Category Archives: Creative Improv

Creative Improv started over a year ago as a way for Michael Goldsmith and I to work together and provide web, print and identity design to clients. It has been a joy to continue to work closely with ‘Goldie’. It feels like a dream come true, to be crazy busy with design for such a wide range of projects as fellow artists, bands, museums, a math curriculum, and even a bridal shoppe.

We’ve had business cards since the beginning, but we’ve just now got letterhead and envelopes. Check them out below!

A technical note – we used OvernightPrints.com for our printing and everything came out perfectly. The color was spot on and the ability to do a full bleed on the envelope was freeing!

Letterhead and envelope for Creative Improv

Business Cards for Stephen Emlund at Creative Improv

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Recently Jamie and I did a photoshoot with musical instruments, including his guitar and drums and my saxophone. Here are a few of the shots I got. I’ve put these up on istockphoto.com for sale. You can also purchase prints of them by clicking on the image above and finding the ‘Prints’ box at the bottom right of the page.

You can see the rest of my photos on iStock here.

A brown duck at the St. Louis Zoo

Yesterday midday, my first photo was accepted to istockphoto.com!

Check out my iStock portfolio. I’ve got four photos in there so far. 18 more photos are waiting for acceptance.

So, when my office at A.T. Still University moved down to the basement with other creatives (I know that’s so stereotypical sounding… ‘a basement full of creatives’) , I’ve found myself being inspired more often than not. I’ve also starting learning a lot more about photography. With the advice of Jamie and Kelly, I purchased a new Canon Rebel XS and started asking them a million questions on how to use it.

I got the camera about a month ago and a week ago I was accepted into iStockPhoto.com as a photo contributor. I’m totally stoked to start selling on iStock.

Here are a few photos that are waiting for approval on iStock

A few months ago, when Creative Improv was in it’s infancy, the Parallax View project came our way at just the right time. I had wanted to work on this project since high school. I knew Ben & Seth in high school and thought it would be cool to do a website for them back then (before they were Parallax view).  I believe we even talked about me doing the website. I also received an email two years ago from the band asking if I would do some work – Sadly it got lost in my email and I never read it.

This time, everything seemed to work out. With Michael’s and my experience designing and marketing for the Church, this was a perfect project for us. Check out the Parallax View Band website that we launched a few weeks ago! Michael’s initial design ideas, sketches, endless creative direction, keeping me on task, writing skills and client relations is and always will be priceless to Creative Improv’s design process. This and every other project I’ve worked on with him always turns out a zillion times better because of what he brings to the table!

Check out our design process for this project. Interested in Creative Improv?? then become a fan on facebook or check us out on our official website.

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The first step in this project was to sketch out logo ideas.

We ended up deciding on this logo because it was the most memorable at a very small and very large scale.

We ended up deciding on this logo because it was the most memorable at a very small and large scale.

The website sketches came next, incorporating the logo's colors and style. This first sketch used a left narrow column and the header was a bit more crowded than what we ended up going with.

The website sketches came next, incorporating the logo's colors and style (for these, incorporation of color was in my head 🙂 ). This first sketch used a left narrow column and the header was a bit more crowded than what we ended up going with. These black/white pencil sketches help decide on layout without the distraction of color to give a false sense of completeness.

This sketch was the base for the final website, though still a bit different in the final implementation. We used the divine proportion to decide how wide each column should be. I know, how ironic, since this is a Christian band. :-)

This sketch was the base for the final website, though still a bit different in the final implementation. We used the divine proportion to decide how wide each column should be. I know, how ironic, since this is a Christian band. 🙂

The final website: featuring content from various social media and a brand new blog for the band to keep in touch with their fans. The most dynamic aspect is the MySpace Music Player, the Flickr feed and YouTube feed.

The final website: featuring content from various social media and a brand new blog for the band to keep in touch with their fans. The most dynamic aspect is the MySpace Music Player, the Flickr feed and YouTube feed. Check it out now!

The CD was one of the funnest parts of this project. I've only designed one other CD in my life, unless you count the fake CD for portfolio purposes. The typography, textures, photos and illustrations just came together nicely. It did take some thinking to get the hierarchy just right between the title and logo for the cover.

The CD was one of the funnest parts of this project. I've only designed one other CD in my life (for Truman's Jazz Ensemble, which I performed with as well). The typography, textures, photos and illustrations just came together nicely. It did take some thinking to get the hierarchy just right between the title and logo for the cover.

The Poster was the very last piece to complete. It matched the website header nicely.

The poster was the very last piece to complete. It matched the website header nicely.

Technical skill is mastery of complexity, while creativity is mastery of simplicity.

— Christopher Zeeman

Creative Improv is all about simplicity in design because that’s the sign of true creativity. We also follow this mantra by a great jazz bassist(because we love jazz music and there are great similarities between jazz improv and design)

Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.

— Charles Mingus Jazz Bassist and Composer

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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 http://www.creativeimprov.com 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

I’ve spent the last four months working on starting my own freelance business known as Creative Improv. It is a unique collaboration between myself and Michael, but also might include more folks in the future depending on the specific project (photographers & programmers). Michael and I would always tell each other, “you know we should start a design business”. Well that’s what we’re doing. I’m the designer while Michael is the creative director. Check out our website so far: http://creativeimprov.com – not much yet, but more is coming.

Creative Improv’s thought process is centered on the idea of simplicity that Jazz Bassist, Charles Mingus puts forth:

Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.

Speaking of simplicity: This is one of the first concepts for the Creative Improv website.

click to view it larger!

Be sure to ‘follow’ creativeimprov on Twitter.com to keep up to date on the website progress and new projects we are doing!

I would never have guessed that of all places, Fredericktown, MO would be home to a really awesome illustrator like Tim at Unique Ink.

Michael Goldsmith and I teamed up to create a truly ‘unique’ website for Unique Ink. They offer screen printing/poster design/vinyl lettering and a bunch of other stuff. His artistic style is really hip. It’s hard to put my finger on something that it reminds me of, but it’s sort of retro, detailed, flat colors & monochromatic.

The cool thing is that Tim designed the website and handed it over to us to turn into a website. His website design is very fresh and ‘never been done before’ because he doesn’t bring to the table past website design experience (like I do). I think that’s what I like about it most… that he designed it… and Michael and I just helped to make his design a functional website, while adding our own touch of detail, accessibility & functionality.

Michael & I have started Creative Improv, a print/web design firm, a few months ago. For a sneak peak at our mantra, check out CreativeImprov.com. We will be launching the full website very soon – get ready.

Oh yeah, and I’m starting my new job at A.T. Still University as web developer on January 5th.  It should be an exiting two months!

The best is yet to come.