“There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired.” —Nick Carraway (The Great Gatsby)
There’s an old adage that the Shoemaker’s children always go barefoot. The best description I read was, “a skilled or knowledgeable person commonly neglects to give his own family the benefit of his expertise.”
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
Its a common problem in this industry. We create brands and identities for outstanding companies, concept and design multi-media marketing campaigns, develop cutting-edge websites, and write content for a variety of mediums… like blogs… for our clients every day.
Its what we do.
Its what we love.
Its what we’re good at.
Its also why we’re barefoot.
(Or at least why its taken over a month to draft a blog post of our own.)
Its a Catch 22 really. You see, we have these clients. Really great clients. And we’re lucky enough to collaborate on some really great projects through the year. And as your parents always told you, hard work pays off. In this case, it paid off in the form of another award-winning season for 427 Design.
Thank you to the members of the Akron Ad Federation for organizing such an amazing event, and congratulations to all of the winners of the evening! We are proud to rub elbows with such incredible talent. We feel so honored to be recognized by our peers, and to have been the winningest agency in Akron at the 2014 ADDY Awards.
Bringing home a total of eight Akron ADDY Awards, a Judge’s Choice Award and a Best in Printing Award from the Great Gatsby-themed event hosted at the beautiful Akron Civic Theater turns out to be just the beginning for our team. Three pieces have gone on to win Regional Gold ADDY Awards and will compete at the national level. This is the fourth time 427 Design will have work recognized at the National ADDY competition, something we are incredibly proud of.
Its a testament to the collaboration and trust of our clients, the vision and talent of our team and the collective creativity of the greater community. We are proud to call, sort of sunny, Akron our home. And we are looking forward to what the future brings for 427 Design here. Stay tuned for updates as we make another run for a National ADDY Award!
2014 Akron ADDY Awards – Gold:
427 Design Open House VII Campaign
2104 Akron ADDYs – Silver
427 Design Thank You Cards
427 Design Open House VII Poster
(Click to view the pieces or visit our clients’ websites)
Get to Know 427 Design: New Years Edition
I resolve not to make New Years resolutions. I think it sets me up for failure from the start. I guess I just set my mind to want to make each year the best that I can. To try new things, to work hard, to spend quality time with the people that I love, to learn from all that has happened in the previous year and to grow in the new one. And I think as the years pass, I have done just that.
I made a New Years Resolution to never make NYE Resolutions again, and it’s worked out really well.
Yes, I always want the New Year to be better than the last. This coming year I want to complete a sprint triathlon and do another death-defying backpack or climbing trip with my son.
I don’t believe I’ve ever made one. If I did…I’ve forgotten about it.
I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I tried once. It was to stop eating so much junk food, and well…yeah.
No, and so, no.
Never made a resolution I can remember. I’m too cynical. Always seemed like a dumb reason to do something I should already be doing.
Get to Know 427 Design: Gift Exchange Edition
Joe. He shares in my love of craft beer. So maybe there’s a mix-a-six in my future.
I hope it was Joe, because I think he’d ask Allie what to do.
Kevin…because he knows nothing about me.
Brad. It would probably be the least ridiculous and I could really use a kettle bell set at home.
I know whoever pulled my name will get me something I will love and cherish, so I can’t say it matters who actually did.
Either Paul or Andrea, because he probably knows me best, and she would get me some good beer.
Kevin, because it’s his last shot at redemption.
I hope Paul gets me a gift because we are besties and we are going to Dave & Busters after work to hang out and play games and drink beers. I feel so fortunate to have a great friend like him!!! He loves me.
Get to Know 427 Design: Christmas Movie Edition
Elf has always been my favorite. Why? Well, I don’t really think this requires much of an explanation. Will Ferrell…in a giant elf costume. “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!” However, I have a three-year-old and have recently been introduced to the Polar Express. So I guess that snuggling on the couch with my little nugget has probably made that my new favorite Christmas movie.
I love the movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It’s always been a tradition between my sisters and I to watch that movie the night before Christmas.
It’s a Wonderful Life and Christmas Vacation. It’s a Wonderful Life because it’s charming and Mr. Potter is a hero to us all. Christmas Vacation because, well… “shitter’s full”.
Love Christmas Vacation…especially the cat chewing on the lights scene! Most of those who are closest to me will understand why.
Die Hard. Die Hard is a Christmas classic. They tried to recreate the magic in Die Hard 2: Die Harder, but it pales in comparison to the original.
Home Alone (and Home Alone 2). I don’t think I need to explain why.
I’ve got to go with the classic A Christmas Story, but I also have a soft spot for those stop motion Rankin/Bass films from the 60’s. Who doesn’t love “The Bumble”?
I don’t like Christmas movies.
Get To Know 427 Design: Christmas Gifts Editon
When I was about 8, my sisters and I opened a box that just had a key in it and were told to go look out back. When we went to check, there was a four-wheeler sitting on the deck!
Probably the Ghostbusters Fire House. It was like the crown jewel of playsets, and provided me countless years of action figure mayhem. I think that came out in ‘87, which makes me three years old at the time. It was probably just as tall as I was.
I guess the best Christmas gift has to be the only one I can remember right? I was 10. All my brothers and sisters had bikes of their own. I walked downstairs Christmas morning and BAM… Awesome Huffy 5-Speed bike with a speedometer and the gear shifter in the center of the handlebars. I still have it today actually.
Boy, that’s a tough one. So many great ones through the years. I’m going to have to say the one I haven’t received yet… My son Bryan, daughter Erin and wife Jamie are getting me hooked up with a really sweet Trek Domane 4 Series bike. It really pays to know people in high places (Bryan is an industrial designer for Trek.)
It was Christmas 1992. I was six and we spent Christmas morning in Ohio with my Grandma before driving nine hours home to New Jersey. Despite having already opened presents at Grandma’s, when we got home there were gifts aplenty under the tree. Highlights included the Crash Test Dummies Crash Test Center, which provided 101 ways to kill Crash Test Dummies, and a Creepy Crawlers machine. Probably the best Christmas ever.
When I was in sixth grade I wanted a Yo! MTV Raps leather jacket (don’t ask questions). I was certain it was my ticket to eternal, epic coolness. And sure enough, my parents totally bought it for me for Christmas. Then, tragedy struck. Before you could say “Downtown Julie Brown”, my aunt told my clueless, suburban, not-so-music-minded parents that Yo! MTV Raps was a rap/hip hop music show (evidently the name wasn’t telling) and they promptly returned it for something they deemed more “age appropriate”. Worst. Christmas. Ever.
BEST CHRISTMAS GIFT?! Yeesh. Hard one. I’ve been really lucky. So many people in my life have really paid attention the little things that make me… well, ME. so picking one gift out of so many awesome gestures is impossible. From my mom and dad getting me my first set of tools which helped me with countless little projects… to my best friends giving me paintings they made, or drawings they created… to people giving me a really great song they think I might never have otherwise heard. All of those things sort of just became a part of who I am. Those were, and I guess always will be, the best gifts I could ever get.
NOW. BEST GIFT GIVER?! Man, that’s Alexandra Charitan. This is a person that I SWEAR thinks about Christmas ALL YEAR. And has to be, by far, the most endearing, thoughtful person at Christmas I’ve ever met. Every Christmas detail is always perfect and genuine. And I can’t not think about how awesome someone with that much heart makes christmas that much better. Or. Worse, if you think of it as a competition, because you lose.
Nacho cheese. Two years ago, my mom wrapped up little packs of nacho cheese because I didn’t have very many presents that year and she wanted to get me multiple things. So she found them and thought they were cute. And I don’t even really like nacho cheese, so it was pretty random. I told her this year not to wrap up any food items. Its always a disappointment to get food.
Rebranding the Bruin
This summer, the 427 Design team was tasked with giving the Padua Franciscan High School mascot a fierce facelift. When designing the new athletic logo, a lot had to be taken into account. He needed to be representative of the staff and student body of Padua Franciscan; positive, strong and respectable. The new Bruin would require balance, should be stern and intimidating, yet not vicious or violent.
Oftentimes when a high school logo is developed, inspiration is drawn from college and/or professional team logos. But we feel that athletic teams at the high school level also deserve a strong and original logo. So we set out to deliver a great product without borrowing from an existing design. Padua Franciscan High School already stands out in so many ways, so the goal was to create a rebirth of the Bruin that would stand out in a sea of generic team logos. This logo would need to embody all that Padua stood for on and off the field or court.
Putting Pencil to Paper
In these initial sketches the bear was just starting to take shape. What started as a minor update to the existing logo (bottom right), quickly developed into a complete overhaul. While nearly four dozen different concepts were developed through this process, this small grouping shows the progression and various secondary logo ideas; essentially depicting the Bruin in every angle and mood imaginable. The top two are the genesis of what would become the final logo.
Once we settled on the front facing Bruin as the main logo, work began trying to find the right style. The challenge with a front facing bear is the angle of the face, it could easily look too much like a lion or wolf depending on the brow and muzzle placement. We started with an open roaring mouth concept, but it proved to be far too aggressive.
As you can see below, subtle changes through the various revisions make for significant changes overall.
The Life Cycle of the Bruin Rebranding
- A straight vector version of the initial top left sketch.
- A secondary concept featuring an open “roaring” mouth that was agreed to be a little too aggressive.
- A variation of the use of half-light/half-shadow approach.
- A variation of 3 but with a center light source, showing that when compared to the next version, how dropping the muzzle slightly can change his personality entirely
- Another variation in muzzle placement, as well as color usage.
- This was stage in which the look started to click with the whole team as a final concept.
- Narrowing of the face and facial features to give him a lean and mean presence. Aiming for a rounder appearance rather than a heart shaped one previously depicted.
- A minor adjustment to his “beard” and enlarging his facial features and Viola!
From one logo concept comes three variations of the Padua Athletics brand. It is important to have a tight design where the various elements can stand alone, and be just as recognizable as they are when they are presented all together. This gives the new Padua Franciscan High School athletic logo the versatility and originality that sets it apart from other athletic logos. The Bruin head can stand alone, as can the Padua Franciscan Bruins word mark. And then, the shield marries the imagery and the name together for a complete logo.
In the end, we are really proud of the final product. The new logo strikes a great balance of meeting all the goals and objectives of the project. More to come on the next phase of the Bruin logo, as we develop additional angles and positioning.
For the past four years we have opened our doors, and our print lab, to the students of the University of Akron Myers School of Art for a hands-on, screen printing workshop. This two-night workshop is one of many opportunities open to design students as a part of the program’s Design Week activities. The poster that we design and print is specifically tied to their annual Fontoween event where each student is encouraged to dress up as their favorite font.
The poster-making process begins with the team at 427 Design collaborating on concepts for the new Fontoween design. A series of sketches are drawn and revised until the team agrees on the final poster concept. Then comes the creation of ink drawings, layers of textures, colorizing and finally setting up the files for film creation to be used in imaging the screens for printing.
When the students arrive at 427 Design they are coached through the steps of creating the art using software and given some pointers and best practices throughout the process. They are then guided into transferring the artwork to the screens for printing, mixing the colors, and finally, registering and printing the actual posters. This year’s poster included a series of four colors. Since two groups of students participate the workshop, different students attending each night, two unique colors are printed during each session.
“This workshop gives students who want to learn about screen printing an opportunity to get hands on experience in a more condensed, focused way… while ruining others equipment and supplies”, says Justin Tokos, Vice President and Creative Director here at 427 Design. Tokos, who has been teaching Production and Illustration at the University of Akron since 2008, coordinates the event each year with the head of the Graphic Design Department, Janice Troutman.
The annual Fontoween screen printing workshop is an event that our team really looks forward to each fall. It’s refreshing to spend a little time with such eager and energetic design students and we really like being able to share our space with them.
Welcome to the Team: Kevin Edition
What differentiates you from Kyle?
Not much, we are actually siblings — twin spies genetically engineered and sent by [edited for legal reasons] to infiltrate your company and corrupt your files. Our operation is going well — so far.
Where did you go to school?
Wellington Exempted Village public schools K-12
That sounds made up.
When is your birthday and what embarrassing thing about you can we ice on a cake?
October 31st — I know that has to set me up for something good, I have high expectations.
What terrifies you most about Justin Tokos?
Any type of food he tries to put on my desk. (Especially when he waits there and stares at me to see if I will or wont eat it.) Suspicious.
We were thinking you would say something more along the lines of “everything.”
Nope, just the food thing.
Aw, that’s cute.
So, what brought you to 427 — besides the extravagant pay check, two day work weeks and free kittens (we don’t have any of those things here, by the way)?
4 plus 2 plus 7 equals 13, the unluckiest number?
I’m not as good at math, but what does 4 + 2 + You’re Fired equal?
In “427 Design: The Movie”, who would play you?
[Edited for legal reasons], for obvious reasons.
Who is your favorite Ninja Turtle and why?
Venus, because she is the most hated.
I’ve never heard of her, but she sounds awesome.
So, what’s with all the vests?
They hold in my soul.
Don’t tell Justin.
The National Addy Awards
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.
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.
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.
Welcome to the team: Kyle Edition
So, Kyle — what’s it feel like to be the second of three “K-named” people we’ve hired in a month?
Kinda like being the middle child. But a lot better than being the third (sorry Kevin).
What differentiates you from Kaitlyn and Kevin?
That’s probably the hardest question honestly. I don’t really know Kaitlyn or Kevin that well yet.
Neither do we.
But Kaitlyn is shorter than me and Kevin is taller than me. I know that much.
Where did you go to school?
I went to Manchester High School in southern Summit County and I graduated from the University of Akron last May.
When is your birthday and what embarrassing thing about you can we ice on a cake?
My birthday is February 7th. The most embarrassing thing I have ever had happen to me in my life (so far) was when I accidentally used a women’s restroom in college and was almost caught, so take that as you will I guess. But I find it hilarious now.
Now. We’ll talk again on February 8th.
How do you feel about not having a window in your office?
Well, I do have a window.
But I am forced to absorb all my sunlight for the day secondarily through Brad’s office.
What brought you to 427 — besides the extravagant pay check, two day work weeks and free kittens (we don’t have any of those things here, by the way)?
I WAS told about the kittens so that played a big part until I found out it wasn’t true. But the history, talent, and expectations 427 has makes working here a fun and challenging experience.
In “427 Design: The Movie”, who would play you?
Who is your favorite BK Kid and why?
BK Kids may have been a little before my time, but from what I vaguely remember I’d say Kid Vid because of how much he loves videogames and his cool goggles.
Well, now that I feel officially old, can you explain to me how this Internet business works to me in five words or less?
A series of everlasting tubes.
So just like Discovery Zone?