Happy Anniversary to us!

Well how about that! MacDonald Creative, or MDC as we call ourselves now, has just turned 5! Who’d have thought that from our humble beginnings, Rod and I would be working together 18 years later!

I met Rod in 1994 when I showed up as a fresh-out-of-school keener for an “info interview” at Robertson Pick Advertising, where he was working as the copywriter. Don’t laugh, but this photo pretty much says it all. Black suit, black sports car (brand-new-to-me Turbo Eagle Talon, oh yeah baby!), degree in hand. Apparently Rod liked me right away, so as soon as a junior position became available, he vouched for me, and low and behold, I had my first real job.

Years went by, I left to work in other companies and other industries, and Rod stayed on, working his way up internally to Creative Director until I showed up again in 2004 as Production Manager after the birth of my first child.

Rod and I always knew we’d work together again, so another child and another job later, we were both exploring new opportunities, so we met over Fish & Chips at Granville Island and sealed the deal to start our own creative services firm. Two days later, we had a registered business name. Two weeks later, we had work! Two months later, we had a recession (oh ya, Sept. 2008…great time to start a business!). Thankfully, we were engaged by a few clients who weren’t affected as badly by the recession and we made it through our first year.

Over the past five years, we’ve worked with many of Vancouver’s top real estate developers (Polygon, Delta Land, Concord Pacific, Led Mac, to name a few), with some other industries thrown in for variety.

It’s been a great partnership. Our costs remain low because we’re both minimalists and hire the best suppliers for each job and nothing more. We don’t have anything to fight about, because our skill sets aren’t duplicated, so we respect each other’s work and opinions.

Time flies when you’re having fun, and this past 5 years has flown by. Thanks to our clients, all our great supplier friends, and of course to you, Rod. We look forward to continuing to provide “Marketing, Design and Creative” for years to come!

Attention to detail

Although it hasn’t opened yet, we thought we’d share some snapshots of our team at work installing displays for Polygon’s Lakeside neighbourhood within their Sunstone community in North Delta.

We’re pleased to work with Polygon, BC’s most successful multi-family home builder, and to have the opportunity to show you the kind of attention to detail we bring to every one of our projects.

MDC sometimes gets pigeon holed – oh they’re the ad guys, they just do brochures, or they just do web – when in fact we cover the full creative services spectrum, including signage and presentation centre displays like this one.

We’ve been in the business for 20+ years and in that time we’ve learned how to keep projects on time and on budget, and looking good too 😉


The "new" Rosewood Hotel Georgia

By Rod MacDonald

One of our current clients is the Private Residences at the Hotel Georgia. That’s the tall tower under construction behind the refurbished Rosewood Hotel Georgia. People who purchase a private residence will have special access to the hotel’s amenities – housekeeping, catering, the pool and spa. So it was with great delight that Wendy and I took a tour of the Rosewood Hotel to see what our purchasers will get to experience.

Street-side, the Hotel Georgia neon sign is back in place on the corner of Georgia and Howe. The porte cochere is still sporting construction scaffolding but looks close to completion. Enter the hotel lobby and your are met with contemporary and classical surroundings – dark wood panelling, large modern art pieces, thick rich carpeting and warm welcoming staff.

Wendy and I were somewhat overwhelmed by the ceiling height and appreciated the staff direction away from the Prohibition Lounge, which is not open yet, and upstairs to the ballroom, swimming pool and outdoor lounge. It reminded me of the Standard Hotel in Los Angeles, which is anything but standard 😉
The outdoor lounge is called Reflections and offers light fare and specialty cocktails. Water features, a central fire pit and oversized teak couches create a comfortable California urban oasis vibe.

Beside Reflections is an absolutely pristine lap pool. If you’d been there with us you could have had it all to yourself. Around the corner is Sense, a Rosewood spa.

Back downstairs in the main lobby we were told that Hawksworth Restaurant is up and running and the hotel itself is not booked to capacity. Our host suggested not everyone knows it is open. So we are doing our part: The Rosewood Hotel Georgia is open! Drop in for a tour anytime. We think you’ll be impressed.


Solara – One of Canada’s First Renewable Energy Communities Opens to the Public

By Rod MacDonald – photos by Wendy Riches

12 noon Saturday October 10 marked the Grand Opening of Solara, a remarkably innovative, renewable energy community in Chilliwack BC. We were hired to augment Bangarang Communications and Oasis Realty, and to ensure that Solara launched on time despite an extremely tight deadline. We’re talking seven weeks start to finish when we’d typically recommend no fewer than 12.

I provided the project name and positioning line for branding, and copy for the brochure, inserts, sales centre, website, Dmail, advertising etc. Wendy did the heavy lifting. She began by providing a crucial critical path listing all the things that had to happen in order to make the deadline – who was responsible for what, when. Then she organized the Grand Opening event, bringing in caterers, live music and giveaways.

Sure enough, Solara’s Grand Opening event was a huge success. Realtors, builders and buyers rubbed shoulders with folks from CHBA-BC, the Chilliwack Chamber of Commerce, and Barry Penner, the British Columbia government’s Minister of the Environment. Mr Penner, along with environmental equipment suppliers and CHBA-BC’s Built Green representative, was drawn to Solara because it is one of Canada’s first renewable energy communities. The goal is to have every Solara home become a Net-Zero home, meaning annual energy consumption and carbon emissions will add up to zero.

The key component is Oasis Powerhouse technology, a three-pack of solar, wind and geothermal equipment that can reduce monthly energy bills to next to nothing.

Each home will have solar photo-voltaic panels that convert sunlight into electricity, a closed-loop geothermal or solar-thermal system that provides heating and cooling, and a wind turbine that converts wind energy to electricity.

If you’d like to take a look for yourself, all this equipment is up and running at Solara. You can learn more about Solara by visiting the website: http://www.solarahomes.ca/

If you’re interested in innovative housing, here’s a link to a big competition with an entry from Simon Fraser University. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/12/solar-decathlon-the-compe_n_314790.html?slidenumber=8

The great signage debate

By Rod MacDonald

Strolling through my neighbourhood the other day I saw a sign for a recently completed high-rise condo project and was immediately reminded of the great signage debate we sometimes have with clients and designers.
Designers want everything small. Clients want everything large.
In particular, clients want contact info large: phone, Email, URL. And let’s not forget their logo. Designers, on the other hand, want less copy and smaller type so the project logo can float in a sea of negative space.
I take the middle ground, telling clients that people read what they find interesting no matter the size, and asking designers to use a consistent and legible typeface.
Most real estate marketing signage is obtrusive and shouty, sending the wrong message about quality, value and attention to detail.
But in this case a designer’s sensibililities prevailed.
The sign tucks into the permanent fencing and presents the name of the project. That alone is enough to tell me homes are for sale. And sure enough, in the lower left corner it reads:
2 Bedroom Suites (some with dens)
Penthouses with Rooftop Terraces
No prices, sizes, phone or Email. But when I got home I Googled “coco spruce” and bingo, there was the project’s website, at the top of the list, with all the info I wanted. Except prices. So I had to call the sales staff 😉
And at that point I became low-hanging fruit, ripe for picking.