Thursday, February 28, 2008

Cut + paste

When I started my own business just over a year ago, one thing I really wanted to push myself to do is more illustration. I like not having a specific illustration style, rather I try different techniques, mediums and materials—creating some parts by hand and then working with them on the computer. One of my clients is Cozi, which offers a free software service for busy families to stay in sync. I've done some interface design for them, but when it came time to do some printed collateral, we decided to use an illustration of a family rather than generic stock photography. I created the image used on this piece with cut paper and fabric—it gives it a kid feel, appropriate to their audience and the circular motif picks up on the Cozi branding.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Letterpress success

About a year ago I acquired something that I've wanted for awhile—my very own letterpress. It's a C&P Pilot Press, which is a table top platen press originally manufactured for schools. As eager as I was to get the press, it has taken some time to get it up and running—between keeping up with my design projects and figuring out how to work it, its been slow going. A 50+ year old piece of equipment doesn't exactly come with a user's manual (although I have been discovering an impressive amount of information online). There are many diehard old timer pressmen out there, as well as a whole generation of enthusiastic newcomers. I originally planned to print mostly with polymer but now I want to experiment with some linoleum cuts. I have a few pieces of old wood type which give a lovely impression, hopefully I can add more to my collection. I just finished my very first project—my business cards. There was some trial and error of course, but as with most things it's a learning process. My letterpress mantra continues to be, "It's an art, not a science."

Friday, February 08, 2008

Logo makeover 101

From time to time we could all use a little spiffing up of our appearance. We might not even realize it until a friend points it out. For example, your girlfriend might say (nicely), "Do you know you've had the same hair style since 8th grade?" Or, "Just because you ARE a mom, doesn't mean you should be wearing those mom jeans!" It's those little things that we might never notice ourselves, but once you make the change you see what a huge difference it makes. Sometimes a logo needs a makeover too. It may not need a complete rebranding, but just a little tweaking here and there to make it work better. When a brand has equity and is recognizable, it makes sense to not reinvent the wheel. I worked with Treeswing, a Seattle based non-profit to improve upon their already good identity. The logo had a couple of challenges: in order for the tagline to be legible the tree had to be huge. Although it was two colors to begin with, they were not used in the best way possible. I adjusted the logo by scaling down the tree and using two more distinctly different greens to emphasize the human figure inside of the tree as well as the organization's name. This allowed for the tagline to be larger and be more legible. See what a big difference that just a few 'tweaks' can do?

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Classic yet modern

When a client says they know exactly what they want before the project even begins, a red flag starts flapping away in my mind. That is because unless they have an understanding of marketing, design and branding—what they envision is probably not going to be what I think is a good solution. But every so often I have a client that 'gets it' and they are a joy to work with. Recently I partnered with Leah Steen who is opening a fresh, stylish and affordable home store in the Georgetown neighborhood of Seattle. If you've been to Gtown lately, you've noticed change is afoot there and I think Leah is one smart lady to be setting up shop. With a freshly signed lease lighting the fire, we moved fast and developed the brand for her store 'Revival' which will open Spring 08. She had a vision of a modern brand with classic, elegant roots. After looking through vintage type specimen books for inspiration, I chose a contemporary typeface 'Neutraface' which was based on signage designed by architect Richard Neutra. I printed her business papers on a recycled stock: Classic Crest Recycled Bright White which comes in a nice hefty 130 double thick cover weight, perfect if you want a substantial feeling business card.
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