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G. Fine Living in the Lake Geneva Style

Our involvement with quarterly magazine, The Brass Bell, caught the attention of a Boca Raton, Florida-based client interested in establishing an upscale lifestyle magazine for the Lake Geneva, Wisconsin area. This was a great opportunity—the chance to establish a vertical, niche publication for a legendary tourist destination.

For those not familiar with Lake Geneva, this small community on a lake is nestled just north of Chicago, and just west of Milwaukee in southeastern Wisconsin. The area has more interesting history than any small Wisconsin town should have—the playground of the Schwinn’s, the Maytag’s, the Wrigley’s, and yes, Guns ‘N Roses lead singer Axl Rose. Hugh Heffner even established one of his legendary Playboy Clubs in Lake Geneva.

The first issue of G is the result of many hours of interviews, sweat, and mental gymnastics. It’s not the easiest task assembling a magazine from vapor, but given G’s overwhelming debut, I think we hit the mark.

G Magazine Masthead Script

Van Ness Engineering
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Van Ness Engineering

I have known David Van Ness of Van Ness Engineering for many years now. He is very well-known in the antique boat niche, and has a reputation for being among the best engine restorers in the business. David has worked on a few projects for me, and I have worked on a few things for him. Recently we were asked to take a new look at his advertising and marketing communications with the goal of creating a presence given today’s dynamics within this small niche.

Here is a look at the first creative in this ad new series. The concept focuses on several types of enthusiasts:

  • Those interested in totally rebuilt internals with museum-grade external restoration for Concours-level competition.
  • Those interested in a partial rebuild with good (but not necessarily Concours-level) exterior cosmetics.
  • And those interested in building an ultra-reliable vintage motor, with little regard to exterior detailing.

This is a very straightforward concept executed in a very clean style. There are several other ads in the series that we will show soon.

Van Ness Engineering Ad

Nelson Boatworks
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Nelson Boatworks

In the prior post, I mentioned a client of ours, Nelson Boatworks. Dan Nelson is a boat builder and restorer in northern Minnesota who has a reputation for creating concours-winnning, museum-grade boat restorations.

This ad has a very quiet look about it. But the message is strong, and strategically on target.

Nelson-Boatworks-Righthand-4c-1p

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Labor of love

I love boating. It is a lifelong passion having spent many summers on northern Lake Michigan. I am slowly turning this passion for boating and the marine industry into business and have had the pleasure of working with Chris-Craft, a Sarasota, boat builder—one of the oldest and most prestigious names in pleasure boating. This collaboration has lead to more marine client relationships, such as the Minnesota Lakes Maritime Museum, Nelson Boatworks, and Van Ness Engineering.

The Brass Bell, is an upscale, niche quarterly, targeted at antique and classic boating enthusiasts. In just a couple of years we have taken this publication from a commodity-grade 32-page newsletter to a 96-page work of art.

Brass Bell Fall 2010

The Brass Bell is printed on recycled stock, using soy-based inks and minimal aqueous coating. The issues are perfect bound, and are mailed to all 50 U.S. states, and over 30 countries worldwide.

The Brass Bell has a decidedly vintage look, courtesy of custom-drawn typefonts, dingbats, borders and patterns. Masthead typography features handcrafted letterforms based on actual deco typography samples.

BB-Winter-2009-Cover

The Brass Bell is a perfect example of electronic design workflow. There is no wasted paper or toner printing process used on the design of the issues. Workflow is PDF based—low res PDFs for commenting and approvals, high res PDFs for final output. The magazine is typically preflighted, ripped, soft-proofed, approved, and on press within 24 hours of forwarding artwork to the printer.

Designing a high-end niche quarterly can be a grind at times, but it is very gratifying to see design play a key role in actually advancing the niche.

You’ll see a lot more of The Brass Bell in days ahead.