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Designers work for food

Gates Studio is an award-winning boutique design firm in Boston, Massachusetts founded by Valerie Gates and run with her husband, Barry Friedman. They specialize in complete creative design solutions including branding and style guide design, print and collateral design, website design and development, digital photography, and film/video creative and production.

When Valerie Gates read Omnivore’s Dilemma and Animal, Vegetable and Miracle this winter, she knew she had to do something to help the small organic farms and the local food movement in the Boston area. Gates came up with the idea to offer local growers and farms her studio’s professional design and branding services on a creative pro-bono sliding scale. With help from the non-profit group, Southeastern Massachusetts Agricultural Partnership, she put out the word to local farms that she was offering her studio’s services on a first-come, first-served basis as follows:

First five farms: a barter agreement of design time and services for organic food or CSA shares

Next five farms: 75% discount on rates for services

Next five farms: 50% discount on rates for services

Next five farms: 25% discount on rates for services

By the end of the second day, Gates had over 15 farms and local growers lined up to take advantage of her unique offer. “I wanted
to do my part in helping even out the playing field for small growers and help them compete with larger farms and organizations that have larger marketing budgets,” explained Gates. “I also wanted to find a creative way to get my family to eat more organically and introduce them to sustainable farming life by creating a relationship with these local farms.”

Gates Studio has won EMMY, BDA, Promax and American Film Institute Awards and their clients include: CBS, Liberty Mutual, United Way, Women’s Entertainment Network, The American Meteorological Society, Charles River Labs, The Medical Foundation, and the Dept. of Health and Human Services.

See more at gatesstudio.blogspot.com/

Valentine’s ideas

Gentlemen put your money and grand gestures away because today’s self
sufficient, modern woman is looking for a new style of romance,
according to a study by the Lindt Master Chocolatiers of Switzerland.

An overwhelming 76% of men and women in their survey said that it was the small,
thoughtful presents where money wasn’t a factor that really melted
their hearts. These Valentine’s Day top treats for men and women included a
romantic meal, cards with thoughtful messages and spending quality time

After years of conspicuous consumption and grand over the top romance, a
much lower key, more modern style of love – one that is increasingly
focused on small, considerate actions rather than the traditional or the
costly – seems to have taken hold as the economy shifts down a gear.
Identified as “New Romantics: in the survey, these modern women have
nothing to do with the 1980s music scene and everything to do with a new
trend towards credit crunch love.

In fact the study – which will make welcome reading to both men and
women alike – found that 31% of modern women were suspicious of an
over the top or excessively grand romantic gesture and would prefer a box
of their favorite chocolate instead.

Relationship expert, Sam van Rood, believes this is because love and
romance is getting back to basics after the credit crunch:

“This February 14th a budget Valentine’s will win you more romantic brownie
points than splashing out on expensive presents. Thoughtful, simple gifts
are all you need to show your partner you love them. Gold diggers aside,
the majority of women look for equality in a relationship which results in
a more considerate form of romance where it’s the thought that counts.
Popular gestures that women all over the world love are small but beautiful
gifts which include running a bath for a partner surprising her with a
babysitter for some me (or us)-time or simply buying her favorite organic
chocolate – actions which revealed both consideration and an appreciation
of the other partner’s individual needs and wants.”

The Master Chocolatier for Lindt commented: “The results from the study
hopefully help to de-mystify modern attitudes to romance and alleviate some
of the pressure today’s couples face to keep romance going without running
up huge costs. Our report revealed that small, considerate gestures are
“in” for 2009, and keeping the romance alive can really be as simple as
offering her favorite chocolate.”


Small gestures

A head or foot massage

A handwritten note

Running a bath for your partner

Holding hands

Cooking dinner together

DVD and sofa snuggles

Carrying her bags


Splashing the cash

24 long stemmed roses

A spa day

Text messages

A weekend away

Hollywood kiss

Eating out

Multiplex cinema

The latest “IT” bag

A giant box of chocolates

1 December 2008 survey of 2,043 adults aged 16 and above

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