Olympia Provisions Wurst Division

Drum roll please…for the opening of OP Wurst Division! Olympia Provisions’ offshoot restaurant series, Wurst, now has a new location on 3384 SE Division street. A renovation of the old Honky Tonk Taco building turned a teal & red taco joint into a high end sausage bar. You heard it – a high end sausage bar. The Bureau assisted by providing brand & signage suggestions including establishing a simple white, black and gold palette that takes advantage of the interior’s natural wood accents and a restrained use of signage combined with custom composed old-time woodcut illustrations.

Strongman sausage lifter announcing the new OP Wurst Division location in SE Portland

On the front facade two large backlit gold signs can be seen through the windows boasting BEER and SAUSAGE. What more do you need to know? Inspired by a hut on the top of Mount Hood that has no logo or branding other than BBQ written in 15-foot-tall letters on the roof, OP Wurst Division uses a minimal approach to great effect. The signage works double-time as cozy lighting while the bar is open and all-night-long advertising to passerby. Inside, the main impressions include a giant bar, gleaming rafters, and a newly installed fireplace in the west wing (otherwise known as the “wurst room”). When seen from outside the singular message makes sure you know what to expect. BEER. AND. SAUSAGE. (photos by Dina Avila)

acklit gold interior signage spelling BEER and SAUSAGE. Outdoor patio message: it could always be wurst.

An outside patio mural boldly shouts a simple message to people near and far: It could always be wurst. Speaking of which, the menu has a plethora of hot dog options from traditional to way-out-in-left-field (there are even a few menu options for veggie lovers). In conjunction with the opening, Olympia Provisions is also expanding their sausage options from the standard pork to include both chicken and beef sausages. So hustle on over to Wurst Division and try a traditional dog or an experimental twist on the classic wurst.

wreaths heralding chicken, pork and beef sausage selection at OP Wurst

Olympia Provisions Introduces Landrauchschinken

Feel free to grab and ice pack and sprain your tongue on that mouthful. I was once told that speaking Danish (my second language) was like talking with your mouth full of marbles, and that if it didn’t hurt just a little then you weren’t doing it right. The Swiss must have been visiting Scandinavia when they came up with this moniker for Swiss Country Ham. Good thing you can order meat from the internet in complete silence, so if you like a cured pig loin soaked in burnt sugar and flavored with juniper and rosemary delivered straight to your doorstep with no intervention by the pronunciation police, then you’re in luck.

Oh, here’s the little promo image I put together for Olympia Provisions social channels to promote their new product.
Say it with me…LOND – RAUK – SHEEN – KIN.

Vintage etched illustration of a pig for Olympia Provisions Landrauchschinken launch. It's Swiss Country Ham!

Olympia Provisions Inserts

Olympia Provisions, of famed salamis and several restaurants in Portland, has several meat-of-the-month clubs. You heard it right! Salamis, sausages, pâté and pickles* all get the white glove treatment and can be delivered straight to your doorstep or gullet, whichever is closest to the mailman.

For each club the Bureau was tasked with designing informational brochures so members knew (for example) exactly what was in their salami, how best to serve it, what kind of romantic dates salami likes best, and revealing once and for all what that white stuff on the outside of a salami is (protective edible house flora that has a reputation that precedes it).

Unsure of what to get your sweetie for Valentines to tell them they are that special someone? Say it with meat.

collateral inserts for Olympia Provisions' club of the months - salami of the month, sausage of the month, pate of the month and pickle of the month

*Not technically a meat.

Olympia Provisions Holiday Card

I’ve recently been designing collateral and packaging for Olympia Provisions, a fine meat-centric cluster of restaurants in Portland, Oregon and purveyor of American Charcuterie. Their branding is already top notch, so when the opportunity popped up to create their holiday postcard, it was purely fun. The process on this was super succinct with just a rough sketch of the idea before approval for design & illustration. Guess you can’t fail with the formula of meat + wreath. Meaty Christmas to all!


Thanks to Hayden Walker for illustration skills that helped keep the project on time and on budget. A recent graduate, Hayden is a new to Portland and has helped the Bureau over the last few months on several projects, including the Oregon VS Oregon beer label design by decade.

Bandit Books Logo

Bandit Books is the two-pronged business of my friend Katy Meegan, focusing on bookkeeping for creative businesses as well as bookmaking and creative projects. Katy and I met at the IPRC over a decade ago as fellow letterpress teachers. We continued our friendship and shared love of books at Em Space, and for many many years Katy was half of the duo Keegan Meegan which offered letterpress and design services.

This summer Katy was taking her next professional step in combining her organizational and bookkeeping skills to help other creatives with their businesses. Over some evenings drawing together in my nook we talked about how that would look, which led to working together on her logo.

Katy knew she wanted a raccoon in her logo – it was her spirit animal and spoke to her as a symbol for not being your regular bookkeeper. Because of this, the first round of logos was very specific and concentrated on coons. Coons! Coons! Coons! I am a big fan of character studies, so I went about it trying to answer things such as: Can a raccoon reliably hold a book? If a raccoon were a typeface how would it look? How would a minimalist Scandinavian designer make a raccoon icon? Can a raccoon be as clever in a logo as in real life? The logo process shows the efforts of answering these questions.

lots of raccoon centric logo explorations for Bandit Books

After the first round, Katy was certain that the right raccoon for her was a mashup of a monoline raccoon portrait and the profile of a book, and the face of Bandit Books was born. The quality of the logo lent itself well to reproduction in letterpress, paying dues to Katy’s background in that arena, and the font was chosen so she could hand typeset other materials in the job case workhorse Futura. I’ll be posting more explorations on the brand materials soon. In the meantime, if you know a creative business looking for financial organization, you know who to call: Bandit Books.


Ducks VS Beavers “Civil War” Beer Design Series

Each year, Oregon descends into sports madness when the Ducks (University of Oregon) and Beavers (Oregon State) face off at the “Civil War” football game, the biggest sporting event in the state. The tradition dates back to 1894 with over 115 games on record. Every November sport pennants fly proudly from cars, allegiances are sworn and catcalls are common. For the most part, I stay completely out of the mêlée. Until this year.

Which brings me to the Ducks VS Beavers Civil War “Beer Design by Decade” project! For every decade that the Ducks and Beavers have been competing against each other I created a beer label for both teams. Design wise I focused on the simplest execution possible to represent the styles, tropes, themes and feeling from that decade.

13 decades of beer designs for the Oregon State Beavers and University of Oregon Ducks.

While having participated in sports in high school with great fervor but mediocre talent, most of my 20’s and 30’s have been spent in front of a computer or a book. My sister, on the other hand, can most often be found cheering on her favorite sports team and alma mater: the Ducks. She probably inherited this from my dad who used to have a sport for every season which he watched dutifully and on the edge of his seat, can of peanuts and Pabst in hand. Realizing that my sister’s fandom would probably never subside, I decided to join in the only ways I knew how – eating guacamole during games and designing beer labels for the respective teams. Here are the labels zoomed in and side by side for each decade.


Oh yeah, this years Civil War is on Saturday November 26th at Reser Stadium.

Thanks to:

Hayden Walker, a new Portland design transplant who helped with research and design as I balanced client work and a project effort that I underestimated greatly. See his work or Dribbble. Also to Tess Wojahn for helping with research (I’m sure a process post with inspiration images will follow at some point). See her work.

My playground friends from Madras, Oregon circa 1988 for spurring my alternative sports involvement when we wrote a rap about how great the Trail Blazers were (those were the days!).

My dad, who watched sports and drank beer and seemed to know infinitely more than both coaches and players based on the color commentary provided. He probably did know quite a bit as an ex-college and army ball player in both baseball & basketball. Those tense moments of accidentally running in front of the TV during an important play or daring to speak during a key game decision and being reprimanded with the Rankin glare will never be forgotten.

There you have it!

Ducks VS Beavers civil war beer design by decade

Ruby Receptionists online sign-up website

Another Ruby project from the last few months was helping the team, led by Terri Haswell, UX manager, to provide graphic assets for their online sign-up site. In addition to the structure and content getting an overhaul, the graphics were designed to make the process simpler and easy to understand while getting the basic information needed to help and retain new customers, all while providing a great first impression of what working with Ruby feels like.


I love working with Ruby’s illustration library and creating new scenes with the Ruby character and all her accoutrements. To reinforce the step-by-step process of signing up, we created an iconographic navigation path that highlights user progress. Translating the usually large and detailed illustrations into small icons was a good challenge in keeping the Ruby flair intact at a small size.


At each step along the way, Ruby and her cohorts provide friendly assistance and encouragement in filling out 1) personal information, 2) choosing a plan, 3) selecting a greeting, 4) completing business information, 5) filling in team members, and 6) payment. Here are several more screens (the last screen is a “designer pick” that wasn’t used as a final).


Ruby Receptionists icons

Over the past year I’ve done several projects with Ruby Receptionists. A virtual receptionist company that focuses on friendly service, their brand is characterized by colorful and cute 50s-60s inspired illustrations of Ruby and her cohorts. And when I say “friendly service”, I really mean it. Think about the warm fuzzy feeling you get from, say, watching an old episode of Sesame Street where all the characters hug after an adventure. Well, that’s how it feels to correspond with Ruby. In that vein, one of my efforts was working with Marcella Vail, Director of Employee Engagement, to create an icon library for internal use in presentations, powerpoints, online media and generally peppy publications for the Ruby team.

Ruby Receptionist icons

Copenhagen Mind Map for Archie’s Press

Here is a recent collaboration with Archie’s Press that I’m super excited to share: a conceptual “mind map” of Copenhagen, Denmark. So many aspects of the project spoke to me: the history, the design challenge, the process, and the city itself.

Archie Archambault and I met almost a decade ago when we were both members of Em Space, a letterpress & book making collective. He was a bright eyed and idealistic printer/maker and I was an agency designer who liked to relax with a good stack of paper and a letterpress. He made his first map of Portland, which was pretty different from everything else out there at the time. I quit the agency life and started the Bureau of Betterment as a freelance designer. Over the years we crossed paths here and there. He moved to Amsterdam; I visited. I moved to Copenhagen (and back to Portland again); he kept in touch. And he made maps – lots of them – first of places he lived or visited, then collaborating with local designers on new maps.


As you can see, Archie’s maps are built with circles. As he explains on his site, research indicates that GPS’s are hindering our ability to create mental maps of our surroundings. His aim is to install a “Map from the Mind”, simplifying structures and neighborhoods in the most efficient and beautiful way possible. The circle, our Universe’s softest shape, is the clearest graphic to convey size and connection.

A few months ago, Archie got in touch and asked if I would collaborate with him on a map of Copenhagen, based on my knowledge of the city and his system of designing maps. I said YES. Having lived in Copenhagen for several years, it was a project close to my heart. I spent time looking at historic maps, reading about the city like I hadn’t done before, and interviewing both Danes and expats living in Copenhagen (thanks Niklas, Christa, Lise, Emil, Michelle & Carli).


Creating a “mind map” is different than a regular A-to-B map, and boy does that make me happy. How do people use the city and how do they get around? How do they explain the city to others? How does the city feel? How are the parts connected in the mind? What are the bare essentials for wayfinding while also understanding how the city is organized? And as a design piece, how do we make it visually engaging? I started with the basics, not even entering design mode until we had figured out the underpinnings of what was important.


Roads might seem obvious as a heavy hitter, but Copenhagen is different. Its’ roads don’t follow a grid pattern, and sometimes the same road changes name four times within a kilometer. When my interviewees were given the choices of 1) neighborhood, 2) landmarks, 3) water, 4) major roads, 5) a specific address and 6) public transit as wayfinding tools, the clear winners were neighborhoods and landmarks with water and public transit coming in second. Roads were last, even scoring low among those who used cars as their main method of transportation. That is why we only included the critical inner ring road that connects the neighborhoods and the “5-finger” spoke roads that were part of Copenhagen’s city plan from way back when. Simplifying the public transportation system was a tough choice. Archie and I decided that the Metro was the public transit mode to feature – there were too many bus lines and the train system wasn’t exclusive to the city, but the Metro is on the move and connects to the airport.


After much exploration I settled on a structure that featured the defining neighborhoods (or “broer”, which means bridge in Danish) – Østerbro, Nørrebro, Vesterbro, Amagerbro and Frederiksberg. These neighborhoods are top of mind when describing how to traverse the city and have very distinct vibes that define them: quiet and well-to-do Østerbro, multi-cultural and diamond-in-the-rough Nørrebro, established and monied Frederiksberg, the cool hipster feel of Vesterbro, and the up-and-coming Amager which has both unique merits and suffers from the stepsister syndrome. The map prominently features the main bike thoroughfare that thousands use daily on their commute and provides a serene way to bike with minimal interaction with regular roads. Unlike most of Archie’s circle maps, the Copenhagen map puts emphasis on public parks as well as schools and hospitals that allude to the Danish social system.


Many challenges lay in the details: getting the placement and proportions right so that major roads connected accurately to parks and water, dividing the lakes correctly with the bridges that crossed them, and having the metro pass through the right areas while still hitting their end destinations that are used as the line names when boarding (Vanløse, Lufthavn, Vestamager). All while using circles, circles, and more circles!

A favorite part of the map for me is the integration of the lakes circling the city, which visually connects to the remainders of the old defensive moat system from the Middle Ages (the triangular points on the south side of the harbor on Amager). The northern contained lakes are a central gathering point for tourists, runners, and locals enjoying the banks of the lake for a quick take-out meal. I also love the juxtaposition of the free city-state Christiana right next to the world-class restaurant Noma – two experiments on different ends of the spectrum. And even though we didn’t follow a structure based on the quaint maps of centuries gone by, where everything spreads out from the oldest and most central part of the city, I’m happy that a little bit of the historic “radiating city” feel was retained in this modern interpretation.

The Copenhagen map has been reviewed by a Danish magazine, Magasinet KBH, which focuses on city life and the changing architectural spaces of Copenhagen. You can use google translate, but the general opinion was that the map was simple and clear to understand – which from the Danes is a pretty good review!

While the map has been deemed simple and clear by the natives (and hopefully to visitors as well), here is a decoder key so you can quickly get an idea of all the parts and how they interact. The ring of names around the outside/northwest are suburbs, and following Archie’s system the city center (Centrum) is black. All smaller localized areas, tourist spots and notable locations are in individual circles (the zoo, Tivoli Gardens, Noma, Islands Brygge, the airport, etc), as well as parks, hospitals, schools and the overarching neighborhoods.


The Copenhagen mind map is available at Archie’s Press in letterpress (8×8″) or screen print (17.5×17.5″) editions.* Some of my favorite pieces of Archie’s are from the Outer Space series, including The Moon, The Sun, and The Milky Way – even the product descriptions make me smile. Thanks for reading – now you know way more than you probably need about designing a mind map of Copenhagen.

*Tim May, I have you covered.

SS Halo Logo: Study for Singled Sided Hearing

This illustration was a done as a favor for a friend in the medical field. The project was for a grad school course involving a mock research grant proposal for a study on single-sided hearing – the proposed research would invoke youth with single sided hearing loss and quality of life outcomes.

The Seattle-based team wanted a ship to represent their study, called SS Halo, and from a few digital sketches chose this one to use as their icon. The only requirements were that it should have some orange and blue to feel connected to the Seattle Children’s Hospital and the name be prominent in the clean and simple illustration.

One of the options not chosen was a more whimsical style that led to the series “Famous Ships in Bottles”. I often find that cast offs from paid creative work is what I am most drawn to and helps inspire side projects and personal illustrations.

The SS Halo
The SS Halo