• #SiteLaunch & Rebrand: Jay Fram Photography @FramJ by @BrandAlmanac

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    Local photographer Jay Fram, who was one of our WIL features from earlier this year, has had always had a unique ability for capturing the perfect moments from his subjects as well as a keen eye for design - which is most likely due to his close collaborators, Almanac.

    It should come then as no surprise that his digital presence is a wonderful marriage of both photography & design that gives us one of the strongest custom portfolio sites we've seen in quite some time. It's incredibly minimal yet rich with content and leaves a lasting impression of his work and aesthetic.

    Let's take a look at the branding first. Here's Nathan Sprehe, principal of Almanac, on the solution they devised for their friend:
    "We began our discovery phase by working with Jay to identify and refine his target audiences and conducted interviews with some of those people—art buyers, creative directors and corporate clients. Their input informed our work in defining Jay as “an American photographer who crafts honest, emotional images of real people and places.” With that in mind, we developed a simple, versatile and bold mark intended to correspond with Jay’s personality on set—professional, contemplative and at times, loud and boisterous."

    "Business cards are printed with black thermography across three different types of paper, each color corresponding to the color palette."

    "When it came to the website, we made a conscious decision to abandon a portfolio “section”, instead opting for an approach that put sortable image galleries right on the homepage. In addition to the work, the responsive website features an “on-set” section where you can see more of what it’s like to work with Jay, photo story galleries and his blog, which we rolled into this website from another platform."

    Here's Jay's thoughts concerning the site:
    "I love photography sites that feature giant full-screen imagery immediately on the landing page, but I also felt limited by that approach. It can be agonizing to choose (and constantly update) a single image with which to make a first impression, when no single image can impart the breadth of any photographer's work. And I definitely do NOT like automatic slideshows. We chose to go the opposite route, to have the viewer land on a dynamic collection of thumbnails which resize upon refresh, and reshuffle depending on browser width. The images load quickly, and have the express advantage of giving an art buyer/editor a fast and hopefully more nuanced read on my visual style. Obviously I hope they click the images to open in full-screen lightbox view, but if not, they still get the gist."

    "We were also able to incorporate most of my wish list - migrated blog, on-set snapshots, tearsheets, viewable on mobile and tablet, all fully editable and customizable via Wordpress. I'd still like to tweak the iPad experience of the site, and the lightbox view, and allow a client to create customized downloadable PDFs. Also coming soon, the site will serve light appetizers, and after 8pm, craft beer and custom cocktails."

    Beautiful work all across the board that we're proud to say is 100% locally made in all aspects; if this combined work doesn't get some national press we'd be very amazed. The only extremely minor thing we'd like to address is that the browser back button is useless once entering the full-image mode, but maybe that's just our own dated navigational habits as opposed to an oversight of theirs. Also, we gotta say something about that beautiful footer; we totally have footer fetish going on with it - we just want to click all over it.

    Ahem… congratulations to everyone involved.

    View Jay Fram's site here.
    Be sure to check out the full Almanac blog on the project here.

  • Infomercial Struggles

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    Everything has to be soooo dramatic.


  • Poster Plays Music on your Smartphone via Bluetooth, Lets You "Feel Flavor"

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    Herb and spice brand Schwartz is all about flavor. To demonstrate, Print Tech collective, Novalia and Grey London collaborated on this interactive poster that uses innovative ‘touch sensitive’ inks to turn the surface area of the paper into an interactive interface.

    Each herb and spice depicted in the artwork is assigned a musical chord matching its flavor characteristic. The image was then back-printed with an innovative conductive ink, giving the poster capacitive touch technology. When paired with a mobile device via Bluetooth, the poster becomes an interactive musical instrument.


  • #ShitToHit RIGHT NOW: @Lyft STL Launch Happy Hour @NebulaSTL

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    In what is probably the most controversial Happy Hour to happen in St. Louis (aside from what we did at the last Kegs With Legs…shhh), Lyft - the on-demand ridesharing app that is spreading across the country like wildfire - will officially launch with a happy hour at Nebula that is open to the public.

    Why is it controversial you ask? Here's a snippet from the full RFT article:

    The company has been building up for months to launch in the Lou, advertising jobs for drivers on Facebook and Craigslist, and interviewing hundreds of applicants at Nebula coworking space on Cherokee Street. But Lyft won't have the special dispatch license developed by the St. Louis Metropolitan Taxicab Commission for ride-sharing apps by Friday. St. Louis City and County rules say any companies that operate or dispatch vehicles for hire must be certified.

    "If they do not comply with the taxicab commission, they will be operating illegally and would be in violation of the law," MTC spokesman Richard Callow tells the St. Louis Business Journal.

    But Lyft isn't a taxi service, says Paige Thelen, a spokeswoman for Lyft. Riders hail cars with their smartphones, not on the street. Lyft's drivers are typically students, entrepreneurs, artists and other folks looking to make some side cash by driving clients in their own cars -- not professional, full-time taxi drivers. Plus, Lyft doesn't charge a fare. Instead, the app suggests a donation, and Lyft gets a cut.

    Be a part of the celebratory fireworks in the alley behind Nebula. Free beer and mad taxi cab officials.

    RSVP on Facebook

    Lyft's Operating Area for St. Louis

  • Vinyl x Skateboards - @BoxingCleverSTL Records Celebrates #RecordStoreDay2014

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    The jealousy continues as Boxing Clever continues to hit home runs with their passion project, Boxing Clever Records. The artwork really looks nice when transposed to the back of the skate decks. You can probably rest assured that these bands are pretty ecstatic about the lengths their new label goes for them on the creative end.

    Boxing Clever Records celebrates Record Store Day and the label’s first series of releases with commemorative skateboard decks featuring the album art of each pressing.

    All six of the 7-inch splits are represented and packaged along with the vinyl pressing. This unique offering is a tribute to fans of the music, the artists on the records and the designers of the packaging.

    As a true limited edition offering, only 20 of the commemorative decks are available for each of the six releases. They can be purchased at Vintage Vinyl in St. Louis on Record Store Day (April 19th) and will be available on the label’s online store the same day.

    Be sure to get out there tomorrow and support your local record store on what's looking to be a gorgeous, sunny day. Here's a comprehensive guide to all the participating stores and performances that you'll be able to find all around St. Louis tomorrow, courtesy of RFT.

    Check out all the press images for the skate decks here.

  • The 60 Year Old Skateboarder

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    Here's a bit of unexpected inspiration and beauty for your friday morning.
    "How old can I get and still act young?" Neal Unger, 60 year old proves that you can never be too old to have fun on a skateboard.


  • Kegs With Legs #14: Burgers, Beers, Bandanas - @HandLPartners

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    By the power invested in us through the daily ingestion of bald eagle wings, we now announce the next Kegs With Legs of 2014. That's right the 14th Kegs With Legs takes place in 2014 and we're doing it the ol' fashioned 'Murica way. Can you say Burgers? You can, that's good. Add beer & bandanas to the mix and we're about to get some good, wholesome country values into the heart of the Central West End at H&L Partners fantastic office.

    See you next Thursday to start the next American Revolution. It'll be just like the last one except we'll shotgun beers with the british (if any attend) instead of aiming shotguns at them.

    RSVP on Facebook

  • An In-Depth Look at Rebranding @MayorSlay by @GrainForAll

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    Ever since Obama's initial run for presidency, the idea of being able to handle the branding and design for a political personality has taken on a new aura of cool. That campaign in particular marked new territory in respect to developing a rock solid visual approach to communicating an ideological political strategy (at that time); not to mention, boosting the popularity of the typeface Gotham into the stratosphere.

    As such, we've always wondered why Mayor Slay didn't have a digital presence that was as savvy and well formulated as his approach to social media. And then, one day while randomly trawling for local nuggets, we happened upon his newly redesigned site and rebrand.

    Matt Steel, the Design Partner at Grain, gave us a wonderful play by play that takes a look at the before and after of St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay:

    In 2013, Mayor Francis G. Slay's team approached Grain to reposition and redesign the Mayor's website. We saw an opportunity to not only reimagine the Mayor's online presence, but to redesign his office's brand identity as well.


    For the identity, we wanted to maintain enough visual equity that current constituents wouldn't be alienated. But the Mayor is also interested in connecting with new audiences. The challenge was to balance respect for St. Louis's history with a focus on improving our city for future generations.

    Grain designed a clean, simple word-mark with strong yet approachable typography. We updated the previous blue and yellow color palette, and introduced a system of complimentary colors that are carried throughout the website.

    We also created a monogram from the Mayor's initials (FGS). It serves as a secondary brand element, a seal of authenticity.

    Our strategy for the website was to create an online magazine. From the panoramic curtain images on the homepage to the design of articles, we focused on creating an inviting, legible reading experience. And the adaptive design feels at home on all screens.


    New Site

    Visitors can browse interactive maps to learn about Mayor Slay's past and current projects, or view upcoming events.

    Grain also created a robust content management system that allows editors to publish and edit content from phones, tablets or desktop computers.

    Overall, we find this project to be a very solid execution that institutes a greater sense of professionalism and relevancy to the local community. Good work Grain.

    Visit Slay's site here.

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