Serbin Communications printed the piece. They are the machine behind AtEdge, and by partnering with them on the printing we were able to access their press in China who does beautiful four-color printing, something that is quite difficult to find these days as most presses are now digital.
We collaborated with Todd Richards at TAR Design Studio in San Francisco. He has been managing Apostrophe’s design identity for close to 15 years now. In addition to showcasing new images from our artists, we were also debuting our new logo. We worked with Todd on our visual rebranding as well.
This piece was not only a beautiful promotion of our roster akin to the one we did in 2014, it also marked our 15th anniversary as an agency. Our signature color is a very bright fuchsia, and we thought the rose gold was a nod to the past while also celebrating our future.
Did the agents choose the images to be edited or did your photographers submit?
Our agents worked closely with each photographer to select images that best represented them. We wanted to strike the right balance of practical and aspirational, so some of the work is commissioned and some is purely personal. In terms of the final edits and layouts, it was a collaboration between the artist, Apostrophe and the designer.For some artists, we selected an image, and then the designer worked up a few layout versions for us to react to.
Each artist has the same amount of real estate, meaning the same number of pages. However, depending on the number of images we wanted to showcase for an artist, we changed how we utilized the space available. Their layouts go hand in hand with their work: Some have more of a storytelling style and as such chose to feature a grid of images on a page; while other are very graphic and therefore went with a single image full bleed. We wanted a consistent style throughout that also allowed each artist to find small variations and make it their own.
Each page was perforated so that clients could pick out their favorite images and put them on their walls or frame or file them.
We printed 2,500 copies, so it was somewhat of a limited run. We never want to just send something out to the masses, we try our best to promote with intent. Developing the mailing list for this promo has been an intense process as we have tried to go through and verify each name. Of course the mailer went out to prospective clients with whom we are eager to develop relationships, but we also sent it to many of our close contacts in hopes that they would celebrate our anniversary with us and enjoy the artwork.
A piece like this is certainly more of an investment, in time and money. So we send them out every other year, which makes each one feel more precious as well.Developing this promo, creating the final edits, printing and shipping took well over a year as we were thoughtful about both the design and the content that went into it. We wanted clients to feel like they were receiving a gift when they opened it. We wanted them to experience an evolution of our brand and get excited for the next 15. Aside from this promo, we print a smaller version with one single image per photographer about 2-3 times a year.
Letter From Kelly:
My first experience with Apostrophe was as a client. It was the middle of the dot-com boom (the first one), and I was working as an account manager in advertising. Business was good, but it wasn’t, shall we say, fulfilling. Then, with one assignment, everything in my life started to change.
Knowing I was fascinated by photography, my over-burdened manager passed me a project that allowed me to work closely with one of Apostrophe’s photographers. As I’d hoped, the job connected me back with my artistic self and challenged me as a creative person. What I couldn’t have predicted was how well I would click with Apostrophe’s owner at that time, Jonathan, and what that would lead to.
We stayed in touch and two years later, he casually mentioned a desire to open a west coast office. He had just signed an amazing California-based photographer, fresh out of art school – Dwight Eschliman, I met the two of them for dinner, we drank too much wine, had great conversation, and the rest is history. When Jonathan came back to “train” me a few months later, we drove all over California, portfolios in tow, visited a bunch of clients and smoked a ton of pot – those were fun times.
Almost immediately, I could feel that things in the business were changing and we would need to get serious. Digital cameras had taken over, and the number of photographers and competition grew. The hustle was getting tougher—I loved it. It was exciting to be in such a dynamic industry. I leaned in and moved to New York to take over the company. With my sun-shiny Californian attitude and optimism I thought, “How hard could this be?” Answer: Hard
The recession hit and choices had to be made. I promised myself at that time that I would do what I thought was right and focus on the best talent. Not just people who could shoot amazing pictures, but people who were also passionate about this industry, saw opportunities in change, and were good souls. Individuals whose businesses you wanted to fight for and whose lives you wanted to see grow. I believed then, and still believe today, that you can have a successful business based on artistry, ethics, and integrity.
As it turns out, I was right. But I didn’t do it alone. Over the years, I’ve met some amazing people and have grown an incredible team. My co-workers are among my closest friends and together we’ve found rare and wonderful individuals who are also amazing artists. We feel blessed to be making art everyday and we know that none of this would be possible if it weren’t for our clients, who trust in us to bring their ideas to life.
So I want to take this opportunity to say thank you for joining us on this amazing journey. Thank you for supporting our artists, our vision, and most of all for supporting the idea that teamwork and passion are the key ingredients of the most successful and stunning projects. Your trust in us – and in the creativity of our artists – is the thing I’m most proud of at this 15-year mark.