Category Archives: Typography

A few years ago I had a course where we were encouraged to push the limit of what graphic design is and break the rules of design and typography to create something fresh… as fresh as sweet, sweet mountain dew. Here are a few pieces from that time period (which also draw much inspiration from designer, David Carson). I call this my ‘make the professor happy’ era of my design work. ūüôā

I've known Kristina for probably 5 years and it was a pleasure to design her wedding invitations!

The script typeface is called 'Buttermilk' and I purchased it from a great illustrator/type designer named Jessica Hische.

The swirls were customized from an original set of 'swirls' I had. The secondary typeface used for body copy is Baskerville Old Face. It seemed to go well with the elegance of Buttermilk

Recently, Mitch Goldstein (a great designer and educator at Rhode Island School of Design) blogged about his holy sh*t moment. His was that you could photograph type instead of just ‘typing’ it. A design student, Brittany Loar responded with her ‘moment’ as well.

Here are few of my holy sh*t moments:

  • Throughout high school I would design everything with drop shadows. During my second year of college I realized NOT using a drop shadow was actually better. I do break this rule sometimes, but with great subtlety.
  • As far as typography, I realized that I could kern out (generous space between letters of the word) words to add more contrast with other type (see this logo). I learned this closer to my third year of college.
  • As far as page layout, using very generous margins with blocks of text really opened some things up for me (see this print ad). This as well was learned during my second year of college.

These probably don’t sound too groundbreaking if you’re a designer, but for a young designer (as I was), they are huge.

Now it’s your turn!

What was your holy sh*t moment in your profession, whether you are a designer, writer, photographer, programmer, or any other type of professional.

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Retro Personal Work
(click to see larger)

While I was home I put some old photos on my computer, some of them being of my aunts and uncles as teenagers. This is my Uncle Rick and Aunt Sherry, siblings of my mom. I don’t know the year this was taken, but come on… it HAS to be in the 1970s. Just look at their hair.

I decided to tie in the lyrics to a hit song from the 70’s, Stairway to Heaven. I hardly ever do personal work that isn’t for a client but I think I need to start because this was fun!

I aimed to make this have multiple meanings (especially if you didn’t know they were siblings) – what story do you read from it?


In a well-made book, where designer, compositor and printer have all done their jobs, no matter how many thousands of lines and pages they must occupy, the letters are alive. They dance in their seats. Sometimes they rise and dance in the margins and aisles.

‚ÄĒ Robert Bringhurst (author of The Elements of Typographic Style)

Also check out The Elements of Typographic Style applied to the Web. Someone has taken this book and explained how to do all these things with CSS and HTML Рvery cool!


blackcat billboard idea #5
I tried getting the cat to look like it was ripping through the billboard. I spent 30 minutes playing with placement of the cat over the rip. It just wasn’t looking right… then I realized that the cat tail needed to go because it was ‘flattening out’ the depth of field.¬† Thoughts on this one? Does the background type/texture need to be more latent? I was careful not to overlap type on type and not have anything behind the large type.



blackcat billboard idea #6
For this one I tried using the same concept but simplifying it. So there is still a texture, cat, ripped paper but they are used differently. Also the leading of ‘Blackcat County’ is tighter here with the ‘t’ of ‘Country’ connecting with the ‘c’ of ‘Blackcat’. The previous one has more generous leading. Should the type/texture be even more latent? I’m just not sure how noticeable the texture will be from the road.

I invite everyone’s critique and thoughts – even if you’re not a designer.


Logo for the Student Government Association at ATSU – This is to be used on their brand new website that I posted a few weeks ago. Will be in WordPress – should be come out nicely!
iconnect – a website that connects the ATSU community through various social networking all in one place. I can’t wait for this to launch – The URL has been blurred out since it’s not live yet. This is a magazine ad that will be in Still Magazine soon.


Financial Aid videos for ATSU – the most extensive use of web videos at ATSU to date – I think… Again I can’t share the URL since it’s only for a select set of users. The previous and next buttons use jQuery to ‘slide’ to the next video. An example is here.


So I decided not to include the other 10 million design projects I worked on this week Рso I collaged them into a small space.  This week included an iconnect magazine ad, blackcat billboard ideas, newspaper ad for meadow heights, SGA logo, iconnect subpage design, creative improv subpages, financial aid video slideshow, blackcat illustrator recreation and a bunch of programming.



I’m currently working on designing a billboard for fredericktown school district – it’s a project meadow heights church¬†is doing for the school. First I had to re-illustrate the low resolution blackcat that I was provided with. There’s gotta be a high-res version floating around somewhere – now I have my own – and it only took 12 hours to recreate.

Vector Blackcat – gotta love the pen tool and wacom tablet


One idea for the billboard


Variation of the last idea


Totally different idea – it already feels dated to me – almost like a late 80’s, early 90’s school t-shirt or something.

Anyone have some ideas for background textures/elements and or other ideas that could help these designs? I’m open to anything!


Do you have what it takes?


This photo is one that my aunt gave me about a year ago. It’s my dad and other aunt in the 60’s. The photo was almost beyond repair, with the graininess and lack of contrast. I made good use of the burn tool. First I made it black/white then began layering color in and then burned¬† more contrast in.


Another message series! I’ll have another one to post in two weeks. This one was a borrowed set of graphics from What is borrowed is the glass image and ‘remember’ logo. The rest is a unique design that fits the Meadow Heights ‘style’. It’s funny that Meadow Heights ‘style’ is identical to my design style. I just counted how many message series graphic sets¬†I’ve designed for Meadow Heights….. drum roll please….. 28!



Still being developed, but I just had to share this. This is website numero deuce that I’ve developed for ATSU. It follows the same style that does and still has it’s own identity. The most important aspect is the ATSU blue banner that is consistant across all ATSU websites. The footer is a unique aspect that will be used on all new websites I develop. It’s an alternative to the global navigation at the top of the website.



This is a sneak peak at an even less developed website. the goal here is to globalize the two SGA’s – one for Arizona campus and one for the Missouri campus.