Custom Christmas (Holiday) Cards

Custom designed and photographed card(s) for the Monterey Bay Academy (MBA) Alumni and Development Office.

December, 2016
Graphic DesignPhotographyPrint Design
Since 2008, the Alumni and Development Office has produced a customized, annual Christmas card for the purpose of thanking donors for their contribution to the school. Until 2013, the front of the cards utilized vintage photographs from the school's archives. Since then, the card fronts have been focused on using a Christmas-at-the-beach theme, due to the school's location. The 2013, 2015, and 2016 covers were photographed by Benjamin Designs/Kent Cabreira Photography, as described below.
Other Credits:
Photography (2013, 2015, 2016) — Kent Cabreira Photography
Commercial Printing — Bay Photo Lab

2016 Concepts — The Director of Alumni and Development sought out a local company to etch the school's seal onto a clear ornament (bauble) to be used as a centerpiece for each concept, surrounded by silver/gray and blue ornaments (the school's official colors).
The initial idea was to integrate the ornaments amongst naturally-growing plants (which we improperly labeled "seagrass") on the beach. The end of high tide provided a lake-like background, instead of a common blanket of beach sand. The school's physical location is home to the Monterey cypress (Cupressus macrocarpa) tree, which provided the basis for the next concept: the "cypress bough." We intentionally did not use the silver/gray ornaments to reduce glare/brightness, and photographed two (2) options—with and without the twine inside the clear ornament, with the twine winning out for its added interest and better readability of the school's seal. And finally, a driftwood option, which was not chosen for use this year, because of its simplicity, but may lend itself to future use as a meme.
The "cypress bough" concept (top right) was chosen for the for the card cover, and the "seagrass" concept (top left) was designed to be used as the school's Facebook cover page (bottom left).
2016 Christmas Card — The final card design and layout was press-printed on a pearl metallic paper.
2015 Christmas Card — The final card design and layout was press-printed on a pearl metallic paper.
Original concept: Have a Christmas tree on the beach. While discussing the concept with the client, I suggested having the shoot at sunset/golden hour (instead of daylight hours) and add lights to the tree. This, in turn, spurred the idea of having a small campfire (why have a lone tree on the beach?). The school has a very long history of having bonfires on the beach for a variety of events. We knew that this would spark fond memories for donors who attended the school. At the time of the shoot, seating was added to provide a more plausible scenario.
Weather was closely monitored, including cloud patterns, to ensure a classic sunset beach scene. The client received several questions as to the authenticity of the final image, especially in regards to the Christmas tree being lit. Everything in the final image is authentic: the Christmas tree lights were powered by a portable electric generator, the overall lighting is blended from shots taken throughout the golden hour (highlighting the sand around the tree, as well as the light falling on the bluffs), and the sky is from the opposite angle of the tree, then flipped to have the sun setting in the correct direction.
Card cover cropped and used as the school's December 2015 Facebook cover page.
2014 and 2013 Christmas Cards — The final card design and layout was press-printed on a pearl metallic paper.
The 2014 card (left) featured a snowman on the MBA beach, built and photographed by the client. The 2013 card (right) was inspired by from another card design, but featured studio photography of personally-owned shells from the MBA beach, as well as a  photograph of the Monterey Bay taken in Pacific Grove, CA already in the Benjamin Design/Kent Cabreira Photography library.
2012–2008 Christmas Cards (left to right, top to bottom) — The final card design and layout was press-printed on a pearl metallic paper.
2012 card: MBA Girls' Dormitory Room (1989)
2011 card: MBA Messiah Program (December 1999 by Rick Regester)
2010 card: MBA LP Record Album (circa 1960s)
2009 card: Grunke Hall Administration Building (circa 1960s), MBA seal (logo) redesigned to honor the 60th anniversary
2008 card: MBA Students Off On an Outing (circa 1950s)

Other Projects from Benjamin Designs

Veterans Day (Education)
November, 2016
“Some Enchanted Evening” Gala
March, 2016
Business Identification (Education)
July, 2009
Accreditation Report (Education)
March, 2007
LEO's Haven
June, 2016
Kondo/Rains Wedding Graphics
August, 2014
Open House (Education)
January, 2015
Back to Top