WATERFORD — Maine’s self-employed have been especially hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite early assurances to the contrary, most applying for unemployment assistance programs have been denied if they have been able to get that far in the process at all. And as the services and products offered by independents business owners  tend more towards creative than essential, artists, craftsmen and independents have been lost in the tumbling economy.

Waterford resident and Master Photographer Trish Logan specializes in portrait, event and school photography.  Logan, who represents Maine as a National Council Member at Professional Photographers of America, stated that the photography industry has been completely shut down by the pandemic. Yet she has found a way to focus her skills and services in a new entrepreneurial direction.  She has launched Positive by Design, a marketing agency that specifically helps other businesses reopen, rebrand and reestablish themselves as the economy gradually returns in the wake of the virus.

“This has been a horrible time for independent contractors and the self-employed,” Logan said. “There has been lots of red tape and very slow assistance.

“And on top of the loss of business, photographers, event venues and others have had to return deposits or rebook weddings and events into next year. Which means next year we lose income that has been taken up by rescheduling this season. It’s a long term effect. “

With her summer event season cancelled and the fall school portrait season unclear, Logan took stock of her services and began looking for ways to adapt them to the public health environment.

“I am a visual thinker,” she explained. “In addition to photography I’ve done graphic design work in the past. I’m going back to those roots and introducing a new service that helps other businesses reinvent themselves, as I am doing for my own company.”


COVID-19 messaging Trish Logan’s new business, Positive by Design, produced for a local restaurant. Supplied image

Logan targeted the restaurant industry, first creating branded packages for them to operate during the take-out only phase of the pandemic shutdown and now for their gradual return to dine-in table service.

Many restaurants had limited menu offerings for take-out only. While her clients’ restaurants were closed, Logan photographed their location to help update their website, as well as prepared menu items for take-out as a way for them to connect with customers

As the state began easing business restrictions in May, Logan has been preparing what she calls social distancing safety kits for clients to reopen.

“I design floor signs and banners so customers entering a business can clearly see how to navigate,” Logan said. “Clients can choose from standard designs and sizes. Or we can work with them for graphics branded specifically for their business. Everything is vinyl and removable so it can be easily sanitized and removed when social distancing in no longer needed. Safety kits include counter top displays with messages like “table unavailable” so restaurants can create their social distance settings without disrupting their dining rooms. It’s all designed with safety in mind. The table top signage is printed on a metal enamel material, easily sanitized and dishwasher safe.

Some of the messaging Trish Logan’s new business, Positive by Design, produces for local businesses. Supplied image

“I also have standard pieces and signage that clients can portray positive messages on to promote their safety protocols and reassure their customers,” Logan added. “I am working with a variety of public-facing and institutional clients to create their safety kits. The messaging I help them craft is business and age appropriate, customized to their business and their market. In this environment, a business’s social and emotional message is critical.”

Logan’s new business direction has had a great response that is helping her forge forward with both her photography and graphic design business. She has advice that sole proprietors like her and small businesses can use to do the same.

“With everyone experiencing some sort of hardship, this is not the time to work with hard sales pitches,” Logan said. “Whether it is able to reopen or not yet, it’s important for businesses to stay relevant in their community, to find ways to stay in their customers’ thoughts by using positive messages.”

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