T-Shirts to Soften a Hater’s Heart

When Athlinks needed new t-shirts screen printed in a hurry, we were glad to help them out! We ordered the women’s Bella+Canvas tees they already loved and suggested a complementary men’s style with the nice, lightweight fabric they were looking for. 

Even the Athlinks team member who is rumored to “hate everything” loves the super-soft, comfy tees and the way they fit!

WordUp AZ T-Shirts

WordUp t-shirt screen printing closeup

What do we do when an email comes in midday on a Tuesday from someone needing t-shirts printed for an event that Saturday?

We make it happen. 

Cody Landefeld was part of planning Gangplank Avondale’s WordUp event (pics), an unconference for WordPress developers. He created a t-shirt design and needed screen printing done in time for the fast-approaching event. We found shirts with enough kelly green stock available on short notice (it was right before St. Patrick’s Day, so this was an issue), and expedited the order for delivery on Friday.

When conference attendees arrived, the WordUp tees were there waiting for them.

Shirts and hoodies. Word.(Camp)

WordCamp Phoenix has a reputation for being one of the best user conferences for website/blogging platform WordPress.  A big part of what makes it great is the army of volunteers who make it happen.

Event organizers entice (and thank) volunteers with a much-sought-after hoodie that is not available to the public. We were proud to be asked to be part of this event and provide the prized hoodies, as well as attendee t-shirts.

Really sweet WordCamp Phoenix t-shirts.

Since the event was in mid-January, we started early to work around the holiday schedule.

We searched high and low to find t-shirts in a shade of blue to match the WordPress logo. Once we found those, we chose hoodies in a mocha color that would complement the t-shirts and the travel motif designer Lori Pasulka had created for the event.

Our initial t-shirt design had the event name off to the side, so the printing would go over the sleeve a bit with the tagline running up right side and the logo on the back.

Original WCPHX t-shirt design.


The hoodies initially had the event name and tagline on the right side of the hoodie in the stencil font Lori had chosen for the website’s headings.

WordCamp Phoenix 13 hoodie design



When worn together, the t-shirts would just say “Word.”

WordCamp Phoenix 2013 hoodie and t-shirt design


The WordCamp team made some revisions to the fonts and placement of the designs before they were ready for us to send them to print.

WCPHX final hoodie and t-shirt designs

When we delivered the 18 boxes of t-shirts and hoodies to Gangplank, I think event organizer Carol Stambaugh may have literally jumped for joy! She loved the colors, simple designs and quality product.  In fact, there was so much buzz that a photo of the (previously) top secret hoodies was leaked on Facebook.

Boxes of t-shirts and hoodies

Due to the event’s popularity and last-minute registrations, Carol was concerned that there weren’t going to be enough shirts and wanted to know about the possibility of another run right before the event. Usually, a second run of a design is not cost effective. However, we were able to work it out, so that WordCamp Phoenix got the second order of tees at the same price point as the first. They were done by the first day of the event, in time to replenish their stock and make sure there were enough tees to go around.

Thanks to Carol and her team, WordCamp Phoenix was again a huge success! They did a super job. And I hope those WordPress blue t-shirts and super comfy hoodies helped at least a little.


April Holle and Carol Stambaugh with a hoodie and a shirt.

I’ll be posting photos from WordCamp on our Facebook page. (Which reminds me, have you liked our page yet? We post great things about community events and small business resources!)



Are you ready for the right time?

A big part of smart business is putting the right information in front of the right people at the right time.

Photographer Bradford Jones knew that taking portraits at the Scottsdale Arabian Horse Show would bring many potential clients right to him, and he wanted to take the opportunity to send them the right message. He contacted us to design stickers, postcards and signage with a polished, professional look reflecting his expertise. (His post about the event is on his blog.)

Postcard, sign and sticker designs for BJP.


Stickers: The stickers were designed to be versatile – used both at the show and afterwards on a variety of print packaging in a variety of sizes. We printed them in a size that would work well on the largest or smallest of them. Our design was simple and elegant with his logo on a light tan from his color palette that would contrast nicely against the black envelopes and boxes he uses.

Postcards: For the postcards, we stayed with a very clean look. We focused on Bradford Jones images, which we chose to represent a variety of different types of portraits. We made sure that the postcards were sized to be tucked in with print packaging and printed on quality paper stock.

Sign: We designed an eye-catching sign to direct visitors to the point of sale and outline the services Bradford Jones provides.

The pieces were done on a tight timeframe to make sure they were ready to make a great impression at the event.

We’d love to help you be ready to reach the right people too. Just reach out.


Big check

Everyone likes getting big checks. Turns out designing them is pretty great too – especially when the big (literally) check is going to someone with a big heart.


Recently, Eric and Glynis Legrand made the difficult decision to close the restaurant they owned and operated, Urban Tea Loft, to focus on Eric’s health after a serious diagnosis. They had been active and generous in their community, and the community rallied around them. Friends organized a fundraiser and several local restaurants agreed to donate a portion of their proceeds on August 2nd.

We designed and printed an oversized check, representing funds raised, for Chris Conrey and Tyler Hurst to present to the Legrands today. They were surprised and touched and said they plan to keep it as a momento of the support they’ve received.

Web icons that make sense

“You know my brand, I’m happy with your past work, it makes sense!”

Susan Baier was thinking aloud during our meeting about why she chose us to create icons for the Audience Audit website redesign.

After we met, I got to work, thinking about the brand and the headings these icons would illustrate, brainstorming, sketching, and collaborating on a color palette with the developer, Greg Taylor of Marketing Press. I also began exploring concepts related to geometric shapes and patterns, which would work on several levels, complementing the circles central to Audience Audit’s logo and becoming a type of symbol for each heading.

Rather than sticking strictly to abstract geometric patterns; however, I moved toward icons that looked like charts and graphs, since analyzing data is a big part of what Audience Audit does. The “BETTER CLIENT WORK = MORE AGENCY REVENUE” icon, for example, is a rectangle that looks like a line graph with revenue increasing.

When the timeline for the site launch got moved up, I hustled to put the finishing touches on the icons and made sure they were ready to go before the site went live.

The icons complement the site, giving it an even more custom, eye-catching look and feel.

And, yes, Susan is still happy with our work.



Hold my beer?

They need to fold flat. And be made of wetsuit material. And priced to give away. And (look) dangerous.

Most importantly, they need to keep beer cold.


As part of an event introducing college students to Gangplank, AuthorityLabs wanted foldable can holders (also known as “Koozies,” although that’s technically a brand name), specifically made out of neoprene.


We tracked down a few options for them (including a magnetic one that would be great for tailgating), and they chose their favorite.

They loved the final results – compact neoprene can holders with the Gangplank logo on one side and the skull on the other.

And ice cold beverages.




Note on the photos: Yes, that’s a ginger ale can. We don’t drink a lot of stuff from cans, and that’s what was in the fridge. The can holders also work for bottles (although 40 ounces may be a bit of a stretch).

Dayley Agile, part 2: Business cards, postcards and website

In Part 1, I shared the process of creating the logo for Dayley Agile, an Agile coaching startup with a focus on organic, human interaction rather than mechanical processes.

After the logo design, we carried the branding over in the design of postcards, website and Alan Dayley’s business cards.


Business cards

The reversed-out leaf (detail from the logo) makes these business cards stand out. We also printed them on thick 14pt cardstock with a matte finish.




The postcards were a promotional piece handed out at Phoenix Startup Weekend. On one side is a graphic we created based on a sketch Alan often uses in Agile coaching to illustrate how Agile teams are meant to function in a holistic way, a useful reminder for Agile practicioners to keep at their desks (retaining the company’s contact information, as well).

We edited the copy for the other side of the postcards to make it more concise and include the attention-grabbing headline “Better Teams Make Better Business.”

The cards were an effective way to spread the word about Dayley Agile and were more useful and budget-friendly than many promotional products.




Finally, in collaboration with Perri Collins, we created a website to showcase Dayley Agile’s services, as well as photos from actual Dayley Agile training and workshops, testimonials and  information on Agile.

We adapted the postcard verbiage and holistic team graphic to be the image that is currently front and center on the home page. The look of the site is professional, open and organic to reflect the way that Dayley Agile does business.

Who knew calendars and aprons could make dreams come true?


Bold Avenue is making Robin Ray’s dream come true. (Her words!)

Robin is an artist, working in watercolor and ceramics and participating in the annual Hidden in the Hills Studio Tour. During this event, Cave Creek-area artists open their studios to the public, displaying, selling and demonstrating their craft.

It has been Robin’s dream to reach a wider audience with her art – especially her whimsical watercolors of animals – by featuring it on items people can use.



The art of design

She was referred to Bold Avenue by her sister (one of our t-shirt clients), and, while she had some ideas about what she wanted, she was unsure of the best way to make it all happen. 

The good news? Making it happen is kind of our specialty.

We worked with her to find products that fit the bill: sturdy and roomy canvas shopping totes, wide aprons, and the right paper for her greeting cards (as well as a cost-effective way to print small quantities of 12 different card designs!). When a traditional calendar wouldn’t work, we designed a new calendar format for her.

For each product, we created designs that would keep the focus on her gorgeous artwork, while making it sure it fit each medium and giving it a finished look.


Calendars to keep forever

The biggest challenge came in making Robin’s series of calendar art – watercolors of Arizona animals with lessons to teach for each month of the year – into an actual calendar. 

Calendars, of course, are dated. And Robin was concerned about not selling all of her 2012 calendars before the end of the year. We didn’t want to do anything that would make the calendars less functional or her art too small, but we did need to make sure her investment would last beyond the next couple months. 

After meeting with Robin, brainstorming, and researching calendar formats, I came up with a way to feature Robin’s art on a reusable calendar. The art pages are all on the top half, which (similar to a regular wall calendar) you flip over each month to see the new page. On the bottom is a grid for the dates, which is dry erasable. Each month, you just flip the art page over, wipe off the old dates and write in the new ones. You can use it month after month, year after year. 

As Robin’s words on the cover say, it’s made to “take to heart and keep forever.”



Starting this weekend, you can see Robin’s art (originals, as well as calendars, cards, totes and aprons), along with the work of 144 other artists, on the self-guided Hidden in the Hills Studio Tour (Nov. 18-20, 25-27). You create your own tour route at http://www.sonoranartsleague.org/hidden.php



Dayley Agile, part 1: Logo

For various reasons, including my blogging hiatus, there are some great projects from awhile back I haven’t posted yet. I’ll be catching you up on the work we’ve done for Alan Dayley’s Agile coaching business (Dayley Agile) in 3 posts. This is the first one.

One thing that sets Dayley Agile apart from many other Agile coaches is a focus on human interactions and communication. Teams are made up of people, and, therefore, helping them work together better is an organic process not a mechanical one. 


With this is in mind, I knew we needed to create a logo that would be organic and out of the box. It would need to appeal both to people familiar with Agile and Scrum, as well as those who had only heard the terms in passing, since Dayley Agile’s audience would include both groups.


I explored metaphors from nature, communication and Agile- and Scrum-related terms. I also looked at diagrams used to represent the Scrum process.


While there were a few directions we could have gone with the logo, the one that resonated showed the image of a vine growing out of a box. It symbolizes growth, organic processes, out-of-the-box thinking.

Dayley Agile logo

Besides just being the way vines sometimes grow, the loop in the logo is also inspired by diagrams used to illustrate Scrum sprints. It’s a subtle wink to Scrum practitioners, while being able to stand on its own for coaching clients new to Agile and Scrum concepts.