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.