• Archives
  • Feb10

    By now you may have seen the quirky TV campaign aimed at drawing attention to the latest project by Danish architect Bjarke Ingels and urbanism expert Trevor Boddy, GesamtKunstWerk.

    Or you may have done a double take while driving over the Granville Street Bridge, wondering whether yet another foreign movie is being filmed on our turf.

    GesamtKunstWerk Vancouver
    [Photo credit: everydayisawesome on Instagram]

    Westbank Developments has commissioned Ingels to design a new $200 million dollar, 52-story tower near the Granville Street Bridge, located at Beach and Howe Streets.

    Westbank is also the real estate development team behind the Fairmont Pacific Rim, Woodwards, and Toronto and Vancouver Shangri-la Hotels. Westbank has a long-term interest in public art, as well as a commitment to LEED-certified housing. This project, focused on architectural creativity in motion, is perfectly suited to their company culture.

    Gesamtkunstwerk: Life as a Total Work of Art will open in mid-March, in the very building graced with the white neon Gesamt Kunst Werk sign that glows nicely at night as you head across the bridge.

    The public is invited via the website to be part of the March 15 opening. This intersection of art, architecture, interior design, and urbanism with Vancouver’s continually growing creative scene is sure to bring about inspired dialogue.

    Follow the action on Twitter using the hashtag #gwerk.

  • Sep20

    IDS West 2013-9

    Walking around the immense IDS West Interior Design Show floor can easily fill several hours. I find that after having attended six IDS West shows to date, each one is a personal experience, as our eyes are drawn to different pieces around the room.

    Stefanie Dueck
    [Art by Stefanie Dueck]

    As a designer, this is one of my favourite events to gather inspiration from and this year was no exception. I found three companies whose products caught my attention.
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  • Mar20

    PowerMac 8500/120
    [My desk circa 1997: PowerMac 8500/120, Apple Display, Apple laser printer, Iomega ZIP drive]

    When I originally set out to write this post, I wondered whether it would focus more on Steve Jobs’s lasting legacy on the design world, the imminent closing of the Book Warehouse chain, or the newly issued iPad3. All three appear to be linked.

    Although I’ve had Walter Isaacson’s hardcover book sitting on my shelf for several weeks, I’ve only recently been able to pick it up, plow through its 571 pages, and thus finally (five months later) come to grips with the fact that Steve is now longer on this planet.

    Yes, I’m one of *those* Apple fans. I lived in both Southern and Northern California in the 80′s and (most of) the 90′s, having bought my first SE/30 (with an additional 13″ colour display) back in 1992. A good friend worked at Apple then, and he would frequently mention the ‘unpleasantries’ between the execs and the company culture’s less than perfect scenario.

    In the winter of 1998, we were invited to the Apple campus to witness the live stream keynote and unveiling of the coloured iMacs. This was during a holiday to California, just over a year after I’d moved to Europe. The excitement of a new product (years later witnessed through online keynote addresses), always left the crowd awestruck, immediately coveting the latest creation.

    Flower Power iMac 2001
    [Flower Power iMac. Yes, I own one of these.]

    Reading this biography made me again realize what an indelible footprint Jobs has left on both the technology and design fronts. His aim in life was to marry the two and keep them happy for eternity. Being a graphic designer, I can appreciate his insane attention to detail, to the point of often driving his team crazy day and night. He even obsessed over the oxygen masks used in hospital while he was receiving a liver transplant, inspecting several masks before he chose one (by that point, his wife Laurene was able to calm him down enough to let the medical team do their work).

    It’s only fitting that I finish this book a day before the latest iPad is about to hit our doorstep. It may be the last hardcover book I read in awhile, if the iPad is everything it’s cracked up to be (my husband has the original version, but I don’t often get the chance to use it). Come to think of it, the iPad3 will be my first Apple product in a post-Steve world.

    And with Book Warehouse (and others, including Kitsilano’s Canterbury’s) through, it’s a growing testament to the world of digital readers (iPad included) that consumers are ready to bring their reading piles onto the tablet.

    I highly recommend the book, as it’s finally a way to understand the personality behind the brand. Though there’s been online backlash since its release, I take most things with a grain of salt and along with millions of other Apple fans, am grateful that someone’s come along to move people so passionately.

    To quote Steve Jobs, “Every once in a while a revolutionary product comes along that changes everything. One is very fortunate if you get to work on just one of these in your career. Apple’s been very fortunate it’s been able to introduce a few of these into the world.”

  • Feb27

    David Coates and Rod Roodenburg of ION Design
    [ION Design's David Coates and Rod Roodenburg]

    This three hour design workshop, part of the two day ProfitxDesign Conference at Emily Carr, shared some of ION Branding + Design founders David Coates and Rod Roodenburg’s design processes. The workshop was divided into two parts: listening and doing.

    We were able to get a glimpse behind how one of Vancouver’s best-loved design firms takes a project through its paces, including research, methodology, implementation and deployment, finishing off with the critical review phase between ION and their clients.

    ION Design has sought to both make the world a better place through design and to see a change in corporate culture. Ethics are a big part of what drives their business model. Both Coates and Roodenburg are ECUAD graduates. Their client base comes from sustainable building products, social projects, retail clients, BC universities and colleges, arts and culture organizations, and local and international businesses.

    As a fellow communication designer, I can relate to their enjoying a diverse client base that helps enrich their client experience. From paper company rebranding to apparel, they’ve amassed a great number of successful projects over their 20+ years in business together.

    They’ve also tapped into the pro bono space through a consolidation project called One Good Idea. Through this program, they award a company with $25,000 in services, inviting companies to submit proposals; alternatively ION may select a company each year for this valuable service to non profits.

    “We really believe that design is a verb.”

    For the design process (processing and blending), the District of Sechelt was used as a case study. Sechelt is the oldest community in BC and was in dire need of a refreshed brand. We learned the design process chain starting from needs analysis and discovery, leading through to ideation, refinement, implementation and deployment, down to review (the end result). We learned that it’s often necessary to return back to the needs analysis, even once the client has seen the first round of designs.

    Knowing the client’s competition is also key, and serves a vital role in the process stage.

    “A company like NIKE does a great job of spreading its internal communication, in order to inspire staff to move the brand.”

    Everyone within your organization needs to be a brand champion.

    In the second half of the workshop, we filled out our own client questionnaires, learned about our overall brand’s health, and left that morning with several key takeaways:

    - Be authentic, respectful, and consistent.
    - Offer something of value to your audience.
    - If a brand is not believable, it won’t be sustainable in the long term.
    - Use an iterative and cyclical process.
    - Encourage risk-taking in brand development: Failure leads to innovation, especially in a global marketplace.

    I’m so glad to have had the chance to hear both these prominent Vancouver designers speak on brand approach. They are clearly passionate about what they do and continue to do within their six-person organization, while both supporting and embracing the local design community. Friendly competition between firms is one thing, but keeping Vancouver growing as a design city is what they’re really after. Amen.

  • Aug22

    Get ready for a morning of creativity with your coffee and breakfast. Creative Mornings Vancouver, a free monthly lecture series for creatives, happens on Friday, September 2, at W2′s Media Café.

    Creative Mornings began in 2009 in New York City. Since then, it’s since expanded to cities around the world, attracting top creative professionals for free breakfast, coffee, and inspiration from some of the world’s top creative thinkers.

    creative mornings world map
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  • Dec17

    Page by Page cover

    Remember when Adobe InDesign was poised to be the next “Quark Killer“? Well, InDesign has surpassed that status and lived 10 years to tell the tale. “Page by Page: 10 Years of Designing with Adobe InDesign” is a beautiful limited edition, hard-bound book commemorating InDesign’s 10 years in the Adobe family.

    I was recently sent a copy for review and have included a few sections of spreads from the book.
    Read the rest of the post »

  • Nov21

    Challenge
    The Djavad Mowafaghian Foundation came to our studio looking for a refreshed logo identity and series of business cards. The logo was long due for an overhaul, to be applied to the cards and future stationery pieces.

    Djavad Mowafaghian Foundation original stationery

    The office wayfinding includes a gold and copper version of the interweaving hands, so the challenge was to create a logo that would match their space as well as incorporate a modern approach to the printed material.

    Background
    For over 30 years, founder Djavad Mowafaghian has both funded various philanthropic projects and donated to various children’s charities worldwide. In 2003, the Djavad Mowafaghian Foundation was set up in order to guarantee the continuation of his philanthropy. The foundation, based in North Vancouver, aids children around the world through health and education.

    Process
    Avenir (a sans serif font that I often use in my work) came to the rescue, allowing several lines of clean information to be easily stacked on the back side of the card. The logo’s original form was used, with a two-colour foil stamp printing process on a clean off-white paper stock.

    Djavad Mowafaghian Foundation logo close-up

    Djavad Mowafaghian Foundation new business cards

    Result
    The resulting series of cards are now in use and a stationery package is on the way. The client was very happy with the design solution and their current clients will recognize the familiar hands, while new clients will be drawn in by the modern, approachable design.

  • Nov20

    Challenge
    Gina’s Bath Soaks was looking to create a down-to-earth look for the launch of their bath soaks line, a key product in a line that includes milk and hemp bath products.

    Background
    Gina’s Bath Soaks creates locally sourced and produced milk baths, bath salts, and hemp milk baths that are sold at farmer’s markets and shops in the Eugene, Oregon area. The company takes great pride in using organic ingredients in the production of all their products. These bath products are produced in small batches and many custom orders result from their market presence in the local community.

    Process
    I proposed simply using the letter g as the key focus of the label, that I later carried through to the rest of the brand identity package.

    Gina's Bath Soaks label close-up

    Each scent received a distinctive colour and I designed the blue water splash illustration in order to contain the rest of the label information.

    Result
    The entire stock sold out upon the launch of the packaging in both the local grocery stores and at the next few farmer’s markets. The company plans to expand in order to complete orders for a new line of natural shampoos and conditioners.

    Gina's Bath Soaks label design

  • Nov20

    Challenge
    A benefit was organized in support of Dan Grice, the Vancouver Quadra Green Party’s 2008 by-election candidate. The event was to include a silent auction, buffet, no host bar and cabaret show. Their team came to my studio in need of a series of deliverables to include a flyer, tickets, and a social media campaign design.

    Background
    Vancouver Quadra is a federal electoral district in British Columbia that has been represented in the Canadian House of Commons since 1949. Within the boundaries of this riding are the University of British Columbia and the western portions of the affluent Vancouver Westside. At the time, Dan Grice was the Vancouver-Quadra candidate for the Green Party of Canada. A UBC graduate, he has played a leadership role in BC’s electoral reform movement.

    Process
    I designed the flyer, tickets, and Facebook event page banner to reflect a classic speakeasy atmosphere, utilizing a sepia toned photograph of an old-fashioned microphone.

    Green Party Speakeasy ticket

    The Green Party logo contrasted nicely with the earthy sepia colour.

    Green Party speakeasy flyer

    Result
    The event was a success and raised both funds and awareness for Dan Grice and the Green Party of Canada.

  • Jul9

    Back in February, the U.S. Mint chose a new reverse penny design for circulation this year. Created by U.S. Mint Artistic Infusion Program Associate Designer Lyndall Bass, and sculpted by U.S. Mint Sculptor-Engraver Joseph Menna, it depicts a shield with 13 vertical stripes bearing the E PLURIBUS UNUM (Out of Many, One) motto.

    The stripes represent the 13 original states joined together as a united country. There were 18 designs submitted to the Commission of Fine Arts and the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee. In turn, both organizations submitted their recommended designs to US Treasury Secretary Timothy Geitner, who selected the Union shield design.
    Read the rest of the post »

  • Jun28

    “The toughest person to please in any logo design project should be the designer who creates the work.”

    As a seasoned brand identity designer, I couldn’t agree more.

    This valuable reminder, quoted by Malcolm Grear on page 29, sets the tone early in David Airey’s book, Logo Design Love.

    Designed as both a learning tool and a set of case studies, Airey bridges a wide array of logo examples with the creative thinking process of identity design. You’ll gain valuable insight into asking the right questions from the start, learn constructive ways of working with your clients, and become proficient in how to present your ideas during the various phases of a project. Each section brings a new aspect of branding identity to the forefront.

    You won’t get specific answers to the ages-old “How much should I charge” conundrum, but rather good food for thought in arriving there.

    It’s an enjoyable read, based on the author’s own successful blog, Logo Design Love. The book showcases the best of Airey’s 500+ blog posts. As well, don’t miss his top 10 questions answered and 25 logo design tips towards the back of the book!

    David Airey is a Northern Irish graphic designer who currently maintains two blogs: www.davidairey.com and www.logodesignlove.com

    PS – Congrats to David on his recent wedding and kudos to the beautiful wedding photography capturing the day.

    Disclosure note for review: Cmply.1

  • Jun24

    It truly isn’t enough to graduate from a design school anymore. Knowing for example how to navigate your business plan, devise a proposal, and understand the important legal aspects surrounding intellectual property are equally important in order to be successful in this highly-competitive industry.

    I just finished reading this book and found its value worthy of a mention on my site.

    Shel Perkins’ book, Talent is Not Enough: Business Secrets For Designers, bridges all aspects of the design career into one resource. It’s a must-read for those starting out. The overview of what to expect and how to grow from a student intern through to owning your own design company (and building your physical space for maximum creative potential) is all here, smartly presented in chronological order.
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  • Jun14

    Just back from vacation, I missed the recent Vancouver Whitecaps FC logo redesign launch fanfare. As a designer, I couldn’t resist having a closer look and weighing in with my own two cent’s worth.

    Whitecaps-logos

    1. What happened? The current logo has rounded lines and an organic shape to it that screams both sport and living near the sea. The new lines are cold and rigid, leaving behind any semblance of community or inclusion.

    2. Where did the soccer ball disappear to? Are we selling a sports team, or a mountaineering resort?

    3. The good part? The word Vancouver has been added to the logo, as has of course the “FC” affiliation. Why not keep the existing logo and incorporate those new text elements?

    It takes a great deal of research, thought, and brainstorming to create a successful and captivating logo identity. While I don’t argue that the team behind the design put in their studio time, it would have been nice to have seen improvement in the end result.

    Vancouver’s now on the pro-soccer world stage and the Whitecaps organization is equally deserving of a fabulous look to match their team’s talent! Anybody else have any thoughts either way regarding the new logo?

  • May28

    Following my recent Photoshop and InDesign reviews, I’ll cover a few of the many new features Illustrator CS5 has to offer.

    Dash Adjustment
    Dashes that don’t exactly fall where you want them can now be altered to fit correctly. Illustrator will calculate the dashes to make them flow around the artwork. The options are in the stroke panel. Segments where paths containing dashes meet no longer look awkward, and the dashes will adjust to corners and path ends, adjusting their lengths to fit.
    Read the rest of the post »

  • May27

    Here’s part two in a series of three reviews covering the latest features in the “big three” CS5 Design Premium programs: Photoshop, InDesign, and Illustrator.

    Multiple Page Sizes
    Multiple page sizes is great for keeping a series of different size elements (e.g. a brand identity package) within the same InDesign document. It’s great for creating book spines as well. Pages of varying sizes can also be based on the same Master Page, by selecting Show Master Page Overlay and then repositioning the artwork to where you’d like it to be on the new page.

    Show Master Page Overlay
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