April 30th, 2015

Moon Jellies. Mermen. And Other Reasons to Love the Ocean.

The last time you kicked back on a white sand beach, or savored a piece of grilled sea bass on orzo, did you thank the ocean? Better yet, have you ever thought about who looks out for this massive natural resource that covers 71% of our planet’s surface? As powerful as it is, the ocean can’t speak up for itself. Fortunately, there are a few people who work for the health of our incredible seas. (Just for the record, mermen are real. Most of them live in Florida.)

 

Oceans_Computer

There are three main players in this game: 1) government, 2) the community (fishermen, scuba divers, and people who own homes on the coast), and 3) science (more specifically, academia). The California Ocean Science Trust plays outside the bounds, connecting all these folks: They provide timely, useful, and reliable science that helps people make informed decisions about the ocean’s future.

It’s a highly specialized and important role, because groups often attempt to skew research in favor of their own agenda. Ocean Science Trust restores trust in the scientific process—ensuring integrity, accuracy, and impartiality. Unfortunately, their former brand identity didn’t exactly scream these qualities.

So we got to work, starting with the logo. What Ocean Science Trust does is pretty complex, so our main goal was to simplify. We used three rings to represent government, science, and community, making them organic and fluid to reflect the ocean’s movement. The typography, inspired by old school science textbooks, conveys an air of established authority.

CalOst_Logos

Next, we tackled the website. Simplicity and serenity was our aim here as well. Shades of deep blue and soft coral evoke the sea, warm sunsets, and colorful marine life. We also revised the key messaging, infusing it with a crisp, inviting, and energetic voice. Bonus points if you noticed the header at the top of the page noting the current date and time. Since data is at the core of Ocean Science Trust’s work, we programmed the homepage image to change with the time of day: at morning, daytime, and nighttime. Watch the demo below, or visit the site yourself.

 

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By clarifying Ocean Science Trust’s story, and making it much more enjoyable to look at, hopefully we’ve enticed more people to think about who’s working for the ocean—and whether enough is being done to protect its health. Next time you’re skinny dipping in the Pacific at midnight, think about your friends at Mortar. Or maybe don’t, cause that sounds a little creepy.

April 21st, 2015

Intern Submission Deadline Extended!

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Good news, procrastinators. We’ve extended the submission deadline for our design and account intern programs to 9 a.m., Friday April 24th. Creative submissions have been rolling in, and so far we’re loving what we see. So put down that Playstation and throw your hat in the ring!

Account Intern Job Posting 

Design Intern Job Posting 

 

April 13th, 2015

We’re on the Lookout for an Account Management Intern.

Hi. We’re Mortar, a San Francisco advertising and branding agency dedicated to shaping smarter conversations between people and brands. In this internship, you’ll do a lot more than make coffee. You’ll work on real projects that matter for our clients and internal initiatives. You’ll support our account management staff, and collaborate with our creative, strategy and new business teams. You’ll sit in on meetings, see how an agency works, and learn the process of producing a campaign, from strategy to concept to execution. You’ll even get to give back to the community by working with the Mortar Foundation, our nonprofit arm that empowers underprivileged youth through better education, health, and safety.

Our current client roster runs the gamut from museums, to universities, to robot vacuum cleaners, and no two projects are alike—whether we’re shooting video, dreaming up outdoor ads, or naming the next big startup. This is a full-time, paid opportunity that runs from June through August.

 

Responsibilities:

Your tasks will vary depending on what our clients and internal teams need, but will likely include the following:

  • Communicate with vendors and partners
  • Conduct and catalog research
  • Build and present Keynote decks
  • Participate in meetings/brainstorms
  • Take detailed and accurate meeting notes
  • Coordinate meetings and create agendas
  • We’re a small agency, so you’ll get to wear multiple hats (literally and figuratively—our founder Mark is obsessed with distinctive headgear)

 

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree (must have graduated by May 2015) in marketing, advertising, or other relevant field
  • Positive attitude—we don’t believe in egos here
  • Strong critical thinker and problem solver
  • Excellent communicator, both verbal and written
  • Stellar organizational skills
  • Knowledge of Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, and Mac Keynote
  • A passion for advertising, and an eagerness to learn

 

Assignment:

In addition to sending us your baller résumé and personalized cover letter, we want to see you get creative. At Mortar, we have a few intrinsic brand values that guide everything we do (listed below). Your task is to pick one and show us what it means to you.

 

Collaboration: We take it to the extreme, inside Mortar and with clients and friends.

Honesty: We keep it real, every step of the way.

Ideas: We believe they can come from anyone and anywhere (we mean it).

Momentum: We move forward together to keep the ideas going and flowing.

People: Enjoying all of it with—and as—happy and passionate people.

San Francisco: Is at our center. It’s different here, and we embrace it.

 

There are only two rules for this assignment: Be original, and be yourself. Execution style is totally open—but please keep videos under 2 minutes, essays under 500 words, or do something completely different. (Just know that we have the attention span of a monkey.)

To apply for this position, send your resume, cover letter, and creative submission to iwanttowork@mortaragency.com by April 19, 2015 at midnight PST. And write “Account Intern” in your email subject line. Future Mortarons, we can’t wait to meet you!

April 13th, 2015

Mortar Seeks Hungry Design Intern.

Hi. We’re Mortar, a San Francisco advertising and branding agency dedicated to transforming eye-opening insights into head-tilting ideas. We don’t just think outside the box; we throw the box out the window. In this internship, you’ll do a lot more than make coffee—you’ll make designs and layouts for real projects, client-facing and internal. You’ll support our creative team daily. You’ll collaborate with our account management and new business teams. You’ll sit in on meetings, see how an agency works, and learn the process of producing a campaign, from strategy to concept to execution. You’ll even get to give back to the community by working with the Mortar Foundation, our nonprofit arm that empowers underprivileged youth through better education, health, and safety.

Our current client roster runs the gamut from museums, to universities, to robot vacuum cleaners, and no two projects are alike—whether we’re shooting video, dreaming up outdoor ads, or designing a logo for a new startup. This is a full-time, paid opportunity that runs from June through August.

 

Responsibilities:

Your tasks will vary depending on what our clients and internal teams need, but will likely include the following:

  • Create original layouts and artwork for print and digital media
  • Execute on creative direction from senior designers
  • Conduct image searches
  • Crop, resize, and retouch images
  • Create design mockups for presentations
  • Set up documents, and prepare files for production
  • Participate in meetings/brainstorms
  • Communicate with vendors

 

Qualifications:

  • Bachelor’s degree in graphic design, advertising, or related field (must have graduated by May 2015)
  • Portfolio that demonstrates graphic design and ad concepting skills
  • Strong knowledge of Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat)
  • Familiar with user interface design
  • Strong critical thinker and problem solver
  • Excellent communicator, both verbal and written
  • Positive attitude—we don’t believe in egos here
  • Experience with HTML, Flash, 3D software, or AfterEffects is a plus
  • If you can illustrate, that’s a bonus, too

 

Assignment:

In addition to sending us your baller résumé and personalized cover letter, we want to see you get creative. At Mortar, we have a few intrinsic brand values that guide everything we do (listed below). Your task is to pick one and show us what it means to you.

 

Collaboration: We take it to the extreme, inside Mortar and with clients and friends.

Honesty: We keep it real, every step of the way.

Ideas: We believe they can come from anyone and anywhere (we mean it).

Momentum: We move forward together to keep the ideas going and flowing.

People: We enjoy all of it with—and as—happy and passionate people.

San Francisco: Is at our center. It’s different here, and we embrace it.

 

There are only two rules for this assignment: Be original, and be yourself. Execution style is totally open—but please keep videos under 2 minutes, essays under 500 words, or do something completely different. (Just know that we have the attention span of a monkey.)

To apply for this position, send your resume, cover letter, and creative submission to iwanttowork@mortaragency.com by April 19, 2015 at midnight PST. And write “Design Intern” in your email subject line. Future Mortarons, we can’t wait to meet you!

 

March 26th, 2015

We See Dead People. Just Kidding, It’s Your Data.

For the past three years, our client Qumulo has been nose-to-the-grindstone, building a brand new, category-defining solution to enterprise storage woes. Last week, their long-awaited product was unveiled to the world. Ladies and gentlemen, Qumulo Core!

 

 

 

 

 

Ta da! 

Don’t see anything? That’s a good thing. See, what makes Qumulo’s product so extraordinary is that it makes storage invisible. They’re shifting the conversation from one purely about hardware, to one that focuses on software. While we can’t show you the software per se, we can show you its powerful data analytics.


Qumulo_Software + Hardwarev3

Here’s the problem enterprises face: Their digital content is growing exponentially, and when you’re dealing with millions to billions of assets, your storage system becomes one big black box of mystery. Admins can’t see who last touched this file; when that asset can be thrown away; or who’s impacting performance and capacity.

Qumulo makes this data visible. It’s invaluable insight that’s about to make life a zillion times easier for media and entertainment companies, life sciences research firms, universities, and more. In addition to naming the flagship product, Qumulo Core, we designed and built a website that captures the whole Qumulo story. Watch the demo below, or demo it yourself here.

 

YouTube Preview Image

 

Qumulo’s vision for the site was simplicity, clarity, and showcasing the software. So we shot macro video clips of Qumulo Core in action, putting that incredible insight front and center.

And since no product launch would be complete without a raging party, we helped Qumulo brand their big event. Qumulo Core makes storage invisible, and data visible. It’s a bit like magician’s work, or a mind-bending circus act. So we gave them a fitting theme: See the Unseen.

QumuloEventPics

 

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We created banner signs and posters with a futuristic feel and mysterious glow, inspired by Qumulo’s Q0626 hardware product. The launch party went down at Emerald City Trapeze Arts in Seattle, packed with reality-defying performances by aerial dancers and a unicycling bagpiper. We’re glad Qumulo knows there’s only way to launch a product: in the biggest way imaginable. After all, YOLO (you only launch once).