The beauty of being more or less snowed in at the moment is that we’re catching up on a few things like posting about the wedding materials (save the date card, invitation and program) we did for Geoff Carlson and Tina Swanson. The beauty of posting about it is that we are reminded of that lovely, warm afternoon in the upper peninsula of Michigan surrounded by the trees that served as a big part of the inspiration for our design. Working on the design was a tremendous pleasure; as was the wedding itself and we were delighted to be a part of both. More images are available in the graphic design section of our portfolio site.
The RedBlackBrown Collective 2011 screen printed calendar is on sale now. This is our third annual, hand-made, limited edition calendar so we can reasonably call it a tradition. Once again we’ve proven a heady mixture of six designers and 12 fortune cookies is a powder keg of creative possibility. The calendar is featured on notcot.org, materialicio.us and benign objects so we’re hopeful this year’s edition of 100 will sell out as quickly as last year’s. Visit the RedBlackBrown shop to order and for additional photos including the designs by Bill Burns, Jessica Hall Burns, Peet Fetsch, Zara Gonzalez Hoang and Colleen Meyer. This year I designed the covers and the months of February and July shown below.
When you work for a big agency you sort of have to take the projects that come your way but it has been really exciting to be steering BrainstormOverload in directions of personal interest. Recently we’ve been working on projects in the cycling, athletic, landscape architecture/urban planning and environmental arenas.
This recently completed project for Automated Logic Corporation falls into the last category. It runs as a kiosk rather than online and it’s the first design work we’ve done for delivery on high definition screens (1080p) which was interesting – also the first touch screen design which was even more interesting. This application called Eco-Screen (built in Flex by Creed Interactive) will be displayed nationally in the energy efficient and LEED certified buildings in which ALC installs super efficient environmental controls.
We were striving for a sophisticated skin that would look and function in a cool way while on display in these high-tech lobbies. Inspired by the iPhone GUI everything is very tactile and dynamic. Modules respond to user input and the graphs are all generated from live data about each building’s energy usage. Layers of each graph can also be turned on and off by the user. This project got even more interesting when the first installation turned out to be a grade school in Texas requiring a skin that is much more icon driven (screens 4 and 5). The entire project was an exciting challenge and ALC was terrific to work with so we wanted to share the results.
It’s hard to believe after almost 20 years of designing and over 35 years of cycling that nary the two have met. Needless to say, when the agency Lindsay, Stone and Briggs (LSB) based in Madison, WI contacted me to design the new website for Saris I was elated. Saris makes racks for consumers as well as parking and storage solutions for institutional clients. LSB and Saris have been wonderful to work with. The new (and if I do say so myself) improved saris.com has just launched and while few designs survive development unscathed I’m still as excited as when we began and eager for the next cycling+design combination.
Actually, I guess I’ve started the next one by volunteering to help the Saint Paul Bicycle Coalition with a logo and website as we work to make Saint Paul as cycle friendly as Minneapolis (We’re way behind Minneapolis but I guess that’s why they aren’t called the Identical Twin Cities.) More on SPBC soon.
Earthday is the perfect day to launch a new site for Minnesota Waters, an organization dedicated to helping citizens protect and preserve the abundant lakes and rivers in Minnesota. in partnership with Creed Interactive we’ve created a site that includes an events calendar, publications, trainings and a forum, as well as, providing a template and hosting so each lake or river group can have its own website. If a group already has a site they can be linked to from Minnesota Waters as the organization pursues its goal of being the most comprehensive directory of lake and river advocacy.
If you live near a body of water (and if you live in Minnesota chances are that you live by several) check out the directory and see if you can volunteer a little of your time or talent to help. If you’re an interactive designer and don’t see your favorite body of water listed that may be the perfect chance to have a large impact while you live the Earthday goal which (as I’m sure you are aware) is to make everyday Earthday.
Spring is the perfect time to be working on the design of the printed materials for another wedding. My brother-in-law Geoff and his lovely fiancee Tina were inspired in part by Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree and in part by the forested landscape of the upper peninsula of Michigan where the wedding will take place. One of the ideas behind the design is to play with the perception of a single (albeit abstracted) tree form and a grouping of trees that represent the way family and friends grow together and merge as a result of the union of the couple. The save the date card is being printed now but through the miracle of the interwebs you actually get to see if before the guests.
I recently had the opportunity to do some illustrations for Allina Hospitals (specifically Unity and Mercy in Anoka County) to support a book they are producing. The book provides guidance to adults who are newly diagnosed with cancer with strategies and understand to aid them in talking about their condition with the children in there lives. As such I hope you never get to see this book – I wish no one needed to. But I’m glad to have contributed a little to helping those in such a difficult situation.
In the illustrations the idea of the cancer present in a loved one is represented by the elephant while the child is represented by the mouse. The flower offered by the elephant is eventually accepted by the mouse as the series progresses and symbolizes an acceptance of the idea of the cancer which leads to an ability to begin to understand it. At first the mouse does not want to let the elephant into its life. Once it does it is confused by its nature. As the two attempt to come to terms they grapple with barriers to understanding but eventually persistence pays off and a relationship is possible. So, a happy ending at least.
The new BrainstormOverload website is live at long last. Thanks to the tremendous efforts of developer Colin Petit for coding it up and figuring out all the java script madness and to my brother Jeff for early experiments with the navigation. It is amazing how complicated it is to make the interface so simple. There are one or two wrinkles to work out like integration with IE 6.0 and 7.0. But seriously you should not be using those crummy browsers anyway. Upgrade to Firefox or Chrome so you can start experiencing the internet the way we’ve actually designed it.