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posted by Apprentices Jun 29,2012 @ 03:30AM

On coming-of-age movies.

What's your favorite coming-of-age movie?

Kevin Smith

Ferris Bueller's Day Off
Katie Bueller: I just picked up Jeannie at the police station! She got a speeding ticket, another speeding ticket, and I lost the Vermont deal because of her!
Tom Bueller: I think we should shoot her.

Julie Turner
Pretty in Pink. The world is full of "What about prom, Blaine?" moments.

Will Weatherly

Cathy Monetti
Educating Rita (which is about coming of age in a very different way)

Ryon Edwards
The Graduate

Kevin Archie
Moonrise Kingdom — and I haven't even seen it yet.

posted by Teresa Coles Jun 27,2012 @ 01:09PM

CreateAthon Arrives at the White House

Peyton Rowe and I entered the White House this morning to explore and discuss the power of pro bono. Pinch.

We’re attending “A Billion + Change in Action: Connecting to the Future of Corporate Service.” A Billion + Change is a national campaign to mobilize the power of pro bono and skills-based volunteer services in American business.

Riggs Partners, on behalf of CreateAthon, is proud to be one of 50 charter companies that took the pledge in 2012. Our aim? To double the reach of CreateAthon. It’s our way of contributing to the overall goal of A Billion + Change to reach 2 billion hours in pledged pro bono service from corporations by 2013.

Today’s event is packed with insights with White House administration officials, corporate social responsibility executives, foundations and nonprofits about the impact American business can make on tackling significant social challenges through the power of skills-based volunteering. At every turn and with every introduction, there’s an incredible pro bono story.

Peyton and I are beyond thrilled to be here and excited about reconnecting with some of the amazing people we’ve had the pleasure of getting to know this past year. And of course, we’ll be spreading the story of CreateAthon and how marathon models can serve as a focused, fun and joyful way to go pro bono.

Stay tuned for more late-breaking reports!

posted by Cathy Monetti Jun 27,2012 @ 06:49AM


It's all copy.

That little phrase is much more than a quotable quote, repeated in tribute after tribute to the great writer Nora Ephron. It's a life philosophy the author and playwright learned from her mother—also a storyteller—that no doubt resulted in Nora's incredible ability to turn the everyday into something funny, poignant, relatable.

No matter what happens, it's all copy.

A powerful lesson for us all.

posted by Ryon Edwards Jun 26,2012 @ 03:00AM

New Work: Palmetto GBA Annual Report

Hot off the press! We just wrapped up the 2011 annual report for Palmetto GBA, a subsidiary of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina. Palmetto GBA provides technical, administrative and contact center services to the federal government (Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services). The book has a blind embossed short cover, colorful infographics and custom icons for the fold-out case studies.

posted by Kevin Archie Jun 20,2012 @ 07:59AM

Design Finds: McSweeney's

A series devoted to beautifully designed things found in unexpected places.

Book People

I remember watching Reading Rainbow before I even knew how to read. LeVar Burton did everything he could to convince me that I could fly just as high — possibly twice as high — as a butterfly. He presented books as the next frontier of discovery; every page a map leading to the great unknown, the answers to all of life's problems, or just the monster at the end of the book. But no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't do it. Maybe I was a slow reader, maybe I didn't read the right books, or maybe I had ADD. Whatever the case, I convinced myself I wasn't a book person and left books alone.

Fast forward about twenty years and I'm almost finished with a 1,000-page novel that I've been reading in my spare time for pleasure. Confession: I recently read The Great Gatsby for the first time because when required to read it in middle school, I opted instead for the poorly adapted movie version. Something has changed me. I could tell you it's because I'm older and wiser and a faster reader and I don't, in fact, have ADD — but that would make for a rather boring (and even more off-topic) blog post. So here's the "real" reason for my conversion: I judge books by their cover. There, I said it. Graphic design has turned me into a snobby book cover critic who only reads books with pretty covers.

So an independent publishing house like McSweeney's is a breath of fresh air amidst a market of dull cover designs and digital e-books that leave the cover out altogether. Dave Eggers, a prolific writer and storyteller, founded McSweeney's over a decade ago and it has since grown to a well-established publishing house that produces a quarterly literary journal, a monthly magazine/journal, a quarterly DVD magazine, and most pertinent to our discussion, beautifully written, well-designed books. I love this publisher not only for their bold art direction, but for the production quality they put into real books, resulting in beautiful works of art. But don't take my word for it…

Even the most avid Kindle reader can see that the beauty in these books runs deeper than mere content. It's their tangibility that gives them that final sense of connection with the reader — the feeling of a leather- or cloth-bound cover on your fingers; the surprise of finding what's beneath a die-cut; the addition of beautiful marbled end-pages. It's these small moments of intimacy that make real books worth their weight. So whether you're a book person, an E-book advocate, or just a fourth grader struggling to get through the first page of Sarah, Plain and Tall, I invite you to pull up a fancy chair, have a seat and read a good book (hint: you'll know the good ones by their cover).

posted by Apprentices Jun 15,2012 @ 03:30AM

On local businesses.

What is your favorite locally owned business?

(in honor of the Free Times Best of Columbia contest)

Will Weatherly
Moe's on Main Street has THE BEST BURRITO & BANG FOR THE BUCK! (Also, British Bulldog Pub is the best place to catch a soccer match!)

Maria Fabrizio
There are so many but my love for Mai Thai is pretty endless.

Kevin Archie
I love the Whig

Julie Turner
The All-Local Farmers' Market is full of small, local businesses I feel good about supporting.

Kevin Smith
Moe's on Beltline

Go vote for your favorite local business today!

posted by Kevin Smith Jun 12,2012 @ 09:52AM

Interested vs. Interesting

“Be more concerned with being interested, not interesting.” This advice came from one of our business development advisors. Smart, obvious and yet profound. It’s made talking with people — both professionally and personally — easier, more fun and informative.

In reflecting on this most fantastic advice, it occurred to me that being interested is how the best brands behave.

Levi’s cares about their customer, so they want their jeans to fit better. Apple believes in connecting people with friends and loved ones. Kashi supports healthier living and eating.

On a local level, I’m reminded of Moe’s Southwest Grill manager Mark Smith, who grew his business aggressively through heavy involvement in schools and organizations in Columbia’s Forest Acres neighborhood. Mark’s “grassroots is everything” mantra inspired Moe’s Columbia franchisee cooperative’s 50K for 2012 campaign, in which Moe’s has pledged to give $50,000 to Columbia schools and charities during 2012.

The post recession consumer has no patience for brands that are trying to be interesting.

Seeing advertising through the “interested vs. interesting” lens can be eye opening. Businesses trying to “be interesting” begin to look like they are carrying clubs meant to bludgeon would be customers over the head. Meanwhile, most of their customers could care less. Does anyone really rush to the dealership after seeing car dealers yelling about new models and one-day-only deals? Do hospitals trying to one up one another by boasting about new services or technology actually influence where patients go?

If it’s time to take stock in your brand, there’s no need to look inward. Start by asking what your customers need and want. Then adopt behavioral or product modifications that fill an unmet need. Be interested, and your customers will surely be more interested in you.

posted by Apprentices Jun 08,2012 @ 03:30AM

On board games.

What was your favorite board game growing up?

Kevin Smith

Will Weatherly
Tie: Pay Day & Clue

Julie Turner
I adored Mousetrap and, in my early 'tweens, Mystery Date. I liked all of those boys. Even the dud!

Maria Fabrizio
Candy land

Cathy Monetti
Mystery Date

Kevin Archie
I liked Monopoly because of all the different themed boards you could get, but I enjoyed playing Guess Who more.

Ryon Edwards

posted by Cathy Monetti Jun 06,2012 @ 03:00AM

Words, Verona, and William Shakespeare

In mere days I will have the thrill of spending some time in Verona, Italy, location of three of William Shakespeare's most beloved works: Romeo and Juliet, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, and my personal favorite, The Taming of the Shrew. Needless to say I was tickled to come upon this excerpt from The History of English in 10 Minutes: Chapter 3, Shakespeare, from The Open University. It's a fun romp through some of the many words and phrases introduced to our language by the Bard.

Do enjoy!

(via @DavisPR and PR Daily)

posted by Ryon Edwards Jun 04,2012 @ 03:00AM

Gotham: the new Helvetica

Man, I love the typeface Gotham and the foundry that created it: Hoefler and Frere-Jones. Gotham's a great design and has been used successfully for many companies and organizations since its release back in 2001.

The problem is that it's just been overused — and yes, I'm guilty.

In a world where distinctiveness and originality is more important than ever, it's hard to justify using a typestyle that is reaching Helvetica-like status. Typography trends come and go, and Gotham has had an amazing run. From my perspective, it's just time to move on.




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