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VANCOUVER

A while back I wrote this post lamenting the demise of the CD package as a graphic design and branding opportunity, and reminisced about my younger days spent attempting to be a rock star. At the time I typed that article, it had been years since I last played in a band, and I assumed that time in my life was long over. It’s funny how things change… a situation came up where I was coerced once again into joining a band. I had more free time to accommodate a weekly practice schedule, and I honestly didn’t realize how much I missed playing live music until I picked it up again. Aside from having some rusty musical chops, things fell into place fairly quickly. Although most of the local Vancouver venues I used to play at are long gone, it has been surprisingly easy to land gigs, and the “new” band has had the opportunity to play some great shows. A side-effect of my rekindled musical side-project has been the chance to do some fun, freewheeling design projects, without constraints or restrictions (aside from zero budget). Although few bands produce CDs nowadays, or even much in the way of physical gig posters anymore, there is still a large amount of material that needs to be considered for a band’s image. “Branding” is one of the few ways that can help you stand out in an oversaturated market, especially when the internet allows anyone to distribute their own tunes and enables everyone to be famous (seriously, the top career choice for 90% of kids under 12 is “YouTube Star”).

I’ve had a lot of fun developing the look of the band; Woodshed Supply Company… mainly for myself and my bandmates (and it’s probably the main reason they keep me around). Capturing the visual essence to represent a sonic entertainment experience is a challenging undertaking. It is a problem that I have always enjoyed tackling, and one of the reasons I love collaborating on design projects with musicians. Going through the visual exercise for something as fluid (and personal) as a garage band has helped me to re-evaluate what a brand can be, and realize that nothing is set in stone. Especially for something as frivolous as an inconsequential musical project… even more so in today’s digital world where everything simultaneously lasts both forever and for only a fleeting moment.

See more of Woodshed Supply Company‘s material Here.

Roxy Jan2017

custom design band Ts

merchandise

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The awesome wordmark that we designed for the launch of the tiny, Kappo-style KOZAKURA restaurant in Gastown, approximately thirteen months ago, is not long for this world. Kozakura is set to close after tomorrow (April 22). Chief William Robitaille; “We’ve found that while the concept is sound, a different idea would work best at our 280 Carrall Street location in Gastown, so I’ve decided to change things up.”

Keep your eyes open for how we help rebrand the restaurant’s new concept.

 

logo design

restaurant branding

custom typography

signage design

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Pennants of Canada produces custom, vintage inspired felt pennants. Manufactured in Canada, they work with some of our country’s best artists to produce their designs.

Initiated by Bob Kronbauer, founder of the Vancouver Is Awesome network, Pennants of Canada is all about celebrating the people, places and things that make us all proud to be Canadian. Bob stumbled across our Adanac icon font and immediately knew that it was a great fit with what he was striving for with his new venture. We agree! We couldn’t be happier to be involved with Pennants of Canada and are aiming to release more designs with them in the near future. In the meantime, this Adanac Pennant is the perfect gift for the Canadians on your holiday list.

Canadian pennant pennants

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The exhibit the we spent the summer designing; Vancouver in the Seventies, is now on display at the Museum of Vancouver.  The exhibit features ’70s artefacts from the Museum’s collection, and is bursting with over 400 photographic gems from the Vancouver Sun newspaper collection. The images are organized around themes of protesting, building, performing, being, and playing in Vancouver.

Open to the public from Thursday, October 13, 2016 to Sunday, February 26, 2017. We would be very honoured if you visited before it closes forever.

UPDATE: Now held over by popular demand until July 16, 2017!

Entrance Poster 2

Vancouver exhibit design

photo exhibit design

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The Exhibit we recently designed for for the West Vancouver Museum opened this past weekend. From The Inside Out explores the legacy of several influential artists and architects by showcasing their extraordinary projects alongside artworks and photographs that capture their new forms of architecture and design.

Included in the exhibition are architectural projects by Ned Pratt, B.C. Binning, Fred Hollingsworth, Arthur Erickson, Bruno Freschi, and Zoltan Kiss, as well as works by Jack Shadbolt, Gordon Smith, Bill Reid, Len Norris, Egon Eppich, Wayne Ngan, Kawai Kanjiro, and Shoji Hamada, and furniture designed by Ned Pratt, Fred Hollingsworth, and Francisco Kripacz.

It runs throughout the summer until August 29th. Don’t miss out!

UPDATE: Now extended until September 19th, 2015!

photos courtesy of urbanpictures.com

FromInsideOut (2)

FromInsideOut (6)

FromInsideOut (5)

FromInsideOut (3)

FromInsideOut (7)

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It is the rainy season here in Vancouver. This past week has seen a huge amount of water drop from the sky. Whenever the rains are heavy, the manhole cover in front of my home rattles away loudly, sometimes even waking me up in the middle of the night. I have even stood on top of that slab of iron, feeling the power of the storm waters forcing their way upwards, threatening to push the metal circle from its setting.
 All the rattling over the past few days reminded me of the artwork that Sue and I submitted for the Ironclad Art contest that the City of Vancouver ran many months ago, in order to find new artwork for the municipalities’ storm and sewer covers.

I know that plenty of professional graphic designers have issues surrounding the logistics and ethics involved with procuring design services via “contests”. Many designers won’t enter a contest just to issue a statement. Just look at the tempest in a teapot the federal government has stirred up with their Canada 150 Logo Design Contest.

Sue and I discussed the merits of entering the Ironclad Art contest, and we both came to the same conclusion… “Let’s go for it”. We were not all that busy in the studio at the time, and it sounded like fun. At least this “contest” had some form of limited design brief, and guidelines for what the City was looking for. The allure of having our design cast in metal and publicly displayed throughout the city for decades to come was very appealing. We knew our chances of being chosen were slim, but the opportunity to design something as esoteric as a manhole cover was to great to pass up.

Looking back on our designs months later with fresh eyes, I think they turned out really well. Although our submissions were not chosen to be produced, Sue’s squirrel design was short listed.

… and we were right, it was fun.

 

manholes-01

manholes-02

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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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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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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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