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Archive for the ‘Logo Design’ Category

fullsizerenderFernando Crosara is a genius of fine upholstery. He learned his arcane craft with Italian master upholsterers and brings his most persnickety, perfectionist traditional talents to the US via his birthplace in Brazil. He can reupholster ANYTHING and make it new again. Better than new. He’s also the handsomest man in the world, just saying.

I felt lucky to get to make his new logo, which I completely love for its simplicity, modernity, and even if I do say so myself, cleverness. See what’s going on? A circle turns into a monogram C and D. Have I mentioned how very much I love designing monograms? LOVE.

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We chose to do digitally printed cards with a glossy finish to set off the chic black-and-white design. Less is more, less is more, less is more.

(The little spotted plate is by a local ceramicist whose last name I forgot. Her first name is Lizzie and I’m crazy about her work! You can find it at the Artists Coop in downtown Fort Bragg.)

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gold edge cardsMonica Wellington’s impossibly fabulous SPLENDIFEROUS women’s clothing boutique, on Fort Bragg’s most fashionista-friendly Laurel Street, needed a new business card. The last one I had designed for her was a little bit funky (thick kraft paper), a little bit swoozy (ultra-wild typesetting), and had served its purpose well for several years.

IMG_0478Super cute, right?

Now, almost out of the old ones, she wanted something to match the way Splendiferous! had evolved over the ensuing years, to 2016. Monica wanted to keep the dandelion puff we’d always used, and she still loved “Splendiferous” spelled with an exclamation point in place of that “i,” in the middle, but it needed a new, sleeker, chicer, more¬†uber interpretation that befit how the shop is now: Ultra-glorious.

2016 bc black front

Monica couldn’t make up her mind whether she loved white paper or black paper. Each gives off such a different vibe. So, of course, in line with my motto, If it’s worth doing, it’s worth OVER-doing: I printed her new designs on BOTH–half on white Cranes Lettra 600 gsm, and half on black super-thick, thick, thick, amazing Museum Mount papers, and then, of course, we gilded the lily…

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Oh, gee. What can you say? Gold, metallic edge gilding.

On the white paper, we used a pearlized white foil for the puff and on the black paper, we used gloss black foil for the puff. Everything else was in gold foil. Everything else was just, you know, splendiferous.

Here’s the back.

2016 bc back

Next time you are in Fort Bragg, you HAVE to go shopping there.

You can order YOUR over-the-top, gilded-lily business cards from Studio Z Mendocino whenever you’re ready for the Next Step. 707.964.2522. These cards are very expensive, it’s true ($1.70 each for 1000 — and no, getting 100 doesn’t work to lower the cost, those would be well over $5 each), but they are worth every cent for the astonishment these little pieces of art provoke in potential clients, the curiosity, and the perfectly fitting vibe. If you’re going to have an ambassador out in the world representing you, it had better be capable of the heavy lifting your high-end clientele expects.

2016 white front

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Bella Viva Business CardDeanne England, the incredibly talented interior designer and owner of Bella Viva Interior Design, called me one day out of the blue. She was surprised to learn that my studio is only an hour-and-a-half drive from her northern California office. She was looking for someone to design her new logo, business cards, stationery, etc., and had found my website and blog, liked what she’d discovered there, and suddenly we were chatting excitedly away like two old friends making plans.

As with all interior designers I have worked with, she had many, many ideas and concerns, and at the same time she was wonderfully open to my input. After establishing a mutual recognition and rapport, we hung up on a note of simply infinite possibilities as I zoomed into my favorite space: the trance of design. Where does that thing come from? How does it work? Honestly, it’s the biggest mystery, and I love it.

Bella Viva Business Card BackOne of my favorite parts of the work I get to do is designing monograms. It just knocks me out. For Deanne, I drew a lot of little doodles all over everything I saw for the next few days. I had envisioned something very crisp and modern, yet classical — but I did NOT envision what eventually emerged out of my doodles, not at all: A playful little “flower,” a nestled b and v, very hand-drawn looking. To tell you the truth, I was a little scared even to show it to Deanne because it was so far away from what we had talked about! But I got up my nerve and pushed the button anyway, because I really loved it. The worst that could happen was I would go back to the drawing board, right? So there it was, traveling to her via a brave little .pdf attachment. Fingers crossed, I awaited her response…

close up

And guess what: SHE loved it too. LOVED!

The next step was designing the typography, which came together so naturally. And then deciding on colors: Deanne was definite — seafoam green and gold foil. That too was surprising…and perfect. These incremental decisions have so much importance when you are in the designing mode, patiently moving toward a final product. Each tweak, each gradation of color, each space between each letter…all come to mean so much to how a logo lands on paper and in how it is perceived by prospective clients. Everything has to ‘speak’ of attention to detail, to beauty, to rhythm and proportion, and mood, and a million unnameable things that play into what finally happens. This is the beauty of design and the beauty of collaboration.

In the end, we printed up an entire Stationery Suite for Deanne, all by letterpress and all just so beautiful. It included the amazing business cards you see here, letterhead and #10 business envelopes, thank you notes and envelopes for those,

Folding Thank You Note mailing labels, great big black envelopes with personalized mailing labels for sending out samples and unfolded sheets of paper, and the amazing press kits, which required a LOT of very special techniques to make them work.

Bella Viva Press Kit FolderEverything but the folders was printed on our venerable Heidelberg Windmill presses, as always, by Rhea Rynearson, the best letterpress printer I have ever known (and you should know her too), using age-old knowledge, intuition, and deep reverence for this 500-year-old craft we keep alive every day at Studio Z Mendocino! We are so grateful to have clients like Deanne England, who understand the power that resides in great creative design and beautiful printing.Inside pocket of press kit folder

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Lynn Winter Edge Gilded Business Cards

Studio Z Mendocino is extremely pleased to announce that we are now able to offer mirror-like foil edge gilding for our business cards. We are extraordinarily happy to show you our first job featuring this insanely over-the-top adornment.Lynn Winter's Gold-Gilded Business CardsThe amazing creative genius Lynn Winter, recently returned to the Mendocino coast from Louisville, Kentucky, had never seen anything like our super-thick, black foil-stamped business cards. She loved them so much that she would require nothing less than to have me make her a new logo and put it on a bunch of cards, to properly commemorate her new life and new home. Over a glass of wine and a very long heart-to-heart-getting-to-know-you, I doodled this name-ish thing: Lynn…ULynn…Lynniverse…

Lynn Winter's New Logo

Which she loved. First thing. That’s how Lynn does things: she KNOWS; then she ACTS. So, OK. How fun…I told her how I would like to do it up, and, next day, made up the final layout, imagining it in two gleaming, unusual foil colors: celery and coral, stamped on 2.5-inch square, black cards. Done. Yes, she loved it. Then I told her about our newest embellishment option: gold or silver foil edge gilding. Yes. Do it. Sight unseen, she said yes, must have…gold…

Soooo…we did. And here it is. And she is just gasping around. Nobody can believe them. They are so incredible that I won’t even try to be modest. They just ARE incredible. As one of her friends just said, “I will just go on home now and frame this.”

Gold Foil Edge Gilding

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Bella Viva Business Card

Bella Viva Business Card — Seafoam green ink with gold foil stamping

Interior designer Deanne England recently contacted Studio Z Mendocino because she wanted a new look for her branding of her business, Bella Viva Interior Design, and a new business card. She found us online, and we were both surprised that we live and work only an hour-and-a-half from each other. From the first minute we talked, we knew there was a special spark in the quality of our communications. We “got” each other in the special way that makes you know things are going to be really exciting if you get to work together.

Deanne wanted something elegant that also showed her slightly quirky side too. We talked about the myriad possibilities, the infinity of choices doing any design project … and then I set to work over the weekend.

Right off the bat, I drew this little conundrum of a mark…a flower, maybe?…but if you look closely, you will see the initials “bV” for Bella Viva hidden in the leaves. She loved the mark, even before she saw the initials; then she loved the game of having to look and find the little mystery. She also was very clear that a “seafoam green” be included somehow. The card you see above is the result of our very flowing, mutual creativity.

If you have ever worked with interior designers, you know that there is no detail too small to suffer over until it’s perfect, and that is how we are about printing too. We got along like peas in a pod. Her meticulous attention to keeping things clear guided the project to its happy conclusion.

Ms. England works with clients in both northern & southern California on full scale remodeling & building projects, as well as design consultations in property investment evaluation, home staging analysis, professional organizing solutions, and even event design. Deanne is available by appointment only and welcomes all inquiries regarding her work, design philosophy, and design process. She can be contacted at 626 722 7809.

Deanne was immediately in love with the feel and look of Cranes 600 gram, super-thick Lettra, which takes the “bite” of letterpress techniques like nothing else, and feels wonderfully substantial in the hand.

Bella Viva Business Card Back

The backs of the cards had to be as pretty as the fronts, and they are.

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“We Just Got a Makeover” post card

Shortly after I opened my first shop, in November of 1984, Carol Hall moved her little restaurant in next door, in the north end of the old Coast Hotel. That was the first time I met her and it was plain love, right from the start. Those were lively days on Franklin Street, with the irresistible aroma of roux wafting out of her doors and into mine, driving us all mad with desire.

I had never even heard of pepper jelly before, and when i asked Carol what you are supposed to do with pepper jelly, she said, with her sparkly Louisiana accent, “Why I put it on my red beans and rice!” — like it was perfectly normal. Needless to say, I was a convert instantaneously. Sometimes we would just have a red-bean-and-rice attack around three o’clock, close the doors to my shop, and go over and beg.

Carol’s spicy New Orleans home cookin’ perfumed the street for blocks. Gumbo, jambalaya, andoille sausages…it was hard to pick one thing off the menu, once you had tried it all. Every single thing made you want to die from pleasure.

Lucky me…Carol asked me to make her logo when she started putting up pepper jellies to sell to the NOLA-starved throngs. I used a lead typeface i had bought from an old hobby printer, called Chic. I was just starting out on my own and everything was so exciting and fabulous. Sorry I don’t have any photos of that long-ago logo to post here.

Eventually, Carol moved over to a little shop on Main Street and called it by the same name, Carol Hall’s Hot Pepper Jelly Company. Her line of preserves grew and grew. And grew. By that time, she wanted the labels to reflect a more handmade character, so she had her husband Albert draw the label art that would last for years and years, with a darling, naive rendering of red and green peppers and vines.

Freshly jarred

She sold all kinds of jams and jellies there, mustards, chutneys, vinegars, and she brought in other products too, locally made wine jellies and salsas, interesting, food-related stuff, pottery, but the Red and Jalapeno Pepper Jellies, now joined by Ginger, Peach, Mango and Roasted Garlic Pepper Jellies, held their own, and still do to this day.

Fast forward: business was good, the name well-established, and many honors and awards had been bestowed on her scrumptious products.¬† Carol decided she wanted to slow down a bit. She had been working her tail off for a couple of decades. That’s when she passed most of the business to her daughter Leslie Hall.

The labels changed again when the Halls all sat down and together hammered out a really different look for their products that was a little more upscale. All the labels were on cream colored paper, with burgundy type, small gray drawings, accented with gold foil, and die cut in a distinctive shape. They were all the same color and the product name was a bit small to read from the aisle, but they lasted a long time too.

The storefront, too, was passed to a long-time employee, and now Leslie was just doing the wholesale end of things, with part-time help from Carol on bookkeeping and consulting. “Just” is the wrong word to use…Leslie figures she has made over a half-million jars of jam, jelly and preserves in the years she has womanned the stove.

Leslie is a dervish in the kitchen. She is so organized and fast that nobody can keep up with her. Four or five pots of various jams are bubbling away on the stove, she is sterilizing jars, cleaning up constantly, putting the labels on by hand, answering the phone incessantly, making plans for trade shows, and taking care of her granddaughter, all at the same time. I could go on but…

Well, finally we come to the actual point of this blog post: A few months ago, Carol and Leslie called me up and said they wanted me to redesign their branding, to spark it up with a more modern look. WoW! Was i ever happy to revisit this with them.

They had had a family meeting, without my being there, and talked about all the things they liked about past labels as well as what was not working. They knew they wanted an updated look, but it needed to keep that trademark handmade quality as well. With a lot of experience in redesigning labels (and a certain amount of dread — it’s really an upheaval, you know), they leafed through lots of clip art books, culling for that special wood engraving look they loved, thinking about typefaces, whether to use foil or ink, and etc., etc., and so on.

When I went over to the kitchen to meet with them, Leslie was all ready with a carefully drawn label on a jar to show me. She was pretty happy with it and wanted me to do something to adapt it a little bit — but she also said she wanted me to use my own imagination too… OK. I said, “You know, Leslie, this looks nice, but it has this wood engraving from what looks like the 1600s, of a woman wearing a snood, stirring a black pot over a fireplace. Umm…do you think it’s modern enough?”

I took the drawing away and lots of notes and ideas and went to work. Honestly, I don’t know how this happens, how i get these notions for designs. Really, I can’t even begin to figure it out. Something starts coming through, I play with type, colors, layouts…really I don’t know. The first thing that happened was, I made a square out of the long name, Carol Hall’s Hot Pepper Jelly Company. I tried a bunch of faces out. I got a little feeling about this. Something started to jell, as surely as a pot of bubbling plums and sugar starts to set up…

I took the idea over to Carol and Leslie to see how I was doing. At first, they were in shock. They didn’t know what to say. It was so different from their idea that they could hardly absorb it. They kind of had to push back against it. Then they started to look at it and think about it, warm up to it. Then they said a lot of stuff that I had not known about originally.

Number one thing: the word HOT is NOT a good selling point. People are often scared of HOT (I am not one of them). After thirty years of doing this business, they had a firm grasp of what did and did not work. HOT had always been problematic, and HOT was in the name of the company. In my first rendering, HOT was the biggest thing on the label.

OK, back to the drawing board with more notes and admonitions. As I said, this was jelling. The process, however it works, is always a back-and-forth, a conversation and a communication. I am a medium between what the clients want and what the logo wants to be. That is such a fun position to be in. Witchy!

After more messing around, I called them again, and went to meet with them, this time with a bigger concept. Each label would be a different color. All of them would have the product name in white letters on a black rectangle, with “HANDMADE” floating in a separate rectangle underneath. The “Hot Pepper Jelly Company” part of the name would only appear on the back of the label. The name Carol Hall was all that would be on the front. Each label would have the name of the contents in big enough letters to be read from an aisle. The colors would be vibrant and coordinated so they would look beautiful all together, or by themselves, or in a gift basket. Oh la la! They liked the idea more and more, warmed to it, and finally embraced it. It was thrilling, as exciting as the first time we worked together when I was brand new to having my own business and so was Carol.

Carol and Leslie went to work picking the color palette. I loaned them my Pantone ink books and they went on an exploration of colors, trying various hues on the various products to make sure the label looked good with the jam or mustard color, leafing through William Morris books in search of saturated, sophisticated combos, making sure that everything harmonized and popped.

At last, we put the whole thing together. Like this:

Cherry-Amaretto Jam label

Cherry-Amaretto Jam label

Carol Hall's Hot Pepper Jelly Company's products are Yumminess in a Jar

Carol Hall’s Hot Pepper Jelly Company’s products are Yumminess in a Jar

(The painting in the photo above is a portrait my friend Bob Ross did of me in the ’80s.)

So that is a kind of (not really “kind of”) lengthy synopsis of my relationship with Carol and Leslie Hall. A big, long love affair of mutual admiration and respect, with a happy ending. They love the twenty-six labels we have finished so far and they are getting rave reviews from most of their clients (some people can’t stand change, of course, but overall, it’s a home run), and orders are rolling in like crazy. We already had to order a reprint of some of the most popular items. This is the best news to me. That the labels are beautiful, exciting, popular…and, truly the acid test, effective.

If you are looking for really great presents for the holidays (with good looking packaging — wink, wink), I cannot give you better advice than to find Carol Hall’s Hot Pepper Jelly Company and buy a bunch for all your friends and yourself. As the seal I designed for the labels says “Still cookin’ — Small Batches — Family Owned — since 1985.” It’s an amazing product line that comes from an amazing family. Yummy in every way. I am so honored to have been given this assignment.jam group

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Dallas interior designer Sheryl Maas is best known for her perfect, inspired interiors, sleek lines, stylish furnishings and polished, contemporary combinations. She is one of Dallas’s top designers for both residential and commercial properties. We helped her decide on the name Maas Modern and designed her new logo, which, of course is very chic and simple and less-is-more, with sans serif font letterpressed in gold foil on super-thick black paper.

 

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