Category Archives: News

Happy Holidays from the Horse & Cart family!

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We wish you a wonderful holiday and a Happy New Year from the Horse & Cart family!

It’s been a fun and eventful year for us at Horse & Cart and we thought what better way to express it than that with a mash up of miscellany.

With no intention of dipping into that dangerous territory called “year in review”, we thought we’d highlight a few. It would be a big year for any company that started with one name, in one office, moved and rebranded. Fortunately, our infrastructure largely constitutes laptop-on-a-table-and-a-chair. We’re also a branding company, so reinventing ourselves as Horse & Cart was squarely in our wheel house. We love this client (Horse & Cart) btw, and they seem to have nothing but glowing things to say!

With the big stuff in play we also had a parade of challenges big, small and enormous including our very first US network TV ad. If there’s one thing we’ve learned, (and it’s the very soul and spirit of Horse & Cart), is that it’s our extended team of colleagues and clients that make the magic happen. None of it would be possible without you, and we tip our hats, hoist our glasses and raise a cheer to you for a fantastic year.

As we look forward to 2015, we hope you all enjoy a warm, wonderful and restful holiday with the people who matter most, and take some time to appreciate yourselves and all your hard work and success.

As a small token of our thanks to everyone in our growing network of clients and partners, we give you this bit of one page love and a little link to our light and lovely holiday card “mini year in review”. We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoyed putting it together.

All the best in 2015!

– The Horse & Cart Family

This year, “say it with socks”

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William is not an Artist, nor a stylist but by watching him, he grabs your attention. Everyone is seduced by his charm. They are impressed by his confidence.

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 10.42.36 AMA few months ago Brendan and I attended UX Camp Ottawa. On the first day we met two incredible designers and entrepreneurs, Francois Boisvert and Sylvain St-Germain, founders of Socks by William. Organizers of the event had commissioned Socks by William to produce custom socks for the event to be gifted to each attendee. They had also set up a booth at the event where they were showcasing their collections.

As luck would have it, Brendan and I had the opportunity to share food and drink with the “men behind the socks” at a funky wood clad bistro-brasserie in Vieux Hull called Gainsbourg. After a few drinks and a few prefunctory “Sock, Sock jokes“,  Francois and Sylvain invited us to share our ideas on how we might help them take their business to the next level. The rest is, as they say…history in the making!

Objective:

Pop up shop December 11th at Java U on Rue McGill.

Pop up shop December 11th at Java U on Rue McGill.

Working in collaboration with our two “Socksperts” our initial mandate was a complete look and feel re-fresh of their Shopify site geared specifically to hit Black Friday and close our 2014 in style. Our Black Friday / Holiday campaign was all about increasing engagement online and off. While working in paraleel on physical and social channels we did deep POS market testing at a lovingly designed pop up shop in Old Montreal and invited the influencer, fashion bloggers and host of prominent sock fans.

 

Challenge:

The challenge for our creative team was to create a visual story different from other sock designers while still adhering to time-honoured industry standards. To start things off, we needed to take Francois’ and Sylvians’ initial inspirations for the ten designs and further develop them into concise but compelling stories. As you’ll see on the site, and beyond the sheer beauty of the designs are the prominent artists behind them and story they tell through their choices of patterns and colour.  The ever popular Tour de France is a great example:

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We designed a series of these graphics (In French and English) for Facebook and Instagram.

In order to accomplish this task we needed to get super creative and then a little bit more. All told, the H&C team spent triple digit hours in the boardroom cultivating and developing ideas.

The next big challenge came with the online shopping experience. We knew we wanted to do something different. We decided to create a continuously scrolling story that drew the user through the – pardon the pun – thread of the collection. With custom photography and a complete content re-fresh, we were able to successfully engage with the consumer through beautifully designed experience of beautifully designed products. And it seemed our work paid off. Within the first week of our launch of the campaign, three of the ten designs were sold out.

Moving into 2015, Socks by William has tasked us to expand their retail program, design new stories around each collection and continue to help grow their online community.

Technology:

Screen Shot 2014-12-18 at 9.29.39 AMWe custom designed and coded a responsive multilingual Shopify theme using original design concepts, photography, and content.

Check it out and tell us what you think.

Delivering the kind of giving experience that we as donors would like to see

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Giving is all about how you feel and the team at Horse & Cart truly encapsulated this and brought it to life. – Jason Dominique, Founder & CEO

At the beginning of this summer, founder and CEO Jason Dominique was ready to create a brand identity and website for his new charity and non-profit platform Ensemble. While Ensemble does not seek to change the way that people donate to charities, it does want to change the way we find causes to donate to.

Objective

To build a brand expression for the company that would breathe life into Ensemble’s marketing materials and website. Once that was completed, our mandate was to roll out the style guide online by building Ensemble a beautiful website that would enable visitors to donate easily to their favourite causes.

Challenge

The challenge for our strategists and designers was to develop a hyper streamlined new way to donate online without actually changing the donation process. This meant keeping it  easy to use for any type of user, while maintaining a high level of trust and security. Read more about this project with the Ensemble case study.

ensemble mobileTechnology

We developed the site using ThemeFortress’s WordPress Reverie theme built on ZURB’s lightweight Foundation framework. Thinking mobile first, we ensured that the site is fully responsive for the ultimate experience on any device or screen. Taking Reverie to the next level we integrated a ton of custom features for end-user management.

Check it out and let us know what you think!

Video of the Week – How Will You Remember?

remembrance_day-1Today marks Canada’s Remembrance Day. Millions of Canadians gathered across Canada to honour and remember the soldiers, sailors, and airmen and women who have served and protected the country. A ceremony is held to honour their bravery and patriotism. This includes the national anthem “O Canada,” the “Last Post” is played to begin the remembrance memorial service, which follows a two-minute silence at 11 a.m., and then speeches to show appreciation to ‘them’.

Remembrance Day marks two significant historical events – World War I that ended on November 11th, 1918 and World War II that ended in September 2nd, 1945. It is also known as Poppy Day, which signifies the red broaches of poppies that are worn by citizens on the left (next to the heart), starting two weeks before Remembrance Day. There is a poem by Maria Andrew that talks about poppies and in one of the sentences it is stated, “Red poppies can glow like bright little lamps,” which symbolizes how we will remember them. Additionally, whoever served in those harsh times, will glow bright today and honor their courageousness and devotion.

Canadian news outlets such as CTV News and the CBC have been live-blogging all day since this morning, where people have been tweeting, posting videos and pictures to acknowledge this memorial service whether or not they knew someone:

One excellent poem that demonstrates the importance of honouring this day was written by Moira Michael in November, 1918. Her words are vividly beautiful and poetical to the point that you feel the intensity of her emotions crawling out of the words.

We Shall Keep the Faith

“Oh! You who sleep in Flanders Fields,

Sleep sweet – to rise anew!
We caught the torch you threw
And holding high, we keep the Faith
With All who died.

We cherish, too, the poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led;
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies,
But lends a lustre to the red
Of the flower that blooms above the dead
In Flanders Fields.

And now the Torch and Poppy Red
We wear in honor of our dead.
Fear not that ye have died for naught;
We’ll teach the lesson that ye wrought
In Flanders Fields.”

Source: http://www.greatwar.co.uk/poems/moina-michael-we-shall-keep-faith.htm

“Lest We Forget”- Let’s stand in silence and remember how our armed forces have served the country during times of war.

There’s No Such Thing As Bad Publicity With #TechnologyNStuff

#TechnologyNStuffUnless you’re a fan, or there’s yet another scandal regarding performance enhancing drugs, baseball doesn’t tend to make a blip on most of our radars. And yet, the World Series reached 13.4M viewers in 2014 (yes, about 1/10th of the Super Bowl, but the numbers are still nothing to sneeze at).

Instead of the usual advertising song and dance, Chevy decides to do something special that will garner more attention and create great PR. At game 7 of the World Series in Kansas City, MO the Kansas City zone manager, Rikk Wilde, presented the MVP winner Madison Bumgarner of the San Francisco Giants with his very own Chevy Colorado truck.

And how does Wilde do?

He totally messes up! He stumbles right through, he looks like he’s going to have a nervous breakdown or a heart attack. The people on screen with him look nervous for him (with the exception of the guy fixing his hair). It’s a right mess. While trying to explain the virtues of the 2015 Chevy Colorado, he ditches his script and explains live on television at the championships of the World Series that this truck has “technology and stuff” such as wifi, etc. Technlogy and stuff, huh? How exciting! #TechnologyNStuff

And yet, Chevy takes it on and turns it around! The same night #TechnologyNStuff starts trending, they own it with this beautiful tweet:

Kudos on Chevy for owning it, and for their community manager for getting it together to spin it in such a positive way. Chevy was getting a bum rap online until they decided to own this hashtag.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you recover from a potential PR fail.

Personalized Treatment Options With Dr. Nikolis

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My philosophy revolves around providing my patients with the best possible result.  – Dr. Andreas Nikolis

facilities-bgA few months ago, Jeff Hart partner at Victoria Park, reached out to us to help him build an online brand for renowned plastic surgeon Dr. Andreas Nikolis who has a treatment centre at Victoria Park.

With this project we had the opportunity to build the good doctor’s brand from the ground up: identity, story, design, photography, etc., and put some of our new team member’s skills to the test. One of the best parts of this project for us was having almost total creative control over the design of the website that included an on-site shoot to creative direct the photography for the site – and the results speak for themselves! If you subscribe to our newsletter you’ll be familiar with this month’s issue where we discussed the importance of good photography. Images that are custom-tailored to a web experience will be worth a thousand more words than stock.

When we collaborate with our clients to produce custom stock for web, print, or any experience, the story is far more beautiful and intriguing. With Dr. Nikolis we were lucky to have this opportunity.

Objective:

Working in collaboration with Jeff Hart, Leisha MacDonald (Marketing Director at Victoria Park) and Dr. Andreas Nikolis, we were tasked with building Dr. Nikolis a modern and interactive Web site consistent with his  brand identity with strong SEO and client engagement. In the words of Dr. Nikolis “Make it modern and reflective of the caring and high quality of services we offer”.

Challenge:

The challenge for our creative team was to create a visual story from the ground up that was different from every other treatment center or medispa. We needed to ensure that it was clear that they deliver highly personalized treatments. We also had to ensure there was a level education on the topic(s) to build trust with potential clients. We knew we wanted to incorporate big, bold imagery, custom photography, and modern typography to help tell this story.

Technology:

Screen Shot 2014-10-16 at 12.11.13 PMWe developed the site using ThemeFortress’s WordPress Reverie theme built on ZURB’s lightweight Foundation framework. Thinking mobile first, we ensured that the site is fully responsive for the ultimate experience on any device or screen. Taking Reverie to the next level we integrated a ton of custom features for end-user management.

Check it out and tell us what you think.

Find Your Fit with U.N.I. Training Montreal

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No matter your fitness level, whatever your goal, let your fitness needs become your fitness advantage.

facility_1_fullA few months ago Chris Ince, president and owner, of U.N.I. Training Montreal contacted us about helping him re-fresh his current (at the time) website to better tell his “gym”s unique story. U.N.I. is not your run of the mill gym, their unique philosophy and beautiful facilities demanded something better. We didn’t want to just build another “gym” website, we wanted to create something for Chris that truly illustrated the expertise of his staff, their fitness philosophy, and showcased their inspiring facilities.

Objective:

Working in collaboration with president and owner Chris Ince we were tasked with designing, developing, and copywriting a new web portal for U.N.I. Training Montreal. The goal was to build something as unique as their story and help them find new members.

Challenge:

The challenge for our creative team was to create a visual story different from other fitness centers online, but still adhere to industry standards without confusing potential clients. We needed to ensure that their message of fitness was clear. We knew we wanted big, bold imagery of their facilities to help tell this story accompanied by a brand story that still resonates with fitness goers.

Technology:

Screen Shot 2014-09-08 at 9.11.10 PMWe developed the site using ThemeFortress’s WordPress Reverie theme built on ZURB’s lightweight Foundation framework. Thinking mobile first, we ensured that the site is fully responsive for the ultimate experience on any device or screen. Taking Reverie to the next level we integrated a ton of custom features for end-user management.

Check it out and tell us what you think.