Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Right Image: A Zippo Lighter

Finding the Real Meaning of Utility and Reliability

About a year or so ago I got wise to the toll that constant (often well-meaning) external opinion into my creative world was taking and I set out to reset my bearings with purpose. At the time we were starting to be responsible for more product photography at 3VERB and the studio was set up and ready to go.

My idea was to assemble and shoot a quick collection of daily items that represented my world but, more specifically, also represented a stack of conceptual ideas – reliability, utility, and goodwill – which I hope define my approach at 3VERB. The watch, the notebook, the knife shown in the picture were all easy choices. I rely on each, in some regard, every day and certainly expect each item to be 'on-board' as I walk out the door each morning. They are my 'Every Day Carry.'

More complex, though, was another item I wanted, for sure, in the picture: my grandfather's Zippo. Having given up cigarettes a dozen years ago, I no longer needed access to quick, pocket-able fire. What I needed access to, at that time and now, is the reminder of my grandfather's way, his goodwill, his nature and demeanor. For me, these provide the groundwork for an honest shot at the reliability and utility I'm searching for around the corner of so many marketing and product corners. I needed his name stamped in metal.

The end result, a printed marketing piece, wound up being one of my favorite 3VERB outreach cards, crisp and kinda poignant, and an important reminder that my responsibilities go beyond production. I was proud that it felt sincere and not cynical or ironic. I've included front and back (magnified, clickable) images below.
For the purpose of this blog and my renewed commitment to writing on a regular basis, the title "Right Image" will serve as a searchable tag (at right) and excuse to find (and write about) other images and strong visuals that resonate with me. Look out for more soon.

– Jon Roketenetz

Jon is the CEO of Chicago-based tech innovator GimmeAnother and founder of 3VERB.

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