Archive for February, 2009

Designers: Making a Difference

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

In our blog we have shown both good and bad design, while providing our thoughts and opinions where we felt necessary. When we came across this next image we had to step back and ask ourselves, “Do we, as designers, have the power to make a difference?” The answer is, yes! We have control over who sees our work, what its message contains, and how it affects others. Ultimately, we must decide how we want our design to be portrayed. 

The image below shows a billboard advertisement about preventing childhood obesity, while the billboard directly below is an advertisement for McDonald’s, one of the leading causes of obesity in our world. Obviously, the placement of these billboards was not well-thought out, however, the advertisement for childhood obesity makes their case in point even stronger. McDonald’s, along with many other fast-food chains, advertise their companies as cheap and fast. In today’s economy both of those are great selling points, but shouldn’t always be the answer.

We came across a great website ( that is taking a stand against Childhood Obesity. The Houston Independent School District in partnership with Houston Texans, the National Dairy Council, Dairy MAX, and many others convened on February 20th and 21st for the “Healthy Kids, Healthy Schools Summit.” They went over the causes of childhood obesity and how, they as a community, can take action and stop the epidemic. This summit proposed to enhance wellness within the school districts and its students, creating a healthier generation to come. They believe it is time for all to participate and take part in the coming years. 

We think it is great what Houston, Texas is proposing and we only hope to see it branch out to other cities soon! As designers, we believe that we can help out too. Be proud of what you do and stand behind your work. We always find it inspiring to work for a good cause. We realize times our tough now, but someone out there can always use your help.

Hell Yeah!

Friday, February 20th, 2009

So it’s 4:15 on a Friday and we have one thing on our mind… the weekend! With that said, this next image is very appropriate. 

Billboard designs have many tasks: 
1. They must catch the viewer’s attention
2. They must get the message across and get it across quickly
3. They must be easy to read
4. And lastly… they must be awesome! (well, that’s not always the case, but it should be!)

This billboard is simple, but clever. The first thing that comes to mind when viewing this is, beer, of course! The hand protruding out of the sign reaching for the beer really makes this piece pop and ultimately is what makes this billboard stand out from the rest. Once again, this proves that simplicity can result in success if designed well. 

Today’s happy hour is dedicated to Heineken! Happy Friday everyone!

Hell Maybe!

Friday, February 20th, 2009

This next image that we found sparked many different feelings. At first we thought we had a “Hell No!” on our hands, but then at a second glance we thought we had a “Hell Yeah!”. We decided to compromise and call this one “Hell Maybe!” 

This invention of the pillow attached to the head gave us a good laugh. Who in their right mind would want to walk around with a pillow attached to their head? Whether you’re in public or in the privacy of your own home there is no way this can be comfortable. That was our initial thought: this invention is ridiculous and if we encountered a person with a pillow bonnet on their head we would most likely point and laugh.

On the other hand… what a brilliant idea! We are hardworking designers who deserve a break every once and a while and what better way to indulge in a good nap than attaching a pillow to your head. The pure convenience of the bonnet pillow alone can prove it’s case in point. One minute you’re designing away at your desk and the next you’re dreaming about the warm beaches of Mexico. As our boss said, “They’re not messin’ around! Bring back the siesta!” 

So our question to you is this, “Should we kick this idea to the curb or do you have pillow on your mind?”

Social Networking: Where Do Designers Fit In?

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Our company has been on top of things when it comes to social networking. The marketing team here is the backbone of our social networking. They are promoting JB’s name all over the place: facebook, myspace, twitter, linkedin, and believe it or not, blogspot! Just recently, us designers were called together to meet about this new kind of networking and see how it can fit into our field. At first, we thought design would have no place in the social networking world, but little did we know! All three of us are now more “social” than ever!

One of the main goals of any company is promotion. How can we promote our company and more importantly how can we do it efficiently? Yes, we have a website and a great list of clients, but how can we get others to learn about our company and to learn about it fast? This is where social networking ties in. As designers, we are able to promote not only ourselves, but also our designs and our company. Through our accounts at facebook, twitter, flickr, blogger, etc. we are able to broadcast our ideas, design work, and simple thoughts to a mass amount of people and in a short amount of time. Each time someone that we are “linked” with reads one of our postings or clicks on a link we provided, helps our company name grow. 

We have only just begun on our journey through social networking, but already we are seeing great results. It is an exciting process and it will be very interesting to see how it will affect our company.

We must go now and be “social!”

Hell No!

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Since we have been on the topic of logo design, we decided to venture into the Olympic Logo Design field. We have to admit that we are biased, being from Chicago and all, but I think everyone will agree with us that the London Olympic Design is a complete disaster! 

For such an important worldwide event as the Olympics, one would think that the logo design would be carefully scrutinized before being launched. Some call the design “too simplistic, too acidic, and ultimately too harsh in styling”.  We do admit that the design is very bold and eye-catching, but not in the way that a designer usually intends for their work. It will be hard to knock this image out of our brains. The logo gives off a very childish feeling, which can be seen as too immature for such a memorable event. In our opinion, the puzzle-piece style has been overdone and outdated. 

Will this be a logo that the world can finally accept and take in or will the logo of the 2012 Olympics go down in history as the “gold medal” of Hell No?

When Logo Redesign Goes Wrong

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

Creating a logo for a brand or company can be a very tough job. For a logo to be successful, it must not only be aesthetically pleasing and designed well, but also have longevity. We have seen many companies change or update their logos over the years and some have made good decisions and others have not done so well in the process. The most difficult task for a well-known company/brand to partake in is a redesign. When you have already established a “name” and style for yourself it can be very hard to change that and keep everyone happy. For example, we have noticed that many large corporations are experiencing these makeovers in order to keep up with the latest trends and styles. For some, this is a great change, a step in the right direction, but for others it can be a large step back.

The Animal Planet is a very popular channel, broadcasting  in over 70 countries worldwide, and has made itself very well-known among millions of viewers.  Their first logo was launched in June of 1996 and portrayed a picture of an elephant and a spinning globe, using mostly green and blue colors to establish an earthy and friendly feel. In February of 2008, Animal Planet decided to redefine itself and launched a new logo, sending many viewers into an uproar. What Animal Planet thought would symbolize an edgier and more energetic look, did just the opposite. The 
new logo has been scrutinized by not only designers, but also everyday fans. Many people’s first reaction was, “What were they thinking?” 

The typographical treatment seems a bit off and one may question why they chose to “squish” some letters and stretch out others. Another question would be why they chose to emphasize the M and turn it on it’s side? All in all, the new logo is frustrating and almost hides the message that Animal Planet wants to send out. 

These are just some of the questions that first came to mind when comparing the new look with the old design. We definitely think a redesign could have taken place, but with little more attention to detail and good design.  What are your thoughts?

Hell Yeah!

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

It’s that time again… the Hell Yeah! Post of the week. This next piece was a direct mailer done extremely well. We realize that designing direct mailers can be very difficult. Not only are we creating a piece that will be distributed to a large mass of people, but we also have to design something that will stand out from the other crowd of direct mailers that people receive everyday. We for one, know that many of the direct mail pieces people receive have about a “10 second life span” from the hands of the receiver directly to the garbage can. It is our jobs as both marketers and designers to change that. 

Below you will find one clever idea for a direct mailer. Papa John’s Pizza “delivered” these mailers door to door using people’s peep holes as the vehicle of choice. Instead of opening up your stack of mail and finding just another oversized postcard promoting pizza, you are greeted with a surprise. We can just imagine the looks on people’s faces when they look out their peep holes and see a delivery man!

Just looking at this would get anyone hungry! The only downfall, would be their vehicle they chose. Not everyone has a peep hole, but still a very effective marketing and design idea “delivered” well!

Designer Blues: Never Fully Satisfied

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

On this gloomy Thursday afternoon we decided to embark on one of the many difficulties that designers experience throughout their careers, having that feeling of never being completely satisfied. One day we’re working on a design and we believe we have this great thing going, but then you come back to it the next day and you hate it. This can be both a good thing and a bad thing. 

Looking at it from a positive perspective we can see how we are constantly changing as designers and developing new styles and trends, while learning from our mistakes. We can almost guarantee that we each own a piece of work that we designed years back, but today we would look at the piece and say “what were we thinking?” 

The negative perspective of this feeling of never being satisfied is exactly that… we are never satisfied! A job is never fully complete because changes can always be made to make something appear better, convey the message more clearly, or simply make us happier! As designers, we must realize that there has to come a time when we have to step back and say this is it!

If you have ever experienced this feeling of never being fully satisfied do not worry, you are not alone! This is simply the designer blues and the only cure is to keep designin’! 

So when designing remember this:
Challenge yourself. Take risks. Ask for other designers’ opinions. Keep learning new things. And mostly, be yourself because the hardest judge on your work out there is YOURSELF!

Design Trends

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

As designers we have to constantly keep up to date with all of the different design trends being used in the business. Thankfully, we have many different sources that offer inspiration and ideas. Some of our favorite sites that we visit on a daily basis are used to fill our heads with creative information and to get our ideas flowing. One of the trends we have been seeing a lot of lately consists of mixing photography with illustration. If done correctly, this technique can be quite successful and exciting! I am sure if you browse around you will see many different variations of this new technique being put to use. We decided to take a stab at it. Posted below is a before and after shot using the technique.

This technique consists of using different vector elements, along with photoshop brushes. We started off with the black and white photo and ended up with a completely new design. The photo now contains a punch of energy and excitement, allowing for the model to interact with the different design elements. This is just one of the many new trends that have shown their face. We’ll continue showing more…enjoy!

Hell No!

Friday, February 6th, 2009

As we previously mentioned… we will also show Hell No! Posts weekly. First up we have a direct mail piece that we found online for decreasing wrinkles in women. 

The pictures themselves can basically sum everything up, but why take the fun out of nitpicking this design? We realize that many before and after pictures must be “doctored” to show those stunning results, but anyone who falls for this ad has got to be insane! Speaking of doctors, where is the credibility in “Voted Top 100 Doctors in America” and for three years? We have to give them credit for adding the “shock factor” into the piece, but other than that this is just one direct mailer gone horribly wrong! Good for a laugh that’s for sure!