Comet Trails

latest news and opinion from Comet Creative Team

The Esprit of a Wild and Precious Life

About a year and half ago, Gary Holmes, President of Z BioScience, came to the Studio for a branding project. He had just lost his daughter, Brittany Maynard. As a young woman diagnosed with a terminal brain tumor who then moved to Oregon to end her life, Brittany had been in the media for some time. When he spoke about it I got a lump in my throat and I held back my tears…

Several months later, Gary introduced me during lunch to Deborah, Brittany’s mom. I was astounded by Deborah’s courage, unstoppable energy and endearing spirit. She was writing a book titled Wild and Precious Life, which had been picked up by Simon & Schuster and will be published in Europe as well.

We automatically “clicked” and soon began working on the design of her website and social media. To begin the creative, our jumping off point was to paint on top of a map of Peru focusing on Machu Picchu. They had visited there as a family before Brittany died, then later Deborah and Gary traveled to Peru to honor their daughter. When we presented the design, she loved it, but it was not the right fit to represent the relationship between her and her daughter. We understood and asked, “What is one of the most poignant memories of Brittany?”

“That’s easy. When Brittany was very young I nicknamed her Sweet Pea. We were going through a lot of changes in our life and she was very clingy, so the name really fit.” Deborah laughed. “When she became an independent and headstrong teenager, Britt told me to stop calling her Sweet Pea!”

Why the Sweet Peas
With that, we were able to immediately get the visual language to use in the background and the branding image for throughout the campaign. A major challenge occurred when we didn’t get the book cover design for some time. We were concerned because the book cover was a vital part and it needed to resonate with the visuals we created. But it all worked out for the best as the cover of the book ended up so bright, the contrast with the black and white illustration of the sweet peas created the stunning juxtaposition we were both looking for. “When I saw the design, the Studio nailed it for me. The publisher is thrilled that I took the time and initiative to have my own site for the book promotion and my blog,” said Deborah. “Simon and Schuster is using the images of sweet peas as a conceit in the book. I associate this image so strongly with wonderful memories of my wild and precious daughter, I feel ridiculously happy when I see them.”

“Since I was finishing the book while working on the site, I had a lot on my plate. The Studio nurtured me through the project, trained me on how to use the site and social media. We’ve become friends which is the best kind of relationship to have,” Deborah added.

We wrapped up the project with designing Facebook and Twitter pages after coaching Deborah on utilizing these social channels to help promote the book and her advocacy work. The book comes out in November with a national book tour.

Deborah Ziegler continues to be an advocate for the rights of the terminally ill. She testified before the California legislature on behalf of the California End of Life Option Act. The Act became law on Oct 5, 2015 and took effect on June 9, 2016. The law authorizes terminally ill adult patients with the capacity to make medical decisions to be prescribed an aid-in-dying medication if conditions are met.

Visit Deborah’s website and learn where and when she will be speaking about Wild and Precious Life and on Brittany’s legacy.


Facebook: Deborah Ziegler Author

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