Brand identity design for Laura Randolph Gallery

Mama’s Minerals stores have the largest collection of minerals, fossils, gems and beads in the Southwest. Their unique and beautiful products appeal to a variety of customers; collectors, decorators, and naturalists.

The company’s Santa Fe store is located in the historic La Fonda on the Plaza hotel. This prime real estate brings many tourists and travelers through its doors.

Sparrow Creative Studio had recently worked with Mama’s Minerals on a social media project, so when the Santa Fe store was ready for an update, Mama’s Minerals reached out to our team.

Our response was to present a unique opportunity to completely reimagine this space. Sparrow Creative Studio presented a gallery concept to the team that would showcase their most exquisite collections, Laura Randolph Gallery. Named for the founder of Mama’s Minerals the gallery would allow the company to set apart high-end, unique, and one-of-a-kind products.

Interior designer Lynne Charapata created a beautiful new interior to display products in a setting that truly allows them to shine. Pronto Signs manufactured the interior and exterior signage.


What we did:
Store concept
Logo and brand development
Signage design
Retail labeling design
Social & Email templates
Web site design
Grand opening invitation

The gallery store opened March 2018.

‘Fake news’ has gotten a lot of news lately. Wait, don’t click away – this isn’t a political post. Strictly business.

What does fake news look like in your business? How real is your news feed? Are all of your photos meticulously styled? Do you only share good things that happen and never the challenges? Is your social feed like the #HobbyLobbyChallenge, and only looks good closely cropped? Is this real?

More importantly, is this the relationship you want with your friends and clients?

Lately, I feel a current of change, not only in my social media feed, but also in other media I follow. At a recent Rising Tide gathering I heard a significant amount of pushback against superficial feeds and artificial followings. There is a hunger for something meaty and real to sink your mind into. A hunger for SUBSTANCE.

There is a hunger for something meaty and real to sink your mind into. A hunger for SUBSTANCE.

Let’s get real

Throughout my career, business has been conducted in formality. In some industries this formal culture persists. For many, however, the culture of business has evolved to be more congenial and less formal. CEOs wear hoodies to work, jeans are in the board room, and let’s be real – I often work in my yoga pants. Business still gets done, we are just more comfortable doing it.

How does this ‘real’ show up on your social feeds and other communications? How do you straddle the line between projecting competence and being comfortable with your followers? Real does not mean unprofessional. What is appropriate depends upon you and your audience.

For example, everyone probably is not interested in what you had for breakfast. Unless, however, you are a health coach and your followers are looking for guidance on healthy living.

Relevant information that matches your follower’s needs is real.

NOT REAL is liking pages and feeds only to get a reciprocal like to pad your follower count.
NOT REAL is using click groups to artificially create engagement.
NOT REAL is tagging people you don’t know to gain a moment on their feed.
NOT REAL is buying followers.

Putting it into action – create REAL engagement with your followers

REAL let’s customers peek behind the scenes (give clients an understanding of what they hire you for)
REAL shares credit and celebrates collaboration (tag team members, vendors and partners)
REAL shows the WHY and the HOW and gives depth to your story
REAL creates conversation
and yes, sometimes REAL shows me working in my yoga pants ūüôā

You don’t have to search long to hear complaints that social media is shallow. What an opportunity to shine! In a sea of ‘fake’ you can stand out by being your authentic self. Think about your true story and how you can share that with your audience. Who are you behind the logo?

Step away from the over-polished feed into substance. Create the opportunity for your followers to become engaged in your brand and contribute to a richer dialogue that is meaningful for all.

Searching for Substance: One change you can implement today to increase your social engagement

LLS Man & Woman of the Year 2017 Campaign & Gala Event Design

The Man & Woman of the Year (MWOY) campaign is a spirited fundraising competition in communities across the U.S. in which participants build fundraising teams to compete for the title of Man or Woman of the Year. They raise funds for LLS blood cancer research in honor of local children who are blood cancer survivors, the Boy & Girl of the Year. The titles are awarded to the man and woman in each community who raises the most funds during the ten-week campaign; the top local fundraisers in the country also win the national titles.

The Sparrow Creative team worked with the New Mexico / El Paso chapter to create a visual brand for the event promotion and gala that coordinated with the national campaign, but had its own unique spice. The project included a Facebook campaign, billboard, digital and traditional promotion, email campaign, custom photography of auction items, as well as event brand, wayfinding, media and other elements to create a sparkling evening.

The 2017 gala was a sold-out success and the campaign not only raised awareness about blood cancers, but also resulted in record-breaking giving from the New Mexico / El Paso communities.

Since the gala, the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society has announced a breakthrough gene therapy for treatment! Read

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Event organizer: Nyra Keckin
Design & Marketing: Sparrow Creative Studio
Flowers: Pam’s Flowers
Venue: Las Puertas Event Center
Lighting & Pipe n Drape: Randy Gomez-Jam Sessions
Linens/Tableware: Las Puertas Event Center / Classic Party Rentals

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Samaritan Counseling Center 30th Anniversary Brand Design

Last night we attended an open house to kick off the 30th year that Samaritan Counseling Center has been providing a much-need service in our New Mexico community. As mental health providers have pulled from our state, Samaritan Counseling Center has committed to provide the uninsured and underinsured access to care.

Sparrow Creative worked with the Samaritan team to develop an anniversary brand and imagery that celebrates the history of the organization, but most importantly, opens the dialogue about good mental health care for New Mexicans.

Samaritan Counseling 30th Anniversary Logo designed by Sparrow Creative Studio

 

 

 

 

 

Let's Talk

 

 

Grid of Samaritan Counseling

 

A few months ago I wrote an article about curating your content to gain a competitive advantage in life and in business. (read) Recent events have made me revisit my thoughts.

A person¬†can find the answer to nearly anything on the internet. Google it. YouTube will show you how. But don’t believe everything you read. ¬†Not everything that is published on the internet is true.

A Washington Post article highlighted the very serious stakes of misinformation (read full article). During the recent presidential election, fake news was propagated via several social media channels. Botnets, networks and paid internet ‘trolls’ were used¬†to push both fringe extremist news and completely¬†fake news with specific agendas intended to bias American voters. These highly sophisticated propaganda engines exploited¬†social media algorithms¬†in a type of informational warfare. To make matters worse, the effort was aided by unknowing individuals that blindly liked, shared, and forwarded the misinformation. People tagged with an old cold-war term – ‘useful idiots.’

Ouch.

Through blind acceptance of¬†what is put on the internet, one¬†may have unwittingly contributed to undermining our election process, and some folks may have made their choice for US President based on lies.¬†In fact, a recent Stanford research study, as reported by NPR (read full article) found “Students Have ‘Dismaying’ Inability To Tell Fake News From Real.'” ¬†The study¬†assessed students and found they struggled to distinguish ads from articles, neutral sources from biased ones, and fake accounts from real ones.” Judging from my Facebook feed and cocktail party conversations, I’d say it isn’t just students who struggle in this area.

Add to this issue the plethora¬†of self-proclaimed ‘experts’ who peddle today’s version of snake oil cures online and at a home party near you. Get rich/beautiful/slim in 30 days and other such¬†schemes can lure in the unsuspecting customer who isn’t scanning for trouble.

So what is a person to do?¬†Don’t believe everything you read.

Don’t put important decisions into others’ hands. You need to be your own censor. It is up to you to be aware and be discerning about the information you consume and the sources you trust. This is especially important if you will be making personal, business, or nationally important decisions with the information. The more important the decision/action/results, the more you have a responsibility to ensure you are acting on correct¬†‚ÄĒ¬†and complete¬†‚ÄĒ¬†information.

The important note is that regardless of platform, you are in control of the content you consume.

– E. Gallegos

In my last post I issued a challenge to “create a new habit of being¬†deliberate about your media choices.¬†Curate your content.” ¬†This week I have a new challenge: create a new habit of fact-checking your information. Verify your content.

 

  1. Is this the complete story?
    A half truth or missing facts can make something seem different than it really is.
    Action: Check the fine print. Ensure you have all of the information.
  2. Is this information biased? 
    Check the source. Do they have something to gain? Is the information ‘sponsored’¬†‚ÄĒ¬† which means bought by¬†‚ÄĒ¬†someone who is trying to sway your actions?
    Action: Find the opposite, or an unbiased, perspective.
  3. Is this too good to be true?
    If something is too easy, too amazing, too perfectly aligned with¬†your needs, be cautious. Don’t click that link.¬†Don’t download the attachment.¬†Don’t give your time, money, or anything else¬†just yet.
    Action: Check the news/offer/information through a verified information source.
  4. Is this too bad to be true?
    Is it too extreme, too shocking? Some people just want to spread fear, hate, and trouble. Don’t let them use you to do it.
    Action: Check the news through a verification site like Snopes.com. Before you share, tweet, repeat¬†‚ÄĒ¬† ensure it is true.

Don’t be a useful idiot. Be careful what you put into your mind.

 

The high stakes of fake news and internet lies

Tap into abundance

There is enough for everyone

Many charitable and recognition events include a food element. As an event marketer, I am in a position to observe people and how they interact with their food.

I notice that, in general, there are two mindsets when approaching an included (free) buffet of food. One jostles to be first in line, fills the plate to the brim and piles the food high, sometimes balancing two plates at a time. This person anxiously gobbles as to get back in line quickly and obtain another serving before it is gone.

The other often waits until others have been served, visiting and renewing acquaintances in the meantime. A modest amount graces their plate, and they rarely return for a second serving. This meal is consumed at a leisurely pace while visiting with others at their table.

Scarcity versus Plenty

The difference between these two groups is a scarcity versus plenty mindset. The thought that resources are scarce leads one to fear that there just isn’t enough for everyone. This mentality is jealous, and feels bad when someone has something more. It compares and lives with anxiety and fear.

Unfortunately, this mindset will wreak havoc on your business. The result is the constant worry about the state of your business and comparing your success to the success of others. People with a scarcity mentality often exhibit greedy behaviors. They won’t help others who are new in the business. They jealously guard resources and contacts. Even when they are meeting their business goals, they feel bad if someone else is doing better. Scarcity mindset leads to a constant state of comparison and anxiety.

The alternative, of course, is to realize that there are abundant opportunities. The plentiful mentality believes that there is enough for everyone, we aren’t in competition, and we should celebrate others when they succeed.

When fear and envy are removed from the equation, cooperation and collaboration have room to grow.

The plentiful mindset will reap rewards in your business. When fear and envy are removed from the equation, cooperation and collaboration have room to grow. Pooling resources can lead to reduced costs. Working together can lead to achieving larger contracts. Sending referrals to a colleague, lending a helping hand, and cheering a colleague’s success are all outpourings of an abundant philosophy.

Tap into abundance. There is enough for everyone.

Reflecting on creative genius

On a recent trip to Seattle I was able to visit Chihuly Gardens and Glass, an indoor/outdoor exhibition of the glass works of Dale Chihuly. The very first room of the exhibit struck a familiar chord with me. On one wall hung a collection of indian blankets layered upon wooden ladders. On another, a collection of photographs of Native Americans from the early 1800s. I frequently see similar blankets, patterns and photos in my home of New Mexico. In fact, it was as a teacher at the Institute of the American Indian Arts in Santa Fe that Chihuly found inspiration for his Navajo Blanket Cylinders.

Glowing in the studio lights, however, was something both familiar and very, very different. The traditional Navajo patterns, colors and threads were now reinterpreted in beautiful glowing glass. The woven baskets, now woven with light.

Dale Chihuly showed early artistic excellence and received classic training in his field at a high level. In 1968 he received his M.F.A. from the Rhode Island School of Design Рwhere he would later teach. A Fulbright Fellowship allowed him to work and study in Europe. With an invitation from architect Ludovico de Santillana, son-in-law of Paolo Venini, Chihuly became the first American glassblower to work in the prestigious Venini factory on the island of Murano.

According to his web site, a key shift occurred in 1977.¬†“Breaking with 2,000 years of glassblowing history, he begins a lifelong pursuit of organic and asymmetrical forms, using fire, gravity, and centrifugal force to help shape his work.”

It is here that I find a powerful lesson to apply to my own work. The true magic of creative genius lies in talent and technical mastery coupled with unique vision, passion, and daring to break the rules.  To be creative you must look at the same thing in a new way. To solve a problem you must approach from a different angle. To create change, you must change perspective.

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.
– Marcel Proust

Be part of the solution - volunteer

Be part of the solution – volunteer

Become a part of that solution. Serve your communities. Don’t be a part of the problem.

These are the words of¬†Dallas Police Chief David Brown encouraging¬†people to get involved and¬†serve their communities. His words are common-sense wisdom. If you don’t like what you see in your environment, you can do something. Each of us has the power, and the responsibility, to¬†step up to the plate and get involved. This is true in our¬†homes, in our¬†workplaces, and in our¬†communities.

Critical thinking + creative design¬†= ¬†solutions that exceed expectations. This is the¬†philosophy at Sparrow Creative Studio. I believe critical thinking and creativity are essential¬†elements for problem solving. Therefore, I choose to invest in these elements –¬†in my home, and in my community.

For example, instead of “How was school today?” I ask my granddaughters “Did you ask any good questions today?” I have a pinterest board filled with crafts to¬†make using¬†household items. Last week, toilet roll ninjas and foxes were the projects. Because I value critical thinking and creativity, I make a deliberate investment in those values in my home.

I make the same investment in my community through volunteering. Volunteering allows organizations to expand their reach and impact through the power of invested citizens like myself.

Megan and I both volunteer our time and talents with TEDxABQ, a group that produces independently-organized local TED events. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, and Design. TEDxABQ introduces new ideas and perspectives to elevate community engagement, connection, and enthusiasm for the future. The vehicle is small, focused talks Р TED Talks Рwhere local speakers present their ideas about innovation, creativity, humanity and more.

Why do I volunteer with TEDxABQ? I believe in the power of ideas. I believe that a person who inspired by an idea can affect positive change in their own life, and in the lives of others.

We invited some of our fellow volunteers to share the reasons they volunteer.

September 17 TEDxABQ will host its 7th annual main event at the Kiva Auditorium with the theme: Think Viral. The event will be a full day of New Mexico’s most fascinating ideas in science, technology, design, the arts, business, and social justice. Tickets go on sale August 1 at TEDxABQ.com.

If you’d like ideas of how you can get involved and make a difference for New Mexico, come join us.¬†Ideas are contagious. Get infected.

Curate your content

One habit you can start this week to step up your game

Whew. It has been a long day pushing on a big project and now it is time to sit back, grab a beverage and turn on the television. Sound familiar? After making decisions all day and using up mental energy, it is not unusual to seek respite in mindless activity. Many of your co-workers are doing the exact same thing. High producers, however, are not. Highly successful people use their downtime to invest in future activity Рto refuel both body and mind.

Mental agility is a key ingredient in the workplace. It¬†directly impacts both your creativity and your¬†productivity. If your mind isn’t sharp, you won’t be able to navigate decisions, and your¬†tasks will take more time – with less than stellar results. Highly successful people understand this and make the investment in mental agility.

The familiar adage ‘garbage in, garbage out’ helps us understand the impact of food on our physical health. This adage¬†applies to your brain as well as your body. Roaming social media without purpose and mindlessly clicking the remote is the mental equivalent of junk food.¬†Filling your head with these useless ‘snack’ bites will not help move you forward.

Live less by habit and more by intent.

There isn’t anything inherently wrong about watching television or spending time with social media. The issue is mindlessly clicking and roaming without purpose. Instead, turn these same activities into something that is both relaxing and refreshing.¬†Step up your thought game: be¬†deliberate¬†about what you mentally consume.

Curate your content.

Social media algorithms reward interactive behavior. When you like, click, or share your behavior becomes part of the experience. Therefore, you will receive more of the type of content you interact with. Click on silly cat videos? You will see more silly cat videos. Instead, click on a Fast Company article on entrepreneurship. You will receive similar content.

Television offers similar interactivity. Previously, all television content was predetermined for us by the three major networks. Today, the power of television programming is directly in your hands. Between cable, network, internet, YouTube, and original programming you have an abundance of viewing options to select from.

Magazines, newspapers and other publications have also evolved. Applications such as Flipboard and Texture allow you to craft a personalized news experience right on your iPad.

The important note is that regardless of platform, you are in control of the content you consume. This week I challenge you to create a new habit of being deliberate about your media choices. Curate your content. Here are a five content suggestions to get you started.

5 types of content you should be consuming

1. Something that teaches you.

Take time to cross-train your brain. When you learn something completely different it creates new pathways in the brain. These new pathways can be the difference in creative problem-solving in your work environment. In addition, a regular practice of learning helps keeps you relevant in the marketplace.

Try: Lynda.com or SkillShare

2. Something that challenges you.

It is easy to get into routines and comfort zones. Instead of Candy Crush, expand your gaming routine into brain training. Games and activities that involve multiple tasks or require interaction and organization may protect your brain against cognitive decline. Instead of a selfie, see your world through a different lens by participating in a Facebook photo challenge.

Try: Luminosity

Happiness inspires productivity. – Shawn Achor

3. Something that inspires you.

According to an article in the Harvard Business Review, consuming negative news can make you less effective at work. Conversely, positivity research shows a direct correlation to improvements in productivity, positivity, and . . . income. Include solution-focused news sources in your feed.

Try: GoodThink or Upworthy

4. Something that provides a different perspective.
Groupthink can prevent us from seeing potential solutions at work, at home, and in our communities. We tend toward information sources that align with our own ideas. This can lead to a thinking rut. Expand your perspective and understanding by following a different, even opposite, perspective. For example, follow your presidential pick and also follow the opposing political candidate.

Try: A  TED Talk

5. Something that informs you.

Take a few minutes to skim top headlines and be aware of what is going on in the world. Take a few more minutes to check top news in your field. Now you are ready for pre-meeting small talk or cocktail chatter.

Try: The Skimm or BBC News

That’s it! Five easy¬†switches to make this week to¬†be deliberate about the content you consume.

Collaboration of Nations

I am not smarter than a 5th grader. In fact, when I was in 5th grade the world as we knew it was very different. We had nine planets, and the USSR (dating myself). A lot has changed since then, and I admit that with day-to-day life I’ve not taken the time to learn a lot about changes in the world. Where am I going with this? I don’t know anything about Tajikistan.

On a recent visit to Boulder, Colorado Megan and I had the opportunity to visit the Dushanbe Tea House. When we approached from the street, the exterior of the building greeted us with a vibrant cacophony of color, beautiful tile work, and exquisitely detailed trim. I knew we were in for something special.

A symbol of peace & global friendship

When I entered the tea house, I truly felt transported away from the southwest into another culture. A culture I knew zippo about. Soon, I learned the Dushanbe Tea House was a gift from the city of Dushanbe to its U.S. sister city, Boulder. Dushanbe is the capital city of Tajikistan, formerly part of the Soviet Republic.

The tea house is an artistic marvel of texture, color and light. It was created by forty Tajik artisans by hand over a two-year span. The techniques they used were traditional, descendant from Persian design, and shared across generations within families. After its creation, the tea house was dismantled and shipped to the United States to be reassembled in Boulder.

I was struck by the work and care that resulted in the tea house. Two far distant nations Рtraditionally beset by ignorance, distrust and misunderstanding Рfound common ground in their sisterhood and began a collaboration of nations that we are able to enjoy today. These cross-cultural relationships allow me to glimpse beyond my own borders and participate as a global citizen.

In this jewel box we enjoyed a lovely tea. I am not usually a tea drinker, but I was entranced by their Boulder Tangerine custom tea blend and I purchased some to enjoy at home. All of our food was delicious. With a glass of sparkling wine and the wonderful and tasty gluten-free menu for Megan and I, it was a splendid way to spend an afternoon.

SparrowGals at Dushanbe Tea House

Our visit to the tea house took on additional meaning when Sparrow Creative Studio was¬†approached by Rikki Quintana of Hoon Arts Fair Trade. Rikki began her introduction of the company by explaining that they were a fair trade importer of hand-crafted materials from Tajikistan!? I’d never heard of the country before, and¬†in¬†the scope of two weeks, I’d encountered it twice!¬†A bond was forged as Rikki shared the scope of the Hoon Arts mission.

The hand crafts of the Tajik people use nature and repetition of patterns, beautiful colors, and meticulous quality. We were so inspired by these patterns that we incorporated them into the Hoon Arts branding and materials.

Sparrow Hoon Arts flower

Many of the artisans are women from impoverished rural mountain communities. Through their art, they are able to substantially improve the quality of life for their families.

Too many companies destroy communities by exploiting artisans and polluting cultures. Fair Trade practices help promote economic development and also help ensure the preservation of traditional culture.

Individually, each of us has tremendous power to contribute. Through our purchases, literally putting dollars where our ideals are, we can improve Рor impoverish Рthe lives of others.

Every time you spend money, you’re casting a vote for the kind of world you want. – Anna Lappe

July 8-10 Hoon Arts Fair Trade will display their wares at the International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe. I encourage you to visit the market, and visit Hoon Arts. You may find an exotic treasure for your home, or the perfect gift for a friend. You may have the opportunity to impact the life of a woman in Tajikistan – seize it!