Julian Love, a UK-based travel photographer, came to Wonderful Machine to promote a collection of images. The project follows a fictitious character, Clara Hayward, on her journey from London to Istanbul in search of adventure.
Here’s a brief synopsis from Julian:
It’s 1931. The British Empire encompasses a quarter of the world’s population and London, the largest city in the world, sits at its center. Somewhere among the diplomatic residences of Knightsbridge, a young woman receives a letter that will change her life forever.
Julian wanted to create a marketing campaign – centering around Clara’s journey – that would entice clients to explore not just that series of photos, but all of his other work too. So, our designer Peter Clark and I began brainstorming concepts to present to Julian. After a few group emails and Skype calls, the details of the project were settled — a campaign that we were all very excited to pursue.
The first step of the project would be a print campaign that included the following:
All three items would be sent to over 200 carefully-targeted prospects on Julian’s list. That would be followed by three email promos that mimicked vintage postcards. They would direct each recipient to Julian’s Tumblr page, which features behind-the-scenes content and additional images telling Clara’s story. The email promos would go out to the clients who received the printed pieces – along with a much larger list to get a broader range of eyes on his work. On top of designing, writing, printing, and hand-making these pieces, Peter also helped Julian modify his existing Tumblr template to fit the overall project design.
Peter and I researched vintage mail designs (postcards, envelopes, stamps) and tried to replicate the aesthetic as much as possible. One big issue was figuring out early on how to print the three images so they would appear vintage, but still keep the image quality intact. Julian ended up using a printer in London so he could see the printed proofs in person before he signed off on them. He went through several rounds of test prints before settling on the final look and feel of the cards.
Another key component of the project was generating interesting copy. Julian and I worked on this to create a fun and engaging letter from Clara, as well as captions for each of the images. Julian wanted Clara to sound as British as she could—not an easy task for an American writer.
For the font styles, Peter and I considered using a typographer or calligrapher for the project, but ended up going with an existing typeface that looked great and translated well across all the different mediums.
At first, Peter experimented with pre-made airmail envelopes. They looked fine but didn’t feel right. Their overall size was too long (or too small) and some of the paper stocks on the envelopes weren’t the greatest. In the back of his mind, Peter had another idea: to create handmade envelopes, one by one. They all knew this would be a lot of work, but definitely worth it in the end.
But before we could get Julian on board with making envelopes, Peter and I did some research on different paper stocks. We made a trip to the local paper store to see options for both the envelope and the letter, and we brought back 15 different options that we felt could work. After examining them down to the last detail, we settled on a textured gray stock for the letter and a smooth blue paper for the envelopes.
Peter and I ended up printing/folding everything in-house, except for the images. This helped save on production costs and allowed us to have more control over the printing process. That was the most laborious part of the assignment, printing and assembling 200+ custom-addressed envelopes and letters. But we knew all that work would make the promos really convincing.
One of Peter’s favorite parts was coming up with an interesting email promo. The goal was to create something that was different than what most clients receive in their inboxes. He crafted a layout that allowed Julian update the images and copy for each promo. Every detail was thought out, such as having the correct postage stamps on the card.
To unify all the elements, Peter came up with a stamp-like seal that said “Follow Clara’s Journey Online.” A distressed globe shape surrounded the copy. We placed the seal on the back of the printed images, the letter, the email promos, and the Tumblr. The finished products looked amazing and truly one-of-a-kind.
Julian told us he’s hoping to shoot more images for the series when his schedule allows.