Monday, December 16, 2013

Friday, November 08, 2013

Martian Manhunter, vector illustration...

Another addition to the set of superhero illustrations I've been working on. I also recorder the illustration process for this one as well. So, if you have a few minutes to waste, feel free to check that out.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

New logo for SmartFix Center... Discount card and display design for SmartFix Center.

This is a recently completed logo for SmartFix Center, a new business in Dillsburg, Pa that specializes smartphone and iPad repair. Cracked screen, water damage, bad wifi, broken speaker... they can fix it.

Also designed or the client was a discount card and display design. Making good use of simple, bold design to get customers attention. Plus, who doesn't love a discount?

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Star Wars, Cloud City travel poster

Look close, that's Boba Fett's ship.

Twin-Pod Cloud Car tours.

Private Concierge Service. That is a silhouette of LoBot, Lando Calrissian's right hand man.

Some fresh Star Wars nerdliness. This is a recently completed travel poster for Cloud City, the floating outpost above the gas planet Bespin.

Monday, October 07, 2013

Halloween cartoon characters.

A recently completed set of Halloween cartoon characters. The sketches for these characters have been sitting on a folder in my computer since 2009 and I finally did the digital versions this past weekend.

I guess it's better late than never. :)

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Breaking Bad poster

Illustrated Breaking Bad poster featuring a 5000 ml round bottom boiling flask. Described as "the Pièce de résistance", by Walter White, on episode 1 of the series.

The series finale airs tonight and that will be it for one of the best shows on television. :(

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Puridiom rebranding.

This rebranding was done several years ago when Technical Services Associates were in the process of changing the company name to Puridiom. I was brought in to design the new logo and marketing materials.

Puridiom is a leading provider of cutting edge e-Procurement, e-Sourcing, and e-Payable solutions. So how do you turn that into a logo? My first thought was that abstract was the way to go. Not all logos need to be a literal interpretation of what the business does or the name of the company. A well designed symbol that is easily recognizable works just as well.

The new marketing materials have a cleaner, modern layout, an updated color scheme with each service being assigned its own color and new custom flowcharts to show their process.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

JCSU sports logo rebrand

This is a proposed design for a rebranding of the Johnson C. Smith University, Golden Bulls sports logo.

The old logo needed some serious work. The bull does not quite have the look that you would expect for a college sports program. I don't think the varying line weights in the bull mascot were working very well and the overall style sort of looked like inexpensive clipart.

The font for the logo was definitely a weak point with a very generic "college style" font. Having the college name at an angle also seemed a bit awkward within the logo design.

The redesigned logo keeps the blue and gold colors but sports a new mascot design and font. The bull has a bolder, stylized look with a more dynamic pose that indicates action.

A better font was selected for the logo that was customized with highlights. The name of the university was set in a simple font to set it apart from the team name. Also, the university name is very long, so simplifying the font helped to keep it from being an overwhelming element within the design that is still legible at a smaller size.

The new logo steps it up and delivers a dynamic and versatile design that better represents the university sports teams and athletic program.

Monday, August 12, 2013

Thursday, August 08, 2013

Brochure redesign.

The owner of Diamond IT realized that the brochure designs for his company were just not cutting it in terms of quality and overall presentation. The brochures were not nearly as professional as they needed to be and did not properly represent the company. I was hired to give the brochures a much needed redesign that more effectively brands the company and their services.

Overall, the brochure was far too plain and lacked refinement. It definitely needed more color and new images. There were also inconsistencies with the type in the brochure. Most noticeably in the inside panels where some paragraphs are formatted differently as well as a mix of serif and sans serif fonts.

For the new brochures I used new images that made far better use of color and size to create a more visually interesting design. The type issues were corrected with one font for all of the text as well as consistent formatting for the paragraphs.

There is no rule stating that all of the content in a trifold brochure has to be contained within the vertical panels. It's not bad if it follows that format, but it is very typical. To deviate from that typical look, I took one panel of information, blocked it off, and laid it out across two panels. This blocked section creates a more visually interesting element and breaks up the vertical space. The same image from the cover was used in the background as well as the the blue color to keep a consistent look throughout the brochure.

When you compare the old and new brochures you can see how much more impact the new design has with better use of type, color, and imagery.

The design was applied to two other brochures. While each has its own set of color combinations, and images, they maintain the same overall formatting which helps establish a cohesive, recognizable, and professional appearance.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Artisan Vehicle Systems rebranding case study.

Old website and logo used by Artisan Vehicle Systems.

The Company:
Artisan Vehicle Systems provides end to end zero emission powertrain solutions. Their products include heavy duty vehicle powertrains, battery packs, master vehicle controls, high powered chargers, and maintenance systems.

The Challenge:
To help elevate the company's image by improving their visual branding.

What needs to be improved? To start off with, the logo design is not working. It seems like a bad interpretation of what someone in the early 1980's thought would look futuristic. There are also some awkward angles and spacing issues happening. The logo does not represent the company well at all and needs to be improved.

A strong logo is especially important for a business because it is the cornerstone of the company's identity. It is incorporated into virtually everything that anyone will see from a business, including marketing materials, online presence, ads, signage, promotional items... For those reasons, it is essential that a company logo is well designed.

The website was doing no favors for the company either. The design is very bland and the logo, which is the only image on the homepage, is way too big. The site is about on par with what website design was back in 1998. With a website like that, they are essentially giving visitors the impression of being nearly 15 years behind the times. That's bad news considering that they are a tech company, and this was their website as of mid 2012. 

Overall, the visual branding is weak and reflects very poorly upon the company, giving potential clients a bad impression about who they are and the quality of the products they provide. 

The Solution:
Gone is the quasi-futuristic and simultaneously retro 80's logo, and in is a more refined, and memorable logo design consisting of a combination icon and wordmark. The new logo incorporates a figure reminiscent of Art Deco imagery from the 20's, but still maintains a very modern style. If you look closely the wrench tapers off into a lightning bolt shape. Just a small detail that adds some flair.   

The new website makes use of very clean, corporate design that is far more visually appealing. Bigger is not always better, so the logo does not take up over half the width of the page like the previous website.

Imagery is not just for decoration and visual interest. It also helps reinforce your message. So, the layout makes good use of carefully selected photography for the large banner. The banner alternates between three different designs fading in and out every few seconds. Notice the slight hexagon pattern in the banner. That is the same shape as the logo, and is also incorporated into the outer website background.

The new business card, much like the website, has a very corporate feel to it. The hexagon pattern, which was used in the website, is repeated again here. Also carried over are the colors red, black, and gray, as well as the use of the logo icon as a background image. Incorporating similar elements throughout different designs helps create a consistent brand image that customers will instantly recognize, and associate with Artisan Vehicle Systems.

The rebrand has helped raise the company's brand by putting forth a far more professional image which lends credibility to the company and instills confidence in current and potential future customers.

Rebranded logo, business card, and website for Artisan Vehicle Systems.

Friday, August 02, 2013

North Mountain Inn logo design.

This logo design was created for North Mountain Inn, a bar located in Carlisle, Pa. The design was not selected, but I still dig it.  

Friday, July 19, 2013

Logo design for "No Last Call", Harrisburg's first and only street band.

A fun logo for a good time band. No Last Call not only plays events, but they regularly hit the streets of downtown Harrisburg to add some spice to the nightlife.

You can't design something for a client if you don't know who your client is. So, I attended one of their practice sessions to hear them play and speak to the members of the band to get to good sense of who they are and what they are all about.

With a better understanding of who my client is, I got to work and created a fun, whimsical design which reflects the spirit of the band. With hand illustrated text to create a more custom look, the logo serves to help promote the band and leave a lasting impression. Plus, it's just flat out cool. If that was on a shirt I would totally wear it. 

Friday, June 28, 2013

Central PA SAT Prep logo development.

I was hired by Central PA SAT Prep to design a new logo to brand their business. Based in Carlisle, Pa, they focus on helping students develop the skills necessary to achieve the highest score possible on the most important test they take in high school - the SAT.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Visit Jabba's Palace

A vintage poster style design advertising Jabba's Palace as a travel destination. Designed with Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. Can you tell I'm a big Star Wars geek?

Monday, May 20, 2013

Sports identity design in full force!

There's some tasty new logo design work up on my website in the new section I've added for sports identity design. I gotta put the word out that there is big design being crafted in Carlisle, Pa just minutes from Harrisburg.

Check it out > >

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Skull illustration.

This is a recent vector illustration I created for my brothers PA Army National Guard unit, which is in Kuwait, to print on t-shirts.

You can see more samples of my vector illustration work on my website via the following link.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

Sports logo development.

Spartans Sports Logo Design
Spartans Logo

Tigers Sports Logo Design
Tigers Logo

Phantoms Sports Logo Design
Phantoms Logo

Barracudas Sports Logo Design
Barracudas Logo

Some sports logo designs I carefully crafted so they are stylized, but not so much that they look corporate, and at the same time aren't so loosely drawn that they look like Saturday morning cartoon characters.

All of the samples here a pallet of no more that 3 to 4 colors. They make good use of large flat areas of color and will be easily reproduced for digital use, print design and embroidery. 

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Quietville game illustrations.

This is the first image I've seen of the actual printed illustration work I did for a game called "Quietville", by Kanga Games. Hopefully I find more images online or get a hold of the actual game to see what it all looks like.

I was also hired by Kanga Games, to do illustrations for another game which was recently completed.

Friday, May 03, 2013

But the Nike logo only cost $35...

I have heard this so many times in regard to the pricing of logo development and design work in general, that I am at the point where I may instantly jump out of the nearest window the next time I hear it.

Yes, the Nike logo was designed by college student Carolyn Davidson, in 1971, for the measly sum of $35. But did you know that she had agreed to work for only $2.00 per hour? Which means that it took her 17.5 hours of design time for the logo development. Furthermore, she has stated that it actually took a lot longer than what she billed for the design.

Would you have guessed that such a simple image would take upwards of 17 hours? Probably not. Logo development is generally seen as an easy thing to do because logos are thought of as "simple graphics", which should take no more than 2 or 3 hours to create and so should not cost much. That assumption could not be more wrong. While logos are minimal in design, they are not easy to create, and are in fact, one of the most difficult elements for designers to work on. So, 17 hours for logo development by one person for a small company is pretty much near the average.

There are a few reasons why any designer, anywhere, would only spend just a few hours or less to create a logo. The first is if by chance the designer has a stroke of genius and a fantastic design pops into their head right away. That does happen but not very often at all. I can tell you it has only happend to me maybe three times in my 14 years as a professional designer.

The second reason is if the logo design is being done by someone who just doesn't know what the hell they are doing and or doesn't really care. I have always said that anyone who claims that "logo development is easy and done quickly", isn't doing it right. You see, the more someone knows about design, and the more experience they have the longer it takes them to design a good logo. That's because a good designer has developed a far more discerning eye, and is working with actual goals in mind about what your company does, your target market, the industry you are in... Not to mention taking into consideration how and where the logo will be used, along with a myriad of other factors. They will create tons of concepts, scrap a lot of them because they are not as strong as they need to be, revise others multiple times, all in an effort to come up with the few logos that end up being presented to the client. A lesser designer will just slap a few designs together, call it done, and be completely satisfied in presenting the mediocre designs they quickly cobbled together.

Something to consider about the pricing for logo development is that it is custom, one of a kind design work to which you are getting full rights to. That means that designers can't do anything with the logo other than showing it as work that they have created. Designers can't resell the design or profit from it in any way once you purchase it. I bring this up because I have heard clients say that for the price I charge they can buy "X" product... Unfortunately, that is not a fair comparison because what we design we cannot sell over and over again like mass produced consumer products. Since I'm talking about Nike, I'll use that as an example. You can get a really nice pair of Nike shoes, top of the line, for say, $150 or so. Nike produces these shoes by the thousands and sells the same shoe design over and over again for that price. Now, try calling Nike corporate headquarters and asking them to design and manufacture one pair of one of a kind shoes, just for you, that you will own all rights to and they can never copy and sell again. How much do you think that will set you back?

Ultimately, you have to take the Nike logo and its price for what it is, the exception, not the rule. So much so, that over 40 years after it was created, it seems to be the only story of its kind that anyone can refer to.

Thursday, May 02, 2013

Internet history was made in Carlisle, Pa.

Back in 1996 when the internet was still fairly new and we were all logging on to the web with blazing fast 56k dial-up modems, there was one visionary who was far ahead of her time. During her junior year, Dickinson College student Jennifer Ringley started one of the first webcam sites online out of her dorm room.

The website ( was nothing more than Jennifer Ringley's everyday life with the camera being on 24 hours a day, but it became wildly popular with an estimated three to four million viewers daily. The success of the website propelled Ringley into worldwide notoriety.  She was in over 100 media outlets, (TV, newspapers, magazines). In 1998 she was a guest on The Late Show with David Letterman. She was cast in an episode of Diagnosis Murder, and appeared on the Today Show, and World News Tonight With Peter Jennings.

Ringley shut down the site in 2003 after PayPal established new anti-nudity policies.

Michael Jordan Sued by Chinese Sportswear Maker Qiaodan.

Here is a good one for you. Qiaodan is a Chinese sportswear company with nearly 6000 outlets in China, which brought in $276 million in revenue last year. The company uses a silhouette logo of Michael Jordan in a similar style and color as the official jumpman logo, only in a different pose. They sell basketball shoes and jerseys with the number 23 on them, and the name "Qiaodan", pronounced “chee-ow dahn, ” is a Chinese version of the name “Jordan”.

Michael Jordan sues Qiaodan for trademark infringement, asking that the company stop using his name and trademark, and $183,000 in damages. So, what does Qiaodan do? They countersue Jordan for $8 million in damages, claiming that Jordan tarnished its reputation and delayed its plan for an initial public offering.

Qiodan's defense claims:
  • 4600 Chinese citizens are named "Qiaodan", and therefore Jordan does not have exclusive rights to the name.
  • "Qiaodan" is not Michael Jordan's actual name.
  • Micahel jordan does not live in China, so he has no right to bring the case.
How's that for brass ones?

Monday, January 28, 2013

My first animation.

I've thought about trying to do animation for a really long time now. I already do cartoon illustration work and watch more cartoons than any grown man should. So, animation always seemed like a natural next step to me.

Last month I finally broke down and purchased Toon Boom Studio animation software. I used an existing character and background I illustrated a few years ago to use as a test project to start familiarizing myself with the program and start learning how to animate. I think the resulting animation is not a bad start. I wish I would have done this years ago, but I guess it's better late than never.

The video has no dialogue but it does contain audio.