Monday, August 31, 2015

After 5 years, we have completed our National Parks poster series!

In 2010, we started a new poster series called the Art & Soul of America Collection. We created these travel posters to celebrate our favorite destinations—places like New York, Chicago and San Francisco. But the series also featured a few National Parks which we considered to be iconic American places that everyone should visit. We soon began to receive requests for more park designs. People were asking for prints of specific parks they had visited—places where they had shared an experience of awesome natural beauty and splendor with someone special. At the time, we had no idea how many National Parks there were in the U.S.A. (After looking into it, we realized that there are 59 parks.)

Anderson Design Group founder Joel Anderson and his family began visiting as many National Parks as possible, taking photos, learning about the parks, and sharing adventures that would become cherished memories. These experiences fueled a passion for creating more National Park poster art. Joel’s son Nathan, an English major who happened to be an avid hiker, traveler and history buff was soaking in the experiences along the way. Little did he know that all of that personal exposure to the American wilderness would lead to a giant father-son project down the road!

Anderson Design Group continued to add new National Park posters to our Art & Soul of America series. In 2014, we produced a 2015 National Park wall calendar, which became our best-selling calendar ever. When he realized that the 100th Anniversary of the National Parks Service was coming up in 2016, Joel had a crazy idea—why not finish our poster series so we have at least 1 print for each of the 59 parks in time for the Centennial? Heck, why not commission 12 National Park oil paintings from our friend Kai Carpenter, too? And why not take all of our National Park art, combine it with Nathan’s awesome research and writing skills to produce a drop-dead gorgeous full-color coffee table book—and have it ready before the end of 2015?

Most people would call that impossible (or insane.) At the time this ambitious idea was hatched, we only had 30-ish of the 59 posters done. We didn’t even know if Kai Carpenter could drop everything to work on 12 new paintings. We had not even heard of several of the more obscure parks. But we love a good challenge, so we dove in head-first in a race against the clock to finalize our poster series and lay the groundwork for a 160-page 9"x12" hard-cover coffee table book that would include a history of the NPS, a timeline, a map of the USA showing where all the parks are located, interesting facts, travel tips, and information about each park, along with beautiful full-page illustrations by the talented artists of Anderson Design Group.

Kai performed like a champ, producing 12 amazing paintings of our favorite National Parks. Joel supplied him with some reference shots from his visits to the parks. Kai did his own research and sketching. The resulting posters are rich in color and each one tells a story of Americans sharing a life-changing encounter with nature.

You may be curious about how we created al of this art. We are a team of artists who collaborate to accomplish artistic feats that none of us could do alone. Joel’s background is illustration and design, so when possible, he enjoys rendering a poster as much as anyone. But he realized the best way to produce 70+ National Park posters along with a book within a short window was for him to act like the conductor of a chamber orchestra and write parts for each of his virtuoso players to perform. 

He created a master list of poster themes that would be included in the series and in the book. Then he assigned illustrations to different artists who he had either trained as interns or who draw, paint, design and think like the old Masters of Poster Art from the 1930s and 40s. Several artists were working on different posters at the same time. During the process, Joel would look at progress sketches and renderings, offer input and guidance, and then try to stay out of the way as much as possible to let everyone do what they were born to do. As soon as one of the illustrations was finished, he would spend a few hours on it adding finishing touches, keeping the continuity of a whole series of separate posters. Andy Gregg and Julian Baker created the first few poster designs in this series back in 2010. Since then, Michael Korfhage, Kai Carpenter, Aaron Johnson, Joel and another of his sons, David Anderson have done the rest. Here is a behind-the-scenes look at how two of our artists created their art, as told by Joel Anderson in the new coffee table book...

If you are wondering how it all turned out, we are happy to say that our talented team worked tirelessly and completed all 59 posters a few weeks ago. Kai turned in his 12th painting on August 24. Joel has sent all the art to the printer and the posters are being produces at this very moment. Edward Patton created the design template for the coffee table book. Dawn Verner turned in a pile of research about each park and Nathan has been writing non-stop, adding the final touches to his narrative. Jamie Blaine has been editing the text as fast as we can send it to him. Joel is finalizing the book cover and interior. After a few more edits, it will go to the printer, and the books will be ready to ship by November 15, if not sooner! Here is a sneak peek at the book:

And if all that were not enough, we somehow managed to produce another wall calendar to follow up our last one which won lots of National Advertising Federation awards laster year (local Gold ADDY Awards, plus Best In Show Print, A regional Gold ADDY, and a National Silver ADDY Award.) Our 2016 Wall Calendar celebrates the 100th Anniversary of the National Park Service with 13 framable 11" x 14" prints. This calendar is in production and will start shipping in early October.

You can see all the posters and order ready-to-frame gallery prints at our site. Pre-order the book by clicking this link.  Pre-order the 2016 Wall Calendar by clicking this link.

This massive project has been a labor of love. It is our way of celebrating the upcoming 100th Anniversary of the NPS and expressing gratitude for our American heritage of wilderness and wonder. We hope you will be inspired to protect, preserve and explore our National Parks (And of course, we hope you will buy a print, a book and a calendar as a keepsake!) We will be donating a portion of the proceeds from all of our sales to the National Parks Foundation. So not only will you end up with a beautiful souvenir of your favorite park, you will also make a contribution that will help to maintain our parks for the benefit of everyone.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Limited Edition Hand-Pulled Screen Prints

We’ve created a special series of 20" x 30" silkscreen prints featuring four of our most popular designs.  Each print is signed and numbered by Joel Anderson, creator of the Spirit of Nashville Collection.  Hand-crafted locally by Ryan Pflasterer at Inkwell's Press, each print has unique characteristics from the hand-pulling process, which involves pressing hand-mixed inks through a mesh screen onto meticulously selected paper stocks or fabrics.  And the result is a beautiful display of color that has an authentic feel.

This series is very limited, and hence, very desirable for print collectors — each print is sure to increase in value over the years since less than 80 of each design were produced in this edition!

Here is a behind-the-scenes peak at the production process…

You can order the silkscreen prints through our site: 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Celebrating 10 Years of Keepin’ it Local

It all started when we created a promotional calendar that featured 14 illustrated posters of our favorite hometown hot spots. We never dreamed that in 10 years we would have produced a collection of over 150 prints, a full line of gift items, and a coffee table book! Well, here we are a decade later, and it seems like the Spirit of Nashville Collection has plenty of room to keep on growing!

Join us in celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Spirit of Nashville Collection!
We invite you to drop by the Anderson Design Group Studio Store on Saturday, July 11 from 12:00 to 4:00. Joel Anderson, author & creator of the Spirit of Nashville Collection will be signing copies of our 10th Anniversary Coffee Table Book. With the purchase of each book on July 11, you can choose a FREE 18” x 24” gallery print from a special selection of classic Nashville prints. 

We are located at 116 29th Ave. N, Nashville, TN 37203. Click here for directions.

This special edition book was masterfully printed in Nashville by Lithographics and expertly bound by BindTech. The gorgeous matte finish and varnish effects provided locally by Scott Laminating, and the premium paper stock was provided by Athens Paper. Thanks to sponsorship support from Pinnacle Financial Partners, this book is 100% locally-made. Everything was done right here in Music City! (Read on to see behind-the-scenes photos of the book in production.)

How did the Spirit of Nashville Collection begin? In 2003, we set out to create a promotional calendar that would showcase Nashville to our friends and clients from other cities. As a Nashville-based graphic design firm, we wanted to use the calendar to show off our art skills and promote our hometown. We went all-out by producing a huge wall calendar that included 14 different 18” x 24” posters celebrating Music City’s unique history and charm. We rendered the art in a style inspired by the Masters of the Golden age of Paster Art—a glorious period that ranged from the late-1800s through the mid-1900s—back when advertising art was skillfully illustrated and hand-lettered. We wanted to apply that same craftsmanship, attention to detail, and passion to a series of classic posters that would look and feel like they might have been produced many years before the era of photography and computers. The art took over 6 months to complete. We did it all for free. Fortunately, the printer and the paper company donated their services in exchange for promotional samples that they would give away. (Without their collaboration, it would have cost over $100 each to produce the calendars!)

Once we started distributing the calendars, folks began tearing them apart, plundering the posters to frame them as wall decor. We realized that we had stumbled into something big. So in 2005, we officially created the Spirit of Nashville Collection as a series of ready-to-frame gallery prints that were available to the public. The art was a smash hit, winning numerous awards and critical acclaim. It was selected for several exhibitions and publications, inducted into the State Archives, even recognized by the mayor and the governor. We were on a roll, so we continued to add new illustrated prints of our favorite Nashville landmarks, restaurants and themes to the series each year. 

Non-profit organizations started asking if we would feature their establishments in our art. We wanted to give back to our community by creating special commissions for the Nashville Zoo, the Ballet, the Symphony, The Frist Center, Cheekwood, the Hermitage and many other historically important cultural icons. This growing collection of local art became a virtual tour of our hometown, showcasing the best things to do and see in Nashville. Locals loved to decorate with the prints and visitors wanted to leave with a souvenir of their time in Nashville. Our art became a collection of everyone’s favorite Music City moments, connecting on an emotional level with people from all over the world. Over the years, the Spirit of Nashville Collection has become a part of our city’s visual identity.

Here is a shot of some of the talented artists who created the first few series of poster art...

The Spirit of Nashville print series reflects the handiwork of some of Music City’s most talented designers and illustrators. When founder Joel Anderson wasn’t creating poster art himself, he directed a team of gifted artists who created dozens of classic designs. Over the years, 14 different local artists contributed to this body of work: David Anderson, Wayne Brezinka, Abe Goolsby, Andy Gregg, Aaron Johnson, Emily Keafer, Michael Korfhage, Matt Lehman, Taaron Parsons, Edward Patton, Aruna Rangarajan, Kristi Carter Smith, Ligia Teodosiu, and Darren Welch.

10 years after it began, the Spirit of Nashville Collection has grown to include over 150 designs as well as a full line of art, gifts and souvenir products. in 2013, we remodeled our design studio so we could open the ground floor to the public as a poster gallery and gift store full of locally-made products. And to think that it all started with this promotional calendar!

It has been a wonderful experience. We enjoy giving people a virtual tour of Music City through our illustrated prints. We are proud to create art that shows off what is special about Nashville. And we love celebrating the history and charm of our amazing hometown, which has grown in popularity to become known as the "It City!" 

Where do we go from here? We will start by celebrating the 10th Anniversary of the Spirit of Nashville Collection with a special edition hard cover coffee table book. It features over 100 of our most popular designs, a 200-year time line of Nashville history, plus archival photos and historical information about Nashville. We even included a special section about the Great Flood of 2010. 

Because of the high cost of production, books like this are usually produced over-seas. But we really wanted to keep all of the production local. So our friends at Pinnacle Financial Partners provided sponsorship support that allowed us to produce the book right here in Nashville! Lithographics, an award-winning local printer produced the high-quality color throughout the book. Once the covers were printed, Scott Laminating provided the gorgeous matte finish and shiny gloss varnish effects. The covers and the interior pages were sent around the corner to BindTech who bound the books with beautiful hard covers. Athens Paper, a long-time local paper supplier for so many of the Spirit of Nashville posters provided premium paper for the book. Here are some behind-the-scenes photos of the book in production...

We hope you will drop by our Studio Store to see all of the art we have been working on for the past 10 years. And feel free to give us your suggestions for future Music City poster themes! If you have purchased prints or gifts from us before, we would like to thank you personally. If you have never seen our art in person or bought a postcard, print or book, we hope you will visit our Studio Store or web site soon. When you shop, you contribute to our local economy, providing jobs, supporting local artists and craftspeople. We give away 10% of our profits to local charities, so when you shop with us, you are also giving back to the community and helping great non-profits like Project Connect Nashville, The Nashville Rescue Mission, and many other organizations that serve the needy.

We hope to see you at our 10th Anniversary Celebration on Saturday, July 11 from 12:00 to 4:00 at the Anderson Design Group Studio Store!

See all of our prints online at: or