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What inspires us, what sticks in our heads, what keeps us moving forward. We reflect on who we are, what we do, and why we do it.

2019 – Year in Review

BY Susan Yates

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Every year at Pulsar brings new opportunities to explore our creativity, expand into new territory and energize our client’s growth. We asked our team what stood out to them over the course of the last year – and here are some of the highlights!

One of Account Executive Camille Montanez’s favorite projects of 2019 was the branding of the upcoming Richmond Highway Bus Rapid Transit System (BRT). “Our assignment was to develop the brand of what the BRT will be, by creating a name, logo and overall sensibility. It has been a long and challenging process with dozens of meetings and workshops that I personally find very interesting. It amuses me how all minds are different, how they can see so many things within one simple name, and how their opinions can change from looking at only a name, versus an actual logo, or even more when they see a full design extension of it! It has been a professional milestone of growth for me and I can’t wait to see the final result.”

Intern Lauren Ottaviano enjoyed her work on this project too. “I love getting the hands-on experience of going to meetings and hearing what the client has to say. Recently, we’ve been going to Brand Development team meetings, where we present potential logo designs to a committee, and get their opinions on them. The process has been so fascinating in terms of hearing reactions to creative elements, especially the thoughts and opinions that the committee participants come up with because we get to hear so many outside perspectives.”

Two other Pulsar people reflected on our work preventing opioid addiction in Southern California beach cities. President and Executive Creative Director Alberto Gonzalez pointed to our efforts in “engaging a key population, white males 40–60. As we tested message positions that resonate with these audiences and realized that anyone can become dependent on opioids after as little as five days of taking them, you can’t help but be impacted by that. It was meaningful to help these audiences realize that they can take a more active role with their doctors in determining whether opioids are right or wrong for them.”

Account Supervisor Lisa Wharton shared that she’s “grateful to be working on such an important initiative. Diving into the data, history, news and personal stories of the opioid epidemic has been eye-opening. It is rewarding to play a part in crafting these campaigns that will not only create more awareness and understanding of the issue, but also serve as a piece of the puzzle to help reduce deaths caused by prescription opioids.”

For Associate Creative Director Morgan Daniels, this year was an especially challenging one. “The nature of quite a few projects that came in this year had a lot of approval by committee. This made our normal processes a bit trickier, as we had to help our clients maneuver around internal arguments and differing opinions on which directions to choose. So that made it an interesting year as we worked through more committees than ever before.”

2019 was a great year not only for new projects but also for new directions in learning. Assistant Account Executive Alicia Giardina’s favorite project this year was working on the Maryland P3 website. “I’m new to WordPress, website coding and website development, so it was great to add some skills! It’s also really interesting to dive into website analytics to see what pages do well and why.”

Account Supervisor Megan Nunn also pointed to the P3 project as a personal highlight. “This year was filled with many fun and challenging projects! One of my favorite assignments was developing a unique brand for the I-495 & I-270 P3 Program. This brand needed to engage our target audiences and build support for this Program. This was especially difficult as no P3 programs have ever been branded prior to a project being defined before. We developed and presented over 100 names. It was a great learning process where we fully utilized research to back our decisions and worked with many stakeholders for approvals. Through multiple brainstorming sessions and branding workshops, we finally landed on an exciting new brand name!”

For Junior Graphic Designer Leah Press, “this year meant was a lot of growth. It brought me the chance to take ownership of projects like the Arlington Car-Free Diet Brochure. I enjoyed working with the Creative Directors to fine-tune and finesse my work on this challenging project. They helped me build upon my technical design skills and also learn new visual and technical skills. Overall, 2019 has been a year of invaluable experience. I am excited to jump into 2020 and put this year’s growth to use.”

Account Supervisor Susan Yates jumped into a new effort to research and test messages that will help recruit new police officers. “Getting to talk to recent recruits and find out what drew them to the job has been fascinating, and new technologies in message testing are really exciting – we’ll be able to fine-tune a campaign that really helps move the needle. I can’t wait to see which of the messages we’re working on will rise to the top!”

While Pulsar is able to put much of our work out for direct view, there’s also a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes in our agency that helps account and creative teams work efficiently and effectively. For Creative Studio Manager Alex Herrmann, satisfaction came from foundational work getting the agency set up on new e-mail communication platforms, moving our creative file storage to the cloud and hiring our new remote IT provider. “I feel it’s important to upgrade our processes from time to time to ensure we are able to keep up with the increasing demand from our clients and partners.”

We thank all of the clients and partners who worked with us to make 2019 such a memorable year…and we look forward to making 2020 even better!