Spooktastic Fun!

What better way to spend a crisp, fall day than making crafts at work? Trick or treaters visiting this Connecticut based design studio will have to earn their treats this year. Elements brewed up some frightful creations this past Friday.

Principal Amy Graver says, “It was nice to unplug and shut down, use our hands, and collaborate to figure out how to create each piece together. We were swapping ideas and materials, as well as bad Halloween jokes all day. It was a blast!” Read the rest of the article here.

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Photography by Steve Walter, stevewalterphoto.com.

Cultivating Creativity: Inside Kate Bingaman-Burt’s Studio

Kate Bingaman-Burt is a busy woman. She’s written books on our culture’s consumption obsession, she teaches design at Portland State University, and she creates compelling designs for a steady list of clients including Chipotle, Hallmark, Uniglo, IDEO, VH1, and the Gap, among others. We recently visited her studio to watch her make stuff, and we absolutely loved her set-up, so we asked her for advice on setting up a design studio that is not only fun to work in, but functional.

Tell me about your workspace and why it works for you? 

I share a space with four other illustrators/designers in an old Ford factory in Portland. Some of my favorite things about this space: high ceilings, good light, working amongst friends, and our ridiculous bean bag chairs for the occasional nap. Read the rest of the interview here.

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Danielle Evans Has a Serious Appetite for Lettering

Lettering designer Danielle Evans, aka Marmalade Bleue, turns edible objects into extraordinary 3D illustrious lettering designs. Ironically, the Columbus, Ohio native, almost pursued an education in culinary arts, but was drawn to illustration and design. Although, she admits, she had a rocky start.

“I knew good, dynamic work, but I was struggling to produce any and feared sharing my projects with others. The best designers were engaging their audiences across multisensory platforms and I wondered how to do this myself. I sat down at a coffee shop with a good educator friend and struggled for a jargon-less way to explain this inkling.

“I told her good design was like a cup of coffee, in that the consumer is having an experience, not just banally consuming a beverage; I wanted my work to do this as well. She, being very literal, asked if I’d considered making something out of coffee which was, in fact, a great idea.” Read the rest of the story here.

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Case Study: Designing a Logo for a Start-Up

Logos can be tricky beasts to design, especially for a start-up. You have to understand the client’s needs, their products and services, and the personality they want to project to their customers, and then figure out a way to graphically represent all of this in a single mark.

Experienced logo designers, like Tracy Sabin, understand the nuances inherent in this process, and what it takes to come up with a compelling design that resonates with his clients’ customers.

With more than 40 years of logo design experience under his belt, Sabin’s hand-crafted style and attention to detail bring his logo designs to life. Recently he was hired by Steve Falen, art director at Partners Creative, to design a logo for their client, Fenek Outdoor.

Fenek is a new, start up company created by two longtime outdoor product sales representatives. They make hunting blinds, carts, and other accessories for avid outdoorsmen. The name is derived from the Fennec Fox, which inhabits the Sahara Desert.

“It’s the world’s smallest fox living in one of the world’s harshest environments, and its oversized ears and fast reflexes exemplify the company’s emphasis on listening and being responsive to customers and their needs,” Falen explains. “The change in spelling is an association with the fox, but also a unique brandable handle.”

Read the rest of the article here.

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Command X: Design’s Ultimate Reality Show

Each year Command X, AIGA’s reality show-style, live design competition pits seven young designers against one another in daily elimination challenges, and is one of the most anticipated events at the AIGA Design Conference. Last week we introduced you to the contestants, and just a few days ago we sat rapt as the host, the ever-charming and enigmatic Sean Adams (former president of AIGA’s national board) and a star-studded panel of judges—Aaron Draplin, Robynne Raye, Gail Anderson, plus a special guest judge each day—took over the stage. Read the rest here.

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Command X contestants awaiting their fate.

Andrea D’Aquino on Illustrating Alice in Wonderland

Andrea D’Aquino’s illustrative ramblings run the gamut from watercolor to collage to everything in between, and it’s perhaps because of this cataclysmic range that she was chosen to illustrate this fantastic tale of two worlds for Rockport Publishers for its Classics Reimagined series. We go down the Rabbit Hole with D’Aquino, as she talks about the challenges of reinterpreting this classic through her eyes.

Is this a story you’ve always wanted to illustrate?

 It’s my favorite book, but by no means had I ever considered illustrating it, nor would it ever have entered my mind. The idea to tackle such a classic text, would’ve struck me as almost preposterous after artists from Dali’ to Disney, to Tim Burton—to the definitive Tenniel illustrations—have already been imprinted onto such a wide swath of our collective minds. How would I follow up on such a thing?

But, when I was asked to illustrate it, I didn’t hesitate for a second. I know a great opportunity when it hits me over the head! I did really worry for a week or two, wondering how I would ever approach it, and make it fresh. It’s full of classic scenes that so many of us have preconceived images. Read the rest of the interview here.

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