Monday, April 22, 2013


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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Idaho Business Review Awards

Idaho Business Review is one of Trademark's oldest and most highly-regarded customers. The relationship first formed in late 2009 when someone from the Review wrote an article about how Trademark, then a fledgling design company, secured its funding in the midst of a brutal recession. They were impressed with the skills and range of Trademark's designers, and consulted with Trademark about their upcoming Women of the Year awards. Trademark helped reshape their idea, adding an artistic touch that both companies were satisfied with.

From there, Idaho Business Review gave Trademark free reign for the 40 Under 40 awards.

Pieces of plasma-cut, power-coated steel were bent into the appropriate shape. The award recognized achievements of business people under the age of 40, so naturally the downward-pointing arrow is symbolic of the recipients' youth. Layers of laser-cut and laser-etched acrylic were then mounted to the steel.

Mirrored acrylic was used for the name plate, yielding an attractive, interesting, and meaningful award -- one that any business person would be proud to display on his or her desk.

Since then, Idaho Business Review has come to Trademark time and again for their awards, forging a lasting and satisfying business relationship. Sometimes design ideas are bounced back and forth, while other times the Review trusts Trademark with most of the creative process. Like any project, a more complicated design idea requires some brainstorming. For instance, to help visualize how these pieces of translucent acrylic would interact, Trademark's designers made several hand-sketches for the 2011 Grow Smart awards:

For these awards, it was important to highlight both the urban component, as well as the "green" benefits that careful planning provide. Three pieces of laser-etched acrylic were combined to make a beautifully layered scene. When viewed in bright light the piece simply glows.

The front piece was made with laser-cut, 1/4" plywood, and the award was assembled with simple yet attractive stainless-steel hardware.

The Best Places to Work in Idaho awards took the form of a more traditional wall-mounted plaque, but that didn't stop Trademark's designers from making the awards truly stand out.

A striking combination of acrylic and vinyl were cut and mounted to each other using VHB tape. Here's a series of partially completed awards on the assembly table:

Despite being mounted to the wall, these plaques are still very dimensional. The state of Idaho was cut from 1/4" acrylic, and the cast shadow really grabs attention. 

In previous years, the Women of the Year awards utilized custom blue glass features from a local glass blower. The 2012 Women of the Year awards remained consistent with this theme. Blue glass statues were laser-etched, and the final effect is both elegant and distinct -- the product of true artists.

Finally, and most recently, Trademark completed the CEO of Influence awards. Pieces of 3" square steel tubing were cut into the appropriate shape, and an attractive piece of laser-etched, mirrored-gold acrylic was mounted using stainless-steel hardware.

Finally, a piece of clear, laser-cut acrylic was mounted on top. The etched name, as well as the outline of the state of Idaho reflect off the mirrored underlay, giving a exceptionally clean, polished, and simple effect.

The awards are sturdy and beautiful -- a fitting and lasting tribute to some of Idaho's most influential businessmen.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Bishop Kelly Donor Wall

Bishop Kelly High School came to Trademark asking for a lot: they wanted a cool concept for a big project, and they wanted it fast. The school was wrapping up construction on their new student commons and atrium, and needed to recognize those who funded the project. With less than a month before the grand opening, Bishop Kelly asked Trademark to design, fabricate, and install the donor wall for the new building. Immediately Trademark's designers began brainstorming. They proposed the idea of making personalized plaques for each donor.

The plaques were made of clear laser-cut acrylic, laminated with black to provide contrast. Layers of metallic vinyl were applied on top. Each combination of colors corresponded to a donation level.

A donor wall should honor its contributors in a way befitting their generosity. These plaques would serve as a distinct and striking tribute. After the concept was approved by Bishop Kelly, Trademark's staff went into overdrive -- producing unique plaques for each of the four-hundred individual donors.

The plaques were to be mounted upon a large, beautiful, slightly concave wall. The second stage of the design process was to determine where the plaques should be placed. Bishop Kelly made it clear: those who donated more to the campaign should be recognized for the amount of their contribution, but the donors should not be ordered into a hierarchy.

Trademark's designers developed a nebulous cloud of plaques, one that increased in density towards the main information sign in the center. A key, which linked a given color combination to its corresponding donation level, was placed off to the side.

The plaques were permanently mounted to the wall using a special type of very-high-bond  (VHB) double sided tape. Extreme care had to be used early in the process -- a plaque mis-mounted by so much as a millimeter could throw off the rest of the installation.

John and Jason spent two days at Bishop Kelly, and captured some excellent shots of the process.

The project was time consuming, but the fruits of Trademark's labor was obvious. Bishop Kelly was rewarded with a gorgeous donor wall that does an excellent job of honoring those who contributed to their new building. The project was completed on time, and within Bishop Kelly's budget.

Two weeks after the completion of the project, Trademark received the following letter in the mail (click to enlarge):

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

City Peanut Shop

The City Peanut Shop came to Trademark looking for ideas regarding how to use their designs in a creative way. After several meetings, and an on-site inspection of their Bannock street storefront, we proposed a signage suite that included a large-scale wall-mural for the store's interior, a blade sign for the exterior, and a series storefront graphics.

To create the wall mural, John and Jason performed a careful evaluation of the interior space, and determined the appropriate scale for the design. The image was transcribed onto paper with our plotter and then the outlines were "pounced" onto the wall using chalk.
Tiny holes in the paper allow the chalk to mark the wall where the design will go. 

Once the chalk outline was up, John and Jason set about hand-painting the sign.

The color pallet for the design was only a few shades of the wall color, making the mural look like a watermark. Proud painters pose for peanut parlor pictures:
Jason and John in front of the finished mural. 

As for the exterior blade-sign, it was important to catch the eye of passers by. To achieve this, we decided to use higher contrast colors, and a dimensional peanut to make the sign really stand out. The peanut itself was made from high density urethane (HDU), which is easy to carve and resists heat expansion. It was carved, sanded, and painted by hand.
Roughing out the shape with a chisel. 

John sands the nearly-finished peanut. 

The sign was built around a base of CNC-cut steel. A series of acrylic pieces were cut, and then mounted to each other using either silicone or VHB (very high bond) tape. Vinyl graphics were applied to parts of the sign to add design elements. Finally the peanut was mounted to the sign using more silicone (and a few fasteners for added security).The resulting effect is dynamic and layered, while remaining flat enough to provide contrast to the carved peanut.
Layer upon later of metal, acrylic, vinyl, and HDU.

All in all, City Peanut Shop proved to be a satisfying project for a great member of Boise's downtown business landscape. If you're ever hungry for some top-quality roasted nuts, you know where to go!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Julius Kleiner Memorial Park Concept Work

Trademark's involvement with the City of Meridian dates back to early 2010. The city wanted to construct a public art piece, and Trademark submitted a bid. The city was so impressed with the range of capabilities displayed in the portfolio, they decided to hire Trademark to design all of the way-finding material and signage for the new Julius M. Kleiner Memorial park. This project represents a huge opportunity for Trademark: the park will be around for generations to come, a permanent fixture in the city of Meridian. It's not often that a design company gets to make such a lasting impact on its community, so Trademark is designing every element with that kind of longevity in mind. 

As usual, the conceptual phase of the project started with a dizzying amount of hand-sketches.

Dozens of ideas were explored, and ultimately a theme of iconic tree leaves emerged. Each different kind of leaf represents a season, and a region of the park. This way-finding material is both stylish and helpful. It orients visitors and helps them make decisions about where to go next, while simultaneously providing a consistent visual identity for the park.

As the project got underway, Trademark started attending bi-monthly planning meetings between the city, the park's designers, and all the various companies contracted to build the park. A great deal of dialogue took place between the various groups, and several cool ideas were born from these meetings. Here's an example: custom park-benches that utilize the themes from the way-finding material.
The cost of making custom benches was only marginally more than stock benches, but they bring style and continuity to the park. There will be four different bench types (one for each type of tree-leaf), but they will all employ similar flowing-wind imagery. Thus, the benches will stand alone beautifully or, when placed next to each other, will create a larger graphic element. 

Here's a mock-up of a landmark sign:
Both models were made with laser-cut cardboard, and assembled by hand. Models are used regularly at Trademark, especially when dealing with a three-dimensional element. They provide a satisfying way to evaluate the success of a design, allowing designers and clients to interact with the object much like they will with the real thing.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Team Exergy Luggage Tags

Trademark has a long-standing history with Team Exergy (a professional cycling team based in Boise, Idaho). The two companies have worked together on several successful projects, from vehicle wrap-jobs, to custom helmet decals. The racers on a professional cycling team like Team Exergy must represent their sponsors at all times, both on the bike and off. For this reason, it isn't unusual for Team Exergy to request custom projects to add a personalized flair to the rider's belongings. With short notice, Team Exergy asked if Trademark could make some custom luggage tags for the rider's new suitcases. After getting a look at the luggage, John set about crafting a design:

The tags were printed on vinyl, and laminated with a protective coating to minimize scuffs and scratches. The vinyl was then mounted to a sheet of 1/8th inch white acrylic, and then laser-cut.
John carefully removes the tags from the laser-cut sheet of acrylic.

Transfer tape was applied to protect the color of the ink from the heat of the laser cutter.

Once the tags were finished, John and Sam made a trip to the Exergy "service course" (the team headquarters) to mount the tags.
The interior of a pro cycling team service course: leader's jerseys on the wall, carbon fiber wheels hanging from the roof, a high-quality espresso machine, and of course, a foos-ball table. 

Small holes were drilled into the case itself, and pop-rivets were used to permanently mount the tags to the luggage.
Sam rivets a tag to a suitcase. 

The finished product is an excellent example of how Trademark can add a personalized touch to just about anything. The tags are stylish, unique, and should withstand a full season of international travel.
A close-up of a finished luggage tag. 

Custom luggage for the riders and staff. 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012


When Fork first approached Trademark to begin work on their 8th-street sign it was apparent that, in order for the design to be successful, we had to truly get to know the restaurant's story. Fork makes a commitment to running a socially and environmentally responsible restaurant -- a commitment that goes beyond mere marketing slogans. Most of the menu is sourced from local, organic farmers, and local artisans were employed to craft things like the tables and glassware. Like nearly all projects here at Trademark, this one started with lots and lots of hand-sketches.
Some earlier designs for the Fork sign. 

Fork is located on Boise's busy 8th street. A dimensional sign, one that juts out from the wall, was chosen to help increase visibility. The frame was custom designed and fabricated to fit the building's facade. The fork statue itself was hand-carved out of high-density urethane (HDU), which resists heat expansion well, and is easy to carve.
John uses a belt-sander to add texture to the Fork statue.

The letters, also HDU, were CNC-routed and then beveled, carved, and painted by hand.
A close up of the HDU letters on the right hand side of the sign. 

The background graphics suggest fields of thriving crops, and the color palate is one of vitality and freshness.
Jason layers paint onto the statue. 

The installation took place early in the morning, and was quick and easy. Fork is located in the historic City National Bank building, and maximum care was taken to insure that the building's facade wasn't damaged during installation.
The crane made installation a breeze.