Every year, Hume Lake publishes a catalog for its various adult retreats and conferences, and every year was a struggle to exhibit these different events in a single, clear, fresh package. As we shot a cover photo with models Ben and Echo, we noticed her multi-colored scarf…
The Challenge: The Hume Lake Adult & Family conference schedule brochure didn’t exist until 2006. Before that point, it was brochures. Thirty-five, to be exact. One for every unique program.
Why? Because every leader had their pet event: a women’s spring retreat, a fall pastors’ weekend, a getaway for twentysomething singles. Each worried that their program would be lost in a single booklet. Meanwhile, as Design Director, I’d been tasked with improving brand equity as a whole—not a single weekend event, but the overall Hume experience. I went round and round with leadership trying to convince them that a single catalog, highlighting a year’s worth of programs under Hume’s “Restore, Renew, and Refresh” brand, was the ideal approach.
They weren’t quite convinced. I had my work cut out for me.
The Solution: Good design is never about a single element—the perfect font, a heroic photo, a color template—but about how those elements combine to tell a story. That’s what I kept thinking as I stared at the blank white screen of my InDesign catalog template. How could I package all these pieces into a consistent whole?
That’s when I remembered Echo’s scarf: color upon vibrant color in a gorgeous fabric print. I asked her to return to the studio with her scarf, and we laid it out flat for a quick product shoot. And suddenly we had something thematic—and beautiful—to tie the catalog together, a visual metaphor to elevate all 35 small programs into the larger “fabric” of the Hume experience.
The Result: The 2006 Hume catalog evolved through a combination of intentional planning (showcasing multiple programs under the single Hume brand) and unexpected whimsy (the metaphorical scarf) to result in a highly successful piece. Not only were we able to keep individual events and weekends from getting “lost” in the larger publication, but we actually elevated them to the point that Hume faithful discovered events they didn’t even know existed.
I’d like to say every design success arises entirely from strategy and hard work. But occasionally creativity arrives in the moment, carried more by serendipity than anything else. Like when your model happens to be wearing an awesome scarf.