Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Favorite Recent Fun

I always tell people that I really love design. But I don't just love doing it, I love appreciating it. I read a lot of articles and look at tons and tons and tons of other people's work. Absorbing it, learning more, and getting excited about what other people are doing are all definite motivators for me. Here are a few of the links that friends have sent me or I've come across recently. When I first opened these links, my eyes widened and my jaw probably dropped as well. Hope yours does, too.

Hebrew Literal Typography

Woodcut Maps

Conner Pierson's Portfolio

What Convicts Can Teach Us About Branding

The 100 Most Creative People

Welcome to the Era of Design

May Infographics : What You Could Do With An Extra 2 Hours

Monday, February 6, 2012

Negative Space Logos

I love LinkedIn. I have to admit, I'm not a big reader. I'm a designer, and I see words as chunks of content that needs to fit on a page. I need visual stories, and respond to them much more readily than long written articles. There is no shame in the kid-like need for pictures within our stories. But I guess I'm biased!

This article...well, collection of images...really caught my attention. The LinkedIn articles that provide inspiration for me, as a designer, are my favorite. I archive these articles in my bookmarks in Chrome so if I'm ever stuck on a design, I can browse back through them and get a good kick in the pants (creativity-wise, of course).

Pretty cool stuff. My favorite is the Oak Brothers logo. I get pretty jealous of ideas that good. Enjoy!

40 Negative Space Logos

Monday, January 30, 2012

Origins of a Logo Design

This is a really interesting article about where the logo comes from. Branding is nothing new!

Origins of a Logo Design

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Be a Pirate

This article came to me via this week's LinkedIn "5 Things You Need to Know in the News this Week" email. It original article appeared in CoDesign. It's a pretty cool idea, especially for someone like me, who is looking to be a pirate rather than hire one. The only downside to the article is that the typesetting is terrible (I know it's online, but still, that's no excuse) and I found a typo almost right away. I guess my being critical of articles like this one is a good thing, though. I means I'm becoming a better designer and learning to see these errors more and more. I love learning!

An HR Lesson from Steve Jobs: If You Want to Change Agents, Hire Pirates

Thursday, January 5, 2012

What Being a Graphic Designer Means (from Imprint Online Magazine)

Happy New Year!

I realize it's been quite a while since my last post, and I tell myself almost every day that I should really take the time share some of the things I come across via this blog. So, in the spirit of New Year Resolutions, I promise to at least try and post more often. Posting is mostly helpful because it allows me to have an archive of articles I'm interested in, cool sites, and my own process.

The post today is a simple link to an article I found. Well, it found me. I get a weekly email from LinkedIn called "The 5 things you need to know in the news this week," and my email is graphic designer-specific. The articles are usually really fun and almost always useful. Another recent favorite was the "Best and Worst Logos of 2011," which was both entertaining and horrifying. 

The link below is to an article by Hunter Wimmer and it's called What Being a Graphic Designer Means and was originally published in Imprint Online Magazine. I hope you enjoy it.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


My latest logo is finished!

A good friend of mine in Ontario, Canada asked me to design a logo for a new project called Water Cycle that he and a few friends created. From the get-go, they didn't give me much direction, and were simply interested in what I could come up with creatively. Their only requirements were that I include water, cycling, and Africa in the design (which was harder than it seems). The final design was chosen 100% by them. I gave them about a dozen initial comps to choose from, and this was one of their favorites from the beginning. After making a few tweaks to the colors, font, and composition, we arrived at the design you see below.

To give you more context for the project, here's their mission statement:
To raise awareness about water issues and promote sustainable water management practices via a multimedia campaign, which will include a video journal, website and a documentary. The documentary will follow the group as they cycle from Cairo to Cape Town without the use of bottled water.

The guys of Water Cycle were so easy to work with, very enthusiastic, and knew exactly what they wanted- which made my job infinitely more fun. It was an absolute pleasure working on this design with them, and it's been a privilege for me to be a part of this great cause.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Toole's Garage

The entire point of this blog is simply to give me a space to reflect on my process as a designer, and give people a better understanding of how the process works.

When I was in school as a design major, our professors had us create something called a "process book" for almost every project. At the time, it just seemed like one more thing we had to check off our lists in order to get a good grade. But since I've been a professional designer and have been working in the field on so many different kinds of projects, I now realize how valuable this tool really is and how it has helped me grow creatively. This blog is my online, public, digital process book.

In any creative process, I think it is important to look back on the work you've done, and try to see it objectively. It is so gratifying and fulfilling to reflect on a piece of work after it is complete, judge it for what it is, and still really like it!

I can honestly say that the new logo design I just finished a few months ago for Toole's Garage is one of my favorite projects I've had the pleasure of working on. Dave Toole, the owner of Toole's Garage, came to me in November (ish) of last year and asked me to work with him on a new logo for his San Carlos auto shop.

After taking over the company formerly known as Meehleib Auto a few years back, Dave decided it was time to re-name and re-vamp his business. From the get-go, he told me that he wanted a design that would look professional, competent, trustworthy, classic, and efficient and that would also create recognition for his company within the community. Basically, he wanted the long-time clients of Meehleib auto to respect and continue using his services, AND he wanted his future Honda, Acura and Infiniti customers to find his company online, in phonebooks, in newspapers and ads and think "I've finally found you!"

No pressure.

Dave and I had several long conversations and corresponded over email a ton before I even started on the design. As usual, I kicked off the process by spending countless hours researching auto industry logos and scouring the internet for designs that encompassed the look and feel of what he was after. At this stage, Dave mentioned that he loves to work on old classic trucks, and often has these vintage vehicles in his shop. He told me in an email, "I am starting to imagine my 56 Chevy Pickup (completed for dream purposes) with a sweet logo right on the doors as the truck rumbles down the road catching everyone’s eyes…and ears, while I am inside with my cool baseball cap logo’d up.  AHHHH, yeah, can’t wait!" I got from him that his hobby was not only a critical detail about the character of his company, but was also a huge part of his own identity- and should definitely be reflected in his logo-to-be.

After thoroughly talking through his vision with him, and getting a solid feel for what kind of business owner he was, I started comps for the design. Dave was really involved in the entire process. He thought he was micro-managing or being too picky or being too much of a "Libra". But it was so great to have his detailed input every step of the way. I kept laughing about the fact that he corrected me on my incorrect use of wrenches in the logo concepts. He told me "We do like the wrenches incorporated, but in my field…the use of the “adjustable” wrench is for rookies or backyard mechanics." Good to know.

I love being a designer because every project is so different and I am constantly learning. Never in a million years did I think that I would have a justifiable reason to know the visual nuances between an amateur wrench and a professional one. But now that I am well-versed in wrenchology, I feel that I could confidently hold my own in a conversation about wrenches, should one every come up.

We did about 4-5 rounds of comps before we finally narrowed it down to THE logo. A portion of the narrowing process is shown below.

Dave had said that he really wanted a chrome look to the logo, similar to that of the Pixar movie, Cars. Honestly, I didn't actually know much about how to create these kinds of effects on text. But, I was excited to take on the challenge because a) I wanted Toole's Garage to have a fantastic logo and was willing to step out of my comfort zone in order to do so, and b) I knew I'd learn a new skill that I could use in future projects. I got online and did probably about a dozen tutorials- picking and choosing the different steps I liked from each and applying them to Dave's new logo until I got an effect that looks pretty chromey. 

The above design is the final logo that has quickly become the new identity of Toole's Garage in just a few short months. It has an anatomically correct wrench in it, has that classic car feel and looks as shiny as the metal on the hood of Dave's 56 Chevy pickup.

A few days ago, Dave posted photos of the shirts he just had made with the new logo on them. It's so exciting to see Toole's Garage new logo in action and my hard work helping such a great business in such a positive, fun way.

Thanks so much for reading, and thanks to Dave Toole and Toole's Garage. Congrats on your new logo!

toolesgarage.com | Toole's Garage on Facebook