Friday, April 30, 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Greenleaves, LLC | Business Card Design

If you caught the previous Greenleaves, LLC post, you know that in developing their brand, we wanted to communicate professionalism, efficiency, creativity, usefulness, quality and kindness. While researching this Arizona-based start-up, I was struck with the thought that although their initial branches of business aren’t all directly associated, overall the goal is the same: Do good. Facilitate growth. I shared this thought with them and they liked it so much we decided to feature it on their business card, above. The card also features the chosen logo direction.

Cheers to you, Greenleaves! With some good design to represent you, you're on your way to doing a lot of good in the world.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Alchemy Dancewear Website | Launched

Thanks to the team at Alchemy Dancewear and Matt Johnson of Twisted Industries, we've successfully produced and put another retail site online. I think the flourishing wordmark, the dark background and the sultry images make for a stellar combination. One of my favorite things about it is the fancy rollover zoom feature on the product page. This is what you can do with fabulous photos. (Photos by Doug Hoeschler Photography.) Another favorite thing of mine: free shipping! Alchemy offers free shipping with the purchase of two or more items. Zoom, shop and ship away!

Launch site >

Friday, April 23, 2010

hi, friend. Officially open for business.*

It’s been a long time coming but we’re finally ready to debut our new online venture, Hi Friend Design, and we couldn’t be more giddy about it! It began as a little project to help out our newly engaged friends needing wedding invites and stationary, but it’s now blossomed into something quite delightful.

We don’t know what it is about cute stationery and envelopes. And sweet little notes in pretty patterns. And candles packaged in adorable craft boxes with the yummiest ribbon you can’t even stand to untie. But what we do know is that all these things make us smile. Now we’re sharing these treats with all of you, our friends. In turn, you can treat the people you love to these unique bits of happiness. While you’re filling your basket at our new online boutique,, don’t forget to pick up something deliciously fabulous for the most important and deserving friend: you.

Happy shopping!

Megan Clark
Jennifer Mele

call 503.805.8164

*I honestly don't remember the last time I was this nervous. My hands are cold and sweaty. I'm shaking a little. This is a big deal! I posted this sneak peek about our printed goods + gifts project in November - six months ago - following  a previous 6+ months of dreaming and planning. The day has finally come! That day is today. Hi, friend has officially launched. Above is our special announcement letter. Peruse and shop to your hearts' content...

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Clipboard Notes for the Graduating Designer

Last night I drove down to Newberg, OR to be an evaluator at the George Fox Senior Graphic Design Presentation. I'm always so honored to return to my alma mater and participate in my beloved Art Department activities. I've got such a heart for those in the program being that I was one of them not too long ago. This year, there are eight graduating Art Majors with an emphasis in Graphic Design. Last night all eight students shared their work in front of a crowded auditorium. You could see the jitters in their eyes and the nervousness in their steps, but they all did a great job showcasing their portfolios and answering our questions.

The only part of the process I didn't like was the paperwork. The evaluation system is based on numbers. If you know me, you know I really don't like numbers. I'd rather sit down and have a conversation with each soon-to-be graduate. Alas, that wasn't possible, so I settled for circling the scale and scribbling notes on the margins. And now, because this is the closest I'll get to those individual conversations, I'm blogging. As I sat in the third row of the Hoover Auditorium, I was reminded of all the portfolio panels and conferences and visiting artist events I attended and what I learned from each of them throughout my formal education.

Between those memories and the evaluation I conducted last night, here are several things upcoming designers should be thinking about. Graduating designers and up-and-coming creatives alike, consider these your official Clipboard Notes from StudioM:
  • Brand yourself. Whether you straight-up use your name or generate a creative company name, you need a name and you need to brand that name. Prospective employers and clients view your company's brand as an example of your work. Consider it a real-life test of your branding-capabilities. Also remember that your brand serves as a vehicle for your work. Don't focus on it as a portfolio piece in itself. Save the fancy stuff for your future jobs. Keep your resume, business card and website clean and simple.
  • Consistency is king. From the way you dress to the work you show to how you showcase your work, being consistent is one of the most important things to keep in mind. Using the same logo, color, type and design elements throughout your presentation and printed pieces is actually easier, too. Go figure. Don't make it harder than it should be. You'll be more successful as a result.
  • Be picky. We'd rather see only 8 solid portfolio pieces than 8 solid pieces and 5 so-so pieces. Step outside yourself and look at the work objectively. If you have a hard time with this, call on your professors or the designers you're aspiring to be for help. They'll be honest with you if you ask them to be. Narrowing down work also encourages the viewers to look through all of it. Most creative big wigs are way too busy to spend more than 3 minutes viewing your work. Make it quick and painless for them by being picky. *Note: Leave personal projects like baby shower and wedding invitations out of your portfolio completely. They might be cute, but work that required strategy and high-level design is much more desirable.
  • You are special. But what's your specialty? Know where your strengths are. If you're serious about getting work, you'll make your specialties known. Use specific terms like 'technical illustration', 'web design' or 'branding' rather than listing broad terms or claiming skill in too many categories. There is strength in specificity. 
  • Design is a business of passion. To add to the previous note, you need to show passion in your specialties. I want to work with people who are good and what they do and love what they're good at. Many employers will pass on an ├╝bertalented apathetic designer for an average but engaged one. In the words of John Maxwell, "People don't care what you know until they know that you care."
  • Train your tongue. You may think you got the whole talking thing down around ages 4 or 5. Not true. Practice articulating the goals and objectives of each solution in your portfolio. Practice the phrases you'd like to use when someone asks where you glean inspiration. Practice the extraction of every "um", "uh", hem and haw from your casual conversation so when you're in a spotlighted situation they don't sneak out. Maybe most importantly, practice keeping your mouth shut when someone is reviewing your work. A man who uses words wisely is thought to be wise. "The heart of the wise instructs his mouth and adds persuasiveness to his lips." Proverbs 16:23, The Bible (NASB)
  • Mind your manners. Say thank you to anyone and everyone who takes the time to view your work. Whenever possible, send a thank you card via snail mail. Trust me, you won't come off as an outdated designer; you'll appear to be sincere, thoughtful and thankful - three qualities that are certainly not overrated and will encourage further contact. 
Hope the tips help! For those of you who are seasoned creatives, feel free to add to my list in the comment section below.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Salute | Web Comps

Earlier this year we did a logo revamp for Salute, a high-quality steel target manufacturer based in Oregon. In the end they chose to forego implementing a new brand identity, as you'll notice in the below work. Regardless, we've jumped into a new website design for them and it's coming along beautifully....or should we say strongly and on point with the target market (no pun intended)?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

The Free Agent Formula. The story continues.

In December I wrote about The Free Agent Formula (FAF) and how it had "forever changed the way I [thought] about working for myself". That statement still stands to be true. Better yet, the story continues. Lisa, founder of ReachGroup and co-author of FAF approached me recently and asked if StudioM would be interested in doing so work for her. Before she could even finish her thought I'm sure I blurted out,  "Yes! Please!" Although working with Lisa promised to be fairly intimidating having had a peek into her repertoire of savvy marketing and thoughtful business solutions on top of her high-caliber contact list, she is the most kind, encouraging and inspiring friend and mentor. Thanks to her openness to design direction, we've come up with some really great layouts for the FAF website redesign. Here they are:
We're now delving into the design execution of the entire site, based on the first option show above. I'm pretty excited about it. What's even more exciting is that Lisa and I have even more up our sleeves...stay tuned.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Melissa Tomeoni. A new identity.

Melissa Tomeoni is a dear friend of mine and the creative mind behind Soul Mates Photo. Don't take the post title the wrong way; Melissa is very much in touch with who she is and where she's headed. As a result, she's decided to branch her portrait business out from her current brand, Soul Mates Photo, which will be used solely for wedding and engagement work from here on out. That's where the new identity comes in and where my work began. We're nearing the end of the logo development process, but here's where we started:
The mark we're finalizing is a variation on one of the options above. I just can't tell you which one yet. Which would you choose? Keep your eyes peeled from more from Melissa on her blog and mine.

Monday, April 12, 2010

ReStyle | Grand Opening Gala

On Friday afternoon my mom and I jumped in the car and headed south on I-5. It was a sunny afternoon and the perfect time for a drive. Our destination: Albany, OR. Albany is the cutest little town of 50,000, just 11 miles from Corvallis, OR (home of Oregon State University) in the Willamette Valley. We weren't just there to enjoy the sun and sights; we were there on a mission: Attend ReStyle's Grand Opening Gala. And shop!

The owner of ReStyle, Marianne, has been working with StudioM on all the shop's branding. For a peek into the process, see this past post, or this more recent one. Marianne is just a gem; it has been such a pleasure working with her. The shop has turned out to be quite a gem, too - modern dressing rooms, luxurious textiles, contrasting textures, chandelier lighting, soft goods and home goods juxtaposed, bamboo wallpaper, sparkling metallic touches...

Combine shopping with cocktails and good food and you get a full house.
Me and my mom - trying on clothes 
(Isn't her dress just the perfect black dress? 
She snatched that thing up right away.)
I'm just swooning over all the hits of yellow.
It's currently my favorite accent color.
While I was there, Marianne informed me that we need to place another hang tag order, stat. She went from about 500 items when the shop opened for consignments to a whoppin' 1400+ items! Wow. 
Calling the printer now...
Can you even breathe when you see this ceramic deer head mounted on a wall covered with delicate silver brocade? I can't.
The little birds on the left are swooping through the bathroom on a bright yellow wall. I love the boldness of the black silhouettes...and the guts it took to buy that paint color! Definitely a success.
Here's Marianne with ReStyle's first employee. I told her to look like the boss. She looks good as boss!
It's always so thrilling to see the work in the real world, doing what it's meant to do: give the brand a personality and assist the company in realizing its goals and objectives (AKA Facilitate some stellar shopping!). Let's just say, "Mission accomplished."

And, of course, "Cheers!" - to Marianne and ReStyle's bright future!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Suzanne Peters | Design Work

Remember Suzanne? The classy, energetic up-and-coming realtor? Well, now she has not only a logo, but a business card and website, too! The website is still in the works, but you'll be able to see at at before long.

Suzanne feels strongly that "owning a home is one of life's most fulfilling achievements". Consequently, she takes a lot of pride in her little house with the orange door. Her orange door has come to represent her stance on home ownership, so we've embraced it as the cornerstone of her branding. She is more than ready to get out there and use some of these branded tools to help others find their orange door...

Cheers to you, Suzanne!
Oh, and to see where she had her portraits done, visit the Soul Mates Photo Blog.

Monday, April 5, 2010

April showers bring...May babies!

My dear friend Winnie is due next month. Of course this means April is prime time to throw a baby shower for her! Melissa Tomeoni graciously opened her home again for all of us ladies to join and celebrate Baby C (Thanks, Melissa!). Great food, lots of laughter, a token baby-shower game and an adorable flag theme below banner created by Brianna). It was a great success.