Collaborative Efforts in Branding

rusty gate in garden, Adunate Word & Design

I found this rusty ol’ gate and thought it fit perfectly in my flower garden. Aren’t its lines glorious? And look how it matches the tin of our farm shed—I do believe they refer to this as shabby chic!

This past week I’ve been participating in styling of a different nature—branding for Wormfarm Institute and its Fermentation Fest. Believe me, there’s nothing shabby about it. It’s a collaborative effort, with Cricket Design Works serving as the workhorse and Adunate simply following behind in the furrow. It’s great fun because not only do I get to work with a highly professional team of designers (something I often miss as a solo-entreprenuer), I can also observe how another agency runs its project.

Cricket Design Works is doing an outstanding job. The team has designed exquisite logos and supporting lockups (iconic imagery) for both organizations. They’ve obviously done their research because their work captures the heart of Wormfarm Institute and Fermentation Fest.

My part in this is to apply these identifying elements to the promotions I create for Fermentation Fest. It’s super easy because Cricket Design Works put together a style guide detailing everything from colors, to fonts, to layouts. No matter how many different agencies work on Fermentation Fest promotions, there will now be consistency in every visual component.

This, my dears, is what we call branding!

So back to my gate (which coincidently doesn’t really have anything to do with branding, I just want to show it off): In the weeks ahead, while I’m admiring the artistry of flowers weaving their way through its lattice, I’ll also be working on the event guide for the 2015 Fermentation Fest. It’s going to be a great project, thanks to Cricket Design Works.

Stay tuned!

Fiesta Risen Savior

Fiesta Risen Savior, Milwaukee

Each year Adunate does pro-bono work for projects especially meaningful to my heart. Recently, I was honored to do promotional pieces for Fiesta Risen Savior, a fundraising celebration of the Hispanic Ministry by Risen Savior Lutheran Church in Milwaukee. What a fun project for such a meaningful event!

First, let me share a bit about the ministry.

According to this Journal Sentinel article, Risen Savior Lutheran Church and School is a spiritual haven for northwest Milwaukee’s growing Hispanic population. The church has services in both English and Spanish, and its school enrolls 250 students, with 45 percent being African American, 45 percent Hispanic, and the rest Nigerian, Caucasian, Asian and others.

The flags of Risen Savior's Ministry, Milwaukee, WI

When I met with Risen Savior’s committee, I assumed their Hispanic Ministry was attended specifically by Mexicans (as is ours at St. Mark’s Lutheran in the much smaller community of Watertown). Pastor Luis Acosta quickly pointed out they are currently represented by a wonderfully diverse group of nationalities, including Mexican, Puerto Rican, Columbian and Venezuelan.

As the Bible says, “This is good, and pleases God our Savior, who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth.”

Artwork by students of Risen Savior Lutheran School, Milwaukee, WIDon’t you just love this artwork? Risen Savior School displays pieces done by the students throughout the school…

Artwork on display at Risen Savior Lutheran School, Milwaukee, WI

…as well as work done by other artists…

Artwork of John August Swanson on display at Risen Savior Lutheran School, Milwaukee, WI

Artwork of John August Swanson on display at Risen Savior Lutheran School, Milwaukee, WI

…depicting diverse peoples, inspiration…

Artwork displayed by Risen Savior Lutheran School, Milwaukee, WI

…and God’s saving grace.

Risen Savior Lutheran School, Milwaukee, WI

My friend Anna serves as assistant principal for Risen Savior School. I’m super proud of the work she and her coworkers do for this special ministry. Risen Savior is blessed through them.

So what about the fiesta?

Now in its eighth year, Fiesta Risen Savior is the congregation’s annual fundraising event for its Hispanic Ministry. Delicious food. Great entertainment. This year members will provide a vibrant celebration of their many heritages.

Interested in offering support? To learn more about the event and ministry, click here.


Does your organization need help visually communicating its message? Beginning in October, Adunate will accept applications for its 2016 pro-bono season. In the meantime, check out the application form here. And then, to guarantee success for your pro-bono project, be sure to click here.


Soil Sisters Celebrates Wisconsin’s Women-Owned Farms

Soil Sisters: July 31-Aug. 2, 2015 in Wisconsin

It’s Foodie Friday and what better way to rouse those tastebuds than to mark your calendar for an upcoming event. A food and farm event! It’s Soil Sisters, a celebration of Wisconsin’s family farms and rural life. Interestingly, these are women-owned farms.

Earlier this year, John Ivanko and Lisa Kivirist, owners of Inn Serendipity, asked me to design a series of ads for Soil Sisters. Having toured Soil Sister farms a few years back, I was more than thrilled. And talk about organized…within days of contacting me, John and Lisa emailed an advertising plan complete with project goals, target market and creative brief. I love when clients are so business saaavvvvy!

Here’s our first ad, which will be running in the May, June and July issues of the Willy Street Cooperative Reader. For this piece we used farm and food photography graciously provided by Sarah Anna Hansen. Because the creative brief lists words like “romantic,” “nostalgic” and “Norman Rockwellian” for its tone, I softened the photos gently to compliment the orange, green and purple that Soil Sisters uses in its branding.

So check it out. Come this summer, Soil Sisters is offering three days of food, farms and fun, all set in the rolling hillsides of southern Wisconsin. It’ll be great!

Wednesday Webs: Ag Day 2015

Ewe with baby lamb

I used to raise Corriedale sheep and at this time of year I really get to missing them. I miss being a farmer, albeit a pretend one, and I miss the nurturing coo a mama ewe gurgles over her new lamb.

Now, ten years into self-employment, let’s say I’m a farmer of a different kind—one of design and words. For farmers. This is fun too. Especially because I come across so many interesting people and places.

Here on the web:

Happy Ag Day! Thanks to our farmers!


Celebrating Arts Day 2015

Arts Day 2015, Celebrating from Tribeca Gallery Cafe and Books

Today is Arts Day 2015 in Wisconsin, meaning right now there are energetic and motivated people at Madison’s Central Library speaking up for the arts. They believe arts are integral to our education, our economy and our quality of life. They’re encouraging Wisconsin’s legislature to invest in the arts and creative development. I wish I could be there.

Instead, I can appreciate art from Tribeca Gallerycafe and Books, one of my favorite local hangouts. Right now they’re showcasing the works of Caroline Senn, a hometown fabric artist—check out the piece below, it’s beautiful even under the less discerning focus of my cell phone.

Admittedly, art seems superfluous when budgets go unbalanced and people can’t get along. But perhaps a failure to recognize its importance is part of the problem. Author Lisa Phillips speaks of the 10 skills children learn from the arts; things like problem solving, collaboration and accountability, all of which are necessary in our societal world.

Let’s face it, we also need to think beyond education. The arts build our economy. They provide jobs. They revitalize our communities and promote tourism. Here in Wisconsin, TV viewers enjoy the artistry of PBS’s Around the Corner with John McGivernWisconsin Foodie and Around the Farm Table. The icing on the cake is that entrepreneurs throughout the state can make a living because of the promotional spotlight these shows bring.

Wisconsinites are outstanding artisans but we’re not the only ones celebrating Arts Day. Google “Arts Advocacy Day” plus your own state to find out when and where you can speak up. Then pull out your calendars and note March 23-24 for a nationwide Arts Advocacy Day.

Art is important!

Fabric Art of Caroline Senn, Watertown, WI

Caroline Senn is a fabric artist from Watertown, WI. This piece is currently on display and for sale at Tribeca Gallerycafe and Books.