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Borderline Designs Brand Guide 2013 Welcome to a small glimpse into the brand and products of BLD. The pieces are a representation of my individual craftsmanship and creativity. All the pieces shown have been made in the past year and many are available through the different BLD retail options. Included are images of many BLD products, a glimpse into the manufacturing process, and an interview explaining the history and direction of BLD moving forward.

Brian Culmo

Founder, Owner, and Operator of Borderline Designs

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BLD Believes in Handmade. A real person you can meet and talk to actually makes every product from BLD. There is a true personal connection with every piece from BLD.Every attempt is made to do as much of the production process in house. When it is impossible to produce a product completely by hand, BLD sources blank apparel from vintage sources. BLD upcycles older fashions and makes them new and unique, while keeping the traditional styling. For flannels, BLD screenprints the ptaches and tags, then sews them onto the garment. Each piece is made with care by an individual. assembly lines and massive quantities do not exist with BLD, so you can be assured your product is unique and handmade.

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BLD Experiments and Explores. Borderline Designs is a creative brand which strives to find new and interesting ways to express handmade products. Making things is what BLD is all about. This summer I decided I wanted to make backpacks, without the slightest clue how. Through observation, quess work, and a lot of experimenting I was able to make a finished backpack. The process was rewarding and represents the full creative process that I enjoy so much. There are a bunch more projects and products which I want to make in the near future. BLD will never settle on a particular product or style. BLD exists to explore the realms of creative stlyings and will continue to grow and apdapt in the future.t

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This is the first backpack from BLD. The backpacks are made with care on an individual basis. Each backpack is completely unique and original. The packs are made 100% from scratch with every aspect of the bag being made in house.

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BLD advertising posters from late fall 2012.

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Customization is a big deal for BLD. Not only are BLD products handmade from the start, but they are finished with care. Small details like custom stamped paper tags, hand numbered hem tags, or size tags on the inside of the garment are things that are worth the extra effort in order to strengthen the connection between the maker and the consumer.

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The BLD Logo Development The BLD logo has gone through many changes and iterations. The original interweaving letterforms have been included in almost all versions. The original inspiration was vintage baseball team logos which highlight interweaving letters with a victorian feel. The original sketches and design for the logo began in fall 2010 and the logo has evolved ever since. The current logo is completely drawn by hand with no rulers. I wanted the logo to feature hand rendered forms which are not totally refined on the computer, as the unrefined nature represents a sensiblity found in all of BLD’s products. All BLD products are made by hand and have a certain unrefined nature to them and the current logo sublty reflects that sensibility.

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Decals! Vinyl decals make a lot of sense. Everyone loves them. They end up on everything. They are cheap to make and easy to give out. Ever since I invested in a vinyl cutting machine, I have been making decals for myself and other people. It’s just a simple, universal joy to have stickers and to put them on things. I can make mass quantities of stickers very easily and cheaply with my vinyl cutter. Because of this, BLD distributes all stickers to whoever wants one for free. BLD will never charge anybody for a decal. Stickers have proven to be BLD’s most effective marketing and promotional strategy. I recieve constant feedback about how much people like the BLD stickers. People cannot get enough stickers. Decals offer a way for poeple to be introduced into the BLD brand in a non-commting and free way.

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Nephew Marcus Interview I was recently asked to do an interview with the blogger Nephew Marcus. It was a great opportunity to get BLD products featured in a new market, and also a great way to articulate many of the ideas behind Borderline Designs. I have included the entire interview below:

So what’s the history of BorderLine? Where are you from, how did it start and when did it start? Borderline Designs (BLD for short) started when I learned how to screenprint in high school, 3 years ago now. I really fell in love with the process and printing in general. I started making t-shirts for all kinds of people, mostly client based commissions. Then I started making designs just for myself and not for a commission. I found I really liked designing and printing my own shirts and other things. People started getting stoked on the different designs, and I continued to explore new methods of making things. I have always been experimenting with new products, processes, and techniques. I started with screenprinting just on shirts, now I do so many other things. I print patches and sew them on all sorts of things like hats, new clothes, and vintage flannels. I am constantly trying new things with my own abilities in design and production. Borderline Designs is all about me making things myself. Apart from a little help from a few friends, BLD is a one-man mission.

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It all started in my basement in Connecticut with minimal equipment, and now that I go to Champlain College up in Burlington, VT, I have expanded my brand up in Vermont as well. I still keep things small, and limited. Borderline Designs will always remain personal and handmade.

What are your goals with BorderLine as a brand? Borderline Designs is constantly growing and adapting. As far as long term goals go I want to continue to push my product to as many people as possible. I want to expand distribution and have my brand be in more stores locally. I always want to create new things for people to enjoy. I started BLD as a passion for creating things, I do not want to lose sight of that original goal. So I will always continue to be heavily involved in the actual production of my products. In the near future I want to build a website myself that functions as a web store, and social hub for all the BLD happenings. A website is on the horizon, but for now my Facebook, Tumblr, and Etsy combination is working out really well. Recently I have done a few collaborations some really awesome brands, these are really fun projects and are beneficial to all the brands involved. I am always open to collaborating with other like-minded creative people and brands.

Nephew Marcus Interview (Con’t)

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What are the inspirations behind your designs? I take inspirations from so many different artists designers and brands. I am constantly looking at art, just generally appreciating people that are doing cool things. Hand rendered typography and hand painted letters are always something that I can truly admire, as it is something that I do a lot myself. As a graphic designer, I am always interested I new ways of treating type and letters. I also really like people that make things themselves. Any handmade product is something that really inspires me. People that can make their own things are awesome and deserve the most respect. With the Internet the way it is these days, it is too easy to find new creative things, so I will continue to find new things that influence my work.

I noticed that you number your hats. Is all of the stuff you make limited? Everything I make is on a small limited scale. I am a small brand with limited production abilities. What that means for you is that everything is part of only a small number like it. Exclusivity and limited editions are cool these days, people like to know there is not that many others like the product you own. Limited edition runs seemed to make perfect business sense for BLD as it keeps my production levels down to a manageable level, and people get more exclusive product. Hand numbering all my pieces is a way to put a makers mark on all my goods, a signature of sorts. There is a connection to the person that made your product when it is hand numbered.

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Nephew Marcus Interview (Con’t)


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A real life human being makes each BLD product what it is and a hand numbered tag is evidence of that. I want to bridge the gap between producer and consumer, I want people to be involved and connected to the way things are made. All too often people are out of touch with where their products come from, so I strive to make BLD clear as to the origins of the creativity behind each and every product.

What crowd do you aim BorderLine at? Is it open to everyone? I am in college, and live in Burlington, which is greatly inhabited with young people. I make products that I like myself, so naturally the things I like, is what a lot of college aged people like. I don’t make my products with a particular type of person in mind; I make products that get me excited. A large part of my target demographic is people my age, but people of all ages and places have expressed interest in my designs. I generally say Boderline Designs is for you if you’re stoked on it. Who am I to judge who can enjoy cool products and cool designs? This mantra really goes for all sorts buying in my opinion. People should just buy what they like, and don’t let social norms of trends dictate your own personal style. If you find something cool that you like, support it.

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Nephew Marcus Interview (Con’t)


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BorderLine consists of some fairly simple designs. Are you planning to keep it simple? I like the idea of simplicity. Right now I am trying to just keep it simple for a lot of things. I have spent a lot of time over the past year in developing and refining my logo to the point where it is at right now. I guess a lot my designs are simple, in highlighting the logo, which I am trying to push out to a large audience. My designs don’t have to be simple though. I experiment with a lot of really intricate and involved designs. I am in love with hand rendered typography. It is something that I have been contributing large amounts of time lately in exploring and developing skills in. I like drawing my own letters, letter styles and words. A lot of my designs explore letterforms and the interweaving of the letters B, L and D, kind of like exploding the idea of my logo. It also kind of represents the interconnectedness that I strive for between consumer and producer. I plan on going where my creative ideas take me for BLD, my creative influences and ideas are constantly evolving, and BLD will continue to grow and adapt as my creativity develops.

Nephew Marcus Interview (Con’t)

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How does your brand stand out from the rest? BLD is personal. I draw the designs, print, sew, sell, and ship everything myself. There is a personal and handmade connection in every BLD product. Everything is limited and the designs are unique and elegant. BLD is about supporting local creative people who make things. Making things, and representing the people that make things is something this country could have more of. With Borderline Designs, I seek to make things all the time. It is an outlet for my creativity and I hope to share that creativity with as many people as possible.

What can we be expecting from BorderLine in the future? Currently I have a bunch of really exciting developments coming out in very near future. I have recently been experimenting with making my own backpacks. I have made a few backpacks from scratch and they came out super awesome. Soon backpacks will be available on an extremely limited basis. I hope to develop and improve the backpacks and keep making them in the future. I am also working on beanies; a winter essential for everyone here in Vermont. When I made some vintage flannels with custom BLD patches and tagging in the fall, lots of people where really stoked on them, so I am working on a new batch of flannels for the 2013 BLD Winter Collection.

Nephew Marcus Interview (Con’t)

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Thank You Borderline Designs would not be possible without the support and help from family and friends. I would like to thank everyone for all the support and enthusiasm over the years. BLD is always open to input and new ideas or suggestions. A new project or suggestion is only a chat away. You would not believe the requests I get for things to make, so no suggestion is too outrageauos to talk about. New ideas are welcome and help me push my own creativity further, even if it is imposssible to accomplish practically. Some of the boldest, most popular products came from suggestions from friends.

Brian Culmo

Founder, Owner, and Operator of Borderline Designs

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To keep up to date with all the current happenings of BLD check out all my pages

Facebook http://www.facebook.com/BLDmakesthings

Etsy http://www.etsy.com/shop/borderlinedesigns

Tumblr http://borderlinedesigns.tumblr.com

Instagram @borderline_designs

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Borderline Designs Brand Guide 2013