A second Silver from Graphis!

graphis-silver-award-2016Wow! We did it again! We received another Silver Award from Graphis, the international design journal. This one was for the same project — the rebranding of Legistics, international providers of practice support services and equipment to law firms. This time, the award is part of Graphis’ Logo Design 9 annual — a different competition, and still pretty damn cool.

We’re delighted that the work we did for Legistics continues to be recognized by our peers and our industry. And continues to make an impact on our client’s business as well.

Huge thanks to Anat Rodan and Amy Crossan for their stunning design concepts and execution. It’s gratifying to be leading such a great team.

Presenting Shakespeare

I just got my copy of Mirko Ilic and Steven Heller’s new book, Presenting Shakespeare. It contains 1,100 posters from around the world — India, Poland, New Zealand, Turkey, Switzerland — over 50 in all. They start as early as 1779 and run through work from the present day.

Of the 1,100 selected, just 75 posters are for A Midsummer Night’s Dream, with designs for London’s Savoy Theatre, Shakespeare’s Globe, and the Royal Shakespeare Company, among many other notable productions in dozens of countries. And of these, only 18 are from the United States. These include works by such graphic design luminaries as Milton Glaser and Art Chantry.

MidsummerPostcard-72dpiOh yeah.

And in this overwhelming overview, there’s a poster for a production at Santa Monica High School that happened to feature a young man named Gabriel Freeman as Demetrius. A poster designed by… me!

I can’t tell you how thrilling it is to be included in this collection. I’m honored, excited, nonplussed, and out of adjectives.

I have to say that the design reflects the vision of our talented director Darryl Hovis and wonderfully creative set/costume designer Shannon Kennedy, both of whom inspired the weirdness of using a Papua New Guinea mud man as the main eerie image. But the rouge on the cheeks was all mine.

The book is pretty wonderful if you love either design or Shakespeare. You can buy it on Amazon. I’m on page 163. (But you can see the poster right here.)

An abstract approach to brand identity

Green Hasson Janks folder with reflections

Varnished surfaces add surprise to this corporate presentation piece.

We recently finished a presentation kit for the Los Angeles-based accountants and business advisors Green Hasson Janks. Ordinarily a folder isn’t something I’d crow about. But this one’s really special.

Designed as a container for new business presentations, it features an unexpected twist on the firm’s key graphic element — a bold ampersand with an upward arrow known in the firm as the Uppersand. It’s their symbol of collaboration and is featured prominently in all their marketing materials and advertising. (More on that next week.)

We deconstructed the symbol, overlaying copies of it to create beautiful abstract shapes where the solid portions overlap. As you open the folder, these shapes resolve into the actual ampersand which is fully revealed on the three-panel interior.

GHJ Folder animationThe effect is enhanced by the overall velvety matte aqueous coating which plays against the mirror-gloss finish of spot UV varnish. That high shine reveals the full ampersand as the abstract graphic elements merge. This coming together to create a powerful whole is, of course, the whole point. It’s a message that’s subtly alluded to by our visuals, and strongly stated in the text.

Kudos to our senior designer Kevin Consales for this beautiful concept, to ColorNet Press for the meticulous execution, and to Green Hasson Janks for the courage to try something powerfully different as an expression of their brand identity.

New FreeAssociates site

Come on down! We’ve launched our new and improved website today. And we’d love to share it with you.

We invite your comments and suggestions. Thanks for your interest, your support and your friendship. We can’t do this without you.


UCLArts and Healing site goes live!

UCLArts and Healing site After 3-1/2 years of design, content creation and development — with many stops and starts and long pauses along the way — the new UCLArts and Healing site went live yesterday, and we couldn’t be happier!

We worked closely with the energetic and forward-looking Founding Director Ping Ho, who helped start the UCLA Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology (PNI), is co-developer of the program Beat the Odds: Social and Emotional Skill Building Delivered in a Framework of Drumming, and was the principal investigator of the study upon which that program was based. She was a great client — demanding, inquisitive, passionate, and open to new ideas at every turn.

UCLArts and Healing is a partnership between the Arts and Healing Initiative (a nonprofit organization), and the UCLA Collaborative Centers for Integrative Medicine. The site is intended to be a rich resource for educators, caregivers, psychotherapists, health professionals, and anyone else who is interested in using the arts as a vehicle for development, healing and growth.

We wanted to capture the energy, fun and uplifting sense of life associated with the arts — and especially with these programs — while retaining a sense of professionalism. To do that we balanced bold, playful shapes and colors with clean, well-organized typography. Differentiating UCLArts and Healing was a critical part of our design thinking. We wanted to give the organization its own authentic identity so when you arrived, you’d know it. And you’d be curious and want to know more.

Senior designer Kevin Consales and developer Chris Grau did an amazing job. Our clients, and their clients, are thrilled. Feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. Here’s a quote from one of Ping’s latest emails:

Thanks, Josh, for your brilliance!!!  I think it will continue to blow people away and exactly meets the goals I set for the site. Thank you.

UCLArts and Healing is an organization with real vision and a powerful sense of purpose. We’re happy to have helped them further their good work.

Oooooh, baby! A new catalog for Lambs & Ivy.

This company lives and breathes babies. They’ve spent the last 30+ years crafting everything for the nursery — from bedding to accessories, from lamps to mobiles — and have earned a place as one of the most respected brands in their category.

We’ve worked with partners Cathy Ravdin and Barbara Laiken-Adams on special projects almost since they started the company, designing their brand identity, new lines of packaging, advertising and collateral material. We even created a couple of characters for their bedding lines along the way.

Each year, they do a thematic push for the ABC Kids Expo,including an ad campaign, trade booth graphics and a mini-catalog to show off all their latest goodies.

We produced their show ad campaign again this year, and a variant of it for their catalog. Soft and sweet, this charming cover image is designed to appeal to retail buyers and to closely identify the Lambs & Ivy brand with the gentle wonder of a newborn exploring her world.

A night of dramatic madness

A Night of Madness Poster

Who gets to decide if a person is crazy? Do some people just happen to see the world in a different way than we do? What if they’re only a little crazy? Why is it always so important to us to “cure” them, to bring them back to the standard worldview?

These are the issues that director Kate Soller seeks to explore in A Night of Madness, which opens November 4 at Santa Monica High School’s Humanities Center Theatre. For her first production as Samohi’s new drama instructor, Soller is excerpting scenes from Ken Kesey‘s brilliant One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest and Mary Chase‘s wry comedy Harvey with its six-foot tall invisible rabbit.

As regular readers of this blog know, I’ve been creating posters for Samohi’s plays and musicals for the past three years. (My son’s been in most of them, which, of course, is how I got hooked.) These are the kinds of projects we designers love: tight constraints, sure, but also lots of freedom to find interesting solutions, and an end result that has a positive impact — in this case, on the program, on the school and on the community it serves.

I really like this one. Hope you do, too.

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