TDC celebrates its talented and diverse membership by featuring a monthly member profile. Mary Marnell is the founder and creative director of Post & Paper Co., an Atlanta-based design, development, and marketing firm. TDC asked Mary to talk about how she began her firm, the design community in Atlanta, and how she chooses type for the websites she builds.
Tell us a bit about Post and Paper Co. When did you start? Who are your clients? What services do you primarily offer?
I started out building websites as a freelancer in 2011. I launched Post & Paper Co. during a time when I was working on as many print-based projects as web-based projects, although website design and development is still my sweet spot.
My clients range from other design agencies to luxury travel firms, PGA golf pros, accountants, gyms, and storefronts. A lot of my work is built around small business websites. I really enjoy helping people to solve problems and use technology to improve their business and their
life. This has led to a lot of interesting projects in application design and development in addition to developing standard small-business WordPress websites.
Many of the first few clients I had back in 2011 remain my clients today on an ongoing retainer basis, which includes website maintenance and changes, online marketing, and keeping my eagle eye on domains, hosting, security, backups, updates, and upgrades. That has been a huge part of my business, and I think my clients would say that their favorite thing about working with me is that it offers peace of mind and convenience for a busy business owner.
Post & Paper Co. design.
Can you give our readers a taste of what Atlanta cultural life is like, and where and how design comes into play?
Every time I go out of town and tell people I’m from Atlanta, the first thing they mention is their one-time visit to The World of Coke. While it’s certainly a great stop, Atlanta has so much more to offer.
Each part of the city has its own unique vibe and character. We have our own diverse design districts with creative co-working communities popping up all over town. I’d really like to encourage everyone to visit places like Old Fourth Ward, Buford Highway, the Beltline, East Atlanta Village, and Piedmont Park, to name a few.
You don’t have to look far to find great design in Atlanta. It’s home to quite an array of talented creatives and design agencies that do incredible work. Ponce City Market, in particular, is one area of Atlanta that’s charged with creative energy.
What is your process for choosing type for the websites that you build?
I really try to think about the project and the brand. What does it need? What sort of communicative properties does the type need to have and how hard does it have to work?
I avoid having a set number of typefaces that I go to, because I don’t want to corner my work or the client’s deliverable by what type that I prefer. As much as Massimo Vignelli was and will always be a legend to many of us designers, I part ways with him on his theory about needing only ten typefaces ever. Sure, there are some staples that we can all trust, but in a day and age when people are increasingly trying to stand out and project a distinctive brand voice, choosing something like Futura or Bodoni won’t always do the job…and I say this with deep respect and appreciation for them both.
I also try to select type from lesser-used foundries or find something that’s not ubiquitous. That’s not always the case, but in weighing pros and cons, if I’ve seen a font used in a hundred recent projects, I might keep searching for something different. I don’t hold to this principle too tightly however, because what seems bespoke and seldom used today can quickly change.
I also have to consider the client’s budget. It’s hard to convince some clients to justify spending $3,000 in type costs when they have a tight budget. I do try though, I really do.
Post & Paper Co. design.