Category Archives: Vanguard Direct News

2014 Vanguard Direct Scavenger Hunt

Another year, another Scavenger Hunt!

Vanguard Direct’s yearly celebration of New York City went off without a hitch! On October 23, fourteen teams embarked on the fourth annual VanScavenger Hunt.

This year’s hunt put a twist on the normal look and find employees have come to expect. Teams found an envelope with 16 clues, all ranked with points. They also found a list of extra items they could find on the hunt for additional points. Limited to a 2.5-hour time span, whoever came back on time with the most points won!

Once the clues were solved, a theme revealed itself. The hunters were going to some of the most haunted places in New York City! Running from the Chelsea Hotel to the Fraunces Tavern and everything in between, the game was on!

Check out some of the best photos from the Hunt, including some classic pictures from the Halloween Costume Contest on our Facebook page!

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10152497355740765.1073741830.250432275764&type=1&l=922debf572

Author: Zack Smith

Vanguard Direct’s Story Behind Your Story

You read all about how this iBook® app came about in the last Utterly Orange blog. Will Lovell told you the process, described his inspiration for the characters and told you more of “the story behind the story.”

My post talks more about why I wanted us to do this. My strategy was to inspire a team of creatives to put their best efforts into creating and publishing an app/iBook, within the limitations of authoring tools available, and to dream up new ways to enhance these limitations. My goal was to give our company the tools and abilities to make this new business offering in a creative, strategic, cost-effective and efficient way.

From years of working with this team I knew if they were unleashed their creative energies would be powerful. I think I can say I was right on all counts. The iBook Orange is My Favorite Color is eye-catching and innovative, going beyond the authoring tools available and placing Vanguard Direct right in the thick of things in a competitive market.

Our diversity of in-house abilities makes us a powerhouse. I can easily foresee ways in which these effective communication vehicles can enhance the marketing and informational needs of our large client base—delivering positive results with fast turnaround, on a budget our clients will appreciate.

This app/iBook has been an endeavor of love… a passion project, so to speak. I am so proud of my team. Now I’d like you to see results. I urge you to download the iBook and enjoy it on your iPad. Give us a review and be honest—let me know what you think. We are doing a very active social media campaign; you should visit Hamlin’s Facebook page regularly to learn about special events such as podcasts. There will be many upcoming events and, if there’s a demand, further stories.

Author: Vanguard Direct Creative Services

From Pen to iPad

Hamlin, the main character of Orange is My Favorite Color, was born out of our department’s desire to create a publishing app. We knew we could learn the software; we just weren’t sure what to write about. Ultimately, we decided to do something simple: a children’s book. Orange is My Favorite Color is a delightful story for children of all ages. It’s funny, relatable and comes with a dose of moral teaching — “be careful what you wish for.” It won’t take anyone long to see that the inspiration came from the old King Midas tale.

One of the important considerations of the design was its simplicity. We knew we were not trying to compete with Disney and their high-polished character renderings. We wanted our illustrations to have the old-timey, throwback feel of the cartoons we all knew as kids (think of the old comic strip Peanuts, for example) but with some 21st century flair. Hamlin’s attire, tie and button-down shirt, is a playful nod to Vanguard’s corporate identity (not to mention his affinity for the color orange which also ties in to Vanguard’s brand). The execution of the illustrations was fairly basic: pen and ink drawings were scanned in and layers of color and other images were added using photoshop. Texture and collage techniques were incorporated into the illustrations on several pages. Once the artwork was established, it went into iBooks Author for layout.

Another goal of ours was implementing interactive features to give the reader a more satisfactory user experience. Not only did we push the software to its limits, we found third-party plug-ins to create the desired effects for several pages. Overall, I’d say it was a pretty good job for a first attempt at digital publishing.

Vanguard Direct: Smarter Solutions, Better Results

In Orange is My Favorite Color, Hamlin changed the world with his story. Now, we want to bring your story to life! Our team’s creative process can present your message in the same compelling, engaging and forward-looking way. Vanguard Direct stands ready to work with you, customizing the digital distribution experience to help you grow your business and achieve your goals.

Orange has now officially launched and may be downloaded for free from the iBooks store from the link shown below.

For a look under the hood and behind the curtain, we hope you’ll also enjoy the following video about the evolution of the character Hamlin and his own colorful story.

And, don’t forget to download and enjoy the free iBook at: http://bit.ly/1Bycdic

Author: Vanguard Direct Creative Services

Orange is My Favorite Color — The Story Behind the Story

Orange is My Favorite Color is Vanguard Direct’s first foray into digital iBook® publishing. This delightful short story introduces Hamlin, a little boy who remade the world in a new way – his way. With the assistance of a magic wishing frog, he colored the whole world orange – exactly how he wanted it! – until he came to realize that an entirely orange world has its drawbacks, too.

But the story of Hamlin actually begins long before this iBook® came to be.

Let us tell you our story about Hamlin’s story.

As an industry leader in print communication, Vanguard Direct is known for providing smarter solutions and better results, and with mobile apps and digital publishing rapidly becoming the predominant vehicles for content delivery, we were determined to get ahead of that curve as well.

Three years ago, iBooks® were expected to become the primary growth catalyst propelling Apple’s iTunes Store to $13 billion in revenues during its 2013 fiscal year. Anticipating this paradigm shift, our Director of Creative Services, Kevin Green, challenged our leading Digital Producer, Antonio Lopez, along with the entire Creative team, to author an iPad-friendly digital publication within six weeks. The goal would be twofold: to demonstrate Vanguard Direct’s rapid mastery of eye-catching dynamic graphics and interactive features available only within the digital publishing realm – and to create an entertaining narrative that would amuse children and adults alike.

Initially, the team selected Adobe’s Digital Publishing Suite (DPS) as the best and swiftest route to a professional-quality production draft. Then we pulled in our staff to develop a suitable project that met the agreed-upon criteria. Ultimately, we agreed that a children’s book could exploit all of the interactive features supported by DPS, and we set out to write one.

Will Lovell, Designer, had recently become a father himself. Inspired by the legend of King Midas, he had written his own take on the Golden Touch story to entertain his young daughter. For our version, Will created the young protagonist, Hamlin, who was granted a wish to change everything he touched to the color orange. (Perhaps owing to Vanguard Direct’s own attachment to that color, we were all particularly enamored of the concept.)

Once the characters were developed and the storyline was nailed down, it was time to produce. This interactive app would require the entire team to push their creative talents to the limit. Every available skill and aptitude was pressed into service, in such disciplines as content development, writing, illustration, storyboarding, layout, design, video editing, voice narration, sound editing, HTML coding, project management – all these and more were put to the test.

Orange Interrupted                      

Incredibly enough, while the app was being completed, Adobe and Apple stymied the whole endeavor when they abruptly changed their terms regarding the DPS distribution channel for non-profit projects.

To counteract, the team quickly mastered a new software tool in record time. While iBook Publisher provides a less robust authoring toolbox than DPS, it just took a little clever back-end coding by the team to work around its obstacles. As a result, the iBook version of Orange is My Favorite Color represents a substantial improvement over the original DPS draft! With its assortment of simple animations, pictures that change colors as you swipe, and embedded audio/video, the final experience is far more interactive and engaging than most typical iBook offerings. It stands out as a stellar example of how the limitations of the format can be overcome and surpassed. 

Vanguard Direct: Smarter Solutions, Better Results

In Orange is My Favorite Color, Hamlin changed the world with his story. Now, we want to bring your story to life! Our team’s creative process can present your message in the same compelling, engaging and forward-looking way. Vanguard Direct stands ready to work with you, customizing the digital distribution experience to help you grow your business and achieve your goals.

Orange has now officially launched and may be downloaded for free from the iBooks store from the link shown below.

For a look under the hood and behind the curtain, we hope you’ll also enjoy the following video about the evolution of the character Hamlin and his own colorful story:

And, don’t forget to download and enjoy the free iBook at:

http://bit.ly/1Bycdic

Author: Vanguard Direct Creative Services

Vanguard Direct Participated in the New Jersey Warrior Dash

On Saturday, August 2, more than 30 Vanguard Direct employees took it upon themselves to participate in the ultimate challenge, the New Jersey Warrior Dash. Following the course through fields, forrest, and rivers was the easy part. Along the way, runners were also confronted with a series of obstacles, including mud pits, cargo nets, barricades and army crawls. Warrior Dash is a national year-round event to help support St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. To learn more about Warrior Dash, visit www.warriordash.com

Author: Zack Smith

Mayor Bill de Blasio in Vanguard Direct Apparel

Mayor Bill de Blasio

The NYC Department of Consumer Affairs and New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio‘s office turned to Vanguard Direct to facilitate a new paid sick leave law.

On July 16, 2014, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio and 200 volunteers donned yellow t-shirts and handed out palm cards to promote the city’s new law. Under this law, those who work more than eighty hours a year may earn up to forty hours of sick leave to use on him or herself or to take care of a family member. Specifics were provided in 500,000 palm cards printed by Vanguard Direct. These cards were married with other products, including t-shirts, posters, ponchos, staplers and buttons.

The cards were printed on thirty percent post consumer recycled paper at a union shop. Afterward, 340,000 cards were shipped to six locations throughout the five boroughs. All informational material shipped was handed out the morning of July 16th.  To support the campaign, Vanguard Direct rushed over 75,000 of the 160,000 cards still located in its New Jersey warehouse. Volunteers received the material before it came time for the afternoon rush.

“Our sincere thanks to Vanguard Direct for your tremendous assistance with the City’s “Paid Sick Leave Day” … from the beautiful palm cards to T-shirts, buttons, posters, and rain ponchos (not to mention timely delivery of same), and for coordinating with us today to get even more materials to the public.” – Debra R. Halpin, NYC DCA

Workers may begin using this sick leave time on July 30, 2014.

Author: Jacyln Saumell

National EMS Week 2014

Once again, Vanguard Direct will be a part of your daily routine. The next time you are passing by a phone kiosk a new promotion for National EMS Week will be sure to catch your eye.

Assembling the Pieces

Created by Vittoria Semproni, the project was a fairly quick turnaround.

Semproni said there were two original directions discussed with the Fire Department of New York City for the phone kiosk and smaller poster. Both included the elements of EMTs demonstrating how they bring a person back to life, an electrocardiogram and the FDNY’s new ambulance.  The difference resided in whether or not to place a Manhattan location in the background.

Originally, various images for the posters were taken by the FDNY and sent to VGD. These images were integrated into a number of mock-up posters before being presented to the client. After a modified concept was agreed upon, the FDNY conducted a final photo-shoot and sent the results to VGD. The final poster is pictured below.

EMS Poster 2014

Pictured above are EMTs David Weissman and Elvis Velez as well as Paramedic Jessica DeResto. The poster was unveiled on May 1, 2014. Terranova said the pictured EMS veterans have a combined 54 years of experience.

FDNY EMS Division Chief Rosario Terranova worked with Vanguard on the project. He said, through a series of brainstorming sessions, through “a lot of handholding and really a lot of assistance,” Vanguard Direct and the FDNY were able to create a campaign that celebrates the work of current employees as well as helps recruit prospective applicants.

Off to the Printer 

After Semproni finished the design, it was sent to Cari Frederico. Frederico said she then sent the design off-site to two separate plants. The products were sent back to Vanguard for a last look. Soon after, it was sent to the posting company to be shipped throughout the five boroughs.

The entire process took about ten days, Frederico said.

10 Years in the Making

But this poster was not Vanguard Direct’s first encounter with the FDNY.

Director of Creative Services, Kevin Green, said Vanguard Direct had worked with the FDNY to design and print various projects. However, the FDNY had designed their campaigns internally prior to the 2013 EMS Week Poster.

Due to the relationship going back almost a decade, Terranova said VGD was their first call.

While the FDNY had concepts and general ideas for the poster, they were not fully equipped at the time to turn it into reality, said Terranova.  He then explained how the FDNY came to Vanguard at the “11th hour” last year and were so happy with the results that they immediately chose VGD again for this campaign. The 2013 poster is pictured to the below.

2013 EMS Poster

The EMTs pictured above were 2013 EMS Academy graduates Jennifer Banegas, Kahmil Garcia, Stacie Miller and Jose Vargas.

Green said an estimated 2 to 2.5 million people in New York City saw the poster during its 3-month shelf life. One can expect this year’s poster to have similar public approval.

Past and Present

“This one I think is better in telling their story – last year was more exciting,” said Green.

He also said the 2014 poster demonstrated that EMS has people who are expertly trained to take care of your life, while the 2013 poster showed that there is an army of people ready taking care of your health.

Terranova said he could not be happier with this year’s campaign and Vanguard Direct overall.

Keep your eyes open for the poster! It will be displayed in more than 300 locations throughout Manhattan.

Author: Jaclyn Saumell