Studio news. And you thought we were just sitting here.

We've had another one of those weeks. Or three. On the 13th, and in conjunction with Portland International Jazz Festival, McIsaac joined a panel (moderated by Tim DuRoche) to review the history of the Blue Note album cover artwork library, largely focused on the design work of Reid Miles. He was joined by author Ashley Kahn, whose forthcoming book, titled Somethin’ Else is poised to become the authoritative work on the history of the seminal jazz label. Blue Note music producer and archivist Michael Cuscuna provided relevant historical color, and jazz critic Josef Woodard rounded out the panel quartet.

On Tuesday, the 17th, AIGA Portland hosted a panel discussion that centered on surviving the current economic downturn. Moderating the panel was Julie Beeler, Principal of Second Story Interactive Studios. Panelists included Steve Sandstrom from Sandstrom Partners, Sean O’Brien from Wieden+Kennedy, Ryan Buchanan from eROI, Mary Kysar from Makelike, Steve Potestio of 52 Ltd., and branding and marketing specialist, Scott Niesen. See the full transcript of that event at Bespoke.

Following Friday meetings in San Francisco with Pinch client Smith & Fong, we carried over into the weekend for Phil Hamlett's and Gaby Brink's annual convergence of sustainability and design; Compostmodern 09. Skillfully stitched by host Joel Makower, this year had John Bielenberg of Project M, filmmaker Eames Demetrios, Core77's Allan Chochinov, Nathan Shedroff, Saul Griffith and others. The afterparties included gatherings with The Designers Accord and a book launch for our friend, Brian Dougherty of Celery Design Collaborative, in Berkeley. (It was good to finally meet Brian's business partner, Rod DeWeese, who is running Celery's Paris office.) Mr. Dougherty will be in Portland for our local AIGA chapter's version of the same Compostmodern show.

Due to delayed flights, we were just under the wire in returning home to Portland for Monday's inaugural class with Portland State University's continuing education program, Producing Digital Media. Pinch is working with the class to structure the syllabus around a Web redesign effort for one of our most treasured resources, Portland Center Stage. We're progressing the idea a bit further in that we're approaching it as a community effort for a collaborative community resource, with Pinch managing the affair and aligning Portland Center Stage and students with our favorite professional partners in Web design and development, online and audio branding, animation, social media, and SEO. We'll see how it plays out, but we (and others) are planning this as a new business structure with measurable benefit and broader goals. To track and share the progress, we will develop a site to share the story. And if you're in Portland, you'll likely being seeing more in the press about this project. It appears to have grown wings.

In other client work, we're in the closing stages of wrapping a new Joomla! site for (previously mentioned) Smith & Fong, and we kicked off our next phase work plan with Metro's Multifamily Recycling project. On extremely short notice, Pinch went strong at winning a rebrand RFP for Deschutes County Library with our pals from happy, inc. We just missed the cut. None of us were entirely surprised, given the language of their RFP, but we were a bit disappointed. As Yogi Berra uttered, "if you don't know where you're going, chances are you'll go somewhere else." Fair enough. That aside, we were pleased to learn that Pinch is one of two finalists for the Oregon Council for the Humanities rebrand, a project that we feel we're perfectly suited for. We have a new manuscript in the house for Hawthorne Books and Literary Arts and we're considering the possibilities of another book with photographer, Steve Scardina. Along with Kate Raphael, previously of Pyramid Communications, we begin a new communications plan and identity guidelines for Portland Parks Foundation and on-going projects with Forest Park Conservancy. New client work has begun with strategist Cate Millar and Oregon Wave Energy Trust, which marks a project of significant interest for our little firm.

Perhaps most satisfying, we launched the initial identity materials for the Oregon Trout rebrand, now referred to as The Freshwater Trust. With their game-changing StreamBank program, as well as aggressive education initiatives with The Healthy Waters Institute, and ongoing restoration with the merger between Oregon Water Trust and Oregon Trout (which now, as a program is focused primarily on stream restoration to benefit fish), the organization is firmly positioned to tackle the larger issues related to freshwater, our planet's most important single resource. We'll write this project up in further detail, and will add it to the Works section as the week progresses.

As you may have noticed, we partnered with our pals at Substance to host Show and Tell PDX, an opportunity for those working in design, technology, and the arts to share their efforts. We are pleased to be part of the advisory team charged with considering the making of a design museum in Portland. And we continue the community work with this month's Designspeaks featuring Andrea Marks and her film history of the social, cultural, and political dialogue of the Polish posters from WWII through the fall of Communism, titled Freedom on the Fence. Keep an eye out for the debut of The Slant Six this coming Friday at Bespoke, which marks six of the most interesting musical tracks that we're currently listening to in the studio. And if that weren't enough, we're closing in on wrapping our first round of The Straight Six; six questions that tap some of the most interesting people in design, typography, sustainability and brand development.

Stay tuned.

Posted by Eric Hillerns in Projects | 11 March 2009 | Permalink

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