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A Global Firm
Custom Seasons Greetings (Cards, That is)
A Global Firm
Wilmont “Vic” Vickery founded VOA Associates Incorporated, a worldwide architecture firm, opening offices in both Chicago and Orlando in 1969. From 1977 to 1990, VOA’s Windy City office was located on the 14th floor of the historic Chicago Tribune Tower. In 1990, the firm moved to the Motorola Building, formerly known as the Santa Fe Building. During their rapid growth in Chicago, VOA formed a working partnership with Cushing that continues to evolve today.
Always fond of sketching, Vic often found himself replicating the colorful architecture of European Cathedrals on his notepad. Seeking a way to share these unique drawings beyond the sketchpad (and office desk); he illustrated his first company holiday card in 1952. Not only did this provide a creative way to correspond with clients, it showcased Vic’s lifelong passion for illustration to colleagues.
“It just made sense,” explains Vickery. “From a creative standpoint, it lent a different voice and personalized message to our seasonal greetings.”
Decades later, Vic’s inspired designs are a company tradition. Adorning annual holiday greetings, each one is crafted by hand, often representing great works of Architecture, such as The Cathedral of Santiago De Compostela at Dawn in Santiago, Spain or The Fountain of Great Lakes, located outside of the Art Institute of Chicago.
With an office expansion into Asia and South America, Vic often seeks the perfect image to tie in culture from these regions. Once carefully sketched and selected, Cushing is called on to collaborate in finalizing the image.
Tom Cradick has been the On-Site Service Manager at VOA over five years.
Troubleshooting plotters or installing anti-virus updates, each day Tom works with a variety of departments to keep information technology running smoothly. As the holiday approaches, Tom knows there is one certainty to the season: assisting with VOA’s custom greeting card.
“It’s always a highlight of the year for me,” says Tom. “Vic has a wealth of knowledge so I always learn something new.”
Spanning six decades, there is reason why clients continue to eagerly anticipate the special delivery.
Vic and Tom strategize numerous hours after image selection, refining the size, perfecting the contrast, and testing orientation relative to the size of the card.
Ideas bounce around the office like ornaments dropping off a tree. There is no shortage of possibilities as the two strive to showcase Vic’s vision.
“It’s an integral part of the process,” reflects Vic. “Tom does a wonderful job.”
You won’t see this card browsing the shelves of Hallmark.
This year is no different, as Vic has chosen the Fountain of Great Lakes as his image. The inspiration for this sketch can be found outside of the Art Institute of Chicago, and according to Vickery, “represents something home based, that was cultural in nature”.
When asked about his favorite image, there is no hesitation.
“The Royal of Chartes Cathedral in France,” he announces. “It is a wonderful display of well thought out architecture and a significant piece of architectural history.”
Enjoy a look back at some of the images through the years and enjoy the detail and effort put into replicating these great works of Architecture.
What are some of your favorite works?