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Posts from the ‘Design’ Category

How to make a grand entrance.

Despite the convenience of cell phones and GPS location devices, there’s nothing better than that old fashioned signaling device called “a sign” to point us to the front door. It identifies. It beckons. It builds anticipation about what’s behind the door long before you step onto the premises.

Collection at the Falls. A retail store & art gallery.

When Interior Designer Shanna Robinson Neims embarked on opening her new retail store – Collection at the Falls – situated right along I-5, the busiest road in the State of Washington, she knew immediately the important role a sign would play in attracting customers. Everyday thousands of people (approximately 240,000) would be zooming 60 miles per hour right by her store. Knowing that they probably would not have time to read the small print on a sign she wanted to convey the unique, eclectic mix of items she was selling in an overall impression — An impression that begged for further investigation.

Because Shanna is a designer she was able to articulate in broad strokes the impression she wanted the sign to make, and she came to our meeting with loose sketches in hand. We needed to build customer anticipation about the experience of shopping at her lifestyle oriented store / art gallery. To do this the sign might include a mix of new, old, handcrafted, unique, formal, Parisian, European, artful clothing, furnishing, jewelry, organic glamor, plants and perhaps a touch of whimsey. Antlers, or something that looked like them would figure prominently, and maybe a crown would be cool too, or perhaps a nest and a bird. Yes, all of that in one sign!

We put our heads together and came up with a sign design that we feel creatively meets the challenging objectives she set.

Collection at the Falls is located at 4800 Capitol Blvd SE suite D, Tumwater, Washington 98512 – Bing Map

Below are Shanna’s loose conceptual sketches, a font she initially favored, and the before and after pictures of her store. Note how much more the store stands out than the previous tenant’s business, due to the sign and the way she furbished the exterior.


Shanna’s loose sketch indicating layout and lettering style.



Shanna initially preferred this font, but through much research we landed on the beautiful font that was ultimately used.



Shanna’s antler-like concept for weighting the text with flourishes.

Ewing Creative work in progress - screen capture 1.

Ewing Creative work in progress – screen capture 1.


Ewing Creative work in progress - screen capture 2.

Ewing Creative work in progress – screen capture 2.



Retail location signage BEFORE


Collection at the Falls signage AFTER

Collection at the Falls signage AFTER


Graphic element for Collection at the Falls

Graphic element for additional branding purposes.


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17 Apr 2014

Two Essential Ingredients for a Successful Website

The overall success of a website can be measured by two basic factors: Effective branding and search-ability. To do these two things well requires a balanced mixture of art and science. One needs to have a better-than-rudimentary understanding of branding and what it takes to achieve great search engine optimization (SEO).

The Art. Effective Branding.

Branding 101 versus “Content is King.” For many years “experts” have declared that content is the most important factor of a website. Content drives SEO, but it does not persuade people at first glance. How many times have you landed on a site only to be turned-off by chaos and clutter, pop-up ads, slow load times, unreadable text, and confusing messages? In a matter of seconds a new website visitor will make a snap judgment about you, your product, or service. They will determine if they like and trust you. They will decide if they want what you’re selling. That is the brutal truth, and that is why branding ought to be your first consideration. Only after a brand is effectively conveyed via key messaging — text and images — should one delve into the details of content.

The Science. Search-ability.

Beyond initial messaging, the purpose of content is to attract real people and robots.

Content builds loyalty. It establishes credibility. Assume that people have come to your site to “learn more”. Give them more. Sell them even more. But by all means make certain your content is accessible via a sensible, organized navigation scheme.

Content is candy to search engines. The more relevant the text is to your product and audience the better your website will rank, and the easier it will be for both people and search bots to find you.

Art meets Science — A winning combination. Unlike books, websites are malleable. Take advantage of the fluidity of the platform to change your content at will. Deliver it compellingly. Deliver it with motion. Search engines sit up and take notice when you make changes or add new content. Spread the word about what you have to offer the world via RSS, social media, videos, maps and workshops. Advertise. Interact. Like a spider spins her web, create many paths that all link back to your site. Ensure that you can be found. Make it easy for your audience to communicate with you.


© 2012 Kristy Ewing – Ewing Creative Inc.

2 Jun 2012

The Three Factors Behind Great Creative Work

As a business owner you are ultimately the person responsible for how your company is perceived. At the same time you are ever mindful of finances. The market is flooded with quickie design solutions that can be bought for a dime. But will they communicate to your buying public effectively? Big decision.

To help navigate the waters it helps to understand the makeup of creative professionals and the range of their ability. Being informed will help you to make wise decisions, and know when to settle for solutions that are okay (inexpensive), and when to invest in creative genius.

“What is professional work these days? In fact, it’s quite easy to tell by the work itself.” – Rand MacIvor

On his blog Rand MacIvor states that the three factors behind creative work are Play, Skill and Passion. He says, “It used to be easy to distinguish between professional and amateur work. I’m talking design, writing, art, photography, film – heck, anything that you sell that you create for clients. The advent of digital cameras, fairly intuitive design programs and online publishing sites means the line between pros and wannabees has become blurred, especially for clients. Technologies allow for many more smaller at-home businesses and entrepreneurs, some of whom are truly excellent. But where everyone appears to be a Creative Director or worse, a Creative Guru, it becomes très confusing.”Read more of this very insightful and revealing article written by our friend Rand MacIvor.

Be wary of the unseen risk of poorly conceptualized solutions, the unintended perception of what it is your company does. Work with an ad or design agency that demonstrates the just-right mixture of Play, Skill and Passion, and takes time to flesh out a rockin’ strategy with you. It’s better to invest more capital upfront in great creative work to ensure that your brand is received the way you want it to be.

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29 Mar 2012

Memories Forever Photography logo / watermark

Often when clients come to us they have already determined what they do and don’t like about their existing logo. As a photographer Sue Burnett of Memories Forever Photography had determined that she needed her logo to function as a subtle watermark on photos, and that it needed to be simpler than what she was currently using. She liked the flowing descender and ascender of the initial f, so we gave her new logo more panache. Since camera lenses are round we chose to integrate the initials into a circle rather than a rectangle. The resulting mark can stand alone or be paired with the full company name depending on the application.

See other examples of Before & After logos in our portfolio.

9 Nov 2011

Steve Jobs, a designer at heart, liked peeling onions

“Look at the design of a lot of consumer products — they’re really complicated surfaces. We tried to make something much more holistic and simple. When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can often times arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions. Most people just don’t put in the time or energy to get there. We believe that customers are smart, and want objects which are well thought through.” – Steve Jobs

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6 Oct 2011

Facebook Timeline – revamped for show offs

Opportunity for creativity abounds via Facebook’s anticipated release of Timeline. One striking new change in the profile page layout will be the “cover photo”. Like a huge blank canvas we can foresee this space being filled imaginatively by everyone hoping to get our attention. Especially everyone with something to sell. As of this writing it’s unclear just how similar the new Brand Pages will be to the new personal profile pages of Timeline. But you can bet that if the change is as radical as anticipated the Big Brands are already positioning themselves to use the cover photo compellingly.

Mashable Social Media asked some advertising and design pros to imagine the ways in which the new layout might be used by big brand companies. Check out this gallery of ideas.

Mashable Social Media also asked the question of its readers, “what would you do with the space?” See that article and gallery here.

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5 Oct 2011


Ewing Creative was informing clients of environmentally conscious paper options long before “green” was a buzzword. Our paper cabinet is chock full of illustrative printed samples provided by paper mills and suppliers, which we’re happy to share. We specify paper, inks and print shops that best suit each client’s project. When appropriate we encourage clients to choose paper that is made from FSC certified, and 100 percent postconsumer fiber.

Read more…

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5 Apr 2011

Copyright as it pertains to logos.

A question I am often asked is “who owns the copyright to a logo?” It was explained to me by a lawyer friend that it is helpful to understand that copyright refers to a “bundle” of several different exclusive rights. Certainly someone who has just had a logo designed for their company (or organization) wants to be free to legally trademark their mark. Does the designer retain any rights to the design? The answers to these questions should be clearly spelled out in a contract between the designer and the client. Read more…

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21 Oct 2010

Is it OK to use clipart in a business logo?

The legal snag that occurs when using clip art, whether it is free or Royalty Free, is that a business cannot copyright their logo. The reason for this is because the intellectual property rights of the art belongs to someone else.

Usage permissions at popular stock image agencies are spelled out in the licensing agreement. Be sure to read license restrictions, or prohibited use clauses that one must agree to before downloading art from stock houses such as iStockphoto, Getty Images and Corbis Images. They clearly state that such art cannot be used for trademarks and logos. These companies want to sell the same art over and over again, as many times as they can but they can spot a potential legal infringement and want to avoid that for themselves, their artists and the end users of the art – the buyers. Read more…

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12 Oct 2010

To design, or redesign a logo?

Sometimes there are excellent reasons not to change. Subtle face-lifts are common among big brand companies who update their logo every 5 years, more or less. Corporations who have made huge investments in their brand and are profiting from loyal, repeat customers don’t want to risk abruptly altering their image and getting lost on the shelf.

Sometimes a business is basically happy with their “look”, but recognize that it is outdated. They may be concerned that their competition is looking more contemporary then them. These companies are good candidates for a design make-over.

Design make-overs are a good choice when after carefully analyzing the effectiveness of the current logo no compelling reason can be found to change it. If however, a company’s current identity design isn’t making a clear connection with it’s intended audience it’s time to rethink, regroup, and start anew.

See Ewing Creative’s Before & After examples of logo design.

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3 Oct 2010