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Annual Report

AU Library Annual Report 06-07

AU Library Annual Report CoverI’m posting the Annual Report that I designed for American University Library mostly for inspiration’s sake, but also because I think it turned out great.

Last year the report centered around this theme of a botanical field guide. For this year’s report, the highlights were maps from the library’s special collections. Since maps were the central focus, the report was designed around the core idea of a “Captain’s Log.” This idea allowed the addition of personal elements such as handwriting and handmade graphs, these personal touches helped to dispel the austere image that annual reports tend to portray.

One of the primary goals when designing this annual report was that it be a tactile experience. The cover was embossed with a leather texture on the spine and the four corners, and the paper is milled to feel like cloth. The ultimate goal was that this annual report feel authentic, and I think we succeeded.

Below, I’ve attached a PDF so you can look through the whole thing.

American University Library Annual Report 2006-2007

Win a Free Marketing Makeover!!!

If you are going to be at the ALA Annual Conference in DC this year, Mary and I will have a booth at the Swap & Shop where we will be raffling off a chance to have Fearless Future redesign the marketing material of your choice (logo, brochure, business cards, etc.) for free!

Head on down to the Washington Convention Center Special Events Area, behind Aisle 600 on the exhibit floor between 11 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, June 24 to enter.

We can’t wait to see you there!

Catch ’em by surprise.

Every time Jonathan and I hand out our business cards, a chuckle invariably follows, and we couldn’t be happier.

Billy is fearless, he rides his bike without training wheels

Sally cares about the future, that is why she recycles

We think it is one of the best complements we could ever receive.

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy!


This past week Jonathan and I were all over the tri-state area of Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia. We enjoyed seeing the beautiful sprawling countryside of Southwest Virginia (just gorgeous, can anyone tell what those beautiful, light purple trees are that line 81?)

Of course we thoroughly enjoyed seeing all of you at ACRL, despite the fact that by the end of my fourth presentation I was like a walking, smiling library zombie. And, Baltimore, don’t get me started on Charm city! There is a reason why I am obsessed with the Wire; yes, yes I know it is the best show on TV but it also showcases one of the most ethnically diverse cities in the U.S.A-Baltimore Hon!

But the capital city will always be our home base and it was wonderful to be back – the cherry blossoms blossoming and the people hanging out on their stoops. We saw some great billboards in DC that I think line up very well with the concept of value based marketing that I was trying to talk everyone into in my part of the panel “Will it make my teeth whiter?”

Have you seen the VW ads?
Here are some of the new tag lines:


Bic Pens – More Joy of Writing

I found this over at Twenty Four while browsing their awesome collection of ads. These ads are apparently fairly old, but still relevant; I love the idea of taking the mundane and making it spectacular.

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A campaign for BIC Pens. A writing experience so good that you’ll take a long time even when you need to communicate an emergency situation. The campaign is an Epica Bronze Winner and was created by Jung Von Matt.

Credits: Creative Director(s): Mathias Stiller, Wolfgang Schneider >> Copywriter(s): Michael Haeussler >> Art Director(s): Michael Janke >> Photographer(s): Daniel Zoubek >> Other(s): Account Supervisor: Frank Lotze, Frauke Schmidt, Henning Gerstner

You are infected with… HUMANS!!!

This video was pulled from Three Legged Legs via Drawn!. When I saw this I was struck by how, a campaign framed in this way, would be infinitely more effective than the advertising that PETA puts out, which is odd since Three Legged Legs isn’t trying to change the world, they are just showing off their amazing animation skills.

That’s the problem with non profits in general – they get so bogged-down with changing the world that their message gets lost because of their own self-importance. Shoving images of butchered lambs into the hands of people who are enjoying their morning Starbucks (à la PETA) is alienating the people they are trying to influence; however, a simple re-framing that connects to the audience would work wonders.

This video communicates the same core message just in a way that is much more accessible to everyone.

Campaign against READ

Look at all the Celebs that want you to READ.
I can’t be the only one that thinks these are awful.

I’m not one to bash other people’s marketing efforts; I think it is extremely admirable that ALA got hip to marketing before everyone else, but i feel like they are beating a dead horse with both “READ” and “@ your library”.

It is time for ALA to re-think their marketing. There is one rule in marketing: Know thy audience. I don’t care how many skateboarders and rappers they slap on those READ posters, there is no way they are ever going to be cool.

Libraries are hard pills to swallow for millennials, this campaign helps alienate them even more. If ALA is serious about getting the next generation into libraries, they need to breath some fresh life into their marketing and come at it with a different perspective. This axiom stands for all institutions; I know for a fact that some of you out there using the READ campaign as some part of your marketing.

Something that ALA hasn’t grasped is that at this stage in the game it is more important for libraries to market to their specific audiences rather than to work toward creating a cohesive image for libraries as a whole.

Speaking as a “millennial” (although I hate to admit it) your job as a marketer is to let me know why I should bother stepping foot in a library when I have the world at my fingertips on the internet, telling me to READ isn’t going to cut it.

What I learned in Yoga last night

My yoga teacher talked last night about the importance of feeling OK with the fact that you can often be wrong or not know how to do something.

I think this is a very integral thing to realize and embrace if you are embarking on any kind of public relation campaign or marketing campaign for your organization.

Let me explain:

  1. With a marketing campaign you often have to take a leap into the unknown, you have to try things that aren’t comfortable.
  2. You have to be ready when you create a campaign to be wrong – just dead wrong sometimes.
  3. Sometimes you will create a funny poster that just bombs or conversely you will create a wild poster that really hits the mark and becomes wildly popular. Last year we made this poster that students ripped off the wall and hung in their dorm room.

How can you comfortably move into taking chances?

  1. make a one year plan; assess it after one year; and be flexible.
  2. show your posters and other design material to someone outside your organization; ask them to critique it; sit quietly while they do it and actively listen.
  3. browse magazines and journals open your mind to images that may not naturally come to you…
  4. walk around your community and look at what people are wearing , saying and looking at ….

BUT MOST of all be able to be wrong – BE FEARLESS

I think it was David Byrne, of the Talking Heads who said
“By being lost , you can be found” or something like that….икони