Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A logo in bloom.

Believe it or not, a week ago Amanda and I had no idea each other existed. When she first contacted me, she said, "I need a logo! Fast!". She'd signed up to advertise on and the deadline was a mere 7 days away. I thought about it for a second, decided not to waste another minute, and say, "Okay! We can do it!". And ta-da! Today she has a romantic, chic and modern mark to represent her company. You can find out more about Amanda and her fabulous floral services on her blog. Also, she had a photo shoot last week to get some professional shots showcasing her work. Bethany F. did a great job. See below.

Amanda, you are on a roll! Thanks for letting me roll along with you! Best wishes.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

StudioM | Now Serving French Press

My office smells of coffee beans. Whether it's the breathing in deeply because of it or the coffee itself that's making my day oh so nice, I'm not sure. Either way, French Press is responsible. This morning I had the pleasure of visiting French Press in Salem, OR. They're one of my clients and a place I wish could frequent more than just visit. You see, they have extremely high standards when it comes to coffee. If and when you go, you'll never be served a cup of joe made from beans roasted more than 72 hours ago. As you can imagine, I wanted to pick up pounds and pounds of whole bean coffee, but just thinking of trying to drink it all within 72 hours for maximum freshness gave me the jitters. So I got a pound. Fresh is always best. 

But don't take my word for it. Get yourself and your coffee+crepe-craving taste buds down to French Press. Stat. Unless of course you're planning on stopping in at StudioM where you might just be able to convince me to let you in on the sort-of-true 'Now Serving French Press' offer. If I answer the door with the jitters, you'll know you came a moment too late.

Table cards we created to promote whole bean coffee.

I love a well-placed logo.
Landscaping is being done as we speak. Stay tuned for official Grand Opening information...

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Global Awards - We have a winner!

The Marquis Companies 'Vital Life Book' was awarded a Finalist Certificate in the 2008 Global Awards. (Okay, when I said winner, I really meant finalist.) This book is a project that was and is near and dear to my heart. Marquis is a company that was a client at an ad agency where I spent 2 and a half years. During that time I got to know and understand Marquis's people, their residents and their mission very well. And I wholeheartedly love each part of what they do. Apparently that ardor shows! The book is comprised of touching stories from residents, inspirational quotes and thought-provoking questions.

From The Global Awards Website:
"The Global Awards are recognized as the only awards dedicated to excellence in healthcare communications on an international basis. The Globals have achieved the status of the world’s most coveted honor in this field....the mission of The Global Awards is to lift the perception of creativity above clever headlines and smart design, and to explore the feelings and emotions transmitted between a message’s creator and its recipient...The Global Awards honor this profound connection."

Getting that recognition feels like winning no matter what. Congratulations to all involved.

Book credit:
Rick Dalbey, Creative Director
Megan Clark, Art Director and Designer
Steve Bloch, Photographer
Jennifer Mele, Account Manager

Photo credit: 
Award certificate,
Book, Art Directed by Megan Clark, Photographed by Steve Bloch.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Cleaning it up on INKD.

I told you to stay tuned for more custom design work from StudioM on You didn't have to wait long! The fabulous staff of Inkd just uploaded an additional 200 designs to 'The World's First Market for Original Print Design". A few of those 200 comprise a set I created for a cleaning company. Take a peek at my studio profile if you'd like.

If you know me at all, you know I love everything tidy, clean and pristine: my house, my dog, my office, my design. So this project felt like a personal campaign to get those who are not as obsessive compulsive as me to leave it to the experts. The fictitious client is Charm Cleaning Company. The logo, headlines and tag line were contrived by yours truly. Hopefully another entrepreneurial/compulsive individual can find this set and put it to work for them. 

Design can make the world a cleaner place. Happy Earth Day, by the way!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Brains, beauty and dressing up.

Terri Spaeth-Merrick is the brains behind two companies whose primary goal is making brides beautiful: Olivia Luca and Embellish. I had the privilege of first meeting her while working at a small ad agency as an intern. She may well be the most talented and skilled lady I know. And modest about it! The agency was tasked with branding one of Terri's brainchildren: Olivia Luca. When she came to the agency, Terri had a fabulous idea for a semi-custom 'design your own wedding dress' site. But she needed a name, a logo, and a robust website. So we got to work. By the end of the process she was armed with a custom name, logo and very interactive website. And seriously, it's the coolest thing ever. You can enter the 'design studio' and design your very own wedding gown. Or bridesmaid dress. Or mother-of-the-bride dress. Or I-need-something-to-wear-to-that-black-tie-event dress. No matter what the occasion, Olivia Luca can dress you for it.

Since the launch, Olivia Luca has had mention on, Fast Company (twice!), Style Me Pretty and InStyle Weddings, to name a few. You can also find more information on the blog. There are many reasons for the attention, but one of them is the eco-friendly approach Terri's taken to bridal haute couture. She makes all the white out of everything green: organic cotton, organic linen, hemp, bamboo and soy knit (coming soon).

Long before OL was conceived, Embellish existed. Embellish is the fully-custom bridal design studio that Terri runs out of Portland, Oregon. The process she uses is so smart. You can read more about it on the Embellish website. She and I recently worked on re-branding Embellish. I love being a part of a creative process with her. It's like getting a little glimpse into how she works her fashion magic.

In September I got to wear an Embellish gown for an after-session photo shoot (read more on the Soulmates Photo blog). What fun! I'll testify to the fact that all the brains Terri has poured into her entrepreneur endeavors has bloomed into two great options for procuring the one thing that can elicit a skip in a groom's heartbeat and a star-like glow from the bride: the perfect wedding dress. Thank you, Terri.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Play artist. Minus the despondent, starving part.

I ran across this photo taken of my parents in college and just had to figure out a way to make it something more. Instead of simply printing an enlarged copy or ordering photo mugs or a tawdry mouse pad, I decided to try something different. Paint. But not like you'd expect. I went through a series of experimental steps and ended up with a contemporary, abstract and very custom piece.

If you want detailed steps on the process, just say so! And don't worry, I'll let you take all of the credit. After all, creating an original piece of artwork isn't as hard as it looks. But you don't have to tell everyone else that. (Photo courtesy of Rick & Annie Weber)

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Sneak Peek | Our Portland Story

"Our Portland Story is part coffee-table book, part yearbook, and part insiders travel guide, but is all about Portland by Portlanders. Our Portland Story sought submissions of text and images from Portlanders of all walks of life that together capture many different aspects of the city at this place in time...This story project is an independent creative venture spearheaded by Portland designer, Melissa Delzio." 

I was fortunate to be invited to get involved with this project (and if you're an interested designer, let me know and I'll hook you up with Melissa). The story I was assigned to work with came from a dear woman named Alice. She was a sophomore in a Portland high school when World War II ended. That day remains a vivid memory for her - and for more reasons than you might expect! Click on the below layout below to read more. It's been such an honor to design a page around Alice's story and at least try to portray the joyous rupture in the streets on that day. It will be so exciting to see how all of the other designers were inspired to design around their stories. The book is scheduled to be produced in 2009. Stay tuned...

Photos in layout courtesy of The Oregon Historical Society.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Advertising + Design = Art?

International Library of Technology, Book 344
Artistic Show-Cards
How to Design and Make Them
By E. L. Koller

Published by International Textbook Company, Scranton, PA. 1927


I picked this book up at the South Dakota State Fair in the 90's for a nickle. Yes, a nickle. There are many wonderful things about it (including it's twin on line drawing, the dyed red page edges and the pressed flowers and other treasures I found between its pages), but the thing that struck me most when I flipped through it earlier this week is this:

"No matter how familiar one may be with various alphabets and styles of lettering, his efforts at making well-lettered show cards will give very mediocre results unless he is acquainted with the principles of artistic design. For a well-designed and well-lettered card is as much a piece of artistic design as is a successful house, a beautiful illustration or a graceful piece of silverware."

A show card was something used in the early 20th century to advertise a product in a retail environment. I wonder if the author would agree that the same could be said for advertising today. Is it as artistic as any other art form? It seems it used to be; in the 20's, all of it was done by hand. Incredible. 

As I browsed the pages I was in awe thinking of how each 'graphic designer' in those days was responsible for typography, layout and aesthetics in an entirely different way than those of us who find ourselves in that profession are today. They couldn't just scroll through typefaces and clip art and pick the things that seemed appropriate. They had to create the letterforms and the imagery with a predetermined sense of what was going to be perfectly suitable. So is design less of an art form today than it was in the early 1900's? Or is it just different?