Monthly Archives: May 2009

I recently had a conversation with a good friend about design styles. The question was posed to me…

That begs the question….is it better to develop your own “style” that you become recognized by, or have an arsenal of styles to draw from to please your clients?  Both have valid arguments…

That’s a tough question.

I think a designer should provide the client with the best ‘solution’ for their particular design problem. That solution should transcend any particular ‘popular design trend’ but could have elements of various design trends and styles. I think designers come up with their own style from looking at great work and remembering what they felt was effective. The design solution should ultimately be the best one that reaches a particular target audience. So, really what a client ‘likes’ doesn’t matter so much as what reaches their target audience. Hopefully the client has their target audience in mind and there is no problem pleasing the client and reaching the target audience at the same time. That is part of the job of a designer: to educate folks about the design process.
There’s also an argument that says designers should show more than one solution for a design problem when presenting ideas to a client. I’ve read a lot that this just confuses the client and puts them in the role of ‘art director’. Really they should be advising and reminding us who their target audience is and answer all questions in terms of whether their target audience will respond to it. That’s why design ‘styles’ and ‘trends’ really aren’t the point.  It is true that everything does somehow fit into a particular style or trend but that is the nature of design and how we group things in our minds. Maybe a particular design style should be defined by what reaches a particular audience at this particular day, month or year. Therefore, when that design style changes it really is a reflection that what is reaching a particular audience has changed.

In my Advertising course in college we analyzed many past political ads including Daisy Girl.  It aired September 7, 1964 and seemed to be an effective ad because it drew fear about  Lyndon B. Johnson’s opponent, Senator Barry Goldwater. The ad was created by innovative ad agency Doyle Dane Bernbach. It only aired once but that was enough to give Johnson the presidency. Today, this ad goes down as one of the most effective political ads in history.  To learn more about this ad go here.

On May 21, 2009 the RNC decided that it could piggy-back on it’s success over 40 years ago and paint Obama in the same dark hue. The thing is: they are just a tad bit too late. He’s already President. You’d think McCain would have thought of this idea during the campaign since he was 27 when Daisy Girl aired. (that was the same year he apparently got in an auto accident that was kept hush hush until recently – interestingly, that article was written on my birthday – october 28, 2008 – crazy!)

Not only is this remake a textbook example of how not to edit video, but every sound-bite is taken out of context and the ‘daisy girl’s’ voice sounds like someone Meghan McCain’s age rather than a 5 year old girl.

For your viewing pleasure!

Most trademarks don’t look that good on the radio.

—Ken Cato

It’s about whittling. It’s about taking something and whittling and whittling and getting it sharp and perfect. Then you’ve got something.
—James Victore


In Costa Rica, I took this photo of the sunset one evening.


I did the watercolor on cold press illustration board and then drew the pier separately with pen/ink. I then scanned both images in and composed them in Photoshop.


I kinda like the black and white version more than the color.


Eight months ago Michael and I began brainstorming and dreaming about what is now Creative Improv. Creative Improv is basically an outlet for us to provide web, print and identity design to customers and offer really creative and simple solutions to their design problems. It has been a long time coming.

Go to to see the brand new website and learn about the services we offer! If you are looking for a new website or need print or identity design services feel free to contact us.

This endeavor is one I’m sharing with Michael Goldsmith. He’s an amazing mentor and creative director. We seem to speak the same visual language and ‘creatively improvise’ similarly. Speaking of improvising – Michael is an amazing jazz saxophonist – I aspire to play sax like that! This might be why we called it ‘Creative Improv’.

While on the website, feel free to send us a note via the request info page