Archive for May, 2009

Yesterday, Saturday morning, I woke up early and completely tore up a little three-fold brochure I designed last week. Two colors (didn’t need to be, since it was going to be printed digitally — I planned it that way), kind of a cornball Dean-Martin-swingin’ bold script, combined with a nice, clean sans serif for the main information. Not at all my usual style, but I liked it for its straightforward, ‘Fifties vibe, and, though I wasn’t totally crazy about it, it had a certain appealing consistency and rhythm of its own. It was okay, you know,  and since this was a “quick turnaround” thing, a “no big deal” thing, a “let’s get it to the printer, this is an emergency” thing, I dashed it off and delivered the PDF to my clients in record time. They LOVED IT…and then decided it really had to have some pictures.

Uhh. What most non-designers don’t know is that once a design is close to being finished, it is just about impossible to add unplanned-for elements and have it retain any of its original integrity. So, dutifully, and knowing this, I stuck in the tiny photos and it was, predictably, terrible. I could not let it go out that way. No way. NOOOO way!! That is why six a.m. Saturday found me excitedly redesigning it from scratch.

The good news is, it’s a lot better than the first one, actually, and it has pictures and it’s not going to be a smirch on my design reputation…and the clients like it way better too. I feel much relieved and much happier all around.

In spite of the happy ending, this episode reminded me of the hilarious  YouTube video about what if a corporation were trying to redesign the Stop Sign — http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xwqPYeTSYng–

If you are a designer, you will totally die laughing. It’s our life! But it also makes me curious about this process. It’s almost as if the design, be it a new logo, a flyer, an ad or total redesign of an identity, wants to be a certain way. It’s the designer’s job to find the path to it. There is this interior exploration on the designer’s part to understand and “get” the spirit of the company or client, the intention, the vibe, and translate that so it becomes a truthful, emotional depiction of it, visually. In truth, there are infinite possibilities available, but there is only ONE that will be chosen. This means that every comp the designer delivers needs to be GOLD. The designer ethically must believe in every iteration, because the client could chose any one, and if he chooses the one Ms. Designer threw in as bait, she is sunk. She is saddled with a smirch on her reputation.

Yep, every design concept is completely, absorbingly crucial. It takes hours and hours of creative digging and fooling around and playing and going back and forth, tons of experience and study and knowledge of typography and placement. I have been learning these things for thirty-five years of so now and I still feel such angst over design, such elation when I hit on something that really “sings.”

Hardly anyone but another designer knows the creative tussling this requires. So when a designer delivers something, there is usually a lot of love in it, to tell you the truth. We fall in love with our work, unfortunately, and that is possibly a bad mistake, but a natural piece of creativity too. In a sort of woowoo context, designers are mediums…artistic witches interpreting the clients’ hopes, and passing them through the filter of our own aesthetics and skills, to come out with an ineffable something that does its job with elan and grace. We aim to please, but get our own volition involved in there too.

Graphic Design is a crazy mystery. We love the process and the struggle. We love the work itself, and we love the clients too, almost all of them.


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Tara took these gogeous photos and put them up on her blog where she wrote:

Wow. Check out my new business cards. I am so in love with them! I recently saw the work of Zida over at Studio-Z, and the minute I saw her work in a few places, I knew I had to have them for my branding and my business. I love stationary and these cards just scream elegance, seriousness, and a whole new level of sophistication. From the moment I started speaking with Zida and her team I was impressed with their customer service and how she just ‘got’ my brand and my idea for a card. I am so excited to be able to give these cards out to my clients, peers, future clients and anyone else. It is a great representation of me and my business. The feel of these cards is like none other – the paper is so thick and textured it makes you stop a second and think about what you are holding, and therefore the brand that it represents. I take my business and photography seriously, and these cards further that ideal. Next time you see me, ask for one of my newly minted cards because I want you to feel these in your hands and love them too.  A million thanks Zida!

Thanks! Please see Tara’s work at her lovely blog.

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Beachcomber-Stryker-Ad-2009We have been working with the amazing Pam Amante, owner of the Beachcomber Motel On the Beach, in Fort Bragg, California. We designed a full page ad for the new Visitor’s Guide that will be coming out in our area soon, and rack card for her beach front lodging. This all started because she stopped by to chat one day while on a walk. When she showed Zida her business cards, Zida rather bluntly said, Oh, maybe you need a new logo! Pam, never having given this a single minute of thought before, started looking at other things we have designed and printed and got very intrigued, and suddenly we were working on a bunch of new fabulous things for her. In the process of working on her business cards, her rack card, her new stationery and envelopes, and other ads, Zida and Pam have decided that they are actually “sisters.” “We love each other!” It’s so much fun to work with Pam because she just GETS IT. “I love the ad so much…I almost cried…I should say it moved me to tears of happiness! Thank you so much. I love it, love it, love it!!!!!!!” (7 exclamation marks!) When she picked up her business cards she said the most classic thing ever: “I just never knew these business cards could make me so HAPPY!

Zida’s notes: The thing I go for when designing ads or new logos or anything, really, is something called “fittingness.” I want the layout, typefaces, images or photos, colors and overall  mood to visually express the soul of the person or business I am working for. Pam’s motel is breezy, easy, fun, relaxed and in the most enviable location you can imagine, steps away from the headlands and beaches, just north of Fort Bragg. Her foil stamped “Swoosh” talks about the waves and breezes that play around her place every day. The motel has been in her family for generations and she and her brother Bob have updated and upgraded it to be a place where people come, and come back again over the years, bringing their children and families, friends and relations. It is very special, just like Pam.

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The photos Kim Ashford from AK Photography sent to us document clearly what she got with her new business cards! LOOK HOW THICK. WOWIE! Her bold logo was printed and deeply impressed into Cranes Lettra 600 gram paper; the cards are 2.5 inches square. Included along with the fabulous photos Ms. Ashford took of the finished product, was an email saying, “I want you to know how much I appreciate your hard work on these. I love them and so does every person that has the privilege of having one : )  I have received so many compliments.” She also ordered matching script cards and square flapped Cranes Crest envelopes. Stop-you-in-your-tracks business cards and thank you stationery that carries the branding forward demonstrate the difference between one photographer and another. In the wedding industry there is nothing like the power of great letterpress printing to say, “I GET IT. These are the details that count.” Please go see Kim’s work on her clean and lovely website. Her artist’s eye and photography work are amazing.

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image002We agree with Michael Smith’s assessment of his new cards…they’re rockin’! Check out his excellent review of these beautiful, classic, square cards here. Take a look at his wedding photography while you are there. We printed these black and white cards on 600 gram stock, making for cards as thick as crackers. 

He also built a tiny box out of his cards (see below), proving the many uses of thick letterpress business cards! Building material, marketing tool, etc.



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