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Tell us a bit about yourself and your project!

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telling your color story

“How do you create your color palettes?” I’ve been asked that quite a few times over the years. Sometimes the process feels intuitive, but that’s only because after years of creating color families some things become second nature. There are some basic rules to follow when getting started. Using the basic rules as a structure, …

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web design revision? Six things to consider.

six things to look for in a web design Every website is different; yet, the best sites always have a few things in common. As you consider a website redesign for your company or organization, ensure it uses the following: a clear message that creates clarity about your company or organization, what it does, how …

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change the conversation: new ways to listen

paying attention to your audience We recently offered to make a referral to a partner company that was declined because of terminology. The client wanted “SEO,” the company didn’t want to sell “SEO,” and the connection wasn’t made.Unfortunately, both sides of the equation were ultimately interested in the same business objective: increasing visibilty and search …

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five techniques for using content to engage your audience

approaches for creating value and awareness while dispelling confusion A big part of writing and design is taking complicated messages and making them easy to understand, but also making them interesting and important to the audience.  Mark Twain once said: “I would have written you a shorter letter, but I didn’t have the time.” A misconception …

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landing page strategies: making the most of the most valuable real estate in the world

how web design and messaging can strengthen your brand The most valuable piece of property in the world is the seven square inches your prospective client sees when pulling up your website for the first time. This small parcel of real estate has the critical job of connecting with your audience, either by communicating information …

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Poster design for KulshanCLT’s Annual Community Party

We recently completed this Poster design for KulshanCLT’s Annual Community Party. KulshanCLT wanted to hold their annual event this year in a location that most people could bike or walk to. When the Boundary Bay Brewery location was chosen, we decided to incorporate beer and biking into the design in a playful way.  

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textures

Carrying a camera with us wherever we go is something we do by default. We often incorporate textures into our work, and on a recent camping trip to Yellowstone we captured a number of textures to add to our library. These images will most often be converted to black and white used to add a …

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empathy-based messaging

We recently completed an ad campaign for Cedar Male Medical, a clinic specializing in treating men to balance their testosterone levels (usually including erectile dysfunction). Our messaging strategy was based using empathy-based messaging to prompt the audience to feel comfortable talking to the doctor about a difficult subject.

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Chuckanut Builders t-shirt

Long time supporters of the Subdued Stringband Jamboree, Chuckanut Builders wanted to have shirts designed and produced to wear and show their involvement with this popular event. In collaboration with Blank Studio who created the illustration, we created the below Chuckanut Builders t-shirt design for the ChuB team.

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all together now

With so much marketing taking place through a multitude of different mediums and applications, the tendency is for messages to become ever more fragmented — and more easily forgotten. start with a vision Don’t think of standards and consistency until you have clear vision about why you are important to your audience and are able to distill …

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experiences > things

A paradox of destination marketing is that while each destination is unique in its own way, the materials and messages people use for different destinations are often indistinguishable from one another. In promoting Bellingham Whatcom County, we wanted to subtly rethink destination marketing to create work that departed from these expectations. We started by making …

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victory has a thousand parents

Shew Design - no coal exports signs

Years ago, my initial interpretation of the phrase “victory has a thousand parents, but defeat is an orphan” was a cynical one. My take on it was that if a project goes well, people will claim responsibility. The same people will disavow their role if the project meets with a less favorable outcome. As I …

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print intentionally

Shew Design - Leopold presentation folder

Despite all predictions to the contrary, printed communications still play a crucial role in how organizations reach out to their audience. Print has changed, though. It is now more an elective than a requirement, and like any choice it benefits from planning and thinking ahead. You must print intentionally. This can include details like a …

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artwalk with us

Tyree Callahan typewriter

It’s the first Friday of the month. Where will you typically find us that night? At Bellingham’s Artwalk. Downtown is bustling with people going from gallery to gallery, taking breaks for a drink or a meal. Everyone has their list of favorite places to go – we thought we would share ours. First things first. …

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hey, dummy

While developing a packaging concept for a high end manufacturer, we encountered some feedback from a friend of the client who recommended we take an alternate approach. His advice was, literally, “dumb it down.” The product was a gourmet food item (chocolate) for a discriminating, college-educated audience. The argument was based on a perception of the across the board, ever-dwindling …

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making choices, creating value

Making choices, creating value. I constantly think about why people value the things they do, and how design and messaging fit into that larger picture. We recently had a project that gave me a new perspective about these eternal questions. Without giving away the details, here is the situation: the client is an inventor who …

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don’t stop believing

Eric and I started commuting to work on our bikes almost a year ago. Details that were normally overlooked were suddenly noticed and studied. This particular stop sign was one of them. “Don’t” had been added to the sign, and at one point someone had handwritten “believing” below this. Later, for whatever reason, “believing” was …

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minimalism, trust, and some really good chocolate

Research plays a crucial part of creating good design, and so a designer’s life is essentially a never ending series of opportunities to learn. The best designers are really the best at learning. That’s what I like to say as I help myself to a generous handful of research. My third. “That’s Callebaut, 54%,” Kevin …

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happy accidents

Shew Design - letterpress makeready

Francis Ford Coppola said, “Art is partly being available to accidents that fall into your lap.” I agree. I have experienced some of these seemingly lucky accidents while printing, through something called make-readies. Make-ready sheets are something that are most likely as old as printing itself. When setting up a press and adjusting details like …

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a timely debate

Shew Design - Power Past Coal flier

For over a year now, our company has been working with RE Sources for Sustainable Communities and Climate Solutions to create messaging and graphics about the coal train issue. An overview of the issue can be found here. It has been a challenging project. Challenging in the sheer complexity of the issue: the impacts of …

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