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A Caroling We Will Go

Attending a performance of “A Christmas Carol” is a tradition for may families. So it was no surprise when our school chose to put on a production of the perennial favorite.

I had already created the concepts for all the plays using a consistent look to tie all the plays together with high contrast, 3-4 saturated colors, and bold, monochromatic images.

Carol Poster 3
Christmas Carol Concept

While the concept work is close to what will be needed for a poster, some adjustment is always necessary. Once I was given the required acknowledgements that had to be included, I moved the key elements in the concept up slightly and adjusted the size of the title block to allow for the rest of the information. I changed the red to be more christmasy and added another shade of green to help differentiate the various sets of information.

Carol Poster final print
Christmas Carol Poster

Once the poster was complete I started working on a shirt design. I needed a front pocket design and a full back that included the names of the cast and crew. For the front I thought using snow flakes would give some context and tie into the snow happening on the poster. As I played with what to do with the names for the back I realized we could use the names to create the negative white space in the poster and the shirt color for the silhouette of Scrooge. It wasn’t difficult after that to create both designs with only two colors.

CCS XMas Carol
Christmas Carol Shirt

Finally, I needed to create the rest of the collateral for the production, a cover for the playbill which is a resized and reduced version of the poster, and the tickets.

Christmas Carol Playbill Cover
Carol Tickets Adult
Christmas Carol Tickets

High Watermark

Tiger Moth w- Sig3 (1 of 1)

A friend and I had this conversation:

BP: Do you have any cool looking signature fonts? I know you are the king of fonts

T3: Tons

BP: Here is what I need…  over the past few months I have gotten into macro photography and need a neat little simple signature logo type thing for pics

Like this place.. ..I have tried to make one in photoshop but can’t get it to look even decent

T3: I need several signatures in black ink on white paper. They can be on the same sheet, but not touching or overlapping each other. If your signature is not readable, i need you to write your name in cursive, several times also. I can make that kind of thing.

BP: If you look at that website, those are not really peoples signature..  it’s a cool font for their signature. That’s what I need. My signature sucks and so does my cursive.

T3: Ok

BP: It even says that’s what they do on their site

T3: I know what they do, I just think original and you is usually better.

BP: It would look horrible.

Two things: First, I am not the king of fonts. I personally think fonts are WAY overused (especially in logo design) and I try to limit my font usage. In logos I almost always edit the fonts I use. Second, about 2 hours later he sent me a scan of his signature.

bp orig sign

While it is true that his signature is unreadable, it doesn’t suck. In fact, it is very unique and cool. I starting looking for a font I could use for the body of his signature that matched in form the way he sweeps his letters along without really finishing them. I came across Autograf from Måns Grebäck. This is how his signature looks in the font as rendered:


My plan was to create a “B” and a “P” that looked like the font, but matched his signature too. I also decided I would have to rework the “y” to get the sweep of his first name right. He signs his name with a fountain pen (doesn’t everyone?) so there is a little variation between the vertical and horizontal strokes in his real signature, however, the usage of this “photologo” was to ba a watermark on photos and a consistent line weight will render better.

After considerable playing around (I’m picky) I settled on this version:

BP Sign black

Adding his name along with PHOTOGRAPHY under the signature ensures that people who see his photos can read and remember who took them.

To Be or Knight to Be

The Drama group at our school calls themselves “Percival’s Players.” They haven’t really built an identity yet, so we decided to create a logo or icon for them to use. The traditional images for the theatre arts are the Comedy and Tragedy masks. So we took that idea and used Percival the Knight as the model:




HOT Knights

Our school, CCS, needed artwork for the front of the scorer’s table in the new gym. I wasn’t initially asked to do the design, but when they got the design from the manufacturer, they noticed a difference in the font and the spacing and asked me about it.

The cool thing about this is that over the years we have created a culture of awareness about design that enables more people to monitor the brand and ensure that we are maintaining our brand standards.

There were two problems with the submitted design: the wrong font and the wrong spacing.

2825 Crossings Christian FSP12 PROOF3

The “KNIGHTS” was a graphic we provided, as it is a standard mark for athletics. The “HOME OF THE” was text the company created. If you look closely at the “T” in “THE” versus the “T” in “KNIGHTS” you can see the serifs are different. Our title font is Capitals, but in some systems there are variations of this font that don’t match ours. In this case I don’t think they actually used Capitals, but rather something they thought was close.

Using the correct font and adjusting the kerning correctly for our design resulted in a much better rendition:

2825 Crossings Christian FSP12 PROOF3

Suffragette City

Senior Women 2018

My daughter asked me to design a t-shirt for the “Senior Women” at her school. Of course, I said yes. I am not entirely sure why we need so many group t-shirts, but I like design, so I’m not complaining.

They had a concept of an outline of Okahoma with “Senior Women” written within the outline. So I didn’t have to do much conceptual work here. I used a free font called Autumn in November for the text. I liked the way the letters were connected and the slight variation in height from letter to letter. I think it flows well as part of an outline.


CCS Senior Women Front Design
CCS Senior Women Front Design


CCS Senior Women Back Design
CCS Senior Women Back Design

Do Overs

A good friend of mine asked me if I knew anyone who could redraw a business logo for his boss. All they had was the small low res file being used to order biz cards online and they needed letterhead, signage, and other options. I said, “me…”

He sent me a pic of the business card:

old card

My initial thought was to improve the balance of the logo and clean it up by removing the triangular dot in the “I”. Looking closely at the “K” I noticed the font had an odd arm that got wider as it went out, so I needed a knew font form too.

After some research, I selected Behatrice for the base font.


I really liked the way the bar and leg of the “R” were separated, keeping the original feel of the logo, but with more definition. I didn’t like the “E” being separated, but that was an easy fix, and as with all fonts “used as logos” I would have to adjust kerning:

RKI Brand Layout

I like that the three horizontal sections are visually balanced. The spacing between the blue borders and the lettering is 1/2 the width of the border. After consultation with the client, I adjusted the colors some to settle on these final choices. I don’t like the text below the logo, but the client insisted. I offered an version with just the “ENERGY” below which looked better, but it didn’t fly.

Then on to stationary and other uses:

RKI Biz Card Layout

RKI Letterhead Layout

RKI Notepad Layout

RKI Signage Layout

At the end of the day, the customer is right. One reason I don’t do design work for pay is I don’t want to be forced to produce designs I am not excited about. I choose the projects I work on and the people I work with carefully so I don’t find myself spending too much energy convincing someone that the design I am offering is the best option.

In this case, the client decided that the “wedge”, as he calls it, was “lodged” in his brain and had become part of his company identity. He wanted it put back in. So I put it back in.


King of the Forest

My daughter is directing (with some friends) our middle school production of The Lion King Jr. This would be enough to get me involved in the graphic design end of this project, except that I was already doing all the design for the theater arts at our school anyway.

I wanted a consistent look for all the productions so I decided to tie all the plays together with high contrast, 3-4 saturated colors, and bold, monochromatic images.

After gathering vector images of the title blocks and the Disney logo and familiarizing myself with the requirements for acknowledgements and such, I digitized Mufasa by reducing him to two colors and then vectoring the result.

mufasa full          mufasa vector

Then I reduced the complexity of the lines in the mane and removed some details to get the final piece to use in the collateral:

mufasa mane

Once I added the necessary text to comply with Disney requirements and the needs of the production I had a fairly full poster, but I still think it is simple and bold.

Lion King Poster final

Additional collateral created included:

Playbill Cover
Playbill Cover
Cast and Crew Shirt
Cast and Crew Shirt
Facebook Cover Image
Facebook Cover Image
Facebook Photo Image
Facebook Photo Image

Bouchuu kan ari

Translation, “in the midst of busyness, there is free time.”


The Japanese have many traditions. The culture is old and therefore patient. I often wish I were more patient. However, one of the ways I do slow down and detach from the busyness of work is my T3 projets. This one ended up being a great opportunity for patience and going slow.

I read an article about making traditional Japanese paper boxes. The paper crafts, including folding (origami) and making small decorative objects, is very embedded in the cultural history. This article referred to the handmade and hand stenciled paper that was commonly used, Chiyogami, and went on to basically say you could use any decorative paper.

Not me. If I was going to make a traditional Japanese paper box, I was going to make it the traditional way. Short story: it took months to locate, select, order and receive the 2 full size sheets of handmade Washi stenciled in traditional Chiyogami patterns.

Originally the term Washi referred to Japanese handmade paper produced in a traditional manner. The term Washi translates to Japanese paper (wa=Japanese shi=paper). Kozo, mitsumata, and gampi are the three basic fibers most commonly used in the Washi making process.

Papermaking was first brought to Japan by Buddhist monks, but Japan quickly became the leading producer of paper. Traditionally the Washi making process was undertaken by farmers as a seasonal task and Kozo, mitsumata, and gampi crops were planted along with their regular crops. The farmers would process the crops into paper during the months when it was to cold for them to work outside. This had the added benefit of the availability of very cold water which is necessary for the process.

The word Chiyogami comes from the roots chiyo (thousand generation) and gami (paper). Chiyogami is Washi paper that has been hand stenciled or printed with traditional Japanese imagery using bright colors and patterns. Appearing during the Edo period, Chiyogami was traditionally used to craft paper objects, especially dolls. It gained tremendous popularity among origami fans because it offered a great visual presence and was less costly then some of the other Washi papers at the time. It still remains a favorite among folders and adds a richness to any paper craft project.

With paper in hand and an idea about how I would make the box itself, I got started.

Making the “T” box was not difficult. The bottom has edges that folded down to glue to the insides of the sides. Then I fashioned an inner liner that was taller in order to have something for the lid to fit over. The lid is like a traditional box, only in a not-so-traditional shape. The “3” was more complicated and it took a lot of work and molding of the paper board to get the curves in the three correct. Finally, I covered everything in black tissue.

Then it was time to cut and glue on the Chiyogami. Given the cost and difficulty in obtaining the paper, I was a little nervous to start hacking my beautiful, hand numbered, full sheets into bits and pieces, but that’s what it was for. Careful measurements were reduced by the margins desired to show the black tissue at the edges and corners, and piece by piece the colorful paper transformed the black form into art.




I’m very pleased with the result. Sayōnara

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You Spin Me Right Round…


My kids starting buying these “fidget spinners”, which are actually quite fun to play with. I got an orange one and a white one and saw the potential for a “T” in the three arms. Then one day I got an email from a company offering to custom skin a spinner. I took about 30 seconds to make that decision.

The result is both relaxing and fulfilling. (and it gave me the opportunity to reference 80’s music)

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Silent But Deadly

No, I’m not referring to a bodily function. I’m talking about the stage crew at a theatre production. Stagehands, or Theatre Ninja’s, as they like to call themselves are the unsung heroes of the theatre.

Without these hardy, creative, resourceful and patient souls, no production would ever see the curtain go up.

I was asked to design a shirt for them to wear while doing what they do. This meant a black shirt with a very dark gray or even flat black print so it would not show up while they move around on and back stage during the production.

Theatre Ninja2

I started with the front, deciding to minimize the ninja part, but threw in the glasses as a head nod to the obvious geek nature of set building, lights and sound and such. I selected Avant Guard as the font because of the round form for the “a” and then put the ninja in that space. I intentionally aligned the “t” in theatre with the “j” in ninja.

For the back, we tried a nod to gaff tape (which is stuck to everything on the set at some point) and a phrase that was actually part of a conversation my daughter had with the drama director. A lot has been written and quoted and tweeted and meme’d about stagehands. Having a design that has its roots in something that happened specifically in your space feels more authentic. In the end, there was a concern that as funny as the quote was, it would not be understood by very many people and would need constant explaining. The decision was made to repeat the ninja larger on the back. It’s a clean design and one that will hold up over time.

No Life Without Drama

Carol Poster 2

Our school has a fantastic drama program. My daughter is most often the stage manager for the productions. I offered to help create the collateral for the performances which includes posters, playbill covers, t-shirt designs and anything else they decide to brand.

Whenever I have a chance to work on a complete set of materials, I really enjoy it. I like the challenge of working through from concept to finished pieces while managing the various ways the design will be used.

I always start with the largest piece and work my way down. If I get to design several different pieces within a larger framework, I will start with concept work and then add refinements and details to the individual pieces once I am happy with the overall look of the set.

For this project I decided to tie all the plays together with a style: high contrast, 3-4  saturated colors, bold and monochromatic images.

In each case I will have to abide by the requirements of the performance license regarding use of the title logos and the information that must be included on marketing materials.

For The Lion King Jr. I posterized Mufasa to two colors and created a vector version of the resulting image. The color palette is from the required logo colors.

For A Christmas Carol I borrowed a line drawing of people celebrating behind a stoic Ebenezer Scrooge and created a two color vector of the silhouettes. Filling Scrooge with a red and the people with white all against a green background gives a Christmas sort of vibe, but clearly communicates that Scrooge is not connected to the people. The logo is a common standard for the production set in a lighter green.

For Into The Woods I used the hood and cape of Red Riding Hood to create the nose of the Wolf. Again, Disney requires their logos and information to be displayed in very specific ways. This play didn’t make the cut, so I won’t be developing this concept any further.

Into the Woods got replaced by Some Enchanted Evening, a review of Rogers and Hammerstein songs about love. I chose a large posterized moon in two colors of blue against a dark blue background to set the romantic tone for the piece. Cutting across the moon are two hands in silhouette, a woman extending her hand and a man taking it. Are they going to dance? Will they simply hold hands and gaze at the moon? Will they kiss? We do not know, but we sense they are in love.

Last, but not least, Some Enchanted Evening got replaced by Cinderella, the new musical, ironically by Rogers and Hammerstein. We are required to NOT use the glass slipper as that image is being used for the traveling Broadway show. I also really liked the balance of the Some Enchanted Evening concept and decided to work with that. I turned the moon into a clock with the hour hand almost at midnight. I made the hand silhouette hold a wand and placed the wand a few minutes before the witching hour. The addition of some swirl and stars in white gives the illusion of a spell being cast.

In each case I will develop the rest of the collateral based on these concepts.