Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ladies, adorn yourselves.

When working with Maggie of Shanty on this little project, I just kept thinking of the scene from How To Loose a Guy in 10 Days when Benjamin Berry (Matthew McConaughey) has this conversation with his boss in regards to an ad campaign for a diamond company:
Oh, it's just a little frosting.
Frosting. We were thinking bold, new, fresh: "Frost yourself."
Excuse me?
"Frost yourself..." - The slogan for the campaign.
You frost a cake.
I'm talking about diamonds. They're frosting. As in, "Whoa, would you check out her frosting?"
Frost yourself.
Frost yourself.
(Yelling out the window)
Women of New York!
Frost yourselves!
(A pedestrian yells back): Hey, frost this!
Well, I like it.
Anyway, we decided to package jewelry purchased at Shanty with the word 'adorn'. Given the fictional reaction 'frost' received, we figured adorn was more appropriate. Ha. Plus, you can't tell me you don't like the thought of adorning yourself. Especially when you get a cute bag for your adornments - only at Shanty!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Quote | Fabien Barral

Fabien Barral is a designer in France. You can view his work on his website (love it!) and you must view Harmonie, his wall decoration site. Lovely.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Things You Would Have Said

I had a great meeting today with Jackie Hooper of The Things You Would Have Said. In a few weeks we'll be showcasing the project's new look, but I'm here to tell you can't even wait that long to get caught up on what Jackie is doing. Go to and browse the letters. The ultimate goal is to create a book from all of them. Until then they'll live online. I think I only made it through half of the first one before I found tears seeping in to my eyes. Wow. What a great idea, Jackie. I'm so excited and honored to be working with you!

More to come!

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Bathtub Guy

Jon Shelton is a friend of my business partner, Jennifer Mele. She introduced us a few weeks ago so we could work together on branding his start-up: a bathtub refinishing company. Jon has an entreprenurial spirit and therefore takes his new vision for the Bathtub Guy business very seriously. He’s passionate about serving people and confident in the service he provides.

If you need your tub refinished, Jon’s the guy. Visit and check out the gallery page. Before + Afters are always my favorite. (Site designed by Jason Rafanan of  LeftRight Creative Group.)

What we created for him is professional, clean and contemporary. We worked out the solution with the goal of franchising in mind. In addition to Seattle Bathtub Guy, there's already a Portland Bathtub Guy and eventually there will be a Boise Bathtub Guy, a Spokane Bathtub Guy...and many more Bathtub Guys...all across the region. Therefore, we had to project ahead to what the logo will look like applied to all the company uniforms and vehicles:

Fun, right!? I can't wait to see it all in real life. Meanwhile, the website will be updated before long with new headers like these:

I'm really happy with our brand development for Jon. And I love the parallel we've found between our companies: Jon revamps tubs to make them spic-and-span and I revamp logos to make them pretty and purposeful. Cheers to new clients and making the bathroom (and the marketing landscape) a prettier place!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Sheila + Jason | Follow-up

Sheila and Jason had me design a wedding thank you/announcement card for them*. We went for something a touch more sophisticated than the invite since they wanted to show their sincere appreciation to all those involved. Take a peek (it's a front and back):

Read more about Sheila and Jason:
*Photography by Green Chair Studio.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Green Goose | Your Green Nest Egg

I met Brian at World Cup in December of 2008 to talk about a project he was working on called Green Goose. I was instantly intrigued with the name and interested in the concept behind the company. Brian has developed technology that is capable of capturing and tracking all sorts of energy savings: heating and cooling, biking and driving, water and electricity...and he's done so in a very accessible manner. The cost of tracking your savings is nominal. And above all, it's fun!

We started with a logo...

Then business cards...

Next, the website...

And now, over a year later, test groups have been gathered, trials have been executed, a beta website has been launched, investors are intrigued and the ball is officially rolling. We’ve been through several iterations of the website, promotional pieces, packaging and mock-ups. Here are some illustrations I did early on that have since been replaced*, but I like how they show all of the places the little green eggs can go and all the things they can do.

Below is a window cling we recently produced for the coffee shops in Portland, Oregon supporting the Green Goose technology and idea by housing a egg hub 'gateway' that bikers can utilize to track their miles (with purchase of a Green Goose sensor that clips to your front forks). If you bike in Portland, watch for the Green Goose sign at your favorite cafe! (Currently at World Cup, Dragonfly and Crema.)

Visit to find out more and get involved in the Green Goose community.
*Current website illustrations by Annette Sabo.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Midwest in the Winter

This past weekend my sister and I trekked back to South Dakota to visit family. My Grandpa Bob and Grandma Jo live in a small town of just over 400 people. What I love about going there (besides family, of course) is the plentitude of baked goods, snow drifts, frosty trees, flat land, tea time, game time and even, I must admit, the lack of cell phone or wireless internet services which forces me offline and into the moment. Thank goodness. I need that reminder more often than I’ll accept it. Life isn’t about email, the internet, blogging or Facebook updates. It’s about people. Family. Loving those around you. Laughing at the little things. And child-like play.

Malarie and I had a precious weekend with our grandparents and a couple of our cousins. We walked the town (which you can’t get lost in even if you try....which we have) and reminisced about the hot summers, afternoons at the pool, snakes in the garden, legs sprinkled with misquito bites and family reunions. Christmas gatherings, bike rides, church services and pickled beets.

Malarie and I played in the snow, scaled the plowed piles and came home with wet clothes and big smiles. I spent some time wandering the house - soaking in all the things that I’ve seen a million times, but love more now than ever.
Grandma's Spoon Collection

Rag rugs in the laundry room

Grandpa’s meticulous magazine and book library: A treasure trove for me as I was in the middle of research for a steel target company while I was there.

Looking through family photo albums - a tradition! That's my dad on the back of the bike.

And the scenery. Gorgeous.

If the fog hadn’t floated in, you could see the land until the curvature of the earth swooped it out of sight.
The field across from our Great Grandpa Ed’s house. 
Life is beautiful.
I'm so glad beautiful South Dakota has been a part of mine.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

What am I noticing?

I'm still working on my Free Agent Formula. One of the questions I've asked myself over and over while I formulate is 'What am I noticing?'. Some of what I notice is serious, but most of it's just silly. Or seems silly until I start to strand the silliness together to find trends. 

This is what I've noticed lately:
  • We like to shop before we buy. (While I whole-heartedly agree and also like to shop before I buy - duh - what kills me is when what your shopping for is, in it's very nature, required to be custom. A logo, for instance. A logo is developed based on the goals and objectives of a company. If a logo is created for a fictitious company and then purchased for use by a real company, it might look and even smell like a logo, but at it's core it is far from the correct brand solution for that company. It was chosen out of personal preference, not strategy or marketing savvy. There are numerous companies popping up offering this sort of shopping experience for those in the market for logos. Inkd, iStock, Logos in a Box, etc. A logo in 2 HOURS! Are you kidding me? A 'stock' logo? What an oxymoron. This sort of trend took over the photography industry years ago and it seems the design industry is next. The game is changing. What does that mean for me? And why does it have to be a game anyway? Okay. Moving on.
  • Everything is connected.
  • I like hand-written things. (Did you know they're actually working on publishing a hand-written Bible!? How bizarre and awesome is that!?)
  • Purple is the new black. (I think I actually heard this from Winnie, professed lover of purple.)
  • Building business is about building relationships. (Noticing facilitated by the editor of CMYK)
  • I wonder...what's coming after the world wide web?
  • The one thing successful people have in common is failure. - Erika Worth of Collective Intelligence, a StudioM client
  • I'm really particular about the order my '!' and '?' go at the end of a sentence. The '!' must preceed the '?'. (Notice punctuation in comment about hand-written things above. I'm OCD, I think.)
  • Typography is a brand's fashion statement.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Sneak Peek | Shanty Retail Website

Shanty, the "home. closet. cafe." boutique in Newport, WA is ready to spread its wings and soar into retail cyberspace. I couldn't be more excited...for Maggie, my dear friend and client, and for myself. Really. Because now I can shop Shanty long-distance! And you can, too! Soon and very soon...

When I sent Maggie this first round of design direction over the holidays, I got this text in response: "I am freakin' blown away!! Chills and almost teary!!! You are fantastic!! We'll talk Monday. Loves." Favorite response to my work of all time.

Option A | Hompage

Option B | Hompage

Option C | Hompage

Which one do you think will make it into online retail reality? You'll have to wait and see! If you've been to Shanty, I'd love to hear which option seems to portray the unique Shanty experience best. We're in the middle of executing all of the other pages and then to the programmer they'll go.

The online boutique will be perched at the same url ( once it launches. I. Can't. Wait.

Friday, January 8, 2010

StudioM | Process

Watching Objectified got me thinking about process. Specifically, my process. How do I go about creating things? And how should I communicate that to my clients? I decided to tackle these challenging inner questions and produce process documents. It's always easiest to grab the low-hanging fruit first, so this week I dug into what logo development looks like at StudioM.

I distilled the Logo Development Process down into 5 steps:
1) Research | Feeding the brain.

2 ) Brainstorm + Design | Let the magic begin.

3) Share | It's like Show & Tell, but better.

4) Refine | It's time to polish and shine.

5) Complete | Now we wrap it up! But it's really just the start...

This is the whole sheet, if you're curious:

Cheers to a clear and organized 2010!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Objectified | The film

Objectified is like Helvetica's step-sibling, also created by Gary Hustwit. (I just read that he considers Helvetica and Objectified Parts One and Two of a design documentary trilogy. I can't wait to see what Part Three is!) Instead of being about graphic design, it's about industrial design, or the design of stuff. Almost everything around you has been designed. Stop. Look around you right now. What do you see? iPhone, notepad, lamp, pen, computer, rug, desk, doorknob, mug, coaster, sweatshirt, file folders. All designed.

What I liked most about the film was the peek it gives the viewer into the creative process. There has to be process in creativity; everyone has their own take on what that can and should look like. Industrial designers approach design very practically because what they're designing must be used, but they do this without loosing imagination. It was super inspiring.

I think these quotes from the film are inspiring, too:
Jonathan Ive, Apple | A big definition of who you are as a designer is the way you look at the world, and I guess it's one of the sort of curses of what you do is that you're constantly looking at something and thinking, "Why is it like that and not like this?" And so, in that sense, you're constantly designing.
Henry Ford | Every object tells a story. If you know how to read it.
Rob Walker, New York Times Magazine | The problem with spending a lot of time focusing on what's very now and very next is that it isn't very forever. And that means that it doesn't last because there's someone else coming along to design what's now and next after that.
Naoto Fukasawa, Designer, Tokyo | Design needs to be plugged in to natural human behavior. Design dissolves in behavior.
Bill Moggridge, IDEO | I like the concept of wearing in instead of wearing out.

Monday, January 4, 2010

In a past life, I was a pack rat.

Over the past few weeks I've been digging through my ancient art + craft supplies, looking for inspirational scraps and baubles. Partly for fun, and partly for a project (which I'll showcase soon). Here's a small taste of what I found mingled with messy charcoal, stubby colored pencils and discarded cross-stitch experiments. 
My grandpa was a postmaster. I think that's why I like stamps.

My parents bought an antique tool chest at a garage sale. They gave me some of the contents which included this still-packaged rick-rack and needle packs. 

My Aunt Jan uncovered a mini organizer full of buttons at an estate sale in the Columbia Gorge a few years ago. Here are a few, plus some other snippets of things.

And I found these darling treasures in a book I bought at the South Dakota Fair for a nickel.

Man, I'm glad I used to shove stuff under my bed. I don't any more, but am thinking that if it's paid off this time, it might pay off again. Just kidding. One episode of Hoarders on A&E (which I watched last night) will keep me from entertaining that idea for more than a millisecond.