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Videotect continues to bring levity to serious design issues

Now in its fourth year, Architecture Minnesota’s popular Videotect contest, created “to bring more voices and more creativity into public debates about key built-environment issues,” is getting a bit of a makeover. The basic parameters remain the same: Inspired by the contest’s open-ended, sometimes offbeat prompt related to architecture, design, or the use of public space in the Twin Cities—this year it’s “Two people walk into a bar…”—entrants create informative, entertaining videos.

This year, the entries must be between 30 and 90 seconds in length, which is shorter than in the past. “The first year, entrants had four weeks to create two- to four-minute videos,” says Chris Hudson, Architecture Minnesota’s editor and Videotect’s originator, “and they just about killed themselves” getting it done. That first contest—the topic was the Minneapolis skyway system—produced some memorable videos, though, including a hilarious 3D rap battle about streets vs. the skyways.

Also this year, in addition to a shorter main entry, contestants can submit as many six-second Vine videos as they like. The ultra-shorts must promote contestants’ main entries in some fashion, but don’t come with any other restrictions. “Vine? Everybody’s doing it! So we wanted to, too,” Hudson says.

“Two people walk into a bar…” has inspired entries that focus on design’s power to promote quality social interaction in bars, cafes, and eating establishments. All 15 videos are available for public viewing in the Videotect section of Architecture Minnesota’s website. Notable entries include “Sharing Space,” a heartwarming series of drawings that re-imagines bars as “impromptu performance spaces;” “Taproom Roadshow,” a humorous send-up of the PBS classic, set at Minneapolis’s Victory 44 restaurant; a time-lapse video of Alchemy Architects’ design and construction of the tiny, circular Bang Brewery in Saint Paul.

The contest winners and runners-up are chosen by a rotating panel of notable judges: Top prize is $2,000 and runners-up receive $500 each. There’s also a $1000 Viewers Choice Winner created through public voting on the website. This year’s judges include Omar Ansari, founder of Surly Brewing Company, who has become the panel’s resident expert on the business of socializing, an architect from Gensler, and two local film experts. “We’ve gotten lucky [with the judges],” Hudson says. “We ask people with expertise in film or in the theme, and they're generous enough to say yes.”

WCCO’s hilarious Jason Derusha hosts this year’s Videotect presentation on March 13 in the Walker Art Center’s Cinema. During the event, videos are shown, the audience roars with laughter, judges astutely comment, and attendees hobnob. Hudson wants Videotect to be about much more than a night of conversation and laughter, though.

Videotect welcomes submissions from design and architecture experts, but the contest’s true aim is to get regular folks talking about the important, if sometimes dry and complex, issues that vex people who work in the business. Architecture Minnesota originally planned to organize a more formal design competition for younger architects, but soon discarded that idea in favor of an open-to-all video contest with looser rules and an offbeat approach to weighty questions.

He hasn’t looked back. “I think Videotect's biggest achievement is simply making a subject matter as intimidating as urban and architectural design a whole lot of fun,” says Hudson. “What the videos have lacked in sophisticated design commentary, they've more than made up for in entertainment value…[that’s] a very valuable thing.”

Source: Chris Hudson
Writer: Brian Martucci

Art Leadership Program a win-win-win

Corporate sponsors have long played an integral role in the development and dissemination of art and culture. OST USA, an IT company with a 125-employee office in the North Loop's TractorWorks Building, is further advancing corporate sponsorship.

As the highest-profile partner of the Art Leadership Program (ALP), an ongoing collaboration that provides emerging artists with resources, guidance, and access to markets, OST supplies studio space (ArtLab 111) near the building’s loading dock for the dozen or so artists-in-residence it has already sponsored (usually for three to six months), and a lobby gallery (Gallery One) that regularly hosts exhibitions and openings for ALP’s participants.

“OST is the quintessential corporate partner,” says Ron Ridgeway, ALP’s founder and chief visionary, who launched the partnership. Ridgeway is also a mixed-media artist and corporate branding consultant. “We maintain a meaningful venue [for our artists], as well as curatorial services and placement… as exhibitions are becoming an art form in themselves. These days, it’s all about the experience.”

One ALP alumni launched from the program into high-profile commissions. In early 2012, local artist Elizabeth Simonson displayed her “systems-based” installations at BMW of Minnetonka’s Gallery One—an off-site ALP exhibition space. That same year, she built on a commission for the Walker Art Center’s lobby with a $25,000 fellowship grant from the McKnight Foundation.

Simonson “set the benchmark for our program,” says Ridgeway, but there’s nothing stopping future ALP participants and residents from notching their own victories. Ridgeway describes ALP’s corporate sponsorship model as a classic win-win-win: Artists get funding and market exposure, corporations get the positive PR that accompanies art patronage, and business districts or neighborhoods gain valuable physical assets.

“What’s been most beneficial [about working with ALP] is just getting our work out there,” says Twin Cities artist Booka B (aka Adam Booker), a recent graduate of Metropolitan State University who is showing new work with Lindsay Splichal, a recent graduate of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design, beginning March 6 in Gallery One. But creating art is just one piece of the puzzle, he adds: “You also have to connect with the community.”

Traditionally, companies that invested in art curated permanent collections that would eventually “gather dust,” as Ridgeway puts it. The rotating installations or exhibitions put on by ALP’s visiting or resident artists, in contrast, feel like organic additions to offices, building lobbies, and other public spaces, he adds.

ALP has also hosted an exhibition at International Market Square and is currently working with potential tenants of Nicollet Avenue’s 9’s on the Mall. “We hope to build a sustainable model for this type of partnership,” Ridgeway says.

Sources: Ron Ridgeway, Art Leadership Program; Adam Booker
Writer: Brian Martucci

Saint Paul toymaker encourages creativity with Play from Scratch

When Jeff Freeland Nelson turned eight years old, his parents gave him a cardboard box filled with tape, string, and wire. “I thought it was the best present ever,” he says. As a young child, he was always making toys out of odds and ends.

Nelson grew up to build a resume that includes theater and public policy experience. But he always thought, "Why doesn't someone make a business out of this?" he says, meaning a box of bits that would spur children's creativity.  

In 2012, he acted on that impulse and launched the Saint Paul-based toy company, Play from Scratch. Right away, the toy company found success with several items, including the World Famous Box of Boxes, Enormous Tube of Tubes, and One Giant Box, which are sold at various local retail shops. More recently, the company introduced YOXO, a kit containing cardboard pieces that come in Y, O, and X shapes. 

YOXO can be used to piece together household items -- such as paper towel tubes, cereal boxes, and silverware -- to create one-of-a-kind toys, company materials state. YOXO has been described as an “eco-friendly alternative to LEGO,” according to company materials. 

Nelson has brought home prototypes of toys for his children, who are two and five years old, to play with. “I didn’t tell them what to do. Almost immediately, they were making things,” including toys he’d never thought of, he says.

Nelson has been getting plenty of attention for his company. He even made an appearance on NBC’sToday” show earlier this month. “We can’t make them fast enough,” he says of the toys. He's also trying “to figure out what to do next and how to make sure as many kids have access to the products as is possible."  

Nelson hopes the toy line helps children to grow up to be creative problem-solvers. “Everyday I’m focused on that dream,” he says.  

In some ways, he's leading by example with toys that are made out of environmentally friendly materials.  

As he was formulating the concept for Play from Scratch, Nelson's wife, Alisa Blackwood, suggested making everything as sustainable as possible, he says. That value has shaped the toys in a big way. “Not only can you create a toy that’s fun and awesome, but it doesn’t have to be an eco disaster,” he says.  “You can make durable toys out of recycled wood pulp” that won’t end up in a landfill. 

Plus, almost everything that goes into manufacturing the toys is locally sourced, he says. 

Source: Jeff Freeland Nelson
Writer: Anna Pratt 

Groundswell hosts artwork from MMAA/Galtier School collaboration

During a two-week residency, a group of 33 students from St. Paul’s Galtier Community School collaborated with the Minnesota Museum of American Art (MMAA) on a multifaceted art project called CuratorKids. The 4th and 5th grade students’ artworks will be exhibited at Groundswell, a nearby coffee shop, from Dec. 16 through Jan. 19. In the spring of 2014, the childrens' artwork will also be exhibited by MMAA.    

MMAA developed CuratorKids to address “the shortage of art education in our public schools by offering a program that brings art and practicing artists directly to the kids,” MMAA  materials state.

Through the program, students examined a handful of artworks from the museum’s collection, according to Heidi Swanson,  technology integration specialist at Galtier. Students then wrote poems about the museum pieces. The following week, students responded to the artwork in a different way -- by making mixed-media collages. In their collages, Swanson says, "They made artistic choices relating to color, objects, and emotion.”   

Diana Johnson, a consultant to the program, says the museum pieces became “source material" for the students. “These kids really were responding emotionally and aesthetically" to the museum works, she says, which they "turned into their own work."

After the residency wrapped up, the students recorded podcasts of their poems and videos of their collages. Their poems can be listened to online here.  

Johnson hopes the project helps the students gain confidence in artmaking, as well as in academic subjects. The school hasn’t had an art program for a number of years. But CuratorKids shows students that “they can do things they didn’t know they could," she says. "If they stick with it, they can surprise themselves and see that the world around them cares and is interested in them."   

As if in response to that sentiment, a group of school volunteers pitched in $300 to frame the collages for the coffee shop exhibit, according to Swanson. At Groundswell, the students’ recordings will be accessible online via QR codes that can be scanned by smartphones.  

Swanson hopes the residency inspires students’ ongoing creativity. Through programs like CuratorKids, she says, "We hope to build a bridge to our community and create opportunities for our students to share their successes beyond the school walls." 

Source: Heidi Swanson, technology integration specialist, Galtier Community School
Writer: Anna Pratt 

New microgrants program aims to "Make It Happen"

A new microgrants initiative will spur ideas within the Jewish community, locally and internationally. 

The Minneapolis Jewish Federation is a community partner to the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Philanthropic Network, which is leading the program called, Make It Happen

Debbie Stillman, director of community partnerships and engagement at the federation, says the initiative has already stirred “lots of buzz in the community.” Often, people have good ideas, but not the means to “step into the game and to say, ‘I want to try this out,’” she says. 

That’s what the program is all about: “This isn’t aimed at organizations or meant to augment somebody’s operating budget. It’s meant for individuals to enter the game with an idea that they think is worthwhile,” she says, adding that young leaders can get involved in the decision-making process, as well. 

Projects might relate to cultural, educational, spiritual, or social aspects of Jewish life. For example, pop-up trucks, musical mash-ups, Shabbat dinners, and service projects are just a handful of the possibilities, according to program materials. “Selected projects will identify creative means of engaging, serving, and leading local Jewish communities,” a prepared statement reads.  

Schusterman will award $1,000 and $5,000 microgrants to 50 projects, which it will select on a rolling basis between now and December. At the same time, the Minneapolis Jewish Federation will separately dole out additional microgrants through the spring.   

Around 10 to 15 projects will be granted locally, depending on the scope of individual projects, Stillman says. 

Projects will be uploaded onto the website, which will double as a kind of idea share. “There are a lot of pluses to the platform as well as the microgrants themselves,” she says. "Organizations can look in their own communities and across the globe and if they see an interesting idea, they can execute it. They can see how it might work or how they can change it."  

Source: Debbie Stillman, director of community partnerships and engagement, Minneapolis Jewish Federation
Writer: Anna Pratt 

"Creative Care" exhibition and events underscore art's healing power

The Twin Cities is home to a diverse arts and healing community – perhaps the largest nationwide, according to Jack Becker, who leads Forecast Public Art, a nonprofit public art consulting agency based in Saint Paul.

The Twin Cities, Becker adds, is “an arts-rich community, and we’re huge for healthcare and technologies devoted to medicine and bioscience and research into healing. These realms come together in a variety of ways.” 

Those intersections are the subject of an exhibit Forecast put together in collaboration with Hennepin County’s Multicultural Arts Committee. Titled "Creative Care: Art + Healing in the Twin Cities," the exhibition is at the Hennepin County Government Center’s gallery in downtown Minneapolis through Jan. 29.

The exhibition pulls together visuals from nine arts-healing organizations in the area. In addition, an opening celebration today, and related forums and performances, are in the works for the coming weeks. 

The exhibiton is “about the idea that art can have healing benefits,” Becker says, a notion that often goes unacknowledged in daily life.
As a part of the kickoff for "Creative Care," which begins at 11 a.m., representatives from the exhibiting organizations will be on hand. Some groups, including Illusion Theater, Hopewell Community Choir, and Wilder Band will also perform at the event while county commissioner Peter McLaughlin will make an appearance and T. Mychael Rambo will serve as its emcee. 

The show represents all different approaches to art and healing, from Hennepin County Medical Center’s Inspire Arts program to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum’s Healing Arts Therapies.  

As such, the displays are just as diverse as the participants. People can meander through a labyrinth on the floor -- a meditative intentional walk on a path that leads to peaceful calm in the center-- or view snapshots, paintings, installations, and more.  

For those who are sick or depressed or are facing other challenges, art can “focus the mind for a period of time on something other than the problem, the ailment, the pain,” Becker says, and art does so in a holistic way. He adds that art can come in the form of a relaxing piece of music or a public memorial in a war-torn community, as just a couple of examples.  

Forecast also published a related directory that includes 40 local art-healing programs in order to “raise awareness and increase access to these programs,” he says. 

Source: Jack Becker, executive director, Forecast Public Art 
Writer: Anna Pratt 

Entrepreneur starts mode-sty.com to offer modest clothing

When attorney Zahra Aljabri went shopping for clothes, she was often disheartened by the lack of conservative-yet-stylish options. "I've always been a modest dresser, and it's been a struggle to find clothing that has some style and yet isn't revealing." When she began talking to friends about her experiences, she discovered that she wasn't alone--and as many entrepreneurs know, where there's struggle, there's opportunity.
Last July, she and her husband, James Faghmous, began working on Mode-sty, an online clothing boutique that meets the need for conservative clothing that looks good and is affordably priced. Aljabri found that by working with small-scale designers who crafted each item by hand, she could provide a range of clothing options for others who prefer more modest fashions.
Although Aljabri is Muslim, she sees the Mode-sty site as a resource that will appeal to numerous religious and cultural groups. "There are many religious communities where women want more coverage, like Muslims, Jewish women, and Christian groups, like Mormons," she says. "But then, there are also women who want to dress conservatively just because it seems more professional, or because they're getting older and they see this style as more age-appropriate."
At first, Aljabri utilized a "pop-up" model for the site, which meant the site would go live for only two weeks at a time until all inventory was sold, then it closed until Aljabri could re-stock. But with increasing attention and customer loyalty, the site is now up continuously, and she's thinking of her next move.
"We've realized that we need to produce our own clothing line, so we're working on that, and we also want this to be a destination site, where women can talk about different issues," says Aljabri. 

Source: Zahra Aljabri, Mode-sty
Writer: Elizabeth Millard

Walker Art Center releases Sculpture Garden mobile app

Just in time for summer visitors, the Walker Art Center recently launched a new website and free mobile app for its well-loved Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.
Developed as part of the museum's 25th anniversary, the website revamp includes a wealth of information about the sculpture garden and its artworks. Users can download the smartphone app directly from the site, and use the app's GPS technology to navigate the sculptures.
Video and audio content conveys general information about the Sculpture Garden's history, as well as interesting factual tidbits about each sculpture. The app also includes short interviews with visitors, community members, and prominent local personalities, such as Minneapolis mayor R.T. Rybak.
Andrew Blauvelt, the Walker's Chief of Communications and Audience Engagement, says that the museum and garden's Art on Call program -- which allows visitors to use cellphones for accessing guided audio tours -- is still available. The new app doesn't replace that service, it simply broadens access, Blauvelt believes.
"It's fitting that the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, which was a truly cutting-edge idea of putting art outdoors in the city, now boasts the Walker's first mobile app, putting interpretation in the hands and pockets of our visitors," he notes.
The redesigned website, spare but informative, highlights different garden events such as the popular Rock the Garden music festival in June and Avant Garden, the end-of-season fundraiser with cocktails and fine dining. An interactive map also helps visitors to pinpoint specific sculptures and access tour guide comments, a visual description, and thoughts from garden visitors.
Source: Andrew Blauvelt, Walker Art Center    
Writer: Elizabeth Millard

Relationship insight just a click away with Dear Appvice

Mobile apps can provide everything from online banking capability to restaurant reviews, so why wouldn't they be able to untangle your love life, too?
A unique new app, Dear Appvice, is willing to give it a shot. Developed by Todd Gross at media company New World Productions, the app's name is a nod toward popular advice column Dear Abby, and it's designed to make any user into a budding expert on relationships.
Featuring a simple interface, the app lets users pose a question and get up to five responses. Other users can give advice or see what's already been written. The categories are love, sex, dating, and relationships.
Gross thought of the idea after working on corporate projects at New World. Looking for a venture he could do independently, he was struck by a morning talk radio show that featured callers who gave each other advice on love.
"It occurred to me that I could put that in an application, and let people talk to each other, with the same level of anonymity you'd get from a call-in show," he says. "Sometimes online, it feels like everyone is running their own promotional campaign for themselves, but this is something where they could interact instead."
Of course, the app launched on Valentine's Day. Since then, the reaction has been strong, and users are embracing the concept. A couple of very heartfelt interchanges let Gross know that he was on track with his goal of creating something useful and important to users.
"You always think, what can I do to make the world a better place, to increase communication?" he says. "Matters of the heart affect all of us, and that's why I think this app is so well received. I'm excited to see where we can take it."
Source: Todd Gross, Dear Appvice
Writer: Elizabeth Millard 

New digital publishing venture Think Piece starts strong

For many in the legal and political realms of the Twin Cities, Adam Wahlberg is a well-known name. For over a dozen years, he was executive editor of the thought-provoking magazine 'Minnesota Law & Politics,' then went on to helm 'Super Lawyers,' a Thomson Reuters service.
But after 16 years in the business, he was ready for a change. Always interested in advocacy, Wahlberg enrolled at the Humphrey School at the University of Minnesota, but found that he missed journalism. "I didn't see how I could connect those worlds, because I was anticipating a new career as a policy wonk," he says. "Then, I had a light bulb moment."
While talking with a friend who worked as a journalist in Afghanistan, the two began discussing PTSD in the military, and the conversation turned to publishing the journalist's thoughts on the subject. Wahlberg began to research self-publishing options, and then realized he could become a publisher himself, and start a venture that put out e-books exclusively.
Think Piece was born. The digital publishing firm is in the 'humble beginnings' stage, with Wahlberg working in CoCo's offices for now. But he's already landed several big projects, including a new book from popular author Janet Burroway, who plans a memoir about her son, a private military contractor in Iraq.
Wahlberg is excited to be hitting the ground running on multiple projects, and is beginning to envision other ways to offer content via mobile devices. "In some ways, I don't have any idea what I'm doing," he says with a laugh. "But it doesn't matter because I'm having a blast."
Source: Adam Wahlberg, Think Piece
Writer: Elizabeth Millard

Morphology game maker sees growth past the holidays

In 2009, Kate Ryan Reiling and some friends were waiting out a snowstorm in an Uptown apartment, and they quickly became bored by their game selections. That's when the fun really started.
The group put together flat glass beads, Jenga pieces, string, and a dictionary. One person would choose a word, then try to depict it using the game components. Although it was a simple way to pass the time, Reiling was struck by the level of creativity and enjoyment that emerged, and she used her business school background to turn a fun afternoon into a full-time avocation.
Using pieces she first cobbled together from surplus stores, Reiling created Morphology, a game that lets players "morph" wooden sticks, cubes, glass beads, little wooden people, and other elements into a representation of certain words.
When Reiling brought a prototype to a major toy and game show in 2010, she knew she had a winner. She sold 400 games on the spot, and later that year began landing on lists like Time magazine's Toys of the Year. She says, "I began to get emails from around the world asking about the game. It's been really amazing to see the momentum and watch this catch on."
Reiling created a version for kids called Morphology Jr., and her ultimate goal is for Morphology Games to be acquired by one of the major game companies. Until that happens, though, she'll work on getting the game in more stores and expanding distribution. With so much buzz building in this holiday season, she's expecting strong growth in the next month and beyond.
"We see a real opportunity to keep expanding this and designing more games that encourage creativity, and maybe even move into the digital tablet space," she says.  
Source: Kate Ryan Reiling, Morphology Games
Writer: Elizabeth Millard

December events: Lean Startup, Women in the Boardroom, Cloud Automation, No Coast Craft-O-Rama

The Lean Startup Conference
December 3
University of Minnesota
Carlson School of Management
11am - 7pm
Those who aren't able to attend The Lean Startup Conference in San Francisco can still see great speakers, thanks to this simulcast event that showcases the conference's experts. Presented by the university's Gary S. Holmes Center for Entrepreneurship and the Minnesota Lean Startup Circle, the event will help attendees jumpstart their businesses.
Women in the Boardroom
December 4
University of St. Thomas
Law School Atrium, 11th St. and Harmon Place, Minneapolis
3pm - 6pm
An organization designed to assist women in pursuing board service, Women in the Boardroom hosts several types of in-person and virtual events throughout the year. This signature event brings together a panel of experts, including the Chief Administrative Officer of the Mayo Clinic.
Automation for the Cloud
December 5
Open Book
1011 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis
4pm - 5:30pm
Hosted by cloud management company enStratus, this event looks at extending automation to cloud environments, including auto-provisioning, auto-scaling, and setting automated backups. Attendees will learn more about cloud management and see a product demo.
No Coast Craft-O-Rama
December 7 & 8
Midtown Global Market
3pm - 8pm on Dec. 7; 9am - 5pm on Dec. 8
Started in 2005 as a way to feature designers, artists, and creators of handmade crafts, the No Coast Craft-O-Rama has grown into a true showcase for artisans of every type. From letterpress operators to knitters to jewelry makers to many others, the breadth of work is staggering--and the fair is showing up just in time for holiday shopping, too.

CaringBridge expands services by introducing user-generated video

Nonprofit site CaringBridge continues on its relentless growth track with the launch of user-generated video that lets site users share their stories with friends and family.
The project, facilitated by Minneapolis-based web design and development firm Nighthawk Marketing, features a pre-designed video template that asks users to create an orange or white heart (the colors of the heart in the CaringBridge logo) with an inspiring word or a loved one's name on it. Users can then upload a photo, and it is added to the video.
CaringBridge debuted in 1997, as a way for seriously ill people to create one central, online page that could keep friends and relatives updated about their health changes. Since then, the site has recorded nearly two billion visits, and founder Sona Mehring says the group is continually looking for ways to expand services and deepen the connections made through the site.
"There's still tremendous potential for how CaringBridge can be used," she says. "All of our development supports the idea that people are now used to sharing online, and that we just need to find ways to harness those networks."
She noted that in addition to the introduction of the video, other service offerings are being refined, such as a calendar program that allows visitors to volunteer for making meals or coming along on a doctor visit.
"People who are using CaringBridge are going through a journey," says Mehring. "They appreciate that they can reach out to others through the site. It lets them know that they don't have to be on this journey alone."
Source: Sona Mehring, CaringBridge
Writer: Elizabeth Millard

Creative agency Modern Climate looks toward more growth ahead

Some creative agencies can provide stunning strategies and vision, while others are stronger in delivering the technology that turns a promise into a workable project. At Modern Climate, they don't feel the need to choose.
"We can deliver top to bottom, including all the technology" says Geoff Bremner, the agency's president. "We're capable of very strong creative ideas, but also have the ability to deliver the code."
The agency got its start in 2009, with roots in a different interactive agency, Wolfmotell. The founders from that firm joined with Bremner to capitalize on their experience in product development and other services and broaden their approach. The result has been a full range of services for clients, and more national accounts, Bremner says.
The other result has been a nice amount of growth. The agency employs 45 people, and will see about 35 percent growth this year. Bremner predicts that Modern Climate will stay robust, likely sailing along at about 20 percent growth year to year in the near future.
The agency's ability to provide full services is one driver, but Modern Climate also stands out for its expertise in delivering powerful brand experiences for clients.
Recent projects have included the development of the Health4Me mobile app for UnitedHealthcare, the creation of a communications platform for Northern Brewer's recent store opening, and improvement of Geek Squad's consumer site.
"We see so many opportunities for fun consumer engagement," says Bremner. "When people enjoy a brand experience, they want to interact more with that brand. So, our focus is to create a great experience through the whole journey."

Wedding website GetMarried relaunches after major revamp

There are plenty of wedding planning websites, giving advice on everything from rings to thank-you notes. But GetMarried stands out, thanks to a recent revamp that's made the site more airy, fresh, and useful.
An asset of Taylor Corporation (run by Glen Taylor, former politician and owner of the Minnesota Timberwolves), the site was an underutilized asset that couldn't match major competitors. Heather Dempsey, who worked on strategic accounts and digital print technologies for the company, suggested a major shift toward inspiration and photography rather than the usual articles and advice.
"With the popularity of Pinterest and other visually-oriented sites, it's clear that people love to look at images and take ideas from that," she says. "At the same time, the site needed to feel more personal."
GetMarried relaunched at the end of June, with Dempsey at the helm. True to her vision, the design features plenty of photographs and trend-spotting. For example, she groups wedding photos into areas like "vintage glam" and "preppy chic."
"We feel that the site now is a great start in terms of putting out fresh ideas and letting people translate that into what they want," she says. "One disappointing aspect of some wedding sites is that they have elaborate photo shoots and then you find out that they weren't even real weddings. Brides and planners prefer to see details that other people really loved, and that made the day special."
The format of the site is being tested now, Dempsey notes, and could lend itself to additional lifestyle directions like baby showers, graduation parties, and other common celebrations.
"It's really fun to work on this, and see the different directions it can go," she says.
Source: Heather Dempsey, GetMarried
Writer: Elizabeth Millard
78 Arts and Culture Articles | Page: | Show All
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