If you were in the market for an architecture or real estate photographer, Eric Tate might be your guy. His company, Peak Visuals, delivers top-quality photos and a solid, professional experience. The only question is — how do we get the word out about them? Eric came to Wonderful Machine to get all of his marketing gears in place, and all together, we assisted Eric with promo design, copy, and a client list build. As the designer on-board, my focus was the print promo and emailer design.
We started with the print promo, where I learned that Eric was in the market for a 6×9 horizontal booklet — about 20 pages long and featuring up to 40 photos. This was a lot to look through, so we wanted a clean, simple, and refined design. Finally, while Eric knew which photos he wanted to use, he hadn’t thought of the sequence yet, which meant I got to play the role of photo editor too!
To keep us on track, I made up a quick schedule to show each step of the process. This would help with the due dates for my design and his feedback. (Turns out Eric had wicked-quick response times, so we flew through this predetermined timeline.)
I had one week to create the first round of print promos. From the start, I knew I wanted to separate his commercial and residential work to add some structure to the book. From there, I came up with three concepts for Eric to choose from. The first concept incorporated his logo into the design. Diagonal overlays and background color blocks resembled the shape of the Peak Visuals logo, and each section was marked by an intro page.
The second option was a simpler approach. Instead of diagonal shapes, I used color blocks to highlight the image groups. I also made two options for the intro pages. The first option shows a drop-shadow feature in front of a color block. The second had a more saturated background color with white, translucent text.
The third option featured thin, structured line work to mimic the architectural drawings one may see in any given firm. These lines would weave behind and in front of the images, be custom for each page, and paired with color blocks or overlays. (Still waiting for an architectural photographer to work with me on this idea!)
After sending these off, I put my focus on sequencing. Pulling them in Photoshop, I found similarities and patterns in the photos and paired them accordingly. After some quick feedback from our Producer Bryan Sheffield, they were ready for Eric’s eyes.
The feedback was quick and positive. Having gotten used to fast turnarounds while working with architectural firms, Eric had a response for us within a few short days. The plan was to carry out option 1 with the sequencing I laid out — the only change was adding a few extra photos. The rest went smoothly. I implemented the design on the remaining pages and added all of Eric’s images for Round 2.
With the addition of copy (courtesy of Varun Raghupathi) and just a few small tweaks, like image sizes and placement, we were ready to go. So I put the order in with Smartpress, and we had a soft (digital) and hard (printed) proof in the works. I’ve learned to really appreciate Smartpress — one of the most affordable options I found for booklet and promo printing. I think they have excellent customer service and can work with you on the most custom of orders. Now that my quick Smartpress ad is over, we confirmed the order after seeing the proofs, and sooner than later, Eric was equipped with 100 copies of his new print promo.
Once we had the print promo down, I knew the emailer was going to be a breeze. After all, emailers are my bread and butter, and I was now familiar with his brand and knew which photos worked well together.
My process is usually always the same — the first round displays 3 to 4 different design concepts. The photographer picks one of the options, offers feedback, and implements the design on an ESP of their choosing. We have one more round of feedback and tweaking before delivering the final product — a new, shiny emailer and all the tools (including instructions) to create any future emailer.
With emailers, the design within the ESP can be a bit limiting. So I often like to take an extra step and make something more original in Photoshop or Indesign and add it to Mailchimp or Squarespace and one image. In the first round, I typically include an option or two where the photographer can edit right in the ESP and a few options to do some editing in PS beforehand.
As an extension of Eric’s brand, I wanted to keep things clean, simple, and professional. The first option featured just photos — this was our Mailchimp special — totally editable within the platform. The other options incorporated that same diagonal color block used in his print promo. Ultimately, Eric was happy with the simplicity of option 1.
The rest was easy! I added the photos to Mailchimp, set up a name tag to personalize each email, and set a nice blue page background. Instructions in hand, Eric had everything he needed to create his newly designed emailers!
Here’s what Eric had to say:
I appreciate all the hardwork from the entire team! This is an amazing marketing initiative that I couldn’t have pulled off without Wonderful Machine — especially all of Lindsay’s insight and expertise.