One of the most interesting things about working at a “small shop” is that everyone tends to have a range of responsibilities and interests that extend past their job description. If you’re good at something, you’ll likely get a chance to do it.
This also tends to come up in how we hire new team members: we look for people who have diverse experience and interests, who show initiative in making things happen (even if it’s a little outside the parameters of their role), and who value collaboration in all things.
Everyone has a voice, so we want to make sure we bring in people who have good ideas—and who listen (and get excited) when other people come up with them, too.
Right now, we’re in the midst of hiring two key positions to fill out our team: a Brand Strategist, and a Designer.
In the time since we’ve been on the hunt, we’ve learned a few things (well, we kind of already knew…):
(And that’s not a bad thing. In fact, it’s why we’ve been around for 32 years.)
We’re “system thinkers”: we make sure everything we create—from top to bottom web projects for financial companies, to postcards targeting potential applicants of a summer high school program—strengthens our clients’ brands. If the visual elements don’t jive with their other communications… if the message doesn’t ring true to the organization and their goals… if you can’t point to where it “moves the needle”… well, we’re wasting an opportunity.
To us, a “brand” isn’t a logo or a tagline or an eye-catching color you choose. A brand lives in the hearts and minds of an organization’s constituents: it hinges on how people perceive them and what they do, both in the context of the communications they create, and what others are saying (in the press, via social media, through word of mouth… and beyond.)
And no matter how big or small an organization might be, they are only so much in control of their brand—which means that at the moments when they are in control, they need to do a great job of sharing who they are.
That’s where we come in…
We’re seeking a Designer who makes beautiful things—beautiful things that do what they’re meant to do, within functional, smart, compelling systems. You will work on a wide range of projects—across an equally wide range of clients, both for- and nonprofit—in print and electronic formats, from worldwide brand identity systems to multi-year capital campaigns. Versatility is a must (if you couldn’t tell already!)
… then we’d love to talk to you. Scroll down to learn how to get in touch!
We’re seeking a Brand Strategist who sees both the forest and the trees: you understand how brands are created, maintained, and loved, and how every aspect of an organization’s communications can reflect and strengthen that brand. You’ve ideally worked with both for- and nonprofit organizations (because we do!), and see each one of your clients as a unique, complex entity with their own needs and goals. In fact, you’ve thrown out all your cookie cutters… because you haven’t used them in years.
This isn’t an “account exec” position or a “brand manager” position or a “project manager” position, though all of those things are wrapped in to what you’ll do with our team.
… we’d love to talk to you. Our ideal candidate has 5+ years experience in and around branding, business and communication strategy, marketing, and website development. Experience in nonprofit marketing and fundraising wouldn’t hurt, either.
Ready to join us? We’d love to meet you—and we think we’re pretty fun to work with, too.
Please send your resume (directed clearly to one of the positions above) and some words about who you are and why you’re interested in being a part of our team to Human Resources, Sametz Blackstone Associates, 40 West Newton Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02118. You can also email hrATsametzDOTcom (no phone calls, please!)
Since making the transition from medium format and 35mm film cameras, I’ve been struggling to bend the physics of small sensor cameras and digital-optimized glass to my will (with the caveat that digital backs and full-frame sensors are beyond my reach).
And until recently, I’d been losing the struggle.
The paring of a micro four thirds camera with one of my old lenses (a manual 50mm 1.8; effectively 100mm on MFT) has allowed me to get back to one type of image making I’d been missing. I can now create images with a very shallow depth of field, buttery smooth out of focus regions, lots of resolution (not to be confused with megapixels!), and a tack-sharp plane of focus.
These images are from a new series of ‘florascapes’.
In addition to the ability to utilize old lenses that add character to images, the MFT format paired with native lenses packs extraordinary image quality into a package that is much lower profile than the typical DSLR, allowing for unobtrusive ‘man on the street’ photography.
I’m working on a series in this vein, but that’s for another post!
Brandon, our Director of Digital Strategy, has a saying when it comes to our internal white board stage of site construction: “Everyone gets a turn with the marker.”
When it comes to identifying a client’s needs in a web-based project and how those needs are best fulfilled, internal collaboration isn’t just important, it’s essential. While Strategy, Design, and Digital Media can often (unfortunately) exist in vacuums, going it alone has become somewhat outdated.
Recently, our digital media team has been taking a more active role in site planning, participating in everything from estimate drafting to information architecture to wire-framing and beyond. More traditional workflow dictates that a developer is meant to focus almost exclusively on their namesake: development. Sure, they can provide some limited consultation, but otherwise coders often remain quiet until design templates and wire-frames suddenly appear on their desk.
Working in that manner comes with disadvantages. The developer may find an unexpected portion of the approved materials that proves difficult to implement within the budget, just as a web strategist/producer or designer may find themselves working with incomplete information. This kind of in-house disconnection might end up being reflected in the work… which could leave clients dissatisfied.
Our more integrated approach remedies this. During the earlier phases of a project, all in-house members of the team become, in a sense, solutions architects. We take our respective skill sets from design, development, or brand strategy and apply them equally to determining the content structure of a new website. The result is a situation where all members of the team are on the same page. Collaborating on its construction not only grants team members a better understanding of the site structure, but makes them truly invested in maintaining its integrity throughout the process.
A web project is more than just its individual parts. The same can be said for the team that’s building it. Designers shouldn’t be limited to Photoshop, and we developers have more to offer than just code.
Categories: Digital Media
The best people to invite to a dinner party? Great storytellers.
The thing that brilliant novelists are that okay novelists are not? Great storytellers.
The best people to be stuck next to on an 8-hour train ride? Great storytellers.
The thing that virtuoso directors are that leaves a movie playing in the back of your mind, long after the last reel? Great storytellers.
Oh… and the thing your brand needs more of?
Great storytellers internally — who communicate using ideas and images that resonate, instead of relying on corporate-speak — get everyone in your organization excited about what you’re going to do next.
Great storytellers externally — who bolster your value by sharing their positive experiences in passionate and public ways — spread the word in a manner that those around them are genuinely inclined to trust.
Great storytellers at the marketing helm — who convey your offerings by crafting a compelling narrative, instead of another pitch or a tagline — generate genuine curiosity and desire in your potential customers.
Great storytellers from the top down — who motivate with something more visionary than a list of your Q4 strategic business goals — advance the kind of mission-driven culture that leads to uncommon success.
Great storytellers from the front lines — who can tell you who your customers truly are and what they truly need because they’ve met them, and they care — keep everyone focused on the real reason you’re doing what you do… and the right way to do it.
Are you a great storyteller?
If the answer is “no”, don’t worry — you can learn to be.
Do you know what stories you should be telling?
If the answer is “no”, don’t worry — you can find them.
As with the funniest person at your dinner party, or a fantastic traveling companion, or those rare movies and books you can’t make yourself turn off or put down, great storytellers are remarkably unforgettable.
And that’s definitely something you want your brand to be.