Art Direction / Editorial Design

Zia McCabe is a keyboardist for the Dandy Warhols, who decided to pursue a career in real estate, as A to Zia Realty. The challenge was helping Zia establish herself while embracing her rock and roll image.

Photo by Thomas Teal from Willamette Week article.

How do you enter a real estate market as a realtor with a rock-n-roll past, without scaring all the homebuyers away with your background and reputation?


Word of Mouth
WOM is the main channel for reaching new clients.

New to Industry
Homebuyers are apprehensive about working with a realtor early in her career. 

Potential clients question motivation and commitment, and are worried about the “rock-n-roll” lifestyle.


To tackle this challenge, we focused on the home buyers in the Portland Metro area, with a sweet spot for first time homebuyers who have a smaller social circle — especially those new to the Portland area.

Primary Research
/ Interviews
/ Survey
/ Friendship Dinner—focus group type of research in a household setting, taking off the pressure
Online Secondary Research
Social media
Discussion forums
/ Homebuyers needs
/ General home buying information

key findings

Portland buyers value personality over experience.
Homebuyers prefer a Portland native, or someone living in the area for at least 4 years.
55% of movers are out of state, while 45% come from within Oregon.

guiding insight

Home buyers are not looking for someone who will tell them what they want, but instead someone who is devoted to their dream, sees what they see, knows how to get it, and takes them home.

creative concept

Portland A to Zia
The anchor of this non-traditional campaign is a book, a travel book to Portland. This is an opportunity to highlight A to Zia Realty from all angles and make a guide unlike any others, with her voice and her opinions.

Why a book?
There’s something special about having a tangible object, it’s a long term solution to the problem. A book is something that Zia can put in the hands of potential clients and there’s potential of getting new fans/clients from the book sales to those who just moved here or are visiting the city.

With this book instead of traditional ad campaign, we’re able to leverage the word of mouth long-term and create something entertaining and unique to cut through the clutter of a world so full with noise.

additional components

Promotonal Stickers
To expand in the idea, stickers would be placed at the locations mentioned in the book. This would keep Zia top of mind and trigger those who don’t know about her to look up the context.

Website Blog
The team recommends updating the current blog format to include current events that Zia thinks are worth going to.

Social Media
Zia’s Facebook and Instagram pages would mimic the blog, as Zia would post photos about local events, new places she’s discovered and parts of her life.


Prior to the pitch, the team contacted Microcosm Publishing, to see if the publisher would be interest in this idea, and we got a positive response since they have worked with Zia and Dandy Warhols in the past.

The pitch was presented among two other teams and Zia, the client, was interested in proceeding with the book. The team contacted the publisher with the concept mockups and the story is yet to continue.

Role: Design, Art Direction

Amanda Jara / Sharon Wyatt / Savannah Galindo / Stephen Lawrence / Thaddeus Gincig / Amber Stroh / Gio Tayetto / KJ Siharath / Maranda Seney / Kayla Eady / Jeremy Edwards / Amy Hodges / Marissa Ginsberg / Liliya Schukin

Under guidance of Doug Lowell

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