All posts in freelancing


The Horizon Interactive Awards were recently announced, and I’m delighted that three pro bono and freelance projects won Gold or Silver honors this year. Here’s more about my winning entries.

#GuamRays Shoot a Selfie in Shades Photo Contest

The Placemaking Group created this photo contest for the Guam Visitors Bureau as a way to engage fans of this beautiful travel destination. Folks who posted a sunglasses selfie using the hashtag #GuamRays to Instagram, Twitter or through the Woobox app were be entered to win a cool pair of Ray-Ban® Aviator Flash Lenses, offered by the Visitors Bureau. Guam’s primary social media accounts got a collective boost in followers from the #GuamRays contest.

Client Name: The Placemaking Group / Guam Visitors Bureau


AXIS Dance Company Home Season promotional BART poster

AXIS Dance Company, Home Season 2015 / Onward, BART poster

AXIS Dance Company, Home Season 2015 / Onward, BART poster

Most years, I design a series of promotional pieces for AXIS Dance Company’s Home Season as a pro bono volunteer, and this year I had the pleasure of creating a BART poster to inform the Bay Area about their 2015 Home Season, “Onward,” at Oakland’s Malonga Casquelourd Center for the Arts, including work by Joe Goode, Alex Ketley, Bobbi Jene Smith, and Sonya Delwaide.

Client Name: AXIS Dance Company


Board of Directors Membership Guide

AXIS Dance Company Board of Directors Membership Guide

The AXIS Dance Company Board of Directors is currently accepting applications for a cohort of new members, and it was time to refresh our recruiting materials. We decided to replace a lengthy booklet with volumes of content that could already be found on the organization’s website with a concise marketing piece with basic facts about AXIS’s global and local impact as well as the requirements of Board membership presented in bullet points for easy reading. The finished product is a 5×7 folded piece on card stock, that also can be downloaded as a PDF.

Client Name: AXIS Dance Company



Deirdre Spencer Design recognized for prestigious interactive media awards

Deirdre Spencer Design Wins at the 14th Annual Horizon Interactive Awards Competition

Indianapolis, IN USA – April 1, 2016  – The Horizon Interactive Awards, a leading international interactive media awards competition, has announced the 2015 award winners to highlight this year’s “best of the best” in interactive media production.

The Guam Rays Shoot A Selfie in Shades photo contest created for The Placemaking Group’s client, the Guam Visitors Bureau, was recognized for its excellence with a Gold award (Websites – Social Media), while a Home Season promotional BART poster and a Board of Directors Membership Guide created as pro bono projects for AXIS Dance Company won a Gold (Print – Advertisement / Promotional) and Silver (Print – Brochure), respectively.

Since building her first corporate website in 1996 for Manex Visual Effects, the Oscar-winning visual effects company behind The Matrix trilogy, Deirdre Spencer’s design work has won numerous awards, including over a dozen Horizon Interactive Awards since 2005.

The 14th annual, international competition saw over 1100 entries from 21 countries around world including: Australia, Austria, Brazil, Belgium, Canada, China, Germany, Hong Kong, India, Martinique, Malaysia, New Zealand, Portugal, Russia, Serbia, Spain, South Korea, Sweden, Taiwan, Turkey, and the United Kingdom.

An international panel of judges, consisting of industry professionals with diverse backgrounds evaluated categories ranging from online advertising to mobile applications. The 2015 winning entries showcase the industry’s best interactive media solutions including web sites, mobile applications, print media, interactive displays, public exhibits, online advertising, video, email and more.

“The 2015 competition raised the bar for immersive, interactive experiences both online and offline,” Said, Mike Sauce- Founder of the Horizon Interactive Awards. “This year’s competition again saw an emphasis on full screen, immersive user experiences coupled with fully responsive frameworks to allow consistency from desktop to tablet to mobile phones. Brands are finding new ways to connect with customers through multi-channel marketing while providing consistent messages. The stand-outs this year found a way to integrate the online interactive world with real-life scenarios and other offline traditional media. This highlights the power of digital communication and reflects that technology is a part of our lives at just about every turn. We continue to showcase digital media projects which strive for the best blend between top-notch creative imagery with clear, concise content, and well though out user experiences.”

The Horizon Interactive Awards holds the competition each year with the winners being announced the following April. For more information visit the Horizon Interactive Awards online:


About the Horizon Interactive Awards

In its 14th year, the Horizon Interactive Awards was created to recognize excellence in interactive media production worldwide. Since 2001, the competition has received tens of thousands of entries from many countries around the world and nearly all 50 US States.  Each year, those entries are narrowed down to the “best of the best” to be recognized and promoted on and international stage for their excellence. The judging process involves a blend of the Horizon Interactive Awards advisory panel, an end user panel and an international panel of volunteer judges consisting of industry professionals. Winning entries have been dubbed the “best of the best” in the interactive media industry. For more information, visit



Mike Sauce
Founder and President
Horizon Interactive Awards


So pleased for The Placemaking Group that the Facebook campaign I managed last year for their client, McRoskey Mattress Company, has won a Silver Horizon Interactive Award. Congratulations on this and all your other well-deserved awards!


McRoskey Mattress Facebook campaign



Shoot A Selfie in Shades to Win Ray-Ban® Aviator Sunglasses

Woobox makes running a photo contest a snap across social media outlets.

Woobox makes running a photo contest a snap across social media outlets.

Photo contests are a terrific way to engage fans of your travel destination. For the next few weeks, folks who post a sunglasses selfie using the hashtag #GuamRays to Instagram, Twitter or through the Woobox app will be entered to win a cool pair of Ray-Ban® Aviator Flash Lenses, offered by the Guam Visitors Bureau. You can also enter on the contest tab on the Visit Guam USA Facebook page.

Good luck to all who enter, and I hope you have as much fun taking creative selfies in your shades as I did working on the design for the project for The Placemaking Group.

Post-contest update

The contest is over, and with 154 entries, Guam’s primary social media accounts got a collective boost in followers from the #GuamRays contest. Facebook followers climbed from 1241 to 1630, Twitter followers grew from 1347 to 1471, and Instagram followers increased from 268 to 339.


Several weeks ago, I shared the importance of using Facebook promoted posts to gain visibility for your product or service. Here’s great example, from a design and social media marketing campaign I worked on for an agency client, The Placemaking Group.

A Targeted Ad Campaign

This high-end, brick-and-mortar mattress and bedding retail shop is growing its small Facebook audience, and wanted to promote a month-long pillow sale in the San Francisco and Palo Alto areas, to an audience over the age of 30. With this campaign, both goals were achieved. This $25, 5-day Facebook ad campaign generated 35 page likes with a reach of 1,103 people who were not current page fans during its run.


A Promoted Post

During the same time period, we also ran a $25, 5-day promoted post that was seen by 2,115 people, liked by 59 fans, and shared 4 times. Compare this to a more typical post with 25-30 views, 2 likes and no shares.


The Takeaway

Altogether, this campaign raised the number of page fans from a previously stagnant 113 followers to 168, and was seen by 3,218 people in the specified demographic and geographic regions during its brief and very affordable run. 

Numbers reported back from Facebook proved that the most successful ad by far was the one featuring the same image of stacked pillows seen in the promoted post. This data will be used to inform future ad runs during the last weeks of the sale.


Recently, I made the decision to open shop as Deirdre Spencer Design, to provide marketing communications design services to clients in Oakland, the Bay Area and beyond. Happily, I’ll continue to assist with some accounts for The Placemaking Group, but this move allows me more freedom to pursue a wider array of design work for my own clients. It’s very exciting, indeed!

Naturally, there’s quite a bit of work one must do to be ready to accept new clients, and to promote one’s new business. I’ve set up my new business website using WordPress and a terrific responsive theme called Nectar, that I’m customizing to suit my own needs. I’ve created a new mailing list for a brand new, monthly newsletter that will feature news and tips on marketing design and social media.

Behind the scenes, I’ve been playing around with a customer relations management and automated marketing service called ZoHo, and setting up cloud accounting and invoicing with FreshBooks. The latter has been such a super experience that I thought I’d share it with you here.

Read more…


I’ve spent two great years helping Holy Names University revamp their Web presence, from a website redesign to freshen their look, to numerous WordPress blogs to support departments and faculty, and share University news and history, to revitalized social networking pages to foster a sense of community online.

It’s been challenging and fun, but now that I’m moving on, the job could be yours if you have the qualifications and passion to help a small university communicate its strengths and mission to the world.

If you or anyone you know may be interested, please repost or pass this job description for University Web Manager along to them.

The image above is of a mosaic outside the Kennedy Art Center near the George McCrea House (and Ohlone campground and sacred hematite quarry, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982).


Just launched — a redesigned site for cookbook author Vanessa Barrington. Vanessa had an older website as well as a blog hosted at TypePad; it was time to freshen her look and unify her web presence.

Check it out for her thoughts on cooking, food and culture, food policy and politics, sustainability and urban farming, travel, and trends — and learn more about the project here.

Here’s Vanessa in a super-cute promo video for her book D.I.Y. Delicious:


Just launched: Mary and Sara – Cooking Thymes Two, a website and blog by Mary Corpening Barber and Sara Corpening Whiteford, identical twin sisters who write amazing cookbooks. They’ll be blogging yummy recipes weekly, starting with an amazing egg nog, so check them out.


It’s been a busy fall, launching the redesign for historical romance author and helping identical twin sisters and best-selling cookbook authors Mary and Sara get on Twitter, YouTube and Facebook. Website to follow — check back here for details.