Branding & Identity

Branding should never take a back seat and should always be considered. A brand is much more than a logo and business card (who really uses stationary anymore?). A well thought out brand represents the overall identity of a company, including their unique voice and corporate mission.

Print Design

Gone are the days of die-cut, foil embossed, custom ink printed marketing collateral. We live in a digital world where print takes a back seat and when it’s used, it’s on a tight budget. Now the challenge is to stand out in the face of inexpensive printing. And that comes down to design.

Web Design

Web design encompasses much more than pixels and code. A web designer needs to understand how the user will interact with and respond to the website in order to design effectively. Every website also needs to be designed around a central purpose geared towards a specific audience.

Web Development

Good web designers can understand code. Great web designers know exactly how to code a website from the ground up. Why settle for good when there's great?

Responsive Design

Let's face it. If your website isn't mobile-ready, then you're not competing in the marketplace. And Google is dinging you on your search rankings. Go mobile or go home.

Wordpress

What's better than a website that anyone can update or post articles to? Maybe chocolate. But that's a personal preference.

Portfolio

A selection of design work showcasing a range of capabilities

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HotChalk Rebrand...

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HotChalk Rebranding

Project: Corporate Rebranding
Goal: Rebrand HotChalk to better represent the corporate goals
Role: Worked with external branding agency and collaborated on creative direction; assisted in the website development

When I first joined HotChalk, the company had just gone through a rather substantial shift in direction. Unfortunately, the brand hadn’t caught up with that change. In lieu of taking on this rebranding in-house with limited resources, I decided that the best course of action would be to outsource to an external branding agency that could take on the large workload and tight deadlines. We worked closely in developing the corporate mission statement, logo and brand guidelines, and a new corporate website presence. At one point, the CEO (who was very attached to the out of date brand) stepped aside while I continued working with the agency on execution. The result was a much needed corporate facelift for HotChalk which helped pave the way for future corporate investments.

Old Logo Design

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New Logo Design

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Once the agency had completed their branding and design work, I managed the development of the website internally so that we could determine and control the environment. In doing so, we were able to develop systems to easily maintain and update the website through the many additions, revisions and iterations its had over the years.

One large addition was the development of the HotChalk Partner Network. I designed and developed a new B2B page on the corporate website to support our partnerships team in securing additional business, nursing, and educational partnerships.

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Additionally, I designed a new careers page, hosted by Jobvite that allowed the Human Resources department to post job openings on their own. I worked with Jobvite to ensure the website was developed as designed.

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Branding efforts continued beyond digital and into print-based corporate marketing materials. One example, is a brochure highlighting the various HotChalk services offered to University Partners. This was created for the sales team as both a leave behind printed piece as well as a digital PDF that can be emailed.

A downloadable PDF is available here.

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Online Student A...

Online Student Application

Project: Online Student Application
Goal: Design an online application to compliment existing branding and to improve ease of application completion for the user
Role: Scope, Wireframes, Design, Work with offshore development team, QA, Project Management

As part of the on-boarding package with new University clients, we developed a student application that feeds directly into our Salesforce system allowing us to send reminder emails and contact applicants easily. The application was designed to fulfill all University requirements while also incorporating Salesforce limitations and marketing requirements, all while adhering to the University’s existing style guide.

Existing User Login

Applicant Login Screen

New Applicant – Step 1

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Step 2
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Step 3
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Last Step
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The application has been instrumental in enrolling students into the Online Campus programs. Adler University actually redesigned their own ground application to mimic ours.

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COE Application

COE Application

Project: Online Student Application
Goal: Design an online application to compliment new brand launch while representing three Universities
Role: Scope, Wireframes, Design, Work with offshore development team, QA

This application project was a bit more complex in that we needed to combine three separate student applications into one but still make sure the user was able to determine which program they wanted to apply for. The first step was to map out the user flow and process to ensure that all conditions were accounted for and that users were taken to the correct school application.

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Using this process map as a guide, I wireframed out the application to make sure that the flow made sense and that all data fields were accounted for. The next step was to design the application UI to be complimentary to the new website that it would be launching with. By carrying over the navigation bar and contact icons, the user easily identifies this application to be part of the website they came from. In order to help the user identify which of the three Concordias they are applying for, I added in a space for the logo and description to display next to the program they selected.

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Once all approvals were received, I proceeded to work with our external contractor to develop the application in the force.com environment. I developed a detailed instructions document as a guideline for the developers along with various CSS and images needed to develop the application. There was a short timeline and solidified launch date that this needed to be completed by so I couldn’t developed functional prototypes to hand off. Instead, I worked closely with the developers on a daily basis to review the progress, provide feedback, detail bugs and issues, and make sure the application was performing as required.

Due to the close communication, we were able to launch the application alongside the website launch as originally scheduled.

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View Project
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Concordia Brochure

Concordia Brochure

Project: Downloadable Program Brochure
Goal: Provide downloadable content to users who request more information
Role: Branding, Design and Copy Direction

As an additional marketing tool to provide prospective students, I designed a program brochure that offered general information about the program as well as University offering the program. The content highlighted information about the University and history, program options and structure, student support and community features, faculty, and how to enroll. I pulled together various pieces of content from approved marketing collateral and organized it so that it provided the prospective student with high-level information that would then urge them to learn more by contacting our sales team.

A downloadable PDF is available here.

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Why I Teach Camp...

Why I Teach Campaign

Project: Organic Social Media Campaign
Goal: User engagement; SEO traffic
Role: Strategy and Design; Worked with social media/content teams on execution

Last summer, I concepted and developed an organic engagement campaign targeting teachers – the main target audience for one of our flagship clients. Traditionally, the summer months struggle in terms of lead flow, so I took it as an opportunity to engage our existing audiences on social media (facebook, pinterest, linked in, and twitter). The campaign started in June and graphically posed the question “Why do you teach?” to our followers.

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I then used those responses to create original content and graphics that continued the conversation across the organic channels throughout the summer. These graphics linked through to relevant blog articles to provide the user with compelling content as well as traffic to our main website.

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The full campaign can be viewed on Pinterest.

Our content team then used the entire campaign as a building block to create an article on our blog with a slideshow, specific responses and links to other relevant articles on the site.

The campaign resulted in:

  • 146 social shares
  • 572 likes
  • +246k users reached
  • 107 comments
  • 1337 post clicks
  • 6193 blog page views
  • 155 blog article shares

A welcomed, secondary result was a handful of leads. Overall the campaign used minimal resources and was able to engage our target audience over a period of time that is usually challenging.

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LinkedIn Lead Ac...

LinkedIn Lead Accelerator Campaign

Project: User Retargeting Campaign
Goal: Brand Recognition; Audience Nurture; Lead Generation
Role: Strategy and Design; Worked with LinkedIn/social media/content teams on execution

We met with LinkedIn to test out their Lead Accelerator program to test out ads for our flagship client, Concordia University – Portland. Working with LinkedIn, we developed a campaign strategy to target 4 main audiences (streams).

Within each stream, I designed themes to be presented to the user in “waves” – a user was served ads in a set sequence across a variety of platforms (LinkedIn Sponsored Updates, Facebook Ads, Display Ads). Each theme was targeted specifically to each audience to nurture their interest in a particular subject matter.

1. Generic Ads – Target audience lands on campus specific/overview pages (SEO, PPC); ads promote all University programs

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2. M.Ed. Specific Stream – Target audience lands on M.Ed. specific pages (SEO, PPC, landing, academics); ads promote M.Ed. programs only

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3. Ed.D. Specific Stream – Target audience lands on Ed.D. specific pages (SEO, PPC, landing, academics); ads promote Ed.D. programs only

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4. High-intent Stream – Target audience clicks on application/admission/tuition pages (SEO); promotes all University programs

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By customizing the creative to connect specifically with each audience, we were able nurture users while allowing them to become familiar with our brand. Any leads that came in from a result of these campaigns were attributed to the original campaign source and spend.

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HotChalk Educati...

HotChalk Education Network Website

Project: Organic Website
Goal: Showcase our network of educational publishers while utilizing organic traffic to market our resources to K-12 teachers
Role: Scope, Wireframes, Design, Development and QA (aka: all of the above)

Under a very tight deadline (less than 8 weeks), I worked with various product owners to develop a plan that could be executed in time for a high-profile event promoting the HotChalk Education Network. After finalizing the sitemap, content structure and wireframes, the next step was to align the Education Network brand and website design with the newly launched HotChalk brand/website. I wanted to bring it under the HotChalk umbrella but also give it its own unique look and feel. I chose to focus on some of the HotChalk accent colors which I carried throughout the website design. Corporate colors were then used as accent pops of color.

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Once the comps were approved, I worked with the developers and writers to execute the site – this included responsive development so that the site was optimized for mobile users as well as desktop. At the end of the day, we delivered a fully responsive and functional website on time for the event.

mobile-home

Since launch, some of the features of the website have morphed a bit, but you can get an idea of the overall responsiveness and design at www.hotchalkeducationnetwork.com.

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Tradeshow Booth ...

Tradeshow Booth and Materials

Project: Tradeshow Booth and Marketing Materials
Goal: Generate traffic to booth; Lead generation
Role: Design and Production

To help promote nursing programs for our partner, University of Mary, we attended the ANCC National Magnet Conference targeting nursing professionals. In doing so, we needed a booth designed as well as promoted with various marketing materials. We selected a 6 panel design that would highlight the brand as well as connect with the target market.

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We incorporated sponsor signage via cyberstations around the conference as well as on the conference website to encourage attendees to visit the booth and enter to win a trip.

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In addition, we included postcard sized entry cards in the attendee packets along with University of Mary t-shirts encouraging attendees to wear them throughout the conference. These highlighted the University of Mary as well as promoted the giveaway.

free-trip-card-front free-trip-card-back

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There were various promotional kiosks around the event as well where attendees could click through and learn about all of the vendors. On this kiosk, we included a landing page that directed attendees to the booth to learn more about the nursing programs available.

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After the conference was over, we sent a follow-up postcard to the attendees that entered into the sweepstakes again encouraging them to visit the website or call to learn more about the nursing programs available online.

ANCC_Tradeshow_Postcard_front ANCC_Tradeshow_Postcard_back

By keeping the messaging and branding consistent throughout this campaign, we were able to generate traffic to the booth resulting in a higher than expected lead volume.

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Direct Mail Camp...

Direct Mail Campaign – Concordia University

Project: Direct Mail Campaign
Goal: Reach teachers in their classrooms
Role: Design

As part of an integrated direct mail campaign, we partnered with a school supply company to send customized school supplies to school districts along with gift cards and an informational flyer for teachers to learn about our online masters and doctoral programs.

The centerpiece of the package was a customized Dry Erase package that highlights Concordia University – Portland as well as various CTAs. Included with the package was a gift card where they could purchase additional school supplies of their choice.

Concordia Look like pack

Packaged with the Dry Erase markers was a vertical tri-fold flyer folded so that the promotional offer was visible. This flyer also highlighted the same CTA’s as the markers.

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We purchased a custom URL which redirected to a specified landing page for this campaign where teachers could request more information.

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The biggest obstacle with this project was a very short turnaround time. We needed to submit all files for printing to the vendor within two weeks of the contract being signed. I worked with the vendor to ensure that all materials were printed and packaged correctly and on-time.

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HotChalk Partner...

HotChalk Partner Network

Project: B2B Website
Goal: Market HotChalk Partner Network to Charter Schools
Role: Scope, Wireframes, Design, Development and QA (aka: all of the above)

The HotChalk Partnerships team needed a website to be able to establish new Charter School partners and showcase the Universities and degree programs available to partners. Under the HotChalk Partner Network brand and umbrella, I created a design that was both complimentary to the HotChalk brand as well as compelling to the target audience. The website is fully responsive making it accessible to all users.

charter-home

charter-about

mobile-home

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Flashback Camps

Flashback Camps

Project: Cross-channel Marketing Campaign
Goal: Camp Enrollment
Role: Campaign Strategy and Design

Flashback Camps hosted “Fantasy Camps for Grown-up Kids” at various Universities around the country. Over the course of the three-day camp, Flashback participants experienced a weekend of a lifetime. The schedule included fun competitions and drills; talks and autographs from former University players and coaches; private, VIP dinners; a family BBQ; and customized sponsored events. The primary target for these camps were University Alumni and college football fans who wanted to experience what it’s like to play football for their favorite college team.

For this campaign, we took an indirect targeting approach by targeting friends and families of the target market inviting them to purchase this package as a gift for their fathers, husbands, or loved ones. This campaign was promoted in Sports Illustrated as well as through display ads, email, direct mail, and local advertising.

Sports Illustrated Full Page Ad

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Local Advertising:
Posters were hung around campus and events

Print

Postcards were distributed at events and to former registrants

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Email:
Sent to both existing lists and purchased lists

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Display Ads:
Used both on third-party websites as well as for remarketing to website visitors

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Overall, we were able to have a successful number of enrollments for the camp that summer despite 2009 being a very difficult economic year for marketing these types of programs.

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National Auto Club

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National Auto Club

Project: Marketing Collateral
Goal: Organize information in a clear and concise format; Align branding
Role: Layout and Design

The National Automobile Club had been in business for over 80 years but really needed help in developing their marketing and sales collateral presence for potential consumers and businesses. With a pretty minimal printing budget and a LOT of content they wanted to include, I organized the information for two of the B2C marketing pieces into a tri-fold brochure and then the third B2B sales piece into an accordion 4-panel brochure. This limited the printing costs while including the necessary information for the customer.

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By eliminating the bleed on this piece, we were able to minimize the printing costs with the printer.

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In addition to the brochures, I designed and printed a 9×12 folder as well as a smaller takeaway folder with inserts to help support their growing sales staff.

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Once printed, the company had a set of materials to fully support their sales team on both the B2B and B2C sides.

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Qualities

I am the most organized designer you will ever meet. Thankfully it's not my only skill.

Clean Design

My design aesthetic is clean and simple, yet always with the brand and objectives in mind

Flexibility

I have excellent decision-making and process development skills based on quick reaction and recovery when demands change

Leadership

Leading a team of designers has made me a better designer as well as mentor

Meet the Team

Dedication. Creativity. Technical know-how. All in one package.

Testimonials

What others have to say

  • Managers of her caliber are rare and I will definitely miss her.

    Nancy Marx – Senior Designer
  • As Creative Director at HotChalk, she was a fantastic manager and I felt very fortunate to be on her team. She made sure we were challenged and had the resources to learn and grow. Her expertise in web design, digital marketing, coding and blogging set great examples for me to follow.

    Nancy Marx – Senior Designer
  • Laura is perhaps the hardest-working Creative Director I’ve ever worked with, and I’ve worked with a LOT of great CD’s! She’s managed her core team of designers who work on several fronts (SEO/PPC pages, digital/display/social ads, formatted emails, presentations, PDFs, and much, much more), adding her creative guidance, and tracking projects through the lifecycle across a variety of internal and external teams. She meets impossible deadlines. She understands the demands of the Silicon Valley environment. And she gets things done! We’re in awe of her abilities, creative insights, and work ethic.

    James Hyatt – Creative Manager, Copy
  • I have been honored to work with Laura over the past few years. She constantly amazes me with her attention-to-detail, coupled with unending creativity. She truly cares about the success of the company, her team, and the best interests of our clients. She gently encourages us all of us to do our best work and to not settle for anything less. Her work ethic and strong leadership have earned the respect of every person in our company. If you need something done – and done well – your best bet is to ask Laura.

    Heather Forer – Marketing Operations Manager
  • Laura was an excellent resource for programming for Mad Dog Design Inc. She’s intuitive, creative, professional and committed to delivering excellent code every time we hired her (which was a lot until she took her talents to an in house design team). She’s a pleasure to work with and a fantastic asset for any company!

    Michelle Burke, Owner – Mad Dog Design Inc.
  • I have had the great pleasure of working with Laura for the past 3 years. Laura brings an exceptional level of professionalism to the organization. It is her unquestionable level of expertise, combined with her adaptability and her passion for the clients, that help drive our company to success. Laura is a remarkable leader who has effortlessly earned the respect of her team, peers, and superiors alike. She is a true key player, and would be a tremendous asset in any organization.

    Staci Binns, Vice President of Community Development
  • It’s rare that you come across standout talent like Laura. I have had the pleasure of working with Laura for the past 3 years at Hotchalk, collaborating on multiple website designs, digital ads, and multiple landing page optimization projects. Laura’s ability to juggle multiple projects and her attention to detail is unlike any I’ve seen before. Laura is a great person to grab a cup of coffee with and well liked by everyone on her team. As a team member and a leader, Laura earns my highest recommendation.

    Norm Crochetiere, Senior Director of Marketing
  • Laura’s creative thinking, expertise, positive can-do attitude made her an absolute pleasure to work with. If you ever need someone to deliver under pressure, no slip-ups, just results, Laura is your superstar. She would be an excellent addition to any company!

    Virgil Vo, Database Engineer
  • Any organization that Laura chose to join would be extremely lucky to have her.

    David Sals, Director of Development
  • In the nearly four years I’ve worked with Laura Martin, I’ve found her to be someone I can depend on for dedication and results. As a web developer for 18 years, I know how unusual it is to work with a designer who brings to the table not only excellent design skills, but also the ability to clearly and completely communicate her vision, the flexibility to collaborate effectively in a rapidly changing work environment, and the detail orientation to make sure a project is done right from start to finish.

    David Sals, Director of Development

Read more about what Laura is capable of.