No Foolin'

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This month's blog is being posted on April Fool's Day and Easter Sunday. I unfortunately don't have any great practical jokes to play and my Easter has been spent enjoying the renewal of spring. With a light rain falling after a sunny spring day spent outdoors that ended with a gorgeous blue moon, I am once again reminded that these endless cycles of existence from both a micro-cosmic and macro-cosmic level are such a gift to behold. While it seems temporary, all of our actions live on in ways we can't always comprehend. As a meditation on this theme, I spent the day doing what I love to do by completing this little personal project. The thought behind it is quite something to ponder and I hope you enjoy. Happy Spring!

Another Welcome Spring Blossoming

 In Nashville, the magnolias are in full bloom at the moment.

In Nashville, the magnolias are in full bloom at the moment.

As I write this month's blog post, it's yet another gray day in Nashville. I often hear people lament the cloudy rainy days as depressing but as a (lapsed) gardener, I relish it and the gifts it brings. I've even begun to enjoy the Japanese custom of forest bathing (basically just being in the presence of trees) during light rains. The rain is really good for the skin and the trees are good for just living! But even seemingly endless wet weather can begin to get tiresome. Then the day arrives that you walk outside and see the first blossom. Ahhh....

The Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival is my annual reminder that sunny days are ahead. The cherry blossom tree's bursts of color have been carefully anticipated and celebrated in the Japanese culture for hundreds of years. They prompt pilgrimages of large groups of people to behold and share the splendor in Japan and Nashville is doing the same this April.

The significance of the cherry blossom tree in Japanese culture goes back hundreds of years. In their country, the cherry blossom represents the fragility and the beauty of life. It’s a reminder that life is almost overwhelmingly beautiful but that it is also tragically short. When the cherry blossom trees bloom for a short time each year in brilliant force, they serve as a visual reminder of how precious and how precarious life is.

It is a great honor to be a part of the Nashville Cherry Blossom Festival's promotion again this year. There's great wisdom in witnessing and celebrating the blooming and fragility of these beauties. Save the date and you can also enjoy all the great fun and activities to be found at this family-friendly event celebrating not only their short and profoundly moving existence but also the culture of Japan. You will love it! I know I will!

Hot Off the Press

It's been a productive year already and I expect there will be much more fun to share in the coming months. This month I share a project that is "hot off the press:"

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I'm most proud of the design work that leads to greater things for others and Onsite continues that mission in bigger ways each year. My tool box is art direction, design and illustration; their mission is to transform lives in ways that help others through therapeutic and personal wellness workshops—all in an idyllic rural Tennessee setting. Their reputation spreads far and wide—both nationally and internationally. CEO Miles Adcox has been featured as a guest expert on many familiar channels and Onsite has been featured on 20/20, Good Morning America, The New York Times, and The Wall Street Journal. Dr. Brené Brown endorses their stature in the personal wellness realms. It is such a great and lofty endeavor to be a part of: to call people to their best selves through the design of a brand and brochure.

While I truly appreciate the process of reinvention, the subtle restraint and refinement of a brochure's design that already worked well in the past can be just as fulfilling creatively. This year's design is similar to last year's but with more beautiful new photography (thank you, Daniel C. White!) which gives Onsite's only printed annual promotion a fresh new feel. But that doesn't mean we skimped on the process. The photo shoot was just the beginning of a long process of refining copy, layout, photo positioning and the ever-tenacious but necessary process of proofing, ultimately to go to the printing press and the mail house.

If ever given the opportunity to tour a large offset printer's facilities, even if you've seen this process before, I recommend it. The presses are huge monsters, some bigger that mobile homes. To see it in action is a sight. Proofing the sheets coming off the presses under color-calibrated lighting and using digital technology for precise color accuracy on a paper stock that is also calibrated to a precise whiteness—well, let's just say it's not just the design and branding that makes a piece succeed, it's also an artful and scientific approach with vendors and products.

Having a great paper resource (Athens Paper, thank you!), an awesome printer rep who not only understands the process beginning to end but also the project's objectives (Twyla Clark, thank you!), experienced pressmen and bindery (Lithographics, thank you!), then finishing all of that with a great mail house (DNI Corp, thank you!)—all of these things are necessary ingredients for a finished piece meant to impress.

Working with people who have had relationships that span the length of long and fruitful careers help make a process flow with ease. We are most of all thankful to Onsite—we love what we do because of the incredible things that you do.

Yes, It Really Is....

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Wishing everyone, every day, the happiest of times for 2018 and beyond! Here's another bit of hand-lettering using one of the many tools in my "toolbox"—the iPad Pro, what I fondly call my pricey sketchbook. I'm so grateful that the curiosity and exploration of the creative process continues to live on in me and I look forward to partnering with clients and friends in the coming days to foster more of it. May we all find the things we love to do and find successful collaboration, prosperity and happiness in those efforts! Happy new year!