T3 Design

Short Circuit to Design

by on Apr.20, 2015, under T3 Wallpapers

Being an engineer, I love to combine the precision and function driven aspect of engineering based solution sets with the “form as function” aspect of art. I realized one day that I could use simple hobby electronic circuit design to create a rather unique T3 Logo project.

I started with the concept of the logo done in 3mm orange LEDs. After creating the layout I worked up a design for a Sequencing circuit using simple 4017 Decade Counters and some logic chips. The T3 LED logo had 22 rows and the circuit had 25, so I decided to make the rows blink in order from top to bottom and then flash all the LED twice with a pause between, then it starts over. I won’t bore you with all the details, but I had to restructure the board layout several times as new problems surfaced when I changed the plan, or in some cases failed to plan. The most significant revision resulted from not thinking through the power requirements. I had originally used a ground plane to connect ALL the LEDs to ground through a resistor. Long story short, each row has different numbers of LEDs and this would have resulted in each row being a different brightness. So, now each row has it’s own grounding resistor and there are isolating diodes so I can switch ALL the LED’s on (the battery will only last a minute if I do) and I added an external power supply (see battery problem just mentioned.)

I will need to order a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) and solder in all the devices and then take pictures of the finished card, but here are wallpapers of the schematic and the PCB Layout.


Circuit board order and arrived. My 4th son and I spent a good part of Friday night and some time Saturday morning populating the PCB and it works!

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Walking the Walk

by on Mar.05, 2015, under Misc

My father’s church, Western Hills Baptist Church, is thinking about rebranding. They want something more modern and shorter.

That was all I got to go on. As I looked into their congregation and location for clues I realized that their tag line, “Creating Biblical Disciples in Relational Environments,” was really about living out the principles of Christ’s love here on earth. In all fairness, I didn’t get that from the tag line which is too long and uses to many big words, I got it from Pastor Wells who is a friend of mine.

I combined that with the fact the while their address is on SW 44, they are on the corner of “Walker.” So I decided to float “The Walk” as a nickname with the legal name below. The more I thought about it, the better I liked it.

Oldwestern     newwestern

The original logo was a globe in red and green, so I used those colors, made the globe a little more abstract, but also cleaner, and made the “W” the focus. The “W” for Walk also can indicate Western. It is kind of clever.

I have no idea if they will use the idea or not, but I’m happy with the work I did.

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Putting the Pieces Together

by on Feb.18, 2015, under Misc

I love doing logo design. When someone has an idea I relish the challenge of creating a visual identity that people will link to the product or service. When the “client” says, “Wow” it is all worth it.

So, my best friend texted me recently, “Any chance you want to do a logo for me?” I replied, “Maybe. What for?” (I’m picky about what I work on. I say “client” because I never work for pay. I do this for fun. I do this to relax. I don’t work on things that don’t grab my interest and I don’t work for difficult or cranky people…) So he texted me back the general idea: basketball trainer, needs to grow client base, has opportunity to brand his program, maybe even create app and web site… So I said, “Ok. I’m in.”

One of the difficulties in design is the preexisting conditions (sometimes called “ideas”) that color the initial design work. You cannot ignore the client’s concepts and desires, but you have to guide the work product to better design and better concepts if you can.

Kam, the client, had a picture of a puzzle that was almost finished with an image of a basketball. He liked the puzzle piece concept as a metaphor of him putting the pieces together to develop a complete player. The first iteration of the design was a puzzle piece with a basketball treatment. The piece was shaped to be slightly humanoid. It was a decent design, but the client and my friend weren’t really feeling it.

As I looked at the lines on the basketball I could see the eight “pieces” that made up the iconic shape. I then thought, “what if there were puzzle tabs and and blanks (the sticky-out parts are tabs and the holes they go in are blanks) on the pieces of the basketball shapes?”

A square idea, then refined to a round one, some effort to get the line weight right and the basic icon was done. Creating the stippling from a basketball and the debossing that occurs along the lines of a real basketball with the result posterized into just 3 colors and white gave us a full color version that “feels” like a basketball that leans heavily to “icon”.

Logo design needs to accommodate monochrome, colored and often full color versions. I like to consider how the logo could be used in print, web, embroidery, and other methods of reproduction. The final mark set includes a B&W, spot color and full color version.

Finally, we needed a name. The idea is to create a recognized and memorable brand, tied to basketball and Kam. An old school term for a basketball player is “Cager” from the days when basketball courts were surrounded by cages to protect the fans since the teams fought over out-of-bounds balls and there were no backboards. Kam is pronounced like “cam”, so taking the “K” for the “C” resulted in “KAGER”. Using a sans serif font, I adjusted the kerning and combined the K and A into a single article.

Overall, I am very excited about the design, as are the client and my friend. This was a really fun project.

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Over the River…

by on Dec.26, 2014, under Misc

Well, we don’t have to go over the river or through the woods to get to grandmother’s house (my mommy) because we live in the same city. That’s nice. One of the cool things I get to do most years is design her Christmas Card. She knows what she wants and she has a look that she is going for, so I mostly deal with fine layout details and getting pictures, fonts and colors right. She and my dad want their card to proclaim the Good News first and foremost, and then let everyone know the extended family is well.

I selected a blue (she likes blue a lot) background then layered the text and photos. It’s not cutting edge design, but she likes it and that’s what matters.

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Doggone Christmas

by on Dec.23, 2014, under Misc

It’s Christmas time again. Rebecca did another great job of coming up with a basis for the card in a Seuss-like rhyme. I co-opted a little Grinch style and this year’s card was born.

Printed on 100# Glossy stock, the card accordion folds and fits in a Baronial 5 1/2 invitation envelope, but opens to 17 wide by 5.5 high.

I couldn’t help putting the T3 logo on the back in Grinch style.

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Very Grateful

by on Nov.24, 2014, under Misc

“not what we say about our Blessings but how we use them, is the true measure of our Thanksgiving.” W. T. Purkiser

Thanksgiving may be my favorite holiday (or at least even with July 4th). I find that the solution to many of my problems begins with gratitude. Anger, resentment, envy, and more can often be banished simply by recounting to myself the vast list of blessings I can be grateful for. For every unmet expectation, there are a thousand things I have received that were undeserved.

So on Thanksgiving Day I like to honor the traditions of family, fellowship and feasting. This year I was making the list of things to be carefully and lovingly prepared so my 5 boys (ages 10 to 20) and various relatives from cousins to great grandma could devour them seemingly without coming up for air. As I wrote the list it reminded me of a Prix Fixe menu. One thing led to another and I ended up making my own menus to put at the place settings for our feast.

Unlike a fancy (and often overpriced) establishment, our home is a warm (read noisy and chaotic) and inviting (read we don’t turn anyone away) place. I started with a font for the menu, but realized very quickly that what got my attention in the first place was the hand penned list. So I wrote out the menu using my Lamy medium nib pen (the orange one of course) and then scanned that in and used it for the design. My printer came up with some fantastic pearlescent card stock and the result is exactly representative of the meal.

The finished piece is 4.25″ x 11″, not because it had to be, but because I find that we expect things to be whole or part of a “standard” letter sheet. It feels right when we hold it in our hand because we are used to the dimensions. Often a design wants to evoke a feeling that is unique or surprising, but I wanted to generate comfort and familiarity. The back is an adaptation of the 136th Psalm which we will read together with my father reading the verse and all of us responding with “his love endures forever.”

My youngest son and I found wonderful leaf printed paper plates and napkins and together I think it is perfect (and I won’t have to do dishes!)

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Pancho says “Yellow”, I say “Giallo”

by on Nov.05, 2014, under Misc

Pancho is one of my very good friends. During a drive back from Stilly where we had lunch with another friend, he lamented the fact that he had not a logo with which to represent himself.

I offered to help him fix that. I just need something to start with… nothing. “Well, do you want a graphic image logo or a text based icon?” I ask… “I like the text thing I think.” He answers. That’s about all I got from him.

During a conference call I started playing around and about 17 versions down the road I offered him a concept in black & white. I alsways start logo design in B&W because a good logo has to be useable in monochrome. This text message exchange then occurred:

Him: Good, Maybe we need color instead of black and white.

Me: What colors do you like?

Him: Red and Yellow

Me: Red red. Orange red, Maroon. Yellow, Gold, Lemon.

Him: Red red

Me: Ferrari Colors

Him: Yes, Never thought about it that way.

So I used Rosso Corsa (CMYK 10,100,100,3) and Giallo Moderna (CMYK 1,17,91,0), both Ferrari colors from the early years when life was simple and fast cars came from overseas and were yellow or red.

The concept was a simple drawn font using his initials, BP, with the same symbol reflected to make both characters. I intertwined the letters and indexed one to the right and made the whole thing “square” so it would make a good icon as well.

When I ask him how he was going to use it he wanted an iPhone background, so I made a couple of those, but somehow I ended up making a caricature icon from a pic he sent me. Overall it was a really fun project, mostly because I enjoy working on stuff with my friends.

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Brite Lites

by on Oct.26, 2014, under Misc

As part of my T3 logo wallpaper design project I photoshopped a “Lite Brite” wallpaper pretty early on. But that’s not the really the same as actually doing it in real life. So I started looking for a Lite Brite to use… Turns out it’s more complicated than that (if you’re OCD that is).


The Lite Brite was introduced in 1967 (same year my wife was born). The original Lite Brite had two plates with a hexagonal grid of holes (1735 holes to be exact). To play, one put a piece of black paper with white letters outlining the pattern between the plates and then pushed translucent plastic pegs into the correct holes to make a picture. The paper kept the light from coming through the unused holes.

Letter Peg Sheet

Because of the two plates, the vintage pegs were long (1.125″). At some point the toy was changed to only use a single grid and the pegs were shortened. Modern Lite Brites use even shorter pegs that are not completely translucent.

Lite Brite Peg History

So, several versions of the toy, at least 3 major variations of pegs…what’s a boy to do? I decided to get an original 1967 Lite Brite and first generation vintage pegs. It took some work, but over 10,000 pegs purchased on eBay later, I had the 596 Orange and 288 Clear vintage pegs I needed. The result is very cool and especially so if you were a kid in the late 60’s or early 70’s.

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Branding (cows, not products)

by on May.26, 2014, under Misc

The son of our very good friends is a rancher in training. He works with his grandfather as often as he can caring for the cows, mowing and haying, and all that other “farm” stuff.

He is starting to manage his own cattle and was working on ideas for a brand to mark his cattle with. His father plans to set up a company using his initials (RJA) and so he was playing with ideas using his initials as a brand.

As it turns out there are some guidelines where branding is concerned. There are recommended widths of the brand “stroke” and sizing guides for different age cattle. Also, there is a need for there to be no closed spaces (like an “O”) or else heat and steam cannot escape.

We worked together a little and came up with this…

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CCS Senior Funny Money

by on May.12, 2014, under Misc

I was asked to design and print some playmoney for my second son’s senior class party (to be held after graduation). I tried to create a Monopoly money feel using Marks from the school brand and incorporating little details like the serial number is the date of the party.

The pictures are the Headmaster ($20), his wife (also the Director of Spiritual Formation for Girls) ($10), the Academic Counselor ($5) and the Curriculum Director ($1)


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