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!

NEMO Triathlon Website Redesign
This week I worked on a few different websites, but they can’t be shown yet, since they aren’t public on ATSU’s website yet. This one was a homepage design for the triathlon that the Rec Center at A.T. Still sponsors

Get excited!

I was reading the Just Creative Design blog today and this quote caught my eye. It’s from an interview with logo designer Luka Pensive.

I avoid showing off numbers of concepts at once as the client is paying me as a designer to see what’s the best for his business/product identity. My task is to deliver a quality, recognizable and unique logo that conveys the message, not to confuse the client and say “hey, here are your 10 concepts, now pick one” – imagine if you came to a (not computer) hardware shop and said you need a nail and shopkeeper told you “here we have 100 different nail types, choose the one you like and get back to me”. Trust me, even if you picked 10 types, you’d come home with the ones you don’t need.

This is the first of many weekly posts. I hope to publish new design work weekly.



ATSU NEWS RELEASES – http://news.atsu.edu

ATSU was publishing news releases statically on their website. I worked with the Communications & Marketing department to integrate a blog-style news releases website. It’s complete with an RSS feed on www.atsu.edu

ATSU GLOBAL NAVIGATION
The various websites connected to atsu.edu really needed consistency of design and style without being too bulky in the top header area. My solution was to implement a site map in the footer of every new website that is created (just http://news.atsu.edu so far). This allows us to get rid of the drop down navigation on the top and leave more room for a page-specifc header and content.

Meadow Heights Church New Message Series ‘Zip It’
I’ve been designing message series’ for Meadow Heights for over 4 years now. This particular design is one side of an invitation card. Check out the Imagine Campaign and Signage I completed for them. It’s interesting to me how for some clients I’m used more as a graphic designer and for other clients I’m more of a web designer for them. I kind of enjoy having regular graphic design work to do for Meadow Heights – it keeps me using those skills I learned at school. BTW – it’s strange to speak of ‘school’ as a past tense thing.

from left - Home Storage Solutions magazine cover, 'Stack Your Storage' magazine spread, Table of Contents

from left – Home Storage Solutions magazine cover, ‘Stack Your Storage’ magazine spread, Table of Contents

A few days ago I received a package in the mail. The package was from Dave Stone at Workbench Magazine. It contained the magazine that I spent all summer conceptualizing, branding, designing and redesigning. I had so much anticipation during the past 4 months about what it would be like to finally get the printed copy of the magazine. If you are a designer, you know the feeling of getting to see your design work finished and printed.

From the beginning of the summer, I sometimes doubted my ability to take on such a large project. After all, it was 100 pages and I was charged with the task of designing and redesigning every article in it. Beyond that I got to come up with an overall brand and style that could be used throughout.

I got to work with the amazing Doug Appleby. He’s an assistant art director at Workbench and a pretty awesome photographer as well. He challenged me to never settle for less. This usually meant designing 15-20 versions of a single magazine spread. I must have learned something, because by the last week of work, when we were putting together the table of contents, it only took about 5 versions – with a few tweaks.

If you want to see a preview of the magazine, check out http://www.woodsmithstore.com/w0901a.html

Check out this blog post – “An Amazing Summer So Far“. It was when I first started my internship at August Home Publishing.

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.

Initial sketch and final intaglio print

Initial sketch and final intaglio print

Bruce Mau is a designer from Canada. Mau runs a successful design firm in Toronto and Chicago. He wrote something called the “Incomplete Manifesto for Growth.” It is basically a list of 43 things that exemplify Mau’s style, strategy toward every project.

My motion graphics course has incorporated this manifesto into our recent video project. We were to create three 30 second videos (1-type dominant, 1-imagedominate, 1- negative space dominate) that explored a particular point from the manifesto. I chose to explore number six,‘Capture Accidents.’ 

My concept was that during the drawing process there are accidents that occurr – a misplaced line here, wrong proportions there, or smearing of pencil lead.

smearing of pencil lead

I wanted to focus on this because I’m left handed, and if you are too (both McCain and Obama are left handed!), you know that this always happens. Notebooks or sketchbooks weren’t meant for left-handed people. The idea I had was to do what the manifesto says – to capture and gather accidents and ‘ask different questions’ or create something great from that accident.

I chose to record myself drawing one of my old sketches of Jesus being persecuted and accidentally smear the pencil lead where the wood block is on the left of the drawing. But then I would turn that smear of lead into the shading of the wood block.

Below is the type dominant version for ‘Capturing Accidents’

I have been excited about my chance to vote in this election. I visited McCain and Obama’s website almost every day along with watching numerous CNN news videos and reading stories to keep on the campaigns. I was ready to vote.

I registered in Adair County on October 8. I filled out my registration form with help from voteforchange.com. I had printed the form and was walking from the library on campus to the County Clerk’s office downtown. On my way there I saw a table on the quad that had people registering students to vote and they said they would be turning in all the forms.  Keyword being ‘all’. So I turned in my form to them. I haven’t thought much about registering since October 8 because I assumed I was registered. I had no idea that they usually send a voter ID card, so I wasn’t expecting one. November 4th at around 1:30pm I drove across town to the ‘Moose Lodge’ to cast my vote. I wasn’t on the list or in their palm pilot of registered voters in Adair County. I then drove to the County Clerk’s office to see if they had my form just laying around. No such luck.

The County Clerk told me that there have been many problems with getting registration cards back from the organizations on campus that asked for blank ones. She even said that a group that registered people at HyVee hadn’t turned in even one registration card.

I turned to leave only to run into two more Truman students who were there for the same exact reason.

I spent the rest of the day letting various media outlets know what injustice had just occurred. I wrote a letter to the editor in the INDEX, e-mailed the professor in charge of the INDEX who said they would a story on it (found here). I also sent a news tip to the TV Station in town – KTVO. I was promptly contacted to be interviewed on camara by them. KTVO told my story on the 5:00 news, 6:00 news and the 10:00 news. They showed different video clips of my interview  on each newscast. The 10:00 clip was the best, because it showed how excited I was to vote.

I even tried casting a provisional ballot, but was told by the County Clerk that even if I did, my vote would not be counted since I didn’t have a registration card filled out.

Lesson learned: When it comes to college organizations, don’t rely on them for anything that is remotely important to you.


Photo of Obama right after I shook his hand!

Photo of Obama right after I shook his hand!




In part six, I simply have a list of reasons why Obama won this election.

  • When McCain took the low road with trivial negativity, Obama never slung mud back, he simply continued on the high road – very under control
  • The negative ads by Obama that were run, were about the issues not about someone the other one associated with – We all have associated with people that others wouldn’t approve of, but it doesn’t define us or our character!
  • Obama was all about the politics of hope and change; McCain, the politics of fear, especially at the end of this campaign.
  • Barack Obama excited young voters – 60-70% of young voters supported Obama.
  • Obama was the first black candidate for president, but didn’t run as the ‘black candidate’. That’s the difference between him and Jesse Jackson.
  • Offering a drastic change from the Bush Administration and was successful in tying McCain to Bush by mentioned the number of times McCain voted with Bush (over 90%)
  • McCain’s lack of judgement in choosing a VP candidate. It showed that McCain couldn’t make smart decisions.
  • McCain’s age – We all know, we were thinking in the back of our minds: What if he dies in office and Sarah Palin takes over – does she have what it takes?
  • A unified Obama campaign never had internal blowups or controversy
  • People are drawn to exciting and hopeful candidates, not ones that are on the attack at all times and bring up things that aren’t related to the real issues.
  • Online Campaigning – Obama’s various websites that I mentioned in part 5, the organization, design/layout of his website and how the web was use to organize Obama rallies and events through social networking.

We are all wondering how Presedent-Elect Barack Obama will utilize the web in his presidency. One hint is a website that was launched today: www.change.gov I’m hoping for periodic email updates from a President Obama, similar to how his campaign was.

In part five, I take a look how Obama is getting out the vote and viral advertising.

I’ve decided to change this post slightly from what I described earlier. I’d like to focus purely on Obama and his various websites and viral advertising.

YesWeCanSong.com
The first time I had ever heard of the term ‘viral advertising’ was when will.i.am from Black Eyed Peas came out with the Yes We Can music video. We discussed it extensively in my Advertising course. One thing is true, when advertising is done independant of the candidate it is very good. That’s why ‘Swift Boat Veterans’ were effective in attacking Kerry because it wasn’t Dubya saying these things, it was an independant source. It also works for ads supporting a candidate, such as the Yes We Can video. This video highlights Obama’s great oratory skills and the particular cadence that is very effective with his speaking. I also took Public Speaking last semester and learned that your speaking ability has a lot to do with the silence/pacing you use. Obama definitely has this nailed. I guess you could compare it to how smooth-talking Clinton was. I heard a comedian say recently “You know, Clinton could say ‘I am not here'” and you would think “he’s right, he’s not here.”

 

YesWeCarve.com
Another viral website that was started from four guys not even part of the Obama campaign. The website was designed so well that I actually believed it WAS by the Obama campaign. This website takes advantage of the beautiful design and branding of the Obama campaign and allows visitors to carve Barack-o-lanterns with various campaign imagery on it and submit photos of the lanterns to their blog. Now imagine for a moment someone started “Maverick-o-Lantern.com” What stencils could they provide? A picture of mccain’s face? That wouldn’t work, all those wrinkles would cause your pumpkin to fall apart if you carved that… But I digress. I carved a Barack-O-Lantern and posted it to their website. Mine is found here.

The remaining items are all paid for by the Obama campaign.

FightTheSmears.com
This website was started a few months back when the primary season ended and Obama knew McCain would be on the attack. It basically takes rumors or attacks by McCain or other sources and gives the facts about each ‘smear’. This is effective in that ‘setting the record straight’ isn’t being done on the main campaign website, because if it was, it would seem that Obama is all about dispelling fear and not about the real issues. In this case he can do both at the same time, but keep his main website as place to learn about Obama’s stances on issues. On FighttheSmears.com, one can sign up for email updates on various smears.

Under The Radar
This website is a subdomain (radar.barackobama.com), but treated as it’s own website, with a very different design from the main campaign website. This site goes a step further than Fight the Smears does. This website lets users submit various attacks that are being launched at very local levels (direct mail, etc). The website gives you an interactive map and allows you see where various attacks are being done. This and the previous website does very good job of showing the numerous attempts to suppress support, and can only look bad for McCain.

VoteForChange.com
I registered to vote in Kirksville via this website. It gives visitors a step by step process to fill out info and then it generates a PDF with your info filled in and then you can print, sign and turn it in. I almost forgot to turn it in, but the deadline day, October 8th, I received a robo-call from Michelle Obama reminding me to turn in my form.

Cell Phones and the iPhone
Obama announced his VP pick through text-messaging – although it was leaked hours before sending the message, most people first found out about it from a text message, because it was announced at midnight the night before. Obama even has an iPhone App. I don’t have an iPhone, but would assume that this App is very effective. Any iPhone owners have thoughts on the App?

Video Game Ads
I had no idea that you could advertise in video games, but Obama has done so. Obama has placed billboard ads in nine XBox360 games in ten swing states. Even one more way that he is targeting the 18-30 year old crowd. I won’t be suprised to see my potato chips having political ads in the next presidential election. Picture this: ‘”Vote Palin 2012″ on your chips. Her slogan on the chips can be “Chew on this: I’m just a regular hockey mom”

In part six, I will look at the use of the web in the final days of the election and the results of the election.