Category Archives: Think Design

The Human Geographic

The Human Geographic

This July I had the extreme adventure of working abroad and traveling around Nairobi, Kenya. My husband and I had planned the trip for over a year, but were unsure if we’d actually be allowed to go as the US had elevated Kenya to high risk for terrorist activity the month prior to our departure. We stood by monitoring the news, decided to risk it, and thankfully had not a single issue during our travels. For a month we lived and travelled with our dear friends Sam and Miranda Grant, who moved to Nairobi a year ago from Uganda to work in micro-finance and video journalism throughout the country.

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Jackie manning the laptop on location from the coast of the Indian Ocean in Diani Beach, Kenya.

Miranda Grant

Miranda Grant filming on location outside of Nairobi, Kenya.

Our timing was beautiful, as we were in Kenya to witness the Great Migration in the Serengeti (more on that later), and I was able to work directly (face-to-face!) with Miranda on a collaborative project she’s created called The Human Geographic. It was a privilege for me to be on the ground floor of this grand idea- and to work with Miranda outside of Skype and email! The Human Geographic is an online quarterly magazine featuring stories, documentaries, and audio from a network of journalists around the world. Each issue revolves around a theme, and the inaugural issue, Miracles, launched November 15th.tHG Miracles Cover v

The Human Geographic Home page

The undertaking of such a project took many, many months of coordinating, developing, planning, researching, many dry-erase boards of infographics, navigation charts, and website programming. Miranda took this feat head-on, hoping to challenge the format in which we are now so used to receiving information, with a desire to present news and stories in a more beautiful and multi-sensory presentation. I feel grateful to have been a part of the project as design consultant, illustrator, and in help with programming the WordPress site for the main portion of The Human Geographic. The logo was designed by talented Australian designer Morgan Stokes, and our Think All Day programmer extraordinaire Susan Harkey also jumped onboard for help on some of the more difficult programming features – huge thanks to her as well!

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Okay, so you’re intrigued, but what exactly is The Human Geographic? Well, jump on over and dive in! The main site is filled with stories and teasers (for free) from around the world which you can search by location on the global map. And the magazine is available for $4.99 and includes a full length feature documentary film, Static Miracles by Gabrielle Brady along with loads of other exclusive articles and stories related to Miracles. It’s one of those that you should enjoy with a hot cup of tea and a few hours to yourself.  The next issue, Hero, will be released in January and new stories are always rotating up on the website.

The Human Geographic Miracles

In this season of gratitude, I feel so much thanks for the wonderful people I’ve had the opportunity to collaborate with on this project, for the experience of visiting (and falling in love with) Africa, and for my job at Think All Day for allowing me the flexibility to work from anywhere (as long as there is internet)!

May this find you filled with wanderlust and spark your sense of adventure!

Cheers,
Jackie

Akumal Weddings Logo Design + Website Design

We are delighted to share one of our recent branding projects—from stem to stern—for Akumal Weddings, an event planning service located on the gorgeous coastline of North Akumal, Mexico, in the Mayan Riviera. We go into more detail about the project in our portfolio, so we thought it would be fun to share a few behind-the-scenes glimpses here that ultimately led to our final logo design and website design for this slice of tropical paradise.

When we begin a new branding project, we first put together an inspiration packet filled with images, mood boards, sketches, and typefaces that we believe embody our concepts for the new aesthetic. This is a really important stage in the logo design process in particular, as it ensures that we (the designers) are on the same page as our clients—and creates an essential roadmap for the next stage of development of our designs (after all, what we are hired to do!).  It’s always a pleasure to work with an amazing client who has beautiful professional photos already on hand, and of course if your business takes place on the Caribbean ocean, even better!

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Step one in this kind of project is for us to comb through our ever-growing inspiration library of beautiful patterns, fonts, and logos to create the mood board aspect of our initial concept package. This will include bits of branding from companies and designers that we admire, a variety of color swatches to compose a palette, and sample graphics that we find compelling. The point of this collection is to share with the client several different design directions we feel we can take their branding. We stress that we will not duplicate any of these elements, and that they are used strictly as inspirations, like a photo collage to get the ball rolling. Honoring other designers’ work is really important to us; we understand how many hours went behind each logo and design discovery and give credit where credit is due for any found inspirations.  We love sharing ideas and seeing other great work on dribbble!

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Credit clockwise from top: Diane Faye Zerr, Christian Antolin, Edgar Vargas, Laura Coggins.

We gather fonts, and present different options to get an idea of what feeling our client is looking for: hand-written, serif, sans-serif, cursive, playful, clean, caps, and more.

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Once we receive feedback from our client, we put together the next packet, developing custom design elements, narrowing down font choices, and building several variations of logo concept drafts. Here are a few of the alternate logo designs we created for Akumal Weddings, but didn’t end up using:

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After reviewing the initial logo concept sketches, we push things just a few steps further, and voila! the final logo design comes to fruition. After that, focusing on the beautiful photography provided by our client, our Akumal Weddings website design came together using our final logo package as a guide, sprinkling custom graphic embellishments throughout the site layout, and taking cues from the branding decisions we arrived at with our client.

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Read more about Akumal Weddings on our portfolio, and visit Akumal Weddings online to see some of the beautiful weddings they’ve been part of celebrating.  A huge thank you to Heidi and her team for working with us on the branding, logo design, and website design. Booking a trip to the sandy shores of Akumal is definitely at the top of our wish list!

Jackie & Kristin

Website Design for: The Chavez House

Working with the lovely Heidi Cost (also of the Heidi Cost Photography, Vista del Mar Resort, and La Buena Vida Restaurant websites, which we have had the pleasure of designing, too) is always so much fun!  For her family’s adorable adobe rental casita in historic downtown Santa Fe, we were able to go Santa Fe-crazy creating a new WordPress website design, branding, and graphic embellishments with a Southwestern turquoise and rust color scheme, Western-inspired fonts, and geometric Native American graphic accents to reflect the look of the wall hangings, decorations, and charm of the casita itself.  We also used a photograph we took of a local agave plant for the site’s background wallpaper to finish off the Santa Fe feel.

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Features include: a sidebar widget offering prominent access to guest reviews and instant booking reservations on every page; a custom booking form and calendar of available dates; details on amenities and local attractions; a gallery showcasing each room; family history of the property; directions and embedded Google map to help guests find their way.

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As you can imagine, Heidi is really well-versed now in updating her various WordPress website designs that we have created for her.  The Chavez House site offers her that same simple updating capability, and Heidi can add photos, check booking requests, keep her reservations calendar up to date, and keep all the details about the casita and local Santa Fe tips current.

Chavez House detail

Next time you’re in Santa Fe, a stay at this cozy home in an awesome location will be sure to make your trip even more special!

The Visit the Chavez House online >>

-Kristin + Jackie

New Website Design and Branding for: Heidi Cost Photography

It takes a lot of vulnerability and self-motivation to publish your own creative work online, so we feel especially grateful when artists and creatives come to us as they are ready to take that very exciting step. Heidi Cost, co-owner of the beautiful Vista del Mar condos and hotels and the La Buena Vida restaurant and bar in Akumal, Mexico—we had the pleasure of creating the logo and website design for both—is also a very talented photographer. She was ready to showcase her photographs and create an identity that matched her personality and portfolio.

Having the opportunity to work with Heidi on several projects, Kristin and I already had a pretty good grasp on Heidi’s aesthetics. Heidi was attracted to incorporating hand-drawn elements into her logo and the mood of the site. We agreed! Pairing hand-drawn or painted components into a digital site creates an intimacy and humanity that matches perfectly with such a personal project as a photography portfolio.

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Heidi Cost Photography

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Using watercolor and ink, we tried several shapes and patterns for Heidi’s new logo. Ultimately, we decided on using the square, which we found mimicked the photograph tiles for the gallery nicely. The handwritten script has a loose, free feeling, much like the flow Heidi’s easygoing, traveling persona. Water blues and neutral tans and grays showcase, but don’t compete with, her beautiful photos on the site, and create a composed space where the viewer can feel as if the photographs are framed by the photographer’s own personality. The hand-drawn leaf garland offers a border and repetition, as well as a nod toward nature, which is a huge focus of Heidi’s works.

 

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This site was built as a custom solution in the flexible Virb.com platform, a fantastic fit for artists and photographers which allows them to add new work on their own with ease. We like the simplicity and clean interface of using Virb for portfolio projects like this one.

 

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Heidi’s business cards were printed on thick white, woven cardstock and cut to a 2″ square. Congratulations on sharing your beautiful work with the world, Heidi! We look forward to viewing more of your adventures to come.

Visit this site online >> www.heidicostphotography.com

Best,
Jackie & Kristin

New Website Design for: Belisama Dance

Belisama Dance has been a longtime PR client, with Kristin covering their stunning Irish and contemporary dance performances, recently getting much-deserved coverage on the front page of The New Mexican! When the time came to update the design of their website, we were very pleased they chose to work with us again on this special design project.

Belisama is a dance studio offering ballet, modern, jazz, and Irish dance instruction, and the home of internationally renowned Belisama Irish Dance Company. One of our challenges when building their new site was to make these distinctions clear and obvious for visitors. We decided to streamline the  components of performance and school, and merge them into a new single website versus two separate entities in the cyberworld (fewer urls = more traffic!).

They already had a beautiful logo, so we based the website design around Belisama’s established colors. Since the logo has a lot of movement within it, we wanted the rest of the site to have a clean contemporary feel and to showcase rather than compete with the branding. Black, hot shades of oranges and reds, and a modern serifed font all help promote that cool contemporary energy.

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Featuring beautiful photographs by local photographers Kate Russell and Cynthia Whitney-Ward, we designed a full width fade-in/fade-out slideshow banner using images from all the different dance classes and performances that Belisama offers.

Features in the site include a completely editable perfomance and class schedule Calendar, a Blog, and password-protected Press Page. The site was build in WordPress, allowing Belisama staff full control to login and update the site as they wish.

Visit the site online >> www.belisamadance.com