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.