milk packaging final project.

I’ve been moonlighting as a graphic design instructor for the last few years at local community colleges. So far just teaching Adobe Illustrator and InDesign. It’s been a very challenging job for me, as I don’t like being the center of attention. I like the students that don’t pay attention in class because I know they are judging my public speaking ability!

Anyway, I’ve been using these milk carton design samples from to do the same project with my students. I love the idea of designing Milk. So far I’ve had the same initial reaction from all my students — “just milk?” But in the end they see how much fun the project can be.

School portfolio

And while I was putting the above project together, I rooted through my school portfolio that had been boxed up for years, looking for good mounting examples. Ha, wouldn’t you know that the spray mount is still holding after almost 10 years. Jeff Lush, where ever you are, you taught me well. You can’t use too much spray mount! Anyway, here are a a couple images of the old portfolio.

Design as a feeling.

So lately I’ve been working hard to show off my design through well designed presentation. Instead of showing a screen shot of a completed project, I’m showing the project in an appealing way. The main element, in most cases, being through good photography. It’s amazing how much more effective a well taken and creative photo and design around a portfolio piece can inspire others (including new clients) then showing all the intimate details of the design itself. Presentation is king – just this once – your impeccable kerning is not!

A few examples, just to prove I have been doing something the last year.

Brewfest Poster

SFC Winter Poster

May Lawn and Home Car Website

How to have fun ruining a perfectly good idea!

I thought I’d nailed it this week. I had a logo concept that the client liked and had huge potential. It just needed a little tweak. The circles that built it were to perfect. It need something more organic. But something that would still convert to a vector format easily. I was thinking dirt. No, gravel. They’re both going to muck up my lightbox.

What I needed was something of inconsistent size, similar to gravel. Large enough to photograph and convert into an illustration as to not end up as a photographic logo. What has a non-uniform surface. Dark in color to contrast on white. Preferably candy coated…

Well, whatever the solution, the outcome was awful. But I had a lot of fun ruining a perfectly good idea.

iPhone users, click here to view on YouTube.

Are you a Pretty Bird?

Ah, Twitter. Sounding board to the masses. Do you Tweet? How often, and what about? The focus, relevancy and frequency of Tweets is in constant discussion regarding what make a successful Twat.

In a medium so focused on the message, and what you have to say, people often forget about the visual. Is your Twitter page attractive? Sure, a lot of people ad contact info and ads to their pages. But regularly they are bland or boring if not downright ugly.

In a see of little boxes, little boxes made of ticky-tacky, does your User Picture look just the same? I made mine lighter, with extra open space to stand out. Then added my condensed web address in case anyone wants to look me up.

Having a well designed Twitter background is a great way to show off your brand, pass along important info, and make a lasting impression to visitors. Smashing Magazine put together a great showcase of some very nice looking Twitter accounts.

Another oft forgotten element of Tweeting is your User Picture. For a personal account used simply to communicate with friends, a self portrait is sufficient. However, DO NOT use a picture of your child or pet unless they use the account as well! Please, this is “you” speaking, or typing, whatever.

If you are using your account for work, an image of your logo often gets the job done. Other users can quickly view your User Picture to identify who a Tweet is from quickly and accurately. However, if you are trying to reach more quickly to a market that Tweets heavily. And if you would like you message to be viewed in a timely manner, consider creating a picture/icon that can be more quickly identified when lined up with 10, 20, 50 others. Show what you do, or at least where you are from.

A little more interesting than the standard Twitter page with contact info on the left, and a little about what I do on the right.

With more and more companies and personalities joining Twitter daily, the competition is getting more fierce. When you look at your Twitter page and User image, do they stand out? Where they professionally done? Should they be?

Taking my own advice, I’ve recently redone the Ovid Nine Twitter “brand.” Take a look and let me know if you’d like me to help you with yours.

RFFRC Annual Report

I just received a box of Annual Reports from the printer for Roaring Fork Family Resource Centers. As I lay them out to photograph, I thought about rolling around in them. Can you blame me? Two months of my life’s work is in the ink and paper before me. I have a connection too these little staple-bound bundles. And after perhaps 60-90 minutes with them, all but a few will leave me forever. Read More →

‘Bonedale Bike Week collateral rolling out.

We’re ramping up once again for the 2nd ‘Bonedale Bike Week. I really enjoy working on this project since it gives me a chance to work on a full campaign of design, plus I get to be both Art Director AND client! Nice.

So far the t-shirt designs are finished, but awaiting a printer and budget. The website launched this week – – and yesterday was spent creating laminated spoke cards for the monthly Full Moon Cruiser ride. A few pictures of the spoke cards came out really well, so I used them to create a computer desktop to get the word out. Take a look at the Spoke Cards (below the fold) after you download the Desktop Images below!

Download the desktop background at 1680 x 1050 Resolution
Download the desktop background at 1280 x 854 Resolution
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i LOVE this design.

I recently finished up a very fun project with the Christian Science Church in Seattle. Together with Lane Keough, we developed the marketing hook and design concepts for a lecture hosted on Valentines Day.

The initial concept. Still my favorite version. Nice and simple.


The initial concept. Still my favorite version. Nice and simple.

I’ll let this design speak for itself. I hope you enjoy viewing it as much as I enjoyed creating it. Read More →

David Clifford Biz Cards featured on

Good news this morning, my second featured design on As I’ve mentioned before, they only post designs they deem worthy, so to have one selected is an honor.

Check out the link, and please vote it up if you like it.
David Clifford Photography Business Card

A little background on this card design:
The client is David Clifford Photography, located in Carbondale, CO. We wanted a card that was simple and to the point on the front; so only the contacts name and logo are located there with a subtle hint to the image on the other side. The back side fully shows off David Clifford’s talents with a powerful image and his contact. Thanks to David in this design because his photographs really make it.

Spoiled Milk.

When I’m sick with a cold, and have the requisite sore throat that accompanies it I make a switch from coffee to tea. I do this because I love lots of half & half in my coffee. Half & half is dairy. Dairy makes my sore throat worse. I’ve been sick for almost 2 weeks now. So this morning is my first coffee in weeks. I’ve been waiting for this morning for a while.


So I head downstairs to the kitchen. While making breakfast I begin the coffee. As I’m eating I can smell the Costa Rican Hazelnut. Or maybe I just smell the caffeine! An anxious while later and my long awaited fix is ready. A little sugar. Check. Now for the forbidden ingredient, half & half. Sweet Cream. Dairy!

I pull out the carton, it’s organic even. Check the expiration date, still days away. Open the top, put my nose to the opening (just in case). Take a sniff. It’s Spoiled! Heartbreak.

Every time I smell milk or cream in a paranoid investigation of it’s freshness I find myself questioning what I smell. If you doubt a dairy product, it always smells a bit odd. Today there was no question, it was rancid.

Instead of letting this ruin my long awaited coffee I found some powdered creamer. Not as good, but I still appreciated what I had. I realized that seemingly bad smelling dairy products are simply aromatic and wonderful when compared to the truly awful.

It’s good to get spoiled milk every once in a while.

The origins of Identity.

There is an enormous feeling of satisfaction when you finish a new identity project. It’s a massive process, and carries a lot of pressure. This one project is meant to help define a company for years to come, if not the life of the company. Having to “reprint” in 6 months – like you might a print piece – is not acceptable. A logo must have longevity, a lasting style, that is striking and recognizable down the road.

(At certain times a logo or identity may have a limited life. An event for example that changes it’s look yearly. In this case a design with a shorter shelf-life, and “trendy” style may be preferred.)

I recently completed an identity job for Wireless Communications Association International. I was extremely happy with how the process went. The client was fun to work with, everyone was excited about the final product, and we didn’t go over budget!

I’m always amazed at the design process from ideas to sketches to final product. Throughout the life of a concept, it’s constantly morphing and shifting. What started out as a brilliant thought turned into a mediocre sketch, and then developed into a spot-on final logo – without an ounce of resemblance to its beginnings. I want to share this process with you. So step into your time machine and lets take a look back at the origins of an identity.
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