Wednesday, March 14, 2012

selling Sells

My 32-page, self-cover catalog for Sells Goalkeeper Products has made it through a pre-press inspection by AM Litho without a hitch! PHEW! It's my first big project built in Adobe InDesign, so there was more than the typical amount of pre-press jitters here. After being a QuarkXpress user for years, I finally made the switch to InDesign several months ago. And now I can say with certainty, it was a smooth transition.

Sells is an industry leader in the area of goalkeeper glove technology. These gloves, designed for professional and elite goalkeepers, are distributed exclusively in the U.S. by a longtime client of mine, Goal Sporting Goods. The success of the Sells brand is in the hands, literally, of the high profile players that have endorsed these gloves. Each spread of the catalog takes full advantage of those critical relationships by featuring a professional goalkeeper in action, wearing the Sells product.

In order to not diminish the product itself, the goalkeeper images are placed on a layer above a solid blue background layer in Photoshop, and the blending mode of that image layer is set to "Luminosity". Many of the images had busy backgrounds—other players, crowds in the stadium bleachers, etc. I used a variety of techniques to minimize these noisy backgrounds and bring the focus to the player. My primary tools: Clone Stamp- remove a player and replace with grass, and Gradient Tool- fade the edges of the player image layer to transparent, letting the blue layer show through.

Pops of color used to highlight page numbers, new products, page footer information and glove performance category keep the spreads from being too monochomatic.

Featured players top to bottom:
Tally Hall- Houston Dyanmo / USA
Ben Foster- West Bromwich Albion / England
Andrew Dykstra- DC United / USA

Thursday, March 1, 2012


There are crossovers almost daily from the design studio to the screenprinting studio. Here is a recent favorite- a new design for St. Patrick's Church Fish Fry sponsored annually by the Knights of Columbus, Belltown Council.
The typeface is "Agent Orange" downloaded from, and manipulated in Illustrator to conform to a fish shape. A dent in an "F" becomes a fish mouth, and a tipped over "y" becomes its tail.
Friday Knight Fish Fries are being held weekly from 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. now through April 15 at St. Patrick Church Parish Hall, 47 W. High St.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

sneak peak at the design studio interface

new logo, new stuff!

We're excited to unveil a new logo for our screenprinting studio in celebration of our new website. The new screenprinting studio website will launch mid-April, and will incorporate a full-function online design studio where our customers can create their own masterpiece t-shirts and upload their design for us to print.

As you can see, we're having lots of fun designing the look of the new site. While I will truly miss the unique, hand-drawn reference that typically comes with a request for printed T-shirts, I'm sure our customers are going to have fun designing on the new site with all the tools at hand and the t-shirt already drawn. The "create your masterpiece banner" is a nod to all the wonderful hand-drawn t-shirts our customers have shared with us over the years!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

catalog pages and cleaning closets

I've finally reached the point where I've put enough distance between myself and this project to look at it objectively- nothing against the project or the client. When a project stretches over many, many months I often can't even appreciate the printed samples when they arrive until I've had a little time away from the project.
It was a major overhaul for this annual product catalog for Goal Sporting Goods. Information tended to pile up on these catalog pages over the years. The message was starting to blur. I liken this overhaul to a closet cleaning. Get rid of the duplicates, pull out the important stuff and put it back in all nice and organized.

I used tinted backgrounds, charts and sidebars to organize important product details and selling points much like I would use shelving and sweater boxes to organize my closet. Organized information with a predictable layout from page to page makes for easy reading.
Now that Goal's customers can easily find dimensions and details for their goals at a glance, I can go do this to my closet so I can find my grey sweater...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

massive updates

I took a year-long trip around cyberspace living on different sites, and visiting all the popular tourist attractions including facebook and twitter.
I've come full circle to where it all started for me, the place I find most comfortable.
A few things I learned along the way:
1) a blog cannot take the place of a business website so the real Red Barn Studio website is still a work in progress
2) I prefer facetime to facebook. If you have any interest in what's going on in my life feel free to visit House of Stash by following the link on the sidebar.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

wall art

Remember back in the day when we took pictures and had to bring our film to be "processed"? Only to find out a few days later that there were really only a few good pictures in that whole roll of film we shot of the kids.
Yeah, well here they are.
Seriously, I have boxes and albums filled with pictures of life. Kids at all stages, family vacations, holidays, the house, the garden, you name it. Sitting high on the top shelf in my closet, safe and sound, is a life chronicled for future generations to study.
I recently hauled out those boxes with the intent of pulling some pictures out to enlarge, frame, and decorate a suddenly empty wall in my family room (I'd just had a furniture re-arranging "episode"... another story altogether).
Here’s my humble advice if you too, have an archive of family snapshots boxed up in your closet and an empty wall...
First, when sorting through your collection, look for people pictures where the head takes up most of the picture area. If you try to enlarge a tiny head it will get fuzzy, and the drama in these images comes from cropping tight to the subject so the focus is on the expressions rather than the backgrounds.
Second, either scan the images in grayscale (black and white) or convert them to black and white after they are scanned. Most scanning software includes some basic editing tools that include this option. Explore any other options you have within your scanning software, until you are satisfied with the results. I edited these in Photoshop- adusting the brightness and contrast, and sharpness. You can achieve these effects with any basic scanning software.
Third, frame and hang. Matted grames are a must for an artistic look. I used basic black frames bought at Kohl's on sale.