“Brand”: a distinctive identifier.
I have had my own “brand” for years. I started with “T3″ and it eventually developed into the mark that I use so often. I don’t sell a product or service, it just identifies “me”. It doesn’t define me, I define myself and then use my brand to “mark” what is mine.
I like my kids to have a brand too. This is not easy when they are young because they need to define themselves somewhat before I can help them create a brand that identifies them. For some it was easy and came earlier, for others it still hasn’t happened.
Harrison (my 3rd born) is an artist. He will go to college to study Ag Business, but he has the eye and talent of an artist and I hope he continues to develop and grow in that realm as he also develops and grows his chosen trade.
He ask me to create a brand for him. I ask him the questions I always ask about identity when I am working on branding. I didn’t get answers. One night he came downstair and slapped a piece of paper down in front of me with his scrawl of a signature (even less readable than mine) as said, “Make my brand out of this”.
It turns out he is most interested in digital photography and sees how his brand could be his digital signature….
So, I tried to pull the unique, style elements from his scribble and create a bolder and slightly more compact mark that could represent his signature. I kept the “H” very close to his signature, but made the horizontal element triangular. I flattened out the trailing letters to a simple wave that could be several letters combined, but has a definite “r” and “n” with a tail.
He likes it and already ask me to create a watermark that includes “Harrison Hill Photography” in small (but cool) font below the mark.
While in Breckenridge, CO, for vacation we (Preston, Grace, Harrison and me) wanted to summit Quandary Peak, one of the peaks in Colorado over 14,000 feet and often considered one of the “easy” 14ers. We mapped the area, familiarized ourselves with the route on a topo map, and planned our supplies. We were ready. Then we got to Breck and noticed that Quandary Peak was covered in snow. Covered. Snow.
Several locals said we would be foolish to try. We reluctantly decided to do something else. Sad faces all around. However, as the week progressed with warm and sunny days we noticed that the mountains around us were rapidly becoming less snowy. Then the guide on a jeep tour (that’s using a jeep to tour the mountain, not a tour where you look at jeeps) told us we should be fine if we took snow shoes just in case. We decided to go for it. Happy faces all around. Scramble to find snow shoes and figure how to pack them up the mountain and we were ready to go, again.
Just to set the stage:
Above 10,000 ft the atmosphere is 50% as dense. At 14,000 it is approaching 40%. There is still the same percentage of oxygen in the air, there is just less air. It’s like the difference between 10% of a dollar and 10% of a penny, same percentage but vastly different values. Hypoxia, AMS (Acute Mountain Sickness), HAPE (High Altitude Pulmonary Edema) are all possibilities at these altitudes. Best part of the whole altitude thing is you are not able to determine if you are ok, cause the first thing to go is your judgement…
We hit the trail around 7am. First thing we see is a sign that says, and I quote, “There are no easy fourteeners.”
From there it was a constant climb over rocks and rock debris. I won’t detail the whole climb here, but at one point we did use the snowshoes, but it turned out that we didn’t really need them. So we learned something that day: snowshoes are really hard to use and it was a good thing we didn’t need them cause we sucked at it.
We stopped a lot and at one of the stops I looked down and saw this:
I figure that was a sign. That we were supposed to be on that mountain. That we were supposed to summit.
We did summit. 14,265 ft above sea level. We saw Mountain Goats, rocks, snow and an almost unlimited view of the mountains. Mostly, we proved to ourselves that we could do it. That was worth it.
At least my candle is.
There is a great little candle shop at 326 S Main St, Breckenridge, CO. Their stock in trade are these really cool globe shaped candles that have designs carved into the layers of different colors of wax that have been built up on the candle.
A great friend of mine brought me a candle from there with a fish skeleton carved into it because it reminded him of the Pirana Brothers logo. It reminds me of that too, as well as how cool it is to have friends that think of you even when they are on vacation.
I was in that shop in Breckenridge recently and my kids recommended that I have them do my T3 logo in a candle. Great idea!!
Sam (the girl carving candles in the work area) pulled up my web site to get my logo and we discussed colors and such for a bit. When working with commissioned pieces (even if it is a candle) I really want the artist to have the freedom to put themselves into the piece, so I try not to give too much direction.
Sam did not end up carving my candle, Sarah did. Sarah E. Bott is a Colorado Native and local artist who works in oils on wood and canvas. She did a great job rendering the T3 in this very unique medium.
I like the way she let the lines of the “T” fall onto the globe and didn’t try to force the right angles or make everything perpendicular (which would have been difficult to do on a sphere and would have looked terrible). She also decided to outline the orange “T” with white which really created an extra dimension to the piece. Overall, she kept it simple which is really at the heart of the primary design itself.
If you find yourself in Breckenridge I highly recommend that you pay the wonderful people at Global Candles a visit. If you can’t find something you like among the thousands of candles on the shelves, you can always see if Sam or Sarah will create something unique for you. I did.
Over a year ago I went to a leadership conference where the theme of the gathering was portrayed behind the stage in string art. Big string art.
I immediately thought, “I could do my T3 logo like that.” Only maybe not that big.
It took me a while to get around to it, but finally I did. I started with a 38″ x 24″ piece of birch plywood. My 3rd son snded and stained it black for me after I had drilled 237 holes in the pattern of the T3 at the correct sizing. After the stain was dry I tapped the 237 black paneling nails into the holes and started wrapping orange crochet thread around them. The concept is simple and I’m not sure you can do it wrong, but I did unwrap and re-wrap a few times because I wasn’t happy.
The end result is just what I imagined:
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
“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!)