And we’re back!

Hey! How have you guys been? Did you miss us? Well, we’re back.

Over the holidays, we had a chance to recharge and reflect, and we’re looking forward to what’s coming next.

Last year, we started narrowing the broad range of design projects we offered to focus more on screen printed and embroidered apparel, especially event t-shirts. We’ll be continuing in that direction.

In fact, we’ve already kicked off 2014 with t-shirts and hoodies for WordCampPhx, which starts today. More details on those later, but here’s a sneak peek of April trying on the volunteer hoodie.

It’s good to be back.

Holiday schedule

Bold Avenue will have a partial holiday shutdown from Tuesday, December 24 through Friday, January 10.

Here’s what this means:

  • If you have a project already in progress, it will continue within the timeline we’ve discussed. 
  • If you’re a current client and have something urgent come up, please call or text us.   
  • Otherwise, we’ll explore new projects and contact potential new clients after we re-open in January.  

We will be preparing for exciting changes in the new year and celebrating the season.

In the meantime, season’s greetings to you and yours, and we look forward to connecting with you in 2014! 

3 Moments Behind the Scenes at Bold Avenue

Stage curtain

Here’s a behind-the-scenes look at a few of last year’s projects, with sketches and stories that didn’t make it into the original posts.

 

Awkward.

While working on Bradford Jones Photography’s marketing collateral, he sent me a selection of his photos to choose from to use on the postcard. I emailed him to suggest we feature a particular photo of a bride hugging her dad – even though you could only see part of the man’s face and none of the woman’s, I felt it really told a story and would appeal to his target audience. After expounding on why the father/daughter photo would be particularly meaningful for this piece, Bradford let me know the photo was actually of a bride and groom. Whoops.

 

trivial pursuit game piece
Game piece by Leo Reynolds. CCL.
Early sketches for Audience Audit web icon project.
Preliminary sketches for Audience Audit web graphic project.
Audience Audit segmentation web icon
Final icon for Audience Audit website, “What the $%&# is Segmentation?” page.

Divide by Pie As a graphic designer, you always have to make sure your design elements communicate your intended message and don’t look like some other random object. Like a board game piece. Yeah.
I was hard at work on the web icons for Audience Audit, when I got suddenly worried that the segmentation icon (which is round and divided into wedges), might bear a passing resemblance to a Trivial Pursuit game piece. I googled Trivial Pursuit images. And I considered dividing the icon into 8 pieces instead of 6. But 6 worked so much better with the color palette and balanced out the triangles and other “threes” in the graphics so nicely. On top of that, Audience Audit often discovers about 6 segments of a client’s audience. (If you’re not familiar with their work, you can read more on their site.) The point is, 6 just seemed to be the right number. So I took one segment and moved it out, so it was partly outside of the circle – as if someone were serving up a piece of pie. A much tastier solution!

Mexican embroidery peacock design.
Photo via A Beautiful Mess.

WWCD?

Niki Blaker and I were given a jump start on designing the Ignite T-Shirts. The Ignite team and Splinter Creative had already chosen a palette of pink, purple and other vibrant colors and a look (Mexican floral embroidery style). It all looked great on the printed page.

The challenge came in translating those elements into something a diverse group of volunteers would all be happy to wear. When a design got too busy, Niki would look at me and say “Would you wear that?” “No,” I’d admit. “Would you?” If a concept passed that test, then we’d ask “Would Chris Conrey wear that?” (Why him? I’m not exactly sure. We were at Gangplank, and he probably walked by. Plus, we didn’t think he’d wear anything overly fussy or floral.)

Getting to a design that passed the Conrey test was definitely a high-five moment.

Ignite t-shirt design

 

Launched.

As I hinted at in my last post, we rolled out several exciting new things this week:

1

First, the big one: We’ve redesigned our website (where you are probably reading this post) to make sure you have all the Bold Avenue info you need right at your fingertips.

 

2

Maybe you liked us before, but now you can make it official and give our new Facebook page the thumbs up.

 

3

While we pride ourselves on tailoring our work to our clients’ needs, we’ve learned that some projects are more cut and dry. Sometimes you just need a simple estimate.

We’ve created EstRequest,  a streamlined system for getting t-shirt printing orders rolling more quickly, and we will be adding other types of projects in the future. For now, you can get your next t-shirt project started just by filing out our EstRequest form.

 

4

Finally, we’re proud to be a part of the just-launched Tales of a Startup blog, and I look forward to contributing my own tales of entrepreneurial adventure.

 

 

Go full color!

It used to be that color was a luxury with printed materials primarily in black and white and color doled out sparingly.

Times have changed, and so have print processes.

Color has become an affordable indulgence.

Sometimes our clients are concerned about the number of colors in banner or business card designs. But we can often offer full color printing for the same price as one-color – so we do.

For those projects, full color printing can be a brilliant solution.

Q. Are you accepting new clients? #BoldFAQ

A.

The short answer: yes!

This doesn’t mean things are slow. In fact, things have been pretty consistently busy.

We believe a healthy business is a growing business. We’re glad to discuss organizations’ design needs, and we appreciate referrals. When we’re slammed, we may have to schedule meetings and project start dates out a little further, but we’ll do what we can to accomodate new clients, while continuing to take great care of existing ones.

 

This is post is part of our occasional FAQ series. Do you have a question about Bold Avenue? Ask it here or via Twitter using hashtag #BoldFAQ.

 

How We Make It Happen: Gangplank Tees

I’ve mentioned Gangplank merch before. I’ve also discussed how we manage vendors to maintain our commitment to quality. But I still get a lot of questions about our part in the Gangplank t-shirts.

So, today, I thought I’d tell you the story:

Once upon a time there was a collaborative workspace in Chandler, Arizona called Gangplank. Gangplank had (has!) a lot of fans – the kind of fans who want to show their support in t-shirt form.

Gangplank_post_images1-01

Long before we got involved, someone (I believe it was designer Matthew Butson) created a design for the future Gangplank tees.

Gangplank_post_images2-01

The first printer Gangplank took the design to didn’t work out so well. They weren’t happy with the quality of the printing or service they were receiving. 

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Since Bold Avenue was already supplying embroidered hats to the Gangplank store, Director of Operations Katie Charland shared her t-shirt challenges with me.

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I did some brainstorming and offered Katie several solutions. She was excited to hear that we could provide quality screen printing on small runs of shirts for a reasonable cost.

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And, thus, it came to pass that Bold Avenue began supplying the Gangplank t-shirts, as well. 

But that’s not the end. 

Gangplank_post_images6-01

The shirts went over so well that we also helped Gangplank choose the perfect women’s tees for the store (super soft, lightweight Bella t-shirts), as well as men’s and women’s polos for Gangplank mentors

Gangplank_post_images7-01

Gangplankers continue to order tees and hats via gangplankhq.com/store. Katie groups these into a monthly(ish) order. We handle the embroidery and printing, check quality and sizes, and deliver them to Gangplank.

Now Gangplank has a cost-effective way to get quality merch to their fans, and Gangplank fans have tees and hats they love. 

Everybody wins! (And, hopefully, lives happily ever after!)

Blogging breaktime is over

 

As important as regular blogging is (even when we’re busy), sometimes it has to take a backseat to other priorities.

Recently, I took a break from the Bold Blog. I wanted to stop talking about what we do for a bit and focus on how to do it better. 

I tackled questions like these: How can we estimate more efficiently? Keep projects moving? Make our clients’ lives easier? Can all these individual processes fit together into one streamlined system? 

It was good to step back and look at the big picture. I found ways ways to reduce redundancy and improve customer service. While we’re still transitioning, many of these changes have already been implemented. 

So even though this growth process isn’t finished (is it ever?), we’re on track to the point that I’m ready to blog again and resume my regular Wednesday posting schedule.

In fact, we might even throw in a few extra posts over the next few weeks to help you catch up on everything that’s been going on. 

 

 

 

Q. Are you busy? #BoldFAQ

A.

Our project load generally fluctuates from steady to busy to crazy busy. Things are rarely slow at Bold Avenue.

But are we too busy to talk to you? Too busy to follow up with clients? Too busy to keep an eye on the details?

Nope, nope and nope!

We take care not to overschedule, so that we have time to answer current clients’ questions, meet with people, keep current on industry trends, and maintain the standard of quality that defines a Bold Avenue project. That way, even when we’re booked, we’re still giving each person and project the attention they deserve.