Sunday August 31st, 2014
Saturday August 30th, 2014
The jig is up, Taylor.
Monkey selfie lawsuit.
This kid is exasperated.
An elephant and his ribbon.
Friday August 29th, 2014
The last time we spoke about Minnesota-based photographer Thomas Strand, I showed off the brand new emailer template that I designed for him. As a refresher, Tom first came to Wonderful Machine looking for a new brand. We started with a graphic identity in which Tom received a new logo and full stationery package, including designs for business cards, letterhead, notecard, envelope, mailing label, and even a dvd envelope. Being a print crusader myself, I was thrilled when Tom opted to have his business cards letterpress printed. We then moved on to print promo design, and Tom promised to send me samples of everything once all of his marketing pieces were printed.
We decided to go with an accordion-folded booklet for the promo, and Tom sent me an image of his new portfolio as inspiration, which he had based off of the front of his business cards. I loved how the cover of the portfolio alluded to his logo in a really clean and subtle way, and I wanted to pull this idea into the promo.
I got to work on some options— a vertically-folding accordion, one that folded to a square, and a 4-panel landscape-oriented fold-out version. The landscape option was the favorite, and once Tom approved the design, photo editor Sean Stone did the image selection.
Tom initially expressed some concern about having the cover of the promo be black with no image, but I assured him that it complimented his brand, made for a nice reveal once opened, and I had some great ideas for making that front panel really pop. Once we had the high resolution images and final files to work with, it was time to nail down the finer details of printing. We were set on offset printing for optimal image quality, matte paper stock for the tactile but authentic feel, and due to the extra-long format, we had to pull out the big guns and print these on a large-format printer. To top it off, we decided to print Tom’s logotype in a spot varnish on the front cover, which would really help his name stand out in a unique and eye-catching way.
It takes time to coordinate production of such an elaborate promo, so I wasn’t surprised when it took a few months to receive samples of all of Tom’s marketing materials, but these were definitely worth the wait. Included in the package were all of Tom’s stationery I had designed from the graphic identity, the postcard I had done, and the accordion-folded promo I’d been dying to get my hands on.
It was so great to see how Tom’s brand had really come to life and felt so dynamic as it adapted for each new marketing piece. I couldn’t have been more pleased, and to top it all off, Tom wrote me an amazing note about how happy he is with his new brand (on his notecards, of course)!
Designing all your various marketing materials can be overwhelming when you consider stationery, print, web, and email promotion all together. However, one of my favorite things about being a designer and working with brands is helping to bring them to life and to give them a sense of cohesion in every context. Each new piece is an opportunity to make an impression and make something that people will want to hold on to. Don’t be afraid to get nerdy about your stationery and put your heart and soul into everything that leaves your desk (or studio), even the mailing labels. I do it every day.
Until next time, don’t forget to check out all of our design consulting services, and drop me a line if you’re interested in a new identity or if you’d like our help building out your own brand. We’d love to hear from you!
Thursday August 28th, 2014
Vancouver-based photographer Kamil Bialous recently teamed up with Cottage Life Magazine for an editorial shoot featuring the beautiful Sunshine Coast cottage of Canadian writer/performer John MacLachlan Gray. Nestled in the forests of BC’s western coast, this gorgeous home features a spectacular birds-eye-view of the ocean and is simply decorated, making it a zen-filled vacation home. After meeting with art director Kim Zagar on a portfolio trip in Toronto, Kamil immediately knew that his style would be well-suited for the visual direction that Kim and the magazine were trying to take. When asked to photograph John Gray and his cabin, Kamil was confident that he could transform this editorial assignment into a story. I caught up with Kamil on all the fun and beautiful aspects of the shoot. Enjoy!
How does this project fit into your photographic style?
The story was about 2 people enjoying their West Coast cabin by the ocean, which is essentially what I want to do every day. I love where I live— the proximity to mountains and ocean is unbeatable, so it suits me and my style perfectly to get to photograph stories like this for a living. I enjoy assignments where the photos you make aren’t 100% known, where exploring the subjects, people and landscape is what will guide you to the photographs you should be making. For assignments like this, spending a good chunk of time with your subject is paramount. There is a trust that’s built over time, and there is a curve to the photographs that you make as the subjects slowly open up.
This was an editorial assignment but do you shoot personal work as a photographer as well?
Personal work allows me to experiment and evolve my style, but I don’t really separate the way I shoot personal work from client work. It’s all the same to me. I like to think I get hired for my overall approach to photographing, and I don’t turn off one part of my brain and say “ok, now I’m going to shoot an assignment” or change something crucial to my workflow. All photographs end up being personal because of the flavour/style/process that you bring to them. I’m just as committed to my personal projects as I am to making sure that the assignment ends up being a reflection of who I am as a photographer, which is again, hopefully why the client hired me in the first place.
Were there any challenges involved with this project?
No major challenges as I remember, just beautiful landscape and amazing hosts. The weather cooperated perfectly.
What was involved in planning and preproduction?
We had to coordinate a schedule around an available weekend for the cottagers, making sure it lined up with a weather window. From there, it was a boat ferry to get to the Sunshine Coast from Vancouver, followed by about an hour drive to an ocean inlet. I arrived quite late in the night and the narrow winding path down to the cottage was unlit and through a forest. I enjoyed that steep hike a few times that evening to haul my gear by the light of my headlamp. Other preparations included a stop at the food, beer, and wine store. Really tough gig.
What has the reaction to the images been so far?
It’s been great. My priority was to make the art director stoked on what I shot, and once that was accomplished everything else is icing. The photos are really true to how I shoot – try to find quality light and allow subjects to move within that space while picking up on interesting movements and compositions. I ended up landing two separate covers (one for the eastern edition of the mag and one for the western).
Did you learn anything through the creation of this series?
I always learn something and have amazing hindsight into how I should have photographed someone or something, or composed something differently. But that’s what’s really fun with these types of shoots, you make yourself available to photograph in a new location unknown to you, and you go explore it, hoping to come back with something worthwhile. Over time you learn how and where to look, and how to allow for interesting things to unfold naturally.
To view more of Kamil’s work, visit his site.