Vada in Winter

24 Jan

in cahoots with CAHOOTS

16 Jan

Recently we have had the privilege of working with Devon Anderson who is building a brand for his awesome extreme duo challenge race – CAHOOTS!  Devon (circled in bright pink) is part of an elite group of people who are already bored with marathon running, and need to spice up their athletic past time a bit!  These fellers do obstacle challenge races.  The first one, “Tough Guy”, started a long time ago in england involves 4 or more hours of sloshing around in arctic freezing muddy water, razor barbed wire, electric wires, fire, jumping off of tall stuff, balancing on stuff, bottomless pits, plank walking, and all other sorts of self deprecating mad tough viking nonsense.

Since then, america has seen quite a few duplicates and copy cats of the original tough guy race (tough mudder, ragnar relay, rugged maniac, spartan race, etc.) Devin, a close friend of the rugged maniac who started the original tough guy race, asked permission if he could start a brand of tough guy in the states and was granted it.  However the crazy legalities of near death obstacle challenge racing didn’t really go over in the new world.  So Devon decided to start his own brand of military-esque self mutulating thrill seeking.  Devon decided that he wanted to make a challenge course with a bit of a twist –> CAHOOTS is designed to challenge a pair, a partnership, with challenges that are designed primarily to be completed by 2 people.

Devon approached Vada and asked us to help him create a brand for CAHOOTS this december and the result has been really awesome. We worked on the logo for a crazy powerhouse period, working together closely with Devon.  We went through LOTS (maybe more than 300) of iterations until we found the perfect icon that would communicate the rugged team work ideal of cahoots.  We felt that there was an opportunity to use the double o’s in the word, to create something smart and catchy:

Those turned into these:

Which eventually and finally turned into this:

From there, everything was smooth sailing.  Our old friend BEBAS was chosen for typography and Gold and black were chosen as the color scheme.

And now we are working on their website.  Which has been awesome and flown naturally out of the brand we worked so hard on.  Deciding to ding up and distress the type was an important decision.  Without going over the top (super death metal barbed wired masculinity overload) it makes the brand feel rugged, rough and fun.  You’ll be seeing lots more work, as we continue a great relationship with CAHOOTS!

Today at Vada

19 Dec

9 Dec

Progressive Pioneer

3 Dec

Amy: Yay, it looks so cool!  I love it!  Clay is downstairs working on the next banner.  He got all inspired and decided to do a totally new one from scratch . . . it’s going to be really rad . . . It involves tandem bicycles, knitting and a rooster; it’s going to be awesome.

This is a typical interaction for me and Amy Thompson, author of the Progressive Pioneer Blog.  Amy is an energetic, awesome mom who runs a really cool, influential, green living, granola lifestyle, hip, mommy blog!  For the past little while I have had the pleasure of helping her give it a makeover. Having her and her kids around at the studio has been so fun and so refreshing, especially compared to our usual world of stuffy business men!

Pictured is Me, Amy, her cousin Sloan (who helped with the kids today), and her kids, Vivi and Sam.  Today we tightened up the details on her blog’s facelift.  It is looking so cool, but in my opinion, mostly due to the illustrations. Amy is married to Clayton, who is an amazing illustrator.  He provided the illustrations and hand-done type to make Amy’s site look totally awesome!

As we can see, he is obviously freakin’ incredibly talented and we are all very very jealous.  These guys have been a joy to work with. Amy has a big rerelease of her premium blog facelift this month, and she needed it to have a fresh new feel for her advertisers and readers!  Check out the blog – super insightful and fun.  Hope to see lots more these guys in the future!  BLOGPOWER!!!

Friday December 2nd 2011

3 Dec

It has been a good long day.
We accomplished a lot of stuff.
We finished a blog
We finished an animation . . .
And then we had Cafe Rio together
Good day.

My Time at Vada – by William Myers

2 Dec

I just spent the better part of the past 25 minutes trying to install a pesky font called Univers on my computer. After I attempted to wrestle the files out of every computer within a mile radius, or maybe it was just in the office I don’t remember, I finally got it to work. This is a pretty standard occurrence here at Vada Creative Studio, where I have been interning for the past two months or so. If I there is only one thing I have learned here (which I didn’t, thanks to doses of enthusiastic nuggets of knowledge dished out daily by Andrew, Sean and Michael) it would be that the details count and to always have fun designing! For everyone who thought that was two things- it isn’t. Vada runs an upbeat, optimistic, energetic design studio. This atmosphere is perfectly meshed with a keen eye for detail from the ground up on every project. I have been very impressed by the amount of effort to develop a knowledge and opinion for details, like the perfect font for every situation. Vada wouldn’t dream of not using Univers for the insonsiquential reason that it resisted every install attempt. They know how important that specific font for that specific project is- to Vada and to the client. Vada says: “We believe that good design is integral to commercial success. Bad design can destroy and poison even the best product or idea. Good design is communication, and communicatoin is the bridge between a brand and the people. Good design not only promotes, but legitimizes, and solidifies business between brand and client.” I saw first hand this philosophy in action with every single decision Vada makes every day- from font and color pallet choices to the size of a single period. Along the way of this design determination, they wouldn’t dream of dispensing the many laughs, jokes, quips, spunk, energy and pure creativity I have quickly grown to expect from Vada Creative Studio.

Llamas and Love

8 Nov

A little while back we did this poster for a client who runs an alpaca farm.
Recently she sent us this awesome image of her and the HUGE stand up
she made out of our art!  Oh the good times.  Marilyn Monroe the alpaca. – Chapter 1

7 Nov

These past few months, we have had the awesome privilege of working with Zachary Davison his incredible project, Kanon is an extensive online library that organizes and curates all of the worlds best art and humanities. The project isn’t over, but here is a summary of the work we have done so far:


The first thing to tackle was the logo mark for Kanon (still kind of working on it).  Zach wanted this brand to read beautiful, sophisticated, smart, democratic, and timeless. After a lot of exploration, we settled on the icon of a circle.  A circle represents the world, and the universality and eternal nature of knowledge. Further, the idea of the circle is that is would comment on the fluidity and changing power of knowledge and that the color would be forever shifting and changing.

Website and Library

The ecxiting challenge with the website (or the tool) is that we wanted the focus of the site to be on THE WORKS. This is the primary reason that we chose black. We wanted the website to just almost be invisible in the background so that you could just focus.


There are a lot of challenges with a project as big as this one. But we are very happy about the positive feedback we have gotten so far:

More to come.

CLIENTS – friends, not foe!

7 Nov

Talking about working with clients can be a touchy thing. Clients are the most interesting beast that we get to work with as graphic designers. They are, often, the most difficult and complicated part of the design process. Designers traditionally have had a love hate relationship with them. Designers NEED clients to fuel our business and to give us fun and exciting projects to work on. At the same time, designers too often get a chip on their shoulder about clients because they feel that clients can stand in the way of great design work because they might not catch the vision or understand it, or they are too afraid to relinquish control to someone else’s ideas.

This is the most fascinating and real problem in graphic design (and I am sure other creative fields). This can only be experienced through real life interactions, and really can’t be taught in the class room. Let us open the conversation on how we might figure out smart and effective solutions to this IMPORTANT problem. There are deffinetly 2 perspectives to this story . . . and we must understand them both to be successful.


Sometime designers feel stepped on, not heard and underestimated. Sometimes I have felt like Motzart in this famous scene from Amadeus:

Exhibit A – Too Many Notes – Amadeus

Designers can feel like the client doesn’t understand their work and tell them, unintelligently to change it.
Sometimes Designers can feel that their work is being undervalued . . . and that the client just doesn’t know how much work it takes to create good design, or how much money it might really be worth. I had a fairly constructive conversation with a client the other day – it went like this:

Exhibit B – 10 logos for $125

The result

Fortunately we were able to (hopefully) tactfully help this client understand that he was undervaluing the process and result of design. Design is an incredibly important asset and tool – and frankly sometimes people just don’t realize that. Sometimes DESIGNERS don’t realize that. We are a visual community – people experience the world in a visual way and so making things intriguing, interesting and professional is of HUGE value. Design doesn’t make a product, event or service quality or not, but it HUGELY effects the way it is perceived in the consumers mind. And in THAT way can make or break a product event or services success.



From experience I know that in the clients eyes, a designer often comes off as pretentious, prideful, stubborn, and self-important.  And these feelings are certainly not without reason.  Clients come to a designer believing that this person has a talent and an way of approaching things that they themselves don’t have.  They understand the designer to be a powerful creative professional and needs their help.

They can become surprised however, when the designer seemingly becomes harsh, immoveable and stubborn in their position.  A client might ask themselves . .  ”Are you working for ME, or for YOU?”  I recently got an email from a friend stating the following:

Exhibit A – Bigheadedness

I had to laugh when I read this because it is SO true.  Majorly, the problem that we are seeing here, is that graphic design is a SUBJECTIVE business.  Meaning that there is a lot of opinion involved – much more opinion than there is fact.  And when opinions get involved, and there is no clear way to decide who is right and who is wrong  power struggles, polarization and numerous disagreements quickly surface.  Sides start getting taken, and feelings can get hurt really easily.

The client can start feeling stepped on, undervalued and even taken advantage of!  Sound familiar?  Yeah . . . the designer sometimes feels exactly the same way.  Everyone goes away . . . a little for the worse.


Fixing the Problem

So what cand we do?  Bridging this communication gap is of UPMOST importance!  I won’t pretend to have the answers, but I will plead that together we all figure this out!  I want to open this conversation up and ask all of you to give your feedback.  How can we solve this major problem?

Please leave comments below!


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