Thursday, October 21, 2010

Opening Doors with Great Design

The Grand Ole Opry suffered catastrophic damage during the flood in May. Almost 4 feet of water covered the wooden stage, destroying it along with the pews, curtains, and walls. The staff was able to salvage the historic six-foot circle that was cut from the original Ryman stage and placed into the Opry House in 1974. The famous backstage dressing rooms were all ruined and had to be completely gutted. 

As soon as the waters subsided, a massive renovation project began. Just 5 weeks before the grand reopening, we got a call from a Grand Ole Opry official who asked us if we would team up with Kathy Anderson, a well-known Nashville interior designer who was hired to completely transform the old back stage dressing room area. All 18 of the dressing rooms had themes celebrating the glory days of the Grand Ole Opry. They needed us to create unique door signs for each dressing room—signs that would hint at the distinct theme, decor scheme, color palette, and heritage that each dressing room represents. The Opry folks wanted a classic look for the famous rooms which Minnie Pearl, Little Jimmy, and Roy Acuff, even president Clinton used — a warm, timeless Music City feel — inspired by our very own Spirit of Nashville Collection!

So we (Joel headed up the design team of Edward, Ligia and Andy) set out to create 18 full color die cut logo signs. Each sign started out as a sketch. Once the sketch was approved, we created a vector illustration with a die cut template for each unique sign shape. Finally, we gave the vector illustrations a classic aged look in Photoshop before being sent off to Phase 3 Media, the sign vendor. The door signs were all installed just days before the grand opening celebration. A special open-to-the public backstage tour event was named “Spirit of Nashville Day” as a nod to the famous collection of prints that these door signs were patterned after. Of course, we were flattered.

We really enjoyed working with the excellent folks at the Grand Ole Opry and the interior designers at Anderson Design (not related to Anderson Design Group!) If you ever have a chance to take a back stage tour, be sure to check out the custom art that identifies each dressing room!

Here are 2 videos shot after the renovation was complete:  


Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Design like a Fool!

Recently, a really cool company called Book Fool asked us to help them create 2 new t-shirt designs that would appeal to college students. (Book Fool sets up near college campuses and offers cash for used text books. Then they sell the books online at a discount, infuriating college bookstores, while helping students save lots of money!) Book Fool was looking for an underground way of promoting their brand on campus—something pretty hard to do, since companies are not allowed to advertise on school property. They also wanted to reward "Friends of the Fool" with some fun, irreverent swag. The solution: we decided to create some really cool shirts, so students could legally advertise all day long in shirts that they would be proud to wear.

Our hip young team of designers were in college recently enough, so they knew exactly what to do: 
1. Andy Gregg illustrated and designed a shirt based on old pulp fiction Sci-Fi movies and novels. (Even though the budget only allowed for about 10 hours of design time, Andy went the extra mile by pouring his soul into 65 hours of sketching, inking, and Photoshopping. He even pulled an all-nighter to finish it off, then slept in his car for an hour before popping back into the studio to work another day.)

2. Ligia Teodosiu designed a shirt in the persuasive style of Victorian newspaper advertising. (She didn’t have to work all night to finish her design, but she did spend many hours studying and illustrating turn-of-the-century facial hair fashion.)


The results were totally what you might expect. Book Fool is getting rave reviews, and from now on, students everywhere will probably use their “used book money” to buy cool t-shirts instead of beer. We feel pretty good about our contribution to collegiate fashion and sobriety!

Check out Book Fool’s blog site...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Gettin’ Saucy

When local BBQ legends Andy and Katie Garner asked us to help them create a brand for their famous BBQ sauces, we said YES without even having to think about it. That’s because we LOVE their smoked ribs, pulled pork, brisket, turkey & chicken. But the secret to Hog Heaven’s success has always been in their sauces. You can get them in a little plastic tub with your meal, but until now, the sauces have not been available in a bottle.

We started by batting around names for the brand and the individual sauce
s. They had a Barnyard Brawl theme stuck in their crazy sauced up heads. We loved the idea of food-fighting animals, and over the course of the design project, the brand became BBQ Fight Club with sauce names like Kickin’ Chicken and Punching Pig. ADG staff designer/illustrator Andy Gregg rolled up his sleeves and started inventing awesome fight club characters for the label art (which will eventually become trading cards and posters to help promote the sauces!) The process was a blast, and the end-product definitely lives up to its name.

The process started (visually-speaking) in a low-rent Luchadore district, wandered around in a stylish zip code, and ended up in a hot & steamy barnyard brawl fight club. Note the progression of the sketches and colors:

Hog Heaven sauces can be bought at Hog Heaven or at the Spirit of Nashville store.