Sarah McGowan Dear

Posts Tagged ‘The Think Farm’

We Heart Transformation

In Business Therapy, Clients on July 14, 2012 at 12:08 am


Recently a friend texted me asking my philosophy on facing change. Not exactly light fare for a text, but she was serious and as anyone who knows me well can attest, I’m always up for a philosophical debate on the subject.

“My serious and most obvious answer is – it’s transformative. I love change because it’s where the magic happens. It’s the place where we notice the details. When we’re too comfortable, we tend to miss a lot.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Tiffany Nesson, Super Fly Wardrobe Stylist

In Business Therapy, Clients on June 6, 2012 at 6:56 pm

Artwork by The Think Farm | © 2012 Tiffany Nesson

We’re always excited when one of our clients launches a new website – it’s like breathing air crackling with electricity: so much anticipation, so much excitement, so many hairs standing on end! (And no, it’s not just the coffee talking.)

Mac worked with Tiffany to develop the basic concept for her site and articulate her unique brand essence by way of our Branding Exploration Exercise. Built around her personality, business practices and all the great visual referencing she provided for inspiration, Mac helped Tiffany qualify her process as a “methodology” to show the thoughtful steps she takes to help her clients realize their vision. Read the rest of this entry »

What’s an Elephant? A Parable on Branding…

In Business Therapy, Clients on May 25, 2012 at 5:37 pm

Rajasthan, India 2005 | All content © 2012 MAC+COB

You’ve probably heard of the Indian legend of the three blind men and the elephant…lacking one of the key senses, they have only their hands to explore what an elephant is all about.

One feels the tusk, “Clearly an elephant is like a spear, sharp and dangerous!”

Another feels a leg, “No, no – an elephant is like a tree trunk, sturdy and still!”

The last grabs hold of the tail, “You’re both wrong! An elephant is like a rope, strong and useful!”

Though the blind men are all having perfectly legitimate experiences with parts of the elephant, none of them can see the animal for what it truly is – a combination of all these things and so much more. Read the rest of this entry »

Re-branding = Archeology + Gardening + Permaculture

In Clients on May 18, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Growing in the garden of branding is a lot like permaculture | All content © MAC+COB

Re-branding is like archeology, gardening and permaculture all rolled into one. The more you dig, the more you understand your roots. The more you add the right mix of nutrients (good ideas, energy, resources) the richer your biodiversity becomes. The more you think about it all in a holistic, cross-pollinating way – as an ecosystem – the more you begin to understand how your branding is a living, evolving organism that is only as robust and healthy as your commitment to cultivate it. Read the rest of this entry »

10 Questions – from me to you

In In the Hood on April 7, 2012 at 1:42 am

This week, we’re nearing the end of our Make Your Mark voting period and we couldn’t be more excited. Being that we’re on pins and needles to see which one of the great and worthy organizations we’ll be working with, we literally had to do something with all this anticipation. As creative collaborators, we decided to dig a little deeper into the city that brought us together. In addition to featuring some of our favorite collaborations to date, we asked each other 10 questions – about the things we know and love about Los Angeles. Enjoy!

Read the rest of this entry »

Magic Sauce – we apply it liberally

In Clients on April 7, 2012 at 1:39 am

Sarah “Mac” McGowan (of this here Mac+Cob Business Therapy) and Helen Kim (The Think Farm) have been collaborating since they met just a few years ago. Maybe there was something in the air or more probably it was the coffee – but either way, some kind of magical synergy was formed, bringing the two of us together in creative harmony. We both specialize in branding, so what we might have chosen to view as potential competition, we recognized as an incredible opportunity.

Sarah Mac is inspired by the process of transformation – she loves guiding her clients through deep exploration to identify what motivates and drives their work, the dreams that they may have been too busy or afraid to pursue and the achievable plan that will get them there. Helen is an incredibly gifted graphic artist and illustrator. Her easy-going professionalism and intuitive artistry are the hallmarks of her craft – Helen ushers her clients through visual branding that is so much more powerful than just a logo. She articulates vision, passion and mission in clear, thoughtful ways, for her myriad clients.

As we near the finish line for our collaborative branding sweepstakes, Make Your Mark, we thought we’d share a few of the projects we’ve worked on together so far. And because we love surprise bonuses, we decided to ask each other 10 LA-based questions so you can see why we love this city so much and why it was so important for us to give back. Click HERE to see our answers!

 

The Silver Lake Chamber of Commerce

The Silver Lake Chamber of Commerce is an organization that is near and dear to our hearts. It is, after all, how Helen and Mac met! (And then there’s the minor detail that Mac’s the President of the Chamber board 🙂 As new members, we both loved how the community-focused spirit of the Chamber made it stand out among a sea of other chambers that are all about “business as usual.” Because of our love for the neighborhood and this unique group, we really wanted the branding to feel more contemporary and akin to the spirit of the hip and eclectic community it represents. Updating the branding for a long-standing organization like this doesn’t happen overnight, and when the time came to produce the 2012 Member Directory, we both felt it was the right time to start testing the waters for a new face and voice for the SLCC. We definitely wanted the directory to be all about the people that make up the business community in Silver Lake so the decision to feature them prominently throughout the booklet was an easy one. We interviewed Chamber members, asking them to tell us in a sentence what Silver Lake means to them. Sarah Mac asked Helen to create digital illustrations to tell the story of Silver Lake business, so with her former assistant Janice Kim, Helen visited member businesses throughout the neighborhood taking photos of the proprietors as well as the people, places and things that make Silver Lake such a unique enclave in the city of LA. Using the established SLCC brand colors, Helen and Janice created photo-realistic portraits and images that were then placed throughout the directory along with quotes about Silver Lake. The final product is not only a useful piece of brand collateral, but it also tells the story of a community filled with people of eclectic perspectives and interests who are equally invested in our vibrant village.


Dr. Brandey Dollens, Chiropractor

When Sarah initially met with Dr. B, all of her promotional collateral was homemade and her overall branding was undifferentiated from all the other chiropractors in her field. Youthful, enthusiastic and endlessly compassionate, Dr. B’s shining personality and genuine care for her patients were glaringly missing from her branding. We both knew she could do better. Dr. B bravely and diligently submitted to Mac’s Business Therapy (SM) process to identify and embrace her target audience, refine her brand identity, develop key messaging and shoot her new photos. Helen then took over, ushering Dr. B through the visual branding process, which resulted in a soothing, crisp palette of cyan and white. Dr. B’s stellar new look and logo finally speak to her dream target – pregnant women, mothers and children.


Exploring New Horizons Outdoor Schools

When Mac initially met with Tracey Weiss, the Exploring New Horizons Outdoor Schools Executive Director, she immediately recognized the enormous potential for the school’s rebranding. Though the organization had a well-established reputation in the area for providing excellent outdoor education, its brand had not been updated since its founding in 1979. Affectionately described as “the chicken feet” logo by staff, Exploring New Horizons was poised for a brand new look and a whole lot of growth. After intensive site visits, a 3-hour brainstorming workshop with the Exploring New Horizons naturalists and staff up to develop the working list of concepts and descriptors that ultimately became the basis for our development of their new key messaging, tagline and image, Mac facilitated a half-day retreat for the board to complete this vision work and developed the strategic plan that would guide the rollout of their new look and message across platforms. Helen came on board to give the old logos a sophisticated, California look balanced by kid-friendly type face, executing a bold new color palette. In the process, we reaffirmed what we’ve always known is true – being in nature has the unique ability to inspire, educate, empower and transform!


As we near the end of the final Make Your Mark voting, we’re excited at the possibility of working with any of the amazing organizations who made it to the final round. Visit the Make Your Mark page and vote by April 9th for the organization of your choice. Find official voting images for each organization HERE. Read more about our finalists HERE and HERE.

Ready. Set. Go!

What Makes Our Finalists Tick?

In Clients on April 3, 2012 at 9:30 pm

In the final week of voting for the Make Your Mark brand giveaway, we asked our finalists to answer the following three questions:

  1. What inspires you to do the work that you do?
  2. What’s the most meaningful event, experience, accomplishment and/or exchange you had last year?
  3. If your organization was an animal, what would it be and why?

We hoped this would give the voters a little more insight into what inspires and motivates them and allow us to explore some of the creative forces at play in each one of these great organizations.

Here are our finalists:
Altadena Urban Farmers’Market
Survivors’ Truths
Viver Brasil
Westside Domestic Violence Network

The last day to cast your vote is April 9th. Be sure to visit our Make Your Mark Facebook page and vote for the organization of your choice on our official voting collage HERE. You can read more about each organization HERE. Read the rest of this entry »

Introducing the Make Your Mark Finalists!

In Clients, In the Hood on March 26, 2012 at 4:04 pm

The MAKE YOUR MARK team is super excited to announce our incredible finalists! We love the fact that, corporately, they provide Angelenos and those beyond our city borders a wide array of services and opportunities as well as new ways to interact with others with compassion, creativity and openness. From today, March 26, to midnight on Monday, April 9, the finalists will campaign for the most likes on the MYM Facebook page. Be sure to visit our page and vote! [Scroll down to see the finalists here.]

The organization with the most likes wins a free rebranding package that includes a brand strategy, key messaging and logo system. It will also win a print package sponsored in part by the Silver Lake Chamber of Commerce. Some of you may be curious to know the value of branding (or re-branding, in this case) a non-profit organization, since words like “branding” and “identity” are so often thrown around in the for-profit sector. Branding is more than just a cool font or logo and it’s definitely not just for corporate entities: thoughtful, quality branding clearly communicates the core message and personality of an organization to its desired audience. Consider then how much more of an impact a local non-profit can have in the community if its brand strategy powerfully communicated its central philosophy and purpose, not to mention how empowered its staff and volunteers will feel in articuling the message. To read more about this, go to the blog post Countdown to MAKE YOUR MARK!

Read the rest of this entry »

Make Your Mark

In In the Hood on February 14, 2012 at 1:03 am

The Make Your Mark Team (Helen Kim and Sarah McGowan) | Broome St. General Store in Silver Lake | February 2012 | All content © The Think Farm & M+C

It’s hard to believe that it’s only been about a year since the fabulous Helen Kim of The Think Farm came into our lives. Mac and Helen have been grooving out incessantly ever since on some awesome collaborations for the Silver Lake Chamber of Commerce and a bunch of shared clients, but after all of our power meetings and big plans for other projects, we realized that it was high time we do something on our own, in our own way – which is full of love and magic and good vibes, of course.

As local businesswomen, we talk a lot about how hard we work to make the proverbial dent. What we always seem to come back to is our community. We volunteer, we offer services pro-bono when we can and we’re always looking for ways to deepen our experiences of what it means to be an Angelena. We love this city of angels – madly, deeply and with wild abandon. So when we put our heads together about what we could do to give back, the seed of a great idea was planted in what we now realize is a very fertile bed of limitless creativity (ok, with enough coffee). Read the rest of this entry »