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Design With Chon (DWC) – a boutique design studio with defined niches in (1) visual communication, (2) event design and (3) interiors. Each of these industries are huge in themselves, but DWC’s goal is to achieve good design in all its various forms, whether it’s from the branding of your business to saying “I do” to transforming interiors. Let me, “Chon," be your personal design consultant + stylist for your business, wedding or home. A balanced environment makes you feel good, and I am here to inspire your surroundings.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

DWC Work: Printed Product – Yellow Duck PR

And the finished product is in! Not too much to say on this except they are even BETTER printed vs. my 2-dimensional design files. To read more behind the back story, click here.

All in all, the client is in love with the final results, and she is already getting raves on her new business cards from prospective clients. The investment on the Savoy Reich uncoated paper and the custom die-cut beak was worth every pretty penny. Yellow Duck PR, and it's streamlined cute little beak will stand out from the competition in comparison to other business cards. Remember, the logo and the business card is usually someone's first impression to your business. We exist in a visual society so why not give your business some personality, invest in a good design and stand out from the crowd. There are so many printing and design nuances that can applied to your business card, but it does need to make sense in the nature of your brand and business. Need advice? I am always here to consult, design and improve the way your business.

Now check out the finished goods! Three items were  printed: letterhead, business card and 8-page booklet brochure. Down the road, we will be printing the #10 envelopes and the alternative letterhead design with the closed beak.

{Yellow Duck PR Logo + Branding ©2011 Design With Chon}

Monday, March 14, 2011

DWC Project: Brandy + Tafari Wedding Invite

Here's the latest DWC project — Brandy + Tafari's wedding invitation set. The printed result turned out lovely, and the client couldn't be any happier. Their time + investment paid off as you can see in the glamour shots of the invite design. :)

It's been a long process, but worth all the time and effort that I have put into it thus far. Being the Event Designer is much work, but it will all pay off to see the finished product on their wedding day. I must say I am getting anxious and excited at the same time for this wedding in late May. I am teaming up with some great vendors local to the Kalamazoo, Michigan (the location of the wedding).

This past weekend I met with Diane over at Sofia Floral to discuss the vision of the florals that will be present for Brandy + Tafari's wedding and reception. Diane and I were totally on the same page, and she took the Classic, yet Bold, European Inspired Wedding theme to the next level for the reception tablescape. She only had great insights to add including the different textures of white flowers that we could use in the wedding such as Peonies, Freesia, Queen Anne's Lace, Spray Roses and Gerbera Daisies with a dark center. The original hope for White Anemone's isn't going to happen since they aren't in season to the wedding date which is fine since Diane had great alternatives to get the same visual look. I don't want to give away all the tablescape details just yet, but it's definitely very intimate, an ecclectic mix of vases/containers and a mix of the old (history) and new (contemporary).

I have been talking with Dena over at Shabby Chic Cakes and she does wonderful custom cake designs, and I can't wait to see + taste the final result. Kimberly over at The Lighting Guy is going to transform the mood of The Arcadia Ballroom at The Radisson Plaza Hotel with amber lighting and dramatic draping. And one of my favorite photographers, Jessica of Jessica Johnston Photography is going to capture all the details and precious moments from Brandy + Tafari's wedding day!

Here's a visual refresher to Brandy + Tafari's wedding moodboard in case you all forgot and a link to my old post on this wedding.

The printed product:

Printing Technique: 1-color Offset Printing on Crane's Letra Pearl White, 21 pt thickness. Letterpress only on the envelope flap. And the accent piece that finishes the presentation of this wedding invite design is a custom die-cut "green" key. This isn't your cheapest wedding invite, but if you are looking for a wedding invitation statement, this is the way to go! The wedding guests will be intrigued, and it will definitely not go unnoticed. This invite is the guests' first impression to what the wedding day will be like.

The invite was printed by Gary over at AccuColor Plus, Inc. He's one of my preferred printers and has an impeccable eye for the printing process. He only churns out excellent work and that's why I go to him for a lot of my specialty printing needs.

{Wedding Invitation ©2011 Design With Chon}

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

DWC Project: Yellow Duck PR

One more project post today — Yellow Duck PR. Playing a little catch up with the latest creative that has been processing at DWC these past 2 months. I released most of these design files to the printer last week and can't wait to see the final printed product!

In case any of you don't remember, Yellow Duck PR is the marketing company that I am working with in building awareness about Design With Chon. Linda, the principal + executive director of Yellow Duck PR, came to me because she found my posting on Craigslist for a marketing consultant intern. She wasn't applying for the position, but gave me some pointers, and we instantly connected via email first and in person. We felt our business could be of great asset to each other since we could work like a bigger agency — DWC is the creative department, and Yellow Duck PR would be the marketing department. We would coexist, but be two separate independent companies.

Now let's get into the fun creative! Developing the logo + brand identity of Yellow Duck PR was tons of work, but so worth the effort and time. I prefer projects like this, because I love to start projects literally from scratch. I asked the client a million questions so I could get into her head to see why her company vs. others, and specifically, why the name? For all my clients, I want to understand the inner workings of any company so when I develop the outer shell that is to be seen by the general public, it will visually reflect the personality of the business. I am looking to develop a visual story through all the branding materials — corporate stationery, business card, brochure and so on...

The style of design work that is representative of Yellow Duck PR is definitely reflective of my personal taste — good, clean design, and strong graphics with a hint of whimsy. After my several conversations with Linda, I had a sense of what she wanted, but I definitely took it a HUGE step further beyond her expectations. I certainly took much pride in presenting to her 3 different concepts, of two which I knew, she would have a difficult time in making a final selection for the identity of her company.

For Yellow Duck PR, the stacked words in all caps is the actual logo of her company. The "Beak" face is the brand icon, and it can be seen as part of the signature logo or separate.

In the business card design (below), I wanted to literally bring the "Beak" to life. It's a one-folded business card with a die-cut along the beak's edge which allows the user to open the mouth and fold the card over to conceal the business card content. How neat is that?! Seriously, it's even better live. These flat renderings don't do the job. I will be taking photos of the final product once I get it so you can really see the "Beak" in action. :)

In developing the corporate stationery, I thought it would be fun to have two versions to the letterhead – "Closed Beak" and "Open Beak". Depending on her recipient, conservative or fun, she would pick the best letterhead design to match the personality. For any custom designed letterhead, there should always be a suggested template design on how a letter should be set up. For example, the "Open Beak" letterhead required precise measurement so the addressee's info is placed correctly in the speech bubble seen below. I provided Linda with exact dimensions in which she could set up her margins in Microsoft Word. This letterhead template is usually seen as part of the bigger Brand + Graphics Standards Manual. In this case, I provided the necessities based on the client's current needs and budget to get the project done.

So essentially everything has been completed for Yellow Duck PR in terms of logo development and corporate identity, and the initial beginnings of a Brand + Graphics Standards guideline. But it doesn't stop there... a customized brochure was integrated into the bigger picture, too. Clients tend to move on from designers once they get their logo files and initial graphics started, but they forget what they have access to when working with a designer specializing in graphics.

For instance, in the Yellow Duck PR brochure below, we didn't buy any photographic images. I created all custom infographics to visually tell the story, define the inner workings of the Yellow Duck PR process, and to reflect the overall nature of the brand. In addition, I was able to work with Linda's copy and restructured her verbiage so it would better be effective in each spread. Light copywriting is just one of the many services that I offer as I design any project. I am about making the whole picture and content cohesive down to the very last period in a sentence.

{Logo + Brand Identity, Brochure ©2011 Design With Chon}

DWC Project: Chicago Performance Training

Another client project almost completed — Chicago Performance Training! The newest client to the Design With Chon roster, and this team was a pleasure to work with. Cedrick, also known as Coach Mac, has been working with teens and aspiring NBA players in the local Chicago community for years now. It was recently that he, and his wife, Jessie, thought it was time to really get serious and push his business further by getting incorporated and truly investing in the logo + brand of his newly established company, Chicago Performance Training (CPT).

I wish I could say this logo + branding project was a breeze, however, it had its challenges in for me. I definitely haven't played in the realm of masculine and sporty in my repertoire of design work, but I was ready for the challenge. I researched the heck out of NBA and sports-like logos before I began working on the drawing board. Logo mandatories: established, sophisticated, graphic, masculine and sports-like influence

The client was presented with 4 logo concepts (only 3 is shown) and were thankfully elated with all designs. It literally took them almost 2 weeks to decide on the winner. With my recommendations, we ended up going with a logo version that allowed the business to expand beyond basketball since Cedric mentioned about football and baseball down the road. It wouldn't have been good to be tied to a basketball as the core of their logo as seen in the "Blue Shooting Basketball" concept seen above on the left-side.

The face of CPT is a bold, typographic treatment of the name stacked on one another. The word "performance" highlighted in red reminds me of those "physical education t-shirts" that students wore back in the day during school practice, and it's perfect for Cedric's business, but definitely more elevated and polished in terms of design. I warped the typeface to created this bold stamp-like structure and to activate the visual space vs. the standard horizontal arrangement. I especially love the Willis Tower "aka Sears" nuance that I incorporated into the "i" of Chicago. It's those little details that make a logo memorable.

With all my clients, I provide a very simple "Brand + Graphic Guideline" (see below) to help them maintain and understand the elements that go into developing their identity — primary + secondary colors, use of typography, etc. In CPT's case, the logo is only the stacked type version of the logo. The basketball graphic is an added element that can be used with their logo, but it is not the actual logo.

SIDE NOTE: This one-page guideline is no where near the size of a typical Brand + Graphic Standards Manual (minimally 15 pages) that I have worked on for other clients. If a company plans to have several individuals develop marketing materials, a good Graphic Standards Manual should be developed in order to maintain the strong brand identity to your viewers so the messaging is unified, clear and it won't confuse your audience. Why invest? Consistency is key to earning your client's trust. 

{Logo + Brand Identity ©2011 Design With Chon}

There will be more upcoming projects on Chicago Performance Training down the road. Like any small business, it's on a budget so the website won't be launched for some time. CPT is going to be utilizing Facebook Business Page to spread it's wings and connect with their audience through training camp events, practice videos and galleries of images of past and present clients. "Like" it today byvisiting this link so they can secure a domain page with Facebook! Support them and me by liking their page. :)

Also, business cards will be going into printing soon so I will take snapshots of the final product eventually and brochure/flyers will be in development, too! Stay tuned on DWC work.