This article is part of a series highlighting winning Spotlight on Excellence entries. We hope to capture the spirit of an entry and inspire others to submit their work in the Spotlight on Excellence Award contest.
Are you a list maker? Scribble lots of notes? Doodler? Victory Electric Cooperative has you covered. In 2015, the Dodge City, Kan., based cooperative designed a scratchpad (notepad) aimed at promoting electrical safety while providing a reasonably-priced product members find valuable.
“We are always looking for quality, inexpensive items for giveaways at cooperative events, fairs and other community functions,” said Jerri Imgarten, manager of marketing and communications. “Previously, we gave away sticky notes, and they were always in high demand, so I came up with the idea to design a custom, multi-purpose scratchpad.”
The 4” x 8.5” oblong notepads feature four unique designs that focus on delivering a safety message. While the designs are quite different, the similar grunge style gives the designs a cohesive look. In the electric utility industry, electrical safety is a priority, so it was the perfect opportunity to add an electrical safety tip on each design. Much less noticeable is the use of symbols. One notepad has a red octagon shape like a stop sign, another has slanted lines/arrows indicative of an “under construction” sign, and a third has a similar look to “road work” or “dead end” signage.
“I knew I wanted it to be branded with Victory Electric and have an edgy and creative design that would catch people’s eyes,” Imgarten said. “The design elements really shine, but for practicality, we left plenty of room for writing, and the lines make to-do lists, grocery list, and notes easy.”
Approximately 2,000 notepads have been given away since being designed and printed. From Chamber of Commerce events to health fairs, annual meetings and teacher appreciation gifts, people love them. They have proven especially useful at events where legislators and public officials are in attendance.
“We know there are very strict rules on gift items for public officials, but ‘items with little intrinsic value intended solely for presentation, such as plaques, certificates, and promotional items commonly distributed to the general public’ are allowed,” Imgarten explained. “The notepads are an inexpensive, useful item to keep our name and contact information within reach of our legislators and public officials.”
The 2016 Silver Award for Best Graphic Design was Imgarten’s third winning entry in the Spotlight Award contest. She earned a Gold Award in 2014 and a Silver Award in 2015, both in the Best Graphic Design category.
“My best advice is to pick one or two ‘goal’ categories at the beginning of the year and focus on what you can do to stand out and produce a quality piece of work in that category,” Imgarten said. “None of my Spotlight entries have started as a ‘special’ project to win an award; rather, they were incorporated within my normal job duties and projects. When I see something with potential, I just set my standards that much higher and take a bit more time to concentrate on the details.”
While graphic design is Imgarten’s passion, she is now shooting for a future award in the category of Best Annual Report.
“I’ve been entering my cooperative’s annual report in the Spotlight contest for at least four years now and never received an award,” Imgarten expressed. “That is my motivation each year for stepping up my game, trying new things, and continuing to improve my report content and design.”
Don’t forget you can now view the Spotlight on Excellence Award entries on https://www.cooperative.com/interest-areas/communications/development/spotlight/Pages/Past-Award-Winners.aspx.