Picture a half-dead tree

Here's a quick snap of the front of a postcard I did for a client this year. It's to announce their participation at the National Association of College and University Business Officers conference in San Francisco this month.

Teibel, Inc., NACUBO 2010 Postcard

Just a quick bit of commentary on this one that I found interesting. When I first stumbled on the tree image on iStockphoto, I was really moved. There's something about the life that is communicated through such a stark bifurcation of the tree that hit home for me. Seems only a little trite to apply such a cool image to a tradeshow postcard, but it works.

In any case, we got our first bit of direct feedback on the card from a recipient on the mailing list. The list is made up of college and university business officers -- predictably, I guess -- and this particular respondent's title is "Vice President for Business & Finance/Treasurer" for a major east coast university. The line that struck me from his response:

The half-dead tree is a rather graphic thought-provoking device and illustrative.

The original of the image has the tree dying from left to right. I flipped it because I thought the metaphor worked better simulating growth rather than death over a simulated left-right timeline. I wanted folks who looked at it to see that transformation, that growth.

There's this concept that never fails to flip me. When creating a piece, you want your reader to either feel the pain, or see the hope. In this case, we were shooting for hope. The response illustrates that we may have hit the pain more squarely.