Category Archive: branding

  1. Timbuk2 Brand Experience


    I used 4 messenger bags throughout college. 3 of which were bought at thrift stores for less than $2 each. So when I got a real job (a post about that coming soon), I decided to invest in a good messenger. Considering I ride 2 miles to work every day with a $2000 laptop in my bag, I wouldn’t want a cheap strap to break.

    So I checked out the hipster messenger favorites, Chrome and Timbuk2. Chrome didn’t have many options and the ones I’ve seen looked bulky, so I tried out Timbuk2. They let users post product reviews (positive & negative) on the site, which was an awesome way to learn about the bag from people riding with it, not just a flowery description. Loved the custom bag maker. I chose a monochromatic look. 2 panels of lightweight black and 1 panel of reflective restaurant-booth-style vinyl. Like an Orca.

    But the most impressive part of the purchase was the personal touch they put on everything I got from them. This snippet from the confirmation e-mail was so much more entertaining than the usual confirmation receipt:

    We suggest that you actually read it and like it because this is what you are getting and the address below is where we are going to send it. If you must be That Person, we can TRY our best to make changes or cancel your order.  This is only if we have had enough coffee and our warehouse hasn’t… Remember, this is only if your order is NOT IN PRODUCTION. Once your order makes it to our production line, we can’t change it for you and if it’s custom, we can’t take it back. Not because we don’t love you; but because we already have really, really nice custom made Messenger bags from Timbuk2.  It’s part of the uniform.

    It was refreshing to get something with some personality. Made me feel better about spending $200 on a backpack. When I actually got the bag in the mail there was another surprise. It didn’t come in a bloated box like everything from Amazon. It came in a plastic shipping bag with a map on it. Not just any map. It’s a bike route map of San Francisco with all the locations you can buy Timbuk2 bags tagged. They encourage you to cut it out and reuse it for something. But the writing is brilliant. Not your average Starbucks corporate eco-friendly statement.

    Now every time I need a travel bag, I know exactly where I’ll look first. Next time I go to San Francisco, I want to go check out their office. I couldn’t care less about visiting the Jansport factory or the Nike factory. But because of the extra personality Timbuk2 gave me, I am now fascinated with their brand and want to support anything they do.

    This is powerful branding. All about knowing your audience and taking every opportunity to be genuine and personal with them. Timbuk2 has a mission and it’s not to be the biggest messenger bag company on earth. But it is to be the best. And to not destroy the earth in the process.

    I’m a fan. And the bag is awesome, too.

  2. U-too: Union Annex

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    The OSU Student Union is getting a major remodel over the next year. Over the summer (and probably a while after that), the largest student union in the world  is going to be under construction. So while they work, the dining and retail part of the Union first floor will be moved into 18 temporary trailers set up north of the building. They’re calling it U-too. Not my naming, but I think they could have done a lot worse. So I was tasked with the identity. It’s going through the ranks now for approval, but my boss likes it and I do too. It’s got the iconic Union spire from the original Union logo and the shipping container/temporary building style box. The type is Alte Haas Grotesque and Chevin.

    I also did a little motion intro for it.  When I say little, I mean very little. Vimeo wouldn’t even let me upload it because it was too small. But it’s just a start for a video we’ll be making to introduce the students to U-too on the Union web site and social networks.


  3. Healthy Union Branding


    I designed a logo last semester for the new Healthy Union program at OSU, encouraging Student Union employees to live healthier lives by giving incentives for specific program participation. The program is still being developed and they asked me to work on an identity for it. My first attempt was sent back, looking for a happier, less-hospitalized look. They were right. It’s kinda of scary now that I look back at it.


    It’s a cool look, but with the Helvetica and the syringe look of the Union spire, it was definitely too medical. So, for this round I tried to make it a happier, more participatory feel by using icons to denote certain (made-up for now) programs and options.

    These icons will be used to visually describe the options and can also be turned into badges as rewards and reminders of employee commitments. Kind of like flair. I used Chevin as the typeface, because it’s clean and modern, but much softer than Helvetica. After using Foursquare and Gowalla for the past couple weeks, I’ve been inspired by their icon design. Hopefully they like the idea so I can do more of that in the future.



  4. Identity Work


    I haven’t done any identity design in about a year, and this week I’ve done two. And another one a few weeks ago. These two are works in progress for the OSU Student Union health initiative and Poke Your Vote.

    The Healthy Union brand is a tentative name of the OSU Student Union health program. The Union is encouraging employees to stay healthy by giving incentives for things like losing weight or quitting smoking. I wanted to keep the look clean and medical. The Union dining already has a healthy eating program with a rough, organic style, so this needs to have a distinct feel. The Union tower (placed here on the cross) has been used in most of the building’s branding materials by itself for years, so it associates it specifically with the Student Union. is a web site our internet communications class is working on. I’m designing the preliminary look of the site this week. This is the logo. It’s a combination of the iconic Cowboy fan finger gun and a check mark in a voting box. The site will be a blog dedicated to hearing the unbiased, collective voice of Cowboy fans, students, alumni, staff and faculty and promoting public discussion of campus issues.



  5. Embracing Oklahoma


    Instead of whining about how Oklahoma can be boring sometimes, I try to find the good in it. One of the bittersweet parts of our glorious state, is our flag. It’s a very interesting shield design, but is so poorly executed, and poorly represented online, that I think it may be time for a refresh.




    I’ve also been working on a couple shirt concepts lately. I have a long weekend in Edmond, so hopefully I can screen print a few shirts while I’m home. Drew the wolf a while ago for a block print that was never cut, so I figured I’d try him on a shirt. Tweeted the Oklahoma flag design tonight on this shirt and got two people wanting it, so I think I’ll try to make a few extras if I have time.


  6. Stay OK 1: Coffee Shop


    This is the start of a series for me: Stay OK. These posts will be reasons why I want to or why I don’t want to stay in Oklahoma after I graduate college. I’ve got a few semi-options right now that would take me around the country:

    • Go to Chicago with my friend Britt, who is going to seminary at Wheaton.
    • Go to California with my roommate Sean, who will be trying to get a sports media internship with a college out there.
    • Go to Denver or Boulder, because I’ve wanted to go there forever.
    • Tour South America with Ted Bado, of
    • Stay in Oklahoma.

    So what possible reason could I have for sticking around Oklahoma? I’ve been asking myself that question for a few years now, as I’ve planned my escape through the above avenues. Just recently, I’ve come up with a couple reasons to stick around.

    [images from old posts got lost when I switched servers 🙁 I’ll try to get them back soon]

    A few months ago I was complaining to my dad about the lack of places in Edmond open past 10pm. It’s either IHOP, Denny’s or driving to OKC to find a cool place. Edmond is a ghost town at night. There are two colleges and more than four high schools in Edmond! Why would the town be so dead? So these kids just go to Starbucks until they close and then go home and drink? It’s disturbing to me that there isn’t a cool, open-late, coffee shop in Edmond. So I feel the responsibility to fix this problem. One of my favorite parts of college is going to Aspen Coffee in downtown Stillwater and hanging out for a few hours, just talking to people at all hours of the night. When I was in Orlando this summer, my favorite place was Stardust, a local coffee shop, open late and always full of interesting people.

    There isn’t a good place in Edmond for people to chill and hang out, and of course drink coffee. There are a lot of cool coffee shops in OKC or in the Paseo: Sauced, Coffee Slingers, Cuppies and Joe. So why is Edmond so deserted? So many rich high school kids, and poor college kids need coffee and community. So I want to fill this need.

    • Good, fair trade coffee.
    • Cool, chill place for people to form community. Open late every night.
    • Local art and design for sale – super cheap. No one buys $300 student work. We’re talking $20 paintings/prints.
    • Original screen printed shirts – all organic. Discounts if you wear one in.
    • Constant flow of good music and space for a small acoustic venue.
    • Free basic bike repairs and discounts if you ride your bike to the shop.
    • Everything recyclable or sustainable.
    • Ask UCO sculpture class (or local 2nd grade class) to sculpt our coffee mugs.
    • A place to live/do freelance design work, above or behind the shop.
    • Promoted entirely by social media and word of mouth on UCO and OC campuses – no paid advertising.

    Also, I will have the power to name coffees whatever I want. Black coffee will be named, The Vader: a bit on the dark side, but I can still sense the good in you.

    [images from old posts got lost when I switched servers 🙁 I’ll try to get them back soon]

    Even if this never happens, I’m taking this on as a marketing project. I want to brand it, plan it, design it, price it, etc. Working on a name and an identity set this week. Next, a business plan. Ideas, tips, real estate and furniture are appreciated.

  7. Bookstore Buybacks

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    The OSU Student Union Bookstore has 3 problems at the end of the year:

    1. Competition for textbook buybacks from 100 other places in & out of town, including sororities, charities, eBay, and other private and corporate bookstores.
    2. Professors wait until 2 weeks after the deadline to get next year’s book lists in, keeping students from selling back their books for a decent price.
    3. People see the SU Bookstore as an evil empire, campus program, even though they do more for students than any other place that would buy their books.

    The Student Union Bookstore helps pay for a year’s worth of campus programs that everyone on campus benefits from: Finals Pancakes, Wi-Fi, Casino Night, Campus Life jobs and activities, Orange Peel, just to name a few. Our task was to communicate that message to the students, while still managing to sell a crapload of books. We used the O’Colly campus newspaper, Union-branded banners all over campus, posters, and e-mails. Michael did the banners & posters. I was assigned the newspaper campaign.

    We ran four half page ads and three full page ads with a cyan spot color in the two weeks leading up to finals. The daily ads promoted specific books with high prices and high buyback quantities. Our goal was not just to list book prices as usual, but to communicate to students the many benefits that students and OSU get from the Student Union Bookstore that they don’t even know about.

    This is my favorite ad (the MacBook Pro may or may not have played into that choice). Hit the jump to see the whole campaign. I’ll be adding it to my portfolio site this week when I get a chance.



  8. 100% of Teens Want iPods – 0% Want Zunes

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    I am a wholehearted Apple fanboy and Zune hater, but I never expected numbers like this. I thought there were at least a few teens out there who hate Macs and hipsters and fun, and things like that. But 100% iPod!? That’s a pretty incredible market share.

    News doesn’t get much worse than this for the Zunes and Sansas of the world: a whopping 0% of surveyed teens planned on buying their devices, with 100% wanting an iPod in the coming year. [Gizmodo]

    Apple probably won’t be able to totally control the mp3 market much longer, as the iPod reaches a saturation point in the US, but apparently they’re still overwhelmingly in top of mind for teens. Who has a Sansa? Seriously?

    Hit the Giz link for more info and links to the Piper Jaffray survey.

    [Via Gizmodo]

  9. AdBrad

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    I have been blogging on WordPress using traditional blog themes for a couple years now, but figured it was time for a change from the traditional blog look. I’ve decided to go with a minimal layout, like my portfolio site. Thanks to Upstart Blogger for the code to get started with a fresh theme.

    I’ll import my old blog over here and slowly, but surely figure out how to transfer everything to here without too many tweaks. I’ll be testing for a few days, so keep checking back as the site gets progressively less ugly, and more functional.

  10. New Job

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    I started my new job this week working as a “Marketing Assistant” (code for graphic designer) at Student Union Marketing. I’ll be getting to do lots of work – especially in different mediums – not just print ads. We do labels, storefront design, tags, ads, tshirts, posters, and my first assignment – a catering menu. A friend, who used to have my job here, James Crotchett, designed the logo for Celebrations Catering before moving on to Saatchi & Saatchi X in Springdale, AR.

    I applied the theme and such to this menu design. It’s pretty hefty. I got a left pinky finger cramp from changing font styles over and over from the original Word document it started as. Of course this would never happen if we had Apple keyboards. But no, my new boss is a PC person! Hopefully I can show her the light by the time I graduate. The pics will be higher-res evenutally too. For now, they’re iStock comps that I removed the watermarks from.

    So this is the 1st draft I worked on last week and tweaked a little this week. It’s being proofed the rest of the week, so I’ll update it when it’s all ready to go to press.

    WordPress doesn’t allow me to embed Issuu flash pieces, so you’ll need to click here to check it out in all its Issuu glory. I love Issuu – great interface and quality, but my only problem is a lack of  functional embedding for WordPress.

    Here are some thumbnails to get you to click on the Issuu book link.




  11. Addy 2009 Revolution

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    I’m loving this campaign for the Oklahoma City Addy Awards this year! The theme is “Idea Revolution”. Last year’s was kind of disappointing, but this makes up for it. The awards are on Valentine’s Day, which was a stupid decision in my opinion, but they’re going to make up for it with a freaking awesome night – I’ve heard a brief description and it sounds really cool.

    I’ll be volunteering at the Gala and apparently will be playing a part in the mayhem, so that should be fun.

    But the coolest part so far has been the great design of the call for entries giveaway. It came in a cardboard cylinder with a screw-on cap. Inside was a canister full of straw like I was opening up a bomb. I took out the very-well done insert and the little black envelope.

    Inside the envelope was a black flash drive with the Addy logo on the side. Stuck it in and automatically watched a video of a very 12 Monkey’s-esque scene of people running around in masks in a van and doing all sorts of crazy shenanigans. Good music – ok quality video, but great idea. After the video, you get links to send in your stuff and links for more Addy 2009 info.

    Very cool. More pics of the insert after the jump!

    dscf2627 (more…)