Monday, August 30, 2010

Uptown Ballroom | Poster Work

Uptown Ballroom has an exciting announcement to make: They're the feature Portland Groupon today!

In the spirit of getting things spiffed up for all the new dancers inevitably coming to Uptown once they clamber to purchase the Groupon offer ($49 for One Private Class, Two Months of Unlimited Beginners’ Group Classes, and Admission to Social Dances at Uptown Ballroom - $391 Average Value), we created several custom posters promoting dancing - it's beauty, joy and power to change lives.

You might recognize the shots from the Alchemy Dancewear post. (Uptown and Alchemy are sister companies.) And, as stated in that earlier post, if you're a fan of ABC's Dancing With The Stars, you might recognize this model. She's Charlotte Jørgensen, a world renown professional ballroom dancer who starred on Season One, dancing with actor John O'Hurley. They were the runners up, but won the 'rematch' sponsored by ABC. She now spends her time training and coaching. The Uptown Ballroom team frequently dashes down to take lessons from her in Los Angeles.

Photos by Doug Hoeschler Photography.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Art & Copy / Film

This film about advertising has been around for a while, but I finally got my grubby little hands on it (thanks to a free Netflix trial!). It's reminiscent of before-mentioned films like Helvetica and Objectified in that it's a documentary about a creative industry, namely advertising.

I can't even begin to summarize the film for myself, so I'll let it speak for itself:

"The frightening and most difficult thing about being what somebody calls a creative person is that you have absolutely no idea where any of your thoughts come from, really. And especially, you don't have any idea about where they're going to come from tomorrow."
- Hal Riney (Introductory statement, voice-over)

"I think most creative people are so damn insecure that they want to think they know everything, but they know deep in their hearts that they're just in deep trouble from the minute they get up in the morning. So if you can them, 'that's the way you're supposed to be,' sometimes that's kind of liberating."
- Dan Wieden of Wieden and Kennedy

"You have to be able to talk to people who are not like you and convince people to do things that are not like them." - George Lois (Though I'm not 100% confident in my memory. May have been someone else from the cast.)

"I don't think any organization or any career succeeds if there isn't a goodly amount of old fashioned love involved. And a deep sense of affection for each other, the people you work with….If you can hold onto that and make your decisions with those things in mind, even when they're hard decisions you have to make, I think it's a big difference."
- Dan Wieden of Wieden and Kennedy

So true! All of it!
(Logo image from

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Pioneer Press / Hellenic Wide

Pioneer Press is located downtown Vancouver, WA. I drive by it almost every day. And every day I catch myself staring at the sign, but not knowing why. It's sort of ugly and the shop itself went out of business ages ago.

All-in-all it's depressing, but I finally realized why I couldn't help but stare. It was the 'R'. Yes, the 'R' in "Pioneer". The way the tail swoops out and makes such a signature statement....the slab serifs....the strong angles...I'm captivated. It's like a strapping lumberjack or maybe a handsome cowboy. Given the font has such identifiable characteristics, you'd think I'd know what it was off-the-bat, or at least be able to find it easily. Not so. The need to own the font, or at least one like it, floated around in my head until one day I saw this on Mattson Creative's site. There it was again! The 'R'. The slabs. That was it. I needed it. Ty Mattson tipped me off to what font it was and said he himself had a heck of a time finding it (Thanks, Ty. Now I don't feel so bad for not finding it myself.) It's Hellenic Wide.

Hellenic Wide is a "digital revival" of metal type originally distributed by American Type Founders in the late 1800s. Even if (as those of you type-addicts surely already noticed) it's not exactly the same as what's used on the Pioneer Press sign, it's darn close and I love it.


Monday, August 23, 2010

Becoming Clark & Co.

I'm in the midst of a (re)branding process.
The series of events that has lead me to this point:
  1. Incorporated: Bye, StudioM!
  2. Procrastinated working on the new brand.
  3. Announced new name: Hello, Clark & Co.
  4. Pulled some inspiration scrap together (some shown below*).
  5. Procrastinated some more.
  6. Asked myself, "Why can you do this for all your clients all the time but it's so hard to do for yourself?"
  7. Realized I needed outside help. Scheduled to review logo comps with Elizabeth Morrow McKenzie, owner of Morrow McKenzie Design, Creative Director at R/West and design hero of mine so I would finally get my butt in gear.
  8. Enlisted Lisa Johnson, owner of Reach Group, author of The Free Agent Formula and my beloved business mentor and client to compile a list of adjectives and attributes of my studio (show below).
  9. Met with Elizabeth. Reviewed scrap and with her encouragement added "Enthusiastic/Upbeat" to the adjective list. Gained clarity and direction in focusing on my love of all things old, but communicating the correct, modern message through the new logo.
  10. Ummmm....
  11. Well.....
  12. Still working...
To be continued.

    Photo credits:

    Thursday, August 19, 2010

    My Grandma Lila. A tribute.

    I just posted this for the hi, friend blog...but wanted to share it here, too. It's a collage I created as a tribute piece to my dear Grandma Lila. Read the full story.

    Wednesday, August 18, 2010

    Stylepedia. A book review.

    I'm addicted to Louise Fili. 100%.

    She's collaborated with Steven Heller on several publications. My goal is to get my hands on every single one. There really couldn't be a more dynamic, design-oriented pair. Stylepedia: A Guide to Graphic Design Mannerisms, Quirks, and Conceits is one of the books that's been on my list. Apparently it's been on lot of others lists, too; I couldn't find it at any of the local bookstores. Eventually an Amazon merchant came to the rescue. I now have an beautifully-tabbed, already-loved copy of Stylepedia on my desk. In it, more than 100 entries define specific design styles. It's a brainiac designer's dream-come-true. I. Can't. Get. Enough.

    Now, if I can just find the time to study it, I'll be a happy camper. I guess it's a good thing that there's waaaay to much to digest quickly. I'm definitely raising my glass and flipping those pages to Fili and Heller's mindful contribution to my library.

    Monday, August 16, 2010

    The fruits of a summer weekend in Spokane

    This past weekend the hubs and I drove out to the east side of Washington State (Spokane, to be exact) for a jam-packed weekend. We attended a wedding, caught up with family, stayed with friends, tried a new restaurant, laid by the pool, went to a car show, explored the casino, met a Japanese-American POW Korean War Vet named Yoshie who told us his life story at the casino, won $20 at the penny slots and saw two larger-than-life lemons rolling down the road on the way home. And the entire time I forgot to tote my camera along. Until of course we were on our way home and passed the giant lemons, one of which is pictured above. So that's the visual you're getting today because A) it's the only one I have and B) somehow seems to sum up this summer weekend perfectly: refreshing, bright and traversing the road.

    Last but certainly not least, I got to meet up with Maggie of Shanty to shop and share coffee. (I popped into Just Because to say hi to my other lovely Newport clients, but they had skipped away to Vegas for market.) I came home with several new treasures that I can't wait to debut this fall. Maybe sooner if this heat wave subsides. What a sweet, sweet summer weekend.

    Footnote: While we were away our dog procured a new nickname ("Moozilla") and was treated like a celebrity by Heaven of Green Chair Studios. Take a peek at what her weekend was like here.

    Wednesday, August 11, 2010

    The Free Agent Formula | Website Launched

    The Free Agent Formula Website has been in the works for a while. As of 5:07pm this evening, it's been released into the wild that is the world wide web. Click here to visit The Free Agent Formula.  

    Monday, August 9, 2010

    If someone asks, this is where I'll be: Frank Chimero Art Show

    On Friday night I zipped down to NE Portland to attend Frank Chimero's art show opening at Land Gallery. If you remember, I became acquainted with Frank and his work via an AIGA event this past May. As Frank said that evening, "Where surprise and clarity convene, you find delight." His art show was surprising and full of clarity and therefore very delightful. The work was very simple, human and concept-driven. Each piece told a little story or made a point. The execution was rudimentary: construction paper, sharpies, old books and colored blocks. But the messages were sophisticated and astute.
    He really took the entire space into consideration. This same show can never be exhibited anywhere else in the same way because he used pieces of the gallery itself as part of the show - writing on the walls, point out pipes, captioning windows, dictating directions....again, delightful. Art should be full of personality.
    I think Frank was showing us (among many other insightful things) is that what's most important is what we're saying, not how fancily we can say it. Right, Frank?

    To read more about how Frank favors idea over prettiness, read this from Print.

    Friday, August 6, 2010

    Friday is Fontday. 8/6/10

    Just for fun, here are my favorite stamp and script fonts du jour.


    Wednesday, August 4, 2010

    Design*Sponge Meetup in PDX

    If you're a 20- or 30-something who has even one teeny tiny home, interior or graphic design inclined bone in your body, you better know Design*Sponge. If you don't, get to know it now.
    Last night some girlfriends and I were lucky enough to make it over to Alder & Co. for the Design*Sponge Meetup with Grace Bonney. Firstly, we were thrilled with the oh-so-thoughtful selection of goods at Alder & Co. (Especially Clare Vivier. Wow.) Secondly, we were totally thrilled to finally meet Grace and chat with her about her time here in P-Town. (She's here for the IDSA Conference; we'd like to save our pennies and pounce on that next year, by the way.)
    We love that Portland is such a creative hub and people like Grace think it's cool to visit. According to her, "Portland's a cleaner version of Brooklyn". Perfect. We'll take it.
    Oh, and Portland's definitely a generous city, too. We (meaning all of us design*sponge lovers) happened to collectively gather a quite impressive pile of art supplies for p:ear while we mingled (see above image of a creative kid's dream come true). Go us! And go Alder & Co. for coordinating such a delectable evening. We'll be back for more.