Friday, July 24, 2009

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

MORRIS Rebrand Launch—Yay! Check it out.

It's official! Today we launch our new brand!

I can finally post those pictures of the stationery I promised to post back in April. See Murphy's Law—Part 1 and 2 for the process it took to get here.

Check out our sleek new website:
and the stationery system and CD/DVD's to match :).

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Urban Inspiration 1—COLOR

Today, I coordinated a little field trip out of the office.

A couple months ago, my boss presented us with this year’s BHAG—aka Big Hairy Audacious Goal (a BHAG encourages companies to define visionary goals that are more strategic. The concept was originally proposed by James Collins and Jerry Porras in their 1996 article titled, Building Your Company's Vision).

Our BHAG contained one goal in particular that really sparked my curiosity, “Cultivate a mindset of innovation…”

While I don’t officially consider myself an inventor, I do consider myself an idea person—particularly lately—since I have entered (and done well with) a few of my submissions on the website. It’s impossible to sum up the EN website and the company behind it (Eventys) without going into a long explanation. Suffice to say, it’s revolutionary and it is providing opportunity to
a lot of everyday folks.

At the same time the BHAG was introduced, we unfolded a new “goals” process. We were asked to relate our professional goals to the BHAG in general—to work towards our ultimate goal of truly living the document.

I thought back to that goal, “Cultivate a mindset of innovation…”

To work on my own creative mindset, I had already bought “Thinkertoys—A Handbook of Creative-Thinking Techniques” by Michael Michalko. It teaches you how to train yourself to be a creative thinker.

One of the suggested exercises from Michalko’s book asks the reader to direct their attention to one color and spend all day seeking that color. The idea behind this focusing exercise is to help people see the world aro
und them in a new light. By focusing on the details, they have a greater experience with that color, and it forces them to pay attention.

Since design is seriously influenced by color, I thought this would be a fun way to begin the implementation of one of my professional goals—coordinating learning opportunities for our employees to help them develop a more innovative mindset. I called the workshop Urban Inspiration (1).

I gave the exercise a little twist, and asked everyone to bring in their digital cameras and walking shoes. We split up into groups of two—I think everyone had a camera—and then we chose colors (red, green, yellow, blue, brown, and silver/chrome). I gave everyone a list of things to shoot—a person, typography, a logo, 5 close-ups, a photo of something in the distance, something natural, something stereotypically urban—and hoped they would just shoot pictures of anything that color.

It will be exciting to see everyone's completed photo grids. I couldn't wait so I posted mine below.

Here’s a little inspiration from Michalko:
“Creators are joyful and positive. Creators look at ‘what is’ and ‘what can be’ instead of ‘what is not.’ Instead of excluding possibilities, creators incl
ude all possibilities, both real and imagined. They choose to interpret their own world and do not rely upon the interpretations of others. And most importantly, creators are creative because they BELIEVE they are creative… No matter how indifferent the universe may be to our choices and decisions, these choices and decisions are ours to make. We decide. We choose. In the end, our own creativity is decided by what we choose to do or what we refuse to do. And as we decide and choose, so are our destinies formed.”

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

QA—A Little Help for Everyone

Such a big part of my job at MORRIS is quality assurance. You would be surprised how many hours go into the painstaking process of proofing a document. Recently, I spent 7 hours (!) proofing a training guide for one of our clients—and that was just round 1. Yesterday, we received the printer proofs, which I spent another 5.5 hours on. Today, we're expecting another round, with the edits implemented, which I will likely spend an additional 2 or so hours on.

At MORRIS, we realize that our name is associated with every project that goes out our door. We are extremely proud of the work we do, primarily because our clients can rest assured that we will turn around a QUALITY project for them. Quality is one of those things that's non-negotiable—each of our employees take pride in that fact.

Before I took on the role as the Production Manager, I didn't have a clue about proofreaders marks. This was another design detail my teachers failed to mention while I was in design school. I think about those poor pre-press folks, who receive proofs with copy edits marked up by several different people without access to this information. Oy.

Where process is concerned, there can be overkill, but in this case, it has proven to be an asset to have everyone on the same page.

I scanned this page from the book I recommended earlier, "Forms Folds Sizes—All the Details Graphic Designers Need to Know but Can Never Find," by Poppy Evans. I give it to all our new employees when they come in the door. It's very helpful for both client projects and edits to internal documents such as proposals, estimates, etc.

Hang on to it for future reference. You never know w
hen it might come in handy!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

New Tool for Color Geeks!

Of all the paper companies out there, Neenah Paper is, by far, one of the most innovative I have seen. They are on the cutting edge of the market with ecologically friendly offerings and their marketing efforts are stellar. They seem to be a step ahead of the competition when it comes to originality.

One of things I really enjoy about my job is meeting with our paper reps, and seeing the creativity prevalent in their paper swatch books and promo materials.

A couple years back, Neenah came out with an incredibly RESOURCEFUL paper swatch book, based on the Dewey Color System®. The Dewey Color System® was created by Dewey Sadka, who morphed color philosophy into a personality profiling tool. His system bypasses language, and connects directly to the user through their color choices, with a simple, scientifically validated test. Not only was it fun to find out if the personality test was accurate (which it was!), the book was an amazing resource on color and combinations of colors that work well together.

You can try the test online at:

Just recently, our Neenah rep showed me a new mobile application called Think Ink: Color Unleashed for iPhone /iTouch users. How cool! You can pull a color from a photo and the application will give you various palettes to work with, with descriptors. You can choose your palette based on the emotion you want to convey in your design. It’s based on the swatch book above and it can be downloaded free @

Bummer I don’t have an iPhone! Color geeks enjoy!