding project for Darkness To Light, the Charleston-based non-profit working to end child sexual abuse. I got the opportunity to meet with D2L’s CFO, Jolie Logan, who was heading up the project, and it was a big one: a new identity, courtesy of the mega-talented Gil Shuler; a new website courtesy of the teamwork and talents of designer Sarena Norton, Blackbaud, Blue Ion and the driven, committed folks at D2L; plus, a new tagline, copy and positioning by me.

I should express my undying respect for Jolie Logan and the D2L team’s hard work and can-do attitude to see these projects through. A re-branding project is always a bold and exciting time for an organization…and truth be told, it’s a bit of a gamble, because it involves change. And I may be a bit biased, but I think the new logo, positioning, tagline and website bring a renewed energy and commitment to an organization that doesn’t just say what they want to do…they do it and continually find ways to empower more people to help them do it. Congratulations and thanks to everyone involved with the project. It’s been an incredible experience.

Logo by Gil Shuler Graphic Design.
Darkness To Light homepage
The Issue

Here’s a bit of the copy I wrote:

Think of 4 girls you know.

Now guess which one will be sexually abused before she’s 18.

Now think of 6 boys you know.

Which one of them will be sexually abused before he’s 18?

No one wants to think about it.

That’s what abusers of children count on, of course. Shame, embarrassment, fear, confusion.

They keep children silent.

They keep adults ignorant.

They keep truth hidden in the dark.

Why should you care?

It doesn’t happen in your town.

At your school.

In your church.

Actually, it does.

In fact, more than 90% of abusers are people children know, love or trust.

And the cost is great.

The reality is that one incident of childhood sexual abuse costs a community nearly $14,000.

The emotional cost in incalculable.
Research shows that people who are sexually violated as children are far more likely to experience psychological problems often lasting into adulthood, including Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, depression, suicide, substance abuse and relationship problems.

Child sexual abuse is not the problem of one region, race, creed, socio-economic status or gender. It impacts every community and every person in America.

Victims of childhood sexual abuse don’t just suffer emotionally. They suffer physically.

  • Victims of childhood sexual abuse are more likely to suffer from obesity.
  • Are more likely to suffer from heart disease.
  • Are more likely to engage in destructive behavior with drugs and alcohol.

In fact, if child sexual abuse were like most childhood diseases, the prevalence and consequences of it would lead to telethons to raise money for its cure. But child sexual abuse is one of the last cultural taboos. With the exception of child-focused personal safety programs, almost nothing is being done to address it. That’s where Darkness to Light and the good news beings.From volunteers to educators to donors, being an active participant in the mission to end childhood sexual abuse is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do.

Learning the facts about sexual abuse helps prevent it.
Read the 7 Steps to Protecting Our Children to learn simple, proactive steps you can take to prevent, recognize and react responsibly.

Talking about it helps prevent it.
We make sure our children are in car seats and seat belts. We walk them across busy streets. We ask our teens where they are going and who they will be with. All to keep them safe. And yet, when it comes to the crime of sexual abuse, we often grow silent. Darkness to Light stands ready to help you find the words to have the conversation every family needs to be safe and empowered.

Getting involved helps prevent it.
From volunteers to educators to donors, being an active participant in the mission to end childhood sexual abuse is one of the most rewarding things you will ever do.

If childhood sexual abuse can be prevented, it can be stopped. Through awareness, education and prevention, children can move from silence to exuberance. Adults can move from ignorance to empowerment.

And truth can move from darkness to light.

Easton Events

I love it when my pals at Blue Ion show their sensitive side. Actually, producer/designer Nicola Walker created the initial design concept for this one: the new Easton Events site launched last week. And, Craig Anthony, Flash developer/super designer and Lead Application Developer, Brian Dadin knit together an elegant, beautiful site certain to woo brides, grooms and Fortune 500 companies alike.

Here’s a taste of the copy I wrote:

Our approach is influenced and inspired by international art and architecture, as well as fashion, and event design. We live in a world of paint samples, schedules, fabric swatches, storyboards, menus, seating diagrams and budgets – a constant, delicate balance of head and heart that makes us singularly suited to creating exceptional events.