Farmers Weekly Double Page Spread

Client: AgriArgo UK

The Client.

AgriArgo UK & Ireland are one of many regional branches of Argo Tractors, the Italian brand house which manage, manufacture and market Landini and McCormick tractors for international markets.

The brands are extremely well known in certain countries, leading head and shoulders above other well known makes. Landini is a brand that has been at the same factory in Fabricco, Italy, for centuries, so the authentic Italian style quite literally flows throughout the models.

McCormick is more well known in America, where the power and reliability trump other makes and models. In the UK, McCormick used to be one of the main choices for farmers. However, in the last decade, sales dropped and a restructure took place which is when I was invited to join the party.

As their sole designer, I receive numerous jobs each week for a wide variety of different uses. Some are dealer focussed, some are McCormick branded, some are Landini branded and some are Argo Tractors branded.

The Job.

Around 4pm an urgent job came in for a double page spread advertisement to fill space reserved in Farmers Weekly, the UK’s largest and most popular farming magazine. The print deadline was 10am the following morning. So work commenced immediately.

I had an image in mind which I had on file. It was a high resolution image of an X8 shot in the UK by Farming Photography. The McCormick brand guidelines exlpicitly detail retouching styles for photography used in ads. As a brief snapshot, the words “agressive angles”, “high contrast”, “statement saturation” feature prominently.

Armed with the stellar shot from Farming Photography, I set to work to give this the McCormick treatment. Aside from enlarging the canvas and having to draw on (digitally) a few rows of bricks and tiles on the old barn, the retouching took around 1.5 hours and the result is below:

The Retouching.

All in all this image had a fair amount done to it. You can’t ignore that – it’s a total transformation.

Thankfully, years and years of retouching work as a photographer has armed me with a huge arsenal of skills that suit jobs just like this one. The total work for this job included:

  1. Desaturation of all non-red, non-brick areas of the photo
  2. Harsh levels and curves changes to add contrast
  3. High pass sharpen of the base image
  4. De-noise of the base image
  5. Removal of distractions (baling twine on the gate, stickers on the trailer side, white bits of gravel on the floor, scratches, marks and dust on the tractor itself)
  6. Canvas resize to add space to the top and right (for the advert size)
    • Content aware scale
    • Repair of the roof tiles on the left
    • Re-drawing and alignment of bricks that were not in the shot
  7. Removal of the sky (see GIF below) which inlcuded little areas and big areas
  8. Black layer with mask on multiply to vignette
  9. Additional curve bump
  10. Addition of beacon lights
  11. Addition of cab lights
  12. Conversion to CMYK
  13. Further colour compensation work
  14. Further vingetting (for print)
  15. Export as TIFF and move into InDesign.

Job done. For now.

Quick sky replacement demo...

The Ad.

Now that the image is sorted, the ad can commence.

From a design standpoint, the brand guidelines for advertisements are rigidly worked up. For us, it was a case of matching copy to the ad. The aim was to create awareness and develop interest for the McCormick X8. Top level specs were used in the text area with an eyecatching, daring and bold headline on the right page.

As always, care was taken to avoid the fold. The resulting ad mocked up looked like this:

Job done.

Sent to the client and with no amends, the ad went to print on time. Sorted.

What words come to mind when I think of Jess? Bold, Eager, Talented. When I began the search for a marketing agency to help with the mammoth task we have in front of us, it didn’t take me long to realise Jess was the girl for us. I want someone who isn’t afraid to push boundaries, and Jess is exactly that. Right from our very first meeting, she wasn’t afraid to ask anything, and did a lot of homework on our brands and presented them in a bold, courageous manner, with a clear intention. Since that day, her work continues to inspire me. We have strict guidelines to follow, but that doesn’t mean that Jess can’t put her own spin on marketing assets, and make them her own, and she does just that! Her replies are prompt, and she never fails to go the extra mile as and when it may be needed. If you want someone to help raise your brand profile and make your products desirable to your market- look no further. Not only does Jess make our marketing material appealing, it always serves a purpose, giving us a clear action and strategy. Teamwork makes the dream work.

Rachael Walshaw Marketing Coordinator at AgriArgo UK & Ireland