As a long-standing tradition Shepley Bulfinch reaches out to our clients in an annual mailing. For years, this took the form of a signed card or letter, accompanied in recent years by a commemorative poster. What started as a holiday gesture has become an important statement that exemplifies our core values.
Like every project our annual mailer starts with a written strategy: a design brief. This year we drew on our annual internal staff survey for inspiration. Within a section of the survey on differentiation a few key words and themes emerged: ideas, design, innovation, expertise, collaboration, and change.
Despite the vastness and speed of digital tools and media, many of our best ideas are still often captured on paper: pinned up on the wall during a design charrette or noted within a sketchbook or journal. As we spoke with friends, clients, and colleagues we found this to be quite true more widely. Michael Bierut of Pentagram, who designed our 2011 Summer Design Fellowship poster, captured this sentiment wonderfully in his blog post for Design Observer a few years back.
In our brainstorming we also found a lineage of “blue books” of all kinds that dates back to the 15th century, when large blue velvet-covered books were used for record-keeping by the English Parliament. In this tradition, and in the spirit of our own remarkable continuum of capturing captivating ideas, we’ve designed our very own Shepley Bulfinch blue journal.
As Carole Wedge notes in her letter to clients that accompanies the journal, “there has never been a more compelling time for new ideas.” The resonance of the gifts for their recipients has been clear in the notes that we’ve already begun to receive since the journals were mailed earlier this week.
The journals also make an environmental statement: they are made of 100% recycled paper, as is the packaging which can also be reused and a pen/pencil holder. That idea came to me in my sketchbook, on November 8, 2010.
- Dan Vlahos
Dan Vlahos is Shepley Bulfinch’s creative director.