Leslie Gabriel - COO, Creative Director

Leslie GabrielLeslie is a results-driven designer and creative director with over 28 years of experience. She has tackled projects from brand identity, annual reports, interactive development, and online marketing campaigns. Her clients include ING Security Life, GolfTEC, Hewlett-Packard, Christy Sports, Pentax, MetLife, Jamba Juice, StorageTek, BMW Motorcycles, Jeppesen Marine and The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod.
Leslie first established her skills at Colorado's major ad agencies, and now is Design Director at Airways. A true leader, Leslie provides Airway's creative teams with a good balance of inspiration and art direction, with a dose of reality here and there. Leslie is currently the Design Director and founder of Airways Communication Inc. Travel is her biggest passion.


The Red Lantern

Friday, July 26, 2013 by Leslie Gabriel

I had never heard about this before. It's makes so much sense. We need to celebrate Red Lantern winners!

The following is the Red Lantern article from Seth Godin.

At the grueling Iditarod, there's a prize for the musher who finishes last: The Red Lantern.

Failing to finish earns you nothing, of course. But for the one who sticks it out, who arrives hours late, there's the respect that comes from finding the strength to make it, even when all seems helpless.

Most parents (and most bosses) agree that this sort of dedication is a huge asset in life. And yet, as we head back for another year of school, I can't help but notice that schools do nothing at all to encourage it.

The coach of the soccer team doesn't reward the players who try the hardest, push themselves or put in the hours. He rewards the best players, by playing them.

The director of the school play puts the same kids in leading roles year after year. After all, the reasoning goes, we need to have tryouts and reward the best performers, just like they do in real life.

But school isn't real life. School is about learning how to succeed in real life.

Natural talent is rewarded early and often. As Malcolm Gladwell has pointed out, most of the players in the NHL have birthdays in a three month window, because when you're 8 years old, being six months older is a huge advantage. Those kids, the skaters with good astrological signs, or possibly those performers with the genetic singing advantage--those are the kids that get the coaching and the applause and the playing time. Unearned advantages, multiplied.

If we're serious about building the habits of success, tracking is precisely the wrong approach. Talent (born with or born without) is not your fault, is not a choice, is not something we ought to give you much credit or blame for.

How do we celebrate the Red Lantern winners instead?

The Red Lantern

Floating River Pool Coming To NYC!!

Sunday, July 21, 2013 by Leslie Gabriel

The floating river project is a really cool idea, and is being supported by KICKSTARTER pledges. Maybe you're asking yourself what is Kickstarter? It's a way to fund creative projects. They are a home for everything from films, games, and music to art, and design, and technology. Kickstarter is full of projects, big and small, that are brought to life through direct support from people like you. They launced in 2009, more than 4.5 million people have pledged over $713 million, funding more than 45,000 creative projects. MORE ABOUT KICKSTARTER

Facebook opens Artic Circle data center - Using freezing air to cool servers

Tuesday, June 18, 2013 by Leslie Gabriel

On the edge of the Arctic Circle, where the River Lule meets the Gulf of Bothnia, lies a very important building. Facebook's newest data center - in Luleå, Sweden - is now handling live traffic from around the world.

As our systems come online for the first time, we are proud to say that this is likely to be one of the most efficient and sustainable data centers in the world. All the equipment inside is powered by locally generated hydro-electric energy. Not only is it 100% renewable, but the supply is also so reliable that we have been able to reduce the number of backup generators required at the site by more than 70 percent. In addition to harnessing the power of water, we are using the chilly Nordic air to cool the thousands of servers that store your photos, videos, comments, and Likes. Any excess heat that is producedin the  Lulea Data Center is used to keep our office warm.

Our commitment to energy efficiency is also evident inside Luleå's giant data halls. Nearly all the technology in the facility, from the servers to the power distribution systems, is based on Open Compute Project designs. This Facebook-founded initiative encourages the development of "vanity-free" hardware designs that are highly efficient and leave out unnecessary bits of metal and plastic. These designs are then shared with the broader community, so anyone can use or improve them.   READ MORE >>

Facebook Luleå, Sweden












Luleå, Sweden

Luleå, Sweden






















Amelia Earharts plane may be found (again)

Monday, June 17, 2013 by Leslie Gabriel

Amelia EarhartI have always been fascinated with Amelia Earhart. She was the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean in 1932. She disappeared in the mid-Pacific in July 1937. Today there has been a discovery off a mid-Pacific island in the Republic of Kiribati showing an "anomaly" that might be pieces of Amelia's aircraft. Erin Berger from Outside.com bring us this recent article.

Almost 80 years after disappearing somewhere in the Pacific Ocean, the remains of Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Model 10 Electra remain elusive. But the International Group for Historic Aircraft Recovery (TIGHAR) has not stopped searching for over 20 years, and they, once again, are announcing a new lead.

In a sonar image of the ocean floor taken near the remote Pacific island of Nikumaroro, there is an anomaly that, according to TIGHAR, is a good fit for the size and shape of Earhart’s plane. It’s also in an area the group had earlier identified as being the most likely location of the wreck.

But TIGHAR has had its fair share of false leads, and the group acknowledges that the anomaly could just be a coral feature or a sunken fishing boat. They will continue analyzing the image, and once they’ve raised enough money, they will return to Nikumaroro to verify the find.

What are your thoughts on Earhart's disappearance?

More on TIGHAR'S relentless search for Earhart.

SXSW looks to artists to get people off their phones and interacting

Monday, March 11, 2013 by Leslie Gabriel

Good idea... In my opinion there are too many people glued to their phones, and not enough "real" interactions.

Here is what SXSW is doing to get people interacting!

Story By John McDermott

SXSW has a unique problem: the bigger it gets, the less it becomes about the film, music, technology or the festival itself and more about the ad agencies, brands and marketing pap that surrounds it. 

But there are some SXSW employees who are fighting to redirect attendees' eyeballs away from the marketing side shows and back to the Austin Convention Center where the "actual" festival is held. Further, festival organizers would like attendees to actually "be" in the convention center and not on their devices.

That's partly why SXSW brought in New York City artist and educator Otis Kriegel this year. As one of the festival's several artists-in-residence, its his job to use art to distract attendees from their smartphones and precipitate face-to-face interaction.

Mr. Kriegel, co-founder of New York-based public art collective Illegal Art, spent Friday installing one of group's signature interactive art projects, "To Do." The project, which Mr. Kriegel has previously conducted in New York City and New Hampshire, involved littering a wall with nearly 5,000 Post-Its to spell the words "TO DO" over the course of seven hours.

When passersby encounter the wall on Saturday, they will be encouraged to write tasks on one of the slips of paper in the hopes that someone else will pick it up and follow its instructions.

"[SXSW] wanted to have more of a gravitational pull, to have people actually participating in the actual festivities in ways that aren't tech-based," said the wiry Mr. Kriegel as he worked four SXSW volunteers to arrange the pink and yellow squares.

Mr. Kriegel hopes the notes induce serendipitous meetings between art projects participants. He will be replacing the Post-Its throughout the week as they are taken and (hopefully) carried out.

Mr. Kriegel will also be working with fellow Illegal Art member Michael McDevitt for another art project called To Me that will be installed at the Blackheart Bar in Austin. Participants will write themselves postcards that will they receive in the mail in six months. The postcards are meant to help participants reflect upon who they are now and ultimately serves as "a memorial to your past self," SXSW said.

Morgan Catalina, saleswoman for SXSW's special projects, said that providing surprises is part of a marketing strategy that separates SXSW from other cavernous, monotonous tech festivals.

In addition to Mr. Kriegel's To Do installation, Ms. Catalina has solicited similar projects that lie at the convergence of film, music and technology including an installation at Republic Square Park that will use a series of lights to make the park appear to be a tidal pool.

Ms. Catalina said the marketing side shows that occur within SXSW's orbit don't bother her. She is, however, adamant about making the certified event as engaging as possible.

Whether her artists will be able to get attendees to look up is uncertain.

"I'm literally putting my life in their hands," Ms. Catalina said.

Colorado Gives Day

Tuesday, December 4, 2012 by Leslie Gabriel






Colorado Gives Day (happening tomorrow, Dec. 4) might as well be a state holiday. The idea: a 24-hour giving spree to hundreds of Colorado charities, big and small. In its inaugural year, the foundation raised $8.4 million for 529 charities; last year $12.4 million was donated to 928 nonprofits. Organizers anticipate an even bigger outpouring of generosity this year, and you can help by donating to any of the more than 1,000 participating nonprofits. It's super easy: Just go to www.givingfirst.org and find the charity you want to donate to. 

Airways has been a proud supporter of the Morgan Adams Foundation for 7 years, donating technology solutions as well as strategic direction. Please help support pediatric cancer research.


Top 10 Text Only Logos of All Time

Monday, December 3, 2012 by Leslie Gabriel

I thought this would be a good review for those who are interesed in type only logos. These are hugely successful.

The minimalist approach can go a long way, especially when you have a text only logo, meaning that it is free of any emblem or other distinct pictorial element. Text only logos can also include alettermark. A good example would be the McDonald’s “M”. According to DesignCrowd, 8 of the top 10 brands – fromInterbrand’s Top 100 brands of the world 2009 – use a simple wordmark or lettermark logo. Also 51 of the top 100 brands of the world use a wordmark or lettermark logo that is, their logos are simple, text-only and free from icons, pictures or emblems. 

Published by: GRAPHICDESIGN.com







In glorious Bello Script, the Pinterest logo comes together in perfect harmony as an icon, while remaining strictly type based. The subtle point on the P is just enough to make it extra iconic, yet still remain a letter.






Creative director Benjamen Purvis, together with legendary type designer Jim Parkinson, who drew the new logo, took their inspiration from 1930s European auto-racing posters — ruggedelegantunadorned. “It’s handcrafted, masculine, and authoritative,” Purvis says. “I think it perfectly expresses the spirit of our magazine.”

Busy, Busy, Week in San Francisco!

Monday, October 8, 2012 by Leslie Gabriel

Fleet Week is a United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, and United States Coast Guard tradition in which active military ships recently deployed in overseas operations dock in a variety of major cities for one week. Once the ships dock, the crews can enter the city and visit its tourist attractions. At certain hours, the public can take a guided tour of the ships. Often, Fleet Week is accompanied by military demonstrations and air shows such as those provided by the Blue Angels.

Unfortunatley, we weren't able to be there this year. Many of our friends did make it to Fleet Week and took in the 34th America's Cup World Series. The finals will be held in San Francisco 2013 with even bigger boats, the AC72. 

Photographer: Gilles Martin-Raget

America's Cup World Series 2012

Digital Media Produces Lots of Activity Yet Email is #1 for Producing Sales.

Friday, July 13, 2012 by Leslie Gabriel


Contributed by Joel Book , ExactTarget's Director of eMarketing Education 

Digital media has forever transformed how brands and consumers interact with each other. Online marketing has become a 24x7 multi-channel symphony designed to engage and inspire today’s hyper-connected consumer. And hopefully compel them to buy the brand’s product.

To visualize the “avalanche of digital activity” that is taking place between brands and consumers, business intelligence company DOMO paired up with Column Five Media to create this infographic to show what’s happening online every minute of every day,.  

digital activity


The 33 richest people in advertising, ranked by income. Don Draper did not make the list!

Thursday, May 24, 2012 by Leslie Gabriel


What do you think? Social Sharing Stimulates Brain Like Sex and Food

Thursday, May 10, 2012 by Leslie Gabriel

The reason social media is so compelling probably goes back to a simple, eternal truth: human beings like to think and talk about themselves. That judgment is based on new research conducted by psychologists at Harvard, which suggests that disclosing information about oneself activates the same neural rewards center associated with other basic desires like food and sex.
The study, titled “Disclosing information about the self is intrinsically rewarding,” used an MRI to observe the brain activity of subjects who were asked questions about themselves and others -- including, for example, personal food preferences, enjoyment of leisure activities, and so on. This portion of the study found higher levels of activity in the mesolimbic dopamic system, including the nucleus accumbens and the ventral tegmental area, all of which are associated with feelings of rewards, when people answered questions about themselves.
In a second part of the study, subjects were given a choice between answering questions about themselves or questions about others, with different monetary rewards attached to each. Although the “pricing” of questions gave subjects the chance to earn more money by answering questions about others, most participants sacrificed potential earnings in order to answer more questions about themselves.
Referring back to earlier studies which were used as models for this study, the authors summed up the results: “Just as monkeys are willing to forgo juice rewards to view dominant groupmates and college students are willing to give up money to view attractive members of the opposite sex, our participants were willing to forgo money to think and talk about themselves.”
A further refinement of the study let subjects share their answers with a friend who accompanied them to the tests, and who could view answers on a computer. Unsurprisingly, even greater importance was associated with sharing information with others, both in terms of neural activity and in the amount of money subjects were willing to sacrifice in order to share. Interestingly, the value placed on sharing information with others averaged just under one cent, “putting a new twist on the old phrase ‘a penny for your thoughts,’” the authors drily observed.

This article written by Erick Sass, and was brought to my attention by The Social Graf - Connecting Through the CAOS.

Making the World a Better Place...Mobile Produce Market

Thursday, May 10, 2012 by Leslie Gabriel

Another cool idea from O The Oprah Magazine - Mobile Produce Market

Steve was motivated  "The scent of fried food is so thick here, you can smell it with the windows closed."

Steve Casey's Mobile Produce Market
In 2006 a local study labeled Steve Casey's Chicago neighborhood a food desert—a term used to describe areas that lack affordable fresh produce (but are usually awash in burger wrappers and French-fry containers). "The scent of fried food is so thick here, you can smell it with the windows closed," Casey says. "There's not a vegetable in sight." Among other things, food desert residents—there are nearly 400,000 in Chicago alone—have a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

But Casey, 45, a grant administrator and father of two young boys, had an idea. With a few other local activists, he raised $40,000 from investors and used it to gut an old municipal bus (purchased from the city for $1). He christened his new wheels Fresh Moves Mobile Produce Market. "My goal is to be like the ice cream man, but with fruits and vegetables," Casey says. "We want people to get as excited about grapes in January as they are about Popsicles in July."

So far, it's working. On a recent Monday morning, a crowd of about 70 stood on a street corner in the pounding rain, waiting for their produce to pull up. With its cheerful red siding, the Fresh Moves bus was visible from blocks away. Once inside, customers stocked up on organic tomatoes, potatoes, broccoli, collard greens, and more—all priced affordably thanks to a partnership with an organic distributor.

To Casey—who plans to add five more buses to his fleet, fanning them out to schools, health clinics, and senior homes—food is a matter of social justice. "Recently, I watched a 14-year-old boy eat his first apple ever," he says. "Too often we're looking for the holy grail, but sometimes it's the little things, like giving a kid something affordable and healthy to eat."

Fruit and Veggie Mobile Market

Four Stages of the Game

Thursday, January 12, 2012 by Leslie Gabriel

•  You don't even realize there's a game. (And any contest, market, project or engagement is at some level a game).

•  You start getting involved and it feels like a matter of life or death. Every slight cuts deeply, every win feels permanent. "This is the most important meeting of my life..."

•  You realize that it's a game and you play it with strategy. There's enough remove for you to realize that winning is important but that continuing to play is more important than that. And playing well is most important.

•  You get bored with the game, because you've seen it before. Sometimes people at this stage quit, other times they sabotage their work merely to make the game feel the way it used to.

And then a new, different game begins. 

Thank You Seth for reminding us it's all a game...
For more of Seth's perspective click here >>

FIRST, make rice

Wednesday, October 12, 2011 by Leslie Gabriel
Fledgling sushi chefs spend months (sometimes years) doing nothing but making the rice for the head chef.
If the rice isn't right, it really doesn't matter what else you do, you're not going to be able to serve great sushi.


Most of the blogging and writing that goes on about marketing assumes that you already know how to make the rice. It assumes you understand copywriting and graphic design, that you've got experience in measuring direct response rates, that you've made hundreds of sales calls, have an innate empathy for what your customers want and think and that you know how to make a compelling case for what you believe.

Too often, we quickly jump ahead to the new thing, failing to get good enough at the important thing. 

I have found this to be SO TRUE. It's important to understand the fundamentals of good copywriting, good design, well written creative briefs, and the goal!

Visit Seth!

Apple has lost a visionary and creative genius

Monday, October 10, 2011 by Leslie Gabriel
During his more than three-decade career, Mr. Jobs transformed Silicon Valley as he helped turn the once-sleepy expanse of fruit orchards into the technology industry's innovation center. In addition to laying the groundwork for the industry alongside others like Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates, Mr. Jobs proved the appeal of well-designed products over the power of technology itself and transformed the way people interact with technology.

Think Different

Monday, August 29, 2011 by Leslie Gabriel

The Simpsons - Think Differently

Monday, August 29, 2011 by Leslie Gabriel

"I have to go places to get out of my head"

Tuesday, May 31, 2011 by Leslie Gabriel
Zoe Keating, Avant Cellist, a true inspiration!!

Keep Riding

Wednesday, April 6, 2011 by Leslie Gabriel
I ride, but haven't for the past couple years. I miss it and this will be the beginning of the riding season for me! This is a beautiful and inspiring creation! Created by Ogilvy Taiwan

Seeking new value in search marketing.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010 by Leslie Gabriel
This is a short, well written article by Mike Bioxham published in iMEDIA Connection on Wednesday, Oct 20, 2010. It addresses the human need to seek out information which is good news for marketers!

While humans are hard-wired to seek out information that meets their needs, the search industry will soon need to find creative ways to move beyond basic utility. Take a look at some keen insight that can get you started.

Although digital media and marketing may be relatively new in the scheme of things, the fundamentals of search behavior could not be older or more basic to our collective human nature.
Humans have evolved in part on the basis of their innate curiosity and their inventiveness, which has been fueled by a seemingly insatiable appetite for information and entertainment. We are effectively hard-wired to seek out information that meets our needs and desires -- whether those needs are for food and shelter or for education, news, product reviews, or bargains.
That's the good news for marketers: As a species, we are in "always-receive" mode, whether or not we are also in "send" mode.
The bad news for marketers lies in the fact that there is simply too much information out there that is readily available to us. We have gone far beyond the point where a brand can stand out and make an impression on the basis of a reasonable level of creativity and media spend.
The internet effectively creates a problem at least as great as the opportunities it presents. After all, there is more information available and accessible than anyone could possibly want, need, or have a use for -- let alone navigate.
Without the range of search-related tools and behaviors available to us, finding any particular piece of information would be like trying to find one specific grain of sand in the ever-shifting landscape of the Sahara Desert. Not what one would call the most user-friendly of interfaces.
So it was inevitable that the search industry would be born and that what was originally known as "Jerry and David's Guide to the World Wide Web" in February 1994 would go on to bigger things in the shape of Yahoo and spawn plenty of similar ventures.
Since that time, search has grown up rapidly. While it continues to evolve and grow in response to the evolution of the digital ecosystem to which it is so essential, search in the marketplace has gone a very long way to being established as a part of the marketing mix, with its own specialists and budgets.
While recognizing the outright dominance of the search giants, it is critical to acknowledge that while they are generally defined in terms of how they work, what they do, and how they make money off their share of search, their success is not fundamentally based on the algorithms, software, and server farms that they run on. These things are merely the technological commodities that allow them to play and stay in the game.
Fundamentally their relevance -- and even their success -- is rooted in the human behavior that defines the need for their existence. Naturally, management makes or breaks a company in any space, but the willingness and ability of that management to shape their business around a deep understanding of the attitudes, motivations, needs, and behaviors of their users will be what ensures success going forward. Read this entire article >>