GRAPHIC DESIGN IN SOUTHEAST TEXAS
Sherry Saunders Freyermuth
2 | INTRODUCTION
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Export: Graphic Design in Southeast Texas Exhibition Catalog 2016 This exhibit was on display in the Dishman Art Museum from June 3 to July 31, 2016. Guest Curator: Sherry Saunders Freyermuth Museum Director: Dennis Kiel Research Assistant: Amanda Prince Cover Design and Page Layout: Sherry Saunders Freyermuth Lamar University Visual History Research: Amanda Prince
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DEDICATION Iâ€™d like to dedicate this exhibition catalog to the faculty, staff, students and alumni from the Department of Art at Lamar University. They motivate me to do my best work, inspire me with their ideas, and challenge me to consider new possibilities. A special thanks goes to Dennis Kiel, director of the Dishman Art Museum at Lamar University, for allowing me to guest curate the Export exhibition. Kielâ€™s guidance and support made this project possible. Last, I want to acknowledge BFA Graphic Design student, Amanda Prince, as she has been a diligent research assistant throughout this project. Prince collaborated in designing the exhibit logo and developed a timeline display depicting the visual history of Lamar University.
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Guest Curator, Sherry Saunders Freyermuth
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EXPORT GRAPHIC DESIGN IN SOUTHEAST TEXAS Graphic design in its very essence is an act of exportation. In attempting to deliver clear and effective communication to audiences, graphic designers are sending messages outward to be received by viewers both locally and beyond. In Southeast Texas, residents are quite familiar with the process of exporting due to this region’s vast industries that deliver through all modes of transportation. Graphic design is no different in that it is transmitting ideas across all varieties of media. This exhibition catalog features designs made in Southeast Texas. The wide variety of work displayed shows how the field of graphic design is evolving and growing through the use of emerging technology, and also shows how the deep traditions of the Golden Triangle region influence visual culture. As we reflect on the “Exports” of our local design community, we can begin to imagine how graphic design will continue to grow and enhance the region.
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8 | INTRODUCTION
TABLE OF CONTENTS Introduction
Lamar University Visual History & Timeline
Interview with Michael Lee
Interview with Dr. Evans
Interview with Kate Downing
Abelmanart.com46 Americom Marketing
e.Sullivan Advertising & Design
K. Guy Designs
LaRue Art + Copy
Might Could Studios
Texas Beard Company
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INTRODUCTION Graphic design is a broadly defined subject that spans all aspects of visual communication. It can include anything from poster designs and brochures, to websites and TV commercials to illustration and package design. Oftentimes, graphic design is the backdrop in a society’s visual landscape, but when well executed, it can improve and enhance people’s lives through clearer communication and delightful experiences. Southeast Texas has a long tradition of graphic design excellence beginning at Lamar University. The LU Department of Art was first founded as the ‘Department of Commercial Art,’ training students to work in the field of advertising and design. The school later added fine arts to the curriculum, but its tradition has always been that it has had a strong graphic and commercial art program. The creative talent that comes from Southeast Texas has been celebrated in many ways, but perhaps due to its more practical application, graphic design doesn’t always get the same recognition. This publication was created in coordination with an exhibition event at the Dishman Art Museum titled Export: Graphic Design in Southeast Texas which was on display from June 3 to July 31, 2016, and serves as a way to engage audiences with the great design work created in the Golden Triangle region. This exhibition catalog allows viewers to gain a deeper understanding of the exhibit and provides a record of the event through photographs and detailed interviews regarding the graphic design process. First in the publication is a series of interviews surrounding the development of the Lamar University logo and visual identity. Nationally recognized designer and
10 | INTRODUCTION
local Beaumont, TX resident, Michael Lee first designed this mark in 1982. The logo was updated in 2013 by the new Lamar University president, Dr. Kenneth Evans and Director of Marketing, Kate Downing. Each of their perspectives on the logo design process have been captured in interviews conducted by graphic design student and research assistant, Amanda Prince. Additionally, she researched the visual history of the university, gathering materials such as old logos, student publications, mascot designs and telephone directories. One can look at these visual artifacts and see the evolution of graphic design at Lamar University over the course of 90+ years. The second section of the publication is a series of interviews from current designers working in the Golden Triangle region today. These designers represent all aspects of the industry including advertising, print layout, web design, package design, and illustration. The companies represented include: Abelmanart.com, Americom Marketing, e.Sullivan Advertising & Design, K. Guy Designs, LaRue Art + Copy, Might Could Studios, and Texas Beard Company. Their insights into the creative process as well as how their location influences the final results are explored. Additionally, they all provide advice for aspiring designers. Graphic design is a ubiquitous form of communication that people experience and absorb on a daily basis. Although it is everywhere, high quality graphic design work is hard to find. Export provides a deeper exploration of graphic design in southeast Texas in order to build awareness and appreciation for design in the region.
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12 | INTRODUCTION
LU TIMELINE This display was created for the Export exhibition and designed by student and research assistant, Amanda Prince.
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LAMAR UNIVERSITY VISUAL HISTORY & TIMELINE RESEARCH AND INTERVIEWS CONDUCTED BY AMANDA PRINCE Lamar University is an institution with a rich visual history. Founded and led by Louis R. Pietzsch, it began as South Park Junior College in 1923. The school had humble beginnings, operating on the unused third floor of South Park High School in Beaumont, TX. In 1932, the school name was changed to reflect the larger community it served. It was named Lamar College for Mirabeau B. Lamar, the second president of the Republic of Texas. Lamar was known for his support of public education and is considered “Father of Texas Education.” By 1940, the school expanded to the point where it needed to be relocated to the campus where it operates still today. This room was needed because by 1951, it was recognized as a four year institution and renamed Lamar State College of Technology. This new name reflected the school’s focus on engineering and science, which is an emphasis that continues even now. In 1971, the school was officially recognized as a university by the state of Texas and was thus renamed Lamar University. The university administration decided in 1982 to celebrate this change with a rebrand and Michael Lee was hired to design the new logo. As LU joined the Texas State University System in 1995, this logo remained the identity for the university. Under the new leadership of President Kenneth Evans, the logo has undergone some changes and the updated mark was rolled out in 2013.
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CARDINAL THE VISUAL HISTORY OF LAMAR UNIVERSITYâ€™S CARDINAL MASCOT
PARADE FLOAT WITH CARDINAL MASCOT
DEBUT OF MASCOT SAM CARDINAL
YEARBOOK DIVIDER ILLUSTRATION
CARDINAL CONNECTION IMAGE
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EVOLUTION 1 98 0
VISUAL STANDARDS FOR CARDINAL MASCOT ILLUSTRATIONS
NEW AT H L E T I C V I S UAL STAN DAR DS With the return of football after two decades, new branding initiatives were designed by Rickabaugh Graphics and Eugene Anderson Studios.
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INTERVIEW WITH MICHAEL LEE LAMAR ALUMNUS BS IN COMMERCIAL ART 1968 Michael Lee was commissioned to design the new logo for Lamar University in 1982. In this interview, Lee describes the process of creating the new identity for the university, and his personal philosophy on graphic design. Lee is a proud alumnus of the Department of Art at Lamar University, graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Commercial Art in 1968.
FORMER LOGO AS LAMAR STATE
LOGO DESIGNED BY MICHAEL LEE
COLLEGE OF TECHNOLOGY
IN 1982 FOR LAMAR UNIVERSITY
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HOW WERE YOU APPROACHED TO DESIGN THE NEW LOGO FOR LAMAR UNIVERSITY? There was a fellow named Budd Leonard. Budd Leonard was a partner in an advertising agency in Beaumont called Goodwin Dannenbaum Leonard Wingfield. That’s how I got to know him. It was the big hot shop in Houston. They had a branch office here. After I worked for my first agency, I left and went to work for GDL&W, as we called it. I was there for a year when Budd left and came to Lamar as Vice President of Public Relations. Because I knew Budd and the university had just become the university, Budd called me and said “I want you to work on a new logo for the university.” That’s how I was approached; through Budd who was a friend of mine that I worked for years before in the advertising business. He knew I was a designer and had worked for him, so he contacted me. That’s how it got started. I also restyled the Lamar University seal when I was on this project. What had happened over the years was people started adding things to it. There was the shape of Texas on it but when you reduced it, it was a flyspeck. What I did was maintain the same thing but I cleaned it up. I restyled the torch and simplified it. It wasn’t a major redo but we did do bit of a graphics styling booklet that said to only use the university seal for official documents. It’s a change...and changes take place. CAN YOU DESCRIBE THE PROCESS YOU WENT THROUGH TO ARRIVE AT YOUR FINAL SOLUTION FOR THE LAMAR UNIVERSITY LOGO? There was a committee formed with Dr. Brock Rhettlinger, head of the department at the time. I met with him and this committee. We started talking about logo designs. Back then of course there were no computers, so I had a drawing board with a parallel bar and double out pen, Pentels and markers. We started designing logos. Trim them out, put rubber cement on the back, put it on a black board, trim it out so they’re all the same and you go through this process with them. We went through several meetings I guess, when one day in a meeting Brock said “Michael, can you do something with a star? Because when we go to recruit in the northeast, their perception of Lamar University is that it’s a private school. We would like the
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star which represents Texas in it because we are going to include a subtitle under it ‘A Texas State University.’” So they asked for the star. When I came back I had several star designs, but this was the one I was going to sell. When I showed it to the board, the most interesting thing happened. Half the people saw the star but not the LU. The other half saw the LU and not the star, at first. When they finally came to grips that it was both, they said, “that’s it.” It was approved by this portion of the committee, but we had to have a breakfast meeting with about six or eight people who were on the committee but had never attended a meeting. So Budd and I had a breakfast meeting with the rest of the committee. We showed them the one logo and they said “gah, we love that. Do you have any else?” They had not been involved in the birthing process of this mark, so we did not show any previous options they finally said, “oh no, we love it, we love it. We approve.” Then we had to have a meeting with the president and a couple of his committee people, and Budd and I did the presentation just like we did before. We showed the thing and they go “well, we love that. You have anything else?” We said, “well no, we‘ve actually gone through these things,” so finally they said, “Well, you know what? If everyone has approved it, we like it. It’s approved.” Then we had a meeting with the Board of Regents at the time. Same process: “love it, anything else? Can you show us any other ideas?” They all approved it except one...it was Mr. Montagne. He said “Well Hell, I don’t like it.” So we asked, “what is it about it that you don’t like?” He said, “Hell, I don’t know. I just don’t like the damn thing.” We had to have another meeting with Otho Plummer, who was on the Board of Regents at the time, and Mr. Montagne to sell him on the idea, which we finally did. That’s how the logo finally came about. IS THIS TYPICAL OF ALL YOUR DESIGNS OR WAS THIS PROCESS UNIQUE? No. As the years passed, I got a little better at this game. I would interview if it was necessary, if the client had any predetermined thoughts of what they liked. A logo, a great logo is being able to say this much in one word, one statement. So later I got to where when I hit the logo that I thought was going to be there. I would have a presentation to the client and let them go through the process that
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I went through. I would show them the options and say “okay, I started off with this because what we want to do with this is this, but it didn’t quite cover it. Then I went to this and I tried some of these areas and they didn’t work. Finally, I started tightening up this and then I said finally I got it to where it would say this and this and this and this.” And they hadn’t seen it yet. Then in most cases it was, because I put them through the birthing process, that they had a much better understanding and it almost always went that way. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON THE UPDATED LU LOGO? The thing that was great about the logo that seemed to came through the process was that the “subtlety” or “uniqueness” of being able to see the LU without the star, the star without the LU and then finally see them both. This is a nontraditional logo for a university in most cases, because they just usually stack the two letters. They were interested in a design and I got them what they had asked for and I tried to do it as uniquely as possible. Logos don’t stay the same they often times will morph or transition into something else and perhaps that’s just the times. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT CONDUCTING A CONTEST FOR A BUSINESS LOGO DESIGN? What if you needed to have heart surgery and you had a public contest? Who wants to do this heart surgery? What you would hope to do is hire someone who has done heart surgery before. Here’s the deal, it just depends on how you treat graphics. Graphics particularly with the advent of a computer has become something anybody can do because the technique is there. Skills are not. You wouldn’t change your CFO because you had a buddy in the business or you thought you could do it yourself or your next door neighbor’s son is an accounting major, you have to make those decisions based on something but as far as having a public contest, no I don’t agree with that. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE GRAPHIC DESIGN? I think graphic design is concept and impact. I think headlines for ads certainly,
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but even some of the great logos. If you see a great ad or if you see a great ad that’s got this magnificent headline on it, it’s the concept. If you don’t get it you’re not going to get it. Graphic design and great concept are not long term interpretation things. They are instant or almost instant. What happens with graphic design is that you know it communicates with impact because you can watch even the super bowl commercials which are 5 million dollars for 30 seconds spots and some of them you want to go “who the Hell wrote this?” But some of them, had impact and concept. You went “ohh, wow!” HOW DO YOU THINK GRAPHIC DESIGN HAS CHANGED OVER THE YEARS? I’m not sure that there’s many well produced heavy concept logos as there used to be because of the ease in which they are able to produce them. I remember I used to get my Communication Arts Magazine and I just couldn’t wait. I’d go close the door and I’d just go page by page and go “how did they think of that!?” but as the CAs passed in the years, I could almost thumb through it because graphics change and concepts change and I’m used to the old ways. I’m used to those kind of designs. WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO BE A GRAPHIC DESIGNER? I went to Bishop Byrne high school in Port Arthur. During my senior year in 1964, I was out driving with a couple of people. They called it ‘making the drag’ at the time. One of those people was George Broussard, who was later my best man. It was March and everybody was going to Lamar. It was the thing to do. I asked George, “George, what are you going to do?” He said “I’m going to be an engineer.” My other friend wanted to be a buyer for a major department store. They asked me and I said “you know, I don’t know. I think I might like to go into commercial art.” Graphic design wasn’t a term back then. “I might want to work for an advertising agency. I never thought about that but I think that’s what I’d like to do.” So, that’s what I did. When I get to the first class, I never had an art class and I thought the first thing they’re going to do is say “Michael, you should go look at the engineering department. Maybe you’ll have success there,” but I managed to get through.
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PAGE FROM LAMAR UNIVERSITY GRAPHICS MANUAL DESIGNED BY MICHAEL LEE, 1982
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DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF AN ARTIST? Yes, I think you have to be an artist to be a graphic designer. You have to be able to concept and shape, to know what things mean, and know about negative distances. It’s different now because you have a different tool. One of my most favorite illustrators from the 60s, 70s, 80s was a guy named Bernie Fuchs. He was a remarkable illustrator. When Bernie Fuchs died, I saw a little story Robert Heindl had written about his friend. In it he said that they used to do illustrations for Ladies’ Home Journal, and all these had stories and magnificent illustrations in them.. Kids now will never have that opportunity to produce work like we did. There’s no demand for that because things have changed. What they didn’t understand was computer graphics and graphics on a video game or computer graphics in a movie. They don’t build sets anymore, everything is done as computer graphics. These guys are the new great illustrators. Now they have some tools that help them. These guys didn’t have any tools; they had a paintbrush, and a pencil. Now these guys have tools but what they do in comparison is also just as great because the things that they have to be able to visualize a graphic artist. They have to have an amazing imagination, they have to be able to visualize things. You know, I remember I wanted to see Gladiator because I had seen the promos and I’ve been to Rome and I’ve stood in the middle of the coliseum but I wanted to see what the coliseum really looked like and they did just that. So, the answer’s yes. DO YOU FEEL THAT THERE ARE MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT WHAT GRAPHIC DESIGNERS REALLY DO? Yes. I think it depends on what areas you work in. I think for us that worked in an advertising agency and an advertising design business, it was a real business. So it was never discounted. WHAT DO YOU FEEL IS YOUR MOST SUCCESSFUL PROJECT? WHY? I would say that the Lamar University logo was certainly one of them. It’s nice that the university that I went to still has the logo I designed. I see it in concrete and print and elsewhere. I have designed some ads and some campaigns that I’m
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very pleased with. I would enter the Houston Ad Club. When you enter there, you are competing against the big guys. We were fortunate. We won gold, silver, and bronze in the Houston show in multiple categories. We won multiple 10th District ADDY awards. We were in the National ADDYs three times and we won an ADDY in the 80s. So, we were blessed to be able to do some good work in a small market and that’s really what it is. Some of my logos that I see in the community after 30 years are still used and used well. Lamar would certainly be one of them. WHAT WAS A TYPICAL WORK DAY FOR YOU LIKE?
“Some of my logos that I see in the community after 30 years are still used and used well. Lamar would certainly be one of them.” It varied over the years depending on what my role was because I was just an art director designer for the first 5 years and then I was an account executive for 4 years with a different agency. When I went on my own, I freelanced so I was writing and designing and producing for the agencies that I had worked for in the past, and then as it developed the two agencies that were my primary income started to dwindle and I started picking up my own accounts. What I did over the years changed but for the most part as you establish some accounts you pretty much have a schedule depending on how many people you have, you know what the media plan is there, you get a budget meeting...sometimes budget meetings with car dealers were once a month because they never knew what it was going to be and in that meeting you had to find out what you were going to produce. It was the same thing with credit unions or banks or hospitals. Depending on the need of the client you went and found out what the need was then you came back, you tried to write,
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produce design, something that worked, plan the media to fit it, get it approved of course then schedule it to execute production. WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH FOR SELECTING A TYPEFACE? You know you don’t do a healthcare piece with a bunch of graffiti right? It depended on what the project was and high impact. Back then it was a pretty standard choice to use a couple of contrasting typefaces max but now it has changed. A lot of typefaces are used even in annual reports but not uncommon to use a san serif headline with serif copy or vice versa depending on what the piece was. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO TODAY’S ASPIRING GRAPHIC DESIGNERS? This can be a very exciting, very fun and very rewarding career. I used to tell kids that come in from Lamar or high school kids that I had a lot of fun, I liked what I did. I could have had the worst week I’ve ever had and be working on a logo at Friday at 4:45pm and stumble on the idea. I would either come in on Saturday if I couldn’t wait, or I couldn’t wait to come back Monday and get back to work. Not every element of everyday was that way but to be able to create, that’s really almost spiritual and so for young people you have to see the excitement in it. I have seen talented people not pursue their talents and you have to and you have to be blessed like I was because I could tell you all the forks in the road where someone showed me the right way to go. I think for a young guy that obviously also knows where the future is because things are changing so the marketplace and the demand for what you’re going to do changes and as fast as it changes, you know it’s got to be difficult for kids nowadays because by the time you get out of school, things might be different. I think the fact that students are so computer oriented is fabulous because that’s really going to be the future. There’s always going to be the standard media as long as people are watching television and print is going away by comparison. I think you just have to find where your interest is and try to develop it and you know the people who did well in the business through what I’ve seen no matter what the
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market is, they had that old term “fire in your belly” this is what I want to do and I’m going to learn how to do it and I’m going to do it better than anybody else. Otherwise, it’s very competitive even more now than when I was working. You have to get jazzed about it and work hard and be blessed, that helps a lot.
DEPARTMENT OF ART, LAMAR UNIVERSITY
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RE D B IRD LAMAR UNIVERSITYâ€™S STUDENT PUBLICATION
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INTERVIEW WITH DR. KENNETH EVANS 3 PRESIDENT LAMAR UNIVERSITY
Dr. Kenneth Evans began as president of Lamar University in 2013. During his first year, he worked to update the Lamar University brand through implementing a logo redesign that emphasized the LU and the star that is representative of the state of Texas.
nying wordmark Public Relations, hic element alone niversity wordmark
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ENDED FOR ognition
2 inch in size ossed or printed hat are darker
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sity name or logos d Trademark o submitting Lamar University fficially licensed available at
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UPDATED LAMAR UNIVERSITY LOGO, 2013
HAVING DEGREES IN BOTH ENGLISH AND POLITICAL SCIENCE, WHAT MADE YOU DECIDE TO GET YOUR PH. D. IN MARKETING? When I left the undergraduate program, I had a management role at a construction company. The challenge with the company was really less about the ability to secure business, it was more about our ability to manage our business. I became interested in management. I became interested in recruiting and motivating people to work. The MBA became interesting to me in a large part because I just wanted to improve my understanding of how to manage business. And when I did the MBA, the piece I really enjoyed was the marketing piece. DO YOU THINK MARKETING AND GRAPHIC DESIGN ARE CODEPENDENT? Obviously they are correlated. There’s a working relationship that goes back and forth. Codependency is a strong word. I use that very rarely because of its specific definition, but clearly graphic design and marketing work hand and glove. WHY DID YOU DECIDE THERE WAS A NEED FOR A LOGO UPDATE? When I got here we had some issues about our merchandising. Our merchandise was being knocked off by other vendors and I began asking questions about our trademark protection and discovered we had none. It’s not registered. So we began the journey of registering our trademark and if you’ve ever done that or investigated what goes into it, it’s extensive. It is somewhat convoluted and in our case because LU can show up in a whole variety of different names and believe it or not, the star shows up in a lot of logos. Being able to specify what is our particular representation of the LU and the star and being able to secure registration has taken 18 months, and we now have most all of it registered. That symbol is how people think of us. LU is when people think of Lamar particularly when you think of the sports pieces. In the start, we chose to highlight one of the LUs in the pentagon so that we could draw attention to the fact that is was LU that was embedded in the pentagon itself. Then we rolled that with Lamar University immediately to the right for reinforcement. We’re still recognizing and celebrating the old logo. Nothing has
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been changed in the logo design with the exception of highlighting one coloration to just give it more emphasis. WHO DESIGNED THE LOGO UPDATE AND HOW WAS THAT CHOSEN? It was the in-house team here, PR. I brought a person with me from the University of Oklahoma that I had hired there to do marketing in the College of Business. It was really Kate Downing and my work together. That was the process.
“Taglines move in and out of branding initiatives…we ran ‘Living the Legacy, Inventing the Future’ for the first couple of years. You need to recognize the past president and that’s the reason why we ran that tagline for that period of time. HOW DO TAGLINES AFFECT CONSUMER RESPONSE? We’re now in a pretty aggressive recruiting strategy in the Houston marketplace. What we discovered when you get outside of families and students who know us from our engineering perspective is that often times Lamar is thought of as a private institution. That’s the reason why we rolled out the tagline ‘A Texas State of Mind.’ Now does that affect us when we’re outside the state of Texas and internationally? Surprising enough, not negatively. Actually, Texas is a very powerful brand. It works extremely well. Taglines move in and out of branding initiatives so we ran ‘Living the Legacy, Inventing the Future’ for the first couple of years. That was really a transition vehicle in a large part moving to a new president. You need to recognize the past presi-
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dent and that’s the reason why we ran that tagline for that period of time. Then we needed to separate from that and move to the next phase. Taglines are surprisingly really important. People resonate with them. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR ASPIRING GRAPHIC DESIGNERS IN REGARDS TO BRANDING? The biggest challenge for graphic designers, in my mind, is getting out of the box. You don’t recognize you’re being influenced by what you see until it’s too late. You’ve already come up with something you’re sold is really creative, everybody around you has endorsed it, and then you discover that actually somebody else has done that and actually at one point in your life, you actually saw that. What I think is challenging for a graphic designer is they become caught up in the spaces, momentum that’s going on in space and it’s easy to occupy that space because you know that the customer is going to be responsive to it because it’s the only things they are seeing so it looks like it’s normal. Helping the customer break out of the box is as tough as getting you to break out of the box.
LAMAR UNIVERSITY TAGLINE, 2013
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A N N IVERSARY VISUAL MATERIALS FOR LAMAR UNIVERSITYâ€™S ANNIVERSARIES
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50 T H
6 0 TH
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INTERVIEW WITH KATE DOWNING SPECIAL ASSISTANT TO THE PRESIDENT AND DIRECTOR OF MARKETING LAMAR UNIVERSITY Kate Downing led the redesign of the Lamar University logo in 2013. She also organized 4 the development of the updated university visual standards guide and the updated athletics visual standards guide.
rsity reflects LU’s versity System and must vertisements and be the n all printed documents.
OT RECOMMENDED FOR Small online usage Merchandising Other small applications
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LAMAR UNIVERSITY LOGO UPDATE, 2013
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DO YOU THINK MARKETING AND GRAPHIC DESIGN ARE CODEPENDENT? I think they’re codependent. As a marketing person, I’ve done the whole shebang where you do the PR, the marketing, the graphic design, the media relations…everything together as one person. When I was asked to be Director of Marketing last July, I said I will but we have to hire a full time graphic designer. That was my one stipulation because we can’t create a brand without having a uniform look and we were doing it piece by piece if we could do it ourselves. We also had one person doing the magazines and publications and trying to do the graphic design, or we were sending it out to freelancers. I would rather have that centered under us and I made that person who was the publications person a creative director for the university, we hired the graphic designer under her, and we have two graphic design students that work with her too, and together they can produce everything cohesively so everything works together. DO YOU THINK GRAPHIC DESIGN IS INFLUENTIAL WHEN IT COMES TO MARKETING OR BRANDING A UNIVERSITY? I really do. I feel like if we’re going to brand it, then we’re going to have a certain look. Our current books look similar; you can tell they are all from the same university. This is my main purpose, when you’re at a college fair and you have a student looking at Lamar book, you want the display to look cohesive. Right now we’re working on the Fine Arts one, the Sciences, and Education. Now that we have a full time graphic designer, we are able to get these out faster than we were able to before. We’re doing a two year print that way it’s fresh information and it will have a pocket in the back with a slit for each major or each department. They can put more information in there depending on the student’s interests so they have a little more information about what they’re interested in. It tells them what kind of jobs they could get so they know which path they could take. The plan is to make everything look more cohesive so we have a brand that stands out.
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DO YOU THINK THAT AFFECTS THE STUDENT POPULATION? IF YOU’RE CHOOSING A SCHOOL, WOULD YOU GO WITH THE BRANDED ONE? I don’t think students will go just with the brand, but at least they’ll recognize it. If they remember for instance, if they got something in the mail, they will think “oh yeah, I have that brochure” or “that was the school that I went to their preview day.” We’re redoing the acceptance packets right now, because lots of schools have these cool acceptance packets and ours is a letter with a Cardinal Village brochure. I was mortified! We designed them. They had a company try to design them and it just wasn’t looking like what we wanted. It now has a clear envelope with a poster that says “I’m in!” and you can take a selfie with it and tweet it. It has a magnet in there and a sticker for your car. We are also creating a new piece for transfer students which we’ve never had before. These are fun ways to engage potential students through branding. HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE GRAPHIC DESIGN? It’s just so important, I don’t know if there’s a way to define it. It’s the look and the feel of what you need to communicate to your audience. It’s the thing that you look at. If it looks uncool, you’re not going to read it. You want to attract the viewer’s attention. I guess if you’re really, really interested then you’re going to read it, but if it’s also boring to read then you won’t impact anyone. We’ve been working on our content and how to word everything to read easier and clearer because some of the things weren’t so good. Right now we’re going through the website because a lot of it is written by faculty or students, and we need to have once voice that is geared towards students. HOW DID YOU GO ABOUT UPDATING THE LU LOGO? I started by talking to people around campus. I asked faculty, staff and students about the logo and what they thought it represented. Many people told me they thought it was an E for engineering, and I didn’t realize that the perception was the school was only about engineering. I talked about it with Dr. Evans about if we should do something to make it really clear that it said LU. He wanted people to
38 | LU VISUAL HISTORY
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LAMAR UNIVERSITY ATHLETICS VISUAL STANDARDS GUIDE
EXPORT GRAPHIC DESIGN IN SOUTHEAST TEXAS | 39
start thinking Lamar University, not just Lamar, by putting more emphasis on the LU. The creative director on my team reworked the design. She added the emphasis to the star, then emphasis to the LU, made the space around the letters just a little bit bigger, and rounded the corners just a little bit so it’s easier to see. I have asked people afterwards that have just gotten here “What did you think that the symbol around this is?” Nobody has told me an E, I haven’t heard that from anybody. So I thought that was a good sign. Obviously it had a lot of history because the university has used it for decades. I was impressed that the original designer of the logo is an LU graduate!
“It’s not always enough to just have one skill such as graphic design. The more outgoing you can be and having a variety of different skills makes you more attractive to employers.” WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO TODAY’S ASPIRING GRAPHIC DESIGNERS? I would recommend any graphic designer to learn other parts of marketing; to take a communications course, to take an advertising course, and to take a writing course. It helped me when I worked for a company for ten and a half years before I went to the University of Oklahoma where I was a full one woman show. I grew it from a PR company handling it for me to handling it fully in house. My major was Organizational Communications so I had the PR part of it, but I didn’t have the marketing aspect and I didn’t have the graphic design at all. I started on PageMaker that later became InDesign. I went to seminars, I went to conferences because I
40 | LU VISUAL HISTORY
hadn’t learned it in college. I think we have a good group of classes that are available to students to learn other things. Amanda Toups is our graphic designer and she can write. She has a very level head on everything and she also thinks outside the box a lot. In her presentation for her portfolio, she had a T-shirt design. Instead of just showing just the T-shirt design, she had it displayed on a T-shirt with a cool background of wood texture. On her brochure, she had them laid out on a table with cool paper under it that complimented it. She went the extra mile because she understood it wasn’t just about the design, it was about the whole package. I think that’s important for graphic designers to be able to do everything. We interviewed quite a few people for this position and they interviewed just fine and had great skills, but they didn’t have anything else. It’s not always enough to just have one skill such as graphic design. The more outgoing you can be and having a variety of different skills makes you more attractive to employers.
EXPORT GRAPHIC DESIGN IN SOUTHEAST TEXAS | 41
42 | LU VISUAL HISTORY
EXPORT GRAPHIC DESIGN IN SOUTHEAST TEXAS | 43
44 | LU VISUAL HISTORY
INTERVIEWS This series of interviews showcases each exhibitor from the Export: Graphic Design in Southeast Texas exhibition.
EXPORT GRAPHIC DESIGN IN SOUTHEAST TEXAS | 45
ABELMANART.CO 46 | INTERVIEWS
FOUNDED In 2014 by Maurice Abelman. COMPANY SPECIALTY Graphic Designer/ Illustrator MISSION STATEMENT In todayâ€™s market the visual identity and advertising style of a company plays a critical role in the way they connect and communicate with their customers. In order to communicate clearly and generate new and sustained business, a company needs a concise vision of what they want to say. The mission for Abelmanart.com is to provide local businesses with the opportunity to enhance their advertising and branding style so they can compete in a market in which the visual identity and communication of their company will play a critical role in setting them apart from the competition and connecting them with their core customer base. COMPANY HISTORY I wanted to develop a brand that was unique to my artwork. From this logo came the idea that I can sell my artwork and services through this business.
Avatar Archetypes Printmaking Project by Abelmanart.com
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An inter vi ew wi t h …
Answers provided by Mauri ce Abel man of Abel manar t .com .
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE GRAPHIC DESIGN?
DO YOU FEEL THAT THERE ARE
Graphic Design is a medium that uses visual and
MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT WHAT GRAPHIC
textual devices to communicate with the intent to
DESIGNERS REALLY DO?
One of the biggest misconceptions of what graphic designer’s really do that I had conflict with is the idea
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO BE A GRAPHIC
that a graphic designer is only limited to creating
work directed around commerce. That is incorrect.
It is a creative avenue that allows me to keep up to
You can use all the design skills you acquire to create
date with the professional applications of graphic
anything you want.
manipulation while providing income to sustain my passion to create in other mediums.
WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS TO BE A GRAPHIC DESIGNER?
DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF AN ARTIST?
You need a strong ability to take an abstract con-
Sure. An artist is someone that is skilled at doing
cept and visually define it. You have to be able to be
something and owns it.
creative and open minded about new ideas that can
48 | INTERVIEWS
shape your market. And you need to be able to communicate effectively with a client in order to get the information you need to design. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS AND CHALLENGES OF BEING A GRAPHIC DESIGNER IN A SMALL CITY? One benefit is that the market can be simpler to read which allows you to create more effective design. One disadvantage can be there are not enough design opportunities outside of freelancing that you can peruse.
WHAT IS A TYPICAL WORKDAY FOR YOU LIKE? Social media advertisements, tri-fold brochure layouts, business card name changes, logo design, web layout, client meetings, cutting out backgrounds in photos, and hour lunches at noon. WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH FOR SELECTING A TYPEFACE? Legibility in relation to its utility. You need to understand what the typeface is needed for, body text, headers, logo typography, etc. Once you do then you can select effective type that fits the purpose.
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HOW DOES TECHNOLOGY INFLUENCE YOUR WORK? Understanding your tools is critical to excelling at any profession. Graphic designers need to be up-to-date with current advancements in technology in order to creative innovate design that is on pare with contemporary styles.
“You need a strong ability to take an abstract concept and visually define it. You have to be able to be creative and open-minded about new ideas that can shape your market.” WHAT DO YOU FEEL IS YOUR MOST SUCCESSFUL PROJECT? WHY? I feel that the creation of my company logo is my most successful project because it combines my skills as a graphic designer with my skills as a printmaker in an effective concept. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO TODAY’S ASPIRING GRAPHIC DESIGNERS? Know the value of your work and stick by it.
50 | INTERVIEWS
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AMERICO MARKETIN 52 | INTERVIEWS
FOUNDED Founded by Charlie Cooper in the year 2000. MISSION STATEMENT Align with Best of Class products and people to provide single source marketing, creative, and e-commerce services that make our customers industry leaders. COMPANY SPECIALTY Americom is a full service advertising agency that provides services such as: Web Design and Development, SEO, PPC, Social Media Management and Advertising, E-Commerce Solutions, Graphic Design, Media Planning and Placement, Audio and Video Production, Consulting, and much more. COMPANY HISTORY Founded by Charlie Cooper in the year 2000 with the vision of becoming one of the leading agencies in Texas. Americom Marketing began the development of an e-commerce platform in 2002, which later in 2005 grew to become its own company called AmeriCommerce. In 2010 the e-commerce platform won the Best e-commerce platform by the CODiE Awards. In 2014 the software was sold to Capital One. Americom is now a Full- Service, single source agency providing services in web design, e-commerce, Internet marketing, video, media buying, graphic design, and creative services.
Poster Design for A Whimsical Christmas by Americom Marketing
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An inter vi ew wi t h …
Answers provided by Jack Cravy of Americom Marketing.
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE GRAPHIC DESIGN?
grade. As a younger child, I was the “class sketch art-
Graphic Design, in my opinion, is a tool used to
ist” and I was always drawing cartoons and portraits.
communicate with a consumer to invoke a sense of
I took every creative class available and was widely
emotion and feeling through a visual medium. In our
known as the “artsy” kid in school. When I entered
industry we use this tool to provoke a call to action or
high school, there were several computer classes to
to instill an idea of confidence.
take – and that’s when I was introduced to the Adobe Creative Suite and graphic design competitions. My
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO BE A GRAPHIC
high school BCIS/BIMM teacher, Faye Gardner, guid-
ed me through using software to channel my creative
I wanted to be a graphic designer since I was in 9th
outlet and fulfill my potential as an artist. With her
54 | INTERVIEWS
guidance I entered multiple graphic design competitions and ultimately placing in a nationwide design competition. This was probably the defining moment for me where I decided I could actually do this and it might be a better alternative (and more realistic) than my first choice of becoming a famous Rock Star. DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF AN ARTIST? I think everyone is an artist in some way. Some people just may not realize it. Beethoven was an artist. Picasso was an artist. My CPA is an artist. DO YOU FEEL THAT THERE ARE MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT WHAT GRAPHIC DESIGNERS REALLY DO? I think so. Some people think anyone with a copy of Photoshop is a graphic designer. Some people think their nephew is a graphic designer because they took an IT class. I think there is a large group of people out there that donâ€™t realize the time, effort, training, thought, and devotion a professional graphic designer brings to the table and how it can affect the effectiveness of a design. WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS TO BE A GRAPHIC DESIGNER? At an agency like our own, we look for people who have a clean and professional look to their portfolio. A designer should understand key elements of design as well as proficiency in design software. A good graphic designer should be able to make a convoluted project seem simple while bringing everything together for a clear understanding of the message. A college degree is always preferred because it shows that the designer is committed to the career. At the end of the day, 80% of what makes a good designer is a good portfolio. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS AND CHALLENGES OF BEING A GRAPHIC DESIGNER IN A SMALL CITY? Benefits of being in a small city is that there is little competition. Off the top of my head I can think of maybe 6 or 7 really talented designers in our area that separate themselves from the rest (which is not a lot). So the benefit is that there is a large
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Marketing Materials for Mobiloil Credit Union by Americom Marketing
56 | INTERVIEWS
demand for more talent. The challenge is that, in a market as small as this, your salary levels are a bit lower than a designer would cost in Los Angeles or even Austin, which can be degrading to designers wanting to stay in the area instead of moving to other markets. Another challenge is that a good majority of clients can’t differentiate quality design because there are so many bad ones out here flooding the market with sub-par work. WHAT IS A TYPICAL WORKDAY FOR YOU LIKE? I wear several hats at our agency, so I don’t think a “typical” day really exists. Every day is completely different. The only constant is emails, coffee, and meetings.
“Rely on yourself and your passion. If you want to be a great designer—be a great designer. We need you.” WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH FOR SELECTING A TYPEFACE? I have a collection of typefaces I like to use based on the goal of the project. I have list of fonts I use for modern, legal, fun, and much more. Using typefaces is probably my weakest asset, but I’m trying to work on that. HOW DOES TECHNOLOGY INFLUENCE YOUR WORK? How doesn’t it? Adobe Creative Cloud keeps coming up with new ways to change the design industry and they are doing a fantastic job. Companies like Adobe, Google, Facebook, Dropbox, and others are changing to the way we collaborate and multi-task. I wouldn’t have lasted being a designer in the 70’s without today’s technology.
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WHAT DO YOU FEEL IS YOUR MOST SUCCESSFUL PROJECT? WHY? I feel the most successful project I’ve worked on would be the new branding campaign for Mobiloil Credit Union. It wasn’t the greatest design, but was exactly what the brand needed and wanted. I don’t judge designs based on how great of a design they are because design, in itself, is so subjective. I judge success based on the effectiveness. That branding campaign, in my opinion, has changed the face of a financial institution and record breaking business growth has directly resulted from it. That’s a successful campaign. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO TODAY’S ASPIRING GRAPHIC DESIGNERS? Don’t just be good – be great. With the Internet at your fingertips you have no excuse anymore. All of the tools, tricks, and education is out there. You aren’t reliant on your professor or your peers. Rely on yourself and your passion. If you want to be a great designer – be a great designer. We need you.
58 | INTERVIEWS
Poster Design for Provost Umphrey Law Firm by Americom Marketing
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ADVERTISING & DESIG
60 | INTERVIEWS
FOUNDED In 1999 by Eric Sullivan. MISSION STATEMENT e.Sullivan doesnâ€™t have a mission statement, exactly. If we had to distill our guiding principles into as succinct a statement as possible, it would probably be something like: We do smart work for good clients. And have fun doing it. COMPANY SPECIALTY Full-service advertising and design. COMPANY HISTORY Designer Eric Sullivan started e.Sullivan Advertising & Design in April of 1999 because he believed the Southeast Texas market needed a forward-thinking agency. An agency capable of putting smart creative and strategy to work for any business. And he was right. The clients, awards and recognition immediately began to pile up. Since then, e.Sullivan has maintained its reputation as the go-to agency for agile, innovative problem solving. Also, the agency thatâ€™s fun to work with. We hope.
Prepare for takeoff AND TAKEOFF. AND TAKEOFF. AND TAKEOFF. SETX to DFW 4X Daily
Poster Design for Jack Brooks Regional Airport by e.Sullivan Advertising & Design
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An inter vi ew wi t h …
Answers provided by the designers of e.Sullivan Advertising & Design
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE GRAPHIC DESIGN?
DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF AN ARTIST?
As former Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart said
No. A work of fine art can generally be appreciated
regarding obscenity, “I know it when I see it.”
on its own merits, whether because it is aesthetically pleasing or thought-provoking or because it demon-
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO BE A GRAPHIC
strates a high level of skill in its execution. Graphic
design and advertising are (or should be) fundamen-
Because it is fun and rewarding and if you do it right,
tally concerned with solving problems. Great design
it challenges you to a lifetime of learning and self-im-
can still be beautiful and appreciated as art – why the
hell not? – but intent matters.
62 | INTERVIEWS
DO YOU FEEL THAT THERE ARE MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT WHAT GRAPHIC DESIGNERS REALLY DO? Yes. It’s not about software. It’s not about cramming 50 free fonts into a single layout. It’s not about the designer, either. Sometimes pretty works for a client but that doesn’t mean that pretty is always the solution. WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS TO BE A GRAPHIC DESIGNER? Design skills + concept skills + curiosity + thick skin. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS AND CHALLENGES OF BEING A GRAPHIC DESIGNER IN A SMALL CITY? Being a big fish in a small pond has its advantages. But those advantages can make you complacent. Also, budgets in this market can be quite small. This often leads us to develop creative solutions, but bigger budgets would be nice, too. WHAT IS A TYPICAL WORKDAY FOR YOU LIKE? What’s a typical workday? WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH FOR SELECTING A TYPEFACE? Legibility and suitability matter, of course. Sometimes you even need to take historical context into account. Aaron Draplin has this great rant where he laments seeing this old motel replace its classic motor lodge sign – a piece of real 50s Americana – with some crappy backlit vinyl sign typeset in Blippo of all things. Such a shame. It’s important to avoid using a font merely because it is currently in vogue, too. You don’t want to just pick some font that is sure to please the client but has already been used to death. Yeah, we’re talking about you, Gotham. Also, can we please call a moratorium on the distribution of funky free fonts? That would be great.
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Poster Design for Lamar University by e.Sullivan Advertising & Design
64 | INTERVIEWS
HOW DOES TECHNOLOGY INFLUENCE YOUR WORK? It can be a crutch, but it sure does make collaboration easier. And now that Typekit is integrated with Adobe Creative Cloud, so many wonderful font choices.
“Start with ideas and concepts before proceeding to layouts. Collaborate and seek out criticism. Talk out problems. If you’re in a rut, walk away for a bit. Don’t work for free. Stay away from funky free fonts.” WHAT DO YOU FEEL IS YOUR MOST SUCCESSFUL PROJECT? WHY? We’ve been lucky to do so much work we’re proud of for so many great clients, it’s kind of impossible to answer this question. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO TODAY’S ASPIRING GRAPHIC DESIGNERS? Work, work, work. Revise, revise, revise. Use your pencils. Study designers you like and what they do and try to emulate them until you find your own approaches. Start with ideas and concepts before proceeding to layouts. Collaborate and seek out criticism. Talk out problems. If you’re in a rut, walk away for a bit. Don’t work for free. Stay away from funky free fonts.
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K. GUY DESIGN 66 | INTERVIEWS
FOUNDED In 2015 by Kiley Guy. MISSION STATEMENT K. Guy Design’s mission is to be a trusted advisor and resource to other companies for their marketing, branding and advertising efforts. COMPANY SPECIALTY Branding, marketing, advertising, consulting COMPANY HISTORY You know what they say, “when one door closes, another one opens.” The past couple of years, I was in the same place that many graphic designers and creatives find themselves in – churning work out as fast as possible without much thought to quality or efficacy. I wasn’t happy, the clients were often dissatisfied and people were on edge wanting better work, faster. I had many ideas to solve these problems but it involved structural changes that were, in hindsight, just not possible. At this point, I had an important choice to make: look for another job with high stress, worthless work in a similar atmosphere, or create something of my own that could benefit local businesses as well as my creative passion. I couldn’t help but notice the opportunity that was staring me in the face. In starting my own business, I could finally address what clients really needed: effective branding and messaging. I could build a business whose central goal was to find the best way possible to promote their business and brand. In a sense, K. Guy Designs was founded to focus on the client’s true goals first, develop a holistic plan then execute.
N AV Y
G R AY
CMYK 77•65•43•27 RGB 67•77•97 PA N TO N E 539 U
CMYK 0•64•55•0 RGB 244•125•106 PA N TO N E 178 U
CMYK 0•87•84•0 RGB 239•72•55 PA N TO N E BRIGHT RED U
CMYK 30•0•12•0 RGB 176•223•225 PA N TO N E 5503 U
CMYK 62•50•45•15 RGB 101•108•115 PA N TO N E 423 U
C H A M PA G N E & L I M O U S I N E S
Aa Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg Hh Ii Jj Kk Ll Mm Nn Oo Pp Qq Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Ww Xx Yy Zz
Aa Hh Qq Ww
Bb Cc Dd Ee Ff Gg I i J j K k L l M m N n O o Pp Rr Ss Tt Uu Vv Xx Yy Zz
Brand Identity for the Clifton Steamboat Museum by K. Guy Designs
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An inter vi ew wi t h â€Ś
An swers p rovi d ed by K . Guy D esi gn s found er, Kil ey Guy.
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE GRAPHIC DESIGN?
another. Bringing an idea to life whether it is on a
To me, graphic design is the visual representation of
canvas or a computer screen means taking an artistic
an idea or message. I see it as a tool to visually con-
path no matter how you get to the end. When you
vey ideas and messages to the rest of the world.
create beautiful work that serves a greater purpose, I truly believe it is an art form.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO BE A GRAPHIC DESIGNER?
DO YOU FEEL THAT THERE ARE MISCONCEPTIONS
To be honest, Iâ€™ve always had the creative bug. When I
ABOUT WHAT GRAPHIC DESIGNERS REALLY DO?
was young, I was happiest doodling, painting or doing
Yes, absolutely. I think one of the biggest miscon-
any sort of craft project, but no one ever tells you how
ceptions is that in the DIY world we live in, people
to turn that creativity into a career. When I finally
often think anyone can be a graphic designer and all
stumbled across a computer in art class in college and
you need is a computer program. But graphic design
discovered the creative possibilities, I knew exactly
is so much more than that. A real graphic designer
what I wanted to do.
understands the theory behind every element and together all the elements should serve a purpose. For
DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF AN ARTIST?
example, in the advertising/branding world, having a
Yes, I think all creatives are artists in one-way or
pretty design on a billboard might seem easy, but just
68 | INTERVIEWS
designing a pretty billboard is useless. It’s about creating a design that is effective and gets people’s attention to serve a greater purpose: delivering a message. That means making important color and font choices, determining the most valuable layout and balancing all the visual elements in order to get your message to people. WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS TO BE A GRAPHIC DESIGNER? Honestly, anyone can learn how to use design programs, but first and foremost, you have to have an eye for design. Without it you won’t be able to edit your work or give it balance. Second, you have to be a good listener and understand what it is your client needs before you can create a valuable design.
“Value your work. If you don’t, you can’t expect anyone else to value it either.” WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS AND CHALLENGES OF BEING A GRAPHIC DESIGNER IN A SMALL CITY? The challenge is that people and/or businesses don’t always value designers because they think that anyone can do what we do. It’s very hard to get people to understand the value of good design. That, in turn, makes it hard for designers to value their own work. However, one of the benefits to being a designer in a small city is opportunity. I think there are a lot of businesses in need of good design to establish their brands. WHAT IS A TYPICAL WORKDAY FOR YOU LIKE? Having my own business means I have responsibilities that change from day to
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color palette orange
CMYK 0/80/100/0 RGB 241/90/34 PANTONE 37-8C
CMYK 87/69/52/50 RGB 30/51/65 PANTONE 175-16C
CMYK 31/10/20/0 RGB 177/203/201 PANTONE 129-10C
CMYK 35/39/51/3 RGB 168/147/124 PANTONE 13-7C
CMYK 7/4/11/0 RGB 236/235/224 PANTONE 162-1C
abcdefghijklmn opqrstuvwxyz 0123456789
AaBbCcDdEeFfGgHhIi JjKkLlMmNnOoPpQqRr SsTtUuVvWwXxYyZz 0123456789
Brand Identity for Wheeler Commercial by K. Guy Designs
70 | INTERVIEWS
day which I love. I could be doing anything from meeting with clients, business development, brainstorming new ideas, designing, managing social media, accounting and in some cases all of the above. I am never bored. WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH FOR SELECTING A TYPEFACE? Selecting a font is probably the most exhilarating part of the whole design process. I feel like the right font can set the tone for the entire design. I probably spend way too much time searching for the perfect font for every design but I truly believe font choice can make or break a design. I have different approaches depending on what I am designing, but ultimately, my font search begins by determining the style I am hoping to achieve in the end. Whether I want a clean and modern design or something retro, determining the overall style is what guides the style of fonts families I choose from. I also consider other factors like the message (headline, subhead, punch line) and the overall amount of text as well as the message strategy. HOW DOES TECHNOLOGY INFLUENCE YOUR WORK? Technology plays a vital role in what I do every day. Without it, I’d be back to doodling. Design programs have enhanced our capabilities as designers and though it can be frustrating to keep up with the ever-changing landscape, technology enables you to test new design techniques, colors, and font choices all in a shorter amount of time, which ultimately lends more time to the creative process. WHAT DO YOU FEEL IS YOUR MOST SUCCESSFUL PROJECT? WHY? The new brand strategy I’ve developed and implemented for ella + scott is one of my most successful projects because it has allowed me to have creative control through the entire design process and it showcases the power of a cohesive brand strategy. This project also represents what K. Guy Design’s is all about: understanding the client’s goals, creating a strategic plan and executing. The end result is a new logo and brand style guide that showcases the vision that is ella + scott, along with cohesive marketing tools (clothing tags, coupons, gift
EXPORT GRAPHIC DESIGN IN SOUTHEAST TEXAS | 71
certificates, loyalty cards, etc.) and soon, social media and web ad campaigns. All of which are set to increase brand awareness and sales for this local boutique. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO TODAY’S ASPIRING GRAPHIC DESIGNERS? Design is subjective. Trust your gut. Develop thick skin, and quickly. Value your work. If you don’t, you can’t expect anyone else to value it either. Keep learning and keep evolving because the design landscape changes daily. If this is what you love to do, don’t get discouraged trying to make it a career and don’t be afraid to try different avenues. It’s not easy and there is no clear path. It will be a struggle, but at some point, you WILL discover the kind of designer you want to be and where you fit in.
72 | INTERVIEWS
Brand Identity for ella + scott by K. Guy Designs
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LARUE ART+COP 74 | INTERVIEWS
MISSION STATEMENT I make art. I write words. And I use them together for thoughtful design and creative advertising to attract and engage audiences. I aim to make business entertaining because I believe in the balance of art + commerce. COMPANY SPECIALTY Illustration + Design
Poster Design by LaRue Art + Copy
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An inter vi ew wi t h …
Answers provided by Lance LaRue of LaRue Art + Copy.
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE GRAPHIC DESIGN?
fascination as a child and knowing it was just oddly,
Visual communication. A language of weight, space,
naturally in my field of vision. I sketched really well,
angles, ink and motivation.
and I would practice drawing the cards for years until it evolved into other artwork that lent itself to creative
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO BE A GRAPHIC
words or phrases and typography. Soon I was drawn to
advertisements and logos and such.
Baseball cards. I loved collecting major league baseball cards as a
I recognized that I had more than just talents for drawing and writing, but I had a genuine curiosity
child. More specifically, I liked seeing the combination
for it—the connection of lines, color, art, and words.
of elements at work: the team logo, the photograph
In high school I started thinking it was a good career
of favorite ball players, the contrasts of typefaces,
path to combine my curiosity and passions for these
the different lines and color patterns in the borders…
skills. The notion that I may actually get to make base-
all of it. I remember truly SEEING those things with
ball cards, logos and ads was very appealing.
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DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF AN ARTIST? Yes. I always create art, whether it’s personal or business. Graphic design is my most dominant medium for both personal work as well as commercial work. I’m often called a digital artist, however, I enjoy using photography, sketches, charcoal and other media in my artwork as well. DO YOU FEEL THAT THERE ARE MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT WHAT GRAPHIC DESIGNERS REALLY DO? Sure, but I think misconceptions may ultimately depend on the designer personally. Misconceptions that I see include a lot of over-simplification like “just dropping in an icon or image” or typesetting. Another is just owning the software. (I’ve argued that just because someone has Photoshop doesn’t make them a designer; just because I own a hammer doesn’t make me a carpenter.) Things like this make it seem as though the role is easy or thoughtless. The other end of the spectrum is common, too, in that the role calls for everything you see on the page. For example, I’ve had website clients assume the title “graphic designer” to mean photographer/webmaster/copywriter/e-mail provider/public relations rep and digital artist. That’s a dangerous one. WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS TO BE A GRAPHIC DESIGNER? Qualifications certainly include an artistic quality and the willingness/aptitude for using design applications like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop and such, but those are just the tools. A good designer needs to have an ability to visualize and turn the intangible into tangible. The normal attributes like patience, respect, integrity, self-motivation and coachability apply. Above all is a healthy curiosity for good, solid design and a commitment to solving problems. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS AND CHALLENGES OF BEING A GRAPHIC DESIGNER IN A SMALL CITY? Working in a small market is difficult in the aspect of sheer volume and playing the percentages of supply and demand. Also, in a very general sense, smaller markets
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may have limited industries that simply do not have a history or reference point of good, quality design; therefore, their perception of value is on the low end and requires extra education and justification. The benefits outweigh the challenges in my opinion. Smaller markets allow for more opportunities to collaborate and share the wealth (because it does not pay to make enemies in a small town). Smaller markets allow more time for budding designers to perfect the craft and find rhythm. I think there’s more chance to make your mark on a smaller market and build towards more or bigger markets.
“Practice relentlessly—if you have to volunteer or create new projects for yourself, do it and do it often. Any experience is good, so take it with enthusiasm.” WHAT IS A TYPICAL WORKDAY FOR YOU LIKE? Currently I work for Spark Pay Online Store, a small business division of Capital One, as a UI Designer in the marketing department. This is the e-commerce software born and bred here in Southeast Texas formerly named AmeriCommerce. Capital One acquired the business in 2014 in Beaumont. Daily work for me involves brainstorming and designing lead-generation content pieces like e-books, blog articles, infographics and videos. I’ll also work on web page layouts and daily research. Being part of a large corporation also calls for creating detailed presentations and collaborating with various teams on long-term programs. I recently left my role as creative director at Americom Marketing (ad agency) to move to Capital One to focus on the niche design area. There my days involved digging into all advertising projects like storyboards, web designs, magazine ad layouts, billboards, logos and copywriting. Typically for new projects, I would
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work up creative briefs with rough sketches and artistic/message choices; then I’d distribute to fellow designers and assign some for myself; and throughout the week we would work back and forth to advance drafts towards completion. The ad agency world was terrific, non-stop and all-inclusive. Now my weekends is where I’ll usually work on freelance and personal projects. I’ll spend time touching up projects for logos, posters, etc. The most common daily task for each of these design roles is communication. Constant communication allows for efficient creativity and peace of mind. WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH FOR SELECTING A TYPEFACE? I look for balance and contrast in weight, legibility, speed of recognition, and long-term use. I consider the intent first and foremost with questions about how it will be used in context with imagery, who it is for (audience type), and what type of position and personality it needs to convey. Is it masculine/feminine? Youthful/ mature? Refined/adventurous? I’ll rough-sketch it first on paper before using my trusty Mac. Once I find the winner, I work it in and save it. Then I try to improve it. I look for a newer, better font. After a few rounds, I either gain confidence in my initial instinct, or I’m glad I kept at it. HOW DOES TECHNOLOGY INFLUENCE YOUR WORK? Technology is a huge variable. I enjoy learning new applications and tools in order to investigate and discover ways to experiment with my artwork. Speed, efficiency and possibilities don’t exist without it. However, I remind myself that it is a tool, not the talent. Seeing the swiftness of how tech constantly updates and replaces itself is a factor in my approach. It’s evidence that the tech will always change so I mustn’t become too reliant on any one app or function. WHAT DO YOU FEEL IS YOUR MOST SUCCESSFUL PROJECT? WHY? My most successful and surprising project is my personal vintage poster series of “The Forgotten Towns of Texas.” It consists of over 100 vintage-style faux tourism posters for small towns across Texas that would never have tourism promotional
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posters. For example, instead of a luxurious ad for Paris or New York, this showcases the oil refinery pollution of Port Arthur and the traffic issues of Katy, Texas. Each done with tongue-in-cheek humor, light-hearted nostalgia, and layered illustrations, I explore different techniques and styles from ornate art deco to 60s pop. Many are satirical, many are historical and many involve points of small town pride. It began as a small idea for fun and it has spun into a living, breathing series that has expanded both my art and business. The poster series has led to more business leads for my office, exposure on radio and newspaper interviews, and new personal curiosities and opportunities with graphic design. I am beginning work on a new series of a very different nature, but I’m taking a lot of lessons learned from this vintage poster series into it. I am confident that it will be even more rewarding. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO TODAY’S ASPIRING GRAPHIC DESIGNERS? My advice to anyone is to practice relentlessly. If you have to volunteer or create new projects for yourself, do it and do it often. Any experience is good, so take it with enthusiasm. As a student, I wish I would have asked more questions from professionals. I’m afraid my intimidation and my fear of revealing my lack of knowledge prevented me from making more connections as a graduating senior. Connections with experience can speed things up for young designers embarking on a career. I see social media as a rejuvenating shot in the art for graphic design. Yes, apps make things simple and easy so anyone can “design,” but that just creates more chance for better artists to emerge and get more attention. Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter – these allow designers like me to access limitless education of history, religion, news, culture and material to influence and inspire. I like to imagine what artists like Picasso, Rauschenberg, or Warhol would have done with resources like these at their disposal. I think they’d be envious of us in this time. I believe graphic design is an interesting career path with lots of unearthed opportunities just waiting. I think the trends of commercial design are fascinating as they intersect with fine art, and that’s where I intend to have a lot of fun!
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MIGHT COUL STUDIOS
In 2012 by Christine Fleming
Illustration and logo design
COMPANY HISTORY Might Could Studios is the business name I operate under as a creative. It houses multiple different focuses including: publishing projects like picture books and graphic novels; editorial illustrations for magazines and blogs; my Etsy shop, where I sell adult coloring books and custom painted nesting dolls; my design studio where I work with clients to make logos, print work, and animations; and my 8+ classes I teach on Skillshare. After graduating from North Carolina State University with a degree in graphic design, I worked as the lead graphic designer at a studio in Raleigh for about a year. I learned an immense amount of information there from my boss and co-workers, especially on how to function as a professional creative, how to manage my time, plan ahead, and communicate with clients. While I enjoyed my time as a studio designer, I also had the drive to be self-employed and independent. I began freelancing in my spare time, and then in 2012 I left the studio, moved to Texas with my boyfriend, and began freelancing full time. I started out working in graphic design, and slowly transitioned into doing more illustration work. I then started working with Buzz Hoot Roar, through my friend Sarah, who I met in NC State. Buzz Hoot Roar is a team of scientists who explain scientific concepts in short, fun blog posts with illustrations. I worked as their Artist in Residence for a few months, and that was where my love of illustration really took off. Fast forward through 6 months of self exploration, artistic struggles, and couch wallowing and I found myself at the Society of Childrenâ€™s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) New York Conference thinking about making a picture book. A week after the conference I was named the SCBWI Illustrator of the Month, and Iâ€™ve been chugging away at getting my books published ever since! While illustration has become more of a priority, I still love working on freelance graphic design projects, especially when I can tap into my illustration skill set such as logo design.
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Graphic Novel by Might Could Studios
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An inter vi ew wi t h …
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE GRAPHIC DESIGN?
design as a way to be able to be creative in my job,
My view of graphic design has changed over the
while still having a stable career. When I first studied
years. I used to think about it very narrowly: that it
graphic design, I never thought I would be a freelanc-
only included print design like magazines and post-
er—which gives up most of the stability of being a de-
ers, or digital work like movie titles and web design.
signer—but I can’t imagine doing anything else now!
But the design world has grown and changed like crazy in the last decade and now includes a whole
DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF AN ARTIST?
new realm of user interaction design and app de-
I do consider myself an artist but I think, like the label
sign, as well as many designers branching out into
“designer”, it doesn’t really mean all that much. I think
new territories, like illustration! Designers don’t just
an artist is anyone who produces something creative
make websites and wedding invitations anymore—
on a regular basis. I don’t see it as some high-class,
they make mobile apps, editorial illustrations, board
exclusive term reserved for people who went to fine
games, and have even grown beyond being just pixel
arts school. If you like to draw flowers in your spare
pushers to becoming integral founders and leaders in
time, you can call yourself an artist! If you like to knit
sweaters with cats on them, you can call yourself an artist! If you like to plate your dinner all fancy and
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO BE A GRAPHIC
Instagram it to the world, you can be an artist too! Ev-
eryone is probably an artist in some way, and I think
Initially, I was interested in a career in the arts, but
that’s pretty cool.
didn’t want to be a starving artist. I chose graphic
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DO YOU FEEL THAT THERE ARE MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT WHAT GRAPHIC DESIGNERS REALLY DO? Probably. I think it’s a relatively new career in the grand scheme of the world, and has grown significantly in the last decade, so not everyone really knows that much about it. I think generally people think designers make posters, business cards, and websites, and that’s kind of true. But there are so many different ways to be a designer, and more opportunities pop up every day, expanding what it really means to be a graphic designer. WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS TO BE A GRAPHIC DESIGNER? Many people think you’re either born creative or you’re not, but I really disagree with that view. I think you could have some kind of disposition for wanting to draw/paint/whatever, but generally I think people find their talent based on positive reinforcement they receive when they’re young, and the amount of time they put into improving their craft. I wasn’t born with a good aesthetic eye—I learned it. It’s a mesh of all the things I grew up with: all the TV shows I watched as a kid, the video games I played, the books I read, and all those things I’m still adding to my brain every day. And I wasn’t born with the ability to draw—I practiced and learned it. So I think anyone can be a designer or an artist, you just have to put in the time and work, like any other profession. With that said, the qualifications that I think are helpful to be a designer are: imagination, persistence, problem-solving skills, listening, sense of aesthetics, and a willingness to learn. WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS AND CHALLENGES OF BEING A GRAPHIC DESIGNER IN A SMALL CITY? Luckily, because of the Internet, I can freelance from anywhere. I have one client in Houston, but all my other clients are in other locations from California to the United Kingdom! So finding work is not a challenge in a small city. The downside is you don’t have the large social design community or design events that you
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might have in a larger city, and not as many chances
out what needs to be done today, and 3) It helps me
for in-person networking and the potential opportuni-
keep track of how much time I’m spending on each
ties from interacting face-to-face with other designers
project so that I price jobs correctly and complete
on a regular basis.
tasks efficiently. It also makes me more aware of how I spend my time and keeps me accountable to get
WHAT IS A TYPICAL WORKDAY FOR YOU LIKE?
work done since I work from home and don’t have a
I’m a very habitual person. I start every morning
boss hanging over my shoulder to do that. After that, I
with breakfast and coffee while I browse Pinterest
check and respond to emails, and respond to any new
and Twitter oogling over other illustrator’s work
projects or discussion posts in my Skillshare classes.
(and maybe some recipes too). This gets me in the “Make something!” mood and inspires me. I started
Sometimes I set aside the first half of my day— from morning to lunch—for personal projects, like
“Be open to new experiences! It’s good to have a career plan, but sometimes things won’t go according to plan.” a hashtag, #moilloinspo, which stands for Morning
graphic novels and picture books. Then the second
Illustration Inspiration. So every morning while
half of the day, I work on client work like graphic de-
I’m drinking my coffee and looking at art, I pick a
sign jobs, my next coloring book, filling Etsy orders,
piece that strikes me and post it to Twitter under
and making and managing my Skillshare classes.
the hashtag, crediting the artist and linking to their
Other times, I break the entire month into chunks.
The first two weeks of the month are for money-mak-
From there, I move on to a few administrative
ing/client/Etsy/Skillshare projects, and the second
tasks. I’m obsessive about tracking my time, and I
two weeks are for personal passion projects and
track everything I do during the workday in 15 minute
unpublished books. So far, these two scheduling
increments on my computer desktop. So each morn-
options have worked out really well and allow me to
ing I track the time documented from the day before
work on my passion projects while still supporting
in on online program. This does a few things: 1) It
reminds me what I did yesterday, 2) It helps me figure
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WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH FOR SELECTING A TYPEFACE? I typically lean more towards hand drawn typography, and for most of my logo designs, I hand drew all the type. I think it gives the design a much more personal, relatable, and unique feel, which for a logo is really important. But, hand-drawn type is not always the best solution to every project, so I definitely enjoy using actual typefaces as well. My favorite typeface is Futura Condensed, and I tend to like minimalist, geometric type best. Itâ€™s basically a process of trial and error with different typefaces until something feels right, which is pretty much my process for everything. Design takes a lot of iteration and experimentation!
Coloring Book Graphic by Might Could Studios
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HOW DOES TECHNOLOGY INFLUENCE YOUR WORK? Technology is a big factor in my work. Even in illustration, I work heavily in the digital world. I begin most everything on paper first, whether it’s an illustration, comic, or logo. But once I get passed the sketching phase, the final work is done in Photoshop, Illustrator, or InDesign depending on the project. I also have a Wacom tablet that I use to draw and color digitally. I also sometimes work on animation projects with clients, and am starting to dip my toes more into the realm of moving parts. WHAT DO YOU FEEL IS YOUR MOST SUCCESSFUL PROJECT? WHY? Eek! My most successful project? I guess that depends on what “successful” means. If we’re talking successful from a financial stand point, then that would be my Skillshare classes. But if we’re talking about a more self-based, personal sense of success, then I think I would say my graphic novel. It’s not currently published— though my agent is in the process of pitching it to publishers—so as of now it’s financially unsuccessful. But I learned so much making that book, and am truly proud of where it is and I have high hopes for where it can go. And if not that book, then the next! WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO TODAY’S ASPIRING GRAPHIC DESIGNERS? Be open to new experiences! It’s good to have a career plan, but sometimes things won’t go according to plan, and you’ll find yourself being pulled in a different direction than you thought you wanted to go. Take some time to reevaluate your plan and see if maybe you need to follow a new plan! That seems vague but it happens to me daily in both my work and personal life. Each year in my career has led to new things I never thought I would do and that weren’t a part of my original plan. But being open to changing course has opened up big doors for me and led to fun and rewarding experiences!
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Brand Identity for Fancy This Photography by Might Could Studios
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TEXAS BEAR COMPANY
FOUNDED In 2014 by Aaron Davis, Adam Haynes, Shayne Martin, and Ryan Olson. MISSION STATEMENT We sell beard grooming products, but we try to be more. We make a point to support good causes and try to give back. COMPANY MANIFESTO It is not enough only to live. Rather strive to live well, making of life a raucous celebration. Own your passions, and let them blaze. Like a beacon, shining over dark waters, they will guide others. Be undone by beauty, both simple and majestic. You will find both in this world. Resolve to be brave, even before you must. Enjoy the flicker of youth, but value experience forged by age. Love when it is difficult, not only when it is easy. It is worth it in the end. Choose an adventurous life. Look for mysteries. Seek out the edges of the map where others dare not go. COMPANY SPECIALTY e-commerce COMPANY HISTORY Co-founders Aaron Davis, Adam Haynes, Shayne Martin, and Ryan Olson were in the process of designing and building an app. Much of it was developed when the Olson showed an interest in beard oils. The group ended up deciding to take a break to launch an e-commerce company featuring beard grooming products. It went so well, they never really got back to the app.
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Packaging Designs by Texas Beard Company
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An inter vi ew wi t h …
Answers provided by one of t he four found ers of Texa s Beard Comp any , Aaron D avi s .
HOW WOULD YOU DEFINE GRAPHIC DESIGN?
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO BE A GRAPHIC
Design is really just a series of decisions built
around solving an objective. Graphic design
I enjoy creating something out of nothing. It’s
simply focuses that. Your medium is set to visual
kind of like writing a story or music, you start
with emptiness and you build in that emptiness. Sometimes it’s a little scary to start with nothing, just staring at a blank screen, but you begin making decisions and react to your decisions. In the end you have something enjoyable that serves a purpose.
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The Founders of Texas Beard Company: Shayne Martin, Ryan Olson, Aaron Davis, Adam Haynes
DO YOU CONSIDER YOURSELF AN ARTIST? Yes and no. Graphic Design is confined. You build rules and define scope. Art is kind of wild, untamed. Art is mostly about feeling whereas design (as a science) is mostly about knowing. Graphic Design is the space between. DO YOU FEEL THAT THERE ARE MISCONCEPTIONS ABOUT WHAT GRAPHIC DESIGNERS REALLY DO? A lot of people think Graphic Design is about making something look good, but itâ€™s really not, or at least not exclusively. Design as an aesthetic is only one tenet in a list of principles that guide Graphic Design.
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WHAT ARE THE QUALIFICATIONS TO BE A GRAPHIC DESIGNER? Honestly, not much. Just an understanding of what Graphic Design is and an attempt to do the work. I don’t think Graphic Design as an industry has to be exclusive, though successful (good) design is always exclusive.
“Learn from designers who came before you, then try to do something unique. There will be time for building your voice. Learn your craft first.” WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS AND CHALLENGES OF BEING A GRAPHIC DESIGNER IN A SMALL CITY? As far as benefits, there’s less competition, but there’s also less work. The real challenge is to make yourself more available to clients outside of your region. The Internet has made so much possible. Why not work on a project from New York or London? WHAT IS A TYPICAL WORKDAY FOR YOU LIKE? Other than working on Texas Beard, I work on freelance projects and contract work with startups and companies around the US. On most days I start my day at Starbucks or some other coffee shop. I’ll usually work there until lunch. Then I’ll come home, eat some lunch, play some video games with my wife, go for a walk, and work the rest of the day from home.
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Advertisement for Texas Beard Company
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Advertisement for Texas Beard Company
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WHAT IS YOUR APPROACH FOR SELECTING A TYPEFACE? With typography I start with an understanding of what kind of company I am working with and how they communicate with their users. From there, it is mostly reactive. A lot of trial and error. Sometimes I can’t find what I want, so I create it myself. HOW DOES TECHNOLOGY INFLUENCE YOUR WORK? Greatly. Most of my work has to do with technology: websites and apps. WHAT DO YOU FEEL IS YOUR MOST SUCCESSFUL PROJECT? WHY? God, I don’t know. I worked for a startup, and my work (as well as other people’s work) led to Capital One acquiring us. My work for Texas Beard has paid me well and has been fulfilling. So, maybe one of those two. WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO TODAY’S ASPIRING GRAPHIC DESIGNERS? Learn from designers who came before you, then try to do something unique. There will be time for building your voice. Learn your craft first.
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A CLOSER LOOK Photos from the Exhibition
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OPENIN RECEPTIO Opening reception on June 17, 2016 view from upstairs gallery.
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Top Image: Museum visitors viewing artwork by Lance LaRue of LaRue Art + Copy. Bottom Image: Guest Curator, Sherry Saunders Freyermuth, and Dishman Art Museum Director, Dennis Kiel addressing the Crowd.
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Left: Michael Lee, Juror for Student Showcase. Right: Eric Sullivan, exhibitor and owner of E. Sullivan Advertising & Design.
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Top Image: Exhibitors Christine Fleming of Might Could Studios and Maurice Abelman of Abelmanart.com discussing art. Bottom Image: Graphic Design Student and Research Assistant, Amanda Prince, in front of the timeline she designed.
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EXHIBITIO DISPLA Export museum signage and entry to museum.
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Views of museum gallery.
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LaRue Art + Copy
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Might Could Studios
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Texas Beard Company
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E. Sullivan Advertising & Design
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K. Guy Designs
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STUDEN SHOWCAS Entry to upstairs museum gallery and Export Student Showcase.
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For the Export: Graphic Design in Southeast Texas Student Showcase, over forty Lamar University student works were on display in the Dishman Art Museumâ€™s upstairs gallery. The entries were juried and the award recipients were selected by Michael Lee, LU alumnus and owner of Michael Lee Advertising and Design. Above: Best in Show Winner, Kendall Wilkerson Opposite Page, Top Left: Honorable Mention, Gwendolyn Mumford, Jazmine Celestine, Ross Meche, Cameron Uresti Opposite Page, Top Right: Honorable Mention, Jade Freedman Opposite Page, Bottom: Honorable Mention, Marisol Lua-Figueroa
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Views of museum gallery.
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