As a designer, we usually have several sources for fonts, vector images and stock photos. If you’re looking for a great source for fonts, images, vectors and Photoshop Actions, I highly recommend Creative Market. As per their website: “Creative Market is a platform for handcrafted, mousemade design content from independent creatives around the world.”
Creative Market has a great selection of resources, their blog is full of tips and tricks for creating better designs, and the pricing is awesome. I’ve often been able to purchase entire font libraries for much, much less than I would have on other font sites. Designers that put up content for sale are also encouraged to offer free samples or bonuses, and each week there is a selection of Free Goods that you can select from. These might be fonts, Photoshop Actions, images, or vectors. If you’re a designer looking to generate some extra income from your designs, then you also have the option of opening a shop on Creative Market.
I encourage you to check them out today (click the image in this post to get there) and start adding to your collection!
One of the things that has always been on my design bucket list is to design an album cover. Not just any album cover, an iconic album cover.
Besides design, one of my other passions is music. I played drums in a few bands in my teenage years up to my thirties. And when I was a kid, one of the album covers that got me interested in music was Herb Alpert’s Whipped Cream & Other Delights (shown here from my vinyl collection). I’m sure that I’m not alone when I say that it wasn’t the music that first drew me in; it was the cover. Who was that girl? Why was she covered in whipped cream? (And be honest guys, you stared at that cover wishing the whipped cream would somehow fall off in certain areas)!
Ahem, okay. Putting my design hat back on, this cover was designed by the photographer Peter Whorf and was shot in his converted garage studio. The model was Dolores Erickson, a fashion model and actress with several big name credits to her portfolio. Dolores is now a successful painter. In addition to Dolores, I love the color and the cool curved lettering of this album.
Back before iTunes, Spotify and the like, you either heard a song on the radio, at a friend’s house or party, or you were at a record store looking at album covers. And if the cover was good enough to grab your attention it prompted you to buy it. At least that’s what happened to me. Once I got the record home and put it on, there was this experience of listening, looking at the cover and maybe reading the liner notes. Many people are rediscovering that today, and I think there still is a place for good album art.
Once I actually got around to listening to this album, I liked it, and so did about 6 million other folks, because that was how many records that were sold. And even though it was released almost 50 years ago, you still hear music from this album today on the radio, tv and movies. Not sure if you’ve ever heard any of the music from this album? Check out this rare video below of Herb Alpert & The Tijuana Brass.
A cool album like this and an iconic cover…that would be fun to work on.
To read a great interview with Dolores about her experience being the star of this cover, click here.
I’m extremely proud that Graphic Zen was chosen to create the new brand identity for the Meridian Chamber of Commerce. The project was very rewarding to work on, as I live and work in the Meridian community, and love my city. After initial concepts were created about 4 months ago, and in conjunction with direction from the logo selection committee, the final design is presented below:
The Chamber wanted to incorporate bold, dynamic colors, to reflect the change in the organization, and the “M” shape reflects the diversity and agility of the new Chamber. Additionally, the “ID” in Meridian is highlighted to identify the Chamber’s location in Meridian, Idaho, as opposed to the other Meridian cities in the United States.
The cityscape below the name was designed to honor the Chamber’s past, as a small agricultural community, acknowledge the present as we see new growth and change coming to our city, and the faded layer in the background represents the vision of the future of the city.
The logo was launched to the Chamber membership on January 20th at their noon luncheon. Very humbled and honored to be selected to create something for a great Chamber and great city.
We recently completed a logo design for Tactical Export Strategies, an Idaho company that assists firearm manufacturers in compliance and logistic issues regarding shipping to other countries.
Tactical Export Strategies (TES) is registered with the ATF (U.S. Dept. of Justice) and the DDTC (U.S. State Dept.) for export and import of defense articles and services (Firearms, Military Equipment, Ammunitions, Militarized Technology, etc.).
The logo was designed so that it could also be used to “brand” onto products that TES partners with, such as the creation of an “All Idaho Gun”, which will make it’s debut at the 2015 Shot Show in Vegas.
As you can imagine, we deal with a lot of different web hosting companies while creating sites for clients. For a time, we even tried our hand at being a web host ourselves. We leased a server, installed the billing software and for a little over a year and a half, dealt with tech support issues, sites being down, email issues and generally the stuff that we were not good at. The last straw for our “web hosting division” was when our leased VPS went down and we were told we needed to switch to a dedicated server. Apparently, this process takes about a week. Now whether it really takes a week or not I don’t know, because we’re creative folks, not technical folks. What I do know is that we were very popular for that week, and not in a good way. See, people get kind of attached to their websites being up and accessible to clients and customers. When they’re not, they get pissed. And I didn’t blame them one bit. I was pissed too, because all of our sites were down as well. No sites, no email, no good.
I quickly began searching for an alternative, because I knew that I was going to be out of the web business after this. My previous hosting company managed to get everyone back up on a “temporary” basis after about 5 days so during the downtime I started researching hosting companies. If you’re just beginning this process take my advice: do more than price shop. Most hosting companies make about the same offer for shared hosting platforms, anywhere from $3 to $10 dollars a month. However, price per month should only be one of the things you consider. In my opinion, tech support is the real key to a money/value web host comparison. You see, the rubber really meets the road when you have technical issues. How fast does the company respond to support tickets? How fast do they answer live chat?
In my search for a new company, I’m pleased to say that I found the answer to my hosting needs. InMotion Hosting. They are a U.S. based (data centers on both coasts) employee owned and operated company. Employee owned and operated? Yeah, that means they care. They care because it’s in their best interest to make sure that if you have a problem, the issue gets resolved. I’ve been with them for over two months now and have had interaction with tech support via phone 3 times and via chat support 3 times. Whether it was by phone or chat, the issue was resolved quickly, and I love the fact that at the end of your session, tech support asks you to email their boss and let them know how they performed. My previous company didn’t do that. They took 2 days or more to even answer an initial request and then 2 or more days to resolve it. No bueno.
It’s not fun to think about switching host providers. We’d been with our previous web host for over 2 years. But somewhere along the way with our old provider, the tech support dropped off while the tech issues (sites going down) kept escalating. InMotion made it easy to switch and move all of our data, (and data from the clients who also switched to them).
If you’re looking for a reliable web hosting company, with customer service rock stars, check out InMotion by clicking their banner below.
Recently completed a logo and website rebranding for Empower Boise, an experiential training and effectiveness seminar located in Boise, Idaho. Their old logo had many elements going on, and was intended to capture the story of the boy throwing starfish back into the ocean (if you don’t know the story you can look it up). Our job was to create a cleaner, more effective logo that would be used on their website and marketing materials. We chose a stronger font for “empower” and then incorporated the starfish into the “o” to create a cohesive logo that projects the image of “empowerment”. Take a look at the before and after, and if you’re interested in the training, visit www.empowerboise.com.
With the World Cup still in full swing Chevrolet and Manchester United star in this great video showing the history of the Manchester United jersey. The Manchester fans sing “Glory Glory Man United” as they march to the stadium, where star Wayne Rooney debuts the latest jersey with the Chevrolet logo and ends by saying, “This shirt belongs to you. Always has. Always will.” A great spot by Chevy’s agency Commonwealth.