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Design & Copy: Julian’s Journey

Wednesday September 26th, 2012

Recently, UK-based travel photographer Julian Love came to Wonderful Machine looking to promote his latest project, a collection of images following the journey of Clara Hayward, a young woman traveling 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 it’s center. Somewhere among the diplomatic residences of Knightsbridge a young woman receives a letter that will change her life forever.”

Julian was hoping to create some type of creative marketing campaign that would center around Clara’s journey that would entice clients to explore not just the series, but all of his other work too. So, designer Peter Clark and publicist/writer Maria Luci put their creative heads together and began thinking up concepts to present to Julian. After a few group emails and Skype conversations, they settled on the details for the project—a campaign that we were all three very excited to pursue.

The first step of the project would be a print campaign—something far from the typical postcard. They would create the following:

  • A Personal letter, written as if from Clara to a dear friend
  • 3 vintage-style images of Clara’s journey, printed to look slightly aged, each with a caption “hand-written” on the back
  • A hand-made vintage-style airmail envelope that would contain both the images and letter.

Print piece.

All three items would be sent to over 200 targeted clients on Julian’s list. Then, the printed package would be followed up by three email promos that mimicked vintage postcards and would direct the recipient to Julian’s Clara tumblr, which features behind the scenes content and additional images. The promos would go out to the same clients who received the print 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 would also help Julian modify his existing tumblr template to fit the overall project design.

The emailer.

To get started, Peter and Maria researched vintage mail designs (postcards, envelopes, stamps) and tried to replicate that 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. He went through several rounds of test prints before settling on the final look and feel to the cards.

Another key component to the entire project was generating interesting copy that would go along with the design. Julian worked directly with Maria for this, to create a fun and engaging letter from Clara. Maria was also in charge of writing each of the image and email captions. Julian advised her to write Clara to sound as British as she could—not an easy task for an American.

For the font styles, Peter and Maria 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.

For the envelopes, Peter experimented with premade 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.

The envelope

But before they could get Julian on board with making envelopes, Peter and Maria did some research on different paper stocks. They made a trip to the local xpedx paper store to sample the latest stocks to consider for both the envelope and the letter design and brought back 15 different options they felt would work for the project. After laying them all out and examining them down to the last detail, they settled on a textured grey stock for the letter and a smooth blue paper for the envelopes.

To save on production costs and to have more control over the printing process, Peter and Maria ended up printing/creating everything in-house, except for the images. That was the most laborious part of the assignment, automating the printing of 200+ custom addressed envelopes and letters and then manually cutting and gluing everything. But, as they thought, it was totally worth it in the end.

One of Peter’s favorite parts of the project was coming up with an interesting email promo that was different than what most clients receive in their inboxes. He had a lot of experience in making vintage-themed design and used his skill to craft a layout that allowed Julian to switch in new images and copy for each promo. Every little detail was thought out, including having the correct postage stamps on the card.

To unify all the elements of the project, Peter came up with a stamp-like seal that said “Follow Clara’s Journey Online.”  The copy was surrounded by a distressed globe shape. This seal was placed on the back of the printed images, the letter, the email promos, and the tumblr. When all was said and done, the finished products looked amazing, and truly one-of-a-kind.

The tumblr.

Julian told us he’s hoping to shoot more images for the series when his schedule allows. Be sure to check out Julian’s site on the project, journey.julianlove.com, as well as his portfolio, julianlove.com.

If you’re looking for help with your portfolio, design, copy, marketing or to just want to learn more about our services, please visit the consulting section of the Cog.

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