Labors of Love Preserve Historic Cemetery

Wine Tasting promotional

When it comes to doing business with family, the rule of thumb is don’t. But here is a design and copywriting project for which I was not only happy to throw rules to the wind, I was downright proud doing so. Along with this comes a story, so sit yourselves down and pour up a glass of wine.


Back in the early 1970s, my mother-in-law telephoned her township chairman about the poor state of affairs at the Watertown Township Union Cemetery. Her concern was for an overgrown acre of land a mile up the road from their farm. With gravestones dating back to the mid-1800s, it was a historical memorial of the surrounding community.

As a result of that phone call, my father-in-law became the cemetery’s official curator. He passed along an ever-so-slight compensation to his 13-year-old daughter and 11-year-old son (my husband) for diligently pushing their lawnmowers up to the cemetery, mowing, trimming, and then pushing them back home again.

Little did my in-laws know this would become a perpetual labor of love. In fact, here it is forty years later and they still manage the cemetery. Together with their children and grandchildren, they mow, maintain, arrange burials, do the occasional fill-in-the-grave-by-hand and host an annual Friends of Union Cemetery meeting. They do all this with great care and dedication.

Each year my now 82-year-old father-in-law talks of turning the position over to his children. We’ll happily oblige. But when asked if he’s really ready to retire, he always decides to keep at it another year. There’s some hardy Wisconsin farm blood, for ya.

That’s the personal side of this story.

Here’s the civic side: Throughout the U.S., rural cemeteries are falling by the wayside. They’re abandoned, vandalized and forgotten. Most no longer have formal organizations that share an interest in their care. Those that do are non-profits limping along with treasuries barely covering the gas to mow.

The Friends of Union Cemetery don’t want this to happen. Nope, not to our little sanctuary up on the hill. Thankfully we have pro-active energy and connoisseurs of wine within our midst!

Are you in the Watertown area? Stop by on March 8 for some flavorful wine and hors d’oeuvres!

Wine tasting promotional press release

 

 

Freely You Have Received, Freely Give

It’s National Philanthropy Day and kudos to all who give their time, talents and treasures to make our world a better place!

I’m currently working on a fund appeal newsletter for my church. In the religious community we refer to philanthropy as stewardship, and our goal is to give just as God has given to us. We want to give out of love not only for everything he has created, but also out of love for God himself.

Philanthropy, stewardship or just plain ol’ giving…whatever you want to call it, it’s a good thing to do. So thanks to all you movers and shakers, you who donate and you who care!

With that in mind, I want to put out word to those needing help with their visual communications, whether it be design or copywriting. Each year Adunate does two pro-bono projects—one large and one small. If your organization needs creative assistance in 2014, click here for an application. And then, click here to guarantee your project’s success!

And while we’re talking giving, here’s the cover and inside page of my church’s newsletter. There will be more to follow, but take a look so far.

newsletter-7_Page_1

 

newsletter-7_Page_2

Superstorm Sandy and the Importance of Giving

Philadelphia, night before the Hurricane Sandy

My husband and I were in Philadelphia over the weekend just before Hurricane Sandy hit. To say it was interesting is an understatement. The grocery stores were madhouses and people stood in checkout lines that ran the length of every aisle. In coffee shops they discussed the water resiliency of their apartments and whether their subway stops would stay open.

Meanwhile, my husband and I cozied in at the historic Conwell Inn, located at Temple University (I just love that inn). At midnight of the night before the storm, we walked around campus and there was this fascinating calm-eerie-excitement in the air (the students were ecstatic because classes had already been cancelled:-). We debated whether to stay our full reservation, but in the end left the next afternoon before things became too chaotic.

That’s the extent of our hurricane adventure—obviously, nothing too dramatic. It did give us cause for reflection though.

Whenever my husband and I visit large urban areas, we’re reminded how naive we are of life outside our sheltered Midwestern simplicity. Most big city folks don’t drive (many, like our son, don’t even own a car). They live in smaller spaces that don’t allow for much food storage. And there are people everywhere. When something catastrophic like a superstorm hits, the problems they face are much different than our own.

Hurricane Sandy reminds us of the importance of giving. Isn’t it awesome how Americans come together and help each other out?

With that in mind, I want to put out word to those needing help with their visual communications. Each year Adunate does two pro-bono projects—one large and one small. If your organization needs creative assistance in 2013, click here for an application. And then, click here to guarantee your project’s success!

 

Pro Bono No Bueno?

Yesterday my AIGA guild gathered for our monthly cuppa joe and design discussion. Our topic: the aptly-titled “Pro Bono No Bueno?” by Jen Stewart.

  • When asked how many graphic designers periodically do pro-bono work (free or greatly discounted), we all raised our hands.
  • When asked how many of these projects turned out to be headaches, again, we all raised our hands (kind of like the headache we’re getting from the construction happening in front of our venue, Ground Zero Coffee Company).
  • When asked if any of these turned out to be meaningful and beneficial, we laughed, and most of us put our hands down.

C’mon! Not meaningful? Not beneficial?

After talking it out, we came up with helpful ideas that promise a more successful pro-bono project for both the graphic designer and the client. After all, our goal is a final product that’s the best it can be, whether the client is paying or not.

Establish good communication

The most effective projects happen when the graphic designer and client work together as a team to accomplish a goal. This is true for pro-bono projects, as well. Clear, detailed and timely communication is a must.

Often pro-bono projects are for non-profits, which commonly are committee-based organizations. The best design committees consist of three people or less, with one person serving as a designated spokesperson. This person should communicate to the graphic designer.

Define goals and stick to them

Objectives…Scope of project…Deadlines…Roles and responsibilities. These are things the designer and client must carefully define and then stick to.

Staying on course ensures the project can be completed on schedule and according to plan.

Know the value of the project

The biggest frustration of my designing peers is that pro-bono clients don’t understand the value of the product they’re getting. Unfortunately, “the less paid, the less valued” is a common woe.

Designer’s aren’t looking for an ego pat (although promotional recognition sure is nice—after all, business success is what enables us to offer pro-bono work). Rather, when clients know the value of the product, they’re more likely to fulfill their responsibilities and the end result is so much better.

If your designer doesn’t reveal what he would normally charge for your project, come right out and ask. You’ll benefit by knowing!

Work with a contract

A contract protects both the designer and the client, and should be created through back and forth discourse. It should outline the project; who will do what, when it will be done, and for what cost. It should create an overall understanding for both sides.

Basically, a contract fulfills all of the points listed above and is always necessary, even for the pro-bono project.


Adunate Word & Design is proud to take on two pro-bono projects per year—one large and one small. These are projects I have passions for and strongly support.

Adunate is currently booked for its 2011 pro-bono projects. However, if you’re one of those wonderful people who plans ahead and wish to apply for assistance in 2012, please click here.


 

 

Calendar Kudos

St. Mark's 2010-2011 School Year CalendarFor the last three years, I’ve been putting together a school year calendar for St. Mark’s Lutheran School, Watertown, WI. I have to say, each year is as fun as the year before.

What’s cool about this calendar is that it’s funded solely by business donors. And while these businesses are recognized with card-size ads on specific pages, their advertisements don’t detract from the monthly featured artwork—that of the students’. Because, after all, that’s what a school is all about—students, right?

So kudos to the calendar committee for all their hard work. Kudos to the businesses for their magnanimous donations. And most of all, kudos to the kids for their fantastic art. It’s awesome!