agency culture

Café textures: free download.

The creative team is counting down the days till October 8th. This date marks our happy homecoming to 3707 Butler St. Unexpected repairs have kept us apart from our beloved building since mid-July and we’re eager to be reunited. Beauty Shoppe Coworking has welcomed us in the interim, but the truth is we really miss our space. Who can blame us? From the café’s tin ceilings to the second story hardwoods, it’s the little things that make us feel at home there.

To commemorate our much-anticipated return, I put together a free texture pack for creatives and café lovers alike. Included are closeups of textures found in the agency from floor to ceiling that I’ve collected over the past year. Hopefully these come in handy for your own projects, or simply give you a magnified look inside Elisco’s Creative Café. Enjoy!

Included in download:

  • 11 café textures (JPEGs at 300dpi)

To download the texture pack, click the button below.


 
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LAURA SHIRLEY, ASSOCIATE ART DIRECTOR

Laura is a graduate of California University of Pennsylvania where she earned a B.S. in Graphic Design. While at Cal, she led the campus’ vanguard student-run design firm Studio 224. Laura is a member of Pittsburgh’s AIGA chapter.

 

CaféLife issue 1.

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Last week we said farewell & arrivederci to our four summer interns. If you’ve been keeping up with our café blog, & we hope you have, you’ve seen some of their work first hand. Theresa (Copywriting), Brandon (Graphic Design), Joe (Business Development), & Sydney (Account Management) brought us fresh perspectives & impressive work all summer long. Today, we’re thrilled to share a taste of what they created for the Elisco’s Creative Café brand.

The CaféLife story started in early Spring; the initial intention being to send a simple newsletter to clients & friends of the agency. It dawned on us that we hadn’t sent out an email like this in ages. By the time our interns arrived in June, the project pot had been simmering on the backburner for months with an ever-growing list of ingredients to add in. Since our new interns had the bandwidth, we were eager to brief them. Theresa quickly pointed out that this was shaping up to be one lengthy email. This realization led the team to move to a new medium: Elisco’s own digital magazine.

Issue 1 includes updates on our unexpected construction, up & coming Artichoke Productions, & even a few family recipes. We’re proud of the work that went into the magazine & hope you love it as much as we do:
 


 
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LAURA SHIRLEY, ASSOCIATE ART DIRECTOR

Laura is a graduate of California University of Pennsylvania where she earned a B.S. in Graphic Design. While at Cal, she led the campus’ vanguard student-run design firm Studio 224. Laura is a member of Pittsburgh’s AIGA chapter.

 

Finding Paris in Pittsburgh.

 
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I have recently been haunted by a certain Facebook video poking fun at study abroad students. The blonde caricature student rambles again and again, “when I was abroad…” filling in the blanks by longing for every European cliché from a more relaxed lifestyle to a different drinking culture.

This is a stereotype I may just fall into, but with a tiny bit of pride. This past spring semester I studied abroad in Paris. And yes, for four months I got to bask in espresso, sidewalk café terraces, and croissants galore. Sometimes clichés are beautiful. 

At the beginning of my study abroad program, we had a week-long orientation that included presentations on cultural and academic differences. During one of these sessions, our presenter lamented that while she loves the laid-back business style of the French, she often craves American efficiency. 

“Americans are just so efficient. They respond to emails; they have quick meetings. When I work in France everyone wants to get coffee or have a two-hour long lunch before anything gets done.”

I have to admit that I had noticed a difference in my day-to-day activities in Paris. Things take a bit longer in France. They aren’t rushed quite like they are here—unless you’re walking through the metro.

Americans really do value efficiency and convenience. We have quick meetings. We snack all day to keep from getting hungry. We don’t use all of our vacation time.

I was surprised to learn there was no online portal for my university and that professors most likely would not respond to my emails within 24 hours. I was also shocked by how often my host family had off work/school for a national holiday. 

And then there was the food. My host family made the most delicious dinners. In the early evening or sometimes even late afternoon, the smells would begin to waft through the house. Each night we sat down at the dinner table—no take-out or rushed fifteen-minute dinner. Sometimes it was just three or four of us, sometimes all six people. And we always had an appetizer or dessert along with our entrée. 

While I’m at school, I barely make myself three real dinners a week—and that’s a good week. I love how people in France take the time to enjoy food, from taking hours to eat, to shopping for fresh food at specialty stores, to spending hours in a café just to have a coffee. In the majority of cafés, you don’t see laptops and people working. They just sit, talk, and enjoy their espresso or café crème.

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I thought a lot about which style I preferred. The truth is I like a little bit of both. I wanted to bring some of those French traditions back with me, especially when it comes to food. But would it really be possible for me to live like that in the U.S.? How would I find time to cook each day?  Where even is the closest bakery? 

I realized that while I may be able to add some crepes into my diet, I would have let a lot of the other things go. If I have time to go to a farmer’s market, great. But the way I live at home just isn’t conducive to spending hours each night cooking and eating.

In the midst of this culture shock, the time came for me to apply for summer internships. Elisco was the first one I applied for and the first reply I received:

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I started to stress out because I realized how badly I wanted this internship.

“We’re reviewing your resume over espresso & croissants.”

It was only one sentence, but it made me really, really excited. I realized there might be a place where I could have the best of both worlds.

I enlisted my roommate’s help for my project. We spent the next few days running around Paris searching for the letters to spell out “Elisco.” Once I had photographed all six letters, I combined them into a photo collage that I posted on Facebook. A few weeks later, I was offered and accepted the position with Elisco. 

Sure there may not literally be any croissants, but I had found a place that had the American friendliness and efficiency I missed while in France, and also valued food like the French. We understand that food is more than just fuel, but an experience, a ritual, and an important part of life.

In the Elisco office, I’m surrounded by photos of food, the people are passionate about food, and every catered lunch is wonderful. The neighborhood helps too. I can help finish a proposal template before noon and then enjoy lunch on any one of Lawrenceville’s restaurant patios. Some days the people-watching rivals Paris’.

Because maybe how you get things done has less to do about where you are on the map, and more to do with what you value. A good meal doesn’t have to be sacrificed to squeeze in a meeting. Why not have both? Maybe we can forgo the formality of a corporate French lunch, but keep all of the flavor.  

And lucky for me, there is a French bakery right up the street.

 

SOURCES:


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Sydney Brown, Account Management Intern

As a Strategic Communication and French Studies student at the Ohio State University, Sydney seeks opportunities that allow her to combine her interest in communications with her passions outside the classroom. At OSU, she works on marketing and campus engagement for student organizations including BuckeyeThon and She’s the First. Sydney recently studied abroad in Paris, where she was able to improve her French; she hopes to keep advancing her language skills in her future career, or simply through her love for travel.

 

5ft & 4.5in

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With an average height of 5’ 4.5”, shoes on, Elisco is Pittsburgh’s shortest agency. Admittedly I’m the shortest of us all, so it’s only fair that I take on the topic of agency size. It’s an important factor in the advertising industry from both client & employee perspectives. Should a small agency boast their numbers or downplay them? At Elisco, we know where we stand: about 2” below the national average & 7 people strong.

Short jokes aside, Elisco’s Creative Café is a PA certified small business. It’s something we take pride in & use to our advantage on a daily basis. Actually, our café atmosphere couldn’t exist without it. By definition café’s are small in a cozy & inviting way. It’s an environment that fosters shared ideas. The lines between departments are grayer, the faces friendlier, & the desks closer. Because of this setup, our favorite campaigns are born when the media buyer sits in on a creative meeting or an account executive pitches in on copy. From the employee side, the collaborative process is rewarding. Our input is valuable for every project & we’re encouraged to be well rounded in our fields. The outcome? Clients get the best.

Another pro of choosing the little guys is you’re always working with their A team. You never have to wonder if your project is getting tossed to the B, C, or even D teams…because they don’t exist. Every job gets the attention it deserves from each one of us. Our size allows senior members of the agency to be involved & up to date with all clients.

Pointing out the positives of our “piccola agenzia” is a must. John Caruso, our new business giant of 5’ 9”,  would say it’s particularly true with potential clients. “Are you big enough to handle our account?” is a question he faces frequently. Even if they don’t say it, they’re thinking it. Better to address it & prove that we measure up.


 
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LAURA SHIRLEY, ASSOCIATE ART DIRECTOR

Laura is a graduate of California University of Pennsylvania where she earned a B.S. in Graphic Design. While at Cal, she led the campus’ vanguard student-run design firm Studio 224. Laura is a member of Pittsburgh’s AIGA chapter.