Category: Design

Mission Creek – it’s time!

Next week kicks off the Mission Creek Festival here in Iowa City. Tickets are still available from Midwestix–for passes and also individual shows. Music, lit, food: come check it out. I’ve been cranking out event posters like there’s no tomorrow the past couple months, which means I’ve also been discovering lots of new music I hadn’t heard before as I cruise through the lineup.

Here’s just a taste of what you have to look forward to over the next seven days:











Iowa City Song Project

Happy New Year! I have been completely preoccupied the last few weeks. Unfortunately, it wasn’t full of fun traveling and a slew of gifts and food and drinks, but with a surprise surgery to save our little cat buddy’s life. And under our watchful peepers: so far, so good! I can only imagine the next few months will be less stressful… so bring it on 2013. Let’s just have more work and less kitty scares, k?

With that, I have a recent project to share. I designed the CD and LP album art for the Iowa City Song Project available now at Maximum Ames Records. From their site:

Over the past year, The Englert Theatre, a 100-year-old performing arts venue in downtown Iowa City, commissioned 31 musicians and bands to write and record songs inspired by experiences or impressions of Iowa City. The songs — the bulk of them recorded locally — were collected into a compilation album called the Iowa City Song Project. The album features a diverse collection of artists tapping into sounds that range from roots-rock traditions to the experimental and avant-garde. It all makes sense: Iowa City is the home to folk-rock legends Greg Brown and Bo Ramsey, and it is also home to Night-People Records, the LP and cassette label that has released music from Dirty Beaches, Peaking Lights, and its flagship band Wet Hair. Iowa City has always been a welcome stage for Americana of all types — the folk sounds heard at The Englert Theatre and the 50-year old Mill, the rock ‘n roll at Gabe’s, and the new sounds heard at basement and house shows. This collection of songs, which could never claim to be the final word on a continually growing music community, is nonetheless a colorful snapshot of the scene that has been inspired by this small but vibrant town.





above–top to bottom: 1. compilation view; 2. CD insert; 3. back of LP; 4. LP insert sleeve

Centennial Celebration – part two

The Englert Theatre has wrapped up their official Centennial Celebration events. I created the identity which spanned across posters for each show, invitations, web graphics, promotional booklets and more. Here’s a look at the 24-page 5.5″ x 8″ mailer that was sent out back in September.

The Englert Theatre - Centennial Celebration

The Englert Theatre - Centennial booklet

The Englert Theatre - Centennial booklet

The Englert Theatre - Centennial booklet

The Englert Theatre - Centennial booklet

Was the Word

Working Group Theatre holds Was the Word—featuring spoken word, storytelling and music—at the Englert each month in downtown Iowa City. The proceeds from this pay-what-you-can event are donated to a different community non-profit after each show. With their upcoming season (starting tonight!), they wanted to stop reinventing the wheel and help gain some more visual consistency and recognition around town… meaning: new poster series! Here’s the first of eight that I’ll be designing through April.

And from their youtube page, here is Idris Goodwin performing in 2011:

Around Crab Orchard

I recently designed the packaging along with a poster for Sarah Kanouse’s new film, Around Crab Orchard.

And Sarah’s trailer:


Crab Orchard calls itself “a unique place to experience nature.” As the only wildlife refuge in the United States whose mission includes industry and agriculture alongside conservation and recreation, Crab Orchard claims a harmonious balance between past and present, nature and culture. Assembled from documents, found footage, and conversations with activists, writers, and local residents, “Around Crab Orchard” questions the ideal of natural harmony while meditating on the persistence of history, the creation of knowledge, the limits of representation, and the commonplace of environmental hazard. “Around Crab Orchard” ultimately argues for forms of storytelling, image-making, and action that respond to the full complexity of the social and ecological landscape.


Signal is an idea in formation. It is a response to the myopia of contemporary political culture in the United States, our blindness to most things beyond our national boundaries, and our lack of historical memory. There is no question that art, design, graphics, and culture all play an influential role in the maintenance of the way things are. They have also been important tools for every social movement that has attempted to challenge the status quo. The production of art and culture does not happen in a vacuum, it is not a neutral process. We don’t ask the question of whether culture should be instrumentalized towards political goals, the economic and social conditions we exist under marshall all material culture towards the maintenance of the way things are. The question we need to ask is whether our cultural production is used to uphold the massive levels of inequality that exist across the globe, or to challenge capitalism, statecraft, patriarchy, and all the systems used to produce and reproduce that disparity.

Shut it down.

Perfect. I was going through my Google Reader that I’ve neglected for about a week, and thinking I needed to start compiling all of these logos based around the X. I know the Hipster Branding tumblr certainly hit on these quite a bit in their collection as they hipster-fied existing brands, but this site–Your Logo Is Not Hardcore–is a superb collection of these logos in action in the real world. They all look nice and lovely… but damn. I don’t care if it’s hardcore or not–can all designers just agree to retire this tactic?

Here are just a handful from a huge pool:

That’s a long time.

The Englert Theatre is kicking off their Centennial Celebration with a series of events this fall here in Iowa City. Together we’re working on some materials to promote these shows that help mark their 100 years… and here are a couple posters from the first batch of goods! More to come.

Willem Henri Lucas

I’ve been admiring these posters from Willem Henri Lucas–the Chair of the Design Media Arts Department at UCLA:


Otis College of Art and Design – 2007 Lecture Series

Romeo and Juliet

Dangers of Fracking

I’ve never seen a site or an infographic quite like this one before. Dangers of Fracking was designed and coded by Linda Dong on behalf of raising awareness for the FRAC Act (Fracturing Responsibility and Awareness of Chemicals Act)–requiring the energy industry to disclose all chemicals used in fracturing fluid as well as repeal fracking’s exemption from the Safe Drinking Water Act. Linda created a one-page scrolling website–an interactive infographic which details, rather simply, the process of Hydraulic Fracturing. Some of her research photos from her personal site are below, but you really need to check out the website itself to get the whole picture.