Six years ago marked Well Vegan’s launch when Bureau developed the brand from scratch for food-entrepreneur Katie Koteen to market her vegan meal plan subscription service. This spring, with a ton of new site features and her first cookbook under her belt, Katie wanted a refresh for the logo and website.
The first thing on the docket was a logo update. The friendly hand drawn script was a keeper, but legibility was increased by redrawing it on a level baseline and separating the two words with a visual – one of Katie’s favorite illustrations from the initial branding, a white radish. A pop of green was retained in the radish leaves, but the overall impression was more toned down.
The inaugural 2011 branding for Well Vegan included lots of hand drawn elements, borders, spot illustrations and illustration as main images (see it here). In 2017 Katie wanted to update the site based on the increase in photography and recipe posts, as well as make the site feel a bit simpler and cleaner rather than the homespun start-up it used to be.
A major area of focus was paring down the use of illustration and color to allow the food photography to shine. Instead of being the main focus, illustrations were used as accents and often in black & white instead of full color. The fonts also were refreshed – headline and accents were kept in the friendly legacy font (Skolar) while body and informational text was updated to the lighter, brighter Mr. Eaves.
In the instances where illustration is used for main effect, we stuck with the black line-work style with color accents. This also left room for future promotional illustrations which had been a heavy favorite over the years with subscribers and the Pinterest crowd.
The new streamlined feel was leveraged lightly throughout the site and in the cookbook design, featured on the cover and as page accents. The book is currently available.
From full-frontal meat spectacular to a dense foliage-laden tome of vegan cooking knowledge, my last two projects were on opposite ends of the food spectrum. This time the project at hand was designing a vegan cookbook: The Frugal Vegan! It’s no wonder half my blog posts are tagged MMMM, FOOD.
A friend and colleague I’ve worked with over the years recently published her first cookbook. Well Vegan is Katie Koteen’s online vegan meal-planning service. It was launched in 2010 and had been a side project of hers for several years, growing slowly with the addition of Kate Kasbee, then expanding the recipes and features on the site, and finally becoming a main focus of work which led to a book deal: Frugal Vegan: Affordable, Easy & Delicious Vegan Cooking. One of the most exciting parts of working with small business owners is seeing them grow their business and what direction(s) it takes over the years – this one is definitely on an upward trajectory.
Katie & Kate tested and refined 99 recipes that focus on budget-friendly vegan cooking. I got to taste a few recipes along the way, witness an upgrade from an unreliable stove to a gas-top range, and in the end was asked to help with the book design. The project scope was limited but made a nice difference – developing a cover with photo direction and hand drawn typography reminiscent of her Well Vegan brand and creating an inside template for recipes and chapter introductions. Photography was shot by Wonder Jam. The end result is a fresh and easy-to-read cook book with accessible recipes that even (gasp) I could make. Probably.
Frugal Vegan is currently available for pre-order.
A client that continues to provide fun and interesting projects, Olympia Provisions, recently commissioned the Bureau create a holiday gift guide (more to come on that another day). One of the main photo spreads was a compilation of all of their charcuterie in the shape of a pig, with the products placed approximately where it came from on the pig (give or take an artistic license or two).
The image was created by salumist Elias Cairo of Olympia Provisions placing all the meats in their respective areas, then myself adjusting the placement until it looked like your friendly neighborhood oinker if you were looking at it with X-ray meat vision. Photographer David Reamer shot the piece from a ladder, top down on a white sheet. The white marble was added in post production to give the pig a neutral background and showcase the variety of colors and textures (apparently fat marbling is a big deal in the meat world).
Now, I’m not averse to meat. I eat it. I enjoy it. I’ve even spent time in slaughter rooms on Eastern Oregon ranches during my youth and had my dad chase me to the hay barn brandishing a cow’s tongue (scary for an 8 year old). But in my last two decades of life I haven’t handled that much meat because a) I’m not the main cook in the house, and b) I live with a vegetarian. But handling 50 pieces of meat several times each for over an hour is a bit beyond what I ever though my job as a designer would entail. Suffice to say, I fulfilled my meat handling quota for the year on this project!
And, since this was a small part of their annual consumer-side catalog project, you can indeed buy The Whole Shebang (which is technically classified as a “half pig”) when holiday season rolls around. It’s a no-lose situation, and as we described this unique offering in the catalog…
Last minute dinner guests? Need to throw a party for a hundred of your best friends or business associates? Fear not—with our half pig, you’ll never experience a pork shortage again. Includes everything listed! Assembly required.
An interesting client I have been working with recently is Ceek, a product design and development start-up that provides innovative solutions for frontline women’s healthcare. Bucking the historical trend of men making products for women to varying degrees of success, this company focuses on products created for women, by women. Definitely an approach I could get behind!
Their logo was an exercise in custom typography and compactness as it needed to reproduce well on a variety of materials in small format (for example, as a deboss on a rubber handle grip). To aid in keeping the logo as big as possible at even the tiniest scales, a monoline x-height was implemented so the logo wouldn’t have to scale to accommodate the tallest character (since there are none!). A simple petal icon went through many iterations to become soft yet bold, feminine and somewhat regal, and have the right proportions to scale as well. A metallic lavender was chosen as the main brand color, differentiating it in the medical field which tends to employ blues (HEALTH!) and pinks (FOR WOMEN!) across the board. A broad palette of supporting colors were added to increase vibrancy and flexibility for future product lines and create a more nuanced palette than competitors, making the brand more approachable than clinical.
Ceek’s first foray is tackling the age old device of every women’s annual visit – the speculum – with a range of patient and doctor friendly updates in their product design. Shockingly, the device hasn’t had major updating since its invention in the 1800s. From a graphic design perspective, it was also not the most inspirational visual matter to present front and center. To communicate Ceek’s intentions and story, we focused on their leading goals and featuring a wide variety of portrait stories and subtle growth focused imagery. A complementary logotype for Nella, the first product line, was also created. In addition to design, Leighann Franson aided in brand copywriting and Katie Koteen implemented the website.
Working with Solid Branding for their client McAfee, the Bureau created a set of 20 cybersecurity related icons and a timeline infographic that was used for both McAfee’s involvement in cybersecurity and a generic version of general cybersecurity history, all done to match McAfee’s brand guidelines. Not being particularly techy or aware of the nefarious side of technology, working on this project made me a bit paranoid every time I opened up a device…are they watching?
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.
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)
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.
Here is the sixth and last card in a series postcards I illustrated for Umpqua Bank. They were used at the Portland Business Journal Luncheon and Seattle Design Series, mixed and matched in sets of 3 and delivered in a custom envelope. This card features NW-inspired foliage in shades of Umpqua’s lesser-used green palette.
I’ve had the pleasure of working on many projects with the Happiest Company in Portland*, Ruby Receptionists, and the last project was no exception. This project focused on creating illustration assets for their member services, or internal member-facing interface. Whether it is keeping track of calls, making custom availability settings, or managing contacts and data, Ruby and her accomplices are there to help every step of the way. Working from wireframes, I fleshed out the visuals needed to “Rubify” the web interface. Here are just a few outtakes from the project:
*title awarded by me, but I’m sure many would agree
A series of large circular icons were created in a consistent style for reinforcing the tools being used. Mixing old visuals such as adding machines, retro clocks, will return signs and real live calendars adds a fun twist to using the online functions. The project scope included everything from tiny navigational icons to almost full screen illustrations, with over 30 assets created in total.
Even virtual receptionists need their beauty sleep, so a bonus round of icons for indicating it was “after hours” was made. A cocktail glass option didn’t make the cut, but I believe that Ruby might just have a little fun on Fridays after answering your phones all week.
“Wonderland” is one of six postcards illustrated for Umpqua Bank with a Pacific Northwest theme. Derived from the old blue and yellow Oregon license plates that carried the slogan “Pacific Wonderland”, this interpretation came straight from the many childhood hours I spent with my dad in his 1979 red Dodge, traversing the roads of Central Oregon’s sunshiny plains.
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.