Monday, December 21, 2009

The logo that never was

On every project, we generate many options that never see the light of day. This is especially true of logos. Quite often they are good, sometimes great - but for various reasons don't get chosen to make the next round. I was looking back through old projects searching for logos that we might submit to a logo competition, and I came across this little gem. Clean, well drawn, has wit... great logo, right?

But it got me thinking. If a tree fell in the woods, and only Helen Keller was there to hear it... well you get the idea. Does a commercial art project need to be validated to be good? If the designer is happy (if not thrilled) and the client is satisfied, bills are paid and everyone sleeps at night, isn't that successful? Does the client have to pick the direction we wanted them to? We created all the options to begin with, so as long as the client finds a fit amongst the choices... isn't that enough?

So why enter logo competitions at all? Why enter any competition? I really don't think you can compare work unless you understand the process behind the solution. And if you don't consider that, then what are you judging the work on? I mean, if we believe the hype about each project being a collaboration and needing good client input - and if there are good clients vs. bad clients at all, then doesn't that mean that their input is actually relevant if not important? So unless you are going to consider the client's desires and direction, you only have half the story.

But then, I'm a realist. And I believe that design serves a function and isn't just meant as art. But maybe when a design solution ends up in the land of misfit logos, like the one above, maybe then it becomes art – Something you can actually judge based solely on what it looks like - process doesn't matter. Maybe then it becomes fine art... but only if its good.

Monday, December 14, 2009

A fine time

So It's been a while since I've updated this page... feverishly working on projects and being a dad. Speaking of being a dad, Jackson had a big day on Saturday. He tested and passed to get his blue belt in Shoa-Lin Kempo, and then promply lost a tooth. Later that day, we had a big holiday party at our house for clients and friends. 40 adults, 20 kids, 15 bottles of wine, 1 bottle of bourbon and 4 rounds of smoked salmon. It was quite an event, and a really great time... fun to see and relax with people that we otherwise never get to see. Gotta love Christmas!

Friday, October 2, 2009

Oooh the Mystery!

I design a lot of wine labels. Lots. I also enjoy wine, so it is not uncommon that we would trade with a client or purchase their wine occasionally. I have to say, whenever something unexpected comes in the mail, it really is like Christmas. Today we received an automated phone call from UPS informing us that they will be delivering a package today. That call really only happens when they require you to be home to sign for it... as in the case of wine shipments. The anticipation begins!

They were kind enough to zero in on the time frame - sometime between 9am and 7pm. So that really helped me plan my day. Of course, now that I've received the call, I feel like I can't leave the house for fear that I'll miss them. That's the worst! You have no idea when they are coming back, and you still don't really know what it is!

So I'll try to go on with my day, pretending that I'm not looking out the window. But really I'm like a 6 year old trying to go to sleep on Christmas eve. Horse tranquilizers wouldn't even have much effect.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Friends in the right places

I think UPS trucks are magic. I don't care what they are delivering. But today was truly special. The UPS guy did his typical Rockford style skid in front of my casa, ran up to my door, dropped the package and rang the door bell. Before I could reach the door he was leaving a trail of burnt rubber and smoke as he headed to the next stop.

I eagerly opened the unexpected box - thinking perhaps it was a leg lamp ala A Christmas Story, or perhaps Ed McMahon's final check before moving on.

It was better! My friends at Crush Creative Packaging actually found a can of Waffle Off (see post from Aug. 31) and were thoughtful enough to send it to me along with color coded jelly beans and a nice note! Couldn't believe it. I'm going to put this on my shelf with all my other trophies and never, ever use it. It's just too damn cool. Thanks Crush, Thanks Carrie - for everything, but especially the waffle off.

Carny Concerns

I love the state fair. We go every year - at least once. As we walked around amid the teenagers looking stoned and about to steal something, I noticed this huge electrical panel next to what appeared to be a nuclear power plant. Massive power cables came out of this box in every direction - the sort of things that'd cook you before you could scream for help.

Couldn't help noticing the danger sign. Kinda wondered if it was a joke, or just a really fantastic typo. I've gone back and forth on this point, but given that the average carny probably can't spell 'electical' or 'zone' I figure it must be a really great example of why certain jobs should be left to the professionals.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Clients In Oregon Top 50

Portland Monthly did an article on Oregon's Top 50 wines. And guess what? 3 of my labels were in the article. Clearly they didn't take label design into consideration, or they would have name these three in the top 5, but still its cool to see your working in there.

I don't know if the wines were displayed in order of quality, or using some other method. Truthfully, it couldn't have happened to three cooler people. Isabelle at 1789 is a rock star, the whole Stoller Team is a blast to work with, and Mary and Dave Hansen are really great, down to earth people.

Even cooler, as I'm looking through the winners and reading the notes, I see a little link to Painted Hills beef. A product I designed the logo for about 100 years ago. Sort of a blast from the past, but cool to see.

Here's a link to the article:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Fun with Macros

Just got a new lense for my camera. I'm in love with it. I'm considering marrying it.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Visual Clutter

So I'm at the wine section of my local grocery store and as I stood there looking at all the labels trying to scream for my attention, I realized that large, simple shapes took over. Labels that either used white space the best, or used a very identifiable image on the front seemed to jump forward. That doesn't mean that they necessarily looked upscale, or were positioned correctly for their target market, but it did make them noticeable. Sometimes, less really is more.

Sour Milk

Recent discovery for all of those out there that have kids. If you leave the milk in the sippy cup long enough, it goes through many stages before finally resting in a curds and whey type form that no longer stinks! Yeah! It works on chocolate milk too.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Willakenzie Cool

Just finished a label project for Willakenzie Estate. The product is a high end pinot noir. Label process was smooth and the team at WKE was awesome to work with.

Carrie Higgins at Crush Creative Packaging printed the label and was awesome to work with - as always. She rocks.

Can't wait to taste the wine.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Who would have guessed?

On our road trip, we stayed the night in many hotels. I'm not sure when it happened, but the automated waffle maker has established itself in the free breakfast world of hotel land. Everywhere we went, in the morning, there is was - a big steaming machine with a little flippy handle and a timer.

Right next to the machine, most places have a can of spray grease. But in Missouri, there was this can of Waffle Off. Have you ever heard of waffle off? I haven't. And I was suprised that anyone would find it necessary to create a special product in honor of the waffle. PAM, for example, would probably do the trick.

Perhaps waffles have some other sort of chemistry - some sort of enhanced sticking power that requires a more sophisticated release mechanism. I wonder.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Lived Through the Trip

Took two weeks off from the Studio and did some traveling with the family. Just back from the 5000 mile road trip and we survived. Even thrived. Put a lot of miles on Teddy and the nuk as well as the car. Put a few dents in the car as well, thanks to a hail storm in Colorado. Still trying to get it fixed, arm wrestling with Allstate. Saw and went up in the St. Louis arch, drove over the Mississippi river about 5 times, caught fish in Tennessee, and saw a five legged cow in Kansas.

The high point was probably the weddings. It was great to see family and all the kids. Funny that kids that were children when I met them are now having kids of their own. Time flies.