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All that concrete made his back hurt. It was time
to align his business as a concrete contractor with his
calling as a concrete artisan. Straightup has a soft spot for
people following their passion, not to mention cool concrete,
and thus a website, a tagline and a messaging framework
were born. The new b Form has all the integrity, know-how
and concrete dust of the old b Form, along with a growing
portfolio of architectural work (captured in digital form by
photographer Robin Bartholick) that showcases the fine
craftsmanship and modern sensibility that designers,
builders and owners appreciate about his work.

In collaboration with MahriaDesign

Can people walk on clouds? How do we breathe?
What makes a light bulb turn on? What if these kinds of
questions didn’t stop with childhood? They don’t — at least
not when kids experience the thrill of discovering the
answers. That’s the premise behind SPARK (Science-
Powered Adventures for Real Kids), a program of the
American Museum of Radio and Electricity (AMRE) designed
to connect kids to science in real and memorable ways.
The need for more and better elementary science education
is urgent; so too is the need for AMRE to raise funds. Both
needs could be met, museum leaders reasoned, by building
on the success of its popular science education program.
Once Straightup helped AMRE assess and prioritize its needs,
the task was to muster the right team (development,
branding and science-ed pros) for a swift but deep branding
and promotion plan aimed at fast, low-dollar, high-impact
solutions. Results? A new name, identity, brochure and
facts package, an iconic new image and next-phase ideas
for when funds become available. We worked so fast,
there’s still time to give! (www.amre.us).

In collaboration with Group C Inc.

The design team toiled for months
with its giant
aerospace client to develop a revolutionary real estate and
workplace strategy aimed at putting the company in top
form for the oncoming knowledge- worker shortage. Their
strategy? Brilliant. The report detailing it? Pretty much a
dud. While intended to inform and inspire the cadre of facility
managers meant to take up the Future of Work baton, the
document barely warranted a skim, much less a study. We
re-imagined the material as a useful “Guide to [their new]
Universe” and redeployed it in a smart new package with
some jazzed up narrative, compelling quotes, great images
and a clear organizational structure. Now? The report
reflects the importance and excitement of its contents and
big changes are taking flight at Big B.

In collaboration with MahriaDesign

Client: “Please make a book

about our values. Make it something more than a
self-promotional vanity piece. Make it inspiring. Make it real.
Make it feel special. Make it worthy of the extraordinary
people and places it features.”

Straightup Communication: “OK!”

That’s the short version. The longer story involves a crack
team of designers, photographers, editors and client
collaborators, long, chocolate-fueled debates about content
structure and editorial nuances; choices regarding paper,
fonts, color and other designerly delights; as well as the
budget and schedule juggling necessary to create
Leadership, Artistry, Hope. This 268-page coffee table book
celebrates the values of a unique development company
whose endeavors defy conventional descriptions.

Client: “We love it!”

In collaboration with Group Inc.

pdf download Download exerpt of book here »

For nearly 50 years, Zervas Group Architects

has quietly been doing what must be done in a town known
fondly as “the city of subdued excitement:” undertaking a
remarkable variety of projects and making them the best
they can be in the face of small budgets and many priorities.
The result? An admirable body of thoughtful work with
lasting presence in a growing community. However, it is
possible ZGA has been a little too quiet, apt to focus more
on doing design than talking about it. And while it is true
that good work speaks for itself, their new website offered
the opportunity to steer the conversation a little. Based on
a branding process led by MB Design, we developed a
focused approach that highlights the many ways the firm
has been shaping the community since 1961.

Design by MB Design

Writing this remarkable story about

building an island-city in Qatar for a Callison partner involved
interviews, background research and synthesis of a variety
of source material, not to mention some serious channeling.

pdf download Download article here »

The mission was to capture the essence

of this deluxe Las Vegas condominium in under 600 words.
The challenge was to do it without visiting the project.

pdf download Download article here »

For an issue devoted to home offices,

this cover story highlights Ben Trogdon Architecture’s
design for a studio addition to Seattle artist Barbara
Wollner’s Madison Park home.

pdf download Download article here »

A naturopath, a business guy and

a communication expert walk into a Thai restaurant. Three
spicy dishes, one straightup gaffe and a few vivid
conversations later, we’d found a lighthearted and thrifty
way to spread the word about one seriously uncomfortable
digestive condition.

Dr. Stephen Wangen specializes in irritable bowel syndrome
(IBS). His book on the topic would debut at the same time
his new IBS clinic, and he needed to get the word out about
both. Needless to say, the budget was stretched pretty thin.
Also true: most people don’t want to hear the term “irritable
bowel,” much less talk about it. The straightup answer?
Make them laugh about it instead. As a complement to a
campaign that included public radio sponsorship spots, a
series of doctor-referral meetings and an open house, we
developed a targeted mailing using historical quotes from
Stephen’s book that could double as the clinic’s calling cards.

Design by Laura Gilbert

Imagine the straightup intrigue when

she asked for some “head o’ the pin” marketing. Imagine the
straightup alarm upon learning she wanted to condense the
organization’s entire reason for being, along with why anyone
should care, on a business card.

Turns out, she wanted to use an expanded business card for
her board members as a vehicle for talking points. Smart!
Board members are key ambassadors, but they often feel
unsure or uncomfortable when touting the organization. The
card gives them a way to more easily discuss the
foundation’s purpose and goals – at a cost only marginally
higher than traditional business cards. Even smarter! Oh what
a happy exercise, turning paragraphs into sentences for the
benefit of a whole community.

Design by Kevin Kelliher

For three years, this 8-page newsletter

was part of firm-wide effort to position Callison as a
business-design leader in key markets. Each issue focused
on a particular sector with a cover trend piece. Inside, the
theme continued with a benchmark project and featured
service, as well as sidebars devoted to tips, lessons-learned
or market insights. The final page was reserved for
company news. As the person formerly known as a senior
member of Callison’s marketing communications team,
straightup conceived, wrote and produced the newsletter
three times a year. Many of the articles formed the basis of
firm white papers, conference presentations and trade
publication articles.

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