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December 19th, 2014 :: text by

:: Meet new eeko studio designer Brittany Rislund ::

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Her name is Brittany.

Or is it Brittney?

Or is it The Pink Power Ranger?

We’ll let her explain.

Get to know eeko studio’s newest design ninja!

Age: 28

Hometown: Glendale, AZ

Nickname: B, or stormgooser on the interwebs and online gaming.

Graphic design background: I’ve always been into the arts, from band to theatre, photography to painting. Though I started out wanting to get into photojournalism, I quickly found my true love in graphic design when I stumbled into it while working for a local business back in 2007. I ended up being self-taught in most of the basics before finally going to school for graphic and web design to refine what I knew and expand on that knowledge. During my final semester, I received the opportunity to be Project Manager and lead a team of 4 other students in producing The Traveler, the book publication of the school’s annual literary and fine arts competition.

I was super fortunate in being introduced to the Phoenix Film Festival where I volunteer as a designer. This also led me to Phoenix Comicon where I continue to volunteer as Art Coordinator, helping lead a large art team. I’m now on my second year with both organizations and I love it.

I’ve also had a great experience and opportunity working with another local designer on several projects including logo designs, digital pieces, and large format printing for vehicle wraps and window graphics. The last company I worked for is based outside of Toronto and is well known in the daily T-shirt and nerdy subscription box industries. I was the promotions and community manager and lead designer for two entities having five products, each with their own, separate social media presence. It was both a fun and challenging experience, especially while working remotely and leading a team that’s a couple thousand miles away.

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November 12th, 2014 :: text by

:: Meet eeko’s new Art Director ::

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The man with the magazine cover for a face staring into your soul is none other than Chris Kontakis … eeko studio’s new Art Director!

Get to know Chris, the one man behind one-man show Localrevibe Magazine among other fantastic things.

Age: 34.

Hometown: Phoenix.

Nickname: Mahones.

Graphic design background:  10+ years experience in the web and graphic design industry. Also experience in print production, photography and video production. I’ve worked for a few start up companies based out of Phoenix, Florida, Los Angeles and San Francisco in the past. The last company I had worked for was an entertainment site for the indie film community where I traveled and shot interviews and behind the scenes videos with indie directors. In the process, I shot all the video, audio production, edited and learned site monetization helping build what was at first a 4-person team and a blog, to a 40+ team company with a full film studio in Burbank and an Alexa site rank of 19, making the blog one of the most popular in the U.S. for 2011 and one of the top ten ad distributors from 2010-2012.

Before all this, it began with my passion for photography. I’ve done wedding photography but my passion has always been journalism photography. I enjoy capturing real moments, when people aren’t looking at the camera. My passion for photography eventually lead me to creating Localrevibe Magazine, a local Phoenix based print publication showcasing downtown Phoenix culture, business and food! This allowed me to go out and shoot photos of people doing creative things, capturing the Downtown Culture.

Favorite thing about what I do?
I love design and anything creative. I though that over 10+ years that I would be burnt out but it’s the complete opposite! Taking client ideas and bringing them to life has always been the most exciting process and I hope to continue for at least another 10 years!

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August 29th, 2014 :: text by

:: Thoughts on Stock… ::

When starting a project that begins with naming and progresses all that way through web design and marketing strategy – stock photography can be a part of the beginning, middle or end of the process. It is the rare solo logo design or all-artwork-provided project that we don’t go looking for a single supporting image. Occasionally – we begin looking for photography and end up looking at stock illustration or patterns because they support the brand identity and the site content even better. This pattern was a top candidate from a recent project where a science-y, space-y look suits the client’s content really well – especially in their service menu and the section of their site that details their working process.

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Patterns, illustrations or photography – always tell the story with visuals! Check out this lady… what’s her story? And do you find this good stock or bad?

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That, of course is subjective to the opinions of any designer or branding manager – I personally have a pet peeve for images of anyone feeling frustrated – not as high a level of annoyance for me as alarm clocks going off in TV commercials (seriously – it’s the worst – darn you McDonald’s!) but pretty high nonetheless. I just think, why? People have stressful lives – why should any individual’s stress be compounded by seeing someone freaking out like this poor woman – OUCH – so many crazy chalky thoughts fighting to get out of her mind!! Clearly  what she needs is a white board or a stack of post-its or maybe an eraser, stat! I jest, but really – I think this cliche of ‘show me someone stressed out because they’re using our competitor’s product/they don’t know our services exist’ is a ship that though it will never sail away – it really should. We’d all be happier and probably buy less stuff though, which no one in sales would ever want, but we think there’s another way – show what doing business with you WILL look like!

But don’t go overboard in the Disneyland deep-end. The same client we used cube patterns for actually sent us the following image and a caution to please NOT pull any stock images that look like this:

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I’m a little sad that we listened to them. Sad because this photograph is everything I want in a picture of people conducting a meeting. Everyone remembered to wear neutral colors and smile like their lives depended on it. I’m kidding of course, this is yet another cliche that I think can be avoided – direct posed smiles delivered from a ‘candid’ stance. It’s this hybrid that is hilarious… action body, perfect faces. I’m glad the client sent this because hearing from them or from you – what you DON’T want – speaks volumes and keeps us looking for what DOES move you! p.s. imagine if meetings about pie charts were really this fun.. I bet you can’t. And that’s why this stock photograph is a major fail.

Here’s one that surprised me – an image we are electing for a client that makes it easier for mobile device users to make small purchases.

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Same model as the stressed out chalkboard image – but here – her emotion is genuine. And this image – with artistry from the photographer that could make this seem ‘not perfect’ enough for a one client – but another might be captivated by it. It reads as a real slice-of-life and with the right copy – would definitely persuade me to upload a new app or browse a website on my phone. It all feels really clean, modern, real and inviting.

So a conclusion/moral of this story popped into my head as I looked at the different images here and considered all the stock images I’ve seen eeko use over the past year. It’s something Mother Theresa said when she was invited to an anti-war protest : “I was once asked why I don’t participate in anti-war demonstrations. I said that I will never do that, but as soon as you have a pro-peace rally, I’ll be there.”  When we search through stock tirelessly looking for what you DO DO (which might give us a few chalkboard stress lines!), the smiles will be real ones. Promise!

Bonus points given to anyone who comments a link to the funniest stock image you’ve seen – and it has to be your own find – can’t be from a Buzzfeed round-up! 

 

 

 

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August 18th, 2014 :: text by

:: Fantastic Etsy shops by local Phoenix artists ::

Like most people, we dig Etsy. We could spend hours dangerously shopping online and purchasing cool items. Wouldn’t it be rad if we could online shop AND support our local Phoenicians? Why yes, yes it would. And we can.

Here are some Etsy peeps whose products we love:

Baby Teith

COOL baby clothes! Tiffe Fermaint uses digitally printed organic cotton fabric and the clothing focuses on science and music. They have a fabric designed by a local artist named Yai that is absolutely fun and crazy. Kim and Kanye just ordered some of these clothes for baby North!

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 Adam Rabbit

Ashley Pasquan has been making gorgeous jewelry and is definitely getting noticed by boutiques across America. We love the natural, yet geometric design of her jewelry. They’re very simple but still retain that edge that us jewelry junkies love.

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And last but sure as hell not least …

Crafty Chica

Kathy Cano-Murillo makes everything from prints to hand painted ceramics to jewelry, all of which are MESMERIZING! Who knew that the love child of Dia de Los Muertos and punk crafts could be so beautiful. We dig her collage style and use of hot colors.

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Alrighty people, clicky clicky! Get yo’ shop on.

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July 25th, 2014 :: text by

:: How we brand ::

Here at eeko, we’ve had our hand in naming projects and companies, helping create an identity for our clients. Yeah, we’re awesome. (But you already knew that.)

We don’t have a step-by-step agenda we follow as we go through this process. Gasp, you say? Why not, you ask?

Well, because every client is different. And there are different approaches in choosing a name and identity for a brand.

The longer approach, done by our brand expert Robin Bramman, is a thorough process that helps develops a client’s brand strategy that builds on their vision, business goals and reflects an in-depth understanding of the customer’s needs and perceptions. Once a clear voice and identity has been establish, the eeko design team works its magic to create designed brand pieces our clients love. Yes, this takes some time to go through all the steps, but you will finish the process knowing your brand inside and out. It will be your brand baby.

A quicker approach involves a discovery meeting with a client, getting to know them and their vision and goals of their company. We ask questions, listen to their story of their company, and take all the factors into account when we start to brainstorm names. Some clients bring us examples of things they like and have some names they already like, some have nothing. Any of these approaches are totally fine!

After the first meeting, we brainstorm as a team and come up with a list of ideas. We meet with our client again to present the ideas. From there, it can take a couple different paths:

1. The client chooses one right there, DONE!

2. The client likes a few, likes a word from this a word from that, or the idea behind another. And we’ll still have some work to do.

3. The client doesn’t find any they are attracted to and we’re  back to the drawing board.

We don’t mind either reaction. As stated before, every client is different! But one thing they all have in common is that when the process is over, they will end up with something that is perfect for them and something they are proud to have represent their brand.

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July 18th, 2014 :: text by

:: Emoji talk ::

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Once upon a time, 1982 to be exact, Scott Fahlman came up with the idea to put together three punctuation marks: a colon a dash and a closed parentheses and to make the universal symbol (on the web) for happiness.

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From that point on, the concept of conveying emotions via text message, email, the web, etc., has exploded in popularity. Here at eeko, we love emojis, and we know that you do too. We are here to tell you: HEY! That’s OK!

From the kitty with hearts for eyes to the smiley pile of poo, this concept of logograms and pictographs started long ago. We aren’t new in wanting to express ideas and feelings through pictures and symbols, but what IS new is their hilarity, innovative design and efficiency. Originally created in Japan by DoCoMo i-mode to reduce the amount of data created by picture messaging, emojis are a great mode of universally understood language and can easily bring giggles to any conversation and also free up character space in texts.

With technological aptitude came the ability to express feelings with icons, which is … AWESOME. We attempt to express ourselves every day, and any mode or design that can assist us/make us laugh, we approve of.

Here are some emojis we like:

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Here are some emojis we are slightly puzzled about:

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Shout out to you emoji users! Peace, ya’ll.

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July 11th, 2014 :: text by

:: asana love ::

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In this complex world, where everyone is always connected, somehow managing multiple projects can still become overwhelming.

The time spent checking emails from clients and your team can consume a massive portion of the day. Then you still have to check on project progress and review how each task is coming along. Luckily, there are many different products out there that have been created to tackle this problem. Basecamp, Wrike. and Harvest are all popular project management platforms.

However, here at eeko, we are in love with Asana.

Why? Let’s count the ways;

No. 1, the simplicity and clean look of the software. The design is easy on the eyes and allows for users to quickly find what they are looking for and move on to the next task. Inside each task is a glimpse of the current status and  you can see the conversation between the members included in that task.

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The Asana team solicits and listens to user feedback and makes changes to the software quickly. Asana does not rest with its design and functionality. Instead, it continues to update and create a better user experience.

Asana allows us to communicate without having to use email. Email can gobble up time and so eliminating emails that are project-based allows us more time to design. You are able to add clients to the projects in Asana and communications there stay clearly visible.

Asana also has amazing easter eggs. Explore personal settings and activate some fun “hacks” to keep you going as you complete your tasks.

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Finally, Asana has a great API that allowed many companies to create extensions. These extensions allow you to customize Asana to fit your current needs. Check out the long list here: https://asana.com/apps

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June 27th, 2014 :: text by

:: And now for something… ::

 

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Here at eeko, there’s always a number of interesting projects at various stages of work. Sometimes it happens that multiple things are wrapping up, or we are in the middle of everything… right now, it seems we are in the beginning stages with a bundle of new clients! We’ve been sought out by a group of doctors to help them refresh their branding as they are in a super competitive category and with insurance paying for less in this specific area – the cash paying customer is king and these docs know they need to stay current. We’ve been found by an architect who also wants to refresh his brand graphics and create a whole new website to show his portfolio and impress potential new clients. And we’ve now met with a new cafe that wants to bring fresh juices and salads into what looks to be a really rad spot – the DeSoto building on Central and Roosevelt. As the ‘admin-lady’ here at eeko, this means I am busy with getting-to-know-you meetings and I always ask new clients if they are ‘email people’ or ‘phone people’, as I truly need to know! Good design needs good communication – and we get complimented often for being clear communicators and for delivering what we promised when we said we would. We’re thrilled when we are a good fit with our clients – i.e. we love to collaborate! Even if you take only an introductory meeting with us, we will be throwing great ideas your way. We are always hoping to make a difference in our community – whether someone decides to go with eeko (no really, you should!!)  or they find someone else that somehow suits them better. We love small businesses and the amazingly alive energy of launching – or relaunching – a brand!

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June 13th, 2014 :: text by

:: Phoenix is about to get a whole lot healthier! ::

We’ve recently taken on a project called Healthy Food Phoenix. This is a program that hopes to infiltrate the existing small markets/corner stores/bodegas within the Garfield neighborhood to transform them into healthy food systems. This is a really great program because the goal is to decrease obesity, diabetes, and other health risks that can occur by not eating enough healthy foods. For the people in this specific neighborhood, access to healthy food choices is minimum. Most corner stores that people walk to and shop at barely have any fresh fruits or vegetables to offer.

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This client wanted a very specific look for the logo, so we set out on an adventure to the Garfield Neighborhood and did some research. To understand the project fully, we wanted to take a look around the area the program would be serving. We wanted to get a feel for it and get inspired by it. For the look of the logo, the client’s idea was for it to have a mural feel. There were plenty of amazing murals and graffiti throughout Garfield for us to look at.

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After snapping some photos of the neighborhood street art, we headed back to work to get started on some logo ideas with these murals still fresh in our minds. A couple days and a few revisions later we had a logo! Then came the business cards!

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Next up, more collateral to be used as handouts to give away to let the people know the issue, the plan to help and what they can do. Stay tuned, I’m sure you’ll be seeing more of Healthy Food Phoenix!

 

 

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June 6th, 2014 :: text by

:: Experience the City ::

Everyday millions of people in Phoenix wake up, get dressed, get in their automobile and drive to their jobs. They travel alone, slowly zig-zagging through traffic, stopping and going. By the time they arrive to the office the amount of stress that they have encountered already begins to place a burden on them. As designers we have the ability to craft a route to work that allows people to enjoy the morning and experience our city in a meaningful way. Phoenix is growing and continues to reinvent itself, every day it is possible to experience something new, falling deeper in love with the city.

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Ditching the automobile not only allows you to become healthier physically and mentally, it is also a great money saver. Also, another wonderful aspect of ditching the automobile is that you are saving the planet from harmful emissions.

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However, the most important aspect of traveling through the city under your own power is that it allows you to be inspired by every trip. You will notice little details about the city that otherwise would be a blur. Details in the building stonework and the generosity of the people that work throughout the city. The ability to come across a location and to be able to see work that takes place on a project, is something that is not really possible in an automobile. The relationship that you build with Phoenix will be passed on through the work that you do, through your heart.

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