A Vital Part of a Community

A Vital Part of a Community

Emergency Response Services are integral to the health of our communities. As valuable as these services are, one can ponder where did it all begin? Bonus is you won’t need to ponder, simply pick up the latest published book by The EMS Foundation of Calgary, Vital Signs: A Half-century of Emergency Medical Services in Calgary.

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Rembrandt's Comet

Rembrandt's Comet

A year ago I was referred to a most wonderful creative couple with self publishing dreams. After a first online video meeting they opened their world to me and invited me on their journey. The first book was The Foldings, followed by Slim Island, a second version of The Foldings, and then Stratosphere, all written by Gordon Kurby (his pseudonym). All of these books were the testing phase for the true baby, his recent book release, Rembrandt’s Comet.

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Slim Island

Slim Island
"Protect our planet, it's natural beauty, the many graces and wondrous art. You are in possession of a spectacular place that we all share. Be wise curators of a fragile world."

I had to start this post by highlighting a section of the dedication of my second independent published book, Slim Island, with Gordon Kurby. It is these types of messages that I desire to help share with our human race. The more that we empower our younger generations to make positive impacts sooner, the better it will be for them and our race in the long run.

This is the second hardcover book I designed for Gordon. This version compared to The Foldings was originally intended to be part of a two-part publication. In the end, the author chose to publish this one as a standalone to be associated with it's 'pair' down the road. This was a fictional story without images so we chose Ingramspark's black and white content printing. We chose the cream colour text to allow for easy reading on the eyes. The paper quality was the basic 50# text weight and though there is some see-through on the pages, overall it has a wonderful feel.

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The Foldings

The Foldings

The Foldings was our first publication project and was taken on as a trial for us to work on together to see if we were a good fit, as well to test out the book publishing services of Ingramspark. The dream of any author is to hold in their hands a hardcover copy of their hopes and dreams. So, of course, we worked to design a full-colour hardcover with a dust jacket. After research of the options that were out there. The client was looking for an online publisher that could offer a variety of formats (softcover and hardcover) as well provides international distribution as they had an inventory of books to design and publish who would have a market in Europe.

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Creating a client's creative vision while respecting brand guidelines.

Creating a client's creative vision while respecting brand guidelines.

Today I would like to share a story of my long-time (first) client, Volleyball Alberta. In a previous post, I shared how we collaborated to update their established brand. Since then, I continue to support as their brand advisor and creative for projects as they arise. One of these design projects is their event shirt designs. 

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I love my Clients

I love my Clients

With the upcoming release of my client, Discovering ANTIQUES, magazine issue on Monday it seemed to be perfect timing. I have been working with the owner/publisher, Jan Mather since 2007. Jan found me through a referral by a designer who at the time was her 'assist' who would review and finalize her design files. She was a one-woman show at the time who published, edited and designed the layout when she first took over the magazine.

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Iconic Francofone by Design

Over the years I have had the honour of working with a local software developer, Les Éditions 3D. I was introduced to the company through my university computer professor, Larry Katz. I had the opportunity to design packaging and branding for a french language learning software based on the Canadian Classic, Hockey Sweater children’s story.

The work would involve designing the CD packaging and CD design. This time around I tagged in to assist with creating an APP icon brand for a new french language app, Francofone.

Creating the icon and logo was a process. The creative was focused at first on the fleur-de-lis and french flag colours. My first round of concepts included a speech bubble to speak to the language element of the app.

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LEAGUE Magazine | Challenging the value of creativity.

Just because I love what I do, doesn’t mean I don’t need to be compensated financially as much as someone who hates their job. This disrespect has been a trend for like ever when it comes to the creative industry. There are so many stories from creatives being approached to do work for no cash, but other 'intangible' benefits.  Whether it's a start-up approaching a designer suggesting including the project in their portfolio is just as valuable as being paid, or a magazine asking a photographer to use their images for what would be astounding exposure. In the end… those things are not going to pay our bills.

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Supporting First Responders

Over the years I have had the privilege to have worked with and gotten to know one of my local city councillors, Shane Keating. We first worked together on his organization Families in Remembrance of Military Members (FIRMM). After the incident in Ottawa last fall, Shane was inspired to create the following ribbons that would bring awareness to the value and service that local and national first responsders do for us.

Volleyball Evolution

The saying, “Time flies” sure doesn’t apply here. Two years in the making and five years before that, working with the Alberta Volleyball Association and talking about updating their branding has finally led us here. I was invested in this project. The AVA was my first client when I began my freelance career. Their original logo was created by in-house staff back in the 80’s and had established it’s visual brand since then.

The current Executive Director approached me about the project and understanding the importance and influence they had, and I saw quite the serious challenge. Not only did he want to change the logo but also the name to connect with other similar organizations in Canada. Moving the word volleyball to the beginning was to identify what their service was as the priority, but the element that also identifies them from other’s is it’s connection to its region, Alberta.

This re-brand was divided up into three phases. The first was research. We interviewed the staff and then created two sets of surveys for the membership to complete. We were overwhelmed with responses. Out of the 3,000+ membership we were hoping for about 500 responses. In the end, we got three times that amount with half of the membership completing the survey and providing us with their very honest views and thoughts. So it can’t be said that this design was not directed by its own membership.

The second phase focused on creating the logo. We went through a variety of directions in the brainstorming phase and was directed by feedback from the administration. Through everything, our strategy was inspired by evolving the brand.

The evolution
Due to the history and how long the original logo was in use, it was established that the re-brand had to respect it’s history while at the same time evolve to meet the new generations’ design savvy expectations. Because the stitching design of the volleyball changes over time this element was avoided in the final so the logo could be used for another 10+ years without it becoming dated again.

The response
Working for a year with the association's staff, board and committee as well as surveying the membership with over 1,600 responses, ended with this resulted design. It was presented to the full board by the administration staff and was not well received. I was asked to represent the design a couple of months later to the executive. This time around I walked them through the full design process and strategy. This presentation did go over well with 85% of the board agreeing to go forward with the initial pitch. Comments and feedback that were negative in the beginning turned around, claiming they warmed up to it. The fact that the design ‘grew’ on the committee boded well. The highest praise is hearing how the volleyball players are loving the new look and proudly wearing the Volleyball Alberta brand.

The strategy
It was the growth of the association that required the design to be able to give it’s divisions and departments an opportunity to be featured. Due to the name change of the association for Alberta Volleyball to Volleyball Alberta, the logo type is placed first with the icon on the left. This allows for the right side of the icon to place logo type for each of the divisions. Where their logo can be used together with the corporate brand or as a stand alone with the icon establishing the connection.

Flexibility by design
The final selling feature of the design was the ability to be flexible with the use of each of the elements. Providing stacked as well as vertical options allow for the logo to be employed in a variety of ways depending on the need.

I would like to acknowledge that this whole project is based on collaboration with the staff of Volleyball Alberta as well as the consultation of Tevis Sample, a fellow designer I was lucky enough to connect with via LinkedIn. A design of this magnitude is never done in a bubble – it needs to be a team effort with the client as well as utilising the experience and perspectives of other creative professionals.