Posts Categorized / Graphic Design

A Character Gets His Wings!

Posted Posted by Amy Stubblefield in Branding, Clients, Graphic Design     Comments No Comments

Fun, intelligent, charming and strong?  What’s your character?  

For years, we have been talking about branding in the sense of graphic designed marketing collateral and website developments.  We forget to talk about what goes on behind the scenes to help enhance those pieces and bring companies to life.  In the case of Spanish Schoolhouse, a Spanish immersion Preschool and Kindergarten school with 13 locations throughout Texas, they needed to bring themselves to life!  When choosing a place to send your children, you want to connect with them.  Your children are the most valuable gems you will ever possess in your lifetime.  Yes, this is where I want to share a picture of my little Princess, but I’ll refrain from doing that, as this is a business blog.  Such constraint!  If you are a parent, you have or have had those exact feelings.  Needless to say, Spanish Schoolhouse is the perfect example of where just pretty graphics aren’t going to work on selling to their clients.  They needed something that would connect with their parents and students. 

El Periquito AzulEl Periquito Azul has been the mascot of SSH for years.  He is a cute little guy that sits in the classrooms and the kids can take turns taking him home with them.  Children LOVE stuffed animals and imaginary games, so this is absolutely perfect for them.  Now, what do we do with turning that stuffed animal into the official mascot throughout their branding?  I’m in favor of having this stuffed parrot photo bomb every photo we take and use of the children, but that might be overkill!  Instead, we now have this fluffy guy vectorized into a character logo.  But…is that enough?  NOOOOO!  El Periquito Azul needs to be brought to life!

As a child, I remember getting my first Barbie.  She was this beautiful doll with one costume.  To me, she was just Barbie.  Then, all of a sudden, as a kid you start getting different outfits for Barbie and different hair styles, and soon, Barbie has a life of her own in your playroom, where she changes to go to the mall, changes to go to the beach, and so forth.  This is the point, where Barbie came to life!  She became my friend.  No, I won’t admit to imaginary friends, but Barbie wasn’t imaginary.  Barbie was special.  She made me feel like I cared about her.  I wanted her to be put away properly by sitting on a shelf, so she could watch what goes on.  She would put on pajamas before bedtime.  Now, picture doing that for your mascot or logo character of your company…did it just come to life in your mind? 

For El Periquito Azul to come to life, we thought of the top few marketing pieces SSH uses.  First, we always have summer camps!  We need a fun loving summer parrot…how about tropical to imagine him on vacation!  We definitely need a back to school parrot, so maybe a backpack and pile of books?  For Christmas cards, I don’t know why El Periquito Azul can’t wear a Santa hat and wish everyone Felices Fiestas!  There are many other places for our mascot friend to join us, but we’ll start here. 

El Periquito Azul Sketches Vectoring a logo or character can take a lot of time, and as with websites, you don’t start the time consuming tasks until all designs are approved.  That’s where our sketching comes in.  Finding Stephen and getting him on our team was a dream come true, as not many people have the skillset he has to freehand sketch and to vectorize what he sketches.  On the right, you’ll see some of the original sketches sent to Spanish Schoolhouse.  Actually, this was after a round or two, and they are almost finalized here.  The two right images are the back to school ones, showing the difference with a hat on him and with tennis shoes.  Aren’t his shoes just adorable?  What was decided was that we all liked the shoes, but not wearing a hat, so they got mixed together.  Step one here is just about done, and we move into turning him into a real vector character that can be used anywhere in print or online media. 

A vector file of your logo or character is the most valuable file you can possess in your business brand kit.  Not only is it the branding of your company, but it is the raw file that can be turned into ANY file type somebody needs.  A vector file is based on a series of points and lines instead of pixels.  This makes your logo design very scalable and crisp.  Vectorizing is a special skill that not everyone possesses.  That’s not a bad thing, as we can’t all do everything.  Stephen is our special tool that happens to be an amazing sketch artist and vectorizer.  When creating logos, this is definitely a tool we need in our belt!

This can’t be a “how-to” blog, as we can’t simply teach you how to vector a character.  Heck, half the the graphic designers out there can’t vector a character.  Below, however, you’ll see how we turned El Periquito Azul into a living mascot for Spanish Schoolhouse.  These are just a few of his new looks, but you never know where you’ll see him pop up!  He might be on his way to school, and might be on vacation, but he’s definitely staying in the hearts of the SSH parents and students, where a simple mascot has gotten his wings!

Periquito Vector Character Logos


Posted Posted by Kim Patton in Graphic Design     Comments No Comments

Helvetica is one the most popular and well-known typefaces. It was designed by Max Miedinger with Eduard Hoffmann in 1957. The video above is the trailer for the full length film called non other than Helvetica. The documentary looks at how type affects our daily lives. Design culture is all around us and most often times people are too busy to even notice.

Graphic designers and other people who are in the design industry understand the importance and the power of good typography. The font chosen for a logo or other marketing pieces can make or break the entire design. Of course there are thousands of fonts to choose from, so it is important to decide what personality or meaning you are wanting to convey to your audience as you are deciding on the look and feel of your design.

And if all else fails and the font world seems too overwhelming, Helvetica is always a good choice! It is timeless, clean, and great for numerous types of uses because of its various forms and styles. You would be surprised how often this particular typeface pops up in your daily life – from companies you support, signage around your city, to federal income tax forms – Helvetica is all around you.

Fotoshop by Adobé

Posted Posted by Kim Patton in Graphic Design     Comments No Comments

This video made by Jesse Rosten is not only funny, but as a designer, I appreciate the pure creativity behind it. Of course, it is mocking today’s beauty standards, but like Rosten said in his comments about the video, “This commercial isn’t real, and neither are society’s standards of beauty.”

Rosten actually came up with the idea after watching an infomercial for a beauty product. He thought about how the before/after photo they used basically looked like it was only photoshopped and not real. The majority of photos that are seen in magazines have been edited. The models and the celebrities that grace the covers are of course beautiful and appear perfect, but they too have flaws just like the rest of  us. It is definitely reassuring to know that they do not even look like that in real life.

Photoshop can do wonders for anyone! It’s true, all the things Fotoshop by Adobé does in the video are tools and techniques that can be used in Photoshop. Too bad this product does not exist in real life, otherwise, we all could look like super models with just a mere touch from the healing brush! But no, that would be too easy! We don’t want give any models a run for their money. Maybe one day, scientists will in fact create pro-pixel intensifying fauxtanical hydro-jargon microbead extract infused with nutritive volumizing technology and we all can look picture perfect!