Friday, December 16, 2011

Hume-Fogg 100th Anniversary Print

1912 must have been an exciting year! This 100th anniversary poster for Hume-Fogg High School will be the 3rd 100th anniversary poster we've done in recent months (the other centennials will be celebrated by The Girl Scouts and East Nashville's Shelby Park).

We had wanted to create a Hume-Fogg poster for a long time, and though we’d had a few requests over the years, we weren't sure if there was a large enough audience for it. Boy, were we wrong! Over the last few months the Hume-Fogg Alumni Association gathered support by pre-selling over 400 prints. With that sort of interest in the print, we were happy to oblige. Staff designer/illustrator Andy Gregg was put on the case, and below is his process from start to finish.

This was the initial concept thumbnail. The Victorian/Edwardian style was chosen as the base aesthetic of the poster because it was popular at the time of Hume-Fogg's founding, and fit somewhat with the Tudor Revival style of the school building.  Originally, just a sword was placed beneath the type as a nod to the the Blue Knight mascot.

This was the second thumbnail produced. Our contacts at Hume-Fogg wanted Hume-Fogg's old and new mascots added to the composition, so the poster would appeal to both old alumni—who identify as Blue Devils, and new—who are known as the Blue Knights. The dates 1912-2012 were added and the composition was fleshed-out more. A clean outer border was added to counteract the overwrought nature of the chosen Edwardian style.

Eventually the composition was ready for its final iteration. Andy enjoys the boring minutia of type design, and thus created all of the lettering from scratch. He also started drawing the Hume-Fogg building from reference photography he shot. Because of these two facts, this poster was possibly the design that took the most man hours to complete of any poster in the history of ADG. We fear Andy may have temporarily lost feeling in his clicking fingers and permanently lost part of his soul.

See the lack of luster in his eyes? That luster is now in the poster.

It was well worth it though, as the response we have gotten has been tremendous. Andy even signed a limited number of 50 for a select few alumni. For those who didn't pre-order a print through the Alumni Association: don't fret. We have about 150 extra prints for sale here at ADG in our studio store. Each print sells for $39. Stop by, pick up a print and say hi!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

NEW Classic Chicago Posters

Our Art & Soul Of America Collection of prints and gifts continues to grow. Thanks to, Pinterest, and other cool design-oriented sites, folks from all over the world have been checking out our work, buying our prints, and decorating homes and offices in classic Chicago style. Spurred on by the success of our early Chicago concepts, we have expanded our collection of Windy City prints to 9 designs. We will keep adding new art as inspiration and demand dictates!

The first few designs were by Andy Gregg and Luke Howard working under the direction of Joel Anderson, the creator of the Art & Soul of America Collection. More recent Chicago prints by Andy Gregg, Julian Baker and Shelby Roddefer have helped to expand the series and bring even more variety to the line. For example, Andy was inspired by the 1960s-era travel posters published by TWA. So he created a beautiful Buckingham Fountain design that leans more toward modern design than his popular Deco-era Chicago Theatre or Magnificent Mile prints. Below is a row of TWA posters that inspired his Buckingham Fountain creation (featured under the TWA designs):

Below are examples of the period range our Chicago designs have covered—from Julian Baker’s early 20th century Water Tower design to Shelby Roddifer’s contemporary 21st century Cloud Gate design.

So far, this Deco-style design by Luke Howard has been the best-selling print in the collection. Our 6-piece set of vinyl magnets has become a popular stocking stuffer item for the holidays!

Stay tuned to see how our other lines are coming along. New York and San Francisco are also becoming very popular print series, too. They can be seen at our site.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New Poster Series Celebrates 100 Years of Girl Scouting!

This coming year marks the 100 year anniversary of the Girl Scouts! To commemorate the event, the Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee asked us to create four poster designs, each celebrating a unique tradition of Girl Scouting. We started out with the most important step...gathering research (ahem, Girl Scout Cookies) for "inspiration". Four empty boxes later, we were full of inspiration! As with every poster design project, we started out with sketches. After several sketches, four concepts were submitted and approved.

The challenge was to create four distinct designs, but still have them look as though they belonged in a series. Ligia, our on-staff designer and illustrator headed up the project. Her solution was to include the same border treatment with each design. The borders not only hint at the Girl Scout Trefoil shape, but also contain the Girl Scout Law; the credo of Girl Scouting.

After several long hours of illustrating, the posters were completed and sent to print. McQuiddy Printing here in Nashville took care of the printing and did a fantastic job. These posters not only celebrate the legacy of Girl Scouts of Middle Tennessee, but childhood innocence and the memory of simpler days gone by. If you'd like to get your hands on one, they are available for purchase at our studio store.

Ligia signing the first posters hot off the press!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Online Shopping & Inspriation for Design Lovers

There are a few amazing sites out there where design buffs go for daily inspiration. is one of our favorites. A few months ago, we were delighted to get a call from them. (It was quite flattering to have this hip, online retailer from New York invite us to do a 72-hour sale to showcase and sell our Art & Soul Of America prints!) The sale was a smashing success, and we immediately began getting calls from as far away as Dubai from people who had discovered our design firm because they, too were Fab junkies. just announced adding their one millionth member—they clearly are making a lot of people happy all over the world!

We are now doing another 72-hour sale with It started on November 17, and will go through Nov. 18 & 19.) Be sure to check it out! You’ll see lots of great stuff from some very talented creative people. They are also offering our prints at a 31% discount. If you miss it, don’t fret—we hope to be doing more with Fab in 2012. Here is a special invite to become a member:

We asked the folks at Fab if they would grant us an interview for our design blog, and they were very gracious. Enjoy...

ADG: For those who may not have ever heard of, tell us about it.
Fab: is the fastest growing e-commerce site on the planet. In just five months, we've attracted over 1 Million members. We feature 12-14 new designer-specific sales a week. Sales typically last 72 hours, though in September we introduced the pop up shop concept, showcasing different themed "shops" that last longer than our normal sales - the shops typically last around 40 days. We offer a broad range of design products including furniture, wall decor, jewelry, gadgets, artwork and more all at a discount to our members.

ADG: How does choose what items to feature on the site?
Fab: chooses products that are unique, well-made, have a good story behind them and, most importantly, will make our staff and our members smile.

Fab's curation process is led by Chief Creative Officer and design guru, Bradford Shellhammer, with support from his buying team. Fab scours the globe in pursuit of eclectic products, researching online, attending different shows and vetting inbound requests from designers and artists.

ADG: Why did you contact Anderson Design Group and ask them to do a sale?
Fab: We reached out to ADG because we loved the story behind the vintage travel prints and the idea of paying tribute to the travel promotions of the early to mid-1900s. Again, we love when there's a good story behind the product and artist, and we knew our users would love the classic, vintage American travel prints. At Fab, we are into travel, art, and all things vintage, so it was the perfect combination.

ADG: What new or interesting things are happening at in 2012?
Fab: We have lots of new and exciting things coming up in 2012. We plan to keep expanding and improving our site, delivering even more fun, unique and well designed products to our ever-growing membership. In addition, you expect to see more pop up shops in 2012. Overall, we hope to continue delighting our customers with Fab products and customer service.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Our NEW Metro Parks Poster Series...

One of our favorite TV shows is Parks and Recreation. So imagine our glee when we got a call from Metro Parks asking us if we would consider creating a series of prints that would celebrate Nashville’s favorite city parks. We quickly figured out that the Metro Parks folks are nothing like the comic misfits in the TV show. Instead, they actually work for a living, and they have very keen ideas about how to promote and celebrate Music City’s network of fantastic public parks. We sat down, made a list of the top 12 parks that would be featured in our art, and then we visited the first 3 parks on the list—McCabe Golf Course, Two Rivers Mansion, and Shelby Park.

We shot a ton of reference photos. It soon became apparent that parks can be very hard to capture in one image. Poster art is all about simple, iconic imagery. How do you choose a single feature of a park that covers hundreds of acres? We challenged ourselves to look for one stand-out feature of each park—a visual icon that would represent a key reason why you’d want to visit that park. For McCabe, it was a golfer in the foreground and the club house in the distance. Since the land the golf course sits on today was once an old airport, we placed a biplane (used in the McCabe’s logo) in the sky.

Two Rivers Mansion is really all about the beautiful old house. So to make it more interesting, we worked up some fancy hand lettering and rendered the whole piece in a fancy woodcut engraving style.

Shelby Park was the biggest challenge. This park is huge, and has baseball fields, a lake, golf courses, a nature center, walking trails, a dog park, and some really bizarre alien-like concrete structures built in the 1920s (which still have the most interesting graffiti scrawled on them by star-struck lovers who are now older than our grandparents!) One distinct feature of Shelby Park is the train trestle that can be seen from almost every vista. It’s not technically a part of the park, but when we talked to folks about what they think of first, many thought it was a very memorable and nostalgic feature.

The 3 prints turned out very differently. Since this is a series of 12 different designs, we wanted to provide a wide array of art styles so we’d create art for every taste. Joel Anderson did the McCabe poster, swiping the golfer that former staff artist Darren Welch created several years ago for a print that is no longer available. (We are into recycling here!) Joel and Liga Teodosiu created the Two Rivers print in the style that would have been popular in the mid 1800s when the mansion was built. Andy Gregg rendered the Shelby Park print with a stylish Art Deco feel, paying homage to the period when the park was opened.

The detail in these posters is a big part of their charm. It’s hard to appreciate the texture and fine detail on-line, so you might just have to come to our studio store and see the prints in person! They are also available on-line at

Monday, October 24, 2011

Amazing (and Slightly Creepy) Photo Project

We found this project via Slate and had to share. Dutch Photographer Ari Versluis and his creative partner Ellie Uyttenbroek have been categorizing different styles of dress for the past 15 years in a photo project they have dubbed Exactitudes (a combination of "exact" and attitudes"). They identify generally unintentional but nonetheless rigid subcultures/identity systems amongst different populations and then photograph the members of said subcultures. The results are both startling and intriguing. Check out the Exactitudes site to see the full breadth of their work. 

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Working with a Prodigy Illustrator

One great thing about living in Music City is all the fabulous creative talent you find everywhere you look. Ben Shive, a local producer, singer/song writer and personal pal asked us if we would help him create the packaging for his upcoming independent CD. But he had a special request: Ben had been impressed by the crazy illustrative work of an amateur 14-year-old artist whose work Ben spotted on Facebook. Turns out the child prodigy was none other than Benji Anderson, the son of Joel Anderson (founder of Anderson Design Group!) Ben asked Benji to listen to his music and then draw whatever came to mind. Anderson Design Group was to use Benji’s art to create the CD package and then layout an 80-page hard-bound book of lyrics and prose.

Joel Anderson served as the creative director (and fatherly task master) to make sure that Benji’s art would be easily adapted to the project’s dimensions and printing limitations. Benji’s art work was deep, quirky, creative, and brilliant beyond his years. It virtually allowed the CD package and book design themselves.

original pen and ink drawing
finished CD cover art

Below are several samples of the art. The CD and book, both titled “The cymbal Crashing Clouds” will soon be available at concerts where Ben Shive is performing and at the Rabbit Room web site. The projected publication date for the book is mid-November, but the CD is available now!

It’s always a delicate dance to allow an illustrator the freedom to be expressive, while guiding him to produce art that meets creative and marketing objectives. It’s even trickier when the artist is a family member. And it is almost unheard of for a teen age kid to perform in the professional realm under the pressure of deadlines and the expectations of clients who have contracted with a well-respected design firm to produce a winning piece on time and within the set budget. Fortunately, Joel and Benji figured out a way to pull it off. (And they are still on speaking terms!)

People are already asking where they can buy prints of Benji Anderson’s artwork. Since he is still only 15 years old, we are being rather protective of his privacy. But we plan to create a few of his prints and sell them on our Nashville Artisan Gallery site some time in the near future. If you are interested in hiring Benji Anderson for custom illustration work, you can contact Joel Anderson at 615-327-9894.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sweet Magnolia Ice Cream Co. Branding Sneak Peek

Not long ago, we presented with a very delicious opportunity; branding for Sweet Magnolia Ice Cream Co. The new venture envisioned by Hugh Balthrop, would be a vintage ice cream parlor with a fresh, clean, friendly, welcoming environment that sells artisan, handmade, local ingredients, grass fed/organic diary, fresh ice cream, frozen yogurt, gelato, sorbet, etc. With unique, Southern flavors like sweet potato pie ice cream, figs and strawberries frozen yogurt, sweet tea sorbet, pecan pie ice cream, drizzled chocolate gelato, tea cake vanilla ice cream and lemon straw frozen yogurt, we just couldn't wait to sink our teeth (or spoons) into this project.

For our initial logo sketches, we pursued a wide range of concepts. We wanted to use typography that felt old and charming with illustrative touches. Our client Hugh felt drawn most to the bottom center sketch, one created by Ligia Teodosiu, one of our staff designers.

Ligia got to work on the second round by using parts and pieces of the original sketch as an inspiration and platform to explore all possible logo options. In the end, Hugh went back to his original favorite (as well as ours). The logo was polished up and finished out with colors that reminded us of warm Southern hospitality, with rich vanilla and butterscotch flavors, and a dollop of old world charm.

Now that the logo is complete, we are in the process of applying this same look to business cards, store signs, labels and other goodies as a cherry on top! Stay tuned for more to come!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Our New T-shirt Designs For Farm Boy Brands

Farm Boy / Farm Girl makes very cool t-shirts for folks who love life on the farm. Their target audience is teens and young adults, which is right up our alley, style-wise. Recently, they asked us to create 5 new shirt designs—3 for Farm Girl and 2 for Farm Boy.

We always start out with research before we begin sketching. Inspired by WWII-era poster and advertising art, we sketched out rough ideas for each design.

Once the Farm Boy team approved our sketches, we rendered our designs in color using Adobe Illustrator. They gave us several options for shirt colors, and we put together color palettes that popped off of our favorite shirts. Once the color art was approved, we used Photoshop to add a classic, aged effect. The new shirts are going to be featured in the Fall 2011 line up in their catalog and on their web site.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

The Pharmacy Logo: From Concept to Completion

Recently, we were asked to create a logo for a new restaurant opening in East Nashville called The Pharmacy. The co-owner, Terry Raley (who also happens to be co-owner of Holland House Bar & Refuge), envisioned a turn-of-the-century pharmacy theme — when drug stores were more than just drug stores and you could get sodas, alcohol and burgers. Throw into the mix a Southwestern/German beer garden and voila! — you have The Pharmacy. Staff designer/illustrator Andy Gregg took a crack at it and below is his process from start to finish.

First, we started with late nineteenth century/early 20th century packaging. We produced a style board with multiple examples (like the ones above) to show to the client, and then got their feedback on which ones they preferred. The owners of the Pharmacy liked the colors from the Mucilage packaging and the angled typography of the Medford logo, among several other reference images.

Next, we produced several tight logo sketches. Each logo variant tried to include some aspect of what the clients liked in the style board.

The clients selected the sweeping, diagonal lettering used in a few of the versions. This was inked and scanned into the computer for tighter rendering.

After a little more development (actually a lot more) we arrived at a final black and white logo. Having already incorporated angled lettering into the design, we went with a seal motif for the tagline, as we really liked this in some of our reference images. This was also a bit more space-efficient (plus it allowed us to render a wicked-cool ampersand!)

Finally, taking color cues from the mucilage packaging above, we assembled a color version. All typography was hand-rendered, and the clients seem to be very happy with the overall result. 

The Pharmacy will be opening this fall, and in the interim we will be working on even more designs for them, including a style guide, mugs, shirts, secondary logos, and much much more. Stay tuned.