In Part 1, we saw how the Nonpareil name and logo came about. Brand is more than just a logo, however. The following video summarizes my process, expresses other elements of the brand, and shows some of its applications (also featured in the rest of this post).

Business card, front and back


Mailing Label



Desktop Wallpaper

Download 1024 x 768 or 1440 x 900

Promotional Book, front and back
Basically a rework of this book. I changed the colors, type, and logo.

For a final project in Web Authoring, we had to reimagine and code our school portal site. It is currently a mess of redundant navigation, confusing links, and missing content. So this is my attempt to make the world a better place.

You can click the screenshot to explore the site! Only a handful of the links work.

Here is a peek at the real site for comparison.

Brand is something that is being talked about more and more. These days more than ever, we need efficiency and consistency to broadcast the essence of people and corporations. Corporate Communications is a class that taught me how brand spans beyond the logo to every piece of communication that reaches the target audience.

Developing a strong brand requires deep understanding of the entity that the brand will represent. As a final project for this class, I created a brand for the person I know best — myself!

I have done this before, sort of. At different points in my life, I have designed graphics to communicate my identity to an audience. There was no consistency between them, however. I embarked upon a long and painful process to develop a new name and mark that could more holistically represent me.

I asked a handful of people to come up with words to describe me. From this list, I grabbed the one that seemed most important or recurring: quality, desire for excellence, out of the ordinary, a step above, perceptive, intuitive, elegant, thoughtful, pure, multicultural, expressive, deep, and purposeful. These are the attributes I most wanted my brand to express.

From these words, I came up with possible business names (in ALL CAPS). At the same time, I explored symbolism:

I began to see if these sketches could translate into vector drawings, and how they could express some of the names I was considering.

Finally, the strongest name and symbol came together in the following mark, that I felt expressed everything I wanted it to.

The branding process was far from over, however. See Part 2 for the continuing saga…

In the past, Advanced Digital Imaging has been a class about Photoshop. I am so thankful that our instructor this quarter stepped it up and delivered a lot more value than usual to a disparate group of animators, photographers, and graphic designers. He came up with projects that forced us to work more holistically and explore unfamiliar skills. All quarter long, I looked forward to our final project: an short animation.

I always get a thrill from combining music with image in meaningful, energetic ways. I have no interest in creating a creating a character that talks and moves, but I think I could take any of my design projects and convert them to moving graphics enhanced with sound. The advantage to something like that is the total control I have of the viewers’ experience. As I guide them through visuals and information, I can also affect their emotions through timing and sound.

In the past, I’ve done this very simply in applications like Windows Movie Maker or iMovie. But the premiere industry-standard software for motion graphics and visual effects is Adobe After Effects. I made it my goal to learn this software in order to produce the final project. It was a blast! The best thing about After Effects is that with even a basic understanding, your possibilities are almost limitless.

Our instructor showed us Marvel Comic’s Spider-Woman Motion Comics as examples of what could be done using only still imagery and a soundtrack as the raw material. It was way more aesthetically powerful than I expected!

We were given a few parameters, but the theme/story of the animation was entirely up to us. I was interested in creating an evocative tribute to childhood memories, taking those evanescent thoughts and feelings and tying them impressionistically to shapes, sounds, and colors. This original plan morphed slightly based on my limited knowledge of the software and time constraints, so I’d say the end result turned out to be a more literal interpretation. I’m still happy with it, though.

Additionally, this project represents one of my first attempts at music sampling and remixing – something I want to continue to explore. I selected music and sounds that I remember listening to over and over in each hometown and looked for ways to blend them together.

Finally, after weeks of valuable yet creatively stifling tutorials, our Web Authoring instructor set us free to design code a small site on any topic of our choosing. I happened to to be deep into my French teaching at the time, so I imagined what my course might look like if it had to exist entirely online. My goal is to transport and inspire, to ennoble to the human experience through our visual environment. So, can I make a website that delights the viewer in the way stepping into a beautiful French village would? I decided to try.

Click the screenshot to explore the site! Only a handful of links work.

Could I do the job of a LEGO package designer? Probably, but I would need more than twelve hours for the first few jobs. Or that’s what I discovered in Advanced Digital Imaging, when our instructor, Chris Pickey, brought in LEGO sets and challenged us to replicate from scratch their packaging.

My team and I snagged this intergalactic duo and immediately set about building the model. A quick trip to the photo studio, and we had our raw material. Then we painstakingly measured every side of the box to a sixteenth of an inch in order to create our templates. From that point on, each person was on his own.

I had a blast. There is probably nothing I can lose myself in more than creating detailed replicas — of anything. The clock was ticking for this assignment, however. May I also mention that there is little I find more frustrating than a deadline that precludes perfection? So what you see is what I managed to get done in twelve hours. You can click the image above to explore it in detail and compare with the original!

For those of you wondering how I made this, the answer is: Photoshop. Knowing about gradients and bevel effects. Recognizing fonts. Basically looking closely, then translating what I saw into the tools I knew were available to me — and presumably, to the person who originally designed this packaging. Whoever you are, I salut you!

For the story behind this logo, I refer you to its co-designer & my good friend, Sheri Garvin!

The purpose of a sell-sheet is to thoroughly describe a product and sell it to retailers. In Advanced Digital Imaging, I created a series of sell-sheets for three products in a same line. I found these exotic chocolates in the ALDI special buys section. That’s part of ALDI’s draw – you never know what you will find for next-to-nothing, and it changes all the time.

Having selected my products, I proceeded to photograph the chocolate myself, which turned out to be a major personal breakthrough. I am somewhat terrified of complex camera settings and trial-and-error light placement. But my school afforded me high end equipment and two hours alone in a well-stocked studio where I began to actually have fun. Thankfully, the head of the photography department happened to pop in and add the one magic light to my setup, giving me the professional result I was hoping for.

Download the PDF

Advanced Digital Imaging class started off with a bang! Our instructor, Chris Pickey, is drummer and designer for worship leader Jake Brothers. Jake was putting out a new album, and Chris decided to let all of us compete for its design. After listening for the heart behind Jake’s music, here was my proposition. Though it didn’t end up being chosen, it was great real-world experience! Below is the insert.

CD tray:


For my final project in Advanced Typography Class, I reinterpreted the fascinating little tome The Ten Commandments of Typography / Type Heresy: Breaking the Ten Commandments of Typography by Paul Felton. As the title suggests, this book looks at the rules of “good” typography and then turns those rules on their heads in the way of experimental typographers.

For my own interpretation of these rules, I chose to theme my book as if it were a collection of pages torn from different cookbooks. Each commandment and corresponding heresy are interpreted by the same recipe, with very different-looking results.

Also, the inner pages are die-cut in a staggered way so that the commandments can be read in sequence. As the pages are the turned, the list of heresies builds up in the same way. If I reproduce the book, I would like to lay very slightly translucent pages between each spread, so that list gradually “fades out.” As it is now, I feel like the layered list distracts from the page being looked at.

This book is difficult to photograph, so I’m including the digital version of each spread (minus the cutout). Click to see them larger!

Commandment I
Thou shalt not apply more than
three typefaces in a document.
heresy i
break the fetters imposed by the use of only
three typefaces… the lord gives fonts, so
use as many as you desire

Commandment II
Thou shalt lay headlines large
and at the top of the page.
heresy ii
let thine eyes be seduced by the hierarchy of
type… bolder fonts, even at the same size as
body copy, will attract the eye first

Commandment III
Thou shalt employ no other type
size than 8pt to 10pt for body copy.
heresy iii
do not forsake smaller or bigger sizes,
for their irregularity can make
text appear ever more alluring

Commandment IV
Remember that a typeface that is
not legible is not truly a typeface.
heresy iv
be seduced into trying new and expressive
typefaces, and break free from the
security of traditional fonts

Commandment V
Honor thy kerning: let white space be
visually equal between characters.
heresy v
treat kerning with total irreverence and
expose the devious space between letterforms

Commandment VI
Thou shalt lay stress discreetly
upon elements within text.
heresy vi
entice the reader to sample the delights of
your text, for what the lord wants hidden
can be full of pleasure

Commandment VII
Thou shalt not use only capitals
when setting vast body copy.
heresy vii
do not forgo the liberal use of capitals within
your text, for the geometric letterforms may
provide diabolically good outcomes

Commandment VIII
Thou shalt always align letters
and words on a baseline.
heresy viii
the lord designed letterforms to stand side
by side, but there is no harm in their
being lured away from each other

Commandment IX
Thou shalt use flush-left,
ragged-right type alignment.
heresy ix
yield to the temptation
to align text in unusual ways

Commandment X
Thou shalt not make lines too short or too long.
heresy x
lure the reader down unfamiliar paths
by varying the length of your text

This assignment confirms what I’ve always known – I struggle to break the rules! Though I did it technically, all the right hand pages are still pretty clean and traditional-looking. Another hurdle to overcome was using InDesign, Illustrator, AND Photoshop (for the template, type layout, and aged effects respectively) in the process of every spread. It can be done… but it requires a lot of planning. Finally, I underestimated the challenge of hand stitching all of the pages together, breaking several needles in the process! All of the exploration was fun nevertheless.