Archive for the 'branding' Category

card tricks

We relocated our studio in January and it’s taken until March to get our new business cards. This is the fifth card design we’ve had in our studio’s history, including vellum stock, letterpress, and  rounded corners. We’ve always loved cards with a tactile quality and a sense of surprise (although I do remember a client taking a pair of scissors to my two-sided-letterpress-Euro-oversized card and cutting it to fit in his rolodex…heh).

We did the new cards through MOO, and chose their LUXE line with a seam of blue color between the layers of  Mohawk Superfine paper. We printed ten different design/work quotes on the back.  I believe this is the fourth set of cards we’ve done through Moo (the others were all photo-based designs) and I highly recommend them for service, quality and price–plus packaging that delights the designer in all of us.

the merchandising of a president

Last week I was cruising around the internet and I found this poster, which very clearly wanted to be pinned.  And so I did.

But on my way to Pinterest, I discovered the home of the poster, Store.BarackObama.com. Now I am well aware that Barack (no secret, I refer to him as my boyfriend, and while I had several years of disappointment, I am still (STILL) hopeful) Obama is the President who understands branding. In fact, I started this blog in 2009 with a piece on the branding of his campaign. But this store blew me away.

Perhaps one needs to be a California liberal who appreciates the collaboration of message, typography and image…but this is really something. We have gone beyond stickers and signs folks. We’re talking iPhone cases, doggie bandanas, yoga pants, soy candles, grilling accessories, and a designer store called Runway to Win (Tory Burch tote, Jason Wu T shirt).

Of course, I was delighted to see one of my favorite coffee mugs (thank you Ann) on the site as well. I think I will pass on the Joe Biden mug (though cleverly titled, Cup of Joe).

Whether you vote for my boyfriend, or the other one, you have to admit, this is a change…and I think one that is designed with thoughtfulness and a dash of humor. Nicely done.

it starts from the bottom up

Timeline of branding process…in table top, linear progression.  Of course, we all know it’s a little messier than this (I would include a few more scraps reams of paper with words on it, and something to show the research…and lots more coffee, tempered with some wine). Clever and thought-provoking, for sure. What would your table include?

Source: Oneeighty Creative.

mindful by design | part three

branding the conversation | coffee common

Yes, this is another unapologetic coffee-focused post.  It’s not that I am promoting my coffee photo blog (and to prove it, I will wait until the end of the post to even mention the URL), but because of that project, I have been hanging out in the land of coffee roasters, coffee shops and coffee blogs. There’s a lot to learn…for instance, did you know that it takes five years for a coffee tree to reach maturity, and the average yield from one tree is the equivalent of one roasted pound of coffee? Makes your three dollar cup look pretty darn cheap, doesn’t it?

Of course, I believe that design can fix almost everything in the world, or at least build a sturdy bridge to knowledge and understanding. And there’s a pretty big gap in our knowledge of how great coffee shows up in our cups. Another designer who seems to believe in the power of design, and is actually doing something about that is Brian Jones of  Welcome Design and Dear Coffee, I Love You.

I also believe that branding is not about visual assets, or even “the story.” Branding (if we must call it that…and for an industry of creatives, I can’t believe we couldn’t come up with a better tag) is the conversation. Simple. Complex. Evolving.

Like coffee….just like coffee.

Brian and a group of others, who could also be considered competitors,  have a brilliant idea to bring together the top roasters and baristas to share the truth about coffee, and they’ve named it Coffee Common.  Coffee Common boldly (though we now know that bold does not describe coffee) claims that great coffee is a collaboration of an empowered coffee farmer, an artisan coffee roaster, a dedicated barista, and an enlightened consumer. They are starting at the TED Conference, and the conversation and collaboration will continue.

“We of Coffee Common gather as a community with shared values. We understand coffee as the most complex and extraordinary beverage in the world. We believe that great coffee requires study, experimentation, craftsmanship, and humility.  We believe that collaboration can be an act that promotes global economic prosperity, social parity, cultural exchange, and culinary expression.”

This is branding at it’s best. A conversation, a collaboration, a way to help us see, understand and experience value.

I can’t wait, even if it means paying more for my coffee.

And….since you have been so patient, my new blog project is Coffee|Served Daily, collecting and curating 1000 cups of coffee, one photo at a time. And if you are still reading, I suspect you must love coffee. And I also suspect you have a camera or an iPhone close by. So come over and visit, or better yet, take a photo, send it to me, and then let’s linger over a cup of great coffee.

mindful by design | part two

Another piece from the studio…just a reminder that January is no time for hibernating.

moo cards (and new ones, too)

I’ve never been a fan of outsourced, gang printing and have always done my part to support the craft of printing, especially letterpress. My business card history includes letterpress, oversized, rounded corners, custom duplex stock, extra heavy stock…everything to make the cards as special and tactile as possible.  But I have to say, my last set of cards (radius corners with the line create something that matters on the back) never excited me, or anyone else.

I also realized that print just isn’t “fun” anymore.  We barely print, and when we do, it’s such a small, serious quantity.  Where’s the whimsy, the inspiration, the delight of print?

Last year I discovered Moo Cards, a British company that prints, really inexpensively, cards with individual backs. As many different backs as you like. And the cards come in three sizes…close to standard (a tad tall), narrow (mini cards) and square. They only print on two stocks, one with a matte laminate and one recycled. Normally I am not a fan of laminate, but the one they use looks and feels nice.  Did I mention they were inexpensive?

Inexpensive makes whimsy much more feasible.

I decided to give it a try and printed 11 of my photos, with the websites for two of my blogs on the back (this one and coffee|served daily, thanks for asking). They came this week, and I am 100% thrilled with the concept and 98% thrilled with the quality.

The photos printed much cleaner than they appear here. The color is awesome, front and back. The type does print a little heavy. I printed a set for my daughter last year and used the laminate, and tried the recycled stock for myself.  Honestly, I prefer the laminate. But all in all, I am really excited. Today I gave one person three (my dog’s ears, the bowl of cherries and the coffee cups).

I’m going to do more…next time the mini cards, and maybe even the stickers. I envision a bowl full of cards in the studio, like candy….maybe even with candy. Who says there is no fun in print anymore?