I am passionate about digital marketing. Using a data-driven and artistic approach, I take on projects that can meet or exceed an organization’s long-term strategic plan. My specialties include creative and analytical communication, brand development, and marketing & sales strategies that contribute toward business sustainability, scalability & an improved customer experience.
The stack of magazines was impressive. Elle, Vogue, Architectural Digest, Bon Appetit and People. As a 13-year old, I just wanted to fixate and rip, fixate and rip, fixate and rip. Slowly, I was adding to my expanding wall collection, and I was proud. How were the ‘best’ images selected, and what made them ‘iconic’? What mattered to me at the time—creativity, originality, colour, composition—made it onto my closet doors, locker and school binder clear insert. If I could think of these images in my sleep, they became iconic. I will never forget one in particular. The triangular red and white logo juxtaposed against a black and white photograph of a girl pouting while a man anticipates…
What intrigues us about this image? Almost instantly, we find ourselves peering in, linked to the experience. We sense she is in the wrong place; however, we do not feel that she does not belong or would rather be elsewhere. Time and space are interrupted. We ask ourselves, “Will it occur?” But the chain of events does not matter. What matters is that we are suspended in a rare and captivating moment. And because the image is black and white, we are transported to the exact scene where the ‘film’ unravels. Then the bold red of the typeface and the logo bring us back to life, and we are suddenly alive; the advertisement has won us over…without a guess!
If we know that people can impact an ad’s efficacy, should we consider using people on food packaging? Could we use the interaction between a man and a woman on a coffee bag, for example? In my opinion, yes. Imagine this. A tired corporate executive finds herself standing in a Whole Foods Market. There is no one around. Soft music flutters in and out of her ears. She is standing in the coffee aisle, looking at bags and bags and bags. There’s so much unique packaging, she’s not sure what to choose. But then she sees it—a couple set in black and white. The photograph is beautiful; the packaging seems bound by eternal love as the image wraps fully around the product. It portrays something the executive longs for on a deeper level. “I’ll go for this,” she thinks, grabbing it to pay.
Using people in ad imagery is not a new concept, but could potentially be an innovative idea in the food and beverage domain. We know that ads are geared to make us think and feel. And there’s a whole range of themes emotional ads can trigger, from love to empathy to excitement. I don’t think I’ve ever spent valuable time and money on a product that didn’t trigger an emotion somehow. Even if it may go unrecognized—the power and influence of an emotional experience are unforgettable.
Should packaging portray a feeling using images of people? And if so, what are the most effective ways this can be executed?
I arrived earlier, still late, but feeling excused because of the weather. I was greeted by a girl in a salmon-coloured romper, and then shortly, another young girl looking much the same presented herself smiling. They could have been twins, but one was taller and wore a hat I could not stop examining. For my life, I forget what Jo-Ann (matriarch of the Dykstra family) called it, but alas, it was some sort of hat slash cover used to protect the face and hair from harsh elements.
I asked a quiet girl sitting on a step if she knew where Jo-Ann could be. She turned out to be the farm gardener. I asked the young girls. It was only after they cautiously pointed me in the direction of the bathroom, that I noticed a small house set stoically aside an apple tree, which the girls promptly proclaimed, “That’s the shop! She is probably in there!”
And there I found her. She had an easygoing air and quirky smile and laugh. Jo-Ann Dykstra was stocking fridges for ‘social media’, which I thought was brilliant. I appreciated that she was still preparing her farm for our visit. We had a brief introduction, then went off on our ways. I had to check if Milca, my filmmaker, had arrived, and Jo-Ann was probably considering a few other things to wrap up before filming commenced.
Other family members started to appear; each one donning a bright blue t-shirt with amusing imagery and text that accurately explained the context of their ubiquitous smirks. It was fun and again very thoughtful and made a tremendous blue background for certain shots, primarily in the greens or browns.
And so she finally arrives, with all her equipment. I am mesmerized by her calm and friendly demeanour, telling myself in my head, I need to be more like Milca. We filmed for the next 3 hours, if not more. The processing room where we witnessed son Jason laboriously creating goat mozzarella (Mt. Lehman Cheese Co.). The interview portion on the backyard veranda. The goats inside their cozy home. A new baby goat only four hours old. And best of all, daughter and grand-daughter milking the herd. Finally, a quick visit to the babbling brook known as McLennan Creek, also the name of their store as prescribed on a handmade wooden sign.
It was a great experience. It felt like I was at home, as a boarder or wanderer travelling across British Columbia who finds a remote place that offers up service, work and a sprawling, farm-set playground. It was almost too hard to leave, sharing a last-minute conversation with Jo-Ann about their upcoming open house.
If you have a chance, visit their farm and experience goat farming first hand. You will be welcomed, and I guarantee, the two young farm managers will greet you with open arms, maybe matching outfits as they did us today. You’ll want to explore and find out what a smallholding agricultural operation is like.
I am just being introduced to the world of agriculture, and I am astounded every day. I look forward to learning more about farming in the future!
Here are some photos I captured. We will be sharing our first Farm Stories video soon, so stay tuned!
A differentiator is what sets you apart from the competition.
It’s playing sports vs playing ball.
It’s smiling when life throws you those base curves,
because by the end of the day, everyone will remember.
In marketing, a differentiator makes people revel.
At times in silence, but that silence is awe.
You have differentiated your product when,
people know your name by your vision,
your philosophy, your mission statement.
Your audience begins to recognize your slogan,
they begin to identify with your colours.
You are en route to differentiating when,
you feel nervous and yet grounded.
At the end of the day,
you feel like you’re taking a risk
like you’re in trouble for something because
it pushes boundaries, it causes discussions,
it breaks the rules but never forget,
you are leading the group.
A true differentiator cannot be physically realized, because it has infinite gain at infinite frequency – Wikepedia
Digital reach is UNLIMITED. How does art make a difference? COOL is an UNLIMITED concept. Take that back to the couch when you break. Like someone in sales talking about sales, talking about art takes vision. It takes direction and you must be a leader through and through. I am obviously trying to push myself. Always, always tryin’ ta be that purple cow. Let’s remind the crowd again –
The concept of the Purple Cow was introduced by Seth Godin in his groundbreaking book by the same title. Recently I read it again because it is full of ideas and case studies on how to make your business remarkable. When you drive by a heard of cattle they all look like cows and it doesn’t seem out of the ordinary. But if you drive by a heard and standing in the field is a Purple Cow you have to tell someone because it is so different. When something forces you to remark on it, by definition it is remarkable. This is what your new business strategy should be focusing on, finding ways to make your customers talk about your products to their friends.
I write about differentiation in light of the launch of DirectFood.store, an online platform that enables local farmers and vendors to sell their products to consumers, restaurants, and care homes. The food is fresh. SO FRESH. The food is local. SO LOCAL. And you get it right away, to your doorstep, the next day. DIRECT TO YOUR DOOR.
I helped to develop the brand identity which you can witness on our recently revamped website. And I run our social media campaign, which is meant to be fresh, in the definition of COOL, like Will Smith Fresh Prince of Bel-Air COOL, that shirt is sick COOL, those kicks are dope COOL.
COOL is just one aspect of the brand, obviously my favourite. But DirectFood.store is also about:
Supporting local businesses
Engaging the community
Spreading the good word about fresh, healthy, organic & local food
Promoting a good cause for the good of all people
Just wanted to share some graphics I created that are live on the website. And you need to follow us on Instagram, to check out the REAL DEAL grid. 2 posts per day. Slammin’ balls against the ground. ALL BALL SPORTS. It’s bold. It’s cheeky. It’s collage. It promotes our core values + image. It’s inspired by a retro van, who needs a name…any ideas?
I AM STILL AN ART DIRECTOR. PERIOD.
WHY DOES RANTING END BEFORE YOU’RE FINISHED?
Never let anyone sway you otherwise. If you’re capable, you’re capable. You don’t go back in time. You move forward. And forward-thinking people, know the game. But they’ve got their own game going on, and other people play that. That’s it. Goodnight.
If you follow along my wonderful journey you would know what MART means! Here are some new adventures inspired by Archie comic books, Sigmar Polke and David Hockney always. I miss making random stuff. I truly exist as an abstract artist, perhaps one day I will own a beautiful big studio with lots and lots of paint! Hope you enjoy these and if you have any thoughts or comments, please do share them!
One of my favorite creator’s is David Airey. He recently put out a large book titled, ID which explores his previous projects down to the nitty gritty of project management, managing expectations and design decisions. I love how it encapsulates important ideas from page to page, in bold black typeface. I’m pretty sure it’s the same one I used in my Previous Documents Presentation (more on that later).
As I was thinking what to post on next, I read from a glance –
It’s important to show how the identity will perform in a variety of contexts.
This quote quickly reminded me of some logos I designed for my social media project Blocks. So, I’ve put them together here for you, along with some other showstoppers (in my opinion).
Each image has been categorized based on identity type (e.g.: logo, label, magazine cover) and context (e.g.: exercise, influence, mission). These categories will help you to understand my focuses and interests in digital marketing, branding and design (BTW BC stands for Blox. Communications, if that wasn’t already obvious!) –
BC Stock Image
BC Magazine Cover
BC Digital Collaboration
BC Album Cover
Note: can you guess which image belongs to what category?
Let me know what you think, cheers guys! Oh, and you can check out the entire project (which ran for about 2 months) on my Instagram account chona_canlas.
Do we all love Grinch green? The original green colouring of the Grinch was inspired by a rental car. This reminds us that inspiration can strike from anything, that’s how easy it is to come up with new and innovative ideas. Just look, see & apply!
Started a new project focused on communicating some mainstay ideas relating to my business entity Blox. Communications. My aim is to further develop my use of transparent, accurate and responsible language. Hope you like this content, let me know what you think!
This project may seem simple to you, but it challenges the idea of giving and receiving. In our digital space, we give constantly. And is the return of our efforts (ROE) measured through digital collaboration (DC) enough? Think: total impact of IQ + EQ + PQ or a new notion ascertaining digital quotient (DQ) / digital equilibrium (DE) / digital aspect ROI (DAROI). *I will explore these ideas in a future post.
When my mother received letters from her suitors (a common practice in her time), she did not write back. She kept each letter as if to say, I realize you are all interested, however I will hold in my heart, the one who is right. Is this action right? Is it just? We observe a similar practice in Japanese culture. The ritual is gift-giving (action), rather than the gift itself. Huffpost.com describes it in three steps – the reveal, the denial and the recognition. Or, revelation of intelligence + denying impact of emotionality + recognition of our role and place in digital space.
Using this interpretation, I could say that this project was aimed to reveal part of my identity/intelligence (I now question its visual and linguistic legitimacy in my current digital explorations), to reflect my denial of attaching emotion to the act of giving and receiving, and finally to sustain 2-way recognition/communication (between seller and buyer in this case) of the journey (action) itself – “For the Japanese, gratitude is a battle of endurance.”
We need to evaluate the tone and style of our expressions (gratitude being relevant today) as we delve further and further into a state of digital collaboration. We are impacted and at what point are we actually bringing more clarity to situations and circumstance? This is sort of the concept of ‘niceties’ and because I aim to maintain a certain level of accuracy in my work, details are important, but should my actions impose more or less scrutiny in regards to how my audience receives my message? This ties everything back to: total impact of IQ + EQ + PQ or a new notion ascertaining digital quotient (DQ) / digital equilibrium (DE) / digital aspect ROI (DAROI).
As you make your way through the below, try to remove feelings of assumption or judgement. Art is for everyone. Despite my specific approach, there’s a core selection from each demographic (Baby Boomer to Gen Z) that relates to my work in its simplest form, in other words – the visual and the language. For this project, I give it back to them!
Abstract – slash / roboto / elephant
This project started out with a photoshoot. I was dressed as Wenda (Where’s Waldo’s girlfriend) and my friend Allegra and I captured a series of images in and around Horseshoe Bay, British Columbia, Canada. There was lunch at Troll’s (fish and chips of course) and a brief introduction/chat with family business owner Ab Troll. Then, tea at another local establishment Flour Bakery and the final shot – me peering over … The Giant Hedge.
I developed the concept around a youthful, graffiti-inspired (old BLOX style) rendering of sweetness or the sweet spot/’magic’ that we often search for in our interactions with brands and art projects in general. My old style was always striking, vibrant and street culture inspired. Think – Keith Haring meets baby Andy Warhol.
The first portion centres around strategy, the next on my Social Seller & Social Buyer personas and finally, the Wenda portion (introducing myself within a specific context) finalizes the presentation. I printed the images on glossy card stock and hand-cut each one with a paper cutter. The final presentation resembled 7-inch vinyl singles and are displayed most effectively in a stack, layed out as placards on a table or mounted onto a wall with colourful binder clips (yellow, purple or stainless steel would work).
Along with my visual presentation, I designed a series of stickers that were printed on matte sticker paper and cut by hand. I then assembled the stickers, one by one, into individual, resealable plastic bags. Two of the images are BLOX identity concepts. The one with the primary color wheel represents right-brained or creative BLOX and the other with the black and white bunny mascot (and letter B branded roboto typeface mouth) represents left-brained or technical BLOX. The remainder stickers were simple and fun applications of imagery used in the presentation. To top the set off, I made a collaborative-style logo (powered by) for the agency I was presenting to.
As a fun treat and tribute to the jam jar (featured in several of the images), I filled a couple of clear canisters with bright fruit candy (I once had a banana necklace) to match the colour theme and concept of sweetness. I also included a book containing 85 pages of work samples and creative/technical resources – collateral, white papers and articles. The book was bound using the specifications below:
8.5″ x 11″
Double Sided, Colour
Colour Laser, 98 Bright, 32-lb.
Binding – Wireless Binding – Black
Standard front cover
Pastel Yellow, 90-lb. Index
Standard back cover
Pastel Yellow, 90-lb. Index
The final products were wrapped in colourful confetti paper and fastened with two Jelly Marketing stickers. Everything was arranged bento-style in an unobtrusive Staples box with a package of fun pastel highlighters and a final ‘hello’ letter placed on top.
I am eternally dedicated to my work and process. This project was a homage to my academic background as a printmaker and street identity as a writer. When I was practicing regularly, the art forms themselves took shape. There was no plan, just creation. I would compare it to writing and reading classical music. I can’t really compare it to anything else. But my efforts today are different. They are positioned around understanding and fully utilizing the creative + technical aspects of my brain. So, now there is a need to plan and there is a need to create, but by having a specific outcome in mind.
At the end of it all, this has generated the foundation of A Brand Strategy. You will hear more about this in the coming year.
A few quick work goals for 2020 –
Find a job that I’m happy about
Develop Digital Presence business model
Develop A Brand Strategy
Next up: who’s down for white, black and corporate-friendly? Is it time to revisit my Digital Presence business model? Yes/No?
The question remains – To mail or not to mail? To give or not to give? To receive or not to receive? What matters most? Having or expecting? Waiting or forgetting? Are you a yes-man or a no-sayer? Check back guys!
Here are a few graphic art/design pieces I put together over the past couple of months using my own photographs, Pic Collage + Canva.
My images flow from one to the next. It’s not intentional, it happens. Lately, I’ve been focused on using two hues, often complimentary. This enables our emotions and makes us think – is the content more striking or the context? There are also 2-3 characters fighting for the space. Can you identify them? What kind of plot line would you tell about these pictures?