Monday, February 20, 2012

The inaugural project: week two at Thirst (3st) in Chicago

Above are letterforms for my first project with Rick Valicenti. These are “C” letterforms for a logotype design based on a systematic dot matrix grid that went from random dots of three sizes on the top left to a simpler two dot pattern. The Thirst office always seems to be in a non-stop design mode. Last week on this blog we displayed typographic work in progress for a logotype, which was based on Rick’s sketch.

Late Sunday night (02.12.12) Rick Valicenti, founder and design director of Thirst informed me of a client meeting and presentation scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, Valentine’s Day. So the pressure was on and I found the prospect exciting. The workweek began in non-stop design mode detailing logotype design variations for a Chicago printing company, which has the distinction of being the greenest commercial printer in the country, perhaps in the world. The company name consists of 12 characters and each logotype was produced with more or less random dot patterns based on a notional grid. The logotype design was based on Rick’s concept and it was labor-intensive process to generate around 15 logotype variations. While very unique, these designs ended up looking overly active. However, the design process resulted in a couple of break-through moments. One was the decision to use a smaller dot to bevel the corners to transition the sides of the letters. Another was to go simpler with just two dot sizes that seem to emphasize the regular dot matrix and suggests an electronic or technical display.

Tuesday morning began with printing the presentation sheets. This was followed by a trip with Bud Rodecker for a meeting at the Black Ensemble Theater Company where we met Valicenti to discuss Black Ensemble’s graphic communications program with founder and Executive Director, Jackie Taylor.

Thirst designed and produced a comprehensive Identity program with interior and exterior signage in 2011 for Chicago’s Black Ensemble and their very fine new building.

After that it was on to Consolidated Printing Company and Rick presented the new logotype designs. The design illustrated here was shown along with business cards and letterhead layouts. The presentation went very well with only slight adjustments needed. It’s very clear that Rick Valicenti is highly respected and appreciated for his insights by the clients he serves.

Proposed Consolidated Printing Company business card design.

Rick considerately had asked the client if I could be given a tour of this remarkable print facility while I was there. The shop is truly amazing—no uses of petroleum-based products—all “organic” chemistry, inks, and press clean up. The plant doesn’t smell anything like a normal commercial print shop and yet the printer doesn’t compromise at all on quality. The press produces exceptional print quality for even the most demanding customers.

The rest of the week I was in-house studio mode and able to work on some personal projects. Outside the office I attended Stanley Tigerman’s architecture talk titled “Displacement” at the Graham Foundation on Wednesday evening (02.15.12). Tigerman’s talk was inspirational. An architect based in Chicago, Tigerman is celebrating fifty years in architectural practice. He currently has a retrospective exhibition at the Graham Foundation, a show organized and assembled by the Yale School of Architecture Gallery.

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