Marketing & Design Portfolio

Astor Chocolate Website Concepts

Astor Chocolate Corp., 2014 - Present (Marketing Manager: Steve Boldt)

Astor Chocolate Main Website Concept on Apple Cinema Display.

How successful can a website be without beautiful imagery and Seo friendly content? The new features beautifully detailed background images that expand and contract to fit the browser window. However, content is just as important. A professional copywriter was contracted to ensure top search engine results as well as the delivery of quality messaging. Astor Chocolate’s new website is also web standards compliant. Using the latest Html 5 and Css technology, the new website reflects Astor’s new brand aesthetic, feature a brand new shopping cart (Magento through the Joomla Cms) and customers will be able to sign up and log in from anywhere on the site to see their contract pricing!

Astor Chocolate Main Website Concept on Apple iPad and iPhone - Responsive Web Design.

Today’s web standards require responsive or adaptive technology since 90% of people using the Internet will be using a smart phone to do so by the year 2017. Astor’s site is now tailored to fit any device as well as multiple popular Internet browsers. No more waiting for unnecessary tables to load or zooming in and out to view Astor's website on mobile devices!

Astor Chocolate Main Website Concept We're More Than Chocolate Slide on Apple iPad. Astor Chocolate Main Website Concept Sebastien's Kitchen Slide on Apple iPad. Astor Chocolate Main Website Concept Sustainability Slide on Apple iPad.

Astor’s new image slider concept is huge...literally. Astor’s updated homepage features a slide show that incorporates the site’s background imagery and page content as the slider. Images and content fade into the next slide automatically unless the user elects to pause the slide show. See the above three images for an example of how the image slider works.

Astor Concierge Website Concepts

Astor Chocolate Corp., 2014 - Present (Marketing Manager: Steve Boldt)

Astor Chocolate Concierge Website for the Hospitality Division on MacBook Pro. About Astor Concierge section under the Lobby category.

Here is an example of one of Astor Chocolate’s sub divisions known as Astor Concierge. This division deals mostly with providing hotels and restaurants with private label custom chocolate packaging for turndown, mini bar, events and VIP purposes, and client gifting. The lobby category on the side navigation contains information about Astor Concierge and services as well as other relevant content.

Astor Chocolate Concierge Website for the Hospitality Division screen shot. Customer Recovery Chocolate page with beauty shot of Belgian milk chocolate hammers and vacuums.

Astor’s sub division pages contain a dynamic side navigation that helps users explore available products with ease. For instance, when a user clicks on the "by collection" category, the lobby section will collapse while the "by collection" category expands with a fluid animation. Each category menu stays open until another is clicked while the product group selections are marked with purple text (radiant orchid) until a different product group is selected by the user. The side navigation is always present which ensures that the users always know where they are on the website.

Astor Chocolate Concierge Website for the Hospitality screen shot. Belgian Chocolate Bars Page with pop over suggested products.

No, Astor’s Concierge website is not stalking will give them additional product suggestions based on what the user has looked at or purchased in the past. Popovers such as suggested products, mailing list sign up and requests for additional client information will pop–up from the bottom of the browser window based on the user’s time on the site. Users have the ability to close all popover information if they wish to do so.

Astor Chocolate Concierge Website for the Hospitality Division screen shot. Gourmet Truffle Collection with join mailing list pop over.

Another example of a popover from Astor's Concierge website. This popover prompts the user to sign up to receive newsletters, special offers and information on new products. Again, all popover windows can be closed at the user's will.

Astor Chocolate Hospitality & Foodservice Email Marketing

Astor Chocolate Corp., 2013 - 2014 (Marketing Manager: Steve Boldt)

Image of Microsoft Outlook web app with Astor email marketing on Apple Cinema Display.

As smaller companies such as Astor Chocolate continue to evolve, their email was in need of an update in terms of branding and web standard compliance. The most pressing issue that needed change was that the email messages were flattened images with live type. The worst part...these images were placed in an image tag with no alt text! This means that if the image never loads for the recipient, there is absolutely no copy, which renders the email useless while encouraging them to unsubscribe or mark the message as spam.

View in Browser Window New Seasonal Chocolate Bar Flavor - Peanut Butter and Jelly: NOT YOUR MOTHER'S PB&J Peanut Butter and Jelly with Milk Chocolate: Available September 1st. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better... Astor Chocolate is proud to debut its latest innovative flavor- Peanut Butter & Jelly with Milk Chocolate. By introducing the tried and true combination of peanut butter and raspberry jelly to fine Belgian Chocolate, Astor has taken an American classic to a new level of excellence. Your customers are only one bite away from experiencing the deliciously memorable blend of rich creamy peanut butter, sweet gooey jelly and creamy milk chocolate...just pass the milk! Visit to check out our new seasonal flavor and place your order today.

At last, a new template has been created with brand and web standard compliance. The above versions are almost all live type with larger imagery that offers an opportunity to cross sell other items as well. The marketing message is less conservative and all font tags have been replaced with inline CSS styles.

View in Browser Window GIVE YOUR GUESTS THE SWEETEST GIFT - Astor’s Holiday Collection of Gourmet Chocolate, Snacks & Confections. Our Holiday Collection is wrapped up & ready for your guests! Astor’s beautifully designed Holiday collection of fine Belgian chocolate, gourmet snacks and confections is back for another joyous season! View our delicious chocolate and snacks catalog today and give your guests a warm, cheerful gift this holiday season.

Along with the evolution of email marketing at Astor Chocolate comes A/B testing and analyzing data. Although analyzing data is relatively new to smaller company like Astor, it has produced noticeable results in open and click-through rates as well as a reduction in unsubscribe rates. Testing subject lines, button colors and copy, image size, marketing messages and template layouts are currently in practice. The above template has evolved from former versions as a result of testing. Some of the notable changes have involved the call–to–action placement, image size, text color and reduced marketing copy.

Astor Ingredients Email Marketing

Astor Chocolate Corp., 2014 (Marketing Direction: Rich Ezra - Marketing Manager: Steve Boldt)

View in Browser Window Astor Ingredients Campaign week 1 featuring preview images of new flavors: Coming Soon (periodic table elements). We have Chocolate Down to a Science. Kosher Certified | 0g Trans Fat | No MSG | Sustainable Facility.

Here's an example of an email marketing campaign designed to promote Astor's "Ingredients" line of Belgian chocolate and gourmet snacks. The inspiration was actually based loosely off of the hit show "Breaking Bad", which was pretty popular throughout the marketing and design team. A series of emails were designed to act as teasers, slowly introducing the target customers to the line without giving too much away before the product launch.

View in Browser Window Astor Ingredients Campaign week 4 featuring 2 oz all natural chocolate bars: We predict a bold reaction to these all natural flavors. We have Chocolate Down to a Science. Kosher Certified | 0g Trans Fat | No MSG | All Natural | Sustainable Facility.

Along with an interesting new idea with a fresh look and feel, comes a great effort to generate an appropriate message that works well with the new line. Starting with "We have chocolate down to a science", the marketing and design team were able to come up other great scientific themed messages to help promote the product as well as the team's fun side. The over all message of the campaign was fun, light hearted and received well by the target audience.

View in Browser Window Astor Ingredients Campaign week 5 featuring 100 Calorie Chocolate Bars: Guilt free chocolate has never been so elementary. We have Chocolate Down to a Science. Kosher Certified | 0g Trans Fat | No MSG | Sustainable Facility.

One of the most exciting features of the Ingredients launch email marketing campaign is the use of animated gif imagery as a means to telling the story. Each campaign message features a different animation displaying select products from the new line. Click the image or the "View in Browser" link above to see the animation is action!.

Astor Chocolate VIP Collection Catalog

Astor Chocolate Corp., 2013 (Marketing Manager: Steve Boldt)

Astor Chocolate: VIP Collection Brochure - The Ultimate VIP Experience.

Here we have a Vip catalog containing Astor's finest Belgian truffles with luxury packaging. So, what is more important...the chocolate or custom packaging? That is one of the ongoing battles between marketing and sales at Astor Chocolate. In this case, it was decided that the Signature Truffles were more visually appealing than the custom packaging options so they made the cover. Simple is beautiful.

Astor Chocolate: VIP Collection Brochure - Executive Truffle Box Collection (Square) Astor Chocolate: VIP Collection Brochure - Executive Master Collection Snack Boxes Astor Chocolate: VIP Collection Brochure - Executive Tower Collection of gourmet snacks.

Along with the finest Belgian chocolate truffles comes the customization options that allow businesses such as high end hotels, stadium suites, restaurants and upscale catering companies to please their guests while promoting their brand. The catalog's design direction allows customers to see custom colored ribbons, branded chocolate and truffles shown clearly through large detailed imagery. The product packaging is fairly large, so the idea was to try to get the imagery as close to actual size as possible.

Astor Chocolate Amenities Catalogs

Astor Chocolate Corp., 2013 (Marketing Manager: Steve Boldt)

Astor Chocolate Amenities Brochures: Mini Bar Collection gourmet snack collection brochure.

Astor Chocolate’s Mini Bar and Truffle Box Collection catalogs are the first of many more small and simple product line catalogs to be used as direct mail, digital reference and marketing tools for trade shows. Due to a tight budget and generic product structures, these catalogs were executed with a clean and simple design. The three main focal points are the simple, sleek Astor brand aesthetic (targeting high end hotels and restaurants in the hospitality industry), customization options (branded labels or foil stamps) and clean shots of delicious gourmet chocolate and snacks.

Astor Chocolate Amenities Brochures: Truffle Box Collection Brochure cover. Astor Chocolate Amenities Brochures: Truffle Box Collection Brochure front and back cover. Astor Chocolate Amenities Brochures: Truffle Box Collection Brochure - Deco Truffle Box Collection spread.

Astor Chocolate’s Concierge Services specialize in providing Belgian chocolate and gourmet snacks with custom branded packaging in different areas of the hospitality industry such as mini bar, VIP amenities, turndown and giveaways. Despite working with a tight budget, working with a great photographer, food stylist and copywriter was critical. Since some products (mini bar snacks) are meant for resale while others (truffle boxes and turndown amenities) are meant for giveaway, the photography and copy had to reflect quality gourmet food and customization capabilities equally.

Avamere Health Services Staffing Advertisement

Kiernan | Thompson, 2006 (Creative Director: John Thompson)

Double Page Avamere Staffing advertisement - Joint the Avamere Team! Double Page Avamere Staffing advertisement - Joint the Avamere Team! Single Page Avamere Staffing advertisement - Joint the Avamere Team!

One and two page ads were designed and developed with the purpose of generating interest in a career position with Avamere Health Services. The messages featured in each Avamere staffing ad are real testimonials from Avamere employees. The idea was to have several employees provide legitimate reasons why they love their careers at Avamere. If the messages are real, why stop at the photography? Avamere employees were excited to be a part of this campaign so that they could represent their company while encouraging new employees to join the "A" Team. The target audience was men and women ages 25 - 45 while the target magazines were local and national publications from health and wellness to home and garden.

Avamere Health Services Employee Network Posters

Kiernan | Thompson, 2006 (Creative Director: John Thompson)

Be A Friend: when you reach out to a patient or a co-worker, you’re making them feel as wanted as you want to feel. the avamere employee network A! ok! Wear A Smile: remember, a smile to a person who is feeling lonely will go a long way. the avamere employee network A! ok! Make A Difference: you have the power to make a difference in someone’s life. use it often. the avamere employee network A! ok! Solve A Problem: when you see a problem, take ownership of it until it is solved. you will feel better, and so will the peson you help. the avamere employee network A! ok!

Part of the Avamere marketing and design initiative involved an internal approach. Various motivational employee network posters were created to help Avamere employees remember to support one another as well as their patients. A simple typographic creative direction was a unanimous decision for this campaign. The goal was for employees and other staff to be able to see the posters at a glance without distraction. While avoiding the usage of imagery, background color selection had become much more important for this project. Soft pastel colors were chosen to create a calm, soothing feeling to match the positive messages.

Care Alternatives Logo & Stationary Set

Kiernan | Thompson, 2006 (Creative Director: John Thompson - Co-Design: Rachael Ritchie)

Care Alternatives Logo

The goal of rebranding the Care Alternatives identity was to take their look and feel from a rather childish impression to a clear, solid and professional identity with marketing collateral and advertising to follow. The logo went through many different variations before finally ending at a four square pattern resembling an abstract butterfly or even a flower. At Kiernan | Thompson, we felt that the logo should resemble something beautiful and lively such as a butterfly or flower in attempt to convey the beauty of life.

Care Alternatives Stationary Set Up Close Care Alternatives Logo and Stationary Set

Although the inspiration for the Care Alternatives logo was a butterfly, the final decision by the client on the overall look and feel, especially for the corporate stationary, was to keep the color scheme neutral in order to achieve a distinguished and professional impression for the Care Alternatives brand identity. The color palette was to stay minimal in attempt to keep the look from resembling a day care center or children's hospital.

Care Alternatives Advertisement

Kiernan | Thompson, 2006 (Creative Director: John Thompson - Co-Design: Rachael Ritchie)

Care Alternatives advertisement

The Care Alternatives advertisement proved to be a tough challenge due to the fact that it was to be designed for hospice care. Since Care Alternatives hospice is a comprehensive program of medical care and emotional and spiritual support for patients facing life limiting illness and their families, the design had to be comforting and it really had to hit home. By using an inspiring quote about helping others and implying a photo album inspired design, we were able to devise a look that was touching and effective that would leave clients feeling comfortable about trusting Care Alternatives with the lives of their loved ones. Combining vintage black and white photos with modern colored photos really pulled the look together, giving the perspective clients a feeling of nostalgia, warmth and comfort as if they were looking back on their own lives and happy times spent with family. There's nothing more comforting than looking back at an old family photo album.

Mexican Themed Souvenir Chocolate Bars

Astor Chocolate Corp., - 2009 (Creative Director: Stacey Higgins)

Mexico Themed Chocolate Bar Wrappers

Designed for Astor Chocolate's Travel Retail division, these Mexican themed chocolate bar wrappers are sold at souvenir shops in or around popular tourist destinations in Mexico. As directed by the Travel Retail Marketing department, the design features a generous amount of photography consisting of popular tourist attractions from Mexican cities and culture. Utilizing a font that offers a heavy weight, it was easier to apply the photos in a more stylized technique rather than just layering them across the printable area of the wrapper leaving room for a textured background featuring inscriptions from old Mayan temples. Despite the original idea of applying gold foil to the stripes on the sides of each wrapper, the budget, unfortunately, did not allow for that. Although the finished product may seem a bit cliché, it has been proven to catch the eye of tourists, which ultimately leads to the final goal: bringing in sales.

Criss Angel "Believe" Chocolate Packaging

Astor Chocolate Corp., 2009 (Creative Director: Stacey Higgins)

Criss Angel 'Believe' Chocolate Packaging: Deluxe Chocolate Square Puzzle, Case and Truffle Cup Set With Edible Poppy Flower Transfer Criss Angel 'Believe' Chocolate Packaging

Criss Angel's live Cirque Du Soleil production "Believe" was perhaps one of the most interesting projects to arrive at Astor Chocolate's design studio. The intent of the original presentation was to display Astor Chocolate's packaging capabilities by showing Criss exactly what we were good at: Custom packaging. Based on feedback from the client, the show was a very dark and deranged story filled with illusion and magic. Not much was described about the actual story other than poppy flowers appearing frequently as well as a bizarre love affair between two humanoid rabbits. Despite the very little information provided and even less time to come up with a presentation, the designs were actually very successful. Criss was most impressed with the idea of an edible poppy flower transfer pattern applied to the top of chocolate truffles. When all was said and done, the presentation did exactly what it was intended to do: display Astor Chocolate's ability to produce smart, effective and inexpensive custom packaging.

Westin Hotels & Resorts Snack Product Order Form

Astor Chocolate Corp., 2012 (Creative Director: Steve Boldt)

Westin Hotels and Resorts Snack Product order form

Westin Hotels and Resorts has a very simple and pure look that goes along with energizing phrases to help their guests feel relaxed and energized while staying at the Hotel's properties. This order form was designed based on the official Westin Hotels and Resorts style guide. Everything from image placement, white space, fonts and logo treatment was considered and implied based on the style guide specs. The goal of the order form is to emulate the look and feel of the hotel to persuade each property to purchase Astor Chocolate products for their guest satisfaction. By utilizing some of the style guide's key phrasing, the chocolate and snacks seem like they would fit in perfectly with the hotel's style and practice.

Shear Madness Hair Designs Logo & Stationary Set

Freelance, 2007 (Creative Director: Steve Boldt)

Shear Madness Hair Designs Logo

A local hair salon was looking for a new and improved brand aesthetic that would attract a younger, more contemporary crowd while maintaining a professional look. The target audience was mostly younger women ages 16 – 40 that are looking for current hair styles and color treatments while spending a bit more than the cost of an average styling. When designing the logo, it seemed more logical to proceed with a solid typographic approach instead of a cliché iconic imagery driven look with funky colors. Although there were a few male customers, the final color scheme had to lean toward a feminine touch without coming off as too progressive.

Shear Madness Hair Designs Stationary Set Up Close Shear Madness Hair Designs Logo and Stationary Set

When it came time to develop a stationary set to work with the brand vision, the client was not convinced with a simple layout involving just the logo and typical company information. She was concerned that the stationary needed something more that would allow her customers to see exactly what the Shear Madness services provide. In this case, the solution was a simple set of icons that appear on the letterhead, business cards and envelope to accompany the services text.

Le Belge Chocolatier Trade Show Booth Design

Astor Chocolate Corp., 2011 (Marketing Director: Stacey Higgins)

Le Belge Chocolatier trade show booth design. Le Belge Chocolatier trade show booth design: Podium side graphics. Le Belge Chocolatier trade show booth design: Product showcase. Le Belge Chocolatier trade show booth design: Close up of back wall imagery.

Le Belge Chocolatier is considered to be the "sister company" to Astor Chocolate. While Astor is known as the provider of premium Belgian chocolate with specialization in customization and private label, Le Belge is much more focused on being a luxury retail brand. With a budget of $5,000 and a tight deadline due to unforeseen circumstances, the Le Belge trade show booth was completed just in time for one of the company’s largest trade shows (International Hotel/Motel & Restaurant Show in New York) and it was very well received by all. Beating the odds in this situation really was a great accomplishment. Working with an internal two-man design team led by Marketing Director, Stacey Higgins in a short period of time was no easy task. The floor plan and over all design aesthetic was a quick process indeed, but the real challenge hit when Hurricane Sandy left the engineering team without power for two weeks. The Engineers at Nimlock were able to complete the booth while running power from backup generators. Unfortunately, some the original specs were not able to be carried out due to the storm.

"I Came as a Rat" Independent Movie Poster

Freelance, 2006 (Creative Director: Steve Boldt)

I Came as a Rat Independent Movie poster design. I Came as a Rat Independent Movie poster design at train station/bus stop screne.

This is perhaps one of the most exciting and limitless projects in terms of design. "I Came as a Rat" was to be a personal independent film based on a song by the band Modest Mouse. Unfortunately, the film never made it to production, but luckily the poster did. In short, the story was about an immortal being, who has been around since the beginning of time, and was responsible for all acts of God, whether good or bad. The being falls for a human girl who eventually betrays him causing him to destroy every star in the universe and life as we know it. Everyone was turned into rats, which is symbolized in the design of the poster. The hand dangling abstracted people and stars from its fingers implies a great deal of power and control along with the stylized image of the sun. It was important to draw attention to the sun since it is a star and a major factor in the story as the bringer of life. It also helps balance the composition of the poster by bringing the viewer's eye to the silhouetted rats at the bottom of the picture plane.

Bill Owens Five Logo & Album Package

Freelance, 2006 (Creative Director: Steve Boldt)

Bill Owens Five Logo Bill Owens Five Logo and Album Package Bill Owens Five Logo and Album Package Front and Back

Bill Owens Five, currently known as "Rosewood Ghosts" is an up and coming band out of Hoboken, New Jersey. Their unique sound consists of indie rock mixed with classic rock with a generous touch of blues. To convey the band's musical style and feel, the album packaging produced for their debut album "Foundry Street" was a direct reflection of their music that seemed to emit a sense of love, loneliness, emptiness and a general feel of self-discovery. It was also a great opportunity to play around since the clients were very open-minded. They became immensely excited by the concept drawing of a seemingly abandoned town. Based on the raw sound of the band's music, it seemed fitting to add an old, scratchy texture and sepia toned color to the image of lonely buildings connected only by their underlying pipe work in a fading town similar to fading memories. The connection between the pipes and buildings relate to a transient connection between the people and events that make up the album's music and lyrics.

Strito Logo & Application Aesthetic

Freelance, 2013 (Creative Director: Steve Boldt)

Strito Logo

Strito is an application that was built around discovering what's happening around you. Users are able to sign in and view a list or a map containing the locations of other users that are posting interesting events and activities. The application developers and the head of marketing at Strito were looking for a design that would be friendly and inviting. The Strito logo was the first phase of the project and set the course for the brand aesthetic. We decided that blue and orange would be a great combination of colors for the purpose of conveying a friendly attitude. The smile on the "S" represents a welcoming feeling and symbolizes a happy community. Eventually, "Welcome to the 'Here' Community" became the application's tagline.

Strito application design: man using Strito app on smart phone Strito application design: Two shots featuring application usage in map view and list view on Samsung Galaxy phone

Following the execution of the Strito logo design came hours of application research along with client meetings concerning the design process. Once the application functions were ironed out, the next step was to render every necessary screen before development. That’s when the design aesthetic fell into place. The idea was not to stray too far from other mobile app designs in regards to keeping it simple with flat colors that reflect the brand as well as making sure that the user experience is simple, practical and enjoyable. Simple and enjoyable would not describe the icon creation process. Creating multiple icons and radio buttons in various states at two different sizes (HDPI and MDPI) was perhaps the most time consuming part of the Strito app design process. Each icon required four states: standard, active, focus and disabled. Each icon was custom created with Adobe Illustrator to ensure easy resize if necessary.

Strito Logo Website Design & Development

Freelance, 2013 (Creative Director: Steve Boldt)

Strito responsive website design featured on MacBook, iPad and iPhone. Strito responsive website design featured on MacBook and iPhone. Strito website design featuring cityscape header with caption bubbles Strito responsive website design featured on iPhone.

The Strito website was developed around the same idea of welcoming and friendliness by using the same blue and orange color combination. The color gray was also introduced to the design to help serve as a neutral background element so that the brighter orange and blue could lead the viewer's eye throughout the website and application. The idea of using a skyline with caption bubbles representing posts or activities was a more creative and interesting alternative to showing a map as the header. Although the overall design is important, function is just as critical when it comes to the Strito website. The website features the ability to download the application, a fully functional blog and a responsive design enabling the website to scale itself down to fit a mobile display.