Archive: April 2014
April 30th, 2014

Why Can’t Every Problem Be Solved By a Bulldog in a Hawaiian Shirt?

At Mortar, getting a number wrong usually results in us trying to order a pizza from a dry cleaner at 2 a.m. But for healthcare providers like Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford, the ramifications are much more serious – after all, 50ccs of a medication is a far cry from 15.

Taking basic steps, like saying “one-five instead of 15” makes a surprisingly huge difference. And that’s just one of the techniques that can be used in the hospital to eliminate preventable harm.

The question is, how do you communicate these somewhat mundane-yet-crucial rules to staff in a way they’ll pay attention to (after all, these are some of the brightest and busiest doctors and nurses in the field) while staying consistent with the warmth and care you’d expect from a children’s hospital?

Our answer: Punimals!




Pairing adorable bespoke animal illustrations with equally adorable and punny headlines allowed us to communicate life-saving information in a manner people wanted to engage with. And, we gave employees plenty of opportunities for doing just that – through posters, mouse pads, training cards, magnets, screensavers and even direct mail postcards sent to employees’ homes.
























Saving lives and keeping children healthy was clearly the most important goal of the campaign, but we have to admit to grinning when we heard people were going out of their way to collect all 10 characters. Now, if only that dry cleaner would arrive with our deep dish pie.

April 25th, 2014

What Happens With Just Enough Cooks in the Kitchen.

If a client came to you and said, “Make me a conference logo that screams open source cloud automation, cooking, and AC/DC in a badass way that also works for big business,” how would you respond? Well, here’s how we did. Enjoy our work for ChefConf 2014. The t-shirts sold out on day one.


















April 17th, 2014

“C.” It’s Not Just for Cookie Anymore.

It’s conference season, and Mortar is all. Up. In it. Coupa, our new favorite client, is currently hosting their Inspire conference at the Marriott Marquis in downtown San Francisco. Why are they our new favorite client? Because they let us play with syringes, frozen rats, and whisky all day long. We were even discussing nipple pipes with them at one point.

























Technically, Coupa is a B2B procurement software platform. We prefer to think of them as software for corporate shopping. It’s like Amazon for businesses. When employees need to buy massive amounts of any item, Coupa’s software makes it simpler, faster, and easier to track. (Guess you can’t get away with expensing iPhone 5’s for your friends anymore. Damn.) Coupa’s philosophy is simple: If you design software that the end user wants to use, they’ll use it. And a high adoption rate translates to massive – we’re talking billions with a capital B – company savings.

And when we say any item, we mean it. Name something, and you can probably buy it on Coupa. Rocket engine parts. Boneless Boston butt. Adult film editing services. (No joke.) Which is why, in developing a theme for their conference, we couldn’t restrict ourselves to just a handful of words. We had to go A to Z. May we present: the New Language of Success.











April 17th, 2014

Mortar and the Exploratorium Hook Up.

Exploratorium + Mortar, advertising and branding San Francisco

Yes, the rumors are true. We ARE working together. Can’t say much other than you can catch us every Thursday night at the museum. (Or is it a museum?) We’ll be launching two new campaigns soon. Watch this space.