Geneseo: Freshmen First Knight and Senior Last Knight

FIRST KNIGHT

Four years ago, I was still a student at Geneseo, working as a graphic design assistant for the technology department. At the time, the mighty and wonderful Andrea Klein enlisted my help to create a brand and host of design pieces for an awesome new event for incoming freshmen. The event, called "First Knight", is a joyful and welcoming celebration, complete with food, music, games & fireworks, directly after Opening Convocation on the night before the first day of the fall semester. Let me just say, Andrea Klein can throw a DANG good party.

As a student, I was so so excited to have the opportunity to work on this project, and to be able to work with Andrea (literally, one of the coolest people you'd ever hope to meet). This assignment was nothing like I'd done before and I got to experiment with illustration and typography (and, apparently, the warp tool). It was loud and joyful and celebratory and extremely blue, and it remained one of my favorite portfolio pieces for a long time afterwards. Here's at look at the First Knight materials Andrea and I created together:

The motif - what we'd base all the successive materials upon.

The motif - what we'd base all the successive materials upon.

Poster design

Poster design

T-shirt design

T-shirt design

Andrea expanded the motif across banners, handouts, and even frisbees, to really round out the look for this awesome event.


LAST KNIGHT

Now, 4 years later, as Andrea was gearing up to re-brand the Senior Champagne Toast, an event for graduating seniors that occurs after graduation rehearsal, we tossed around names for the event. Maybe "Senior Soiree", maybe "Senior Send-Off Shindig". We even pulled out the thesaurus looking for other words for "party", but then we realized, WAIT. This event would occur on the graduating seniors' last night on campus, the night before commencement. LAST KNIGHT. Perfect. AND, to add a little bit of oh-so-delicious full-circle serendipity, this graduating class was the first class that got to enjoy the First Knight celebration 4 years earlier.

Now, the design for Last Knight is a bit more grown-up. Matured exactly 4 years - just like the graduating class and just like my eye and skills as a designer. The design retains elements from the First Knight designs, but with a new matured perspective and presented with a bit more refinement and elegance.

Motif

Motif

Flyer & front of invitation

Flyer & front of invitation

Front and back of senior invitation

Front and back of senior invitation

T-shirt design

T-shirt design


If you thought I'd conclude this blog without presenting a juxtaposition of Freshmen First Knight and Senior Last Knight, well, you were wrong, sorry.


In conclusion, this post is quite timely because tonight IS the Last Knight for the class of 2016.

A big, happy, hearty congratulations to the Senior Class of 2016 - at any and every school, but at Geneseo especially!

 

Taylor Kelly: Album Artwork

When I was in fifth grade, I played trumpet in the school band. I was obsessed with it and most of my young life, I wanted to be a music teacher. When I was in fifth grade, there was this girl in fourth grade who also played the trumpet. She was spunky and adorable and hilarious and super talented. That girl was Taylor Kelly and she's grown up to become this crazy talented jazz singer/songwriter. And I've been fortunate enough to get to work with her to create the artwork for both of her albums, the most recent of which dropped a couple of days ago.

Here's the new album:

It's so gratifying to hold something you've designed in your hands. To be able to turn and flip and open an object that has once lived as a 2D spread on your screen is seriously satisfying. Yes, I'm a nerd, DEAL WITH IT.

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All photography used in the album artwork was done by Tammy Jean Lamoureux. Check out her website here. I just love the muted tones and minimalism of these photos - they were so so easy to design with.

And here's Taylor's first album - lil bit of a different feel, eh? Bright colors and illustration instead of the desaturated photography from the second album.

And all together now...

In a perfect world, I would design album artwork for awesome music all day every day. I can think of no better way to fuse my love for music and my love for design.

Listen to Change of the Weather by Taylor Kelly here. Listen to In the Meantime by Taylor Kelly here.

Prepare to have your face melted by her soulful scatting. Unreal.

Thanks for reading!

JW

MAMMOTH: A play by Kate Royal

Sometimes you get to work with someone who totally trusts your design eye and is down to roll with whatever creative ideas you come up with. It's rare. It's SUPER rare. But Kate Royal is that kind of someone, and that's why I love working with her.

Kate sent me the script for her play Mammoth back in January. One read through it and ideas were already attacking my mind for what the promotional materials should look like. I don't want to spoil any plot points here, but I will say that the play is about the broken family dynamic of three siblings who, in sorting through and selling their childhood home, resurrect some drama from their past. Kate's writing unfolds the drama easily, with juicy reveals around every corner of conversation. A couple pages in to the script and I couldn't stop reading it. I swallowed it whole and then, no exaggeration, started sketching out ideas on the nearest piece of paper I could find.

So first, we developed this title graphic, a logo of sorts:

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That's a mammoth tusk. And it's shattered (like the relationships of the characters) into triangular pieces (since there are three siblings).  The background is moody and uncertain, while the text and shattered tusk are bright white, creating high contrast. Mmm, minimalism. Delicious.

Once we had the general look of the promo materials established, we moved on to the promo posters, assigning new roles to the elements we had already created. Mammoth tusk turns into crescent moon. Moody, uncertain blue background turns into dark night sky. Specks of light crop up, pretending to be stars. The silhouette of a house, the house where the drama unfolds, reveals itself in the corner. All the stuff you need to know to go see the show is minimally arranged at the bottom. The result is this:

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Oh, another glam shot, because, I mean, why not?

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Then, much to my delight, Kate asked me to follow up these designs with another poster series as an incentive for their Kickstarter campaign. Typography posters using quotes from the show?!? She couldn't possibly have given me a more drool-worthy assignment. So great.

In order to tie these posters to the official show poster, we inverted the colors - moody blue on stark white - and retained the informative footer. Check. them. out.

So much fun. In a dysfunctional family kind of way. Anyway, the play is THIS WEEKEND. Opening night is tonight! You should go see it. I'm seeing it on Saturday and I'm so excited! Here's a link to purchase tickets. Here's a link to the play's website, where you can read more about the staging process and more about the brilliant actors and the brilliant Kate Royal. And here's a link to the play's Facebook page, where you can leave rave reviews after you see it. ;)

As always, thanks for reading!

Geneseo Dance Ensemble: Show Posters

This is a fun post for me because I get to travel back in time a little bit. Through my own designs. Which can be painful. It's like looking back through your middle school yearbook pictures and wondering why on EARTH you wore that ridiculous scrunchy in your hair.

Let me explain. I fell in love with graphic design 5 years ago in my sophomore year at Geneseo. I had just landed an on-campus graphic design assistant position in the print-shop, had declared my graphic production minor (um, which I never finished, come to think of it) and was taking a Computer Art class. How stinkin' cool, especially since all of my other classes were titled more along the lines of "Really Hard Math" and "Even More Harder Math!".

Anyway, in that Computer Art class, one of our assignments was to design a poster for that semester's Geneseo Dance Ensemble production. The design that the ensemble directors liked best would be printed as posters, programs, flyers, postcards. Let me cut to the chase here and tell you that my design did not win. It was bad. REAL bad. REAL REAL BAD. And I would show you if I could but I can't find the file! I probably burned it, it was so bad.

The next semester I had another shot at the assignment in my "Graphic Design" course. There were only 4 people in the class, so we all won! Progress! The next semester, I was asked to design the poster for the production by my fabulous dancing roommate who happened to be in the ensemble. (Heya, J. E. Maslyn!) And then the next few semesters they asked me to design the posters again! So I had somehow nailed down this gig even though my first attempt was the most pathetic thing anyone ever saw.

Here's a progression:

You can see the designs improve over time. I won't go into specifics because that'll just bore you, but at least to my eye, the right side's lookin' a lot more polished than the left.

You'll notice above that the first poster uses an illustration, and then the remainder incorporate photography. Between those first two posters is when Keith Walters started at Geneseo as the campus photographer. He's moderately talented. (You guys, I'm kidding!!! He's so good!) So good, in fact, that this year he took SO MANY cool pictures that the directors of the production couldn't choose one. So they chose FOUR. Which meant I got to design not just a poster, but a poster SERIES. Using my HUSBAND's beautiful pictures. Could I BE any luckier?! Dang, what a sweet gig!

Here they are:

Look at those pics, man! Stunning! The only difference between each poster is the photograph/dancer and the color, but you've probably already figured that out by now. Check out some glamour shots:

This project is always a joy to work on. It's quite the challenge to fit SO much content in such a small space but still have room to dance. It's a nerdy little puzzle that I enjoy putting together every time.

If you're still reading, though, this is most important. The best thing about these posters, by far, is that THOSE ARE REAL LIVE GENESEO DANCERS! Look at them!!! They are so beautiful and so poised and so talented! I've been to see this production many a time and have always been entertained, amazed, inspired. Especially when aforementioned roommate was on stage! :)

Go see the show this weekend. Tickets. Facebook.

 

 

Hart's Local Grocers: Online Shopping Infographic

So I just wrapped up one of my absolute favorite projects to date. I am a total organization nerd so having someone throw a whole bunch of facts, numbers, and figures at me and say "MAKE THIS LOOK NICE!" is pretty much a day, NAY, week-maker.

One of my most favorite businesses that I work with, Hart's Local Grocers, an awesome local grocery store with a beautiful brand and just the nicest people one would ever hope to meet, is launching an online shopping experience through an app called Rosie. If you live in the downtown Rochester area and you haven't been to Hart's yet, what kind of cave is it that you are living in?! You've got to check this place out. Amazing food, amazing atmosphere, amazing experience - they really did a fantastic job creating this little slice of grocery store heaven.

Anyway, the folks at Hart's cooked up an idea to create an infographic outlining the details of their new online shopping/in-store pickup/home delivery experience and tagged me in to bring it to life.

We created two versions of the infographic. Above is the large format (24x36) version that will live in the store. Below is the version created specifically for mobile - a more vertical layout of the information.

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Check out Hart's new online shopping experience here!