MAKING IT UP as we go. Looking for opportunities to make interesting stuff.

Has to make meaning, and be fun.


More coming… Watch this space.

Also see some Phnom Penh projects at our blog. —AS


‘Today I Love You’: art show, zine and reception

Client: DK
Work: Concept, Naming, Branding and Installation Art
Location: The Carrack Modern Art in Durham, NC USA
Year: 2012

STICK GLUE AND SCISSORS, and a lot of zines. One small production a day for about a year led to a budding collection of booklets, and then, soon enough, a series of larger works. These, too, sourced imagery from womens’ magazines. Something about them—their everpresence, and the overpowering assertion that a woman’s beauty is contained in her outward appearance got DK started on this series that culminated in a solo show of works at The Carrack Modern Art in Durham, NC. ‘My favorite part of the show,’ says Dipika Kohli, ‘was the opening reception. After that one, I realized it didn’t matter so much about having art on the walls—it was the people who came and their interacting with the zines, with the work, and most of all with each other, that, that was what really got me jazzed.’ —AS (photos by OMNI Studiophotos)

Fresh look for nonprofit: ‘Nuts and bolts of doing green’

Client: Green Plus
Work: Messaging, Brand identity updates, print and online collateral
Location: Durham, NC USA
Year: 2011

A BURGEONING INDUSTRY of green businesses–or social enterprises, as they’ve come to be known since—started to crop up in Durham, NC. A local certification organization called Green Plus came to DK for some serious marketing soul searching. That’s because B Corp, a competitor, had its base on the west coast, and Green Plus knew it needed to establish itself in the Southeast region quickly, and with a solid strategy.

Brand message redesign: Short, to point, potent.

Brochure: outside, laid flat.

Brochure: inside, flat.

Brochure: inside, laid flat.

‘WHAT MAKES GREEN PLUS different? Why are we in this business?’

To get to quality answers for these kinds of hard questions, we needed to talk frankly and deeply with each of the core team members—made up of young entrepreneurs with some serious credentials. We also needed to connect with real members of Green Plus to learn what they thought about the nonprofit.

Out of the ensuing series of deep conversations emerged four distinct personas. Each one held their own aspirations and core beliefs, and they were uniquely different from the other three. That’s how we came up with the four-page brochure pictured above, along with separate literature to share with each group. Mapping their paths towards choosing Green Plus, learning how they use the web site, and tracing their trajectories we could then come up with a new ‘look and feel’ for Green Plus that rested on a simple idea: ‘Nuts and bolts of green design.’ A visual theme of building blocks and parts of wooden toys came as a natural extension, and close-up shots of architectural structures and details gave us all a real feel for what Green Plus really was offering, and why.

When we set out to work with DK, I did not expect the level of passion, commitment, and rigor that [DK] brought to the creative process. They pushed us to think big and zero in on the meaning and contribution our organization uniquely brings. While some design teams are truly (and exclusively) artists, DK brought business savvy to the table, understanding the value of knowing your customer and building your branding and communications around them and your core value. They were tireless in delivering a high quality product. Where some designers would have said, “good enough,” DK doubled down to produce something magical. —S.K. Fishback

THE GREEN PLUS TEAM was surprised and delighted by the depth of the conversations that pushed the team beyond the mere exercise in rote market planning. Some told us later the exercises left a mark that carried beyond the project into their respective career paths in the years, too. —AS

New name, brand for experienced UK developer

Client: Matchbox
Concept, Naming, Brand identity + print and online collateral
Location: Seattle, USA and Brighton, UK
Year: 2008

RESEARCH CREATIONS, a mobile development startup with a presence in the UK as well as in the US in Seattle, needed a revamp, as the company grew and found more competitors entering the arena, as mobile phone industry was rapidly expanding in 2007. One of the cofounders, a friend of DK’s, told us they needed a new website.

We suggested, instead, a total rebrand, and they agreed to a Skype call. ‘Branding isn’t just a logo, and a web site is just a bit part in your big strategy,’ we said, and we were off on a journey that took most of the rest of the year. Mood boarding, live group meetings on Skype, mailing inspirations back and forth, and collaborating on a giant brainstorming session on—those were some of the memorable parts of this journey.

A total refresh: name, concept, branding.

Total refresh: name, concept, branding.

AFTER FINDING AND SCRAPPING a half-dozen other name ideas, we stumbled on Matchbox–suggesting speed, fire and agility in their small size. The play on the phrase “think outside of the box” was a natural followup, and a kinetic, line-based logo and animation followed. The company recently celebrated its ten years since inception, and is going very strong as a premier developer of mobile-based apps and innovations—AS