7.05.2016

Grand Gold, Design & Poster: Brigham Young University


BYU ARTS Art Director Nick Mendoza and Designer Sam Reed earned a Grand Gold from the CASE VII 2016 Award of Excellence for their entry in the Design & Poster category. The entry was a poster designed in support of the university’s Contemporary Dance Theatre (CDT). It features one image cut into three pieces on three posters – as a metaphor for the various dance choreography combined in one show. We asked Nick if he would share more about the award-winning project.

CASE VII: What was the creative assignment and how did the idea for the Contemporary Dance Theatre poster originate?
NICK: Contemporary Dance Theatre performs on campus annually, and our studio is tasked with providing the marketing services for the event. We try to promote excitement for the upcoming event and encourage audiences to become supporters of the arts. We typically meet with the director of the event to go over the creative brief. The designers and I will get together, discuss ideas, create a mood board, and present a rough idea of the poster. Contemporary Dance Theatre has a large range in dance styles—contemporary to hip hop—and we wanted to express the range in styles and movement of the dancers through various cut pieces of one image across three posters.

 
CASE VII: What were some of the challenges in creating the design?
NICK: Trying something new is always scary for our clients. I believe we have built a good rapport with the BYU Department of Dance, and faculty have been willing to let us experiment with our designs. It was difficult arranging the same event information on the three posters to unify them as one big poster and at the same time letting them stand alone if placing the three posters together was not possible.


CASE VII: How did people respond to the posters?
NICK: We have had very positive responses to this poster. It has given Brigham Young University, the Department of Dance, and BYU Contemporary Dance Theatre continual exposure beyond the event. We could not be happier with the positive feedback we have had from the community and organizations such as CASE.


CASE VII: Was the show itself successful?
NICK: This question can be a bit ambiguous to answer. Do you measure success of a show based on ticket sales? Or do you measure success of the show by an amazing performance? On both fronts I believe the show was successful and look forward to working on the next BYU Contemporary Dance Theatre event.


CASEVII: What advice do you give your design and photography students?
NICK: No matter how big or small the client might be, you must put your best foot forward. Show kindness and empathy towards your clients and those you work with. You might not be remembered for the designs you create, but you will be remembered if you were not kind or if you were difficult to work with.

5.13.2016

Grand Gold, Special Events: UC Santa Cruz

Sherry L. K. Main is Associate Vice Chancellor, Communications & Marketing, for the University of California Santa Cruz. In 2015, the university celebrated its 50th anniversary by hosting a dinner for 1,000 donors and community members. Sherry was part of a team that was tasked with ensuring the event lived up to high expectations. As one of only six 2016 Grand Gold winners, we thought it worth asking Sherry how they pulled it off.

CASE VII: When did planning for the Fiat Fifty: 2015 Founders Dinner begin?
SHERRY: FiatFifty as a concept was first thought of in the larger context of planning for UC Santa Cruz’s 50th anniversary celebration in 2014. The event planning itself began eight months ahead of time in January of 2015. It really began to take shape around April when we had confirmed our University Medal recipient Alice Waters, emcee Kathryn Sullivan ’77 (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration administrator and former astronaut), and Tandy Beal & Company as our entertainment for the evening.


The UC Santa Cruz campus served as the venue
for the FiatFifty event.
CASE VII: Was there universal buy-in from the start?
SHERRY: There was universal buy-in from the start that the 50th anniversary of the campus founding was something special and a year not to go by without spectacular celebration. The image for the spectacular event, however, took some months to evolve. What was certain and ingrained in our process was that this was an opportunity to recognize the founding faculty, staff, and alumni who were critical to setting the foundation of our university. Since we had many living founders around, we wanted to be sure they felt appreciation from our campus community today.

Our annual Founders Dinner is billed as an awards and fundraising gala. Given the special anniversary, we decided to increase the attendance and bring this annual event back onto campus (usually held at a large venue in town). It was a great way to get our best donors out to support the campus, as well as cultivate new donors with the “wow” factor of the event. Having culinary leader Alice Waters in attendance as our medal recipient really aligned with the organic food movement and social justice aspect which UC Santa Cruz has come to be known for.

CASE VII: How did the event fit into the UC Santa Cruz campaign strategy?
SHERRY: UC Santa Cruz is engaged in its first comprehensive campaign, and this event was a signature piece of the effort. We made sure that the campaign initiatives were threaded throughout the communications pieces, the event itself, and follow-up. All gifts made this evening counted toward the campaign. Our donor relations team also received checks in hand this evening.

FiatFifty also served as a pivot point for our 50th anniversary celebration, where we began to look forward to what the next 50 years at UC Santa Cruz should look like. The campaign initiatives really helped to illustrate that narrative. The momentum from Fiat Fifty gained us media coverage, as well as community awareness for UC Santa Cruz’s excellence in research and teaching.

CASE VII: What were you biggest challenges/concerns?
SHERRY: In all honesty, our biggest challenge was in how we could take all of our grand ideas and package it into an evening that was not business as usual, but also didn’t make us look like we were going over the top. Budget and student fees continue to be difficult conversations, especially as a public institution. Fortunately, through a lot of hard work, gifts in kind, relationships that we had built up over the years, and intense collaboration across campus partners really made this event affordable and spectacular.


Chef Alice Waters accepts
the University Medal.
Chef Alice Waters inspired our menu. To take her food design, use campus and locally grown produce, and serve 750 people out of a makeshift kitchen on a field, was a feat to say the least. Being a foodie myself, I knew that a lot of people who attended this night were looking forward to Ms. Waters’s menu, so the bar was set high from the beginning to be sure the food, the experience, and the ambience was top notch.

CASE VII: Did the event live up to expectations?
SHERRY: The event was beyond what we could have expected. Once the guests of honor arrived – our founding faculty, staff, and alumni – the party kicked right into full force. Guests were reminiscing about the original days on campus and reflecting how much the campus had changed over five decades. Our chancellor, Sammy the Slug (mascot), and emcee Kathryn Sullivan engaged our guests throughout the cocktail hour, which made the 750-person event feel very intimate and personal.


Emcee Kathryn Sullivan engaged guests.
The walkabout performers, on-stage acts, after-party dancing, and star-gazing with our graduate students really made for a night to remember that guests still reflect on some months later. What I feel really hit home with folks is that we really do shine in many disciplines, which we were able to successfully showcase throughout the evening – from organic farming to astronomy, and to careers that have not been imagined yet.

CASE VII: If you had to do it all over again…?
SHERRY: I would do it in a heartbeat! As challenging as some of the planning may have been, having the benefit of hindsight would certainly help to make it easier. The team that you have is critical, as is the leadership and commitment from the top. I feel that the chair of our event committee did an excellent job keeping us on task, and that everyone – from the writers to the event assistants – rose to the occasion. The team really made the evening one that was worth the incredible effort!

4.06.2016

Grand Gold, Digital Communications: Chapman University

Dawn Bonker is a Public Relations Writer for Chapman University, winner of a Grand Gold from the CASE VII 2016 Awards of Excellence in the Digital Communications category. CU was recognized for its extraordinary work to expand CU’s visibility through its Happenings blog. Since only six Grand Golds were awarded out of 500 entries, we thought it worth checking in with Dawn to learn a little more about what Chapman has been doing so well.

CASE VII: A lot of blogs get started with the idea that “If you build it, they will come,” but that’s not necessarily the case. What does Chapman do to grow its Web presence through its Happenings blog?
Dawn: We are believers in the philosophy that “content is king.” Like the editors of any publication or blog, we are aware that readers’ time is at a premium. So we work hard to write high-quality stories with original reporting, interviews and photography that showcase university news in a readable and engaging style. I’m the main writer for Happenings, but each member of the communications team contributes to the blog, and all have an extensive writing or journalism background, so that’s been key. Many of the stories that first appear in Happenings are repurposed for Chapman Magazine, too.

CASE VII: Chapman also aims to showcase its faculty by encouraging them to share their accomplishments on the Faculty Notes section of Happenings. Faculty can be difficult to reach, how do you get them to participate?
Dawn: We employ a fair amount of old-fashioned relationship-building – and no small amount of badgering, truth be told! I remind faculty and departmental assistants to send us their news via our new online submission form, but I always add that a quick email is fine, too. But use of the submission form is growing. When I see a story idea in a Faculty Note submission, I mention that to the faculty member when I call – “Hey, saw this in Faculty Notes. Great story, can we talk more?” That kind of thing. We also built the form to invite other faculty news, like talks given at the Rotary Club or local library. We’re starting to see which faculty are out in the community, which is good information for us as we enhance our local neighborhood relations.

CASE VII: You rely heavily on metrics to promote stories and video with higher “social scores.” Can you tell us exactly how that works?
Dawn: Our web team has created an algorithm that gives blog posts “social scores” based on engagement, including social shares, comments, and reads. The social media team at Chapman dips into blog content to promote news on Facebook and Twitter. All stories within the university’s blog system – which includes several departmental and college blogs – are considered by our web team for promotion. Those blog posts with the highest social scores rise to the top of our web page, inside.chapman.edu. By watching social metrics, we know what kind of content is generally most popular: Alumni-based and topical news content featuring faculty expertise. We plan Happenings content with that in mind. We meet regularly with our web team and home page content planners to make sure we’re delivering the type of content they need to advance the university’s messaging. It’s somewhat similar to a news planning meeting at a newspaper. Not all stories are green-lighted, while others might be planned as shorter announcements.

CASE VII: Of all the positive results you’ve seen, what’s been most rewarding?
Dawn: Our web designers have created a wonderful home page where these stories are beautifully displayed, and I think the combination of good content and killer design can’t be beat. It’s a great way to share the amazing stories about our students, alumni and faculty who are doing important, creative and interesting things in the world.

CASE VII: What’s next for Happenings?
Dawn: Our graduating classes have grown in the past 10 years, so we have many alumni who are starting to hit their stride in their fields. We are writing many more alumni stories and profiles.

CASE VII: Has life changed for you since you won the CASE VII Grand Gold? Does the air smell sweeter?
Dawn: What’s that? I couldn’t quite hear you over all these bluebirds of happiness twittering around here. Yes, our whole team is pretty pleased with the Grand Gold!

11.08.2012

The Kids Are Alright


Barbara Ferguson

CASE District VII Gold Award
"The Kids Are Alright"
Excellence in Design: Editorial Spread

Day Job
Senior Creative Director
University of San Diego

Evening Job
Sleeping designer! Creativity happens even while you are snoring.

Greatest Victory
Never allowing myself to stop learning or limiting my curiosity for creating wonderful design in any area of materials or platforms provided me.

If History Came to Dinner...
Betsy Ross (Why a five point star?)
Carroll Burnett and Tim Conway (I love their talent and creative process and they just make me laugh)
Henry Ford (A great example of persistence, vision, creativity, and business savvy)
Julia Child (someone has to cook, because I surely can’t)

One Word to Describe Yourself
It would probably be two words: “What if?” I am a person who loves to find solutions to things, whether in design or simple life situations. In design, there are endless answers to any project’s needs. And finding those answers are easy as long as you stay open to the creative process. It will work if you stay playful, analyze your solutions from every angle, and continually ask yourself, “What if we did this? Or that?”

Best Practice
As you might expect from a zoo, there are a lot of departments trying to get their messages out to the visitors in the park, everyone thinking their area of educational wealth being more important than the other guy’s factual tidbits on elephants or meerkats. Hence, the art department [at the San Diego Zoo, where I used to work] started seeing an uncontrollable flood of more and more sign requests.

When the competition for space hit its max, art director Bill Noonan brought the zoo back to basics in a morning meeting. “People are not here to see the signs,” he shouted. “They are here to see the animals, and if we ever want them to come back, we had better start making their visit fun and stop blocking their path to the exhibits.”

We need to prioritize our communication systems and blend appropriate information with a fun visual experience. As Bill said, “They are not here to earn their Ph.D. in zoology; they are here to learn something in the context of a fun learning environment. Leave them wanting more and wanting to come back.”

10.08.2012

Give Back to the World


Marie "Toni" Alejandria 

CASE District VII Gold Award
CAAA Chapter and Network Leader Conference
Alumni Relations Program: Volunteer Engagement and Leadership

Day Job
Regional Chapter Programs Administrator
Cal Aggie Alumni Association
University of California, Davis

Evening Job
Dancer and choreographer
If History Came to Dinner...
Richard Avedon, Gene Wilder, Plato, King David and Noel Coward.

How would you like to be remembered?
As someone who used their skills to give back to the world through art and advocacy.

CASE Dream
I would love to see CAAA continue to blaze the trail in alumni relations through programming and engagement and be able to share best practices with other universities.

Favorite Quote
"Dance first. Think later. It’s the natural order." – Samuel Beckett

Best Practice
It's important to build relationships with the people you work with, whether co-workers or volunteers. Establishing your personal and professional network will provide a foundation and help you succeed in whatever you strive to accomplish.

9.08.2012

Golden Graduates

Leticia Lozoya

Day Job
Alumni Programs Coordinator
California State University, Long Beach

CASE District VII Gold Award
Golden Graduates Program
Alumni Relations: New Program Initiatives

Inspired By
My brother reminds me every day to do what makes me happy and success will come along with it. In challenging times he remains positive and keeps a smile on his face.

Greatest Victory
One of my greatest victories since coming into this profession is helping establish our Golden Graduates Program. It has been a great pleasure to create opportunities for our alumni who graduated 50 or more years ago to reconnect with each other and with the university.

Favorite Quote
"Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle." —Christian D. Larson

My Best Practice
Sometimes to ask a quick question, rather than e-mail, I like to pick up the phone and call. Quick conversations over the phone can go a long way in building great relationships.

8.08.2012

Watching Students Succeed


Cheryl House

CASE Service
CASE District VII Board of Directors
CASE Philanthropy Commission

Day Job
Assistant Vice Chancellor and Executive Director, Pima Community College Foundation

Greatest Victory
Being able to see students succeed because of the support that we’re able to provide, and to see how much joy the donors get knowing that they are helping those students. My favorite days are when I get to send a thank you letter from a student to a donor and the donor calls me up practically in tears.

Inspired By
Our students inspire me because they work so hard and overcome so many challenges every day just to get to school. We have a lot of working adults who are coming back and training for jobs so they can support their families. They work during the day and go to class at night. It’s not easy.

If History Came to Dinner...
Eleanor Roosevelt, Gloria Steinem, Thomas Jefferson

Favorite Quote
"And the day came when the risk to stay inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom."

My Best Practice
Don’t be a slave to e-mail--pick up the phone instead.  You can accomplish what you need to much more quickly, and the personal connection is almost always appreciated.