Design: Revisiting the Thomas Strand Brand

Aug 29, 2014
Consulting Case StudiesDesign

The last time we spoke about Minnesota-based photographer Thomas Strand, I showed off the brand new emailer template that I designed for him. As a refresher, Tom first came to Wonderful Machine looking for a new brand. We started with a graphic identity in which Tom received a new logo and full stationery package, including designs for business cards, letterhead, notecard, envelope, mailing label, and even a dvd envelope. Being a print crusader myself, I was thrilled when Tom opted to have his business cards letterpress printed. We then moved on to print promo design, and Tom promised to send me samples of everything once all of his marketing pieces were printed.

We decided to go with an accordion-folded booklet for the promo, and Tom sent me an image of his new portfolio as inspiration, which he had based off of the front of his business cards. I loved how the cover of the portfolio alluded to his logo in a really clean and subtle way, and I wanted to pull this idea into the promo.

Thomas Strand portfolio cover

Tom’s portfolio

I got to work on some options— a vertically-folding accordion, one that folded to a square, and a 4-panel landscape-oriented fold-out version. The landscape option was the favorite, and once Tom approved the design, photo editor Sean Stone did the image selection.


Interior of Thomas Strand portfolio which has several agricultural lifestyle elements featured

Tom initially expressed some concern about having the cover of the promo be black with no image, but I assured him that it complimented his brand, made for a nice reveal once opened, and I had some great ideas for making that front panel really pop. Once we had the high resolution images and final files to work with, it was time to nail down the finer details of printing. We were set on offset printing for optimal image quality, matte paper stock for the tactile but authentic feel, and due to the extra-long format, we had to pull out the big guns and print these on a large-format printer. To top it off, we decided to print Tom’s logotype in a spot varnish on the front cover, which would really help his name stand out in a unique and eye-catching way.

It takes time to coordinate production of such an elaborate promo, so I wasn’t surprised when it took a few months to receive samples of all of Tom’s marketing materials, but these were definitely worth the wait. Included in the package were all of Tom’s stationery I had designed from the graphic identity, the postcard I had done, and the accordion-folded promo I’d been dying to get my hands on.

A full spread of Thomas Strand's portfolio features

The display of Thomas Strand's portfolio

Thomas Strand postcard example

Disk from Thomas Strand's portfolio

It was so great to see how Tom’s brand had really come to life and felt so dynamic as it adapted for each new marketing piece. I couldn’t have been more pleased, and to top it all off, Tom wrote me an amazing note about how happy he is with his new brand (on his notecards, of course)!

Letter of appreciation from Thomas Strand among his materials

Letter of appreciation from Thomas Strand

Designing all your various marketing materials can be overwhelming when you consider stationery, print, web, and email promotion all together. However, one of my favorite things about being a designer and working with brands is helping to bring them to life and to give them a sense of cohesion in every context. Each new piece is an opportunity to make an impression and make something that people will want to hold on to. Don’t be afraid to get nerdy about your stationery and put your heart and soul into everything that leaves your desk (or studio), even the mailing labels. I do it every day.

Thomas Strand materials

Until next time, don’t forget to check out all of our design consulting services, and drop me a line if you’re interested in a new identity or if you’d like our help building out your own brand. We’d love to hear from you!