Bolchalk FReY's Blog

Creative Spin on a Serious Topic
March 26, 2015, 12:20 pm
Filed under: Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

At this time in the world, we have all been affected by war–whether we’ve fought in it ourselves or know someone who has. That being said, many of us know the very real and very serious effects it has on soldiers and their loved ones.

A few of my cousins have been members of the U.S. Military, one of which has been deployed 7 times and is still on active duty in the U.S. Army. Each time he is deployed, it takes a toll on both him and his family. Although deployment has different effects on different people, many members of the military develop PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

In a recent photo series, photographer Devin Mitchell captured the emotion and reality of soldiers with PTSD. It is amazing how, in a single photograph, Mitchell and his subjects have depicted such a serious topic. I love the use of mirrors to show the two sides of the story–the soldier life and the home life, what soldiers let people see and what they feel inside.

To see more of Mitchell’s photos, expanding beyond PTSD, visit












Kristen Oaxaca, Senior Graphic Designer

A Childhood Discovery
March 19, 2015, 9:20 am
Filed under: Design | Tags: , , , , ,

I always get excited when I find out an interesting or little known fact about something I loved as a child. I get even MORE excited when that relates to my job as a graphic designer. A bit geeky, I know, but it makes me think about all of the time and effort someone put into making something that I loved growing up… then I wonder if I will have that same affect on another person who sees my work today.

So what is this interesting fact I found out? A book by Blake J. Harris reveals the Pantone guide to some of video games’ oldest and well known characters. Ever wonder what color blue Mario’s overalls are? Or the exact color green of Luigi’s hat? Well, now you know!

Mario01 Mario02   Mario05 Mario06Mario03Mario04

Kristen Oaxaca, Senior Graphic Designer

Trivago Guy gets a new look
December 9, 2014, 4:27 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

Selecting a company brand ambassador or spokesperson is a monumental task. That person will forever be connected with a product or service, and first impressions are crucial. When the new Trivago ad campaign began appearing on TV and online a while back, I was surprised that the international travel company’s brand ambassador looked rather unkempt. Looks like I’m not alone. Almost immediately after the new Trivago spokesperson began appearing on ads, social media lit up with unflattering comments about his looks and wardrobe. Eventually, word got to the Trivago powers that be about all the Trivago Guy talk. The company effectively turned a negative into a positive by launching a social media contest to give the Trivago Guy a makeover. The campaign resulted in a contest winner who got to travel to Germany for a commercial shoot, a makeover for Tim Williams, the Trivago Guy, and millions of additional online impressions and views plus lots of buzz about Trivago.

‘Trivago Guy’ gets a new look

By Todd Leopold, CNN

Tue. November 4, 2014

“Trivago Guy” Tim Williams used to look like this in his ads for the travel website.

(CNN) — Lookin’ good, Trivago Guy.

In a brief new commercial, Tim “Trivago Guy” Williams comes across as more polished than the disheveled pitchman he was a few months ago. His hair is nicely tousled, his slim-fit shirt hugs his torso, and he has a fashionable touch of facial stubble.

OK, it’s hard to tell whether he’s wearing a belt, but that’s because his shirt is untucked.

The new look is a response to the complaints — some wry, some serious — the company got after an earlier series of ads featuring Williams. As one person on Twitter wrote, “I had no idea #trivagoGuy was a thing, but I do know that my wife and I both wondered why homeless people were doing travel ads.”

Some people even dressed up as him for Halloween, perhaps as a way to frighten children (or, more likely, Anna Wintour).

Trivago wasn’t going to let that slide.”Trivago was listening!” the company trumpeted in a news release.

The company sponsored a contest to give Williams a style makeover. The winner was Aaron Marino, an Atlanta-based style consultant (PDF) who not only got to reshape Williams’ image, he received a five-day trip to Berlin to watch the new spot get shot. (Hey, Trivago is a travel website.)

Opinions on Twitter were mostly favorable …

“Someone @ @trivago was listening – the #trivagoguy got a #makeover. Better fitting shirt in a flattering color. The scruff looks intentional,” wrote The Quiet Car.

… though there was the matter of the beard.

“Hey, the creepy #TrivagoGuy got a new shirt & a haircut! Still, would it kill him to shave? @TravelinAnn #travel,” wrote JohnCinnamon.

Williams has enjoyed the notoriety the campaign has brought. (Incidentaly, the reason for the disheveled style was because he had to maintain a look he had on a German soap opera.)

But don’t push him to put on a belt.

“I had a belt on at one point, and it just didn’t kind of go with the outfit and we scrapped the belt,” he told CNN in August. “It’s probably one of the best decisions we ever came up with, because look what it’s created.”

CNN’s Marnie Hunter contributed to this story.

Branding Tips for Nonprofits
December 3, 2014, 9:21 am
Filed under: Branding | Tags: , , ,


Over the past year, I have been volunteering at a local dog shelter (Pima Paws for Life)—walking dogs, spreading the word about the dogs who are ready to find their forever homes and racking my brain trying to find ways to help market the organization.

Here are 8 tips for branding a nonprofit:

1. Recognize the Problem - YOU NEED MARKETING! Whether you’re getting the word out about what your organization does or trying to get donations, you need to market your organization.

2. Marketing is an Investment NOT an Expense - Many organizations look at marketing (whether it’s printed materials, advertising, etc.) as expenses that are taking away from your funds to “do good” in your organization. This is completely wrong… you have to spend money to make money. You have to first invest your money in marketing and if you do it right, you will receive a nice return on your investment.

3. Recognize your Competition - Your competition may not be who you expect. Don’t look at organizations with a similar mission to find your competition. Instead, look at where people are spending their money rather than donating to you… the local mall maybe?

4. Everything Starts with Awareness - The fewer people that know about your organization, the fewer supporters you’ll have. Marketing = Awareness. Awareness = More Supporters & More Donations

5. Every Brand Contact Counts – Don’t limit your branding to just advertisements… you have to look at the whole package. Focus on all of your touchpoints – events, employees, communications, volunteers, etc.

6. Know Media Habits - Where are you going to find the people you’re looking for? Are you donors reading the newspaper? Are your volunteers on Facebook? Figure out where to go and then commit.

7. Get Emptional - Logic and reason only go so far. People often make decisions based on their emotions. If you can tap into them, you’re on your way to more supports.

8. Frequency Wins - Pick something that’s recognizable and stick with it. Repeat it, breathe it, live it. (Think about how you know the end to this phrase: 15 minutes with Geico can save you…)

Kristen Oaxaca, Graphic Designer

October 23, 2014, 10:05 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

From a PR Daily article by Beki Winchel

The baristas at your corner Starbucks will soon have permission to sport their tattoos and a few piercings while whipping up your triple-venti-soy-extra foam-latte.

The company recently announced a new dress code with an internal email. The code allows visible tattoos that aren’t on the face or throat, as long as they don’t include lewd depictions or swear words.

The dress code also now deems ear piercings (including small gauges), nose studs, black jeans, scarves, and ties acceptable accessories to the iconic green apron. The change came after 25-year-old employee Kristie Williams created a petition asking the Seattle-based coffee behemoth to allow employees to show off their ink.

“Being able to show off our tattoos lets us connect with our customers in more ways than we already do,” Williams said in the petition.

With more than 25,000 signatures, the petition couldn’t be ignored. However, Starbucks is not the only company accepting tattoos in the workplace: Petsmart and Peet’s Coffee & Tea have also approved a more chill dress code.

Will more join the trend?

Companies have to find a delicate PR balance between not turning off customers while increasing employee retention. This trend is becoming even more relevant as company cultures embrace individuality and creativity; younger employees may decide to work at startups and other organizations where they don’t have to hide bodily embellishments.

Attitudes seem to be changing, as well: A recent poll conducted by Entrepreneur reported that 78 percent of respondents thought tattoos should either be allowed in the workplace or addressed on a case-by-case basis.

It’s not just about individual attitudes and customer preferences: There are practical problems that come with covering tattoos that execs should consider.

For example, Starbucks employee Sara Frandsen told The Huffington Post covering up the ink “looks really unappetizing when you’re helping a customer and your arms are covered in milk, but you can’t roll up your sleeves, because, heaven forbid, they see your tattoos.”

The move to allow visible tattoos hasn’t made Starbucks’ dress code completely lax. The company still doesn’t allow unnatural hair color, additional facial piercings, or fingernail polish (although the latter is due to the risk that it may chip off into food or beverages). However, it is a sign of change, one that will continue to affect businesses.

One thing’s for sure: Starbucks’ move is making a lot of caffeinated hipsters very happy.


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