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December 26th marked the launch of Thermos’ partnership with Threadless: finally! I have been dying to share news of this product line since we began developing it this past summer. Preparing for the after-Christmas debut kept us extremely busy right up until the holiday break, so you can imagine how great it feels to finally see them out in store. The products, which are exclusive to Target, include bottles and lunchboxes…with more to come later this year. Get excited.
To introduce the line, this video was produced.
We were also lucky enough to have one of the artists fly in from London to share his design philosophy and process.
Whew! What a winter! I have a ton of news to share and am just now getting back into the swing of things after the holiday rush. Let me start today’s edition of Wednesday’s Weekly Reader with a bit of backstory.
My good friend, Jen, and I had the great idea to host our own designer/illustrator-friendly version of NaNoWriMo this past November. (More on that later…) Rather than spending time writing every day, we decided we would spend at least 15 minutes working on a personal project every day. No rules, no pressure. To hold ourselves to it, we sent each other photos to recap our week each Sunday night.
Fast forward to the beginning of December, and lo! the birth of Jen’s latest endeavor: Seg’s Mints. The stationary line is illustrated by Jen and each piece is unique. She’s also hoping to expand her offering this coming year. In the meantime, be sure to check out her etsy shop!
Continuing the theme of long-overdue recaps, (and certainly not the least of them) is today’s review of the inaugural Two Night Stand event. At the end of September, Bright Bright Great and friends hosted 20 designers for a weekend charette. Honestly, I have been meaning to post this event recap ever since, but that weekend ended up kicking off a busy month and a half for me. I’d say it’s a testament to just how inspiring of an event it was that I ended up putting blogging on hold to instead work on numerous side projects. (more on this to come later…)
The premise to 2NS is pretty similar to Camp Firebelly: throw a handful of designers together in order to tackle a common project under limited time constraints. However, with 2NS the designers were mostly professionals, and the client this time was a start-up brewery. Circumventing any objections to spec work, no files were released to the clients: rather, the clients were free to contact any of the teams should they decide to pursue their design/strategy.
As someone who is still new to Chicago, I loved the opportunity to meet and work with so many wonderfully talented people for a weekend. There is something so energizing about working under these kinds of constraints that force you to look at a problem from an entirely new direction. In addition, it was great working for a small brewery who is as passionate about beer as I am. (Think “connoisseur” when you read that last statement…not “alcoholic”!) In the end, each of the three teams came up with vastly different approaches to Trenchermann’s branding and initial grassroots marketing strategy. It’s amazing what options are available to start-ups operating on a shoe-string production budget. Below are some of the branding materials we (Team Horseplay) came up with over the two days:
Logo was created to invoke a bottle cap silhouette. The brand name is capped by an abbreviated wordmark with a slightly industrial flair.
Bottling and labeling system was designed to be inexpensive, multipurpose, and reusable, as well as easily applied by hand to small batches.
If I have one criticism of the event, it is that I would have liked to work with more of the people there. Although it wasn’t really possible with the direction the group went with, I would have liked mixing it up even further. However, I suppose that isn’t really a criticism so much as wishful thinking. If you are in Chicago or the surrounding area, I highly recommend applying for the second 2NS event that will take place after the first of the year.
If you spend any length of time around me, you’ll soon find that although I can bake up a mean coffee cake or numerous other desserts, I’m basically pants at cooking. This summer, I’ve been slowly attempting to change that by trying new recipes, reading food blogs, and testing out new recipe apps on my iPhone. All of that pales in comparison to Kitchen Oddity, food blog to one Hannah Hayes.
A good friend to my little sister, Hannah is currently a journalism student at Mizzou. She has an excellent sense of humor and an impeccable taste in concert posters. She also happens to have restaurant reviews and excellent recipes complete with snarky commentary, cute aprons, and music suggestions for when you are dicing the cilantro. Now That’s how to get me into the kitchen. 😉
If you follow me on twitter, chances are that you’ve probably already heard me talking about the archival project I was working on all summer at work. To continue with the theme of posting news I missed sharing while I was out, this week’s Weekly Reader is about Thermos’ Lunchbox Memories Site. The microsite, which went live at the end of the summer, is the digital archive of many of our most popular lunchboxes since the 1950’s. I love antiques and animation, so of course I had a blast cataloging all of our images from the 50’s through the 80’s (my coworker had the second half of the archives) for our interactive agency. It brought back great memories of playing with my best friend growing up (she had the Rainbow Brite lunchbox below from ’85) and watching The Snorks and Smurfs with my cousins during the summer.
Thermos’ Lunchbox Memories
What lunchbox did you have growing up? Mine was the Tiny Toons one…
USA Today Reviews Site
Incidentally, this past week I found out that USA Today reviewed the microsite. The write-up is worth it for the comments…made me really excited to be designing lunchboxes.
One of the best things about Twitter, is the opportunity to meet such fabulous people…that, and I seem to get more industry news through my Twitter feed than through any other outlet lately. So of course, I was excited to hear that Victoria Pater & friends officially launched their all-girl design collective, Quite Strong. Not only that, but it was great to see all of the positive reaction from the Chicago design community as well.
On September 17, the ladies celebrated in style at Edge: complete with taco bar, temporary tattoos, and shaving cream…not to mention, all of the great donations raised for Ag47. Good food, good fun, and good people: it was nice to meet so many people after following them online. Cheers!
After a nice month off, the fall season is officially here for the blog. Upcoming posts will include some more recaps of the past month, and what better way to kick it all off than with a recap of the past summer? This summer marked the first Summer Interview Series, and a huge Thanks! is in order to all who participated. Below are links to each week’s featured creative…and stay tuned for future interviews. Cheers!
The changing seasons always get me in a crafty mood. Luckily, I can now go to Renegade Craft Fair each year: Chicago’s event is perfect timing for some fall inspiration. This year, witty sayings, type-nerd tees, and sewing projects all really caught my eye:
As summer draws to an end, so too does our Summer Interview Series. Last, but certainly not least, we bring you our conversation with Mike Fretto, whom I met this summer at the Camp Firebelly Wrap Party. Mike is a full-time freelance print designer that lives in one of the oldest cities in the United States. When he’s not designing for his clients, he is screen printing t-shirts for a business he runs with his father. Mike spends his sparse spare time volunteering for a non-profit organization he co-founded called ROSA LOVES.
You and your father run a screen-printing business together. How do the two of you balance business and family?
I certainly have learned that operating a business with family can be challenging, but my dad and I have a great relationship that I believe contributes to successfully balancing both aspects of our lives. Good communication while working together helps get things done, and hopefully when that happens, we can leave it all at the print shop when the work day is over. There are times when business-talk or actual work makes it way into personal time, but we take each situation as it comes.
Earlier this summer, you helped mentor this year’s class of Camp Firebelly campers. Was there anything about the experience that you’d like to share?
Camp FB was a great experience for me. It was an honor for me to be among Dawn Hancock and her talented team, not to mention all of the amazing campers! As you know, there were continuous activities and workshops taking place at camp, but I was specifically responsible for helping with one in particular. In partnership with Reason to Give, we split the campers up into small groups, and visited three families in the Humboldt Park neighborhood. Each group spent about an hour with one of the three families in their homes, hearing about their families, their jobs, and life around Humboldt Park. Each group of campers recounted the stories they had heard from the families to the rest of the group. From there, each camper worked on a t-shirt design that somehow told the story of the family they met. It was fascinating to see the variety of interpretations from one story within each group of campers. After a few crit sessions and late nights, each camper finalized their designs, and we all hand screen printed each of them (despite some last minute technical challenges). On the last night of camp, we raffled off all of them at a big party that the Firebelly crew threw. I think we raised somewhere around $450 for the families, which was spent on stuff like school supplies and clothing for their children. Overall, it was quite a moving and enlightening experience for all of us. There was much learned, so many great human beings that we encountered— and I was pretty impacted by all of it to say the least.
Everyone has a favorite (or lucky) shirt: what’s yours?
No one has ever asked me that before, ha! Years ago, as a joke, I stole a t-shirt from one of my best friends (and roommate at the time), JP. I know you’re probably thinking that stealing is not cool. I’ve never stolen before, and I certainly do not condone it—but this was sort of a joke. You see, this dude has a TON of t-shirts, so the whole joke was to see if he’d ever notice that it was gone. It’s a super-soft navy blue t-shirt, probably made in the eighties. Fits me like a glove! It was funny when he noticed it on me one day, but even funnier that I never gave it back to him. I fell in love with it, and couldn’t find the strength to hang it back up in his closet. I still wear it sometimes. Well, let’s be honest… I wear it constantly.
Do you have any big plans for this fall?
Since the folks behind ROSA LOVES have been super busy with their full-time jobs and families during the past year, we’re long overdue for releasing a line of new tees. We’re in the process of putting some new ones together and are planning on releasing them sometime this fall. Stay updated by following us on Twitter or Facebook, and of course on our website at: www.rosaloves.com.
All images © ROSA LOVES and Mike Fretto