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Your team has spent countless hours planning, designing, refining and implementing a sparkling new wayfinding program. Finally, the signs all fabricated and in the ground. Now what?
Keeping a signage program well-maintained and looking great and necessary if you don’t want all your hard work to be in vain. A little up-front planning will go a long way in helping you get the most out of them, and can easily double their life-expectancy! Inevitably, there will be times when a signs will get neglected or you notice a bit of wear and tear too late. Developing a maintenance plan right from the start is the best way to keep your signs from deteriorating and ensure that any repair gets taken care of before the damage is too extensive.
To effectively keep track of sign maintenance and to know when signs need to be cleaned, repaired or replaced, you’ll need reports for sign inventory, condition, repair and replacement. These reports will be especially helpful if you’re running a larger facility, bigger town or managing a comprehensive park system.
Inventory Report an inventory report lists all the signage that you have in your facility, what it is used for, where it is located, when it was installed and when it is scheduled for maintenance or cleaning. It also details when it was last cleaned and by whom. An inventory report also catalogues information on when signs were repaired and whether or not these should be replaced or changed out in the future.
Condition Report a condition report is a more specific report that details the conditions of your signs. It should include records of whether there are scratches, dents, discoloration, missing screws and vandalism. Condition reports are typically generated every six months and should be substantiated with photographs of the signs every time an inspection is conducted. This report paves the way for the two that follow—maintenance and scheduling.
Maintenance Report once your condition report is set, you can then start your maintenance report. This report should establish maintenance schedules and regular cleaning routines. It details when and what kind of action was carried out for each listed sign—whether a sign is repaired, cleaned, replaced or refurbished.
Replacement Report depending on preference, this report can be integrated into the inventory or maintenance report, but many facilities find it is actually better to keep a separate report for when signs are replaced. You can mention in your inventory report when such a sign was replaced but this particular documentation will help you easily find out why, when, how and how much was spent on specific sign replacements made within your program.
I’m searching for ‘green’ today. Let it pour like a visual remedy! I started the hunt this morning looking through photos of a recent journey to Spain, and by the end of the day I’ll eat all sorts of green things in a salad. The psychological effects of color can have great benefits, better than most meds. The 4 psychological primary colors are red, blue, yellow and green. They relate respectively to the body, mind, the emotions and the balance between these three. For me today it’s the need of green.
Green strikes the eye in such a way as to require no adjustment whatever and is, therefore, restful. Being in the center of the spectrum, it’s the color of balance—a more important concept than many people realize. When the world about us contains plenty of green, this indicates the presence of water, and little danger of famine, so we are reassured by green, on a primitive level. Green shows us harmony, rest, peace, refreshment and love. But I want to give it to you straight… negatively, it can indicate stagnation and, incorrectly used can perceived as being too bland. Make your greens grow and you’ll be fine.
The spritzer bottle just makes me giggle, I have a passion for green plastic, and the chocolate wrapped in green makes me think of the evergreen cocoa tree, very exotic and dark. I have a new favorite artist who uses lots of it too, Matt Magee.
At the beginning of projects we ask our clients all sorts of questions. It’s the way we learn the design objectives and the heartbeat of the project—whether it’s a book, an interpretive panel for a zoo, a tourism exhibit, or packaging for tea.
There’s generally a pretty close parallel between the commercial “purpose” of a product and the goals our client articulate for its design. A tea importer, for example, wants their tea packages to be evocative; a travel tour company promoting Rome will likely want to showcase the attractions of the Eternal City. But sometimes, there are surprises—and they’re frisky and fun.
“Fun” is a particularly difficult concept to define. And one that has an arguable association with safety. Sometime things we think of as fun don’t always keep us safe. What’s fun for one person may be fear-inducing for another. But none of these caveats came into play (pardon the pun) because our ultimate client, in this case, wasn’t a person.
It’s a dog.
I’m guessing I’m not the only one who’s sat at a stop light and cringed, watching the dog hanging halfway out the window of the SUV. Probably “fun” for the dog, but safe? It was this relationship of fun and safety that inspired the invention of BreezeGuard® car window screens. Custom-made, designed to keep pets safely inside your car while allowing in cool breezes—especially important on warm days. In our initial conversations with BreezeGuard® owner and inventor Sue Stipanovich, she noted, “Safety is definitely the #1 priority, but folks who use my product get to travel with their fine, furry friends and have fun!”
Ever thought of a rubber duckie as high design? That distinction may be an over rating since most of them annoyingly can’t even float in water upright. I know this because I sort of have a collection and I float them from time to time. Most of them would drown if I didn’t rescue them. My favorites are with sailor caps.
The history of the rubber duck is linked to the emergence of rubber manufacturing in the late 19th century. Sculptor Peter Ganine created a sculpture of a duck in the 1940s, then patented it and reproduced it as a floating toy, of which over 50,000,000 were sold.
We’ve designed a new website… FOR OURSELVES! It’s a new mind-set about keeping our friends and clients in the loop of design crusades.
Partners in Design is all about making GOOD graphic design for over 30 years, including branding programs, logos, print, books, posters, electronic media, interpretives, signage and exhibit design.
The biggest change you’ll notice on our new site is at last we’re admitting that we do more than traditional graphic design. A fact of life. Over time, you just become more expert, seasoned and proficient. Now with our graphic design, we also offer writing and editing. Our team does illustrations and photography, too. We’re also doing color consulting, book design and publishing. And we create original art, selling cards, posters and a few other tchotchke.
We wait patiently here in the Pacific Northwest for the clouds to break. Our gray winter skies can be monotone at best. We don’t get any more rain than my hometown of New York City, but we have long stretches of cloud cover and we say bye-bye to the sun for many a day. Yes, we get SAD (seasonal affective disorder); we are in essence starved for light. Waiting for the sun to break through is a great Seattle winter pastime, supplemented with drinking warm beverages, reading books and watching movies.
There are some other very useful things that help the ‘winter blahs’…
•Take short walks
•Get out of bed and stay active
•Don’t over eat
•Change the colors of your living and work environments (we can help with that)
•Communicate with bright designs (we can help with that too)
•Looking at photos of sunnier times (we took lots of photos this summer)
So look up, and if you’re lucky enough to catch a patch of blue… smile.
How do designers have fun? Make new worlds, design our own t-shirts, promote favorite causes… or perhaps go back to our typographic roots and create word pictures. We were instructed to do such things in design school. We learned about the type masters, from Giambattista Bodoni to Matthew Carter. We would get assignments to dissect and create typographic illusions. Our goal was to embody the fonts and be possessed by them. We were awed by each type font’s unique superhero powers.
Being empowered by typography, communication is enhanced and unique messages are possible. A logo and brand can become a beacon and almost nothing has to be said to fully understand its meaning.
And look, we’re still up to it today… going to the type-gym for our workouts. With these four illuminated screen-shots we’re using one font and turning it every which way. In this case we’re indebted to the font Bebas Neue created by Ryoichi Tsunekawa.
Design is reliant on new ideas. New talent is as valuable a resource as experience and mature talent. Students of design have tremendous insight… which in the real world sometimes is diminished and diluted. Not many of us find artistic inspiration from leg hair. But Mayuko Kanazawa, a 20-year-old student at Japan’s Tama Art University, decided black, coarse strands would make for a great type font.
As she was thinking of ideas, she happened to glance at her friend’s hairy limbs when he was complaining of leg pain. That’s when her light bulb went on. She then went on to manipulate the strands to create the letters of the alphabet, which I’m sure was a painful experience for the cooperative guy. Not only did Mayuko develop a full uppercase font, but also did a delightful lowercase. Can we conclude that this is an original fetish font?
Our main character “B” is questioning the things people are labeling him. Sometimes what people say make him feel proud. Then they seem confused by him and they say hurtful things. They don’t seem to fit B’s true self. B has both his best friends, and bigger than life bullies to contend with. In B’s classroom his 2nd grade teacher has posted the equal rights of every student… perhaps all classrooms should have their own Classroom Civil Rights. Here’s the poster B depends on. Our book “B in the World” is published and available online, http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/b-in-the-world-sharon-mentyka/1120953292?ean=9780986329302
We’re thrilled to announce a book that our studio has just released! Written by Sharon Mentyka and illustrated by Stephen Schlott, B IN THE WORLD is an illustrated chapter book for children ages 4-7 about a gender nonconforming child. It takes an open-hearted, kids-eyed view of what it means to be different and celebrates children for who they are meant to be, not how others want to label them. Written in a fun, engaging voice, B IN THE WORLD is a story about being yourself and being proud of it. It is a story for kids who are different, with the ultimate message that it’s okay to be different.
Many thanks to family, friends and organizations who contributed funding and moral support for the project. Please consider gifting, sharing, and reading aloud B IN THE WORLD. The book is available at Barnes & Noble or Amazon or you can order a signed copy here. An e-book version is also available at the Apple iTunes Store.
Here’s what some early reviewers have to say:
“B in the World is a great book for the middle primary reader. It explores themes of inclusion and difference in a fun and readable way about a gender fluid child exploring his female side and struggling with what it means.” ~Tracy Flynn, Welcoming Schools, Human Rights Campaign Foundation
“As the parent of a gender non-conforming son, I am delighted to welcome B into our library and our family. B is a sweet, happy boy with a brave heart and the determination to live his truth. I give B an A!”~ Pamela Privett, Parent
Stay tuned for info on a book launch in the Seattle area. In the meantime, check out B’s website for more information on the book’s genesis and resources.
It seems the only reason I signed up to the online sharing site Pinterest was to follow my passion for book cover designs. Though I would love to hold these volumes of literature in my hand and turn the pages, the online collection is rich. I can see the design interpretions of thousands of great publications from all around world within moments. The process and the visual storytelling is what I dream of just as I fall asleep at night.
Though my studio has only afforded me only a handful of book cover design assignments I’m still an enthusiast for covers. Sometimes I’d say my designs for some publications end up being cover designs of a sort, but strung together to make brochures or enlarged to make posters. I’m drawn to the classic cover designers like Paul Rand, Romek Marber and Jennifer Heuer, and one of my favorites Peter Mendelsund who was recently interviewed on NPR. You may be as enthralled as I was, but in any case when you work with Partners in Design it’s one of our inspirations. I’ll be designing a cover shortly for a book we’re having published, “B in the World”. You may want to look into this project with an important message.
In modern times, people have gone to great lengths to create elaborate April Fools’ Day hoaxes. Newspapers, radio and TV stations and Web sites have participated in the April 1 tradition of reporting outrageous fictional claims that have fooled their audiences.
In 1957, the BBC reported that Swiss farmers were experiencing a record spaghetti crop and showed footage of people harvesting noodles from trees; numerous viewers were fooled. In 1985, Sports Illustrated tricked many of its readers when it ran a made-up article about a rookie pitcher named Sidd Finch who could throw a fastball over 168 miles per hour. In 1996, Taco Bell, the fast-food restaurant chain, duped people when it announced it had agreed to purchase Philadelphia’s Liberty Bell and intended to rename it the Taco Liberty Bell. In 1998, after Burger King advertised a “Left-Handed Whopper,” scores of clueless customers requested the fake sandwich.
Today, April 1, 2014, Partners in Design of Seattle proposes that everything is better with graphics. After an exhausting endeavor of experimentation our world survey has found that an idea is clearer, a day is sweeter, a message is stronger and everything is more direct with a graphic under your belt. Case samples include: a book without its cover, directions with no map, illuminated manuscripts with no initial caps, an email without an emoticon, a biker with no tattoos or the sky with no skywriting. Oh, okay on the last one. April Fools!
I can’t help but post a few of these, they’re delicious and preposterous! Concoctions whipped up by Andy Warhol, his mom, and Suzie Frankfurt. I couldn’t resist and just located a used copy, it should be here in a few days… in time for the holidays. The book condition described a stain on the back cover… I wonder from which recipe.
I’ll will post a few drawings of my Thanksgiving feast. If you do a food drawing we’ll post it here and make our own collective visual feast.
This is what Barry Moser, the great book illustrator, said to a young artist. He is one of my visual heroes and I’d like to share this quote along with a Moser illustration appropriate for the upcoming holiday “spirit”. When you look at some of Barry’s work it can make you shiver with only the fight between light and dark.
“When I was young, perhaps around your age, I was bored in school, so I stared out the window daydreaming about being home with my dog or building a model. I had a problem with my eyes and didn’t read very well. It was embarrassing when I was called on to read aloud. Reciting my times tables was even more mortifying. I was the last to be picked to play ball at recess, but the first to be chosen to work on the Thanksgiving mural—drawing was the only thing I did well, and I did it at home hour after hour.
I did not go to kindergarten. I started school in the first grade and went six years to public school. Then I went to military academy in the seventh. My family was not rich, so it was a privilege to attend such an elite school. However, the academics were very demanding, sports were required, and military drill as mandatory—and there were no art courses. Not one. In fact, I was often disciplined for drawing, for “wasting my time.” My family wanted me to become a military officer or a medical doctor. Anything but an artist. My daddy told me that I could never make a living at art. But I persisted in spite of his discouragement and today I live a marvelously happy and comfortable life. So, my young friend never let anyone tell you that you cannot do something. You can. All it takes—and this is a lot—is the desire to do it, the persistence to learn how to do it well, the courage to stand strong when people around you are discouraging your dreams. And perhaps most important of all is being willing to fail while you are trying your hardest—but then to pick it up and start over again.”
Seattle has blown it. A Pacific Northwestern cityscape that in the past was of uncluttered venues, a fringe of evergreens and recycled debris bins on many street corners.
In the brief span of the past couple of years we have lapsed into a parking-pay-system mania. Complicating itself every step of the way… how could it be when the idea was to streamline, make it green, user friendly, and efficient?
The result has been 6-foot hulking towers, 1 to 3 of them per downtown block, enough instructional signage to bewilder, and enough add-ons to create an eyesore. We now have an obstacle course of signposts and equipment. Each site has hundreds of instructional words incorporated into it… it’s informationally numbing.
We may just fall into apathy about our streets, or it may inspire us to ask for better… design for a solution that will make our streets a desirable intersection of urban culture.
I hope you don’t mind if I show admiration for a collection of other designers’ work in the field of art-science visual storytelling. We also call this design realm “infographics” and this story is told and illustrated in the new book “The Best American Infographics 2013,” by Gareth Cook, with an introduction by David Byrne.The very best [infographics] engender and facilitate an insight by visual means — allow us to grasp some relationship quickly and easily that otherwise would take many pages and illustrations and tables to convey. Insight seems to happen most often when data sets are crossed in the design of the piece — when we can quickly see the effects on something over time, for example, or view how factors like income, race, geography, or diet might affect other data. When that happens, there’s an instant “Aha!”…
I picked just one example from the volume to live by today… eating. There’s a renewed interest in seasonality of our foods to make them healthier and sustainable, and these charts marvelously distinguishes each morsel in a circular calendar. Another good article I read recently gets back to the heart of the matter… seeds.
Have you ever heard of the CTBUH?
Do you know what Vanity Height is?
To answer the first question, it is the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat. A fascinating group which tracks the skyscrapers of the world. I can get lost in this subject, and be awed by these big towers made by little people, piece by piece. I imagine standing next to each slender edifice, staring up and then turning to see the world that bustles in the tower’s shadow.
If you have any curiosity about such things you may what to visit the CTBUH website which chronicles the top 100 skyscrapers. Wonderfully illustrated and organized, this makes for great armchair traveling. Travel the world, these days you will send much of your time in the United Arab Emirates to see the tallest.
This is a great database and fun, choose by many categories: country, status (complete, in-construction, visionary or demolished), function, steel, glass, precast, just to name a few.
Have you guessed what Vanity Height is… it’s that use-less space in today’s tallest. With the increasing trend towards extreme spires and other extensions of tall buildings that do not enclose usable space, the term Vanity Height describes it (the distance between a skyscraper’s highest occupiable floor and its architectural top).
What are Supertall and Megatall Buildings? The CTBUH defines “supertall” as a building over 984 feet in height, and a “megatall” as a building over 1,968 feet in height. Although great heights are now being achieved—in excess of 2,600 feet—as of July 2013 there are only 73 supertall and 2 megatall building completed and occupied globally. Thus the completion of a supertall building is still a significant milestone.
A branding program strives to tell one core story and Island Grown in the San Juan Islands grows out of an island community’s resolve to recognize and preserve its agricultural heritage and future. This luscious pear sailing off in a seafaring dingy inspires, creates interest, and visually explains the program’s primary mission. Plus, it puts a smile on your face. Communications is key element to Island Grown’s success and its logo provides an important synergy, quickly bringing together farmers, restaurateurs, businesses, island residents and visitors.
Graphics guidelines, multi-tier promotions, signage and collateral communications bloom for Sunrise Village, an outdoor retail shopping village nestled in the shadow of Mt. Rainier, just south of Seattle. The pages shown above are from the Sunrise Village Branding Guidelines and Standards, and explains the origins of the visual logo and how it relates to the demographics of the surrounding communities as well as illustrating a sense of how the program will inhabit the environment. Partners in Design collaborated with Tarragon Inc on the Sunrise Village project.
For any emergency management agency, communication is an invaluable tool. But in the mix of ubiquitous public and commercial clattering, its messaging needs to be clear, quick, appealing and instructive to be effective or the cost will be lives lost. Who is responsible for making this happen? In more and more communities an autonomous department provides this vital link and Partners in Design was excited to be part of this important effort by the San Juan County Department of Emergency Management. These particular graphics speak broadly to an isolated island-vulnerable community in Northwest Washington and our challenge was to fuse words and graphics together into a meaningful and high-performance dialogue.
Integration and unity are key factors when developing a strong visual identity program. The primary branding logo for the Bellevue Botanical Garden determined the visual style for all subsequent Garden interpretives and related signage: from entrance kiosk, garden trail markers, print, and even the Garden’s web site graphics. The logo features the Trillium, a species native to Northwest gardens and a symbol for sustainable gardening practices. The shape of the logo were further developed into a series of icons for each garden (shown below).
Greensboro Historical Museum serves up rich history daily. Local people making extraordinary connections at the Greensboro Historical Museum are introduced to Greensboro’s native sons and daughters and shown how their ancestors contributed great things in the Piedmont area of North Carolina. Partners in Design’s approach brought historical artifacts and history into contemporary relevance by bridging the span with bold typography, and using icons and color that would reflect and complement the historical symbols of this well-loved museum. Building banners and dynamic grid graphics targeted students, researchers and families to study and learn about events in colonial Guilford County including the Civil War, the roots of the Civil Rights Movement, and the rise of textile manufacturing in the South.
NatureMed Essential is a natural health store that promotes naturopathic and herbal remedies. The program’s branding and packaging finds its inspiration in the forms and forces of nature, and Partners in Design has supported these health key concepts with visual links. A primary objective was to visually place NatureMed Essentials uniquely in a field poised for explosive growth. The NatureMed program includes a store design and outlook highlighted by a custom-designed computer information system, a Health Elixir bar, and 8 departments of private label supplements and herbal preparations, including Spa Therapy, Weight Management, Immunity, Anti-Aging, Baseline Screening and a Kids Health Club.
The West Hylebos Wetlands is equal parts wildlife refuge, ecological and hydrological conservatory, nature trail, and just plain natural wonder. One of the last remaining bogs in South King County, Hylebos’ wetland wilderness lies just one mile west of I-5 in southern Federal Way, Washington, a rare urban nature park. Partners in Design provided design, writing and fabrication coordination for a series of interpretive signs and visitor kiosks which needed particular care in construction methods given the nature of the wetland landscape where they would be installed. Interpretive topics included glimpses into the park’s history and the staggering diversity of life on its 120 acres.
The Bellevue Botanical Garden is an 53-acre refuge, filled with cultivated gardens, restored woodlands and wildlife, designed to reflect a unique urban Northwest landscape known as Cascadia, with Puget Sound to the west and the Cascade mountains to the east. Our program work includes the Garden’s graphic identity created by Partners in Design has been integrated into all forms of signage, print, online media, and marketing collateral. Overarching program goals include directional signage and extensive exterior interpretives that never impose too strongly on the nuances of the natural environment, and consistently meeting the varied objectives for optimal audience impact of the Garden’s multiple stakeholders—the City of Bellevue, the Bellevue Botanical Garden Society and various fundraising and capital campaign committees.
These whimsical sculptures mark the perimeter of Cherry Crest Reservoir, City of Bellevue Utilities, an important community reservoir and new recreation area created when a deteriorating reservoir was covered over with tennis courts and playground. The project was a unique collaboration between the City’s Utilities and Parks departments and provided a unique opportunity to offer the key public message of water conservation. Partners in Design developed the concept of telling the water story through the voices of the creatures who live in the watershed in a series of ten 4-foot cut and bent aluminum sculptures mounted to poles extending above the sport court’s fence line. Each sculpture offers a particular water message on a small interpretive panel mounted to the poles at court level.
The mission of SoundBridge, the Seattle Symphony’s Music Discovery Center at Benaroya Hall, is to inspire and nurture a love of symphonic music through active participation and exploration. Partners in Design worked with exhibit designers Lehrman Cameron Studio to direct the graphics and interpretive designs of the 2,000 sq. ft exhibit which enables people of all ages and skill levels to explore music. Visitors can Meet the Musicians, explore the instruments of the orchestra through interactive exhibits, sample excerpts of the classical repertoire at Listening Posts and get a feel for the podium at the Virtual Conducting station.
The Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve exhibit creates an environment that focuses on the richness and diversity of the New Jersey estuarine natural environment as a context for presenting scientific research, important historical and cultural milestones and community stewardship. The Visitor Center exhibits, developed by Partners in Design in collaboration with Lehrman Cameron Studio, convey and animate the history of the Mullica River-Great bay estuary region, the New Jersey Pinelands and the rich marine environment created where the land meets the open ocean.
The San Juan County Land Bank is a long-standing client of ours and one that is dear to our hearts. In 1990, as part of a county-wide initiative aimed at preserving the distinct character of life in this island archipelago north of Seattle, island residents created the San Juan County Land Bank. Partners in Design has been collaborating with the Land bank from the start, providing branding, on-trail interpretives and property boundary signage, an extensive website, and annual reports. The interpretive panel shown above is fabricated in photo-etched anodized aluminum for longevity, cost and the best UV protection.
The San Juan County Land Bank manages and provides stewardship for extensive trails and properties, many with public access. Partners in Design is often called upon to create maps for public meetings or visitor use.
Partners in Design provided master planning and design for the Central Park Visitor Center, an interactive visitor center housed in the Dairy, in New York City. The center’s permanent exhibit “Central Park: Oasis in the City” was designed to educate children and adults to the landscape design and planning of Central Park and includes a 7-minute video, a 12-ft detailed scale model of the Park depicting its topographical variety and numerous interactive displays. Our design program also included exterior signage for nearby Park landmarks in the “Children’s District” which includes The Dairy, The Chess & Checkers House, The Carousel, and the Belvedere Castle Environmental Learning Center. This exhibit was selected for inclusion in Print Casebooks 8: The Best in Exhibit Design.
Various campaigns serving multiple departments of Lakeside School, a well-regarded private middle and high school in Seattle, including: capital campaign, global service learning, alumni receptions, events, summer school branding and collateral.
Annual report for the San Juan County Land Bank
A large suite of publications developed for the Sumner School District, south of Seattle, that reflects this District’s long-range plan for student success. Capability collateral, print and electronic media communicate the partnership of parents and educators helping students become better learners. We also produce annual calendars that become strategic work-horses for the community and are utilized year-round. …
Long-term communications program covering multiple aspects of the Sumner School District’s needs, including: capability reports, annual calendars, events promotion, new school openings, superintendent reports, and special programs (teacher recruitment folder shown above).
A single garden—the Bellevue Botanical Garden’s Waterwise Garden—inspired the City of Bellevue Utilities to promote “waterwise” practices and natural yard care to its residents. Partners in Design created branding, logos, icons, garden interpretives, posters, collateral and education publications for the program’s launch and continued implementation. Quick and flexible graphic standards meet the City’s schedule of impromptu workshops (both print and online).
Retail mall meets downtown community. Working with Tarragon, Inc, Partners in Design stepped in to provide event promotion and marketing for Kent Station retail village, south of Seattle and update and visually expand its existing branding standards. New campaigns of signage, banners, posters, mailings and window graphics supplemented the existing design standards. Designing holiday fanfare was an especially fun project for this long-term client.
A community outreach and education campaign for San Juan Island Integrated Medical Center had the additional objective of targeting primary donors for the center’s construction. Print communications initiated a dialogue for better island health care for a changing community demographic.
This agricultural strategic action plan developed for San Juan County, WA was a collaborative project with the Agricultural Resources Committee of San Juan County, San Juan Preservation Trust and San Juan County Land Bank. Partners in Design’s teams/clients often include many stakeholders, making our process of communication essential for effectiveness and productivity.
We all know that school relationships are important. They can either be a source of support or the cause of harassment. Yeah, I’m Different addresses this duality. Partners in Design worked with Safe Schools Coalition, a partnership that seeks to promote tolerance by providing resources for students, parents, and administrators, to conceptualize and design a series of posters on these issues. Distributed state-wide in K-12 schools, the posters address bias-based harassment facing youth in our schools today and feature the creations of Portland artist Marc Willwerth and his “perfect children” who are different but OK just the way they are. Photography by Malcolm Smith.
Serving the island-wide community of the San Juan Islands, the San Juan Department of Emergency Management’s critical publication program can be the difference between life and death. Identity, web site, posters, t-shirts and iconography coordinate to educate and engage the community to be prepared for all emergencies. The seriousness and life-saving nature of this program is infused with a tongue-in-cheek point of view to inspire citizen participation. Poster and postcard design shown above.
Partners in Design is committed to helping schools, like those in the Bethel School District, bridge the gap between cost-effective and visually powerful communications. We have been creating award-winning print graphics to the education community for over two decades. Bethel School District Annual Report shown above.
Book cover designs for Guilford Press, New York.
Thanks to our client Ann Cook who led us to this great title, “Drunk Tank Pink,” and which we’re running to our local bookshop to buy and start reading. We’ve been working with Ann for years on her school district calendar. A publication that has a long life in many Sumner, Washington homes, often being referenced year-long, many of them on refrigerator doors. The project has a large print run and a limited budget… so the solution has been to print good photos with two colors, black and an annual feature color. Ann and Partners in Design has the best of times selecting the “wow” color that will best reflect the school district programs for each year. Ann brings great color discovers to the table and she allows us to dissuade her from color disasters and select color winners.
So back to the book… does pink make strong men weak? Can pink jail cells calm violent prisoners? Is it true that football locker rooms (the ones for the visiting/opposing teams) are painted a certain shade of pink to weaken the players?
One of the most interesting examples of color effects, and a local story, is Baker-Miller Pink – R:255, G:145, B:175. Also known as “Drunk tank pink,” this color has been used to calm violent prisoners in jails. Dr. Alexander Schauss, Ph.D., director of the American Institute for Biosocial Research in Tacoma Washington, was the first to report the suppression of angry, antagonistic, and anxiety ridden behavior among prisoners: “Even if a person tries to be angry or aggressive in the presence of pink, he can’t. The heart muscles can’t race fast enough. It’s a tranquilizing color that saps your energy. There’s evidence that these reactions are short term. Once the body returns to a state of equilibrium, a prisoner may regress to an even more agitated state.
Is it true that football locker rooms (the ones for the visiting/opposing teams) are painted a certain shade of pink to weaken the players? University of Hawaii associate head coach George Lumkin was a member of the 1991 staff that saw visitor locker rooms at Iowa and Colorado State painted pink in the belief that the color made players passive. Now the WAC has a rule that a visiting team’s locker room can not be painted a different color than the home team’s. In other words, it can be pink, black or any color of the rainbow, as long as both locker rooms are the same color.
Considering our waste-stream, there’s the three R’s: reduce, reuse and recycle. Within the category of reuse may we suggest a closer look at the strategy of turning things inside out? The practice has great philosophical meaning and it’s considerate of the environment. Simply respectful to the original resource… to honor it again and preserve some of it’s history.
As a designer I was inspired over a cup of tea this morning. Peering inside the tea packaging there was the glimpse of another visual world. I saw an unexpected other life to this packaging. It was intriguing and I wondered about other ways we could get this to happen in more of our design projects at Partners in Design. Please add your ideas below.
The outside of this Korean tea packaging looks like this… sedate and simple. The zip-lock top keeps the contents fresh and I can store another green tea in it when I have finished this batch.
On the inside there’s another package design. Life number two. A little more colorful… rice, wheat?
- Open up envelopes and turn them inside out, tape or glue, and use them again.
- Unfold shipping boxes and decorate the craft paper interiors with designs, refold inside out to make favorite gift boxes.
- We always turn our grocery produce bags inside out to use them repeatedly. Don’t worry the inks used on these bags are food-grade.
- Using press-sheets as wrapping paper.
- Remember turning your craft paper grocery bags for textbook covers?
- We like this one a lot, sort of turning something inside out… re-purpose an unwanted t-shirt and easily turn the shirt into a re-usable tote bag. http://etcetorize.blogspot.com/2011/08/t-shirt-tote-bag.html
Some companies and organizations pride themselves with the successful longevity of their branding. A good brand indicates stability and confidence. But when does this all go sour? Case in point, may the Sherwin Williams Paint emblem depicting our mother earth being douched with petroleum-based paint be out of date? What a toxic clean up… it would put BP to shame.
Your brand can define the basis of your corporate and institutional culture, your philosophy, origins and strengths. When Partners in Design was creating a new brand for a nutritional school program in Washington State we knew that the public’s view of school meal programs was dismal. International food expert Jamie Oliver had just pronounced that America was poisoning its children. Our response was go back to basics… the food groups, be honest, and put a good face to it… the food icons are smarties and laughing (see below).
What rebranding does for your company internally is a watershed of benefits in itself. A great amount of self-discovery happens in the process of identity-finding. Rebranding pinpoints who you really are, what you stand for, and understanding your business culture. It also observes whether people see you, as you want to be seen. If there’s disparity, you need to change your brand to better target your market.
If your well-established brand still resonates with current and prospective customers, don’t change for the sake of it, or because it might help generate more sales. Don’t tinker with your brand of relevance for fear of losing customers who might no longer recognize the new you. Partners in Design has helped rebrand and create original brands for neighborhoods, retail villages, school districts, all sorts of services and widgets, so we have a few tips about when is a good time to rebrand, and how to look for the best branding team, process and implementation.
A brand is the sum total of what people see and feel about us when they see our institutional image, our marketing materials, and when they decide to interact with us. Now if you look at the example of Sherwin Williams perhaps this paint company should ask how their audience emotionally feels about this graphic… nostalgia or environmental global fear.
4 Good Reasons to Rebrand
You Need to Reposition The most important reason to rebrand is when your current brand is confusing, or worse, misleading your current or prospective customers. If your goals, products and positioning have changed, rebranding will send a clear message. Rebranding is not something you do because you want to, it’s because your customers don’t understand you.
Brand Confusion and Brand Promise Disappointment If people don’t recall your brand, or confuse you with your competition… you are then losing money and influence. Your identity should be unique and memorable. You may see your brand as representing you well and working, but how does the customer see it? Is this a shared perception? Not being on the same page may be economically disastrous.
Your Brand is Outdated Look at our example of the eager paint seller who sadly wants to encase the world in oil. A 50s perspective probably doesn’t work today. Engage in research to determine your brand’s relevancy. If your product range or services change significantly, ensure your existing brand matches the new reality. The same applies if you are targeting a new market — is your brand still effective in the new environment? A new brand that reflects this change would give your profile a massive boost.
Your Market Position has Shifted Many businesses still have the same brand as when their company started… is it still relevant? If it was done in a rush and on a budget, it may no longer represent your business. Markets change constantly, as do customer expectations, so brands can become outdated. Another good time to give your brand image a kick in the pants is during an economic downturn when competitors are tightening purse strings and the industry is talking doom and gloom. Rebranding at this time shows you are alive and kicking, and, more importantly, optimistic about the future.
These 2 sentences tell you all you need to know about POP art. “Pop Art is basically about two things: ordinariness and eating. It’s about daily consumption; the democratic appetite, ravenous for meat, sweets, life on the street, and getting more of everything, cheap”. And this artwork tells you all about a POP master, Claes Oldenburg. See for yourself if you’re in NYC, there’s an Oldenburg retrospective until August 5 at MoMA. As a designer I’ve always been influenced by Oldenburg, Warhol, Red Grooms, Marisol because they questions “context” on every level. As a communication designer I depend on it every time I want to be an attention grabber, or be a wallflower.
Nutella was created in the 1940’s by Pietro Ferrero. War rationing meant that cocoa was in short supply across Europe, so Pietro Ferrero mixed cocoa with toasted hazelnuts, cocoa butter and vegetable oils to create an economical spread of chocolate. Reformulated in 1949, this variety was both inexpensive and spreadable, which was a great plus-point. It enjoyed enormous success and in 1964 was renamed ‘Nutella’ and marketed outside of Italy. Nutella comes in an oval-shaped jar. The bold label contains both black and red letters! The “N” is designed to draw attention to the nuts in Nutella! But look how this solution draws so much attention to the name and makes this mark memorable. So why is this on our mind today… well today is “World Nutella Day”.
We’re back from the Vancouver Winter Olympics! Great international time for all!
From a design point of view…
The fashion was HOT and the mascots rocked. The overall volunteer color, and there was lots of it, was called “chill”. It coordinated well with the Olympic logo’s “winter ocean”. The leader of the mascots was Quatchi, a shy and gentle giant, a Sasquatch… he’d be a great hockey goalie. Here he is with Sumi on the side of a financial tower. I like blue AND fur… so I was happy. Read the rest of this entry »
Well if I had the 104 million, maybe I would have made a bid yesterday in London. It’s a record for an art auction sale. He is one of my favorite artists, Alberto Giacometti. The “Walking Man 1” sculpture was cast from a study commissioned for the Chase Manhattan Bank Plaza in New York City but sadly it never came into fruition. The strider stands 6 feet tall.
Despite the efforts of the gallery guards at the Getty Museum last year… while I was vacationing in LA… I had to take a photo of my own of this standing woman. She’s beautiful. I cropped her torso in photographic segments to observe each curve and captured as I moved up the sculpture with my mind’s hand. I saw a lot of beautiful women in the gallery that day, walking around her… noticing her… maybe not. No they were not thin necessarily or bronzed. But they shared a bond with the sculpture… something close to eternal.
Sharon just finished writing her second book… now on the search for a agent… the majority of the prose was composed in a Seattle baker poetically called “Fresh Flowers” in the hilltop neighborhood of Phinney Ridge. It’s a stone’s throw from home, so she can be there when their doors open at 6am… to put in her writer’s stint before heading to work. Most writers have their special place. Read the rest of this entry »
I found ugly, excessive ugly, the real McCoy. If for a second you didn’t understand what you were looking at I wouldn’t be surprised. Any theories why these exist? Maybe the question is, should they exist? It’s a free country. Don’t you want to write a play or story and one of your characters just ordered one of these. No the paws of your dog do not have to be chopped off to have one of these of your own… they’re cast… that’s a lovely scene too.
Michael and I were watching a film the other day at the art museum (SAM) of Australian aboriginals, a clan of 27 doing a painting on heavy linen. The painting was almost the size of the floor of a small room. Out in a flat windswept settlement, the painters sat on the dirt ground around the canvas’s perimeter… all very squat. Dogs obediently watched on. They painted a communal journey of sorts—spirit and heritage that they coaxed out in contemporary media. The museum projected this movie onto the floor for viewing, giving you the artist’s perspective. Here are a few examples of paintings similar to what we saw in the gallery, and here is one (the bigger one) I imagined and drew after our visit. I think I’ll do a few more and see where they go. They would make nice scarves or book end papers.