Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Case Study - HAVEN Lifestyle LLC

I’ve had the pleasure of working with Rebecca McAloon of HAVEN Lifestyle LLC for more than a year now. What originated as a request for business cards and a web site has evolved into the ideal agency/client collaborative relationship. When I describe this relationship as ideal, I mean that throughout this past year of working with HAVEN, we have achieved that wondrous and seamless synergy of ideas, strategy, and execution. K2forma now works with HAVEN to hone their brand, marketing, and we’re about to launch a new ad campaign.

Rebecca approached k2forma last year with a very interesting proposition. She was re-launching her business, a business that had originated in another part of the United States a few years earlier. HAVEN came with a name and a logo, an initial brand strategy, some existing materials, and most important – some good lessons learned. Rebecca new what worked for her company and what didn’t.

Almost immediately we hit on how to take her established brand equity and update it for the new company. The new look captured the spirit of the old and ushered it into the new. The design of the website and subsequent materials came easily. What wasn’t so easy--communicating what HAVEN Lifestyle is all about.

Rebecca’s vision for HAVEN Lifestyle embodies more than just interior design. HAVEN is about living the best quality of life you can, and through good design and organization, this is easily attainable. The emphasis here is on living well. This is a concept that is tricky to communicate.

The challenge for us to resolve; how do we genuinely communicate the depth of HAVEN’s vision and philosophy without it seeming like a ‘new-age’ shtick?

The quality of HAVEN’s work is easily comparable to other designer’s whose priorities are high-end fabrics and designer chandeliers. So, it is important that the communications and materials underscore her talent and education. The language on her site and in her materials really relates to the HAVEN client’s life challenges – big or small. The ‘you just gotta roll with it’ sentiment flows through every aspect of execution. For example, as I write this, Rebecca is in the hospital having her 2nd baby.

This is the perfect HAVEN Lifestyle scenario – ‘what do you do when the company you own is about to kick off a major advertising and promotion campaign, you've got meetings and deadlines, and your baby decides to be born early?' Just roll with it! (Push, Rebecca, PUUUUSH!)

By developing the web site and materials with one eye fixed on design and the other fixed on the humanity, we have found the balance. In this case, both hands are on the steering wheel. The bright color bars used on the site and printed pieces accent the stark black-and-white contrast of the logo, creating a mid-century modern feel that conveys the freshness of HAVEN’s approach. Imagery conveys the unexpected curve balls that life can throw at us, and coupled with the relatable scenarios, it’s easy for the overstressed homeowners to recognize themselves. It’s like an exercise in balancing contrasts, we are charged with creating a brand that conveys high style yet doesn’t alienate those whose focus isn’t on chintz and pillows, but on kids, and games, and work, and soccer, and ballet, and on and on and on.

I was looking through some of the early designs for the HAVEN brand. While some days it seems as though you’re just inching along, it’s exciting to see how sophisticated we have become with this brand…a testament to the ideal synergistic relationship between an agency and client.

The exceptional creative talents of Rebecca and HAVEN Lifestyle are on display at

P.S., Welcome Cal!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Case Study - Annual Report


20 pages + cover, finished size 11 x 8.5", saddle stitch, perf, and insert envelope.
Project beginning - 11/18/07
Project complete - 1/18/08

The Barium Springs Home for Children provides a nurturing place for abused and neglected children to live, early childhood development for low income families, and counseling services and foster family programs.

When k2forma was hired to design the annual report for the Barium Springs Home for Children, I began with a meeting to discuss their needs and existing materials. I learned that the organization was looking to shift the focus away from the sadness of the circumstances of their children and students.

As I began to consider how to approach this project, I was thinking about the seriousness of the circumstances in which these children live. But, no matter what, they are still children - this is their childhood. I remember my favorite thing about being a kid was the delight of imagination -- pretending that those pots and pans really were drums, and I was a really good drummer!

I am a fan of the work of Michel Gondry, and I especially loved his film The Science of Sleep. He successfully explores complex characters with uninhibited imagination. The end result is pure delight. This sense of delight and imagination was my goal for this piece.

As I continued thinking about the joys of being a kid and imagining that your stack of couch cushions is really an impenetrable fort, I began to question what ingredients are necessary to allow for such daydreams. Some of the essentials, are safety, security, and love. Without these things, we're just struggling to survive. When children, have safety, security, and love in their lives, they have the opportunity to daydream. This is exactly what Barium Springs offers - safety, security, love, and most important...hope.

We were all kids at one time, and probably said that we wanted to be astronauts or firefighters when we grew up. These fantastic aspirations were the foundation for this annual report. We utilized the real stories of the children and set them against the backdrop of these fantastic aspirations like 'I want to discover dinosaurs' or 'I want to be a doctor'.

The result of this extreme juxtaposition was to help these children and their stories become more relatable. While we may not have been through the trials that some of these children have been through, we have all daydreamed about becoming the same things.

The result was a lighthearted and hopeful annual report that was also very connected to the seriousness of the work that Barium Springs Home for Children does.

To learn more about Barium Springs Home for Children, visit