Thursday, September 30, 2010

Ideas are Taking Shape

Forgive me for being excited about sharing this construction photo of my very first ground-up architecture project as project manager during my time at Looney Ricks Kiss Architects, but our ideas for a beautiful modern space that services a public and anticipated need for Memphis and Shelby County are actually taking shape. As my fellow blogger Melissa shared her latest ultrasound photo today, I am in some strange way feeling the same euphoria confirming yes, this is real.

Thanks to Juan for keeping me updated on the project. I am grateful you took over the most critical phases of detailing and construction administration. It's encouraging that you still call it "my" project, but doing what you do so well in those critical phases makes it your project much more than mine.

{By the way, I'm not going to say what the project is yet. I am confident though it will make many, many Memphians happy. To those who don't already know, you are welcome to make some guesses.}

Photo courtesy of Juan Sanford, LRK Architects.

Integrated Signage, Pt 3 {Memphis Edition} Example No. 4

Nine Layer Plaza - Smart Car Dealership, Ground Floor Tenant / archimania / The final featured project for the Integrated Signage series, Memphis Edition is actually a theoretical project from Memphis design firm archimania. The project location cannot be disclosed, but although unbuilt, it helps bring up an interesting point about the advantages of integrating building signage. Most architects know, there are some cities or towns with strict signage ordinances, that typically apply to street signs, ground or pole mounted, restricting size and certain colors. Archimania’s smart car showroom design pulls the signage into the building but doesn’t shy away from size or color to create a successful retail environment recognizing that window shopping includes “drive-by shopping”. This blend of exterior and interior space is a particularly intriguing solution to interpreting what exterior signage can be. Details: The signage for the smart car logo is proposed as a lasercut vinyl on a backlit colored translucent panel.

3-d model renderings courtesy of archimania. Special thanks to Christopher McRae and Matt Seltzer.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Habitat for Hope / T-Shirt Design / Test 1

Option 1 / Front and back layouts / This graphic rethinks the existing Habitat for Hope t-shirt phrase "Think Hope" to work consistently with the new brochure design. This design works for men, women, and kids' shirts. Instead of a green shirt, the brown like in the brochure background color complements the green blade. I also personally would love to own a brown t-shirt.


Option 2 / Front and back layouts / The blade is placed differently and makes a turn so Hope can be read easier. The overall phrase is then "Think Hope. Find Hope. Find Habitat for Hope."


The front layout of the kid's version-only option is a rough idea that tries to understand the mission behind Habitat for Hope to uplift kids in serious illness and help them enjoy being a kid. I am not completely set on the phrase "Hope is Here" but the back of the shirt would just have the HFH logo in white. If further developed, green would somehow be incorporated in the bouncy " O". If I had more time to develop other designs, it would look at more illustrated and detailed options inspired by the fun, clever kid's shirts at Threadless.

Foodie Memphis at Fuel Cafe

Last night was a great night to enjoy the outdoor setting at Fuel Cafe for the revamped Foodie Memphis dinner group gathering. We all got a good sampling of the best the menu offers which was just recognized nationally yesterday when listed as a favorite green restaurant on treehugger. An official group review is still being gathered, but please join us next month as we try another local Memphis restaurant and meet new people. For group details and more photos from last night, click here. For the latest updates, follow Foodie Memphis on twitter @foodiememphis .

Thanks to all who came out & to Fuel Cafe for the great food/service. Special thanks to Christopher for organizing it all.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Integrated Signage, Pt 3 {Memphis Edition} Example No. 3

Southwest Tennessee Community College Macon Cove Library / Louis Pounders, Askew Nixon Ferguson Architects / As in our first example, architect Louis Pounders designed the graphic signage to integrate well with the architecture. As part of the grand entry, the letters are given compositional consideration in elevation but, in this rare case, it's also given a spatial background where the shadows that exist beyond add to its dimensional quality. See more photos here.

Photo by Brandon Dill Photography. Courtesy of ANFA. Special thanks to Ciara Neill.

Architectural Walking Tours of Memphis

Although a late reminder, I wanted to get this posting out there since this is the last tour during AIA Memphis Architecture Month. Today is the Front Street {Cotton Row} Tour.

Tuesday / September 28 / 11:45 am / 45 minutes long
Meet at the corner of Front and Union.
Tours are led by the incredibly knowledgable Jimmy Ogle who regularly leads tours all over Memphis.

All tours are free and handicap accessible.
Reservations are not required.

Photos of S. Main Tour by Sophorn.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bardog Tavern ~ Design Elements

Before I post the food review of Bardog Tavern from Friday's visit, here are a couple of shots that caught my design eye. The red vinyl bench seating against the exposed brick wall and the red entry way with great signage. {Mental Note: this would be a great photo shoot location.}

Bardog Tavern
73 Monroe
Memphis, TN 38103
ph +1.901.275.8752

Photos/graphic by Sophorn.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Tasted ~ Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar

There are plenty of cheesy phrases I could use in this review for Flight, but I'll try to keep it to one, one I can't help using since it was evident in the photos that the food was flying off the table. There were so many great options on their lunch menu set up with a map of over 20 major cities known for their food. See what we tasted below with our favorites marked with an asterick *.

Memphis Flight of 3 Soups
1 Portland Wild Mushroom Bisque / 2 New Orleans Seafood Gumbo*/ 3 Cape Cod Lobster Bisque*

Mexico City Flight of 3 Entrees
1 Grilled zesty shrimp over rice with a coconut fresco sauce / 2 Fresh guacamole with tortilla chips* / 3 Beef flauta with sour cream and salsa roja*

We came during lunch hoping to sit in their uber-urban patio space, but it was packed. I would go back at least two more times, 1 just to sit in the patio and 2 to try their dinner menu. I recommend you try it today for lunch.

As far as our list of downtown restaurants to taste next, today we're trying Bardog Tavern.

Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar
Corner of Main and Monroe
39 South Main Street
Memphis, TN 38103
ph +1.901. 521.8005

Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar on Urbanspoon

Photos by Sophorn. Not my best work but if anyone needs an art director, I'm listening.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

GonerFest Through the Lens of Tommy Kha

GonerFest, known as an international punk/indie music fest, begins tonight in Memphis, and through the lens of the talented Tommy Kha, you'll see in his behind-the-scenes photos of last year's GonerFest it's more than just about seeing live music. It's the reminder that there's the whole experience of hanging out with friends, making friends, and probably making out. Seriously making out. The incredibly timed photos are so voyeuristic, you can't help feeling a bit dirty for looking, but the guy in last/favorite image will make you feel like you were actually invited to look. See the line-up for tonight through Sunday here. {And be on the look-out for Tommy camera-equipped again this year.}

See more photos from this inspirational collection at Live from Memphis here and here. I'm surely adding it to the cinematic style of photography examples I'm collecting. Also check out my interview last year with Zac Ives of Goner Records about GonerFest here.

Photos used by permission from Tommy Kha. All Rights Reserved.

Architectural Photographer Julius Shulman Film Showing

Visual Acoustics: The Modernism of Julius Shulman The documentary film on the legendary architectural photographer screens in Memphis tonight as part of AIA Memphis Architecture Month. If you are also a photographer or fan of modern architecture, don't miss it. {I love that he includes people as part of the architecture.} Please read more about the film here.

September 22 / 7 pm / St. Francis Longinotti Auditorium / 5959 Park Ave / $5 Cash at Door

Images 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Delicate Matters Branding / Pt 1 ~ Business Cards

The logo and branding of Melissa Sweazy's boudoir photography started with the business card design, almost the opposite approach of what I usually do. One reason was because the cards were to be letterpress with rules on lineweight and color choices. Lineweight can be no less than .25 pt and colors have to be Solid Uncoated Pantone at 100%.

As for the design, we both agreed immediately it would look delicate with some sort of lace pattern. I wanted to tuck the words, hiding some of it partially behind the lace. I looked at several patterns at several scales but thought the option shown above hints more to feminine curves, in the most subtle, classy way much like Melissa's photography. See other options below.

Option 1b ~ Same as first option 1a above but with edge threads seen in a lot of lace. It looks less modern than 1a but still a valid option.

Info Side Option A ~ Keeps company name with partially hidden letters which can be seen as the logo. Melissa asked that the web address be obscured until the site is complete.

Info Side Option B ~ Company name without hidden letters to compare strength of previous option A. Script font is not set. May not work with letterpress.

Option 2 ~ Option 1 lace in a straight run. Different edge on top of lace. Early rendition.

Option 3 ~ Very early rendition of lace testing scale. Less fluid than option 1. Looks more like iron work.


Image below shows one of the letterpress examples that Melissa sent for the business cards. This design stood out to me the most.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Integrated Signage, Pt 3 {Memphis Edition} Example No. 2

The Integrated Signage series to celebrate AIA Memphis' Architecture Month continues with another great Memphis project by a Memphis design firm. Today’s featured project is a recently constructed building that houses the new WKNO studios, offices, and special events gallery space.

caption format} project name / signage designer / architect / contractor / sign fabricator / notes

WKNO Digital Media Center / TRO Jung/Brannen with Joyce Signs / TRO Jung/Brannen / Montgomery Martin / Joyce Signs / Incorporating the large WKNO letters was evident from the early design phases shown in the Sketch-up renderings above. During my site visit, the design team also mentioned they considered sandblasting the letters into the brick but it was too cost prohibitive. TRO and local sign fabricator Joyce Signs collaborated to develop the final design that as backlit letters works well to be seen from the site entrance. The choice of metal also references the material at the building entrance. Overall, the size, position, and cropping of the letters works well with architectural design.

Images below 1} Original building signage 2} Installation of the first letter where you can understand its scale next to the construction crew 3} The building entrance at night by Gary Kessel showing the edge lit letters.

First and last photos of entrance by Gary Kessel. All Rights Reserved. Process and archive images via TRO. Special thanks to Brett Ragsdale, TRO.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Flight Restaurant Sneak Peek

Christopher and I are on a mission to try every restaurant in downtown Memphis. We both work downtown and have decided to save effort and money by doing our dates during lunch. Our latest downtown restaurant we tried was Flight. The photos show our favorite soups from the Flight of 3 soups ~ the Cape Cod lobster bisque and New Orleans seafood gumbo.

Go there tonight or this weekend for dinner. See the I Love Memphis review that also posted today.

Flight Restaurant and Wine Bar
Corner of Main and Monroe
39 South Main Street
Memphis, TN 38103
ph +1.901. 521.8005

Photos/graphic by Sophorn.

An Awaited Play Date

To Helen ~ Can't wait to see you at Cooper Young Festival tomorrow. xoxo, atticus

It's been terribly too long since Atticus has seen his Helen, so a long awaited play date at the Cooper Young Festival has been planned. It's going to make the weekend for him. This year they'll have the special kid's area again across from Celtic Crossing. Atticus is also looking forward to the standard fare of corn dogs and snow cones. Hope to see you there too!

See more about CY here and at Backbeat Memphis.

Photo by Sophorn.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Formus Architects Graphic ReDesign

Formus has been practicing architecture for almost 23 years in Memphis, and the logo and branding has been revamped maybe a couple of times before I started 2 years ago. Jim, our principal, is glad we don't have to outsource the graphic services anymore and asked me to redesign a few things to keep up with the big name firms. {A custom email signature with Jim's actual signature for special emails to clients/potential clients shown above.}

Most recently, I redesigned our green email signature shown enlarged below. The message that we wanted was more about our personal efforts and how we see sustainable from the small tasks to the bigger goal of designing sustainable buildings. We wanted to reinforce our logo which you see below turned white onto a custom illustrated leaf, so the company color is used in the text. It is also horizontally slimmer than my previous "cmyk forest" design to save paper if the email does get printed. {TIP: I also figured out how to create the file that doesn't look fuzzy when emailed. Save as a transparent png.}


The idea of saving paper was also used in the redesigned logo layout below for standard letterheads. Letterheads for invoices, usually short one page documents, followed the design of the Formus sticker label that seals the envelope and acts as the 3-d ribbon on the 2010 calendar.

We would be glad to design or redesign anything for you from large scale architecture to the small scale graphic projects. Contact me regarding Formus at smcrae [at] formusinc [dot] com.

Photos/graphics by Sophorn, Architecture Project Manager / LEED AP, Formus Inc Architects.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

To Crave ~ The Soul Burger at Earnestine & Hazel's

Yesterday, I finally had the soul burger for a second time after weeks of craving the special sautéed onion and loads of black pepper, which in some way created a mild jalapeno flavor. I brought Christopher along for his first taste, and we feel we are finally official Memphians after eating the soul burger AT Earnestine & Hazel's. Oh believe me, we wanted to try the soul burger a few years back during a company party there, but every time we went to get one, the tray was empty. They literally could not keep up with how fast people were eating them. Now that I know they are open for lunch, I can enjoy the soul burger without fighting the bar crowd.

The burger is just $5, cash only. It comes with a bag of plain potato chips, the kind I'd choose anyway.

Thanks Butch for cooking up the burgers and Christopher for being part of the shots.


Earnestine & Hazel’s
531 S. Main St. {at G.E. Patterson}
Memphis, TN 38103
ph +1.901.523.9754

Kitchen/bar open for lunch and late nights Monday - Saturday.

Photos/graphic by Sophorn.

Earnestine & Hazel's on Urbanspoon

Critterbug & Cricket / Part 2 / Business Cards

The image above is where we left off last time with the Critterbug & Cricket logo development. The reddish orange is adjusted to more orange, and the size shown is a standard business card. Since we are thinking of the business cards to double as product tags, we are also looking at half-size minicards offered by moo cards. The series below just shows an evolution of the design. I mark my favorites with an asterick*

/// Logo Side ~ Option No. / Notes

Option 1 /Uses color to define girls/ladies vs. boys/guys and the preferred symbol, the ampersand.

Option 1a / Blends the official website name with the previous logo.

Option 1b / Strips the logo down to the mark knowing the company name and info will be on the opposite side.

Option 1c* / Reformats Option 1a and adds a company tag line.

Option 2a / One of the earlier explorations where the logo looks abstractly like embroidered or applique text.

Option 2b* / Keeps the color down to 2 by making the ampersand background blend the 2 colors. Can also include the tag line as shown in 2a.

Option 3a / Reintroducing the cartooned kids (the company's namesakes) with the blended color.

Option 3b* / Reformatting the kids and keeping the company name together. Company name graphic can be replaced with any of the other options already shown above.

/// Company Info Side
Option 4a / Minimizes the text by not repeating critterbugandcricket in the web address and email. Adds a border of the blended colors.

Option 4b / Adds a larger presence of the blended colors like a tag.

Option 4c / Uses the blended colors for the entire background for complete contrast of the logo side.

Option 5a* / A clean black and white version that can work for both sizes.

Option 5b* / Uses the blended colored border around the entire card and also can work for both sizes.


Thanks Tricia for patiently having me design these for you.
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