Wednesday, December 29, 2010

uo invitations part 4

The fourth invitation I recently designed for the University of Oregon Donor Relations department once again followed the format of fitting a #10 business envelope, but this time I designed the invitation to open horizontally.

I used the rather lengthy event name to create a label of sorts that, together with a brown color bar, mimics a gift-wrapped present. The photographic texture used in the background reinforces this idea.

Using a translucent paper for the insert adds an elegant touch to this invitation that was printed on a relatively smooth paper (Classic Crest).

I'm quite pleased with how all four of these invitations turned out. Each stands alone as being distinctly unique yet as a group they successfully convey a sense of unity. (view parts 1, 2 and 3)

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

uo invitations part 3

Similar to the design in the previous post, this third invitation for the University of Oregon Donor Relations department uses a horizontal format with an overlapping flap. To save costs, we actually used the same die line to create the curved front panel.

This time rather than using a sticker, the flap is kept closed by tucking it under a little thumbnail slit on the front of the invite.

The whimsical flower illustrations are hand drawn and create a nice visual contrast to the printed fabric background. The Sundance Felt paper reinforces this textural element.

The color palette consists of a dark green and taupe, an elegant interpretation of the official university combo of bright yellow and grass green. (view parts 1 and 2)

Monday, December 27, 2010

uo invitations part 2

This is the second of four different invitations I recently designed for the University of Oregon Donor Relations department.

To stay within the #10 envelope format, I designed this one to open horizontally and have an overlapping flap that is kept closed using a gold sticker blind-embossed with a little leaf motif.

This leaf design is repeated in the Ford Family Foundation typography that functions almost like a logo.

The warm yellow is similar to the official UO yellow. While the warm grey is an unexpected departure from the traditional UO green, it functions well here as a modern palette that still invokes the spirit of the UO colors.

The textured paper is Sundance Felt and lends a luxurious, tactile element to the invitation. (view part 1 here)

uo invitations part 1

A few months ago, I was asked to design a series of invitations for the University of Oregon's Donor Relations department. The invites are for receptions hosted annually for recipients of various different scholarships.

So while there was little overlap in the recipients, I proposed that all four invitations follow the same horizontal format to fit in standard #10 business envelopes. All other elements (with the exception of a shared die line for two of the invites) were purposely designed to be distinctly different from each other.

The design process was a lot of fun and the resulting invites successfully convey the tone of the events. Here are some photos of the first invitation – stay tuned for posts on the other three!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

happy holidays!

Every year I like to thank my wonderful clients for all the work they've sent my way, so I present them with a small gift that I designed myself. For the past six years, I've been able to team up with Brown Printing and West Coast Paper (now WCP Solutions) to create something fun AND functional.

This year's collaboration resulted in another day planner, a collection of whimsical illustrations with weekly and monthly pages to help my clients stay organized in 2011.

The cover and monthly divider pages are printed on a heavy textured stock that are folded double for added heft. A nice bonus of this method: tabs for easy access to each month!

If you're not (yet?) one of my clients or would like to gift someone with one of my planners, I do have a few extras for sale in my Etsy shop.

Happy holidays, everyone!

Friday, October 22, 2010

doin' good in the world

I absolutely love what I do for a living. I suppose I'm lucky that way. I feel even luckier when I can do what I love and know that I make a difference in the world, even if it's just a small difference.

That's why I'm always thrilled when it's time to design the next issue of the Oregon Humane Society magazine (read more here). Officially a newsletter, this publication is distributed to roughly 27,000 readers and is filled with interesting news and heartbreaking stories that often have a happy ending thanks to OHS.

A sample of the fall issue I designed recently hit my mailbox and I was reminded again of all the great work OHS does around the state. The rescue that hits closest to home is, of course, the one where OHS drove all the way out to Harney County to pick up our little Tucker (a golden retriever mix) along with 125+ other dogs that had been grossly neglected by the owner.

I'm currently working on new illustrations for this year's holiday gift (shh... can't say any more!) and have decided that I will donate a portion of the sale of one particular illustration to the Oregon Humane Society:

Yes, this little cutie pie will do his part to give back to the Oregon Humane Society: $5 of every 8x10 and $7 of every 11x14 matted print will be donated to OHS (who, btw, doesn't receive any federal or state dollars but is supported 100% through private donations).

Want to help, too? You can buy the print here or just email me (alex [at] defteling [dot] com).

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

corporate communications

Corporate communications don't have to be bland and boring. They're another opportunity to connect with your customers and reinforce your brand.

Case in point: Peterson Sullivan in Seattle recently merged with another accounting firm and wanted to announce this fact to their existing and potential clients. Instead of sending out a standard postcard or invoice stuffer, we took a different route:

This fun yet informative direct mail piece tells the story beautifully. Yes, they merged and here's what it means to you, their customer.

Closely on its heels followed an invitation to an open house – a great way for clients to meet the new partners and staff, as well as a nice way to thank them for past business.

Because the event will be very wine-focused (various tasting stations with food pairings set up throughout the office), we incorporated vineyard elements throughout (the corks on the back become a fun background once inserted into the translucent envelope for mailing) while staying true to the look and feel established in the first mailer.

Next time your organization needs to communicate a message that falls outside the standard realm of advertising, consider a creative twist to make your message memorable.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

holiday cards

Every fall I look forward to designing my very favorite project of the year: Defteling Design's client holiday gift! I've already started busily sketching new ideas, and it made me think back with pride and pleasure to last year's project, a weekly day planner (click here for more info).

That, in turn, reminded me that I created a fun illustration for the month of December. Wheels started churning in my head and I decided to reuse that image to create a holiday card.

It's available for purchase here but if you want a more customized look for your business or personal use, feel free to give me a jingle!

Saturday, September 25, 2010


I was surfing tonight (Etsy, Facebook, Blogger) and I came across this video promoting a new book by Steven Johnson. It's simply ingenious, not only in the actual message but also (or more so) in its execution!

(pardon the fact that the video goes off to the right – no idea how to fix that! If anyone knows, please enlighten me ;)

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

before + after: one-sheet templates

Businesses often have marketing collateral that they need to update on a regular basis. For such occasions, it's handy to have an in-house person who can make the edits. It's even better when you're working with a nicely designed template that reinforces your brand and makes a positive impression!

Peterson Sullivan, an accounting firm in Seattle, WA came to me asking for help with their one-sheets. They had a design in place but they wanted a more visually appealing design.

This project is a great example of how a few simple changes can really freshen up a design. I mainly used a variation of type treatments (all caps, letter spacing, color), color blocks and dotted lines to give the layout more appeal and visually reinforce the hierarchy of information.

Since Peterson Sullivan uses three main categories of one-sheets, I designed a template that follows the same basic design but switches out the colors to help differentiate them.

Now they'll be able to create updated one-sheet in-house any time the need arises.