Case Study: Power On! Campaign

I don’t just contract with international NGOs. I also enjoy working closely with the community where I grew up: Alexandria, Virginia. I have built websites for local festivals, taught video classes to Alexandria youth, edited film projects for Alexandria nonprofits, and worked closely with the City on a variety of print projects.

One of my newest clients is the Alexandria City Department of Recreation and Parks. In 2010, the Rec Department reached out to me for help branding a new Rec services campaign called “PowerOn!” The program would include everything from summer camps to teen activities and mothers’ play groups. We would need to design a logo, outline branding parameters and launch a kickoff brochure, the 2010 Summer Activities Guide.

Work on the brand started immediately. With the logo, it was important to convey a sense of playfulness—the program is geared toward kids, after all—and include references to fitness, activity, and power. After several iterations, we decided on a symbol that likened to an emblem you might see on a superhero’s chest: The PowerOn! text in a comic book-style “knockout” font, a big bolt of electricity across the top, and the ubiquitous triangular Superman-like frame.

The Summer Activities guide was going to  be a 24-page listing of all the camps and activities offered to Alexandria children and youth. Given the enthusiasm for the new brand, the Rec Deparment and I decided to carry that theme into the design of that first PowerOn! brochure. Photos were supersaturated and half-toned to create the “printed comics” effect. Unique comic-style fonts (don’t worry, no Comic Sans here) were used for titles and subheads. Excerpts and pull quotes were featured in big, bold “Blam!”-style bursts of reds and greens. The final piece was what an Excel spreadsheet might look like in the hands of Marvel Comics.

After a series of revisions, corrections and print checks, the brochure was in schools and community centers by March of 2010. It was a big hit with the City and parents alike, and pre-production on the 2011 “Summer of Smiles” brochure began just a few months later. Recently, we were notified that the City won a “Best Promotional Effort” Award from the Virginia Recreation & Parks Society for the 2010 PowerOn! Campaign.

Now in the third year of our partnership, Alexandria City and Gypsy Creative are in the design phase of the Summer 2012 brochure. Our fingers are crossed in hopes of racking up some more awards!

Click here to see the full 2010 PowerOn! Summer Activities Guide (pdf) *Note, this link takes you to the 2010 Guide; current activities, dates and prices are not up to date.

Check out more print design pieces here.

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