So, this was a tough summer.... I had to find a new home for my honey bees.
First I need to say: I love my honey bees.
However, I could not keep the winged-wonders in my backyard (I had 2 active hives and 1 nucleus colony). I had been stung several times early in the summer due to bad luck (no issues with honey bee stings the past 3-4 years) and when trying to get a little striped lady out of my office one almost fatal summer afternoon, she stung my fingertip.
Within ten minutes, I had problems breathing and my skin was on fire and itchy. I could not stop scratching. Hives erupted all over my body. Threw myself in a tub of epson salts and water. Thank goodness I have been keeping up-to-date epipens and Benadryl with my bee keeping supplies... my husband Theron was available to make the injection.
I put the call out to the DC Beekeepers association for help. Then the saga was written up by avid beekeeper, Caroline Boucher Hutton:
Alston Taggart’s storied bees are nearing a happy ending. Huge appreciation to her for the loving care she gave them for years, and for her generous donation to the school program at DC International.
Denise Lyons coordinated the move last night. The two larger, main hives were moved (mostly) without a hitch and set up at DCI last night.
The nuc presented a problem because it was so heavily bearded, though. After some brainstorming and consultation with our fearless leader (Toni Burnham), we decided to return early this morning and move the colony to larger equipment and re-attempt to move it in a few days. As you can see, the hive was fit to burst! But they are now in space that is twice as large. We left the empty nuc gear so that the box-clingers could migrate over at their leisure.
We would also have been sunk without the help of newly Andrea, John, and Carlos (new-bee volunteers recruited to help move the bees.) THANKS!!!!
HUGE SHOUT OUT to the super bee-committed women who have taken my honey bees to their new home at DCI. Thank you Denise Lyons and Caroline Boucher Hutton for your strong commitment to these amazing creatures.
Sad that I can no longer care for them directly, but happy to offer my graphic design services for free for any pro bono bee causes/needs!
We have had the joy of working with The Heights School for roughly a decade and a half. The Heights School is an independent day school for boys, grade three to twelve, located in Potomac, Maryland. They have a magical campus, with log cabins for the younger grades and modern classrooms for the older students. Their faculty serve as mentors and friends to the boys they teach.
The Heights School was founded in 1969. They are about to celebrate and commemorate their 50 years of assisting parents in the intellectual, moral, physical, and spiritual education of their sons. To learn more about The Heights School, please check out their website: www.heights.edu
“Studio Red's work for The Heights has been fantastic; their graphic design consistently captures the spirit of our school and communicates our mission.”
— Connor Breed, Associate Director of Admission
With any project, the schedule (and any firm or imagined deadline needs) will be discussed and outlined with client before work begins. To efficiently plan our work schedule together to move your project forward, we need to work backwards.
We start with your deadline/s: when you need a publication for an event, need a magazine or special invitation to land in your target audience’s mail box, when you want it done! We acquire print estimates (partnering with a variety of local and national printers, as well as online printers when resources are tight). We build in the time the printer needs to produce your final art (from packaging/uploading files to printer, review of pdf or hard-copy proofs — blue line phase — time for edits to blue-line, and then print). Once printed, the printer needs to allow drying time, time to trim/fold/assemble/bind/etc., and prepare for delivery to client or their recipients. Printers usually need 1 to 3 weeks to turn around a print job, depending upon complexity of piece.
Once we have the printer’s schedule, we can define the time needed for your design (again, working our way backwards on the calendar). We build in time for brainstorming, client feedback, and implementation of client direction into the schedule. We generally need a longer amount of design time at the beginning for brainstorming possibilities, and then less time as we go back and forth providing pdf sketches for your feedback; ideally refining the final piece until ready for print.
To keep the process moving smoothly, we request the client will to make, collect, and collate all edits as quickly and efficiently as possible. The client can take extra time on first round to be sure to catch all edits, in hopes that there are none or minimal edits after first round of alterations. We request at least 24-36 hours during the business week to make edits made to proof/s.
When time is a factor, we offer a rolling review. With large publications, we like to deliver meaningful chunks of the publication as they are ready so that the client is not overwhelmed by having to review something all at once. While the client is reviewing the first chunk, Red can continue designing/styling the remaining pages…. always looking to move the client’s project forward!
When I had the opportunity to present to the young women of Envision • Lead • Grow, I realized they needed to understand why good graphic design matters. In that vein and as a lover and advocate of (excellent) graphic design, here are the three main reasons:
1. You look mahvelous!
(Think Billy Crystal— “It is better to look good than to feel good”—from 1985, Saturday Night Live).
Graphic design makes you (you being your business, your services, your products...) look your best! Graphic design defines, beautifies, and frames the form you choose to present to the world. The selected type face, the chosen colors, the layout of the words and images…each of these communicates your business, message, and intent to the world.
Graphic design is art with purpose, purpose to communicate, engage, and motivate action. To enable that purpose you must always keep in mind your audience and make sure you are speaking in their visual language. To continue the Billy Crystal reference, don’t wear MC Hammer pants to a formal dinner! Make your message clear, digestible, and compelling.
2. Brand Recognition
Build an attractive brand that is recognizable as you (you being your business, your services, your products...) when you are not there. Excellent brands speak for themselves. Think about the associations you have with companies like Nike, Apple, BMW. While you may definitely recall the products, I would hazard that concepts such as motion, clean lines, powerful performance are equally recalled. Graphic design gives shape to your brand and forms your identity (what the world sees when they look at your messaging) and sets you apart from your competitors (cuts through the noise). Keep in mind that you are competing for the most valuable resource anyone has..time. An effective and compelling brand can do this.
A definition of brand: “Unique design, sign, symbol, words, or a combination of these, employed in creating an image that identifies a product and differentiates it from its competitors. Over time, this image becomes associated with a level of credibility, quality, and satisfaction in the consumer’s mind (see positioning). Thus brands help harried consumers in crowded and complex marketplace, by standing for certain benefits and value. Legal name for a brand is trademark and, when it identifies or represents a firm, it is called a brand name. See also corporate identity.” (http://www.businessdictionary.com/definition/brand.html)
Great and consistent graphic design gives your business shape and form on paper, on line, and in the world. While looking good and having a powerful brand matters, they really just get you in the door or open the possibility for consideration. Credibility is what keeps your target audience coming back, participating, donating, or taking whatever action you are trying for. While credibility can be defined many ways, the most simple is doing what you said. Make sure that you clarify and enhance your communications so that there is no unintended confusion, so that it is clear that your organization does what it says it will do. Consistency in delivering this experience will, in conjunction with the first two points, provide you with an audience that likes what they see, recognizes what they see, and ultimately trusts what they see.
People do judge a book by its cover.... First impressions matter.
Rebecca Drobis is a storytelling and portrait photographer whose work is focused around youth, family, health, community and education for clients in the commercial, government and non-profit sectors. Rebecca has photographed campaigns for Children’s National Medical Center, The US Dept of Health & Human Services, Ketchum Worldwide and The American Cancer Society. Other clients include Disney, The Washington Post and The National 4-H Council. You can view samples here:
rebeccadrobis.com: Portfolio Site w/ work samples
grownupwest.com: Long-term project documenting children growing up on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org/ ph 202.997.9845
Envision • Lead • Grow — a non-profit on a mission to end the cycle of poverty through entrepreneurship — had a conference here in Chevy Chase, MD at the 4-H Center May 31-June 3. This organization reached out to hundreds of girls in seven different cities (Memphis, TN; Greensboro, NC; Atlanta, GA; Baltimore, MD; Philadelphia, PA; Richmond, VA; Norfolk, VA) about starting their own businesses. The top performers have been invited to our Entrepreneurship Institute. The girls in attendence have created profitable ventures and are looking to grow their businesses further.
It was an honor to meet these young women (middle school and high school students) and learn about their unique passions. The girls had such businesses as making charmed bracelets, selling artwork, creating artist baked goods, and sewing scented spa wraps. They had a lot of great questions about graphic design, and it was fun to give them some advice to help forward their business.
Their mission is to create 1,000 new girl bosses by 2020 nationwide. To learn more, check them out: http://envisionleadgrow.org/
Love their tagline: Little girls with dreams become women with vision.
The UN Foundation connects people, ideas, and resources with the United Nations by building expert coalitions, developing large-scale partnerships, and carrying out issue-based grassroots campaigns that make it easy for people to help the UN create a better world.
The Foundation was created in 1998 as a U.S. public charity by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner. Since then, the role of the UN Foundation has evolved from a traditional grantmaker to an actively involved problem solver. Within the framework of more than 10 specific issue campaigns, we work closely with the UN Secretary-General to solve the great challenges of the 21st century – poverty, climate change, energy access, population pressure, gender equity, and disease. Learn more about them here: http://www.unfoundation.org/
"Alston and Kevin at Studio Red are a joy to work with – twice, we have worked with Studio Red on fairly substantial design projects with a short turnaround and they have consistently delivered excellent work on time. They also go above and beyond to work with us to create the most useful products to accomplish our goals. I look forward to working with them again!"
—Kate D'Amico, Senior Communications Manager for the United Nations Foundation’s Universal Access Project
At the beginning of a project, we take the time to get to know the client and want to clearly understand their communication need/s (through conversation or possibly a follow-up Red questionnaire about their design objectives/current brand/competitors). We want to understand the client’s vision, aesthetic preferences and hopes for the design— always bearing in mind the target audience (and how best to reach them).
On my proposals, I state roughly 2-4 rounds of revisions (includes design modifications and author alterations). We tend to allow for several additional rounds of revisions (assuming they are small at this point). I always let the client know if they are getting close to incurring extra charges if more time/work is needed that goes beyond the scope of work as defined by the proposal. Before any extra fees are applied to the job, this is discussed directly with client before moving forward (so no surprises!).
After format has been determined, to jumpstart the project, we like to work on the face of the piece to establish “the look”. We request that clients provide all the content necessary for each phase of the design (for the face a publication, we are asking for the content for the cover— client provides needed logos, images and language). Please be sure that all the content has been edited/proofed and finalized by all stake holders. Or if it is a rush project, we can use appropriate dummy text and image placeholders. To make the design work, we request delivery of all content at once— all pieces of the jigsaw puzzle — to keep the design process moving smoothly and efficiently. We take the client-provided pieces to brainstorm different design solutions. We will present various designs for you to pick and choose as pdfs. We will go back and forth (listening to the client’s feedback and then creating updated sketches) to refine the look. We request 1-2 working days to get modifications back to the client for the next round of review.
The body of the piece will be a natural extension of the refined/finalized look. For a publication, creating spread designs is the next step. We will present several design options. Based on client feedback, Red will refine design (usually 2-4 rounds of revisions) to complete this phase.
After the style and layout has been determined by this process, we are ready to produce the needed final piece.Again, include 2-3 round of revisions. I encourage client to review all content as thoroughly as possible before they deliver final copy for the design to begin. Once I have created the first draft, I ask client to take all the time they need (schedule permitted, of course) to have all the stake holders to review and make comments. One point of contact should collect and collate all the edits as comments directly on the pdf (therefore we can copy and paste any additions and not add spelling error/concerns to piece). We expect first round of revisions to be a big one; but as continue with the process; we funnel to a final completed product).
As needed by client, we can deliver interactive pdfs, web graphics, or files for printing. We do not charge for print-management, and work closely with local printers to ensure a quality finished product.
At Studio Red Design, we love creative folds within a document. The way a paper folds can help to tell and reveal a client's story. The simple turn of a page or panel can reinforce or bring to life a message or a story. Turning a panel, opening a fold, is a tangible and memorable experience. The act of unfolding can deliver a highly effective message while creating alignment through the physical interaction with the content. Why not make your design active, engaging, and fun?
A basic trifold contains two parallel folds to create 3 panels. These either fold into a center panel or can be further folded in an accordian fashion (a z-fold), thereby increasing the experience exponentially. Once one starts to talk about folds, there are a multitude of directions one can go, so wait for the next newsletter!
Many people think structured folding began with origami. The history of origami followed after the invention of paper and was a result of paper’s increasing use in society (keep in mind that paper was wildly expensive at first, so would be used many, many times). Independent paper folding traditions exist in East Asia and Europe and it is unclear whether they evolved separately or had a common source. The Japanese word “origami” itself is a compound of two smaller Japanese words: “ori” (root verb “oru”), meaning to fold, and “kami,” meaning paper. Friedrich Fröbel, the German inventor of “Kindergartens," recognized paper binding, weaving, folding, and cutting as teaching aids for child development during the early 19th century and implemented these in his schools for the very young. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_origami)
Today, designers do not tend to rely on hand-fold techniques of the past, but draw inspiration for designs that can be folded by machines (mechanized folders) for easy and efficient duplication. Sometimes, however, if the design is too complex, people are still called in to hand-fold.
Our world has multiple dimensions and we should seek to emulate that in our design. If you want to make your message grow, think on the adage that you cannot fold a single piece of paper in half more than eight times. Turns out with a large enough piece of paper and plenty of time and energy, you can keep going. That said, after only 103 folds, you reach 93 billion light years in thickness - the size of the observable Universe. Hence, if you want exponential growth, seize the fold!
My girls are busy (boys are lazy - no surprise…LOL)! We are now in nectar flow season, when the bees are loving bringing home the nectar from local flowers and trees such as the Linden and Black Locust. So how did we get here?
Well, about a month ago, my husband (maker of best self-leveling hive stand ever and dispeller of lazy boy myth begun above) and I went into to do our Spring cleaning of our single over-wintered hive, with the intent of dividing the hive (called creating splits) and creating our own queens with the OTS (“on the spot’ created by Mel Disselkoen) method. I love this method of developing a sustainable and chemical-free apiary. Essentially, you take a more active role and help your bees rear their own queen and break the Varroa Mite cycle (so do not have to use harsh chemicals).
We took out each frame, cleaned off the propolis and burr comb (goop on the edges so lots of scraping) and looked for the queen. 40 frames (frames hand vertically, 8 per box / super) and a bee-stung foot right later (note to self to ALWAYS wear my rain boots with my bee suit and not to not shake out a box of bees on my foot - I am not one of those cool / foolish beekeepers that goes in unprotected), still did not find the illusive queen.
We divided the hive in two, notching 1-3 day old larvae on selected frames to encourage worker bees to create their own queen in the 2 newly-divided hives. A queen is created by continuing to feed royal jelly to the larvae beyond the worker bee level (worker bees are fed royal jelly, worker jelly, and bee bread -- mix of regurtated bee phlegm from plant materials — delicious) that seems to help develop her bigger / longer body and protects her ovaries so that she can lay eggs. Amazingly, the major factor in the type of bee is simply what the larvae eat and is “chosen” by the hive.
A week later, we went back into the 2 hives. In the first one, queen cells had been made and were empty. This was great news and explains why those bees were a bit hot and grumpy! In the second hive, we found the old queen right away (had doubts about queen finding skills after previous week). So, we took the over-wintered queen and placed her in a small 5-frame box (called a Nuc, or nucleus hive) with a couple brood ( bee babies) frames and renotched frames in this second hive to help their new queen production along.
By pulling the old queen, we created an artificial swarm. A swarm is the sign of a healthy hive that has survived the winter and is ready to divide and go out into the world. Unfortunately in our urban environment, only a small number of those swarms can survive unassisted. This negatively impacts honey collection since essentially half the workforce is on “strike!"
We look forward to checking back in on the buzzing ladies to see how all is going. Hoping to put a honey super on the small Nuc and be certain the other hives have enough room for their honey stores.
Studio Red Design’s value proposition is the effective development and facilitation of design concepts through unique and poignant imagery and typography—effectively managed from need(s) identification to project completion. We pride ourselves on our responsiveness to our clients and their needs, the ability to meet client deadlines, and the joy we bring to the design process.
We welcome this opportunity to provide the beauty and style that you and your organization deserves. Visualizing your voice...Defining your brand: Studio Red Design.
A fun way to turn your world upside-down!
Using silk hammocks (at Crunch Chevy Chase), you have a great space to play and explore — its a wonderful opportunity to check in with where you are in your mind, body and spirit. Just like yoga, the movements follow the flow of the breaths, looking to dive deeper into oneself as movements progress and shift. AntiGravity Yoga is an aerial yoga and suspension fitness technique created by Christopher Harrison. It is very accessible: one can monitor one’s own resistance so the class can be as easy or challenging as you choose.
How do you feel afterwards? Its like a great massage—the contacts points of body to hammocks help release tight muscles (might be uncomfortable at first, but after multiple classes your body becomes accustomed and actually craves the deep release). After class, you will be stretched to your maximum height (usually ¼” to 1½” taller — however, the effects are not cumulative!) and you will feel lighter and refreshed. Come fly with me!
Her Corner is a global education-based community of nearly 1000 women business owners committed to helping women grow their businesses. Education is provided via a peer group model and helps women build their businesses through the power of collective intelligence. As a member for many years, their tagline is apropos of what they do: they successfully leverage the power of collective intelligence. Please check them out: www.hercorner.org
"Studio Red helps us translate complex business concepts into simple and branded worksheets and templates that our clients can then use to help them scale their companies. Working with Studio Red has been a gift: they can translate our non creative thoughts into beautifully designed work products!"
—Frédérique C. Irwin, Founder and CEO, Her Corner Inc.
Over the years, we have had the pleasure of designing Her Corner's worksheets. We transformed the clients' loose sketches into beautiful and accessible worksheets geared to women business owners. We recently partnered with Her Corner to update the worksheets into interactive PDFs.
But what exactly are interactive PDFs?
Simply put, they are PDFs that can be easily edited and filled out, much like an online form. They usually include text fields, buttons, and check boxes.
Using interactive PDFs comes with a number of benefits. They are more convenient than printed documents. They can be quickly and easily completed and sent back via email. There’s also no need to waste paper or ink printing the forms. This saves money and time.
The process of creating an interactive PDF can be a little tricky. For one, all the elements used must have unique names. For example, if two text fields share a name then typing in one box will cause the same type to appear in the second box. In the worksheets for Her Corner, there were multiple selections in which a particular word or image needed to be circled or highlighted. This was a little more diffficult to create. In order to accomplish this, two buttons had to be made. When clicked, the first button would cause itself to vanish and the second button to appear. This second button would highlight or circle the text or image that was chosen. When this button is clicked, it disappears and the first button reappears.
That is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to interactive elements. You could also have certain sounds or even videos play when the user clicks a button. Simulating a mobile app is even possible through the use of interactive elements. Buttons can allow you to jump from page to page and objects can be made scrollable.
One last thing to mention to all the creators out there. Always remember to test your interactive pdfs before sending them out. Test to make sure all the elements work properly!
Ciao! This is Sofia Ligustica, an attendant bee from the Court of the Red Queen, long may she reign! I am the beat reporter for the Daily Buzz, the most popular hive periodical with a readership of over 5,000 (though to be clear I understand it was over 50,000 last summer). When I am not grooming and feeding my lovely Red Queen, I spend my time reporting on the activity of the hive.
Because of my glorious Italian roots, the winters are pretty hard on me and the hive. We get pretty plump over the winter, growing as much as 30%, but who can blame us? There’s little to do beyond eat and sleep as it’s too cold to go outside. We spend our time "shivering" our wing muscles to keep the hive at a constant 92 degrees F. That said, being Italian has many benefits. We’re more friendly, more clean and build the best combs (have Michelangelo to thank for that).
Speaking of food, our forager bees are starting to leave the hive when the tempeture is above 50 degrees F to see whether there is any delicious pollen and nector available. While these brave ladies have gone as far as two miles, we haven’t found anything substantial yet, but it’s not for lack of trying. I sure hope Spring comes soon since we’ve gotten down to only a couple frames to conserve heat. I must say it’s been tight quarters for me and my lady friends.
Meanwhile, the mortuary bees have been complaining of their long hours of work, carrying out the winter dead and helping to make the place clean for new bees (we lost almost 35,000 this winter). The Red Queen has started personally inspecting every single brood cell, and woe betide the poor worker bee that does not meet her high expectations.
Well, the Queen has let me and the other attendants know that her mind is soon to turn to replenishing the hive. I cannot say I understand the magical workings of our hive, but we are all about our Queen and keeping her alive. We are literally lost without her (we will not survive!) That said, duty calls; so I will leave you with wishes for a Happy Valentine’s Day.
Long live the Red Queen!
The Ireland Funds Gala Invitation
An invitation offers a magical experience for the recipient. It’s a story meant to be unfolded and experienced through the construction and presentation. When designing invitations, it is not only important to keep in mind what you want to say, but how you are going to say it – not just through words but the experience of the invitation in hand. All of this has to be done while keeping true to the style and message established by the client.
Soon, The Ireland Funds will be holding their 26th national gala in Washington DC. When approaching this invitation, we had to address their new graphic standards which includes sharp diagonal forms. The invitation was to be kept small but had to accommodate a lengthy list of names.
To solve these problems, we started with an 8-panel barrel-roll fold. This would provide the room needed to house the list of past honorees and committees. The diagonal form was incorporated onto the first panel as a diagonal die-cut.
The diagonal panel allowed us to play with the first fold and the unveiling of the names underneath. Finally, a silver belly-band was added to provide the key event information and created a present-like feel to the invitation itself.
From the initial designs to the more complex publication layout, continuity and consistency mixed with variety are key to a successful brand and design project. As a graphic designer and brand strategist, it is our job to develop and maintain such a system so that the design product is successful, beautiful and achieves the communication goals.
Studio Red Design is a woman-owned business in Washington, DC that works with individuals and not-for-profits, cause-oriented, organizations—on a local to international level—to provide quality and creative solutions to their communication needs. Red strongly believes and wants to partner with future-looking organizations that encourage sustainability, care/preservation of the environment as well as local individuals and companies trying to help people and their communities.
Red specializes in large publications—understanding the need for continuous and consistent design rhythm punctuated by artful and meaningful variety—as well as smaller, specialty pieces deserving an artistic touch. Representative products and services include, but are not limited to: annual publications/reports; books; identity systems; invitations/brochures; and collateral materials.