Monday, December 13, 2010

A Humble God?

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Fargo Brewing Co.

Matt Charpentier (better known as Charpie) asked me to help him with a logo for his client. This mark was the result. Fun.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Did I mention you need to go to this event on January 13th?

Register here.

Calorie Conscience Icons

I was honored to be called into a nice project for a large weight loss campaign. Because of the wide variety of the subject matter, I tried to keep all of the marks with a strong circular feel using two consistent line widths.

Meet Mike

Here's a fun character I created for a long-term internal campaign. This guy was built as vector art so it can be used for print and animated web applications. Smart.


Coincidently, I've been asked by two different clients to create mainstreet illustrations.

Christian Comic Mastheads

Even though I'm not drawing comic books anymore, I've been asked to help a new company create some mastheads for their titles. The following are some recent designs with collaboration with Brad Thomas.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Tiger Logo

As I've posted before, I really like to create marks that cannot be considered "clip art" logos. To accomplish this, I try to incorporate the text with the icon to a degree that it becomes unique. Below is a logo I created for a corporate sales conference. The top logo was my initial design. However, the client wanted an even more condensed version so I built the bottom mark.

Even now, I'm not sure which works better.

Hawley High School Jazz

Keith Wander, my high school band teacher asked me to create a logo for his Jazz band. He actually wanted to use the old logo for a Moorhead State Jazz Band which I had created back in college but by now wasn't being used anymore. I couldn't remember it so he sent me a picture of an old jacket which had the mark (shown below).

As you can see, looking at early work can be a bit embarrassing... but I did like the concept. So, I created a new mark with the same idea that will be more legible and efficient.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Evoledesign January 13, 2011

If you are involved in the Minnesota design community, you simply must attend this event.

Go online and register now to secure your seat at a historical event. Some of the greatest movers and shakers of the Minnesota design scene will be in one place to discuss the history and future of graphic design in Minnesota. We will have Peter Seitz, the grandfather of design in MN, along with other pioneers like Tim Eaton, Tim Larsen and Eric Madsen. In addition, we've brought in other design superstars like Joe Duffy, Monica Little, Bill Thorburn and Phyllis Aragaki to talk about the evolution of design from the early years to today. Finally, the panelists will discuss the future of design with young guns, Travis Olson, Jason Rysavy and 3 design chairs, Bernard Canniffe, John DuFresne and Steven McCarthy. All of this will be moderated by Communication Arts' editor, Patrick Coyne.

If that isn't enough to bring you out on a cold night, do it for me. I've been working on this event for several months and it has been a labor of love.

Go to and click on the Evolvedesign link to find out more info and register today!

Hulk Poster

As many of you know, most of my clients are larger creative agencies. This means I often don't get to see the final product because I'm not handling the print or production. A long time ago I worked on a poster for Target that promoted their Hulk toys to coincide with the movie release. Just yesterday I received this image.

Pretty cool stuff.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Kingswood Logo

Here's a mark I created for a local camp/retreat center. Apparently, the king of England would brand trees in his forest reserved for royal purposes. I loved the branding idea and added the icon of an English cross that blossoms into the letter "K".

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Sandwich Board

As you know, I don't do a lot of traditional graphic design. Mostly I create logos, icons and illustrative designs for my clients. However, my friend Pat Skelly of BI needed some quick help with a sandwich board. Pat called me on a Monday to ask my availability. Content for the street posters trickled in throughout the week with the final image of Denise Austin coming in Thursday morning. I sent final art files Thursday Noon to Pat who had Kinkos print the posters in St. Louis on Friday for a Saturday event. Has anyone else noticed that the speed of business is getting faster and faster?

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Women's Ministry

Here's a logo I recently finished for my church.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Nash for MN Rep.

My friend, Jim Nash is running for the Republican nomination to compete for the MN state representative seat in district 34A. He asked my help for a logo years ago when he successfully ran for a seat on the Waconia city council. Now he's running for state representative. What's next? Govenor?

Seriously, Jim is a solid character. But I have yet to understand why people would want these thankless jobs...

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Writing on the Wall

Here's another t-shirt design for a Christian printer in the UK. I took some liberties with this story from the book of Daniel. (:

Friday, April 23, 2010

Target Field Ads

When you're visiting the new Minnesota Twins stadium, Target Field... be sure to flip over your program. I created the illustrations for a series of back cover ads (two are shown here) designed by InHouse art director, Jason Miller. I need to also mention that the in-house department at Target has really been creating some wonderful work since their inception. Much of it was noticed recently by AIGA Design Show judges and won cubes.

Blackwood Portfolio

A while back, I showed you the brochure I designed for Blackwood Management Group... and their crazy expensive business card. Well, they finally got their portfolios finished and this is where all of the pieces come together.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

LogoLounge 6

The winning logo designers for the new LogoLounge 6 book have been notified and I'm glad to say that 25 of my logos have been selected. Click on the image below to get a better look.

I was also a judge for the book along with Bart Crosby of Crosby Associates, Hans Hulsbosch of Hulsbosch, Jeannie Servaas of Saffron Brand Consultants Inc., Jessica Hische of Jessica Hische, Marius Ursache of Grapefruit, Silvio Giorgi of Latinbrand, and Tessa Westermeyer of Landor.

Judging wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. Since 34,000 logos were entered for consideration, it was a marathon process. I found it difficult to keep my criteria for judging consistent throughout the whole process. At each session, I would start out giving positive grades liberally. As the hours dragged on, I became more and more cynical. The inconsistency made me go back several times to correct previous grades which prolonged the process even more. Even so, I was honored to be selected as a judge and feel I did my best at grading a very impressive body of work.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Fellow Awards & 2010 MN AIGA Show

Prior to the big MN AIGA Design Show, dozens of people gathered to watch MN AIGA give out 3 more Fellow awards. Joe Duffy, Sue Crolick and Eric Madson now join the previous award winners, Tim Larsen and Peter Seitz... both in attendance. I tried to capture some of the attendees in photos.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Psalms 119:105

Here's a fun t-shirt design for a UK company.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Winsted Arts Council

I live in a small town west of Minneapolis. It historically has been a farm town. It is still very much a farm town but has in recent years grown with housing developments making it something of a bedroom community for the Twin Cities.

A group of local artists have joined together to create a Winsted Arts Council to foster the local art scene. The plan is to refurbish an old creamery in town to house exhibitions and create a meeting space for the arts. I was asked to design a logo for the new organization.

This idea of using a cow (representing our rural location and the creamery) with different spots to represent different arts was settled upon in a brainstorming meeting almost immediately. This could be the easiest logo I've ever worked on.

Final Freshwater Logo

Churches are the worst kind of business to work for. They need to act like a corporation in many ways, but even if they have some structure like a company, there isn't the culture of corporate America.

I was tapped a long time ago to redesign my church's logo. To get a consensus, a committee was formed. After perhaps a dozen different logos, the project was shelved because no one could agree. Finally the pastor stepped in and we pushed through the logo below... which is really just an advancement on the old logo.

If this story sounds familiar, it is because this type of thing happens all of the time... not just in churches but in companies large and small. The reason is employees/executives all have different ideas on what the organization is and/or where they are going. My friend Jonathan Wiese of 3.2.1 helps companies define their brand so decisions at every level can be made confidently and quickly. Not long ago I worked on his church's logo (Westwood Lutheran Church) and the process was completely efficient and effective. I can't recommend Jonathan's process enough.

Banana Cabana

Here's a snapshot of an image I recently finished. I would love to be one of those bananas right now.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Fiskum Law Office Website

When I moved my office to the Carlson 601 tower, I made friends quickly with Dan Fiskum. He's a divorce lawyer. Now don't get the wrong idea. (: Dan and I shared a joy for strategic branding and lunches downstairs in the cafeteria.

Early on, Dan asked me to help him with his website. Not wanting to spend much time with it, I created a nice site that was visually appealing and easy to navigate... and it nearly ruined his business!

Apparently much of his client base finds him through Google searches. He advertises through Google and his new site was not even remotely Google friendly. Upon learning this we went back to the drawing board and put some real time into rethinking not only his site design but more importantly, his brand and marketing strategy. It was a fascinating journey charting a new course for his business. When we were ready, we moved forward with the new site design with the help of a Google optimization expert. I can't say enough how valuable it is to build on sound research and strategy. It was even surprising to me to see how quickly Dan's business has moved forward in the direction he wanted because of the time spent on brand strengthening and strategy.

Below is the design I delivered for the home page. The final execution at is not what I had hoped for from the web programmer, but that's another story all together. (:

Martyrs Masthead

I've been out of Christian comic publishing for a while now, but when Ken Raney of came a calling, I picked up the phone... mostly because he was a paying customer (not very common in Christian comics).

Ken needed a masthead for a 4-issue series on Christian martyrs down through the ages. I created the mark shown below at the top, which was turned down for a more logotype treatment. I then offered the versions below that. Even so, the powers-that-be at Clash wanted a strict type treatment with no embellishments to fit their other series. Not all projects work out the way we hope for, but I was encouraged to work with Clash. Please visit their website and check out their new ventures.

Treasure Map

Beth Louma of BI needed an illustration of a treasure map for her client's internal sales incentive program. I created the image below which the client loved. The final file was for a 4' x 6' poster. My poor G5 delivered the huge layered file, but it didn't like it. (:

Lack of Posts

Please forgive me for not posting since last December. No, I haven't gone off the grid. Thankfully, I've been very busy which in this economy is a honest-to-goodness miracle.

Over Christmas and the new year, I had some time off to think over my business. Globalization and technology has changed the design business. The recession hasn't helped either and the world as I've known it over the last 20+ years has changed for good. If anyone is still hoping that business will return to "business as usual" is in denial.

Logos can now be acquired on the internet for $200 and less. I actually think this service is a good thing. Many clients need a nice-looking $200 logo that will get them to market quickly and economically. These clients are not my clients but none the less, I can see the writing on the wall. Some design is now a commodity. To be relevant in this new economy we need to add value beyond execution... we need to innovate.

So, I'm making big changes to my business and will share some news on that when some details are finalized. Until then, thanks for your patience and I'll be posting some images later today.

Monday, January 4, 2010

ArmorQuest Free On-line

I was recently reminded that the ArmorQuest graphic novels I created with writer Ben Avery, editor Bud Rogers and colorist Brian Miller, are free to view online at

The site cut up the art to fit better on a horizontal format so it looks different than the print version. But for those of you who liked the first ArmorQuest colored graphic novel and would like to see the unpublished volumes II and III... take a look. Did I mention it was free?