Chicago production agency Curmudgeon Group came to me with a request to develop a logo for a project about women in production. They had a vision, a working name and a strong aesthetic style. At the beginning of the design process, we spent time discussing the project and landed on a new name—Scope.
Scope is inspired by the lens (literal and figurative) through which women in production experience the world. The logo features a stylized S that also illustrates the unique—and often indirect—path that we all take.
More about Scope here.
Scope: A Conversation on Women in Production invites the most visionary and emerging female producers of today to share their experience, expertise, and outlook on a wide range of creative industries, from advertising and broadcast to film, radio and live performance. Established by Curmudgeon Group, a Chicago based and women-owned creative and experiential production agency, Scope pulls back the curtain on the role of female producers within the global community and the impact of their work on current social and cultural trends, political ideologies, the next generation of artists and storytellers, and the production industry of tomorrow.
I was recently commissioned by Education Post to develop a piece of editorial art for an article by Peter Cunningham about the state of the American Dream. It was a fun creative challenge for me and an honor to work with such a thoughtful writer.
Head over the Education Post to read the article.
There are lots of ways to know if a logo design is successful. Intuitively, you know because both the client and designer are happy with it. It’s easy to talk about. People—your people, the ones who matter—connect with it. Empirically, it brings an increase in sales, memberships, donations, signups.
When you see it, a little voice in your heart says, “Yes!”.
And then there’s tattoo-level success.
When I designed the logo for Women of the ELCA’s Triennial Gathering, I wanted to create something beautiful and fresh, an uplifting symbol of transformation and growth that would help generate enthusiasm for the event. I thought it hit the mark and when the logo was unveiled to the Board, my client told me that the reaction included refrains of “that would make a great tattoo!”. I suggested that we make temporary tattoos to give away at the Gathering. “That’s a good idea,” she said, “but I think they meant real tattoos.”
Sure enough, several months later, we learned that someone did get a tattoo of the logo. A real one. There was much excitement about this. Then someone else got the tattoo. And then someone else. As of this posting, THREE women have inked this artwork onto their bodies. (You can read about one woman’s experience here.)
It goes without saying that I love this. It’s fun, of course, and it’s neat to see. More importantly, my design reflected the message of Women of the ELCA’s Triennial Gathering and it resulted in an image that people connect with and care about.
That’s what I strive to do every day: make something that matters. That is the kind of success I’m after.
Last fall, Maria McCullough and Yahví Pichardo packed up a trailer full of musical instruments and journeyed from Chicago to El Paso to pursue their dream of starting a community music school near the U.S.-Mexico border. In October 2015, they founded Carambola Community Music, the region’s only space dedicated to cross-generational education in Mexican folk music, song, dance and visual art. Maria, Yahví and their staff offer bilingual classes and host community events for people of all ages at their location in downtown El Paso.
I was honored when Maria and Yahví asked me to develop a visual identity for Carambola. They are a powerful team who bring passion, dedication, love —and lots of hugs— to everything they do. I am so excited to share with you the branding for Carambola Community Music.
My process with Carambola began with a series of questions and conversations about Maria and Yahví’s vision. As they shared with me their intentions and aspirations as well as their specific business goals, we all deepened our understanding of what Carambola represents. Through our work together, they became more clear on their mission and found words to communicate their ideas about the new community.
Carambola Community Music celebrates people of all ages and walks of life creating, learning, and experiencing together. We are dedicated to preserving and growing the living tradition of Mexican folk music, song, dance, and visual art along the US/Mexico border. As we explore these art forms, we discover the intertwined roots of Mexican and American cultures.
As a designer, I wanted to give them a beautiful logo to support their vision. And I also felt it was important that they, as a small but growing business, have the tools to maintain the brand on their own. That’s why the extended brand elements — color, typefaces, wordmark — are key to this identity.
The logo, dubbed the Circle of Joy, is designed to overlay photos, making it a living entity that interacts with its background or setting. What’s behind the logo becomes part of the logo. In this way, the logo embodies Carambola’s understanding of the fluidity of borders and music as a living tradition.
This circle of joy is a physical emblem of our commitment to the region and our community’s collective dreams and visions. As we plant seeds within our borderland, we are sharing and growing our roots together.
The circle represents a desire to connect, find safety in community and be part of a whole. The varied colors represent our varied life experiences. The colors remind us of our Earth; the coolness of water and the fire of the sun.
The fiddle and the guitar represent our founders Maria and Yahví. They brought these beloved instruments with them across the country to share and continue learning.
In El Paso, we are separated from Mexico by a man-made border, but we remain connected by our land, our spirits and through the creative expressions we share.
To learn more about Carambola, visit carambolacommunitymusic.org, or follow them on facebook, twitter or instagram.