Maine Coastal Island – The New York Times

We shot this very interesting little project for the New York Times and it is out and print today! It was designed by Christopher Campbell as an island retreat off the coast of Maine. It’s rather interesting in it’s approach to energy usage, check it out!

WEB_P9B0034 WEB_P9B0059 WEB_P9B0165 WEB_P9B0196 WEB_P9B0266 WEB_P9B0461 WEB0P9B0187 WEB0P9B0845

trentbellphotography 2014 Promotional Mailer

Back in 2013 we were sitting in Elements coffee shop throwing around ideas for a promotional marketing campaign that we could send out to perspective advertising agencies.  It had to be attention grabbing as it needed to cut through the sea of promotional pieces that land on the desk of advertising’s most creative people.  The idea of photographing prisoners and attaching the prints to a clipboard was one of the ideas that came up.  We knew that if done right, we thought it could spark that interest we were looking for.  With this loose concept in hand, the REFELCT project was born.
Of course it was one year ago when the idea was conceived, and since then, the REFLECT project has developed into much more then we ever anticipated.  The end goal of the project shifted from a marketing piece to a gallery showing that garnered local, national, and even worldwide attention.  The response has been amazing and the REFELCT project continues to visit galleries around the state while still generating a lot of interest.
Fast forward to August 2014 and we are just now taking the REFELCT project and turning it into the promotional marketing piece that we had originally conceived.  How were we going to take these portraits and present them in way that stayed true to the concept?  Well, we started off building a few prototypes to see what we could come up with.  Below is the process we went through while constructing the 2014 promotional mailer.

WEB_Vid_01We decided to print six of the most intriguing portraits from the REFELCT project.  They had to be engaging and thought provoking enough so that the person viewing them would want to reach out and learn more.WEB_Vid_02The images were printed four up on 13×19 archival matte paper with the back side detailing the corresponding information that went along with each prisoner.  We decided to do all of our printing in-house because we could proof our images. This gave us complete control over quality with the added ability to make last-minute changes without going back to a print house.  The detail that comes from the Epson R2400 is quite amazing and is why we use this same process to print our own portfolio.WEB_Vid_03WEB02_MG_0831We invested in a 12×24 inch RotaTrim so we could cut all the elements in-house, if you’ve never used one of these, they work fantastic.  Having the prints cut to exactly the same size was crucial because we wanted them to line up precisely when stacked together on the clipboard.WEB_Vid_04Six to a clipboard times 53 clipboards = 318 prints (double sided).WEB01_MG_0830We stamped our logo on the bottom right of the clipboard just below the prints.WEB05_MG_0843Prints assembled and ready for the next step.WEB_Vid_010WEB03_MG_0835We decided to use Kraft self-seal mailers rather than boxing them up.  The presentation of a box pales in comparison to the feel and quality of these durable recycled mailers; a box felt too much like anything else you might receive in the mail.WEB04_MG_0839We couldn’t just use a white return address label on the front, so we had a custom stamp made.WEB_Vid_05The images needed to have some context for those who had not yet interacted with the REFELCT project.  We experimented with a few different options for conveying this information before deciding on wrapping a 2×11.5 inch vellum band around the whole clipboard.  This would serve two purposes, as it would give the recipient an explanation of the project before viewing the prints and it would also ensure the prints stayed fastened to the clipboard should they become dislodged during shipping.  Initially we experimented with using thin paper stock to wrap the images but it didn’t present well and hid the image we were trying to show.  After printing a few test prints on vellum, we decided the transparency gave a sense of depth when overlaid across the prints and allowed the viewer to see the print in its entirety.  WEB07_MG_0850 WEB08_MG_0849Five up on 11×17 and cut down to a finished size of 2×11.5WEB09_MG_0868Off to the RotaTrim.WEB10_MG_0845WEB_Vid_06Labels couldn’t be cookie cutter labels, there had to be some thought that went into the presentation of the package.  We didn’t want to take any shortcuts so we designed our own labels and cut them out of a sheet of 8.5×11 Avery sticker paper.WEB_Vid_07WEB17_MG_0863Of course Rob Haggart at aphotoeditor was getting one.  WEB11_MG_0865 WEB12_MG_0866WEB13_MG_0864Wrapping the bands around the clipboard took a little time to complete because we wanted the band to be tight enough to help hold the prints in place.  We secured them in the back with a piece of scotch tape but after looking at how they were held together it appeared unfinished and somewhat of an after thought.  We also knew there had to be an insert that explained who we were as well as a way to personalize the project.  Initially we were going to place the insert behind the stack so the recipient would see it when they removed the prints.  We decided on attaching the card where the band came together so it would be read before the viewer removed the band. WEB14_MG_0852 WEB16_MG_0869We also applied custom printed tape to the back of each clipboard.  The info card was printed on the same Matte paper as the photos.  WEB_Vid_08And signed 53 times.WEB15_MG_0884All of the clipboards completed and ready for packing.WEB_Vid_09 WEB18_MG_0888We chose self seal envelopes because the finish was much cleaner than taping them shut.  They also had a pull tab that made it easier for the recipient to open.WEB19_MG_0887Ready for the Post Office.WEB20_MG_0891 WEB21_MG_0897And they’re off……

The process of putting the clipboards together took a lot of trial and error.  There were many revisions before we had a finished product we were happy with.  By far the most time consuming and challenging part of the project was researching and building a mailing list of creatives that we were interested in working with.  Thank you for looking! Be sure to stay updated as we are currently working on the next installment of the REFLECT project.

List of ingredients:

  • Moab Lasal 13×19 DS Photo Matte
  • Univeral Memo 6×9 Clipboard
  • White 11×17 Vellum Paper 29#
  • Avery 8.5×11 Shipping Labels
  • Uline Self-Seal 9×11.5 Stay Flats
  • Custom Made Stamp From VistaPrint
  • Double Sided Tape
  • Custom Tape with our Logo
  • Lots of Time…..

Questions, comments? Let us know your thoughts: contact@trentbell.com