September 1, 2023

Realities in Costa Rica.

Our visits to Rice and Beans Ministries reveal hardships and hope.

“Pat, I would like to solve the puzzle.” For many of us, this phrase can often be associated with trips to exotic locations like Costa Rica. We can tend to view the region in America as a trophy, a reward for achievements, holidays, weddings, or even a bucket-list stop. For those with the time and means to fly into Costa Rica, absorb its beauty, and be airborne again within days, it is easy to forget there is an interior that can look different than its exterior. It’s a struggle many “destination” regions of the world with visually stunning backdrops battle; the commercialization of its landscapes and people often overlook what everyday life is like for many of its residents.

A frequent perk is an all-inclusive experience filled with many activities and indulgences. That’s where the understanding can fall short if your goal is to truly see all the aspects of a region: its terrain, people, offerings, struggles, and triumphs. Beyond the coastlines and Five Star Hotels, some of Costa Rica’s permanent residents live an all-inclusive experience of their own.

As of 2020, 30% of Costa Ricans lived at or below the poverty line, with 8.5% living in extreme poverty, meaning they earned less than what it takes to acquire essential food and items deemed necessary for survival. While these issues are not exclusive to Costa Rica, they present problems that need more remedies.

The bright side.

Fortunately, real people are working to make a dent in these very real problems. Our agency has made several visits over the past few years to Rice and Beans Ministries, an organization that aims to support underserved communities in Costa Rica and Brazil. Their simple but impactful model focuses on feeding families, educating children, and repairing homes. From a distance, our role has been rebranding the organization and building a visual system that can be carried consistently across multiple fundraising platforms. It has been the in-person visits, though, where we have genuinely understood RABMIN as a service and why it exists.

“The relationship is the path, the food is how we get there.”

– Fred Curry, Founder

While our core responsibility when on location with RABMIN is to capture the experience via video and photography, taking part in food distribution gives us the content of a lifetime. The organization is funded primarily through mission trips from churches and supporters around the United States. These groups arrive on a regimented schedule throughout the year, living and working together over two weeks. The volunteers distribute staples like rice, cornmeal, and powdered milk. Tangibly, the food itself temporarily fills a constant void, extending mere days of food stability into weeks. Emotionally, the connection between the residents and missionaries provides stability that lasts much longer. Although there is a language barrier, no interpretation is needed to see how much these visits mean to a parent struggling to provide for their children.

Door to Door.

Putting a hand on shoulders in need and lowering heads in prayer is standard after a bag of food is put into someone’s hands. Those short minutes, exchanging goods for gratitude, inspire us as in-the-moment recorders. If the hope these visits provide were the only service RABMIN provided, the organization would be a rare resource in a region with abundant natural beauty. However, the food serves a dual purpose as fuel for a much-needed education and a reason to connect under patchwork roofs, often in disrepair.

Rain water pours directly into an 8×8 room that may accommodate several children, floors are made up of more hard dirt than a clean surface, and plumbing and electricity are considered luxuries when functioning correctly. Volunteers and a few residents who are full-time RABMIN workers seek out properties that lack the most basic amenities and utilities. These same people pull double duty and hand out essential learning tools like paper, pencils, and workbooks from home to home. Direct visits to local schools provide children with interaction through song, scripted plays, art projects, and conversation. It is important to note why food and shelter are the core components of the mission. After all, how can we expect any child to learn to their fullest potential when hungry and lacking a safe environment to rest in?

Taking it all in.

We participate in the organization’s day-to-day activities, shake hands, take inventory of supplies, walk miles with food in hand, and even dine side by side with newfound friends. In the moment, I can’t help but focus on what our goal as an agency is in all this. Whether it’s a non-profit or a retail business, the task is still the same: evaluate why one group of people is important and how they provide value to another group of people, a simple concept in theory. While we may not be the intended recipients of that value, we have significantly benefited from these experiences. These opportunities for assessment, reflection, determination, and focus outside of the office make us incredibly more effective inside it.

We are proud of our work with RABMIN; however, we are far prouder of them as a dedicated and passionate collection of humans. In their own words, “Go live love.”

To learn more and support, visit



110 Somerville Ave, Chattanooga TN 37405

Way-Finding Psychology

A significant degree of science is behind the interaction of a building and its visitors. Distance to typography size ratios, line-of-sight placement, cognitive patterns, physical barriers, and design simplicity are just some considerations when building a functional way-finding strategy.

When navigating a space, visitors look for three keys: information, engagement, and efficiency. How each of those aspects is delivered is where the psychology behind user habits comes in. Information is always the primary focus; providing clear and concise directions to destinations and features is necessary for the user experience. However, it can quickly become a negative visit when visitors are left in limbo and frustrations grow over navigation. These experiences, both positively and negatively can have a direct impact on your brand.

Many tend to think inspiration is not a central need in non-retail spaces. We tend to believe the opposite. Retail requires quicker decisions and navigation. The visits are shorter in time, and the reasons for visits are less broad than those in an educational or municipal space. Engaging with audiences in spaces with repeat visitors and frequent functional needs is where your brand can play an important role. Your brand story and why it matters to the viewer should be prominently displayed in thought-provoking ways to capture imaginations, build offline awareness, and, ultimately brand ambassadors.

The ultimate goal of this experience is guest retention. The odds of gaining an audience and getting them to engage with you again via future visits, social media, purchasing, or referrals depend on your connection with them. Way-finding and brand implementation are great opportunities to showcase your care and concern toward your audience. There are also opportunities for interactivity via technologies beyond traditional signage. Digital signage, mobile device interactions, and social media opportunities can elevate viewer engagement.

The experience of getting from point A to point B in a building should be much like navigating a website, efficient. As we all navigate online experiences, they can quickly make the process of absorbing content or making purchasing decisions either smooth or mentally taxing. Now think about your space as if it’s a website; when visitors can get where they need to go quickly, it increases the odds of positive referrals and return visits, or they can get stonewalled. Their brand interaction with you can become harmful.

Strategies to incorporate properly placed visual triggers and clear communications along every path of a visitor’s journey can ensure their visits are efficient. When visitors feel unencumbered with their ability to navigate a space, it decreases the chances of frustrations and confusion when they ultimately reach their destination or interaction. The speed at which we all consume content in media these days is breakneck; we scroll fast, click fast, and type fast. These are the same audiences in your space; keep up with them.

Below are some insightful articles on branded environments and way-finding effects on visitor habits and psychology.

110 Somerville Ave, Chattanooga TN 37405

Full-Time Marketing/Communications Strategist

Employment Type:

Full-Time, In-Office


Chattanooga, TN

Job Summary:

Saint Emblem seeks an insightful, diligent, and organized Marketing/Communications Strategist to generate effective promotional strategies for our clients and agency. 

The Marketing/Communications Strategist is a hybrid role, also requiring proficiency in managing creative projects, campaigns, and client objectives. This individual will be task-driven, responsive, and take an assertive approach to problem-solving.

To succeed in this role, you must be able to research consumer and client metrics, translating this information to Saint Emblem branded campaigns. The Marketing/Communications Strategist is primarily an idea-generating position within a creative agency, making the ability to bring unique and tactful thought to the table key.

About the Agency:

Saint Emblem is a small team based in Chattanooga, TN, specializing in brand and marketing strategy. Our philosophy is that great brands are created with a story-first approach, understanding the client’s and audience’s mission and goals before ever putting pen to paper or pixel to screen. We push ourselves daily to deliver tactful solutions that take an extra step in the creative process, providing an elevated result our clients may not receive elsewhere.


  • Create adaptable marketing strategies for clients and the agency (social media, digital marketing, and print marketing) at a variety of budgets.
  • Plan, estimate, and track progress on creative campaigns, branding projects, print orders, and more.
  • Keep remote and internal team members accountable for timelines, sprints, hours, and product quality.
  • Communicate consistently with clients and vendors via email and video call to schedule calls, record issues and requests, and present project outcomes.
  • Assist in managing the day-to-day operations of creative projects to ensure they are completed on time, within budget, and to the client’s satisfaction.( is utilized for agency project management – experience with the platform is helpful but not required.)
  • Assist in the planning, execution, and management of organic social media marketing for the agency (FB, Linkedin, and IG). ( is utilized for agency social media – experience with the platform is helpful but not required.)


  • Bachelor’s degree in a related field (e.g., marketing, communications) or equivalent experience
  • 2+ years of marketing strategy and/or client communications experience preferred
  • 1+ years of project management experience preferred
  • Excellent organizational and communication skills
  • Ability to work independently and collaboratively
  • Strong attention to detail and ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously
  • Experience with developing and implementing marketing strategies (social, digital, print)
  • Experience with (Some training will be provided)
  • Experience with creative agencies is preferred but not required
  • Experience with Adobe Creative Suite is a bonus

Statement of Diversity:

Saint Emblem may be small; however, we think big in many regards. This is seen in a universal process of creative collaboration, no matter the size or theme of our clients. Our team’s creativity is best harnessed when the diversity of people and their thinking is embraced, regardless of ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, cultural beliefs, or physical/mental capabilities. These agency ideals are reflected in a spirit of equality, empowerment, and respect for those we work for and with.

Branding is all about fostering a connection with a message and, ultimately, the people behind it. We believe these connections can be generated or followed by minds of any background, providing a platform for all to feel welcomed.

Salary and Benefits:

Your Resume

651 E. 4th St | Chattanooga TN 37403 ​