T3 Design

Bullseye or Goodbye

by on Jan.25, 2016, under Misc

My 14 yr old son got a dart board for his birthday recently. Not the old school bristle board with needle sharp brass pointed darts, rather the modern “soft tip” dart board that scores a mind-numbing number of games automatically and even heckles you as you play.

We have had a lot of fun and are learning about the game of darts along the way. We researched how to properly mount the board the correct height from the floor and where to stand to “throw” the darts and how to replace the tips and keep the flights straight.

We have purchased better tips and better flights and in this pursuit I learned that one can actually have CUSTOM flights made….so this “might” happen:



I was surprised to learn that there are several shapes for flights:


Both the shape and total surface area come into play during a throw. The heavier the dart and the faster you throw, the more surface area you need to keep the dart “flight” path straight. The lighter the dart and the slower the throw, the smaller and more aerodynamic flight you need to keep from slowing the dart down and making it “float”.

A single dart/flight combo will not work for everyone. We are rank amateurs and so we are all using the same darts and flights and having a blast!

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We turn the cube and it twists us…

by on Jan.23, 2016, under T3 Wallpapers

That’s a quote from Erno Rubik, Hungarian inventor, architect and professor of architecture. He is best known for the invention of mechanical puzzles including Rubik’s Cube.


I was always fascinated by the Rubik’s Cube (which came out in 1974-75 while I was in middle school.) The Rubik’s Cube would go on to become an instant success worldwide, winning several Toy of the Year awards, and becoming a staple of 1980’s popular culture. To date, the Rubik’s Cube has sold over 350 million units, making it the best selling toy of all time. Rubik said:

Space always intrigued me, with its incredibly rich possibilities, space alteration by (architectural) objects, objects’ transformation in space (sculpture, design), movement in space and in time, their correlation, their repercussion on mankind, the relation between man and space, the object and time. I think the CUBE arose from this interest, from this search for expression and for this always more increased acuteness of these thoughts…

So when I realized that I could have a Custom Cube made with anything I wanted on each side for $12.99 (including shipping from China!) I wasted no time in creating the art and ordering my T3 Cube.

The cube is, well, square, and my logo is not. So I adjusted the T3 logo by extending the arms of the “T” so the whole thing was square. I then color matched the red, blue, green, yellow and orange to the original Rubik’s Cube we have at home and verified the order and relationship of the colors on each side and created the 6 – 57mm images needed to make the cube:

photo placement

On January 5 at 7:37 am I ordered the cube and emailed the images with my order number. I received an email confirming they had received my order and, I quote:

Thanks for your purchasing, will make and ship it ASAP, happy new year!

So I settled in for the wait. I have ordered things from China before and it can take several weeks to a couple of months to get some products. So you can imagine how surprised I was when the package showed up January 20th, just 2 weeks from when I ordered it!

cube 3d

It is a cheap cube (what do you expect for 13 bucks), but the printing is clean and clear and it looks great. So now I can let the cube twist me….


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Harrison Carter Photography

by on Jan.10, 2016, under Misc

I have already posted about creating a “Mark” for my son, Harrison, and he intially thought he would use that mark as the watermark for his digital photography. As he has increased his customer base and noticed other people that do photography, he decided he needed a better mark for his business.

He uses his middle name for his business and after some discussion he decided he didn’t really want a graphic that was traditionally associated with photography or cameras.

We started playing with clean slender fonts and stacking the text. After several iterations we got to this:

biz card 1The font started as “Steelfish” but I adjusted the bottom of the “t” down to hang with the other descenders. There is also some kerning adjustments to create the length needed in “photography” to match the top text.

While his primary use of this will be a watermark for his digital proofs, I designed with the idea of business cards in mind. On a standard 3.5×2 card, the right and left edges can be placed at .25″ margins and the main body of the text top and bottom fall at .25″ also. The descenders and ascenders cross into the margin area, but visually the mass falls inside the margins.

biz cards web

Having a full coverage front image means putting contact info on the back. This gave room for a photo of the artist, helping people put a face with the product and leading to better name recognition.


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by on Dec.03, 2015, under T3 Wallpapers

I have always had a fascination with process color. When I first got into photography, the only option you had in a home darkroom was B&W, but then along came Cibachrome and we could easily produce color prints from slides. The process was fundamentally a CMYK dye destruction process. That’s not what’s important, the important part is you could adjust the image using CMY adjustments on the color enlarging head. This was my first lesson in the subtractive color model. Later in life I would have lots of opportunities to work with 4 color press projects and I have always loved it.

I also have a fascination with the punk and post-punk music that grew out of the working class angst in Europe. One of my favorite bands is “Joy Division” led by front man, Ian Curtis. Curtis, who suffered from epilepsy and depression, committed suicide on 18 May 1980, on the eve of Joy Division’s first North American tour, resulting in the band’s dissolution and the subsequent formation of New Order. Curtis was known for his baritone voice, dance style, and songwriting filled with imagery of desolation, emptiness and alienation.

In 2011, Rhino UK released an album titled, “TOTAL from Joy Division to New Order.” I was drawn to the cover art:


That became the inspiration for my next T3 Logo piece which combines my interest in 4-color process and the idea behind the album cover:


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Tartans, Wefts and Warps – Oh My!

by on Nov.19, 2015, under Misc

Like most prep schools, CCS students wear uniforms to school. This includes tartan skirts for the girls.

The English word “tartan” is most likely derived from the French tartarin meaning “Tartar cloth”. It has also been suggested that “tartan” may be derived from modern Scottish Gaelic tarsainn, meaning “across”. This makes sense because in making the fabric, the warp (threads running up and down) cross the weft (threads running side to side.) It is generally regarded that “clan tartans” date no earlier than the beginning of the 19th century, and are an example of an invented tradition. In other words, for most of history tartan was just woven plaid cloth and didn’t have any particular meaning. Given this, it seems to me that we should have our own tartan.

Our school colors are red (for strength), black (for constancy) and white (for sincerity and peace). In the tartan, the red and white repeat in groups of three to represent the Christian doctrine of the Trinity.

Each thread in the warp crosses each thread in the weft at right angles. Where a thread in the warp crosses a thread of the same color in the weft they produce a solid color on the tartan, while a thread crossing another of a different color produces an equal mixture of the two colors. Thus, a sett of two base colors produces three different colors including one mixture. The total number of colors, including mixtures, increases quadratically with the number of base colors so a sett of 3 base colors produces 3 mixtures and a total of 6 different colors.

The sequence of threads, known as the sett, starts at an edge and either repeats or reverses on what are called pivot points. Tartan is recorded by counting the threads of each color that appear in the sett. The thread count not only describes the width of the stripes on a sett, but also the colors used. For example, our thread count “W16 K8 W16 K60 R20 K8 R20” corresponds to 16 white threads, 8 black threads, 16 white threads, 60 black threads, 20 crimson (red) threads, 8 black threads and 20 crimson threads. The first and last threads of the thread count are the pivot points, in this case the sett reverses at each pivot. Also, the weft and warp use the same sett.

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Brand = Indentity

by on Sep.29, 2015, under Misc

“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.

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Fourteen and change…

by on Jun.19, 2015, under T3 Wallpapers

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.

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I’m Burning for You….

by on Jun.15, 2015, under T3 Wallpapers

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.




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Stringing Me Along

by on May.26, 2015, under T3 Wallpapers

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:


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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 ordered a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) and then my 4th son and I spent a good part of Friday night and some time Saturday morning populating the PCB and it works!

Circuit Schematic Circuit Board Layout  Real PCB  Completed Circuit


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