Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Designer Highlight: Aaron Johnson

This month's designer highlight features Aaron Johnson, our team's powerhouse illustrator. Aaron grew up in Nashville and took to drawing at a young age. After attending Watkins College of Art and Design here in town he set his sights on Anderson Design Group where he started out as an intern. In his free time he enjoys eating strawberry flavored foods and going to comic book and anime conventions.

Aaron handles much of the illustration that we do for client business, and also contributes to our ever growing poster collections in-between projects. He enjoys working in many different illustration styles and always looks to add new art movements or variations to his library of skills. 

Hand lettering and artisan packaging are another passion of Aaron's, and he had a lot of fun creating the Old Glory labels and branding. 


When he he isn't drawing for Anderson Design Group Aaron enjoys drawing Japanese anime styled art, digital painting, and making over-the-top pictures. He also helps his contribute to his girlfriend's business Cute-Loot, which sells cute geek-related prints and merchandise at comic conventions.

When he's not drawing he does sculpting, sewing, woodworking, metalworking, and makes prop electronics, such as this custom lightsaber that lights up and makes vmm vmm sounds. 

Need an illustrator for your next project? Call us and we'll put Aaron on the job. He knows so much about Photoshop and Star Wars that we've nicknamed him Adobe-Wan Kenobi

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Designer Highlight: Ryan Pflasterer

The Anderson Design Group is comprised of seasoned illustrators, designers, and production experts who all have a passion for beautifully printed pieces of art/design.  Ryan Pflasterer, the most recent addition to our design team, is particularly fascinated with archaic forms of printmaking.  His work as a designer/printmaker, however, has been informed by his background as a mixed-media artist.

Ryan and his wife Elyzabeth during a recent gallery showing at the Imago Galley & Cultural Center in Columbia, MO.  You can read an interview about the artwork here.

Last year, on April Fools Day, Ryan and Elyzabeth officially launched a new business called Inkwell's Press (Fun Fact: ADG/ATD was also launched on April 1st, over 20 years ago).  Inkwell's Press is a printmaking and bookbinding studio specializing in high-quality, hand-made "artifacts" using techniques that are thousands of years old, yet shockingly viable today. In addition to an expanding line of beautifully printed notebooks, journals, housewares, and art prints, Inkwell's Press also offers custom silkscreen printing services.  To learn more visit the online gallery/shop at (right now Ryan and Elyzabeth are giving free pocket notebooks to anyone who signs up for the Inkwell's Press mailing list).

The following images provide a glimpse at Ryan's process along with samples of printmaking and bookbinding projects...

Once a design is finalized film positives of the artwork are prepared.

The film positive is used to burn a stencil into an emulsified silkscreen.

Final "Ideas & Intentions" pocket notebooks inspired by vintage feed and seed memo books from the mid 1900's.

The process typically begins with hand-drawn artwork.

Each individual color is hand-pulled using a separate screen.

This limited edition was set at exactly 50 prints, which were each signed and numbered.

Final "Prayers & Perceptions" limited edition silkscreen print.

Limited edition woodcut print.

After this 10-print edition was finished the original woodcut plate was marred to ensure that there will never be reprints. 

A collabrative edition series of notebooks featuring hand-dyed indigo covers by Garner Blue.

Custom pocket notebooks hand-printed and hand-bound for a non-profit organization based in Miami, FL.

Stay tuned for some exciting collaborations between ADG and Inkwell's Press to be announced soon!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

2015 Addy Awards

Nashville's 50th annual ADDY Awards were held this past Saturday. We want to recognize our clients who helped us take home the prizes. Fat Bottom Brewery, J.M.T Spices, and our own National Parks Calendar were gold ADDY winners. The National Parks Calendar and postcard sets even won best of show in the print category. Check them out on our store here!  

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Old Glory Distillery

It's finally time to talk about a project that's been in the works for over a year. Fine spirits take a while to craft and to age, so while he’s been waiting, our client Matt Cunningham has engaged us to create his brand identity. Even before he broke ground on his Clarksville, TN distillery, Matt asked us to design a logo, brand identity, and packaging for the distilled spirit products he planned to launch.

In the future, Old Glory will primarily be a Tennessee Whiskey and Bourbon producer. But those product releases are several years down the road… at least 4.  Matt goes on to explain that 80% of Old Glory spirits will be put in barrels to age. We won’t have to wait quite as long for the White Hat Whiskey—he’ll be speed-aging some of that in smaller barrels so he can release it after about 2 years.

Not willing to gamble the next four years away just hoping for the best, our client has tapped the talents of industry veteran Dave Scheurich.  With over 40 years of experience in the production of distilled spirits, Scheurich’s resume includes stints at Seagram’s, Wild Turkey, and Woodford Reserve.

So how did we go about creating the Old Glory brand identity? We started with the American flag, or Old Glory, which symbolizes hardiness and valor, purity and innocence and vigilance, perseverance and justice. It is all-American. So red, white and blue were foundational colors. We wanted to create a logo hat conveyed the classic American stars and stripes as well as a Southern gentleman’s nod to the Tennessee state flag. With so many famous and up-and-coming distilleries in our home state, Old Glory needed to stand out. Our client wanted to do this by taking pride in TN roots—especially an association with the local Fort Campbell military base, home to the Screaming Eagles. So we created a branding scheme that plays up eagles, stars and stripes, and vintage American glory.

We started by helping our client choose bottles that would be appropriate for each different product. The whiskey bottle needed to look different than the Gin, Rum, Vodka or Moonshine bottles while still keeping a family look. We selected a line of sturdy, heroic glassware with classic wooden stopper tops.

The first label design we tackled was for White Hat Whiskey.  The name symbolizes the kind of character you find in a classic hero, or in a quality handcrafted whiskey. This one would set the tone for the rest of the spirits and so we explored many different looks before we settled on a hand-rendered style. Staff artist Aaron Johnson created some beautiful, vintage hand-lettering. Then he added lots of intricate scrolling and line art to achieve a historic feel.

The label evolved over time as the product changed from a white whiskey to a dark whiskey. The idea to have the flag as a backdrop showing through the bottle was one we all liked, but unfortunately federal laws prohibit using the American flag on liquor. We could however, use the stars and stripes in a way that is reminiscent of the Old Glory without actually using it.


Jumper's Stash is a white rum that pays tribute to the 101st Airborne Division located in Old Glory's hometown Clarksville. 

Smoothshine is a wheat based moonshine, and it tastes smoother than a traditional corn and sugar based moonshine. We wanted a look that referenced the lore of the good old Appalachian distillers, but without going into the missing teeth and overalls stereotypes. 

Old Glory Tennessee Vodka was designed with a slightly different market in mind. While the other spirits are designed to have an artisan crafted feel, our client wanted to tap into the clean and elegant styles of the high-end Vodka scene. 

The distillery is under construction. The products are not yet in production, but the branding, labeling and corporate identity are set.

Now, that's the face of a happy client! Matt Cunningham recently unveiled his new business to the community, showcasing his products and architectural drawings for his distillery that is currently under construction. 

Logo and package designer: Aaron Johnson
Creative director: Joel Anderson

Monday, February 2, 2015

Wall Decor for Harley-Davidson

We have relationships with some pretty cool companies. One of them is Meissenburg Designs in Montana. They produce amazing wood and metal signs, often featuring art they license from us. Recently, they became Harley Davidson’s 88th licensee, charged with producing a series of officially-licensed wall art. Last Fall, our pals from Meissenburg gave us a quick assignment—come up with as many Harley-Davidson designs as possible in just a few weeks. The new art would be turned into cool wall decor products at an upcoming Harley dealership show. We revved up our engines and started creating. Team Meissenburg created several designs using HD logos and brand marks. Inspired by the manta Live Free, Ride Hard , we created another batch of designs with eagles, skulls, fire, and other classic biker icons that represent fierce independence and the all-American spirit of adventure. 

Since time was short, we had to find ready-made stock art for the skulls. (We prefer to render everything from scratch, but the clock was ticking!) Once we had assembled a cool assortment of bad-to-the-bone art elements, we hammered out several designs which the Harley folks loved (and quickly approved.) Meissenburg did an awesome job of formatting our designs to fit on round and rectangle wood signs as well as metal box signs.

Check out Meissenburg Design’s site. Everything they create is made in the USA. Lots of their products can be customized to feature your own wording!

After having so much fun working on this project, ADG founder Joel Anderson now applies this Harley motto to all of our design work: Ride Hard or Stay Home. We will be starting on a new batch of designs which should be ready in the summer. Peace out.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Classic Travel Art—in a Wall Calendar and a 3-Box Post Card Set!

Every year, we create a new wall calendar to showcase our original poster art. The theme for our 2015 calendar is American National Parks. For this calendar, we adapted 13 of our original posters to fit the 11" x 14" format and added lots of interesting information about each park under the calendar grid below. This calendar was printed on premium gallery-grade paper, so folks can cut out each of the 13 mini prints and frame them.

Creative Director Joel Anderson chose his favorite National Park prints from the dozens of posters his team has created over the last 4 years. The chosen illustrations were done by ADG team artists such as Andy Gregg, Julian Baker, Michael Korfhage, Joel Anderson. ADG designer Ryan Pflasterer did the cover and veteran staff designer Edward Patton laid out the interior. McQuiddy Printing, (a Nashville-based printer that has been in business for over 100 years) produced the calendars just before they closed their doors forever. It was a great way to go out!

This calendar has been our top-selling calendar ever. We have fewer than 100 left in stock! (Nab yours at our web site while they last!)

Sure, wall calendars with 13 free ready-to-frame prints are great, but we also needed a product to showcase our Art & Soul of America travel poster art that would not expire at the end of the year. The collection has grown to feature over 150 designs and, of course, nobody has enough wall space to display them all. So Joel came up with a way for any poster art fan to own 100 of our best American travel posters—he shrunk them down and created a deluxe 3-box set of postcards! The collection is broken into 3 sets—set one features 32 Western U.S. Cities (located West of the Mississippi.) Set two includes 36 National Parks, and set 3 boasts 32 Eastern U.S. Cities. The box fronts showcase 3 iconic scenes from West to East. The spines are red, white and blue, and the backs line up to create a nifty map of the USA scene!

These special edition postcard sets were printed in Oklahoma by CRS Printing on premium paper. We made sure the print quality and finish were just as fine as the calendars, just in case people want to decorate with art from both items. We produced a limited number of 2,000 of these beautiful 3-box collector sets. (You can find them for sale on our site, too.)

Line up the backs of the 3 boxes to create this swanky Explore America scene!
The prints from the National Parks calendar fit a standard 11" x 14" frame. The postcards are standard postal regulation size: 4.25" x 6". Together, they are an easy and cheap way to collect and enjoy over a hundred different classic illustrated poster designs by Anderson Design Group.

Here are just a few of the posters from the Art & Soul of America series. You can see the entire collection, (our official retail site.)

This summer, Joel and his family is going on a 2-week trip to visit several National Parks and take more reference photos for new posters. Look for a whole new collection of prints next year! Until then, enjoy our 2015 wall calendar and Deluxe 3-box postcard collection while supplies last!