Author Archives: admin

Freshening Up

t3 fresh

While I don’t use them, I certainly notice the prevalence of the pine tree shaped air fresheners hanging in people’s cars. Apparently, the original “tree” hanging air freshener was the “Magic Tree.”


So I thought, “Hey, how about a Magic T3?”

That’s a great idea!!

It turns out that I could get 50 hanging air fresheners with anything I wanted printed on them. I sent in the artwork for a square print since the cost for a custom die cut was very high. Once the Magic T3’s arrived, I cut the extra material out from under the arms of the the T to create my own custom die cut.

We hung the finished freshener in the truck and took a pic with the Magic T3 in focus and the stuff outside the truck not in focus. The sun was behind the T3 and some flash for fill and the image is exactly what I was looking for.


Do You See What I See?

ishihara plate1
T3 Pseudo-Isochromatic Plate (Ishihara Plate)
Other Versions of Ishihara Test Plate
Other Versions of Pseudo-Isochromatic Plates

Color blindness, also known as color vision deficiency, is the decreased ability to see color or differences in color. The most common cause of color blindness is an inherited fault in the development of one or more of the three sets of color sensing cones in the eye. Males are more likely to be color blind than females, as the genes responsible for the most common forms of color blindness are on the X chromosome. As females have two X chromosomes, a defect in one is typically compensated for by the other, while males only have one X chromosome.

Monochromacy, also known as “total color blindness”, is the lack of ability to distinguish colors (and thus the person views everything as if it were on a black and white television); caused by cone defect or absence. Monochromacy occurs when two or all three of the cone pigments are missing and color and lightness vision is reduced to one dimension.

Protanomaly is a mild color vision defect in which an altered spectral sensitivity of red retinal receptors (closer to green receptor response) results in poor red–green hue discrimination. It is hereditary, sex-linked, and present in 1% of males.

Deuteranomaly, caused by a similar shift in the green retinal receptors, is by far the most common type of color vision deficiency, mildly affecting red–green hue discrimination in 5% of European males. It is hereditary and sex-linked.

Protanopia is a severe type of color vision deficiency caused by the complete absence of red retinal photoreceptors. Protans have difficulties distinguishing between blue and green colors and also between red and green colors. It is hereditary, sex-linked, and present in 1% of males.

Deuteranopia is a severe type of color vision deficiency where the green photoreceptors are absent. It affects hue discrimination in the same way as protanopia. Like protanopia, it is hereditary, sex-linked, and found in about 1% of the male population.

The Ishihara test is a color perception test for red-green color deficiencies, the first in a class of successful color vision tests called pseudo-isochromatic plates (“PIP”). It was named after its designer, Dr. Shinobu Ishihara, a professor at the University of Tokyo, who first published his tests in 1917

The test consists of a number of colored plates, called Ishihara plates, each of which contains a circle of dots appearing randomized in color and size. Within the pattern are dots which form a number or shape clearly visible to those with normal color vision, and invisible, or difficult to see, to those with a red-green color vision defect. Other plates are intentionally designed to reveal numbers only to those with a red/green color vision deficiency, and be invisible to those with normal red/green color vision. The full test consists of 38 plates, but the existence of a severe deficiency is usually apparent after only a few plates.

I thought, “why not make a T3 Ishihara Plate?” So I did. I found an online tool to help people see what an image looks like to someone with color vision deficiency and produced the following images:

Ishihara fail


When I showed the T3 PIP plates to one of my graphic designers who is also our Curator, she asks if I was going to do a AAA. Hadn’t really thought about it, but why not…


aaa ishihara
AAA Ishihara
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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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