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It’s hard for small businesses to take the plunge and hire a designer in an age of DIY. Why should you invest in a professional website design when you can assemble one with the Web Builder from GoDaddy? There is certainly a pain threshold that a new business has to cross before they are faced with the fact that they need a professional to help with their marketing. A confusing website, a clunky logo, a mismatched marketing and advertising campaign – the mixed messages add up until a consumer turns away before hearing a word you say. Paying for professional design services can do more than get your foot in the door.

Design helps small businesses in everything from inspiring confidence with a professional image, to setting your brand apart from the competition, to attracting like-minded employees and even building financial value.

Read more reasons why hiring a professional designer will add value to your business.

Hot dogs + Bacon = Yes. Milk + Orange Juice = Not so much. There are quite a few different food options at Fast Eddie’s that could trigger a gag reflex but I’m pretty certain that is what they are aiming to do. The cook (Eddie) and the waiter (Ed) pull together menu items with what they have on hand. You might get lettuce soup, banana ice cream or tacos and asparagus. It’s a complete and total crap shoot which is why I can’t stop going back.

I’ve interviewed Ed about the hours of operation many times but he is very reluctant to nail anything down. From what I can tell they are open on Thursday – Saturday from 10am to 4pm, except during nap time. Those hours are subject to change at a moment’s notice. The one staple of stability would be their menu, logo and branding elements are all on point. Whoever designed their corporate identity package did a great job of collecting the fragmented menu into cohesive communications.

If you’re in a daring mood, I would highly encourage a trip to Fast Eddie’s. If it is open, you will have a dining experience that you will not forget. 5/5 stars

Having spent several years creating online Flash advertising, I’m well versed in Flash animation. During its hey day it took over the web and could rarely be avoided on a stroll through the internet. Now that HTML5 can use elements and scripts to recreate many of the wonders that Flash once provided Adobe has announced that the SWF will be forever gone as soon as 2020 rolls around.

Goodbye, my friend.

Read Flash and the Future of Interactive Content

The new logo for IBM iX – the design and consulting division of IBM – is rad. I use that term sparingly but they have truly earned it. I can see it on a new pair of skater sneaks or on an oversized pixel portrait. Maybe I’m smitten because I already love the band The XX, but you can really do no wrong with a mark that is so identifiable and engaging on black and white.

If I didn’t know it said ix from the very start it would probably take 2-3 guesses to get there but making the viewer work to decipher a glyph typically burns the image into memory.

With a solid foundation, you can certainly have a lot of fun with the variations…

There are a few hot button topics when it comes to dealing with designers. If you have the privilege of working directly with one of these fragile creatures there are a few precautions you should take. For instance, if you ask for anything to be done in Microsoft Word be prepared for a backlash and possible tirade about the entire Microsoft Office suite. Do you have an hour to deal with this nitpickery? No? Then I would suggest reading 10 Things You Should Never Ask Designers.

The new year brings about all kinds of reflection and retrospective. 2016 was a different year than most and justly deserved the internet’s wrath. I would say this photo is the best way for me to capture how I feel about the year that has passed. Mildly chaotic, childish, plenty of cracks and – of course – there’s a dinosaur in the mix.

There is always a dinosaur.

I make a lot of iTunes playlists through the year and there is one that got me through the firestorm that was 2016. When I needed to dust off the boots and kick some ass the playlist I call Dandy got the job done.

  1. Good as Hell – Lizzo
  2. Me Too – Meghan Trainor
  3. U-Turn – Teegan & Sara
  4. Go! – M83
  5. Can’t Stop the Feeling! – Justin Timberlake
  6. Collect my Love – The Knocks
  7. For What It’s Worth – Kygo
  8. Demons – Fatboy Slim
  9. Wow – Beck
  10. Weathered – Jack Garratt
  11. Love Will Find You – Kris Allen
  12. Trippin on Your Love – Primal Scream
  13. Money – Foxes
  14. Eh, Eh (Nothing Else I can Say) – Lady Gaga
  15. Move Your Body – Sia
  16. Boom! – Simple Plan
  17. Don’t Let Me Down – The Chainsmokers
  18. Help Me Run Away – St. Lucia
  19. Johnson Blvd. – Amos Lee
  20. Here I Am – Andreas Kummert
  21. Roman Holiday – Halsey
  22. We Sink – Chvrches
  23. Heard the World – O.A.R.
  24. Not a Bad Thing – Justin Timberlake
  25. Oh No! – Marina and the Diamonds
  26. Slow It Down – The Dream

What’s that boot-shaped thing?
It’s the outline of Minnesota – the new home of Lucky Creative as of one week from today. As you may already know, the family and I are making our way to Chaska, Minnesota. Located in the southwest corner of the Minneapolis ‘burbs, Chaska is “the best small town in Minnesota.” We hope that it can live up to such a billing.
Lucky Creative will not be undergoing any changes outside of the different location. I will continue to offer the same services as always but with a new billing address. If you would like to update your contact information for me, this will be the new addy:
Lucky Creative
112006 Warner Circle
Chaska, MN, 55318
Thanks for your support, as always. I’m looking forward to our next project together!
– Clint, Molly, Malone, Everett & LeBron

It’s funny how much we naturally want to assimilate. Blame your subconscious if you want, but deep down in the back of your mind you want to be just like everybody else. Designers are supposed to innovate and come up with creative solutions but still fulfill that need to be accepted. Which is part of the reason that every website looks the same, and that’s ok. Website design is moving in a direction that is more homogenous but the end user is the one that reaps the rewards.

(more…)

Grantland has a great article on the toils and troubles of Kit Harrington in keeping secrets during a digital age. It’s not easy being a heartthrob with a massive following who has to pretend his character from Game of Thrones is dead while parading around the same area where filming takes place. It’s exhausting, I’m sure. Well, the jig is up according to an interview with the Belgian magazine Humo and the GoT Truthers are vindicated.

More importantly, we can all go back to saying ‘Jaaahn Snuuuuww’ every time he appears in the next season. A new reason to celebrate Sundays after the football season has ended, thank you HBO.

Photo illustration by Crustulum

One of the biggest obstacles I have found in designing logos is overcoming the theory that everyone and their mother should like a logo. If you are creating a mark for a new streaming music service that targets hipsters do you really want your mom to like the logo as much as you do? The design by committee approach has derailed many a design over the course of history, but it’s always interesting to see the process unfold even with a big brand. (more…)

Nothing says summer like a great playlist bumping in the background as you drive across the great Americana with the windows rolled down. Are you tired of listening to the Dazed and Confused Soundtrack while you daydream about the days gone by? I’ve got the cure for what ails you.

Slummertime 2015 Track List:

  1. New Americana – Halsey
  2. Dreams – Beck
  3. Can’t Feel My Face – The Weeknd
  4. Waves – Miguel
  5. Lifted Up (1985) – Passion Pit
  6. Killing It – Cher Lloyd
  7. Over & Over – Smallpools
  8. Reflections – Misterwives
  9. Hallelujah – The Rubens
  10. Collide – James Bay
  11. The Moment – Tame Impala
  12. Sisters Brothers – Drew Holcomb & The Neighbors
  13. Early Morning Riser – The Weepies
  14. Climb Out Your Window – Walk Off the Earth
  15. Best I Can Do – Misterwives
  16. Whistle (While You Work It) – Katy Tiz
  17. Lean On – Major Lazer
  18. My House – Flo Rida
  19. Headlights – Robin Schulz Feat. Ilsey
  20. Just Imagine It – MKTO
  21. How to be a Heartbreaker – Marina and the Diamonds
  22. The Arc – The Arcs

The goal with the Slummer playlists is to fit on a CD so you can rock it old school on your driving adventure. If I get find a pile of unforeseen time in the near future I will take the playlist into the next century with a Spotify playlist for your listening pleasure.

I get some really obscure requests while running the gamut of design. Sometimes they really make me laugh, which is why I must share this request for a simple icon design:

An icon with a magnifying glass with people – all races, if possible

Would you be upset if I didn’t have room for the Turks and the Gypsies in the icon? It’s only 32 x 32 pixels.

Let’s get rambling. There’s something about design and travel that go in hand in hand for me. As a designer, you’re always looking for fresh solutions or new ideas and the best prescription is travel. Having your eyes opened to a new way of living and seeing the world around you differently is a lesson that should be learned on the regular.

Plus, traveling is incredibly fun. You don’t believe me? Well…

 

The downside is that you don’t update your blog regularly. I can live with that.

It looks like someone was watching the movie Her and thought ‘there should be an app for that.’ Invisible Boyfriend will be your perfect man for $24.99 a month – calls included – and will confirm that our love lives and virtual lives are become more and more intertwined.

From their website:

“Create your own boyfriend. You’ll give him a name, choose his age and photo and create his personality.”

Like a page out of Weird Science. It’s pretty easy to pass judgement on this particular product because it smells of deception and desperation but they have a defense for that aspect. The app “creates a safe space for you to practice texting with a real human if you’re out of practice.” Hmmmm, well I guess you do have to take a few practice swings in the batting cages before it’s time to play ball.

For a hearty laugh, check out Karissa Bell’s experience with the service as she immediately tries to pick a fight with her new man.

invisible-bf-app

I have to admit, since having a second child that my movie watching has hit an all-time low but there were some serious gems in the year that was 2014. Although any time that Wes Anderson releases a new film I probably call it a good year. I’m very excited to watch the Fantastic Mr. Fox with my sons in the near future if my wife could stomach it for 2 hours. What the cuss!?

So instead of pretending that I have a great list of must watch movies I’ll refer to the people’s choices via Letterboxd. Since The Grand Budapest Hotel (currently available on HBO Go) was the most popular pick on Letterboxd I will gladly hand out a ringing endorsement. The website has a delightful design so you won’t regret taking a moment to enjoy it.

It’s always a good night for a movie night.

Screen Shot 2015-01-16 at 11.35.30 AM

College football is awesome, although it was particularly tough to see the Hawkeyes getting crushed in their bowl game this year. It wasn’t all that surprising, given that they had an ok record with a cupcake schedule. They were probably a bit overrated, but not as much as the SEC was for an entire season.

At the height of the overrated-ness when Ole’ Miss and Mississippi State were playing each other ESPN Gameday came to town and there was an outpouring of excitement and signage in the Gameday backdrop. One of those signs irked me:

Big-10

I probably watch too much ESPN and that’s where the talking heads preach SEC dominance (cough, SEC Network money machine, cough) and the seeds of Big Ten mediocrity are sown. I don’t blame this Mississippian for buying into the hype but I sure as hell wanted the Big Ten to ruin the SEC this year after that broadcast. Thank you to Ohio State, Michigan State and Wisconsin for crushing it. Big ups to the Big Twelve as well.

The SEC looked pretty shabby at the end of this season and I would trade a bad bowl game for my hawks in exchange for a trouncing of the SEC simply because it has to shift the perception that the SEC is almighty. Doesn’t it?

Wanna hear a joke?
Ole Miss fans are great with grammar – especially headlines.

It’s almost tradition for a dance party to break out at our house at 5pm on Fridays. It’s probably the best way to start a weekend and you can shake out the work week in ten minutes on your way to R&R.

The other benefit is that your son can also rock some pretty incredible moves when he heads to Sesame Street Live. Is that a squat thrust?

“I learned it by watching you!”

 

Sometimes it takes a long look at your collective work to notice themes. I think that the Mail Monkey logo for Aberdean hits a few of my common threads. Punchy colors(orange as a sub-theme), playful animals and block type seem to be my favorites. If you like the monkey, then you will love working with Clint Prescott.

PS – Mail Monkey is a great product. No more !!!Vi@Gr@!!! spam for me!

 

 

 

It’s time for a sandwich. Not just any sandwich, but one that is dripping with attention to detail and classic deli style. I hope that is not literal.

Making a ‘classic’ logo is pretty damn fun since I got to rummage through the internet for historical designs and found some absolute gems. In particular I found the Deli Garage which has a great collection of packaging design, especially the Kraftstoff flasks. If anyone was thinking of giving me a Christmas present please add these to the list.

 

Stalzy’s pulls from vintage delicatessen style, which is why I especially enjoy the avant garde font choices and the use of a star to break up the syllables for a phonetic spelling. Classic with class.

Runner’s Gate was a great client to work with and let me run wild with the design details. Humor is difficult to pull off in design because of vastly different opinions on what is funny. RG had a ‘why we run’ section that I paired with old yearbook photos and we both loved the end result. Love handles and beehives are funny. At least to us, anyway. If you’re in the Minneapolis area, buy your running shoes from Runner’s Gate.

What does biotechnological medical device development involve? I don’t know. It’s a good thing that Gambale Consulting Partners know what they are doing because I don’t understand most of it.

It’s a little difficult to design a hierarchy of a website when you don’t understand half of the terms, but the homepage sets the tone for finding what you need if you do understand hybrid platform reimbursement. Services and product categories split the difference and the colors are incorporated from the logo. I also saw a promo for the new Tron movie and the colors are a little similar. Welcome to the future!