We recently had the chance to work with Idaho-based photographer Ben Chase. Ben is located in a pretty unique place, on the border between Washington and Idaho, but also very close to Montana and the Canadian border. It’s the perfect spot for a guy who loves to get out and enjoy Mother Nature and capture all her glory. Mainly a landscape and wildlife shooter, Ben was looking for some input on reaching out to art buyers interested in those specialties. However, before he started marketing, we encouraged him to revamp his website and start from scratch with a new edit. He agreed and we got to work collaborating on a new, professional commercial looking site.
Upon loading his former site, visitors were instantly overwhelmed by a barrage of imagery which provided little sense of direction or photographic identity. It came off as more of an archival space of a hobbyist, a vibe that Ben was eager to dissipate. Paul Stanek, our photography director, initiated a conversation with Ben to learn more about what his photographic aspirations were. From there, Paul began formulating a plan for a concise website that jived with the expectations of Ben’s target audience.
Ben was already familiar with Graph Paper Press and their excellent WordPress-based templates. Paul, being a huge fan of side-scrolling portfolios, encouraged Ben towards their Sidewinder theme. This format seemed particularly conducive to the edit he was envisioning. Once that was setup, Paul dug into Ben’s vast library of work and grew intimately familiar with it. Within the 800+ images he began with, Paul sought out patterns which would progressively evolve into four fluid sequences of practically categorized imagery: Landscape, Outdoor Lifestyle, Nature and Agriculture. Ben worked closely with Paul throughout the process, which ultimately resulted in a true transformation of Ben’s photographic identity.
For my part of the project, I took over designing Ben’s email promos. I started off by showing him a selection of my past designs to get a sense of what he was looking for. We also talked about the font choice on his website, with Ben stating he was looking for something “adventurous.” Graph Paper Press limits you to fonts from the Google Web Fonts library, so his overall selection was limited, but decent. He decided on Contrail One, which is slightly bouncy, approachable and a bit adventurous. Since it was a basic web font, I was only able to use one style (regular), so I wanted to try my best to make it interesting. After a bit of back and forth on the overall layout I started the design.
Like most projects I take on, I came up with several concepts before settling on a final direction. Ben had limited branding to work from, aside the font choice, so I had some liberties to work with. I tried several ideas, but eventually went with my first: a grungy, outdoorsy feeling concept that didn’t overpower his images or typeface. We also came up with the idea to have different colored header and footer elements that would change depending on the image selection, which I collaborated with Paul on. Paul came up with six selections that looked great together. In all, we used three different color palettes for the six promos.
Next, Ben needed help hand-picking an appropriate audience to send the promos to. Luckily, he was already a member of Agency Access, a comprehensive, worldwide list service. Kayleen Kauffman, our marketing director, worked with Ben to select the best creatives from book publishing, catalogs, magazines, in-house corporations, graphic design, in-house travel and ad agencies. She suggested Ben have a varied pool of clients to market to because his work is versatile, and she didn’t want to limit him to just magazines or ad agencies.
After all was said and done, Ben was very happy with the final designs and appreciated the work we’d done for him. He’s now started sending out the emailers to his lists…and hopes for some great new projects and professional relationships.