We have had the fortune of working on a few design projects with Chef William Robitaille, and Notturno is probably our favourite. The tiny Italian restaurant was open for a year or two in Gastown (a few blocks from our studio), and when Bill got involved, he took the initiative to revamp the menu, the space, and the branding.

Boasting Vancouver’s best bartender (known only as “H”) and Chef Robitaille’s ever evolving menu of Italian-inspired plates that highlight seasonal, market-fresh local fare, you can’t go wrong with whatever you order. The small space doesn’t have a typical kitchen… everything is expertly prepared to order right in front of you, behind the bar. Inspired by the region of the menu, we developed a custom wordmark (in the “tuscan” style) to serve as the foundation for the rebrand, capturing not only the flavour of the food, but the atmosphere of the elegantly rustic black-and-white room.

We held our 10four Christmas party at Notturno last holiday season, and Bill definitely treated us right. Notturno is like a well kept secret, but we felt it only fair to share the rebrand that we produced to quietly re-launch this Gastown gem for Foodies “in-the-know”.

Notturno restaurant

vancouver restaurant branding

vancouver restaurant branding

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We had an incredibly busy summer. One of the projects that kept us from hitting the beach was From Rationing To Ravishing, an exhibit that we developed for The Museum of Vancouver. Opened last month, From Rationing To Ravishing is the follow up show to the extremely popular Art Deco Chic exhibit that we designed for MOV back in 2012. Guest curated by the charismatic duo of Ivan Sayers and Claus Jahnke, the exhibit traces the shifting Vancouver fashion landscape from wartime austerity to girlish glamour throughout the 40s and 50s. We are fortunate to have a fantastic relationship with the Museum… they trusted us to develop all elements of the brand for the show; everything from the entire exhibit and accompanying graphics, to the exhibit catalogue, to the marketing materials.

There are over 80 garments on display, accompanied by many accessories and other period pieces. Highlights include: wartime wedding dresses (one made from a parachute!), Boeing Vancouver overalls, cocktail dresses, and fashions designed by renowned European couturiers, including Christian Dior, Cristóbal Balenciaga, and Elsa Schiaparelli.

You really should go check it out (open until at least March, 2015), but until you do, we’ve got more photos for you here.
Also; an article in the Georgia Straight, a post on Vancouver is Awesome, Youtube clip from Go! Vancouver, and a CBC Radio interview with Ivan Sayers.

museum exhibit

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It is with great sadness that I report the passing of our good friend and studiomate Loki.

When Sue and I started 10four back in 2002, there was never a doubt that Loki would play a role in our new graphic design studio. Being your own boss has a few perks, and one of them is being able to bring your dog with you to work. Having Loki around in our office has always conveyed the kind of work environment we want to promote, and the casual, easy going attitude we express. Our clients enjoyed seeing her in our space and often asked about her on the days she stayed home. Even the mailman was happy to see her.

Over the last 12 years, we’ve moved the design office for 10four 3 times (four if you count moving offices within the same studio space), and every time Loki has had a desk to curl up under and a pillow in the corner. Last week I took that pillow home from the office for the last time, and it broke my heart.

Loki was with us from the start, and she will be missed… very, very much.

Loki

 

Loki_pup

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I’ve just wrapped up another photo shoot for Danica Studio’s Spring/Summer 2015 catalog. I had the pleasure of working with photographer Tanya Goehring again. Yay!

Looking back at some of the photos I styled a few years ago makes me cringe. I like to think I’ve learned a few things about composition, lighting and propping since then. In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ve discovered the perfect combination for a successful style shot: weathered background + old metal prop + product + moody lighting, as evident in the images below.

One of the highlights this season was making fake ice cream by mixing icing sugar, icing and food colouring.

Here’s a sneak peak of the no-melt ice cream, some before & after behind the scene images and a few of my favs.

 

no melt ice cream (try it!)

icecream

icecream1

icecream2

weathered background + old metal prop + product + moody lighting

icecreamfinal

folklore_bag2

before & after

mug1

mug2

sevenseas1

sevenseas2

hamper1

hamper2

hamperFL1

folklorebath2

a few of my favs

sevenseasDT

overhead

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A while ago we were approach by a small start-up to assist in the launch of their new line of CrossFit sports apparel. They had some early prototypes and a name; Darkhorse. We really liked the name, and we really liked the people involved (their excitement and energy was contagious), so we jumped onboard. Never having worked with designers before, they were not sure what to expect, but they enjoyed our collaborative design process and our graphic design presentations are always fun. By working closely with our client, we developed a mark and the beginnings of a brand that encapsulated the spirit of what their apparel line was about. All while meeting the mandate that the mark look kick-ass on tees, sweatshirts, hats and duffle bags.

Darkhorse just enabled the online ordering through their website. You should go get some new workout clothes… you’ll look better (and feel great) while you work up a sweat.

darkhorse

DuffelBlackWhiteLarge_5372_1024x1024gym bag photo courtesy of Darkhorse.

 

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Introducing; SONOVOVITCH! We dug this work-in-progress unicase typeface design out of the vaults; updated it, expanded it, added plenty of alternate glyphs, cyrillic language support and opentype features. Sonovovitch is a font packed with bold character and eastern European influenced flair.

Now released into the wild via MyFonts. Enjoy!

font design

custom typeface design

typography

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A few weeks back I did a quick trip from Vancouver to Los Angeles. It was a jammed packed, over-the-top four days, but I managed to find time to admire the typographic diversity and craftsmanship of the signage on display in the various neighbourhoods that I visited. Although I wasn’t enamoured with the local design offerings as I was when I visited the East Coast, there was still plenty to appreciate. In comparison to New York, Los Angeles is far more spread out and sprawling, so there is more distance to be covered to experience different signage opportunities. A great deal of the architecture is Art Deco and International inspired (at least in the neighbourhoods I spent my days), and the best environmental typography I found reflected that style. Neon was everywhere (which really fit with “LA”), along with the standard, mundane corporate light boxes. Not as prevalent as I would have expected, there was some “hand done” typography to be found. A somewhat unexpected surprise was a plethora of mosaic treatments. The light is unique in LA (maybe it is the smog?), and it gave the architecture and the accompanying signage a charming quality that is hard to describe.

Here are some samples of a few of my graphic design favourites;

LA signage - 09

Many more images from my field trip here…

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Vancouver Imagined; The Way We Weren’t is a fun little exhibit we designed for the MOV Space at the Museum of Vancouver. Created for Guest Curator Jason Vanderhill (of the awesome Illustrated Vancouver blog), the exhibit features 21 architectural and urban projects that were proposed, yet never realized in Vancouver.

At the Museum of Vancouver until at least May 11, 2014.

Vancouver Imagined 01

Vancouver Imagined 05

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One of the greatest thrills of playing and recording music is hearing your song being played on the radio. I’ll never forget the first time that happened to me, it took a good portion of the verse to go by before I realized that it was one of my band’s songs… pure magic. Once you release your “children” into the wild, you never know where they’ll turn up.

The same sort of thing happens with the graphic design work that comes out of our Vancouver studio. We are fortunate enough to work on projects that are often “released into the wild”, and are pleasantly surprised when we run into them. Sometimes we’ll be browsing the internet or walking through a store, when something familiar catches our eye. It might be a cushion, a rug, a T-shirt, or a typeface, but sure enough, it’s something we designed. There’s something secretly thrilling about other people unknowingly utilizing an object that you poured so much effort and craftsmanship into. When I run across one of our past undertakings, I instinctively want to grab the nearest person and proudly shout “I Made That”. Not that anyone cares. Other than our clients and colleagues, most people don’t appreciate the sweat and tears we put into the details. However, when we run across our work out in the “real world”, it is a small affirmation that we must be doing something right.

Here are some examples of recent findings of our work “in the wild”;

Urban_outfitters

westbeach

retail

Techno Organic

Fisher Price

Anthropologie

Gap

 

Apartment_Therapy

Adanac_font 1

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We are happy to announce the Planet Bam Bam project that we have been working on for the last few months has finally launched. Planet Bam Bam charms are collectible little characters that are sold in blind bags. 10four helped the team at Planet Bam Bam develop the initial branding, packaging, POP displays, website, and the first series of charms for the toys’ North American launch.

Product is finally being distributed to retail stores, and if you are lucky, you might be able to get a hold of some just in time for the holiday season. They make great stocking stuffers!

More photos here.

Planet Bam Bam packs

Paper-cut

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