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Entries in Design (96)


Lola & Foxy Pet Tag Design

Yesterday I received four very cool sample pet tags from MakaluMedia client Pam Trainer at Lola & Foxy. I was so impressed with how these tags turned out, I had to write a little something here to tell the story of their creation.

Lola & Foxy Pet Tags
Lola & Foxy Pet Tags: Love Me (Brown)Lola & Foxy Pet Tags: I'm a Rescue! (Blue)

Back in early 2007, Pam Trainer, the sister of Jon Trainer at Outer Level (another client) came to me to help her tune up, simplify and redraw the logo for Lola & Foxy, her startup business offering pet collars, leads and tags online.

The logo refresh project went very well, so when Pam needed several pet tags designed in a pinch for a trade show late in the year, she called me again for help.

I happened to be booked when she contacted me, but I'd been working in an art direction role with Milwaukee designer Jason Behlke on some other production and design projects, and thought this would be a perfect job to collaborate on with him.

Research & Analyis
I talked with Pam about technical specs, wording, look and feel ideas and overall goals of the project. Then I took all of the raw information and analyzed it, producing a design brief with Pam's specs and my own thoughts on style, fonts, colors and other directions so that Jason could start working on the design.

Jason produced black & white concepts in Illustrator, which I reviewed and presented to Pam with detailed thoughts, gathered her feedback and we continued until we had final 4 winning designs that were properly prepped for the tag production house.

Pam was able to get samples in time for her trade show, and the designs went over quite well. She's now selling all four of the tag designs on the Lola & Foxy site and reports they're very popular.

Project Observations
While this was a small, quick project, I think it provides valuable insight on how the process works, and how everyone benefits. Pam had a great experience and now has a popular set of tags to sell. Jason had a chance to do some very cool design work on something he'd never done before. I had the pleasure of helping Pam make an idea reality, while acting as a guide and mentor to Jason through the process.

I smile, knowing we've all benefited working on this fun project. Even better, these pet tags are benefitting pet owners who can enjoy the fruits of our collaboration.

Related Links
"Love Me" Charm and Tag holder (Brown)
"Love Me" Charm and Tag holder (Pink)
"I'm a Rescue" Charm and Tag holder (Pink)
"I'm a Rescue" Charm and Tag holder (Blue)


Attending SXSW Interactive 2008!

ia-header.jpgFor the past few years, I've been very intentional about attending thought-provoking conferences and events, to learn, grow and meet new people.

In 2007, I attended BarCampMadison, UX Intensive, SOBCon07, BarCampMilwaukee2 the SEED Conference and excellent monthly Web414 meetings through the year.

For several years I've heard great things about SXSW (South by Southwest) Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas. Many of the people I admire attend yearly, I've enjoyed podcasts from the event, but it's never worked out for me to attend.

That will change in 2008. On March 7th, I'll be heading down to Austin, with fellow Web414 members Ashe Dryden and David Overbeck. We're all excited to see first-hand, just what all the SXSW buzz is about.

Thanks MakaluMedia!
I've been given the opportunity to attend SXSW as art director and designer from MakaluMedia. I'm very thankful for this opportunity, and I plan to make the most of my time in Austin. I'll attend multiple sessions, take notes and capture sketchnotes similar to the ones I did at the SEED Conference and UX Intensive.

Advise the Newbie
Since this is my first time to SXSW Interactive, I welcome tips and ideas from seasoned veterans. I'm also open to Austin tips and suggestions from any Austin dwellers out there who would like to share. Just leave a comment below. :-)

Contact Me SXSW-Goers
I also want to meet old friends and new people while I'm at at SXSW. If you're attending SXSW Interactive 2008 and would like to meet for a coffee in Austin, drop me a line with the subject SXSW. I'd love to connect before I head down to Austin.

As I prepare for SXSW Interactive, I've compiled a selection of resources to share with other SXSW attendees, and those interested in the event:

SXSW Interactive 2008 — The official site.
SXSW Interactive 2008: Panels (Time) — SXSW Panels, time schedule.
SXSW Interactive 2008: Panels (Day) — SXSW Panels, by day.
SXSW Interactive 2008: Panels (Category) — SXSW Panels, by category.
SXSW Registrant's Guide — Registrant's guide.
SXSW Registrant's Mobile Guide — Mobile registrant's guide.
SXSW '08 Insider's Guide — Information and forums on
SXSW Baby — Un-official Weblog and forums for SXSW.
Ze Frank Explains SXSW Interactive In Under a Minute — Classic Ze Frank humor!
SXSW Core Conversations — Directory for informal conversations.
SXSW Past, Present, and Future — Great podcast interview with Hugh Forrest, Director of Events for SXSW Interactive on the history, culture and future of the event.
SXSW Geeks Love Bowling — Bowling with SXSWers, Sunday, March 9th.
Airbag: Hampton — Greg Storey's Guide to SXSW Newbies.
John Phillips — Beginner's Guide to SXSW.

Have a resource to share? Email me and let me know!


Winterblast 2008 T-Shirt Design

Winterblast 2007 & 2008 T-Shirt DesignsFor the past several years, I've had the great opportunity to design t-shirt graphics for Winterblast, our church youth group's annual winter retreat.

For 2007, I created a snow monster for the shirt design, and loved how the white ink on navy blue long-sleeve t-shirts turned out. For 2008, I chose a stylized white polar bear design, on forest green long-sleeve t-shirts.

Designing the Polar Bear
To create the stylized polar bear illustration, I used image searches to locate a few reference photos, to help me establish correct proportions and shapes in my memory. Using this reference, I created a front-view polar bear in Adobe Illustrator. No sketches were necessary, as the bear idea had formed in my head by this point.

After several design iterations, I decided to add a pair of black 1960s sunglasses, a winter cap, and enclosed the polar bear within a circular shape.

I explored various type treatments for Winterblast '08, settling on a combo of Helvetica Bold and Medium. The rounded rectangle shape around the type suggests a highway sign — as our group typically has a long road trip North to the retreat.

Printing the Shirts
Once the art was complete, I took my final files to MJM Screen Print & Embroidery Studio in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin. MJM provided great screen printing and superb service, turning these Winterblast t-shirts around quickly, and with great quality.

Here are a few photos of the finished t-shirts:

Winterblast 2008 T-Shirt Design

Winterblast 2008 T-Shirt Design: Polar Bear DetailWinterblast 2008 T-Shirt Design: Type Detail

I think these shirts turned out very well. I can't wait to pass these bad boys out to the 50 students and leaders going to Winterblast 2008!


Helvetica: Full Film on Google Video (Removed)'ve just learned that the full 1:21:44 documentary Film Helvetica (which I recommended in a previous post) is currently was available to watch on Google Video.

I had a look at the comments, and saw someone listed as "gary hustwit" who may (or may not) be the filmmaker:

"yes the filmmakers should be making money... this is an illegal upload and will be deleted soon. if you'd like to support the film, go to"

This video may indeed be an illegal upload, and might disappear soon. I'd momentarily embedded the video here, but decided to remove it, as it isn't clear if the film was legally posted. At least it can't be downloaded.

My advice is to rent or buy the film, see it as intended and support the filmmaker, Gary Hustwit, for his hard work. Helvetica is available at Netflix or Amazon and directly from the Helvetica Shop.

(Thanks to Russell Beattie for the tip.)

UPDATE 2008-01-26: This video has now been removed from Google Video.


Helvetica: The Movie


The film begins with a close up of a typographer's hands, selecting metal type from a case, building a line of type for an old-school proof press.

I'm talking about Gary Hustwit's film Helvetica, a gorgeous documentary about a typeface's birth and cultural impact.

Helvetica features beautiful filmwork, an interesting storyline, fascinating interviews and a killer soundtrack. It's a joy to watch Hustwit blend visuals, sound and voice into a compelling story of one typeface's impact on our culture.

I love the wide selection of interviewees Hustwit chooses — old-school and young gun designers, typographers and design critics, those who love Helvetica and those who abhor it. The film's broad spectrum of voices provides a full picture of Helvetica, the neutral Swiss typeface that somehow draws out extreme opinions.

See this film! See it even if you aren't a designer, but especially if you're a designer.

You'll gain insight into the making of a typeface. You'll gain a deeper understanding of how fundamentally typography shapes design, advertising, street signs, packaging: even common items like government forms. You'll be surprised.

For a taste of the film, here's an 8 minute selection of clips for your viewing pleasure:

Helvetica is available at Netflix or Amazon and directly from the Helvetica Shop.

Check it out! You won't be disappointed. :-)

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