Sayles into the sunset

Steve Gaines Creative Director
With the ramp up of Causality I admit I have been out of the loop on news, so I was a little slow on the draw learning today that Sayles Graphic Design of Des Moines, Iowa closed up shop in September. While you may not be familiar with them, their work inspired, and to some extent, influenced me as a designer. I had the privilege of meeting John Sayles and Sheree Clark when they were speakers at a CASSA (Communications Arts Society of San Antonio) event many years ago. As an officer on the CASSA board I met some great design professionals but being able to talk with John was a profound moment for a (much younger) creative professional getting a business off the ground. I found we had a lot in common and saw a design idol as someone who dealt with the same issues that I did.

The economy didn’t sink them. They were still on the top of their game. It appears that John and Sheree had just reached a point where they were looking for something different, something to take them to a next phase in their lives. As someone who has recently wrestled with issues of a greater sense of purpose, I have to salute them for their decision.

However, the designer in me laments their moving on. Good luck John and Sheree.

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Sustainability contradictions

Steve Gaines Creative Director
Last week I was at a trade show where we launched the Causality brand. The theme of the show was sustainability and the audiences were government agencies. Sustainability is something that I am passionate about so when I got the opportunity I strolled through the convention hall to see what the exhibitors were offering. The exhibitors were all over the spectrum, from completely organic cleaning products (I can still recite their sales pitch as if they were right next to us) to a company that produced custom police cruisers that are 40% more fuel-efficient and drive longer without maintenance.

But the thing that I found odd, amusing and sad all at the same time were the small things that seemed to contradict the show’s theme. I lost count of all the booths that just had piles of useless premiums—cheap foam stress balls and other plastic trinkets that were destined for the landfill in the not too distant future. Don’t get me wrong, I think any awareness we can bring to the issue of sustainability is a good thing, but the whole experience showed that in some circles the thought process has not yet come full circle. Even those who had ‘sustainable’ premiums seemed to have them by the truckload. Where was “reduce, reuse, recycle”?

Remember that sustainability goes beyond what recycled paper you may be using or what certifications your materials have. There are a myriad of ways you can maximize your project, thus maximizing your sustainability efforts. A good start would be develop audience profiles, telling a compelling story and building strong brand elements that communicate meaningfully with your audience and increase their commitment to you. These are all things we will expand on in future blog articles.

But enough about that—let me tell you about a great, food grade spray that will get out any odor and you could use as a breath spray in a bind. Really.

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So what’s this all about?

Steve Gaines Creative Director
Hello and welcome to the Causality blog —our ongoing conversation about good work for good people. We started Causality with the belief that our creative and marketing talents are best used helping those who are doing good in the world. We’ve always felt this way—a large portion of our work has always been dedicated to non-profit, educational and governmental clients—but we now realize that it’s the cause-based work that really motivates us.

The signs have always been there to make this leap, but as my wife will point out, I don’t always recognize the obvious signs even if they are flashing in tacky neon in front of me. Many things have contributed to this moment but two things in particular have brought me to this point.

First, my wife Terri (president of Causality) and I adopted two boys from Kazakhstan. The whole process and experience showed me what a difference is needed in the world and that even my small efforts can make a big difference. Our two sons are constant reminders of how we can affect change in a big way and how much more needs to be done. When I look at my boys it always hardens my resolve to help make the world a better place.

Second, is the experience I have gained with age as well as now having a platform from which to affect change. It was difficult to capitalize on the idealism of my youth—what with trying to establish a career, make money, convincing my wife I was funny, not peculiar—all the things that consumes my younger years. Now, after quite some time in the business, I have the confidence to tackle the hard things in life. While always wanting to make a difference, I now feel I have all the tools available to promote change and help others more effectively than I could have a decade ago.

It is not enough to just work and exist. Causality exists to help others and to an extent is therapy for me. It’s just like the line at the bottom of our website says—Do good. Help others. Go home happy.

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