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Wild Card Books & Arts ◦ Social Media Design
Wild Card Books & Arts: Social Media Design
Visual content design and user generated content (UGC) - style photography for social media platforms, digital marketing and paid ads.


CLIENT: Wild Card Books & Arts
FIELD: Retail
CAPABILITIES: Art Direction, Branding Strategy, Copywriting, Graphic Design, Photography, Photo Editing.


Initially an online niche business that specialized in sales of used high-end art books, Wild Card Books & Arts slowly expanded to a storefront location in Norfolk, Virginia. They grew their offerings to include a curated selection of used books in an expanded variety of topics, with an emphasis on vintage and/or unique titles.

As a small business relying on bootstrapped startup funding, their budget for marketing was initially limited - they recognized that attracting local customers to their new physical location was a critical component of their business strategy.

Establishing an active presence on social media platforms and using highly targeted, low-cost online advertising was the natural first goal for the business.

The decision was made to start with Instagram, as research yielded the insight that the largest cross-section of ideal target customers were engaging on that platform.


As the visual designer for this project, my role was to craft a series of visual content for initial use on the Instagram platform, later expanding to use on Facebook and paid online advertising.

I worked with the client to develop and execute a low-cost, high-impact digital marketing plan, create the visuals with photography and graphic design tools, and wrote the accompanying copy for social media posts and advertising materials.

Over the course of two years, I created over +200 unique posts (including images and copy) empowering the business to post 3-4 times a week consistently. I communicated directly with the owner of the business on a weekly basis to discuss the campaign’s goals, new ideas, and incorporate feedback.


Looking for creative approaches at the beginning of the project, I researched how book publishers and established bookstores used visuals to promote titles and events. I was inspired by bold, flat lay styled product photography, illustrations, and images with products that featured natural textures.

Drawing on my extensive background in the visual arts, I began experimenting with photographing books on interesting textured backgrounds-looking for complementary (or contrasting) color schemes, unusual combinations of objects, and scouting mini “locations” for capturing images outdoors.


I worked with the client to choose titles with visually compelling cover designs covering a variety of subjects (the namesake “Wild Card” reflected the organic ebb and flow of what sorts of used books the client would have for sale at any given time!)

Working with Adobe Lightroom, I edited 3-4 images weekly and crafted the accompanying copy for stand-alone images of featured books, composites of multiple titles, and interior shots of the bookstore to publish on social media and for advertising use.


For the aesthetic style and composition of images I wanted to create for Wild Card, I found that the natural light of mid-to-late afternoon in the area I was working was often perfect for capturing beautifully lit photos…but of course, the weather does not always provide consistently sunny days! For this project, I learned to work with additional lighting and most importantly, Adobe Lightroom.


I’d had a lot of experience working with Photoshop previously, but the ability to import and edit both individually and in batches (and using Lightroom presets) was a total game changer! I learned that I could shoot high-quality images in less-than-perfect conditions and adjust the files later to keep the ‘look’ consistent.

A key takeaway was the importance of planning and staging for flat lay photography. The challenge of creating a visual composition that looks balanced but dynamic enough to grab the viewers’ eye was terrific. It required a lot of trial and error, experimentation, and online research! In establishing a weekly workflow, I also learned to proactively write down ideas or notable potential locations immediately, giving myself a nice bank of future ongoing content to plan and circle back to.


OUTCOMES​​​​​​​
This project was originally conceived as a six-month exercise to raise awareness of the business’ grand opening, ongoing events and product offerings. After the response from the local community and customers was uniformly positive, we decided to continue using the content and design strategies I’d developed for the Instagram platform and expand to posting content on Facebook as well. 


Creating weekly content for marketing on social media platforms enabled Wild Card to draw from a large pool of content for creating paid ads and promotions. I assisted them with formatting many of the images into compelling cover graphics for events and paid promotions, giving them the ability to reach new customers in an effective, inexpensive way.

We specifically found that low-cost paid ads promoting weekend pop-up sales and guest vendors were so effective, they were considered an integral part of the ongoing planning process and continued efforts to build brand awareness in the local community.

Wild Card Books & Arts ◦ Social Media Design
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Victoria Farr

Wild Card Books & Arts ◦ Social Media Design

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Published: