AAXI: IMAGE RESOURCE

More posting of pieces from our gallery installation last year — “AAXI: A Decade of Aesthetic Apparatus, One Year Late.”

Audio Tour:

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Posted in ARTIFACT, POSTERS, PROCESS

AAXI: THE SHOW BOX

More posting of pieces from our gallery installation last year — “AAXI: A Decade of Aesthetic Apparatus, One Year Late.”

Audio Tour:

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Posted in ARTIFACT, PACKAGING, POSTERS

AAXI: THE SQUEEGEE

More posting of pieces from our gallery installation last year — “AAXI: A Decade of Aesthetic Apparatus, One Year Late.”

Audio Tour:

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Posted in ARTIFACT, PRINT, PROCESS

DANIELSON IS COMING TO TOWN!

And we did a poster to celebrate. Whether you know about the band or not, you owe it to yourself to head over to the Southern Theater at the end of the month to check out one of three nights of the happiest awesome you’ll ever experience. We’ll be selling these at the show. See you there.

Posted in EVENTS, POSTERS

AAXI: THE PRINTING TABLE

More posting of pieces from our gallery installation last year — “AAXI: A Decade of Aesthetic Apparatus, One Year Late.”

Audio Tour:

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AAXI: A FEW SELECT SEGMENTS

Just posting some pieces from our gallery installation last year — “AAXI: A Decade of Aesthetic Apparatus, One Year Late”

Audio Tour:

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TWO BETTYS – PROCESS THREAD (PART 5)

(This is part 5 of a 5-part process thread that we will be posting every day this week.)
Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3 / Part 4

THE PAYOFF.

Two Bettys final boxes with calling cards. These boxes will be on display in various locations around town; coffee shops, yoga studios, client stores, etc. It will also serve as a vessel for housing quote cards on new client visits. There is also talk of boxes being hidden in spots around town (grocery stores and the like) for potential future clients to discover.Two Bettys pocket posters. A variation on the original posters that Two Bettys has used in the past. To be used in scenarios where there is no flat-surface to house a box. Posters are roughly 8″ x 14.”

Business cards (also pictured above in front of the calling card posters.) Three logo variants.

New client quote card. A double-sided 8.5″ x 2″ slip of paper, laser printed on a sheet of letter paper, trimmed, folded, and slid into the closed spout of a promotional box.

Estimate worksheet. This is just for use on the client-side upon initial visits to new potential customers.

Two Bettys website. Intentionally ultra-stripped-down, with only three sub-pages containing background information about two bettys, instructions on working with Two Bettys (as a current and potential customer), and testimonials/Betty bios. The interface language maintains the tone that the boxes have set, while playing the role as a set of instructions (PRESS HERE TO OPEN / INSTRUCTIONS FOR USE.) The site also rotates themes within the user’s visit. Built with some assistance and coding by Arrowplane.

Thanks for following along! Expect to see more of these process threads in the future as we selflessly give away all our best tricks for free on the internet.

Posted in IDENTITY, PROCESS

TWO BETTYS – PROCESS THREAD (PART 4)

(This is part 4 of a 5-part process thread that we will be posting every day this week.)
Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 3

We reassembled with Two Bettys and discussed the three revisions we had come up with (see the previous thread for images); an expanded example of the leaf/droplet/petal pattern, a more hand-made house-leaf option, and our third cleanser boxes option. From our perspective, this third and final direction met so much of our criteria, we almost felt like we should have pulled a Paul Rand and just shown that one. It seemed that Two Bettys agreed.

The box logo sketches were warmly received as it connected with the client on numerous levels. We had an in-depth discussion about ideas represented in the design, how we might implement it currently and how it might work on a longer timeline. We discussed how the volume of something so intentionally loud and brash could be turned down at a later date if need be. It sparked a great discussion of idea vs. style within graphic design. We talked about ways in which the visual communication of Two Bettys could shift and advance over time, while still staying true to the message that the visual language conveyed that Two Bettys is fairly unconventional and not your run-of-the-mill green company (OR cleaning company.) We all agreed that this option was the right one to move on, and began to flesh out the identity to see how it would exist in the world.

Our first challenge was coming up with the piece for local communication that could work alongside, or even replace, the existing Two Bettys calling card posters. We discussed table-top displays and were inspired by Studio On Fire’s custom die-line for their own calendar series that we had sitting around the studio. But we knew we needed to make something just as special that connected with the Two Bettys voice that we were establishing. That’s when we started cutting and folding paper.

The above photo is the construction process for a custom Two Bettys card display die-line. We began in the upper left with the seemingly simple goal of replacing the pockets on their posters with a spout (which, thankfully, didn’t really work at all.) The idea of a sliding spout expanded incrementally into a stand that needed to be folded upon itself to reinforce a spout (that dumpy, flimsy freestanding thing on the upper-right.) The box tightened up, as did the spout, until it grew some side-walls and formed to the proportions of an actual box. The final flat die-line—tweaked and produced with some help from local embosser—is on the bottom right. In the end what we had designed was a freestanding, glueless display box we could screen print here at the studio and have trimmed by the embosser. It could hold calling cards on-location, but also serve as a leave-behind “vessel” that Two Bettys could employ for numerous promotional and (literally) in-house purposes.

Once we had a display design that we were excited about, it was time to flesh out how the proposed identity might work within this context. Here are some initial pasteboard sketches of a proposed series of boxes:

And a box mock-up, sent in-process to the client for initial sign-off.

In-process artwork approved! The nuances of the identity were slowly coming to life. The identity will exist, for now, as a series of three box/typograhic designs each vaguely referencing stylistic ques from past decades (’40s, ’50s, ’60s represented currently.) Typography is an intentionally ham-fisted and unsystematic collection of sans-serifs (Gotham, Futura, Akzidenz, Refrigerator [our new gas-pipe favorite], and some other random found letterpress type) sprinkled throughout. We can’t explain what it is, or analyze how to construct it, but there is a delicate balance of this weird unsystematic usage, depending on size and relationship. Futura-Bold Condensed didn’t always work or feel right in spots where Gotham did, etc. Colors varied widely during the process but we whittled down to a 3-color set based on flourescent blue, yellow, and red, distributed evenly throughout the three designs. The final printed boxes would be 4/1, custom-mixed fluorescent red, yellow, blue, and silver over silver. We moved forward on finessing the final box dielines, artwork and calling cards and began the print process:

TOMORROW: THE FINAL IDENTITY!

Posted in IDENTITY, PROCESS

TWO BETTYS – PROCESS THREAD (PART 3)

(This is part 3 of a 5-part process thread that we will be posting every day this week.)
Part 1 / Part 2

In presenting our initial sketches, we knew that we had to walk a delicate line between accentuating the irreverence of the existing Two Bettys brand and effectively communicating exactly what they do. We couldn’t allow one side of the story to distract from the other; both had to be presented equally. In our conversation we narrowed our focus down to three potential directions to pursue further (see the previous thread for images):

The “stained glass” direction:
Both Anna and Sam appreciated the flexibility of abstract imagery created with the green visual vernacular of flower petals/leaves/droplets etc. They were interested in seeing how this flexibility might transfer into other aspects of the identity and were curious to see more.

The “leaf-house” direction:
Everyone appreciated the simplicity and boldness of the leaf and house visual combination. It spoke directly to what Two Bettys did. Although there was a concern that it didn’t necessarily invoke a feeling of WHO Two Bettys was. It was almost a bit too bold, and lacked some of the personality that Two Bettys felt defined them as a company. We discussed methods in which we could execute this same concept in stylistically varied ways that might invoke something more personable.

A third “unnamed” direction:
We all seemed to have the same itch that, although these options had their benefits, none hit the mark exactly. Both Anna and Sam were worried about “losing their wild ways” (which was exciting feedback to hear from a client.) We discussed the idea of a more abstract and unconventional “non-logo” system. Additionally, Sam mentioned something rolling around in his head that he wanted to see of “text as a logo” focusing on a treatment of the Two Bettys name. We weren’t quite sure where to go next but we moved forward on sketches for the existing options and ruminated on the third.

Thus:

Broader experimentation with our visual green pattern

A quick, hand-cut-paper experiment with the leaf-house logo.

We also began to sense a potential third typographic option. Honestly, the words “Two” and “Bettys” was kind of hard to construct typographically. It’s fairly imbalanced. So we tried to devise a way to create a more conceptual typographic mark than a compositional one. Sam’s mention of “type logos” got us wondering about the visual language of cleaning companies and typography. We soon realized that there was a catalog of visual vernacular available to us that had been (sort of creepily) staring us right in the face:

Loud, luminous store shelf detergent packaging over the last fifty years (sans the creepy photo above of one staple-gunned to this poor woman’s face) seemed to meet a lot of our needs. We began reinterpreting this visual language into the world of Two Bettys, and the planets started aligning. It was an immediate match for the client’s desire for something more typographic-based. It also worked well with the name Two Bettys, since both the name and our use of the vernacular somewhat-satirized the 20th century female/domestic stereotype (cheesecake vs. housewife.) It also contained tons of ubiquitous cultural baggage to build from. These detergents stood as symbols for the post-war miracle of industrialization. By satirizing this bright and happy industro-chem visual culture, Two Bettys could reframe the contemporary visual concept of green, as well as also immediately convey the idea of “clean.” Thoughts like “NOW! With Smaller footprint!”, and whether fluorescent inks were actually ecologically safe (they are) began to spring to mind. Here’s the pasteboard for some of that sketching process:

In the end, we pitched a series of six “box logos”, complete with the brashness that Two Bettys had hoped to hold on to. Here are three of the six boxes we presented:

TOMORROW: SELECTING, TWEAKING & PRODUCING A FINAL IDENTITY SYSTEM

Posted in IDENTITY, PROCESS

TWO BETTYS – PROCESS THREAD (PART 2)

(This is part 2 of a 5-part process thread that we will be posting every day this week.)

So, with posters and temporary advertising out of the way, it was time to focus on a revised identity. Two Bettys had been in business for a couple years, and they had a few ideas about who their target client base was. It was pretty deep middle-class and a bit of upper-middle-class. The company didn’t have any interest in courting high-end home/office space (there were other services that focused on that demographic), nor were they able to strategize pitching to lower-income families that would obviously consider house cleaning an unfathomable luxury. More specifically, the client base at this time seemed primarily comprised of women. We could submit this stereotype of women being the ones that cared if their home was clean to our sociology friends to decipher, but for our case, Two Bettys knew that working, gen-x women in the twin cities were their target.

(Sorry about the “gen-x” reference, there’s no better term that we can think of to describe the demographic.
Why does the term “30-something” actually sound more like a 50-year-old?)

As we finished up our first couple initial meetings, we focused on the criteria and questions that we felt needed to be addressed in the identity:
-“Round out” the professional edges. Create a perception of a more professional company, but retain some of the casual individualism that the existing identity invoked.
-Green is a focus, but not a primary focus
-Rethink/destroy green cliches, this is not your run of the mill GREEN company
-Reconcile the name “Two Bettys” with “green”
-Stay conscious of feminine/feminist visual concepts

Right off the bat, visually balancing the Two Bettys name and green was our biggest challenge. Some sketches would go too deep-green and somber; while others would go too irreverent, and not effectively communicate green at all. Here is a screenshot of a digital pasteboard during the sketching process:

It’s so fun to look at pasteboards! Does everyone’s look like this when they’re working? Anyway, there is a lot going on there. We played on all sides of the fence, although when it came time to present initial sketches, we honestly felt relatively unsure of a sure winner. We couldn’t be Paul Rand here, and just show one logo informing the client that “this was it.” But we trusted Anna & Sam and respected their thinking—we had already had some really good discussions with them personally and professionally (equal parts discussion of Jay Reatard and what is truly “green.”) We knew that some of the sketches we had in the stack would never make it as final logos, but we were confident that we could talk through them in order to take the client’s temperature to help whittle down and tweak a direction. We positioned each logo as a location on two axes, one being irreverent/Betty-focused to green-focused, and the other axis being safe to challenging. Here is everything we showed them for our initial pitch:

TOMORROW: LOGO FEEDBACK AND PROGRESSION

Posted in IDENTITY, PROCESS