award winners

February29, 2011:

This weekend I was invited by my girlfriend EB to attend the 2011 Fort Worth Addy award ceremony. She had entered a few of her student projects in the show and was to receive an award for one of her packaging designs. The Addy's (as they're called) is a advertising competition celebrating work in the area from the past year. There is a student category and a professional category, with several sub-categories spanning print, web, video, & everything in between. Seeing that, by all practical standards, I am still a freelancer there was little justification in paying the money to submit any work. I knew that Ardent Creative, my former employer, would be there but didn't think anything about the work they were submitting. I discovered when I arrived that the two awards they were to receive were two of the projects I was in charge of while still employed there. It was quite a shock. By the end of the night Ardent had earned a "Silver Award" for the Domestic Ease website (an online magazine covering topics like home improvement, cooking & money saving) and a "Best in Show" for the Untyed logo (a networking group that hosts events to connect local business owners). In light of the excitement of having my work recognized I thought I would delve into the thought behind the two projects.



"Silver Addy" for web design


Ardent Creative

skills employed:

concepting, hand drawn sketches, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Dreamweaver, Wordpress

more details:

Domestic Ease approached us with an identity crisis. Kristin Campbell had been blogging under the site for a while but was looking to expand it into a viable business. Her hopes were to create an online magazine with several writers covering the sections that she had already began to establish under such titles as "in the nest", "in the kitchen", "in the family" & several others. Before we tackled the website we needed to explore and create a new identity system that would not only include a new logo but an entire new look and visual organization for the company.

The logo:

A few options were explored, trying to capture the mix of fun, style, & sophistication that embodied Domestic Ease.In the end the simple "de" in a hand drawn script won out for a number of reasons, most of which was its adaptability in its simplicity.

Domestic Ease: early logos Domestic Ease: Final Logo

The colors:

The color pallette from the original Wordpress blog that Kristin had started was a mix of lime greens, teals & everything in between. The goal was to make a more dynamic experience for the user through color. The idea was that each section of the newly designed online magazine would have a specific color. Anytime a new post was added it would be accented with that sections color, providing an easy way for readers to quickly navigate the site. The trick was in finding the right saturation.

Color Options

The online magazine:

Once the logo and colors were decided it was time to get to work on the blogazine. It needed to function more like a magazine and less like a blog. The blog feel would still exist in each post but the initial impression when you came to the site needed to be more impactful. The challenge was to get the impact but still give readers quick access to content. When you have an actual magazine it's really simple to flip through the pages to find what you're looking for, but some online magazines create quite a headache when trying to find the article that most interests you. The main page and the section pages would function as "table of contents" pages where the reader could quickly see what each article covered. As you rollover the squared on the home page more information would be shown. The colors help the reader instantly recognize the category for each post and the left navigation acts as a key. Also the color behind the logo would change depending on the current section you're browsing. The colors are constantly reinforced throughout the site so that repeat readers become accustom to recognizing the sections without thinking about it. Below are the actual design files with a few extra features that are not in the actual built site.

home page



The business cards:

With the identity system in place it was simple to adapt to printed business cards for the founding members. The colors were once again used to signify the particular persons function/section for the magazine/business. I would normally never use Trebuchet in a print piece but seeing that this was online magazine and that the web-safe font (this was before web fonts became more expandable) it was the perfect way to continue their identity.



"Best in Show" for identity


Ardent Creative

skills employed:

concepting, hand drawn sketches, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Dreamweaver

more details:

When Untyed originally approached us they were under the name "Coffee Talks". They existed to bring business owners, leaders & entrepreneurs together in a casual setting by setting up meetings & events.

The logo:

We began developing the logo under this name and explored a few different options.Eventually we developed the simple yet obvious juxtaposition of an overhead view of a coffee mug that doubled as a speech bubble.

coffee talks logo

After a few problems with getting the rights to the name "Coffee Talks" the owners decided to go with the name "Untyed". The idea was that people were coming to the meetings with no strings attached. It wasn't a stuffy business meeting in an empty hotel ballroom, it was a fun, laid back way to meet other business owners like yourself. We took this a step further with the logo, suggesting that the "untyed" was also referrring to the fact that there was no tie required for this business meeting. You could come as you were, relax, & enjoy connecting with people without the stuffiness of an office. Different color options were explored but the two-toned blue ended up the company favorite.

color options Untyed logo