Making Brand Values Tangible.

Case Study: The Little Nell, Element 47

Assignment: Collection Catalog; Private-label Wine
Creative Challenge: Communicating An Integrated Art Experience
Element 47, the restaurant at The Little Nell ski resort in Aspen, is re-nowned not only for its 5-star dining but for the thoughtfully curated col-lection of art that surrounds its patrons. The 9 pieces, selected by owner and artist, Paula Crown, are part of the restaurant’s design and represent the culture and philosphy of the resort. Tsang Seymour has been involved in two distinct projects that serve to highlight, showcase, and further inte-grate the role of art in this unique setting. 

Part I: Who, How, and Why
Element 47 is a restaurant with a story: it is embedded in Aspen’s rich silver-mining history, it is shaped by the vast mountain landscape, and it is interwoven with its art. Paula Crown was eager to share the story of Ele-ment 47 and the idea of a multi-layered book was born. Original photog-raphy was commissioned to feature the artists at work and we directed an on-site shoot to capture the impact of the artwork in the restaurant spaces. Part history, part artists’ profiles, part monograph, the book is a lush, tac-tile, and visually beautiful object that serves as context for understanding the Element 47 art collection as welll as a premium gift for the resort’s VIP clients. The value of the book is multi-fold thanks to the fact that it provides high-impact marketing through meaningful content.

Part II: Next level branding
When Element 47 decided to source private-label wines for its diners, we recognized the opportunity to reinforce the role of art in the restaurant experience. Collaborating with the restaurant marketing team, we selected a detail from the collection painting: Trees (Bracket), 2012 by Cameron Martin, to use as a background for the labels. The artist and work are noted on the label according to the standard conventions of art crediting, highlighting the fact that a fine art work is being represented. The minimal typography and palette evoke the aesthetic attitude of the restaurant space, relying on the juxtaposition of the painting’s texture, the color of the wine, and the typography to reflect the space of the surrounding landscape.

Part III: To be continued
New marketing initiatives will continue to build upon integrating the artwork as a foundational component of the Element 47 identity.



Made to Measure: Responsive Web Development

Case Study: Responsive Web Development

Assignment: Brand Identity + Digital Implementation
Creative Challenge:  Creating a Signature Image that Works Across All Devices

If you have ever used your smart phone to link through to a web site that wasn't optimized for mobile, chances are you suffered a very poor user experience: zooming in and out and scrolling around the page to read text, select links, or fill in form fields and possibly being bounced from the page.  With the many available options on the internet, you likely abandoned the site and moved on.

Google has recognized how frustrating this whole experience is and will be unrolling changes to deliver better results to the growing mobile market. Google's new algorithm includes mobile-readiness as a ranking signal and sites that are mobile-ready will be rewarded in results rankings.

These changes will have an enormous impact on businesses that use their websites to reach their audiences. If your website is not optimized for mobile engagement, we can help you with the updates you need to make sure you have a place at the top of the search results page.


Creating an Immersive Brand Experience

Case Study: Van Cleef & Arpels

Assignment: Event Marketing Campaign
Creative Challenge:  Creating an Immersive Brand Experience



After collaborating on two enthusiastically received premium invitation projects, Van Cleef & Arpels approached us to develop the creative vision for their sponsored event, the 2012 Tribeca Ball benefiting the New York Academy of Art. Understanding the necessary difference between advertising and sponsorship, we set out to create a fully immersive brand experience that simultaneously celebrated the New York Academy of Art and communicated the essence of Van Cleef & Arpels through every event interaction.

Strategy: Start the Party Early

Drawing inspiration from Van Cleef & Arpels high jewelry collection, Bals de Légende, we developed the theme: “Unmasking the Modern Ball.” Recognizing the competitive landscape of spring gala season, early emphasis was given to generating excitement for the Tribeca Ball and to engaging the audience’s interest in the event narrative.

The first opportunity to reveal the “story” to the audience was through the event invitation. Conceived as an interactive piece that embodied the elegant, dynamic formal qualities of the Van Cleef & Arpels brand, introduced the narrative theme of the Tribeca Ball, and functioned as a beautiful keepsake object, the boxed invitation signified the start of the party. Opening the dimensional, interactive piece was an “event” that built anticipation for the primary event. The silhouetted mask motifs and bold colors of the invitation, became the symbolic identity for “Unmasking the Modern Ball.”

The event staging at the New York Academy of Art building was similarly conceived as a sequence of connected immersive moments for the evening’s guests to engage in. We began our gestures at the street, exploiting the building’s existing storefront windows as stages for live, choreographed models, welcoming guests through familiar mask shaped openings and bathed in colored light. Adorned in twinkling Van Cleef & Arpels jewelry, the masked models in simple monochrome bodysuits acted as silent hosts throughout the event procession: appearing at landing points, mingling in crowds, and greeting dinner guests in the ballroom. A consistent language of colored lighting, reflective silver, and the bold mask motif was used in dynamic arrangements and spatial configurations throughout the building to lead guests through the various events of the evening that for many culminated in the dinner and dancing in the ballroom. As the final event of the evening kicked-off, seated guests cheered at the “welcome” lighting of the giant custom neon sign of layered masks.

Biggest Bang for the Buck: A Chapter in a Larger Story

We look at every audience interaction we design as one part of a larger brand experience. Working with Van Cleef & Arpels on multiple events allowed us to communicate with their audience using connected touch points to thread a larger story from event to event and to measure success through audience response.


Appealing to a New Primary Audience

Case Study: Appraisers Association of America

Brand Identity + Implementation
Assignment: Brand Identity + Implementation
Creative Challenge:  Appealing to a New Primary Audience


As the Appraisers Association shifted from an inward focused membership-centric network to an outward looking institution that could help elevate the professional profile, they required an identity that reflected that change and would appeal to the general public.

Strategy: A System that Communicates Value

For the Appraisers Association, the communication of “value” is a central theme: to the public they want to represent that appraisers are the “standard bearers of value”; to their loyal membership they want to represent that as an institution, the Appraisers Association maintains a “dedication to their core values.”

We identified an early representation of value in the Appraisers Association’s own history. The institution’s first identity utilized a rendering of an owl. This icon of wisdom and knowledge was used as a central component of a new identity, modernized and represented in a seal—the concrete representation of approval used by appraisers. The seal was expanded as a circular motif that can be used as a metaphorical loupe or lens. As a repetitive element, the diverse content of the memberships’ specialties can be represented in a clean and compelling design.

The versatility of the motif has been tested through multiple implementations and it has proven to be highly customizable while capable of building brand value for the institution through each iteration.

Biggest Bang for the Buck: A Two-fold Payoff

• Investing in a well developed system allows the Appraisers Association to implement their new identity materials in-house.

• The new brand has reinvigorated the membership who are helping boost the status of the institution by promoting their association.


Communicating a Unique Approach

Case Study: Larta Institute 

Assignment: Brand Identity + Strategy
Creative Challenge:  Communicating a Unique Approach

Larta Institute cultivates innovation that meets their mission-driven values through a unique networked approach. Distilling their complex interdependent network model into an understandable representation for their multiple audience segments required a deep familiarization with the roots and culture of the organization.

Strategy: “Your Name Here”

Larta’s audience segments divide along their network roles. Each is an essential component of the Larta network model and their successes are borne out in innovations that are eventually realized and making a positive impact in the world. An “all-inclusive” approach to visual language, messaging and positioning, and content development was critical in guaranteeing that essential touch points of Larta’s core values were clearly communicated and that their full audience was engaged.

We approached the Larta logo as an “open vessel” representation, drawing on formal properties of their initials and innovation categories to inform geometry, composition, and color palette. The resulting field of the logo combines figurative and more abstract representation for an open identity that allows the audience to assign a personal connection to the logo and to assimilate with the brand through their own network role. 

An expanded brand language was developed in conjunction with Larta messaging and content presentation. This integrated approach of one hand shaping the other informed the design elements that were the building blocks for implementation. The largest scale component of Larta’s new brand identity is their newly launched website. Realized as a fully responsive site to work as successfully on a smart phone as a desktop monitor, the new website utilizes all components of Larta’s new identity. Front and center with the new logo and tag line, are their success stories, introducing individual entrepreneurs and featuring the innovations that have been realized through the Larta network. Throughout the clean and bold new environment of the site, the individuals of the network are profiled and connected by their joint successes. Larta’s own audience becomes the subject of their content and can visualize themselves in the featured spotlight through their involvement with the brand’s network.

Epilogue: Expanding the Brand In-house

Within weeks of Larta’s new website launch, the in-house staff was charged with putting together the annual report according to the new brand and messaging guidelines. We worked with them in developing a page grid and two page templates and they hit the ground running! Juggling many pages of content, Larta internally edited and designed the entire annual report in a successfully implemented example of their new brand identity. We are proud and impressed!