Children’s Artwork – Cottage Grove Planters Society in 2012

For a 3rd and 4th batch, I have helped out the wonderful Leiana Gary with her planters project. Her wonderful cause has had some trying troubles and wonderful successes over the past season.  One notable success is a grant from Pepsi to help fund the project.  Another notable success is the inclusion of additional sponsors to help maintain the lovely flowers.  And lastly, the planters are even getting press. Click here to learn more about the Cottage Grove Planters Society As before, my work is to take the 12″x12″ artwork from the children and make it look great.  This means making it roughly 3x larger, clean up any stray marks, use Photoshop to edit any “over-painting” where the children cannot redo mistakes they made effectively with paint alone.  Then I fit the work to a template we decided upon, match colors to create a background, and add sponsorship information.  In the samples shown, a basic font is used.  In some cases, we experiment with different fonts if time allows. If you have any means or time, please try to support this great cause.  The children love seeing their art publicly, and the neighborhood seems a bit warmer with these beautiful planters. Here is some of the wonderful artwork from the batches this...

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A T-Shirt Shop – How Challenges Make Beauty

  A midst more professional work, I spent a couple of days over the weekend putting together a t-shirt shop online.  While the site claimed it offered templates, the build was virtually from scratch. This writeup illustrates a tale: that design is more beautiful when you can understand the problems it had to solve.  The constraints make design. Project Summary: The T-shirt design was mine.  So is the writing on the site, which is meant to be light-hearted and a bit funny as it focuses on a very low-brow topic. The site layout has been heavily modified by me, including the architecture of how products are organized.  I created all of the icons and buttons, and the left navigation from scratch.  The product offerings were also mine. So like I said above, “virtually from scratch”. And all of this was accomplished in 4 days.  Well, not the t-shirt design, just the site.  The T-shirt design, that was another week of work on-and-off.  See the site: www.cafepress.com/drinkfest Project Details: Why a ‘Shop’: Every couple of years, I am asked to put together a t-shirt design, and same challenge arises in the form of a question: “If we order 15 women’s smalls, among the various other sizes, will we really get the re-coup the cost? Or will people back out and we are stuck with shirts no one wants?”   Thankfully, I am just the designer, not the person getting commitments and fronting the money because invariably, the answer is “no”.  Somehow the sponsor would end up with a couple extra shirts at the end that no one wants. I picked on small female sizes in this example because it certainly isn’t men’s large size that are ever left – that is the first one to sell out, perhaps because people are more likely to wear a shirt too big than too small. Since most of these shirt design projects are for fun and not for profit, whoever fronted the money would be at a loss on the whole project.  A shame really.  Had the person planning this project instead planned to make a small conservative profit, then then they would have at least broken even! This would have spread the risk among every shirt sold.  (Sorry to get...

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The Four Hour Client

The amount of work I was able to complete within 4 hours for my friend DJ PillFX makes me rather proud. My friend and old college roommate, Ratish Pillai, going these days by PillFX, needed business cards.  He was spinning a big gig in the next week and knew it was an opportunity to get further business.  The best way to get word out about yourself to people around you while your hands are busy is to have something speak for you.  In this case, he wanted business cards. While I had to make some compromises, in the interest of time, the result is good.  PillFX was very happy with the cards.  The font choice and color choice was his.  The idea for the neon look was also his.  The ring on the lower-left of the front is meant to be ambiguous – to look like a ring of light.  The faded background shows that the ring of light is actually a CDJ, a DJs tool for spinning. Part of the process was to create a logo.  While we had little time to do that, it came out well.  I would not consider this a proper logo by any account – it does not consider the b/w viewing, it is not a metaphor for the brand, and the lines are rather messy.  But again, not bad for so little time. Below are images of the final product.  And I will work to later show a bit more of my process around this project, it is rather revealing....

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More Work for the Planters Association

Once again I find myself helping these wonderful people who beautify the Cottage Grove neighborhood. This is the second set of planters I am helping design the art framing for, and the effort has been increased to step up the quality. The added effort includes the following things: In this batch of designs, I spent some time finding a unique font for every panel, by the client’s request. The colors of the frame now match the artwork created by the students a bit closer. If you see a color not from within the painting, it is likely a compliment color of the largest element to help make it “jump” Brush strokes in the art were either enchanced to compensate for the inherent problem with scanning art. Kids make mistakes. I tried to correct those where possible. The hardest part is distinguishing between overpainting and muddiness from a mistake and those stray marks that give the piece “character”. Too much polish can be a bad thing. Strengthen the bird sketch from one of the young artists. While a part of the scanning limitation described above, fixing faded pencil sketches is much more challenging than acrylic paint. The pencil work is by a high-school student.  The acrylic paint is from a grammar school students.  And the frame and page layout work is from me. Below are the designs.  ...

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Helping the Cottage Grove Planters Association

  One of my friends recently introduced me to a wonderful group looking for graphic design help. The Cottage Grove Planters Association beautify their neighborhood by not only planting flowers in the concrete planters, but by decorating the boxes with 3′ tall artwork created by students at local public grammar schools.  Some students aren’t in the best economic areas, so this work does wonders for the kids, who get to see their art displayed in a public space. The founder of this organization, Leiana Gary is one of the nicest people I have met in a long time.  And her organization has such a nice story behind it.  So I was happy to help the organization out with some graphic design work. My role was to take 12″ artwork and blow it up to 36″. I also added descriptive copy to explain the art and noted its contributors. Also a big part of the project was to bring out the best in the artwork, including adding borders, backgrounds, and enhancing the original paintings to overcome limitations of the scanning and enlargement process. Click here to learn more about this Cottage Grove Planters Society. Below are images I laid out for the...

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The Ultimate Punch Bowl

So I decided to take a break from all the professional work I have been posting here.  So I decided to post this fun graphic I created for my friends. One night we had the idea to create a punch bowl at a party out of a fish tank.  The idea kind of took a life of its own.  In the end, we had the brilliant (or insane) notion that perhaps a living fish could co-exist with party punch. Who knows if it will actually work.  But I decided to create schematics for the concept, just for fun.  ...

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Storyboarding a Campaign

This image represents is my storyboarding a big campaign. 3 events, 3 emails sent per event (2 before, one after), one decision tree (attendee vs. non-attendee), and a corresponding website with a qualifying form, all leading to a video and piece of collateral about one of our new offerings. Project Details: Deb put together this beautiful campaign, which is likely even more complex than I illustrated here because she had to plan the events, premiums, signage, speakers, raffle, etc.  My job was to execute all of the technology aspects and graphics to communicate around the events. I am fortunate that she also allows me to make all the decisions necessary to make the technology side a great success!  And combined with Lisa’s stellar writing, this was an outstanding project. Sadly I cannot show the final result here on this site. The offerings mentioned in the email are covered under NDA. Storyboard: Contents of the storyboard include the following: The board includes a flow: strategy up top with tactics below. There are four columns: the first with the shared information, and the next three columns representing the three events. So it is essentially a navigation map of the different touch points for a customer. Each small post-it represents open issues to resolve.  The many post-its show this image is very much mid-project. There is also a requirements document (formatted as a check list) so I can track the campaign progress.  In the end, there will be a cleaner flow with no messy notes. For icing on the cake, I added: The initial wire frames of the different layouts. Descriptions of the viewer personas, the stereotypical types of viewers we might have (tied to the variations in messaging each will get). The different elements (buttons, headlines, video players) broken out into prototypes to aid our decision making. I was going to augment it with colored yarn to show the interconnectivity, but figured this was already overboard for my “company culture”. I’m starting a revolution of proper planning and creativity, one step at a time. (Oh, and you get a glimpse of my desk. I am a huge tea aficionado, fan of Buddhism and Asian culture, love rock and roll concerts, and was proud to attend South...

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Cisco Telepresence Email Campaign

I was asked to create a series of internal emails that were a “fun” theme to support a new networking team project. So we decided upon 3 emails and a supporting intranet webpage in a comic book theme. Project Details: Themes: In the first email there is a mystery, the second a problem is established, and the third solves the problem with an unveiling of my company’s new solution. The writing was a contractors job, as were some supporting downloadable sales glossies. But I helped establish the theme and progression. I also did the art and website. Something To Prove: We were fortunate to have a 3 month timeframe on this project, because I had something to prove here. this was my first design specific job, and the senior Graphic Designer said in passing that she didn’t know if I had any design talent. To her defense, everyone claims to know Adobe, I didn’t go to school for it, and my official job is more of a web designer.  So I spent afterhours working more than I should have on this, because I had something to prove. Icing on the Cake: The end result had extra effort into email accessibility, for those who did not use Outlook, but mobile devices instead.  It was tested on Blackberries, iPhones, and Android devices.  The final supporting website even had a nice banner rotator to appear like a comic book page turning effect. The complex website was a major challenge to implement in Oracle Portal, our CMS of choice. Project Images: Here are the images from the “Forsythe Comics” project supporting our Cisco TelePresence solution. Slider Showcase:   Full-Sized Images: Click the thumbnail to view full size...

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Integrated Marketing – Forsythe Club

At my 9-5, I have been working more and more on graphic design. My realm is Interactive Media, which usually limits me to digital graphics for things like email. But the team Graphic Designer has been great enough to let me run with some projects for print too! Project Details: Creating a “Look and Feel”: What started as a simple email header for our annual sales trip, called Forsythe Club, became a monster of awesome graphical magnitude. What I considered simple graphics were re-used to create a consistent brand image, a “look and feel”, marketing several aspects of our event to raise the quality. The theme all started with the location:  Cancun, and the brown color of the custom towels we purchased for the sales people who made their quota. One Design Becomes Five: While the project began as an email header/footer (1), by the end, I had created a (2) Microsoft Word template, (3) a credit card design, (4) a photo frame premium, and (5) an underwater camera.  A complete integrated marketing campaign Project Images: Below are some of the designs I developed for the Forsythe Club event. Microsoft Word Template: The Microsoft Word template is the most popular thing I make these days. I am able to program Word to have corporate colors, style sheets, and a hierarchy, all which cannot be overwritten by mistake.  And as icing on the cake, I create sample text that doubles as instructions.  They are pretty popular around here. Email Design and Template: People come to me for email designs. Their expectation is just a header and/or footer image. When possible though, I create a Microsoft Outlook template file. This embeds not only the images into an email, but text formatting, and even options for sending, like reply-to addresses.  It is essentially a template.  Like a template, it can be re-used and modified for several projects over time. Templates are a little value-add I like to do when I have the time, after designing the email is complete. Sure, you can grab formatting by hitting Forward from an existing message, but often email programs indent forwarded messages. And that is nearly impossible to wipe away to pretend the nicely formatted message is yours.  If you have those...

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