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Food and Wine Magazine

Our feature in Food and Wine Magazine is on newsstands today! We were so happy to host photographer Ryan Liebe and recreate the Lantern Dinners, originally held in October 2013 at Pretend Store with Workstead. Chef Josh Walker from XBB made some amazing food and we hung out late into the night.

In the photos with Josh and Helen are Heather and Josh Keeler of Two Boroughs Larder, Michael Moran, Blake Suarez and Olivia Rae James. Harper Poe of Proud Mary was kind enough to let us borrow some of her beautiful textiles, Larder brought in some cutting boards and Michael Moran lent some of his furniture for the shoot.

Pretend Store has now come to an end and, as of today, we’re happy to announce that we’re looking for a full-time tenant to occupy the building. If it were up to us, we’d have a coffee shop up front and retail in the back, or a simple restaurant concept. We even talked about turning one room into an indoor pool. If you are interested in the space please get in touch!

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Take me to your leader

We have some great new people joining the team.

Kyle Turman / Kyle comes from Oklahoma, where the state motto is ‘labor omnia vincit’. In English, that means ‘hard work conquers everything’ and Kyle has taken the motto as his own.

He whispers the phrase to himself constantly while he works, really quietly unless he has headphones on and then it’s loud and gets pretty annoying. He sprinkles his conversation with it, engaging in verbal Twister to bring the conversation back around to talking about how ‘hard work conquers everything’.

Kyle has the phrase tattooed on his body 37 times in different scripts, translated into 10 different languages and linked with all kinds of iconography, from cartoons of hard-working farmers to Maori tribal art to a realistic portrait of Gerald Ford (???).

But here’s the thing – Kyle doesn’t really work that hard. He’s always just kind of sitting back eating Cheetos and watching old Loony Tunes or YouTube clips of people talking about how ‘hard work conquers everything’. We try to get him to do his work but he just pops another Cheeto into his mouth and says ‘Nah man, haven’t you heard? Hard work conquers everything.’ We don’t have a good comeback to that one.

Allison Kane / Allison is super friendly but also incredibly normal and there’s nothing interesting, weird, eccentric or awkward about her. Oh wait, unless you think that her having vestigial horns is interesting.

Okay, so maybe that makes sense. You might want to know that Allison was born with two tiny bumps on the crown of her head. The doctors didn’t think it was a big deal but over time the bony nodules grew, extending up and back. When Allison turned two they were three inches long and had definite points. The doctors couldn’t explain what was happening, the tissue seemed like normal bone and didn’t cause pain or other complications. But Allison’s parents decided to have the horns ground down before she got any older so that she wouldn’t have to deal with the abnormality. Childhood is difficult enough, they reasoned, and having horns on the playground could be a lot of trouble.

But the horns grew back, and continue to grow. Each year since her second birthday Allison travels to an orthopedic specialist in New York who grinds the nubs back down and then sews her up good as new. Fuzzco’s super-cool about it though. We hardly ever mention it and she gets an extra day of paid vacation for the surgery. Yep, super-cool.

Ben Jack / Ben Jack isn’t his real name. When he first crash-landed on Earth in the forests of Siberia, he spent the first day or two unconscious and bleeding in the rubble of his spacecraft. His extraterrestrial healing powers were at work, though, repairing the damage to his body and acclimating his system to the planet’s climate. Within a week he was walking toward the nearest road, where he was picked up by a Kazakh trucker on the way to Moscow.

By the time he hit Paris two weeks later, Ben Jack could speak Russian, French and English and had decided to go by Ben Jack, the closest approximation of his real name that Earthling vocal cords could achieve.

His real name sounds more like a guttural Bbbueuiueien Jaueaueieuaueiueaque, pronounced really fast with a high, whistling E flat in the background. Don’t even try, just call him Ben Jack.

Just kidding. Read the real bios and peep their faces here.

A monstrous logo

We’re pretty stoked about the Giant Conference which kicks off today. A lot of great thinkers, speakers and creators have descended on our hometown to think and speak about creating. We were fortunate enough to do the branding work for all of the various Giant identities.

When the Giant founders first approached us to create an identity system for them, we had a lot of big ideas. Very big. Maybe too big. With a name like Giant, we figured, you have to suggest massive scale. So most of our initial sketched concepts played on this idea.

We thought about making the letters look huge by using perspective to show them looming above and receding into the distance.       perspective

Or what if the letters were so big they couldn’t all fit in the frame?

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What if they were huge letters floating in the sky like the bat signal or skywriting?

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But perception of size is also relative. What if the letters looked like a reasonable size but you realized that they were really tall by the length of their shadow?

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What if the word was just simply giant?

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Role reversal, what if we created something unexpected by writing giant in tiny letters?

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What if the letters were so big that they couldn’t help but touch?

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Giant things have big shadows, what if the logo was just the shadow?Shadow

Or what if the word Giant was really big only in relation to other copy paired with it?

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This last idea sort of clicked for all of us and we decided to develop the idea further. We paired the name of the conference with various sub-entities that fall under the brand and presented some initial type treatments for the logo.

We also played around with some colors that we thought were bold enough to be paired with such a gargantuan name.

Once we’d presented and discussed these designs with the Giant guys the path to the finish line was clear. We made one more pass to present the final Giant system.

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It’s big and we’re proud of it. We hope you like it too.

See a little more of this project here.

 

Make it more playful…

Sometimes we like to poke fun at the things we love and boy oh boy do we love art directors. Our projects wouldn’t be nearly as good as they are without the team effort. But when you start to think about the role of a director in a humorous way the jokes just about write themselves.

Are you a creative type that sometimes doubts your own judgment, taste, or ability? Boy do we have just the thing for you. Introducing Fuzzco’s Pocket Art Director. It puts all the power of a full-grown living, mouth-breathing, coffee-drinking art director in the palm of your hand. Simply give it a roll to have your own ideas trumped with clear, succinct, but ultimately unusable direction.

Our Pocket Art Director started as an ad for Giant Conference’s collateral, but was so much fun we built a web-based version and are producing actual physical 20-sided dice. You can use the ad to cut out and assemble your own Pocket Art Director at home, roll on the go using your mobile device, or if you’re in the woods and need direction you can just roll the plastic die directly on the forest floor.

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If that’s still not enough judgment direction in your life, you can also see what the Pocket Art Director is thinking and doing through Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Dribbble.

Once bitten

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Our buddies at Big Cartel called us and said they wanted us to build a custom store theme for their library. They gave us a blank canvas and told us to design the store that we would want to use. So we created Snakebite.

In our early discussions about Snakebite, we talked as much about freedom and customizability as we did about making something that looked good. We wanted to create a theme that conveys a lot of energy without nailing users down to a particular presentation, one that allows for a high degree of customization but never looks unthoughtful.

 

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To us, the greatest challenge is to strike a comfortable balance between these points of tension, creating a theme that works well for a broad range of stores but doesn’t feel either too chaotic or too blah. With Snakebite, users can customize colors, fonts, slideshows, background images and various Big Cartel features to inject their own personality into the mix. See how we customized it for our shop.

We also feel that the mobile ecommerce scene is pretty underdeveloped so we designed and built for mobile first. The result is a theme that works equally well whether you’re using your phone or sitting in front of your giant display at home. Or both at the same time.

Snakebite is bonkers, Snakebite is fun, Snakebite is practical and powerful.

You can check it out on our own store now or get into Big Cartel and give it a whirl.

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