Behind the Scenes: Looking at Creative

I had a great opportunity to pick the brain, er the hands, of one of our Creative Managers, Matthew. He was the mastermind behind our Ground Hog Day campaign. Most of us in the Northeast are still pretty salty with Phil.

But, if you are like me and can barely draw a stick-figure family, the process behind creating campaigns is simply astonishing. You will be able to see the process as we go through some questions with him!

It was like a little interview. So cool!

So, let’s begin:

Q: How do you start the creative process?

M: Most people think that creatives are constantly on and never have issues coming up with ideas. And while there are definitely days where this is true, some days couldn’t be further from the truth. My creative process is dictated by everything from my current work load, down to how I am feeling physically that day.

My usual first steps are to close down all files that do not pertain to the project I am working on. Even when I have multiple projects due, I feel that each project deserves its own space and time.

Once I create that space, I begin to look at the requirements for the job. If it is a project for a vendor, I make sure to look at any requirements or requests from them first. If I mess up the starting point and ignore what they want, I am just wasting money and time.

All designers are different, but next I start to just draw black shapes everywhere. Placing blocks in places where content or images go helps me to begin to visualize the end product. I never like to add color or real content too soon. It is kinda like sculpting in a way. Rough shapes eventually become a pretty picture.

Once I have my shapes in place and know where everything is going, the rest is easy. The whole time I am moving the shapes around I am toying with visuals in my head. Usually by the time I get to the place where I have to add them in I have already decided what they are gonna be and just need to execute.

With the Groundhog Day campaign, this was a little different in that I Started with groundhog sketches. We went through about four sketch iterations before we had a final look for him that I could do a real drawing of.

Q: How do you get over/work through a creative block?

M: Creative blocks are tough. There really is nothing you can do to force yourself out them except ride the wave.

The most productive thing I do when in a creative block is to browse creative and industry related websites and portfolios. It may sound like playing hooky and avoiding the issue at hand, but it really is the best thing you can do. Separating yourself from the “work” of  being creative, if even only for 15 minutes becoming a “fan” of design again, sometimes is all you need.

Of course this always doesn’t do the job. Sometimes you just have to work through it and realize that even though you think the work is suffering, that nine-times-out-of-ten the work still looks great and it is just a mental block.

Most creative blocks go unnoticed by anyone but me.

Q: How long did it take from start to finish for this campaign?

M: All in all, I worked on this campaign over the course of 5 business days. It wasn’t a full 5 days, there were other projects and approval times in there.

The Groundhog Day campaign was initially planned to be a little bigger, but due to some personal matters on my end, was made a little smaller. I had planned on more drawings of our groundhog and a few more animations, but it didn’t happen. In hind site I am glad.

We started the creative for this campaign on the Tuesday prior to Groundhog Day. That gave us just enough time between other projects to get a couple nice images and a couple animations. I think if I had done what I originally planned to do, that it would’ve been too much and may have created confusion.

When a project is working, sometimes things just fall into place the way they are supposed to.

Q: How did you determine the color schemes that you would be using?

M: The groundhog day campaign was a pretty easy one to figure out. We had three main elements: Spring, Winter and of course the groundhog.

As you can see in the artwork, I stuck with a gold/yellow scheme for the spring side of things and blue/gray scheme for the winter side.

This campaign was a little different in that it was so over the top cartoony and playful. There were no style guide limitations or worrying about if we were gonna look “hokey”.  It was a nice break from the sometimes strict guidelines we put on ourselves to look a certain way.


Matthew is a Web and Graphic Designer with over 15 years experience. He has been a fine artist and cartoonist his entire life, and this love of art lead him into the design field in art school. He currently works as Creative Account Manager for Core Elements.

Friday 5: Wedding Belles

Did you know that the average wedding cost in the United States is $25,200*?

Have your wedding cake and eat it too with today’s Friday 5!

wedding belles

1. Santa Barbara Design Studio: Here Comes the Bride Lolita Wine Glass

2. C.R. Gibson: Emergency Kit Clutch in Silver Stripes

3. About Face Designs: Ring for Bride Kray-zee Bell

4. Jane Marie: Love Toggle Bracelet

5. Mud Pie: Bride Kimono Robe

*information provided by

Color Forecast: Top 10 Colors for Spring 2015

MarsalaIt’s that time of year to take a look at what the color experts at Pantone have in store for us this upcoming season! This color forecast for Spring 2015 takes a cue from nature with cool, soft color choices but also includes some warmer, neutral tones.

Let’s kick things off with Pantone’s 2015 Color of the Year, Marsala, a refreshing change from more vibrant color picks in past year. Marsala, an earthier, natural tone has taken the spotlight! Pantone describes it as “a naturally robust and earth wine red. Marsala enriches our minds, bodies and souls”.

Other notable colors for the season are Aquamarine, Scuba Blue, Lucite Green, Classic Blue, Toasted Almond, Strawberry Ice, Tangerine, Custard and Glacier Gray.

aquamarineKeeping it cool and collected is Aquamarine. This is going to be one of the leading colors for Spring/Summer 2015. This color is calming, dreamy and ethereal.



On the bolder side is Scuba Blue, playful, vibrant and inviting, this color is sure to energize the senses.Last but not least, tried and true Classic Blue.  Robust and dependable, this color remains a constant staple for the season.


lucitegreencustardstrawberryLight and fresh, Lucite Green, soothes with mint-like radiance. Neutral and timeless, Toasted Almond, is a simple and warm addition to Spring/Summer 2015. On the other side of the spectrum is Strawberry Ice. Cooling and sweet, this color is refreshing and reminiscent of a warm spring day.


tangerineRipe and fresh, we can’t get enough Tangerine. It bursts with energy and liveliness for the season. Custard, a delicate and soft shade of yellow, is a feel good and comforting color.




Last but not least, a gorgeous and supportive neutral, Glacier Gray.  Understated and supportive, this color pairs well with both bold and other neutral shade without demanding too much attention.



And there you have it, the top 10 Pantone color trends for Spring/Summer 2015! Which color do you feel is going to dominate the season?

All color trends were sourced from the color experts at Pantone.

Enchanting Storytelling Displays

Displays are created to draw your customers into your store and tell your story. They capture the mind and entice us to buy.  Here we have selected a few of our favorite display ideas that we would like to share with you.  First off, the lower left picture is a display in the Jane Marie are of the OneCoast Atlanta showroom. They have created an elegant yet inviting display that calls you in to see the jewelry up close and personal. The patterned background wall and added light fixture really helps to set the mood.  And the mirror is essential display item for any retailer that sells jewelry.  Then on the lower right picture features an Oilily scarf with a fantasy style mannequin head display.  With the bright colors of the silk flowers and butterflies, we are drawn in simple by the sense of whimsy it creates. We can not help, but to investigate more and see what this display is all about.


10933753_10153002891453879_102950419368872314_nBalance is key when displaying multiple printed items such as the Oilily handbags as featured in the left picture.  Adding in a piece or two that is more solid in design helps your eye to focus on the entire display.  You are able to see each individual item versus one big display of patterns.

IMG_0194Capitalize on the space that you have available.  Body torso forms a great alternative to full body mannequins and for those stores with limited floor space. But more importantly, they tend to be much less expensive than mannequins.  Here in the All For Color space in the OneCoast Atlanta showroom, they feature their Prescot Lane Tunic Dress. Utilize these types of hanger on a side panel well or at the front of a floor rack. Clothing items need to be featured on a display item in order to enhance the details, but to also show off the style, cut, and fluidness of the garment.

But we don’t stop there!  Check out some other great display and merchandising ideas for the season from fellow retailers on the OneCoast Facebook page “Our Retailer Friends” album.