We’ve incorporated our blog into our new website. Same unique combination of posts about chocolate and bicycles, design and architecture but in a shiny new wrapper: brainstormoverload.com/blog We hope you’ll drop by and linger as long as you like.
The beauty of being more or less snowed in at the moment is that we’re catching up on a few things like posting about the wedding materials (save the date card, invitation and program) we did for Geoff Carlson and Tina Swanson. The beauty of posting about it is that we are reminded of that lovely, warm afternoon in the upper peninsula of Michigan surrounded by the trees that served as a big part of the inspiration for our design. Working on the design was a tremendous pleasure; as was the wedding itself and we were delighted to be a part of both. More images are available in the graphic design section of our portfolio site.
The RedBlackBrown Collective 2011 screen printed calendar is on sale now. This is our third annual, hand-made, limited edition calendar so we can reasonably call it a tradition. Once again we’ve proven a heady mixture of six designers and 12 fortune cookies is a powder keg of creative possibility. The calendar is featured on notcot.org, materialicio.us and benign objects so we’re hopeful this year’s edition of 100 will sell out as quickly as last year’s. Visit the RedBlackBrown shop to order and for additional photos including the designs by Todd Zerger Bill Burns, Jessica Hall Burns, Peet Fetsch, Zara Gonzalez Hoang and Colleen Meyer. This year I designed the covers and the months of February and July shown below.
When you work for a big agency you sort of have to take the projects that come your way but it has been really exciting to be steering BrainstormOverload in directions of personal interest. Recently we’ve been working on projects in the cycling, athletic, landscape architecture/urban planning and environmental arenas.
This recently completed project for Automated Logic Corporation falls into the last category. It runs as a kiosk rather than online and it’s the first design work we’ve done for delivery on high definition screens (1080p) which was interesting – also the first touch screen design which was even more interesting. This application called Eco-Screen (built in Flex by Creed Interactive) will be displayed nationally in the energy efficient and LEED certified buildings in which ALC installs super efficient environmental controls.
We were striving for a sophisticated skin that would look and function in a cool way while on display in these high-tech lobbies. Inspired by the iPhone GUI everything is very tactile and dynamic. Modules respond to user input and the graphs are all generated from live data about each building’s energy usage. Layers of each graph can also be turned on and off by the user. This project got even more interesting when the first installation turned out to be a grade school in Texas requiring a skin that is much more icon driven (screens 4 and 5). The entire project was an exciting challenge and ALC was terrific to work with so we wanted to share the results.
Cindy and I have been volunteering with the Saint Paul Bicycle Coalition (SPBC) to help make Saint Paul a more cycle friendly city. We’re both delighted to be able to contribute something beyond our voices at meetings. You’ve already seen Cindy’s terrific visualizations for the Saint Paul Greenway which we hope some day will connect to the Minneapolis Greenway. It is our hope that our logo design will help rally cyclists to the cause. More information is available on the Facebook page with even more coming on the soon to be launched website.
The logo is a 17 tooth cog representing the 17 District Councils in Saint Paul and is portrayed in hot colors with asymmetrical details to convey the coalitions energy. I chose the cog because it is a distinct part of every bicycle from fixie to recumbent. Certainly the wheel is also a universal component and very emblematic of cycling but it is the cog that translates the rider’s energy into forward motion. In this way it is the perfect symbol for the SPBC as we turn the energy of passionate advocates into forward progress. We hope you’ll join us or join your own local cycling advocacy group. Each person can really make a difference.
I created several alternate configurations to help ensure consistent application by the variety of volunteers needing to satisfy an equal variety of marketing opportunities. Single color and solid versions are also in the works for things like silkscreen applications. Special thanks to Andy Singer and Matt Cole for their insights and advice.
It’s hard to believe after almost 20 years of designing and over 35 years of cycling that nary the two have met. Needless to say, when the agency Lindsay, Stone and Briggs (LSB) based in Madison, WI contacted me to design the new website for Saris I was elated. Saris makes racks for consumers as well as parking and storage solutions for institutional clients. LSB and Saris have been wonderful to work with. The new (and if I do say so myself) improved saris.com has just launched and while few designs survive development unscathed I’m still as excited as when we began and eager for the next cycling+design combination.
Actually, I guess I’ve started the next one by volunteering to help the Saint Paul Bicycle Coalition with a logo and website as we work to make Saint Paul as cycle friendly as Minneapolis (We’re way behind Minneapolis but I guess that’s why they aren’t called the Identical Twin Cities.) More on SPBC soon.
Earthday is the perfect day to launch a new site for Minnesota Waters, an organization dedicated to helping citizens protect and preserve the abundant lakes and rivers in Minnesota. in partnership with Creed Interactive we’ve created a site that includes an events calendar, publications, trainings and a forum, as well as, providing a template and hosting so each lake or river group can have its own website. If a group already has a site they can be linked to from Minnesota Waters as the organization pursues its goal of being the most comprehensive directory of lake and river advocacy.
If you live near a body of water (and if you live in Minnesota chances are that you live by several) check out the directory and see if you can volunteer a little of your time or talent to help. If you’re an interactive designer and don’t see your favorite body of water listed that may be the perfect chance to have a large impact while you live the Earthday goal which (as I’m sure you are aware) is to make everyday Earthday.
Spring is the perfect time to be working on the design of the printed materials for another wedding. My brother-in-law Geoff and his lovely fiancee Tina were inspired in part by Shel Silverstein’s The Giving Tree and in part by the forested landscape of the upper peninsula of Michigan where the wedding will take place. One of the ideas behind the design is to play with the perception of a single (albeit abstracted) tree form and a grouping of trees that represent the way family and friends grow together and merge as a result of the union of the couple. The save the date card is being printed now but through the miracle of the interwebs you actually get to see if before the guests.
I recently had the opportunity to do some illustrations for Allina Hospitals (specifically Unity and Mercy in Anoka County) to support a book they are producing. The book provides guidance to adults who are newly diagnosed with cancer with strategies and understand to aid them in talking about their condition with the children in there lives. As such I hope you never get to see this book – I wish no one needed to. But I’m glad to have contributed a little to helping those in such a difficult situation.
In the illustrations the idea of the cancer present in a loved one is represented by the elephant while the child is represented by the mouse. The flower offered by the elephant is eventually accepted by the mouse as the series progresses and symbolizes an acceptance of the idea of the cancer which leads to an ability to begin to understand it. At first the mouse does not want to let the elephant into its life. Once it does it is confused by its nature. As the two attempt to come to terms they grapple with barriers to understanding but eventually persistence pays off and a relationship is possible. So, a happy ending at least.
Winter Solstice has been celebrated by many cultures for many thousands of years. And why not – it’s a big deal. What better occasion to gather together and find comfort in our connections with friends and family than the longest night of the year? Modern life often finds us far from our relations which is why sending a card is such a nice tradition. The time it takes to create, write and subsequently read brings us closer to one another. Granted it’s not quite the same as an all night, star-gazing, bonfire amidst the megaliths but it’s a nice bit of ceremony none the less.
So, in an effort to celebrate connections with colleagues, friends and family I’ve created the third annual, limited edition, BrainstormOverload Winter Solstice Card. Since I can’t send one to everyone I’ve linked to a pdf version of the design here. It won’t have a personalized note that way but given how I’m inclined to go on perhaps that’s best.
In the design on the front of the card each season’s solstice (or equinox) is represented by two arcs. A gray one for night and a colored one for day – the length of each being determined by the number of hours of light or darkness translated into degrees of circumference around a circle where 360 degrees signifies 12 hours. Possibly more than you wanted to know but it underscores how everything in Nature is simultaneously beautiful and meaningful. I hope it will bring a little color and connection to your evening on December 21st and that 2010 is a beautiful and meaningful year.