Wednesday, December 19, 2012

"Seasons Greetings"; A Historical Overview of the Christmas Card

As the Holidays quickly approach, you may be sending or receiving those holiday greetings. But how did this tradition begin and what has made it the popular symbol it is today?

The first commercially mass produced Christmas card was illustrated by John Calcott Horsley in 1843. Horsley was a painter of the time known for his subject matter that romanticized scenes of everyday life in the English countryside where he resided. Sir Henry Cole commissioned Horsley when he found himself to be too busy to hand write the traditional holiday greetings that year. While reception of this card was not taken lightly (it depicted children enjoying wine with their family) the idea of the illustrated card became a huge success and other commercial printers soon followed suit.

With the introduction of cheaper printing methods, 20 years later the Christmas card could be bought and sent by the general public – an act previously limited to the wealthy.

In the beginning, Christmas card graphics were not like the ones we see today. Instead of seasonal or religious depictions, images were meant to remind people that spring was approaching (an idea we, personally, tend to love!). Children and animals were the most popular themes.

During the world wars, access to German printers was cut off and companies like Hallmark and American Greetings saw a boom in sales when they encouraged Americans to send cards to soldiers in support. In the 1950s, subject matter of a more risque nature could also be found like the ones pictured below. These cards were produced in response to a times when Americans began to question tradition.

More recently people have resorted to making their own Christmas cards. Today's ease of photography production and at-home printing capabilities give individuals access that wasn't available 20 years ago. A popular choice is the family photograph with a seasonal design and message. The photo can be taken digitally and easily placed into templates at local vendors. With email and cellular communications being standard, some people choose to send out e-cards. However, the Christmas card still accounts for over half of all sales in the greeting card industry and is still widely and warmly received. So, did you send out cards this year?

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Pinterest is Open for Business!

Earlier in the year we did a post on how effective Pinterest can be as a marketing tool for your business. However, just recently Pinterest offered a new set of terms targeted specifically to businesses. These new terms now supply specialized provisions separate from those of a personal account.

For instance, Pinterest has made the "pin it" and "follow me" buttons, as well as the "profile" and "board" widgets very easy to incorporate into an existing business website. These buttons increase pinner traffic to your website by engaging users to link to things they like while they are there.

But one of the best resources we have found with these new offerings is Pinterest's case studies and best practices examples.

In one case study offered by Etsy they explain how adding a business account increased traffic to their individual shops and has outperformed the "like" button on Facebook in referral traffic. While business accounts usually have boards that are curated and maintained by specified users and not the general public, Etsy shares a strategy in their study of how allowing "guest pinners" diversified the content of their boards and drove more traffic to their actual site.

Etsy is just one case study offered to get your creative Pinterest juices flowing. There are several others including Jetsetter, Allrecipes, Organized Interiors, and Petplan Insurance. Additionally there are tips and tricks on how to make your business become successful through Pinterest marketing. So check it out. You can convert your existing account to a business account with the click of a button, or you can create a new Pinterest business account in just a few easy steps. We just set up our own Kalico business Pinterest page—check it out at!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Business Card is Nearsighted

Recently Kim mentioned to me a new technology creeping its way into the business card market. Known as NFC or Near-Field Communication, this new technology allows you to program a certain amount of digital information onto a tiny microchip embedded within your business card. When someone touches the smart card to their smartphone (sorry, no i phones), it is told what to do. This usually means pulling information from the web, such as contact info, video, or even downloading an app. Card owners can re-write the info over and over.  Even if you have given the card away you still have access to re-write the data.

This all sounds pretty amazing. But is it really necessary to "bump" my phone into your business card to get your information? And at what cost? currently has the market cornered on the business card aspect of this hot new trend, and their product will not available to the masses until 2013.

But what you may not know is that people have been creating their own NFC cards without the help of MOO since the technology has arisen. Tagstand is an online vendor that provides NFC tags and applications. For only a $1.00 you can purchase your own sticker the diameter of a quarter and as thin as a sheet of paper. Now you don't have to be held back by the pre-fab dimensions and design limitations of MOO.

This new NFC technology seems like it has endless applications and possibilities. It may be the next hottest thing since the QR code. But right now users seem to be happy to ride this one out. Could this just be another "myspace"?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Turkey Day! Thanksgiving Inspired Infographics

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I did what any typical graphic designer would do and looked up Thanksgiving graphics—you know, just to see what I could find. I am so thankful I wasn't disappointed! I came across some awesome infographics by Column Five, a California-based design firm specializing infographic design & data visualization. You know how I love infographics! So, happy thanksgiving to you—please enjoy some of these fun holiday-related graphics:

Happy thanksgiving to everyone. We hope you have a safe and happy holiday!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Client Spotlight :: Healthful Mama

We love working with all our clients (seriously, we mean that sincerely). But as we've mentioned before, when we are asked to create things for clients promoting healthy lifestyles we get especially excited. Recently, we had a great opportunity to work with Healthful Mama to create design solutions for both print and web.

Written by Gretchen Sowers, Healthful Mama is a blog focused on natural and holistic living. Blog topics range from creating a healthy home, toxin-free environments, diet-based health solutions and recipes using whole food ingredients.

When Gretchen first came to us, she was looking for a more professional visual brand for Healthful Mama. Beginning with the blog header, we established a natural-looking textured background, paired with rich, earthy colors and fun typography. This look was carried over to a 2-sided business card (equipped with a QR code and all!), web banner graphics, facebook and twitter profile graphics, as well as customized social media icons.

This was definitely a fun project to work on, and right up our alley! We were thrilled with the opportunity to work with Gretchen and Healthful Mama and look forward to more projects like this in the future!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Lost Type Co-Op – A Dream Come True!

Recently, I came across this amazing website. I was re-directed there to see about downloading a font I had researched online. Once I explored the site, I realized I had stumbled upon a magical place!

Founded by designers Riley Cran and Tyler Galpin, the Lost Type Co-Op is a very unique type foundry. It's Pay-What-You-Want Type foundry, the first of its kind, and offers users the option to “pay-whatever-you want” (even if it's $0). All contributions are paid directly to the designers. Lost type takes no cuts of the sales, and holds no funds.

Lost Type Co-op has become a full fledged foundry, distributing quality fonts from designers all over the world!
When you're viewing the fonts on the site make sure you notice the photos along the bottom and the white box on the right. These areas will give you the useful info on what actually comes with the font.
Interested in submitting a font? Shoot them an email and maybe you can be one of the designers whose work becomes showcased.

So, go ahead. Check out Lost Type, I know it'll definitely be bookmarked on my browser!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Taste of Americana: Hatch Show Print!

Recently, I was fortunate to visit Nashville, TN for a business conference. (More info on the conference to mind is STILL spinning with all the great info I sucked up there!). But, luckily while in The Music City, I got to visit the iconic and historic Hatch Show Print, one of the oldest working letterpress print shops in America!

As you walk into Hatch Show Print's storefront on Nashville's Broadway Street (though be forewarned, they will be moving locations very soon!), it's like you can hear angels singing! OK, I'm being over dramatic, but seriously, you are greeted with walls lined with old letterpress forms, and walls completely covered in colorful posters, for as far as the eye can see! It was a designer's happy place!

Opening in 1879 (yes, that old!) by the Hatch family, the print shop flourished during the days when show business was get-up-and-go business. Whether circus, minstrel show, vaudeville act, or carnival, show posters created the excitement that sold the show, covering the sides of buildings and barns in cities and towns throughout the country. Later on Hatch became well known for their music posters, featuring not only famous country artists, from Hank Williams to Johnny Cash to Garth Brooks, but also musicians of all genres.  

Hatch Show Print has captured American history, southern culture, and entertainment without losing that irresistible appeal of turn-of-the-century design aesthetics. For all you music lovers, Americana buffs, graphic arts collectors, graphic designers, and commercial advertisers of all persuasions out there, if you ever find yourself in the Nashville area, be sure to stop by Hatch Show Print, you won't regret it!

Now, I'll just need to figure out where to hang my two new Hatch Prints!

Special thanks to Jonathan Boehman of Immersion Active for introducing a few of his fellow designers to Hatch Show Print!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Client Spotlight :: Wholistic Woman Retreats

While we love working with a wide variety of clients, there's a special place in our hearts when we get to work with those promoting healthy, organic and/or holistic lifestyles. So, naturally, we were thrilled when Wholistic Woman Retreats approached us with a need for some updated branding and marketing materials.

The mission of Wholistic Woman Retreats is to provide a variety of retreat and networking opportunities for busy women to refocus, rest and grow their whole self: body, heart, mind, and spirit. The group empowers women to reconnect with their inner wisdom while supporting personal and professional growth in an atmosphere that is relaxing, fun, and supportive.

When we first started working with Wholistic Woman Retreats, they already had a number of marketing materials in use, but were looking for a more uniformed and professional brand. Starting with small tweaks to their existing logo, we expanded on a new design direction for their web header, print advertising and eBlasts. Using the organization's own photography,  the new marketing materials focus on showing the personal connections, experiences and relationships of members and retreat attendees.

We've had a great time working with Wholistic Woman Retreats and can't wait to attend some of their retreat events (including one this weekend…yay!). We look forward to working with this amazing group of women and helping their organization grow!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

In It to Win It!

Hooray! We were just awarded three American Graphic Design Awards from Graphic Design USA magazine.

For almost 50 years, GD:USA  has sponsored national design competitions that spotlight areas of excellence and opportunity for creative professionals. The American Graphic Design Awards is their largest competition open to advertising agencies, graphic design firms, corporations, institutions, publishers and more. It honors outstanding work across all kinds of media: print and collateral, advertising and sales promotion, corporate identity and logos, internet and interactive design, motion graphics and more. With over 8,000 entries, only a selective 15% are recognized with an award—boy are we honored (and super excited, we might add!)

Our winning work included:

1. Kalico Design Earth Day Spring Promotion
(Category: Self Promotion)

2. Equinox Dance Company 10-Year Anniversary Performance Campaign
(Category: Public Service & Pro Bono)

3. A Tasty Nosh Website Design
(Category: Internet Design)

WooHoo! We're very excited and honored to be awarded, yet were even more excited to have such wonderful clients as well as such creative and fulfilling projects to work on!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Design Find :: allen + roth

We'll be starting a new blog series called Design Find, where will highlight some design and marketing pieces that really catch our eye. It'll be full of everyday pieces—something spotted at a local business, a unique direct mail piece we receive, a sign or billboard that we pass by—pieces that we just happen upon.

Additionally, if you spot a really great piece of graphic design, take a quick photo and either post it to our facebook or twitter pages, or email it to us. Let us know where you spotted it and what it was for, along with your name. If we're impressed too, we'll highlight it on this blog!

So, for our first Design Find

I spotted these allen + roth postcards at our local Lowes while looking for some paint samples. The unique way they highlighted the color sample, along with the fun and inviting black and white photography, made these postcards hard for me to pass up. Additionally, while you can't really tell in the photo, there is also a spot varnish on the color sample, which makes the color really pop. All in all, these allen + roth paint sample postcards were definitely an awesome design find!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Favorite "F" words: FREE and FONTS!

Who doesn’t love free? And who doesn’t love fonts? (well, okay, at least WE love fonts!) For those of you who love both, we've put together a list of some our favorites. First up, Kalico's graphic designer, Jen Tyler lists some of her favorite FREE fonts…

It was a hard task to limit the list to so few. However, these are the ones that made the cut in my book. (Kim will be adding her favorites in a later post so keep an eye out.) If you find you can’t live without them either, just click on the name and you’ll be re-directed to download the font.

I love the controlled curvy nature of this script. Its perfect connections (“ligatures”) really give me an affinity for this font. It makes a bold statement and is also fun used as outlines.
This delicate little font could be used in so many instances. Holidays, Babies, Handwriting, the list goes on and on.

This is probably one of the fonts I use the most. I have been giving it a rest for a little while but it seems to work almost anywhere. It makes a nice statement alone as well as in a group
Fun in outlines or with a color dropped behind it. The rough edges add a nice texture too!
A great retro inspired script font.

I like the imperfection of this font. It has that indie feel to it. It also comes with a nice set of anchor-dings. However, use caution. This font has no numerals.
A nice throwback font. Endless possibilities. Best used as a display font, we wouldn't recommend using this below 18pt.
I like this font for its playfulness. The texture makes it feel more natural. This also has many applications and is fun paired with an equally thinner font.

Okay so this font is not “FREE”, it's “free for personal use” and you should always make sure and check the terms of use before you use a font. That being said, this font is so beautiful. It just makes my imagination soar.

For a quick a recap, take a look at all of them together, below. And stay tuned for Kim's list of favorites to come soon! Plus, let us know what some of your favorite FREE fonts are!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Operation Fancy Wall :: Office DIY Project

While I've mentioned it a few times in previous posts, I realized that I haven't actually posted any pics or blogged much about Kalico's new office space! After working in my home office for the first 4 years of business, this past Fall, Kalico branched out and moved to an office space in Historic Downtown Frederick, MD. Check out a few of our before and after shots on our Facebook page. (PS-have you liked our page yet?!) Last week, I was able to complete the first of many DIY projects for the office. We'll call it Operation Fancy Wall. Here's a recap of the process, note how it is very similar to our design process:

1. Inspiration: I had fallen in love with this wallpaper by Brocade Home (which apparently doesn't exist anymore) on a recent trip to NYC. Unfortunately the wallpaper was very expensive and hard to install due to the metallic silver back.

2. Problem Solving: After doing lots of research (different possible wallpapers, wall decals, and fabric), I decided fabric would be the easiest and most cost-effective approach, while still maintaining the original look I was hoping for. So, I found a fabric swatch I liked the best, figured out the amount of fabric needed (even accounted the fabric repeat for the pattern…what a pain!), and then placed my order via

3. Application: Once the fabric was in, I recruited the help of my very handy husband, and we installed the fabric. Honestly, the fabric was hung just using a staple gun, and the fabric pattern was lined up "by eye". Then we applied a white trim around the entire wall to give it a finished look and to help hold the fabric up. Here's the before, during, and after look:

All in all, I love the new look of our office! And I love that I was able to do it ourselves (and by me, I mean my husband did most of it—Thanks Jimmy!), for a much more cost-effective price. Plus, it will be much easier to take down should we move office spaces. What do ya think? What was your latest office DIY project?

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

That's Pinteresting

Kalico's junior designer, Jen Tyler, has recently joined Pinterest users of the world!  We decided to turn her new found hobby (ah-hem, time sucker, procrastination enabler) into a great resource for marketing research and design inspiration. (PS-Jen would NEVER uses company time to do a little pinning, unless the job called for it—I'm sure of it! I think?) At any rate, here's some of Jen's most recent finds:

Lately, I’ve been doing a little research on the newest social media trend Pinterest. For those of you unfamiliar with Pinterest, it is a virtual pinboard that allows you to categorize and share things you find on the web. The cool thing is how easy it is. By creating topic-specific boards, you’re sharing the things you like with others in an aesthetically pleasing way. You can also view other user’s boards and search for specific topics, products or ideas. But, as much as I like to spend hours of company time looking at all the uses for a mason jar, Pinterest actually does have a great marketing application.

Pinterest has recently been driving greater traffic to websites than LinkedIn, Google Plus, Reddit, and Youtube — combined! That is some serious traffic that is just waiting to be tapped into. For business owners it can be used as a tool to promote new products and as a way to interact with potential and existing clients. There are many strategies of exactly how to accomplish this. In fact, there is a whole Pinterest Board on Marketing with Pinterest. However, there are a few strategies that I found particularly hit home:
  • When you set up your Pinterest account for business’ make sure to connect your Facebook, Twitter, website, etc. Making this connection adds social media icons under your profile picture that link to your Facebook and Twitter profiles.
  • Come up with creative and interesting board names. This is more likely to grab a viewers attention.
  • Tag other Pinterest users in your pins by using “@username” in your descriptions. Network with other professionals and vendors in your field by using this feature.
So, you can see that Pinterest has infinite potential when it comes to business. You may already be using it to get your ideas into clients heads. How is it working for you? How do you apply it to marketing your business?

While both Jen and I have personal Pinterest accounts, we’re also considering creating a business account for Kalico. Let us know if you’d be interested in us adding this social media profile! And if so, what would like to see us pinning?

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Holy Learning Batman!

Holy Learning Batman! So, last week I went on a learning binge—Wordpress Seminar on Wednesday, Time Management webinar and Creative Women roundtable on Thursday, and a Business Owner's Virtual Conference Friday through Sunday!

My brain is filled to the max! And you know what? It feels good!

As a business owner it's always a good idea to continue learning about your field (or related fields) as well as your business in general. It's how we grow and become better business owners—more crafty in our field as well as more savvy with our business. BUT—it's really hard to take the time out from all our daily duties and just focus on yourself (well, I mean focusing on yourself, which will in turn enrich your business).

I'll be honest (and to any of my clients reading this—I love you, I really do!), but it was so nice to take time out from answering emails, returning phone calls, putting out fires, etc. and just sit for an hour (or 2, or 6) to simply focus on learning more. Sure, I try to read up on daily industry news, but it's always something rushed, squeezed between this or that task. But, after taking actual time out to focus on something new, I feel more inspired and amped up than I have for several months! I like the feeling.

So, I am going to set a goal to do a minimum of one educational event per month, will you do the same? What are some of the most recent (and/or rewarding) business/educational events you've attended?

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Print Isn't Dead! (Annual Print Design Survey)

For the past 49 years, Graphic Design USA magazine publishes a print design survey that takes a pulse on the print industry. Over the years, their findings proved that yes, digital marketing is on the rise (and will continue to be an important part of marketing campaigns), but print will never die!

Some of their data shows print provides a high ROI, print drives online traffic, print periodical readership is actually growing, print readers spend more time per advertisement or per page, print reaches demographics not on the grid, not to mention print can be sustainable and tree-friendly. But, in addition, print also offers a much more tangible, permanent, physical, and ultimately more personal experience.

As predominately print designers, we couldn't agree more with GD USA's findings. All in all, We don't think the print industry will be disappearing anytime soon, but it's had to shift focus a little bit and integrate better with digital marketing! "Print is Getting Smarter!"

Download GD: USA's full print design survey here and let us know what YOU think!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

What Do "Back to the Future" and SEO Have In Common?

"Lorraine…I'm Your Density! I mean, your destiny."

OK, OK, so SEO and Back to the Future don't really have a lot in common. But during a recent SEO discussion, I simply could NOT get this quote out of my mind!

I recently attended "PowerPress", a superbly informative seminar led by our friend Tobin of New North. While the seminar's main focus was on Wordpress websites (I seriously have so much new information that my brain has gone into slight overload), we also touched on some great SEO tools and practices.

Now, I won't even begin to pretend that I know a whole lot about SEO. I get the general idea and even some of the ways you can increase it, but most of time it just makes me cross-eyed to think about it (I'm a more visual kind of person...hence the whole graphic designer thing). But, the tool that really caught my eye is called SEO Quake, a handy analytic seo-tool for Firefox, Chrome and Opera browsers. While SEO Quake offers a variety of free tools, today we focused on Keyword density. Keyword density is the number of times a keyword or phrase appears on a web page compared to the total number of words on the page.

You can use SEO Quake to test your own site's keyword density, to see which keywords on your site are the biggest/most used—and it may not necessarily be the keywords you want! Go ahead and download SEO Quake for yourself and see where your keyword destiny…I mean density, registers.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Creative Genius.....or Utter Madness?

A look into the creative mind of Kalico Design's junior designer, Jen Tyler...

When it comes to the creative process we all have our different ways of going about getting the solution. I’m always looking at different solutions for creative problem solving. This helps me to understand why sometimes it’s so easy to come up with profound and simple solutions to creative problems, and other times I might as well be banging my head against a wall. Do we all share some kind of common method? Are there key points to our madness?

I recently came across a book titled The Creative Process Illustrated: How Advertising's Big Ideas Are Born it includes the personal illustrations of design processes for many famous designers. In the beginning of the book the authors mention a man named Graham Wallas who proposed one of the first creative process models in 1926. It is as follows:

Stage 1. Preparation: The problem to be solved is carefully considered and resources are gathered in order to confront the task. The conscious mind is focused on the problem.
Stage 2. Incubation: Drawing upon these resources, consideration of the problem is internalized and becomes a largely subconscious activity. The mind makes connections more freely and abundantly.
Stage 3. Illumination: Possible solutions to the problem transition from subconscious to conscious thought. This is a moment of insight and optimism.
Stage 4. Verification: Solutions are tested and may be applied if shown to be viable.

My creative process model follows this with slight variations.

Stage 1. Preparation:
Read project brief. Immediately start brainstorming. Word association. How could letters merge and make shapes. Picture a rainbow. Stare into space. Freak out because I’m not in school anymore and don’t have two weeks to sketch one comp for a client!
Stage 2. Incubation:
Put the project out of my mind. (Or try to.) Go home. Watch TV. No, those commercials are not some kind of magical insight into this particular clients problem. No, not everything has a deeper meaning just because you want it to. Try to focus on the project before going to sleep. Maybe dream about the solution.
Stage 3. Illumination:
Wake up. Didn’t have an epiphanic dream? OK, now its crunch time. Back to step one. That sketch still looks the same as when I started – I can do better than that! More sketching. Lets clean it up with our mad computer skills. Apply color theory.
Stage 4. Verification: 
“Presto Chango!” Finally! Give self a hand. Beer anyone!

What is your creative process? We'd love to hear!

(Image courtesy of central)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Greening Your Business

You may (or may not) know that Kalico strives to be a an eco-friendly, green business. This past fall we're were featured in Graphic Design USA's "A Culture of Green Article", and we've been granted Green America's Business Seal of Approval. But, we didn't become a green business overnight (and trust me, it's an ongoing learning process). As a small business owner, I simply started taking small steps to make my business as sustainable as I could. And some of those steps are actually REALLY easy, you just have to make the effort.

Here's a list of 10 fairly easy steps you can take to make your business greener today (or tomorrow)! Steps below are taken from Green Marketing TV's "75 Tips to Green Your Business".
1. Turn off your lights: (See, told you it could be easy!) Either set your office lights on a timer, so they get turned off after hours automatically, or assign someone to always make sure the lights are off when the office is empty.

2. Use fewer lights and/or switch to energy efficient lighting: Do you need all of those lights on all of the time? Try using daylight to lessen the need for artificial lighting. Buying all new bulbs or light fixtures might be an expensive option, but replacing one light at a time with an energy efficient compact florescent (CFL) or LED unit is an affordable way to transition over. (PS-this will save you money on your power bill's a win-win)

3. Turn off office computers when not in use: Set computers and other equipment to go to sleep after a period of inactivity, and turn them completely off when leaving for the day or for the weekend. Schedule your backups for during the day if you can, and use a file-syncing service to take files with you avoiding the need for remote access.

4. Install power strips to cut phantom power usage: Many devices use electricity even when not in use, so put a power strip between the outlet and your equipment so that you can fully shut off anything that doesn’t need to be running. (Bonus: If you're in the Maryland area, you may be eligible for a free Energy Conservation Kit consisting of six Compact Fluorescent Light bulbs (CFLs), a Smart Strip/Surge Protector and more... I've got mine!)

5. Install a water dispenser: Cut out plastic water bottle usage by supplying drinking water and reusable cups. (This one is actually on my to-do list!)

6. Bring your own lunch: Eating out, especially take-out, can generate needless waste, and you often don’t have the choice to recycle leftovers. Plus, it’s almost always more expensive (and usually less-healthy) than eating homemade foods. Bring a homemade meal in a reusable container for lunch.

7. Buy recycled paper products: Choose 100% recycled content paper, paper towels and toilet paper. For printed promotional materials, explore your options for using post-consumer recycled paper. Even Staples has it's own cost-effective line of recycled paper products (paper, file folders, envelopes, etc)

8. Print on the back: If you must print something out, have a receptacle ready for when you’re done with it. Take these used pages, flip them over and put into the paper drawer of the printer so you can print on the back, getting two uses out of one piece. (also, when printing out a multi-page document, set it up so you are printing front-to-back)

9. Recycle old electronics and equipment: Don’t just pitch the old version in the trash – find an office sup-ply store that accepts e-waste and disposes of it properly. (Even your local Staples has recycling programs!)

10. Furbish your office with used furniture: Shop around at thrift stores, surplus auctions, or yard sales for your office furniture. A used chair or desk will always be greener than purchasing a brand new ‘green’ model and you’ll save tons of cash as well. (plus, it can help give your office space much more character! We combined old and new furniture in Kalico's offices)

What steps have you taken to green your office?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

2012 Logo Trends

Every year LogoLounge, an online logo database of almost 175,000 logos, releases an annual Trends report. And, you guessed it, the 2012 Logo Trends report is now out! As a designer, I love reading about the noted trends and seeing the examples. But, I think this information can be very interesting to everyone, including business owners who may want to stay on top of some of the latest design trends. Plus, it's fun when you start to recognize these trends being used in logos and design that you come across.

While it's always fun and educational to view the Logo Trends Report, please keep in mind that these are not the end-all, be-all for logos. Just because it's considered a trend, doesn't necessarily make it a good logo for your company.  Good logo design doesn't follow a trend simply to follow the trend. Good logo design is a mark that truly represents your business visually, that can work well on multiple platforms, both in color and black and white, and that can transcend trends (afterall, your logo needs to last a long time…you don't want it to look outdated just a few years down the road).

OK, with that disclaimer being stated, please check out the full report of LogoLounge's 2012 Logo Trends here.

My favorites are Icon Clusters and Anaglyphs (though some of these may not translate easily to one color and/or black and white). Which are your favorites?



Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Logo 2.0!

Woo-Hoo! Our logo redesign for Aaron Haslinger Photography is featured in "Logo 2.0." The inspirational design publication showcases 283 Logo Makeovers, showing the before and after, along with the Design Strategy behind each project, written in the designer’s own words. The eBook, by David E. Carter, is available (along with many other design books!) through Bright Books. (pick up your copy today!)

Here's the description and thought-process behind this logo re-design:

Aaron Haslinger is a photographer in the Baltimore/Metro DC area who specializes in weddings, but also does lifestyle and business photography. His original logo, an all-text composition, did not represent his outgoing, personable and creative style. 

Aaron requested we did not use any specific graphics or illustrations, but opted to focus more on his name. So, we melded Aaron's initials, playing with the negative space to create a point of interest. Per Aaron's request, we utilized a bright, vibrant color palette that would appeal to both his primary audience —brides between ages 25-35—as well as his secondary audience, which included both genders and a broader age range. The new look works well in both color and black and white, and the sans serif font choice gives a smooth, contemporary and professional feel.

In conclusion, the new logo mark serves as a better visual representation of Aaron Haslinger himself, as well as his photography business, than his previous logo did.

Do you have a logo that needs a redesign? (insert shameless plug here) Give us a call—we'd love to help! Feel free to visit the Kalico website for additional samples of our logo work!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Sharing Scher :: Finding A Creative Outlet

 It's not everyday we get to meet our hero. But, last week, Jen, our junior designer (pictured left), got to attend a presentation and meet one of hers! Here is a recap of her experience:

This past week I had the distinct pleasure of meeting one of my design heroes–Paula Scher. Now, I'm certain that most of you are probably unfamiliar with the name “Paula Scher”. However, if I were to name… Truvia, Bausch and Lomb, Target, Swatch, Tiffany and Co, or Citi Bank; surely some images would come to mind. Well, Scher is responsible for those brand images! That’s why I'm proud to admit that I’ve been stalking her since I was a lowly graphic design student. That being said, you can see why I was so excited to meet her. (For a second time I might add. But that’s a whole other story.)

During her presentation, Paula let us in on a little secret. She had become bored with design. BORED?! Often times I find myself frustrated with the same problem. However, until recently I honestly thought it was just a lack of my own creativity and that it made me a mediocre designer. Paula shared with us that her personal solution to this common obstacle was to find an outlet. Her outlet is painting. Why is an outlet so important? We all need time to re-charge the juices that make us best at what we do.

So what’s my creative outlet? Well, my outlet is actually not so creative. I use my free time to let my brain soak up the subconscious inspiration. I love to just be with my friends and socialize. One of my favorite things to do is “Play House.” Nothing makes me happier than to have guests over for a nice home-cooked meal or even just to be a hostess and have people in my home.  Kim (my boss for those of you who don’t know her) has a creative outlet too. She is part of an adult modern dance company–Equinox Dance. And dances and performs for several hours each weekend.

So what's your creative outlet? I'm sure you have one. It can be anything. It doesn't have to be creative. It's just something that is yours, that makes you feel relaxed and happy. Something no one can judge because it's for no one to judge. It is the key on your chain that “unlocks something inside and lets the intuitive unconscious side of you do its work”. –Paula Scher