Our perspective on branding and graphics, tools we find useful, case histories and fun facts on design in the 2 dimensional realm.

case history: naia healing arts

case history: naia healing arts

This sole proprietor sheepishly admitted during the Visual Voice interviews that she had some artwork in a drawer that meant a lot to her, but that she had never thought of as a brand identifier and that probably wasn't serviceable due to the quality of the rendition.  Probing deeper, we came to understand just how much this client identified with that work, and how empowering it was to her even to imagine using it.

The quality of the images were, in fact, very difficult to adapt to electronic media.  Ultimately, after getting client approval of sketches for the work, we recreated the images entirely.  The key to this story was the recognition, through the Visual Voice interviews, that the art existed, and that it was a full expression of our client and her purpose: that she felt incredibly empowered by our elevation of the work to an expression of her brand.

What empowers you?  What might give you the confidence and project the authority to rock your business?

This is what the proprietor of Naia Healing Arts had to say about the Visual Voice program:

“I help people heal their chronic pain by tapping into their Inner Joy. I help them expand into the person they want to be, and in so doing, their health improves, every time.  I struggled with how to represent this as an image, and so for years I used a picture of a dolphin, since dolphins represent joy for me. But in my conversations with Polly, it became clear that I needed to take my own advice :) I needed to express my own Inner Joy in my business card, as it is my visual voice.  So I took my artwork out of safe-keeping, and put it on my promotional materials for all to see. The process has been tremendously healing, and the outcome is stunning.”
Claire Elisabeth
Naia Healing Arts

case history: peggy scott

case history: peggy scott

A client from the San Francisco Bay area approached us for assistance with her brand.  The Visual Voice interviews immediately identified a problem: precision in defining a mission and ideal client was missing.  The depth and experience of Peggy Scott as a business was sufficiently vast that narrowing the focus seemed counterintuitive, yet this was our advice in order for the company to find new traction.  We assisted the organization in defining their focus, then assembled an image search based on key words from the Visual Voice interviews.  A few of the hundreds of images assembled:

peggy scott screen shot.jpg

Peggy Scott consults to public personalities, professionals and companies with an executive stratum in order improve effectiveness in presenting and communicating their message.  Peggy Scott clients undergo targeted training in defining their purpose and their message, in refining their presentation skills and in polishing their manner and appearance.

Key words like "honing", "sharpening" and "simplifying" identified in the Visual Voice interviews led us to a thinly etched sans serif typeface, Avenir.  We recommended eliminating the original word "Enterprises" used after the company name, presenting it more straightforwardly as "Peggy Scott".  The executive clientele suggested a deep royal blue color to us, and the focus among other issues, on polishing appearances suggested a background of fabric.  Of course our thinking was not this linear, and we experimented with numerous options both in the office and with the client, but the successful result came from that simple thought process.


That's what we thought anyway.  Just after the proofs arrived from the printer, we found the company using another option in some secondary collateral and discovered that they actually found that version more inspiring.  They thought it was too late to voice second thoughts.  The brand would have been split in two and the power of a consistent brand diminished or even lost had the error not come to light in time.  We're glad it did come to light:


case history: practical body logic

case history: practical body logic

Our client asked us simply for a website header based on a reduced program of interviews, and because we already had some sense of them and their project, thought we might yet succeed.

Practical Body Logic sought to empower handicapped children to embrace a sense of unlimited possibility despite their particular circumstances.  What story could this header tell?  We grappled with cliches (don't judge a book by its cover), we danced with the saccharine (cheerful children), and we flirted with minimalism (text on tone only...but evocative...) though only out of desperation, until we found a photo of the rainbow eucalyptus and knew immediately that we need look no further.  


This story: that behind every possible color and imperfection of exterior lay the same perfect organism with the same unlimited possibilities for growth and development, that story seemed conveyed here with both precision and visceral beauty.

case history: tennis to the max

case history: tennis to the max

How to communicate the energy and depth of what Tina Greenbaum and Fred Sperber do with their tennis players?  Their venture, Tennis to the Max, capitalizes on Tina's psychology background and Fred's tennis career to focus students on their mental game.  The psychology of what happens on the tennis court, especially when the stakes are high, is an issue much discussed by players, but rarely addressed specifically and rigorously by tennis coaches.  It is a kind of shadow game, what players think and the impact that has on the game, and this image of shadows was what gave us the clue to finding Tina and Fred's Visual Voice.


We began with a logo design, text only since imagery was to come, and played with a somewhat heroic stance, the shadows strong and the letters popping off the page.  It seemed to capture both the energy of the game and that unspoken psychological aspects on which Tennis to the Max focuses.  Wide white tennis court stripes informed our thinking as well.


As we focused on web design, color required our first attentions.  Looking at local tennis courts, remembering courts from our past, and pulling imagery from the web, we were surprised by the range of colors they come in.  More than we expected, but less than a dozen in any case: just right for a palette to serve our purposes.


A web search was sufficient to find our imagery, the stock photo shops full of high quality material.  We rotated the photos to create dynamic diagonals, and cropped out the player's faces to focus on their shadows, creating finally a host of website headers in addition to the printed pieces.


Here's what our client thought:

"Roel, and his partner Polly are a remarkable duet. I hired them to build a creative website for me and they really delivered (www.tennistothemax.com). What I loved about working with them is they were one-stop shopping. From concept, to copy writing, to technical savvy, they were there to hold my hand and walk me through a very complicated process. I truly felt "they had my back." I would highly recommend imagine RED to anyone wanting a superior product."