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427 Design:  

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2016-02-16

Once again, AAF-Akron hosted a varietal Who’s Who of the Akron advertising professionals and students. This year 427 Design received six Silver ADDY Awards from AAF-Akron at the aptly presidential-themed celebration of the Akron creative community on February 12th – Abe Lincoln’s Birthday.

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At the close of each awards season we like to take the time to thank those who make it possible for us to do what we love. Our clients entrust us with their brands, engage us in overcoming their challenges and allow us the opportunity to produce and implement creative, in some cases award-winning, solutions. A few of the silver statues we received were awarded for work we did for Neil Zaza, Diversified Digital and St. Vincent-St. Mary High School.

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2016 Akron ADDY Awards

St. Vincent-St. Mary High School 2015-2016 Admissions Guidebook
Client: St. Vincent-St. Mary High School

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Diversified Digital Managed Services Sales Collateral
Client: Diversified Digital

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Album Art: Neil Zaza Peach
Client: Neil Zaza

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Poster: Meow.
Client: 427 Design

427 Tiger Poster

Open House IX Invitation
Client: 427 Design

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Open House IX Campaign
Client: 427 Design

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Congratulations to all the winners of the 2016 ADDY awards. The work produced by the greater Akron creative community last year was outstanding and, as always, we are proud to be surrounded and challenged by each of you. Cheers to you, and here’s to another outstanding year.

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Tell us a little bit about your background. Where did you grow up? Fond memories…

I’m still a kid who likes kid stuff, like finger painting and cartoons. But my fondest memories are of running barefoot through my backyard in Ashtabula with my siblings.

So you don’t go to Ohio’s Polytechnic University?

No. I graduated from Jefferson Area High School in 2013 and am currently enrolled at S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University where I study Art Direction. I have also studied at NYU where I earned a certificate in blogging. This spring I’ll be studying at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Austalia.

G’day mate. 

Three words to describe you:

Optimistic, adventurous, calm

Favorite Quote:

“Can’t you see the stars more clearly when standing in places far off the beaten path? And isn’t the ocean deeper, the further out you go from shore? Even where it’s dark, there’s both beauty and life.”

-J. Raymond

What’s on your iPod?

Fleetwood Mac… with a little bit of everything else.

So, what brings you to 427 Design?

Wintern… at your service.

Wintern. See what we did there? 

What do you love most about being an intern for 427 Design?

Good vibes, cool people, big ideas and collaboration. An atmosphere that includes acoustic guitar and mini basketball games doesn’t suck either.

Favorite word?

Unique.

Least favorite word?

Slick & Touché

Touché.

What sound do you love?

Cracking knuckles

What sound do you hate?

Morton Salt containers opening (I just got goosebumps typing that.)

What is something that no one would ever believe to be true about you?

I’m fluent in Greek. I’ve gotten pulled over while driving over 10 times. I’ve been to 14 countries. There’s two lies and one truth… guess which.

What is on your “Bucket List”?

Travel to every country at least once.

Road trip from the most eastern point in the US to the most western point.

Meet Stevie Nicks.

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Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up? What were you like?

I grew up in Louisville, Ohio and was a quiet kid, spending most of my time skateboarding and learning musical instruments. I loved creating everything from my own comic strips and skateboarding videos, to terrible haunted houses in my backyard.

What about college?

I went to The University of Akron for graphic design. I ended up falling in love with screen-printing and got a minor in printmaking. While in school, I received two gold Addy Awards, and one silver Addy Award, as well as a Judges’ Choice Award in the AIGA 730 competition.

Addy Awards, huh? We have a few of those. 

Three words to describe you:

Independent. Reserved. Passionate.

Favorite Social Media:

Instagram

What’s on your iPod?

Recently… Fu Manchu, The Stooges, Madball, Windhand, Slowdive, Best Coast, Mac Demarco…

What was your first impression of 427 Design?

“They make sweet posters.”

Ah, shucks.  

What do you hope to have accomplished in five years? Ten?

Five? I hope to have seen much more of the world within five years. Ten? Pay off college.

Its too early to ask for a raise. 

 If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

Oh how I’d love to stop time. There’s not enough of it.

Favorite word?

Stoked

Least favorite word?

Broke

What sound do you love?

A bluesy guitar riff.

What sound do you hate?

Someone whining about something unnecessary.

What is your favorite curse word?

All of them at once.

What inspires you, and why?

Putting on good music helps me focus and gets ideas flowing.

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We are honored to be able to say that the poster(s) that we designed and printed for Flite Test won Gold at the National ADDY Awards, held in Phoenix, AZ on June 8th. The poster had won Gold, and Best of Show at the Akron ceremony in March, and Silver in the Fifth District ADDY Awards.

Flite Test is an Ohio-based organization created for people who are passionate about flight. We first worked in conjunction with Director/Executive Producer Chad Kapper to redesign the Flite Test logo. We wanted to maintain the essence of their former mark, while adding character and a handdrawn quality. We then took that logo and designed a series of two-color posters.

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While some were printed on basic stock, most were screen printed in our print lab on unconventional materials — pages torn from hobby magazines, strips of balsa wood — we really tried to have fun with the whole process. It’s become a joke around our office that we’ll screen print on anything that will sit still long enough but we love making pieces that are a little bit unexpected and different.

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We continue to be extremely grateful for clients that trust our crazy instincts, and are honored for our work to be recognized at every level of the ADDY awards this year. This is our third National award (we’ve won them in the past for our first Open House Poster and our rebrand of AAF Akron) and we hope it’s not our last. You can read more about the award from AAF Akron here.

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If you came to our 7th annual Open House on April 26th, you may have noticed a new addition to our office walls: a huge, lighted marquee sign consisting of our name, star logo and a curving arrow (it’s kind of hard not to notice).

When we first picked our Open House theme nearly a year ago (Lucky No. 7/Vegas) we almost immediately decided that we wanted to make a sign. Few things scream “Las Vegas” more than large, lighted signs, but we knew that we’d want something that could not only fit into our theme, but remain in our office for years to come. Our creative director, Justin, volunteered to take on the enormous task of building the sign, and one of our designers, Alexandra, designed it.

Here’s a peek into the process:

Research

Most of our projects begin with extensive research. We had toured the Neon Sign Museum‘s boneyard on a trip to Vegas a few years back, so we started combing through the photos we took there for inspiration. We knew we wanted an arrow — and our logo was a given — but choosing the right typefaces and styles for the “427 Design” part was tricky.

We didn’t want the sign to feel too gimmicky or too themed; we wanted a classic and vintage look that would feel at home in our office.

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While Alexandra was busy formulating the design, Justin was researching the construction end of the project. We initially considered making the sign from metal, but we quickly realized that wood was the most feasible option.

We knew we would be using bulbs (instead of neon), and we loved the dimensional quality of the signs with raised sides.

Design

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We designed the sign as vector art in Illustrator. We bought strings of simple, clear, round bulbs and measured one — after the final design was agreed upon, we took the same file and plotted out the placement of each light bulb.

Laser-Cutting

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With the final plans in hand, Justin enlisted the help of Brad’s son Bryan. Bryan and Justin traveled to the Art Institute of Pittsburgh (their Alma Mater) to use their laser-cutting table. The bases for each section of the sign were cut from MDF, and a hole for each bulb was drilled.

This saved a lot of time and potential headaches, and ensured that our sign was as close to the original design as could be.

Adding Dimension

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After the individual pieces were cut out, Justin began adding dimension to each one with strips of masonite. The straight sides were relatively simple: a few nails, some glue and a very precise measuring.

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The curves were a different story. In order to get the masonite around the tight curves, he had to notch each strip so it wouldn’t break under the tension. After nailing and gluing the strips, he filled in the notched areas with body filler (thanks USC!) and sanded each one smooth.

If this sounds fun to you, let me introduce you to Justin’s fingerprints, which reappeared recently after being sanded completely smooth.

Faking Metal

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Although our sign was made from wood, we were able to mimic the look of the vintage, metal signs by using various painting techniques. After a few coats of primer, the entire sign was sprayed with a metallic silver spray paint.

The individual pieces were then painted with latex paint in their own color. Using a combination of scraping and sanding, Justin then distressed the pieces, paying special attention to the areas that would realistically have received the most wear (edges, around the bulb sockets, etc.).

Adding Bulbs

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Turning a string of lights into a lighted marquee sign was no small task. Each bulb had to be removed from its string while the wires were wound around the back of each part of the sign. After the sockets were placed into their corresponding holes, the bulbs were screwed back in, one at a time.

We even used a vintage glass-dying kit to tint some of the bulbs — yellow for the star, and a few random red and blue bulbs to give it a used, vintage look.

Hanging the Sign

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After everything was cut, sanded, painted and wired, the sign was ready to be transported from Justin’s shop to the office. We decided that it demanded space of its own, so we cleared off a central wall near our sitting area. Hanging such a large sign was a challenge, but with a few helping hands, a lot of picture hanging wire and a few monkey hooks, we got it up and secure a few days before the Open House.

We’re so incredibly happy with the way the sign turned out. The first time we lit all 209, 5-watt bulbs — for a total of 1045 watts — we were in awe (we might have also melted the first dimmer we attached to it). It’s definitely transformed our space (and maybe our electric bill too) and will surely be the highlight of our office for as long as we’re in this space.

If you weren’t able to make it to the Open House this year, you can read more about what you missed here, or check out our photo album on Facebook. If you’d like to see the sign in person, stop by — we’d love to show it to you!

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