Friday, February 26, 2010

The day I spent in a hat factory next to the Space Needle.

The School of Visual Concepts in Seattle is in an old hat factory. Now, instead of hats, what's produced in this building is concepts. And creatives who come up with them. I was craving some continued education and creative community, so, thanks to my friend Chelsea's prompting, I looked into workshops at SVC. Brand Strategy for Creatives was being offered and taught by Devin Liddell of Phinney/Bishoff Design House, so I signed myself up months ago and drove there to attend yesterday.

As I approached Seattle on I-5 North, there was a huge rainbow arching over the city. No joke. I took it as a sign that it was going to be a good day.

It was a good day. After a quick walk to find the closest coffee shop, peer at all the spring blossoms and gawk at the Space Needle, I learned lots about branding with 16 others, some self-employed like me and others from large companies such as Starbucks and T-Mobile. (The group even included a copywriting colleague I worked with years ago at Livengood|Nowack on the Rejuvenation account as well as a girl that went to the same high school as me in Sioux Falls, SD. Seriously! What a small, small world.) The diversity in the group made for interesting questions and collaboration.

Out of the thirteen pages of notes I took on Devin's presentation, here are a few gems I want to share:
  • Creatives are intuitive strategists.
  • Branding is the intersection of creativity and business solutions.
  • Your brand should be distillable to a single word. If it can't be, it's probably just not good enough.
  • We are bombarded with 30,000 marketing messages per day (New York Times). You have to set yourself apart. Therefore, branding should be about Radical Differentiation. Narrowly positioning yourself is emotionally counterintuitive. It does not feel good. But you have to do it.
  • Brand Identity = What a company thinks of itself. Brand Image = What others think of a company. The closer together these two things are, the better. (Think Apple vs. Microsoft)
  • Brand image is not about marketing. It's about behavior.
  • The more comfortable a brand is with their identity, the more they will concede control to consumers to shape their's not about sending messages into the world, it's about having a conversation.
  • Most logos are blue; blue inspires a lot of indifference.
  • The truth about who you are is not the same as the truth about how you're different.
  • Strategy provides structure for creative.
Thank you SVC! 'Til next time, Seattle!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Papyrus | The much over-used and very despised typeface.

Oh, Papyrus. You have endured so much hatred from the design community. Rest assured, it's not because your creator wasn't kind, smart and caring. It's because you've been abused and over-used since you were born into the typographic world in 1983. You've been used for countless coffee shops, wedding invitations, yoga classes and church bulletins. And, most recently, Avatar. Yes, Avatar the huge, highly-promoted and expensive 3-D film. Are you kidding me? I know, it's not your fault. You were designed to be used carefully and sparingly, but designers have taken you and forced you to do things you were never intended to do.

Chris Costello, the designer who created Papyrus, states that "it has become diluted and lost it's original appeal" (in an interview from Boise Weekly). It really is everywhere. I've been on a mission to capture as many inappropriate uses of Papyrus as I can while out and about - online and in the real world. Below is a collection of what I've found. As I've made friends and family stop on the street or have asked them if I could keep this flyer or that business card and have had to explain my mini-project, they've joined in the pursuit and their additions are also included.
If you come upon a hideous misuse of Papyrus, send it my way. If you can't get enough, visit, a blog dedicated to showcasing Papyrus sightings around the world. All of this makes me wonder: do we really despise Papyrus or do we just despise it's overuse?

(Disclaimer: If any of these images come from any organization or company you're associated with, I mean no offense. I'm simply trying to raise awareness for suitable and thoughtful type selection.)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Suzanne Peters | Logo Work

With a background in buying and selling soft goods via two of the most outstanding companies in existence (Nordstrom and Nike), Suzanne Peters is now setting out to buy and sell something a little different: homes. Growing up she would always draw houses, pick out her favorite decorating photos from magazines and dream of the house she would live in. Seems that just might have been a little foreshadowing! She's one of the classiest and most energetic ladies I've met;  I can tell she'll take both of those traits plus some extra zes into her new career. 

As Suzanne says, "Pair my love of home with my acumen for great service and a good deal, and I think it's a perfect fit for me!" Now, we just have to find the perfect logo to match. Here are a few I've presented. Which is your favorite?

Once the logo is finalized, we'll be tackling Suzanne's website (just a placeholder there for now)! Oh, and to see where she had her portraits done, visit the Soul Mates Photo Blog.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Oh, la la! Amy's Baby Shower

My dear friend Amy and her husband Jake will be welcoming their daughter, Avery, into the world in 8 short weeks.  I, along with several other of Amy's girlfriends coordinated her baby shower and decided to go with a French theme. It turned out so darn cute I had to share.
This is the invite. Click to zoom and read the poem penned by Lianne Philips (the other half of Jordan Philips).

Amy kept saying how sad it was that Avery would be at her shower, but wouldn't remember it, so I created a time capsule for her. We all wrote notes and Amy will add a few more things (like photos from the shower, Avery's coming-home-from-the-hospital outfit, a letter from Jake, etc.) before sealing it up. And they'll keep it sealed until Avery's 5th birthday! 
A custom set of 'merci beaucoup' cards.
And a shower book - to use for documenting gifts and their givers. Another piece to add to the time capsule!
Celebrating Avery's new life with a tea party was the perfect way to spend Saturday morning. Cheers to many more tea parties for Avery (with her stuffed animals and girlfriends) in the future!

Side note: Baby shower invites like these and other baby-esque things will be available at hi, friend. soon!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Willcuts Partners | Logo + Business Card

Happy Friday! And Happy Tax Season! I know just as well as anyone that tax season can be something to celebrate or something to bemoan each year. Either way, you need a good go-to guy or gal for all those tax questions and concerns. This year I got to work on some branding for my go-to guy, Kyle. We went to George Fox together and because he married my lovely roommate, Katey, we've stayed in touch since. He and his partner, Troy are venturing out as Willcuts Partners - providing businesses and individuals with tax and financial services. Here are the logos I presented to them at the beginning of the logo development process:
And this is what we ended up with:

I sent their business cards to print yesterday. Don't wait until you can get a hard copy of their contact info in hand; if you're scrambling and still need tax help this season, call Kyle (503-610-8291) or Troy (503-715-0223). April 15th is just around the corner...

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

StudioM Website | Photoshoot

The StudioM website is in desperate need of an update, and has been for oh...six months! Instead of getting discouraged and being disappointed with myself for not treating myself like I treat my clients (in a timely manner!), I'm trying to see it as a sign of good fortune. I've been too busy with work to take time out for my own materials. For that I'm thankful. I'm also thankful for some progress, too - finally! I was able to squeeze in a photo shoot with Mark Coffin a couple weeks ago. (We shot the Green Goose pieces the same day.) I can't wait to get these fresh photos online! I'll let you know when I do.

The above pieces, from top to bottom: Your Vital Life | Chapter 2, for Marquis Companies (you can view Chapter 1 here), Rosey Awards promotional postcards (you can view the posters here), Bakery D'Amour gift card, Bakery D'Amour catering menu (view more bakery work here).

Monday, February 15, 2010

ReStyle | Upscale. Resale.

Marianne Fox is an new-found entrepreneur. She's delving into a venture she never imagined she would: opening a consignment shop! ReStyle is located in Albany, Oregon and will be opening in March. I met with Marianne (who found me through my friend Kimberly) and picked her brain about what her vision is for ReStyle. From my research I created this mood board which visually summarizes the soon-to-be ReStyle vibe:
Doesn't it just make you want to shop? The goal and objective of ReStyle is to “Provide an avenue for people to consign their high-end, gently-used clothing and furniture...provide an opportunity for others to purchase these things at a lower-than-retail so in a hip, chic, fresh, clean, inspiring and sparkly way.” The purpose of a logo is to represent these goals and objectives in a visual manner. We're now in Step 4 of the Logo Development Process. In Step 3 I presented 6 logo options and this was the chosen design:

It's very chic, simple, feminine and sophisticated. The icon represents a cursive 'r' and 's' as well as the movement of goods through the shop. We'll be applying color and then working with the logo on business card and flyer designs. Stay tuned. Much more talk of clothing + furniture + high-end consignment to come! While you wait, pop over to the ReStyle website at

Friday, February 12, 2010

Salute | Logo Comps

One of the many things I love about my job is that it's really never boring. My work is ever-changing because the industries my clients are in are across the board. The Salute work I've been doing is by far the most masculine project I've been on. Salute creates steel shooting targets. The current industry landscape is generally unprofessional, outdated, gaudy, boring and expected. My goal in rebranding Salute is to give them something that stands out from the rest. Here are what the rest look like (including their current logo on the bottom right):
Blech, right!?
The marks I created (below) are still militant and masculine, but much more clean and professional. Based on research, the Salute logo needs to represent durability, strength, innovation, quality and integrity. In one of them there's a secret 's', too. Can you find it?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

University of Bridgetown | Prepress

The printing process is pretty complex. I went to Bridgetown this afternoon to learn a little bit about one part of the process: prepress. Every month University of Bridgetown hosts a couple events (which means they also order in lots of Elephants Delicatessen sandwiches and Diet Coke - yum). They're working on the upcoming schedule now; you'll be able to find it here.

I learned about color, transparency, creep, the pros and cons of saddle stitching, bounding boxes and RIP (As Tom at Bridgetown put it, RIP is where they put your files to rest in peace...what it really means is Raster Image Processor/Processing). It was fun. I left full and enlightened.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Things You Would Have Said | Design Concepts

Jackie Hooper and I only met a couple weeks ago, but we've already accomplished so much together! She needed a look and feel pulled together for her project, The Things You Would Have Said. I was commissioned to figure out what that look and feel should, well... look and feel like (in the form of a website header). While doing research I was struck with the drama of the project. Not only is it dramatic in a personal and emotional manner, but it's theatrical in the experience (whether you're the speaker or  the listener). The words Jackie used to describe the project are the same words used in describing the theatre: "personal, emotional, self-revealing, cathartic and therapeutic". One thing I strove for during the design process was the creation of drama using color and texture. Here are the three options I presented:

If you want to see where we ended up, visit The Things You Would Have Said twitter profile, facebook page, or website. WARNING: If you visit the website, you better have some Kleenex at hand. Don't say I didn't warn you. If you'd like to contribute your own letter, email it to

This project has been noticed by many and written up by The Oregonian, The Oregonian again, The Oregonian a third time, and Portland MonthlyThere are many other inquiring (such as SELF Magazine, and newspapers around the nation) so this isn't going to be the last you hear of Jackie and her phenomenal project. If Oprah wasn't leaving her show I'm sure Jackie would get there, too. 

Monday, February 8, 2010

Green Goose | Photoshoot + Beta Launch

Green Goose has officially launched! It's been in the works for a loooooong time, but the beta has been released into the wild as of yesterday. Check it out at One of my roles was photography art direction. I called up Mark Coffin of Mark Coffin Photography and asked for his assistance. He primarily works in fashion photography, but handles product well, too as you can see here:

If these little eggs make you a curious cat, pop over the the Green Goose site to learn more.