I've been working on a long-overdue update of my web site. In the meantime, for those of you who care, here are some of the projects I've recently completed:
- All new content for the Children's Fairyland web site. Fairyland is that rare thing: a relevant anachronism. It opened in 1950 on the shores of Oakland's Lake Merritt as a storybook theme park for young children, and for 57 years has successfully resisted the lure of thrill rides, arcade games, and corporate sponsorship. (Walt Disney visited the park the year it opened and copied many of its features when he created Disneyland.) At Fairyland, admission is only $6 and everything is kid-scale and kid-friendly. It has no roller coasters, but it does have a little library hut and the oldest continuously operating puppet theater in the United States. It has a children's theater program, a pair of rabbits, a llama, and an elderly pony. And it has lots of stuff that adults find corny and little kids absolutely adore--like Magic Keys that operate talking Storybook Boxes and a big elf statue that blows bubbles. Little kids love those bubbles. Fairyland is a wonderful place to visit, but its web site wasn't. It was awkwardly written and confusing to navigate, and it didn't convey the spirit of the place. So I set about creating a new voice, stories, and site architecture. I interviewed more than a dozen people involved with Fairyland, from 79-year-old puppetmaster Lewis Mahlmann, who's worked with the park for 40 years, to 9-year-old Anthony Sung, who played a flying monkey in Fairyland's 2005 production of "The Wizard of Oz." And I spent lots and lots of time with C.J. Hirschfield, Fairyland's dedicated and inspirational executive director. Then I persuaded my friend Susan Bercu, a gifted designer and illustrator, to create templates for the site design. Susan used to teach preschool; she really got the spirit of Fairyland. But I'm biased. See for yourself.
- A new name for a Silicon Valley restart-up (formerly Connex Technology): BrightScale. The company makes the chip arrays that make high-definition TV look good across a range of international standards. The new name plays on the optical term gray scale, a black-to-white spectrum. This was my third naming project with CEO Dave Corbin--he gets around--and as usual, he was a dream client: clear, attentive, and decisive. The BrightScale.com URL was taken but not developed; I helped negotiate a smooth domain transfer. My deep gratitude to genius graphic designer Mark Landkamer, who brought the identity and web site to life.
- Name development for TRIA, the first clinically proven laser hair-removal device for home use. Trademarked as both a medical device and a beauty product, the name had to suggest skin beauty, femininity, strength, freedom, modernity, elegance, and light. The coined word TRIA (pronunced TREE-ah) combines a crisp, efficient-sounding consonant blend with an open, feminine suffix; the word suggests "trim" and "ray" and also hints at the three-point contact area of the device. I also consulted on the tagline, "The Enlightened Solution," and on the URL, TriaBeauty.com.
- Web content for Central Station, a multifaceted new real estate development on the site of a historic West Oakland railroad terminal. My client was Holliday Development, which has worked for years with community and government groups to move the development forward. I wrote all content, including descriptions of projects being developed by companies other than Holliday. Very nice site design by LStudio.
- Name development for New Routes to Community Health, a nonprofit venture that creates multimedia programs to encourage new U.S. immigrants to improve their health status. Among other constraints, the new name couldn't use the words "immigrant," "assimilation," or "new American." I worked with a client team spread across three time zones and presented the names via conference call. The chosen name connects strongly to the team's previous successful project, Sound Partners for Community Health, while also suggesting the immigrant journey and--through homophonic association--the "new roots" immigrants are putting down in their adopted homeland.
More news after it happens.