1992, was a leap year and…

…little did we know that within six years George Bush would become President of the USA, then promptly vomit into the lap of Prime Minister Kiichi Miyazaw at a state dinner.

This is a limited edition. Click on image to enlarge.

This is a limited edition.

In 1992, Moshe Safdie’s great ellipse was announced the winner for the design of the Vancouver’s new main library and was reminiscent of an ancient Roman amphitheatre. Of the 7,000 citizens who submitted remarks, approximately 70 percent favored the ‘Colosseum’, as the proposal was dubbed.

The new Mike Harcourt NDP government repealed Bill 19, the Industrial Relations Act, ending a period of bitter labor relations in the province, and Baseline had a client list of corporations, local businesses, institutions, political party’s, BC Government Ministry’s that fed our team of six with work and a reasonable payroll.

There wasn’t the crowd sourced sites we see today, offering logo’s at $25 a pop, or designed collateral for $250, or websites for $500. The web was still slow and in its infancy, the question then was… “do I really need a website?.”

Back then we need only capture 1% of the market to maintain our business operations (rent, phones, computers, etc) and pay a reasonable wage and benefits package to Baseline employees.

click to review

Weldwood Annual Report 1999. Click to enlarge.

We had emails and faxes, but not an ftp site for quick delivery of art files – couriers and diskettes where the order of the day. The skills we acquired over the previous decade to produce design for print gave Baseline the ability to build not only a strong client base, but also long partnerships with some of the top print and display suppliers in town and across the country. They looked forward to our phone calls for print quotes. Lavish 4-colour plus jobs, were considered the cream but effective design for 2-colour where equally in demand due to cost constraints. Hi definition limited digital print was still a little way into the future and the experience and accrued knowledge to produce stunning work for lithographic printing was considered a high skill. Designers needed years of working with print and paper to fully realize a quality finished product.

Gaining new clients required temerity, lots of phone calls, constant reminders through effective direct marketing and a fully stocked, quality portfolio with the added ability to present that physical book with confidence to new people on a very regular basis. Competition was fierce, but estimated job costing from various design studios would not vary wildly and of course the proof of capability was in the portfolio and past experience.

Weldwood Environmental Report and Poster

Weldwood Environmental Report and Poster. Click for larger view.

Vancouver still had – in 1992 – a relatively healthy mix of head offices, mainly resource based, but large in scale and capability. Baseline was lucky to have established a strong relationship with one of the large wood and pulp corporations, Weldwood of Canada, and go on to enjoy a ten-year relationship with this corporation. The largest – both in money spent and marketing communications value – was the annual report. Typically a 24 to 28 page 4-colour designers dream. Each year had to not only cover the legal financials but creatively provide a front end story of the year in a captivating and illustrative way. Aligned with this document was the Weldwood Environmental Report, again a 24 to 28 page document, requiring a unique creative and on-time-on-budget production for delivery to employees, government agencies and investors.

Throughout the rest of the year Weldwood would produce internal employee newsletters, Human Relations documents such as a benefits packages, public relations pieces, new plant identities, custom retirement packages for senior staff, advertising for local and international markets and sales tools. In short, as a small design house, having one of these corporations as a client created a wave of creative work throughout the year and along with a roster of other mid-size and smaller clients needs we were kept busy.

Weldwood operations identity work.

Weldwood operations identity work. Click for a larger view.

Much has changed both in the delivery of targeted messages, product sales and corporate branding. Print is no longer King and the global reach of the Internet has forced smaller design houses to rethink and retool how they will continue to enjoy and pursue the creativity of graphic and communication design. It’s an incredibly fascinating new world that evolved very quickly, no time to sit back, we all need to run and keep up, at least as long as there is electricity and the net doesn’t go down for more than a week.

All logo’s, photo’s, illustrations are copyright© registered® or trademarked™ by their respective owners.


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The 1993 Yeltsin-Clinton Summit.

It was April 1993, the first formal meeting between Yeltsin and Clinton, to further United States and Russian cooperation on many bilateral issues. The intent of this historic Vancouver Summit was to form the groundwork for a declaration pledged by the two sides to uphold “a dynamic and effective United States-Russian partnership.” Canada was to act as host under the then Federal Conservative party and then Prime Minister Brian Mulroney.

Baseline was approached by Corina Acheson a senior sales rep at Benwell Atkins, now with Hemlock Printers, with the opportunity to partner on a bid to design, produce and print the graphic identity and collateral for this event. They won the bid and by default we were thrown into an initial two week design frenzy, first to provide initial layouts for the identity of the event and subsequently design and produce identity applications, style and layouts for; delegates (journalist in the main), and dignitaries welcoming packages, programmes, backdrops, signage and day-to-day communication pieces.

The latter, day-to-day communication pieces, presented the largest challenge back in 1993. No internet connections, no FTP sites for quick delivery of files between writers, design layout artists and press, no quick pdf proofs and on demand colour digital print capabilities for proofing or direct-to-plate stochastic printing. Every step required a physical time consuming process to accommodate these steps to final product. The courier business flourished and each of those five days ended at 2:00am.

Whilst I feverishly took charge of client design requirements, the look and feel of all the collateral, my partner of 25 years, David Lach, took charge of sourcing an appropriate cyrillic font for the Russian language editions, prepare appropriate style sheets in Quark for the anticipated 110% larger French translations and the same for the 120% increase in character count for the Russian. David was also busy preparing an offsite Baseline office at Canada Place to process the daily input from the English reporters, coordinate the French and Russian translators, and put in place a means to trafficking all this activity back to home office for typesetting, proofing and plate-ready film output, ready for delivery to Benwell Atkins for imprinting onto the pre-printed four colour templates.

Each day’s events had to be reported, typeset and printed as a finished newsletter within 12-hours and delivered to all delegates by 6:00pm in front of their hotel rooms.

All logo’s, photo’s, illustrations are copyright© registered® or trademarked™ by their respective owners.

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My last blog celebrating 25 Years…

…it’s been an interesting reflection on the last 25 years at Baseline.

November 30th, 2011 will mark the end of this 12-month journey, celebrating and reviewing our past work and shared skills that have allowed Baseline to reach this stage in our history. I’ll continue with this blog, but it will be one dealing with moving forward through design and applied communication using a broader brush stroke and how we might continue to contribute in this fast paced and changing environment.

Over the last twelve months, I’ve reviewed – through illustrated stories – the clients we have had the privilege to work with: not-for-profits, government, political parties and small businesses, requiring our professional design and production team to tell their respective stories.

One story that really has never been given sufficient space (though mentioned) is the work of my esteemed partner of 25 years, David Lach. He is articulate and a master of the many web delivered tools that we have created. A man who loves dissecting problems and a person of detail, thinking through the myriad of scenarios in any given project or problem, before moving forward with a wonderful and appropriate conclusion, whether applied to a website, an online newsletter or other web delivered product.

David – with assistance from David Steiner, our other Code Professional and Andrew Ware our Senior Production Artist – created the back-end engine that manages and generates the CHF Canada website, a complex project (1200 pages) for the national co‑operative housing organization. David was also responsible for developing much of a totally web-based information system for the Agency for Co-operative Housing.  David has designed and created incredible coding along with easy to use CMS, backend editing tools, for online delivered newsletters such as: Health Match BC, The College of Licensed Practical Nurses of BC. David also created our virtual company administration page as we entered this new method of working virtually. A transparent tool where we can keep track of jobs, create dockets for client jobs, post times on current assignments, tally times worked, post external expenses and at the end of the day provide the ability to generate invoices, sent electronically (without paper output) to our clients. In closing, I think we have a brilliant history and one that we will – hopefully – continue by contributing design and production for our present clients and those of tomorrow.

In closing, at the beginning of this journey of designing and producing online work in 2004 we were approached by the Vancouver City Planning Commission to submit a bid for a new initiative on housing issues. I was lucky to have established a relationship with Robert Buller, then manager at the Commission. He was at the preliminary and planning stage to create a web presence primarily aimed at informing and engaging public input into the future of housing in the city. We were given the task of creating the identity for this initiative (Alternative Futures) and designing the website. This was an intensive design process but more importantly it was David’s skill that made it possible to incorporate many hours of video material in the site, working around the limitations of download speed and technologies of that era. The Commission later moved its site to a new server and the Alternative Futures pages disappeared from view. We’ve recently been involved in bringing the Alternative Futures site back to life as an archive site, to be eventually accessed from the Vancouver City Planning Commission’s website. The illustration below shows the initial static deign layouts for the identity and a sampling of the static website pages for initial discussions.

Alternative Future original design layouts. (Click to enlarge)

So we at Baseline wish you all a wonderful Christmas experience and I look forward to connecting and communicating with many of you in the New Year.

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In just two weeks an annual report and website hit the ground running.

The more time one spends in this business, the higher your confidence becomes in allowing time to provide a creative solution to briefs. Constants such as deadlines, budgets and client aspirations haven’t changed in print or web applications, but there is that constant excitement in winning a project or contract, then the challenge to meet the needs of a particular print or web assignment. You can see in a clients eye, the heightened expectation expressed when they give you the green light, and you feel the confidence of knowing you can and will deliver.

I’m sure this is true in many creatively driven businesses, but I have had the incredible pleasure of living this adrenaline rush for a long time with a long list of diverse clients. Recently having returned from a trip to Europe, I was asked to complete a website and social media channel for a long-standing friend and accomplished Vancouver illustrator Barb Wood (see her new web here) and an annual report for COTBC (College of Occupational Therapists of BC, see full report here), all required, conceived and delivered in an incredibly tight time frame.

A renewed web and blog (click image to enlarge)

As individuals of a collective, Baseline took an incredible risk in going virtual after 25 years – as no success happens in isolation – but the website for Barb, required the combined talents of my associates Andrew Ware, Senior Production Artist and David Lach, Senior Web Developer, to complete effectively and on time.

28-page 2011 COTBC Annual Report (Click to enlarge)

For the effective design of an annual report, there are two requirements, get it out on time (email) and if marketing requires it, an effective print version but above all; be creative within budget and go beyond expectations. I leave you to be the judge of these two recently completed projects, but I think we accomplished all of the above. Both Barb Wood and COTBC went away very satisfied.

All logo’s, photo’s, illustrations are copyright© registered® or trademarked™ by their respective owners.

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My (our) first week of working virtually – July 2011.

Having enjoyed the close company of co-workers for 25 years I was bewildered by the small things I was going to miss, such as the morning bus ride with other human soles, morning salutations with my colleagues, ordering a coffee at the Starbucks on arrival downtown, watching all the lovely young women briskly going about their business. It was in short damn lonely, I was missing the numerous and varied human interactions of every day life, they had simply gone, and I was left with – albeit a wonderful view of the North Shore mountains – but little else in the way of those daily human interactions, touch points with other warm blooded animated creatures engaged on so many levels.

The first week, was busy putting the virtual office in order, making the desk on which the computers, printers, scanner etc, would reside. Creating docket sheets in an attempt to stay organized. Getting used to the wonderful program David Lach had produced for the team administration. But it felt so unreal. Introspectively I began to ponder how and why we got here, working in our respective homes yet maintaining a semblance of an active busy office.

Second week: the office was ready for my frenzied and anticipated work load, frantic phone calls from clients, the interactive requirement of connecting with all my co-workers. Dealing with the same deadline requirements and rushing to deliver end-product to web servers and printers. Well the reality was anything but. I stood looking out from my fully equipped virtual office on the North Shore mountains and sighed that the phone wasn’t ringing, my email inbox carried the same old trash we all get, but no clients scrambling for my time. I made phone calls of course,  only to be told “call back later ”, or we’ll call you. Email marketing attempts went predominantly unanswered and the daily pace in front of my suburban window started to take on the dull repetition that suburbs do. Old man with dog; 9:00 am, the lady with grandchildren walking to wherever they walk; 10.00 am, the neighbour across the street cutting his lawn, then the neighbour next to him doing the same.

12:00 pm; LUNCH! time. Ah yes the kitchen is just downstairs, I felt a little like one does when in hospital, meals tend to become the highlight of the experience. Well never mind I thought, it’s mid-summer, the weather is brilliant, I can sit in the garden with my personally prepared fare. No restaurant with the gregarious sounds of people, well dressed and not so well dressed busy people, fully engaged in chatter, eating and drinking. I shared my meal with the birds for company and a feeling in the pit of my stomach that no one was going to call, or email me, even facebook seemed devoid of any relieve from this increasing sense of loss and isolation.

Of course like all change, it takes an inordinate amount of time to adjust, but I do miss the real life interactions with people, they are the corner stone to our joint creative endeavours, they inspire, anger and engage us to perform, so I will visit the city more often and as a friend and writer pointed out to me recently, “you have to walk the streets to suck up the money”. I would add suck, inhale and liberally enjoy watching and interacting with my fellow humans. That’s what I miss whilst working virtually, but the phone is ringing again and the email inbox is producing an equal measure of real-work related messages, that perhaps being busy again will take my eyes off the North Shore mountains and the comings and goings of those regulars walking their dogs and children or cutting their lawns.

I actually wrote this post on the plane flying to England and looking forward to our anticipated trip to the Eastern Mediterranean, a promised gift from Jean – my wife and life partner – once the physical office was closed and the virtual alternative was up-and-running. Life is good and work did and continues to flow, but what an adjustment.

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Liberation in use of colour or is it? My first blog without the aid of visuals.

Using print, multi media and web content emotively.

Not so long ago – perhaps even as short a period of time as 2006/07 – if you were about to embark on a political campaign, a branding, a graphic design service or design for a conference or a small company service piece, the print portion of the budget was – to a large extent – determined by how much money you had; 4 colour, effective 2 colour – or, if money really was an issue, black and white.

Today designers, communicators, marketing specialists and proprietors of small business are no longer as limited by minimal use of colour. What a liberation one would think. But I see many campaigns and communication programs suddenly and purposely promoting a limited palette in their work. Black grounds with dark grey (illegible) type has become a horrible trend on the web. In print large outlines of white used to differentiate the message from a complex mix of imagery and busy backgrounds and on the web, the same use of muted colours to promote ideas, products and services.

The idea of hiring a designer or team was and still continues to be, a necessary step toward grabbing attention and differentiating what you are selling, saying or promoting. Obviously colour plays a huge role, but increasingly I’m seeing a lack of understanding about differentiation as it relates to use of colour.

There is one really poor example here in Vancouver that comes to mind; The Bread Garden, a locally grown – and one assumes still successful – company, who launched their BG URBAN CAFÉ look to the downtown 12 months ago, an amateurish attempt to reintroduce the downtown – and I would suggest struggling – storefronts to a city luncheon market. An acronym so far removed from their root along with an ugly 1970’s brown colour scheme topped with a minimalist vector sketch of a chef’s crown, really doesn’t differentiate their offering. Also take a look at the minimalist website – http://www.bgurbancafe.com/index.php – a first year graphic art student could have done better.

So on a positive note, there are some really wonderful local stories of success in their use of colour and respective branding and I would like you, the reader, to point them out. Please respond with your observations and thoughts on what you see as the most brilliant new brands using colour effectively over the last 12 months.

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To be or not to be, that was the question…

to be, the only choice then and now.

Posted by; Ian Bateson, Creative Director, Baseline Type & Graphics

The year was 1985 and my 4-year contract with Douglas & McIntyre – to research and illustrate the new BC Ministry of Education, grade-4 social studies curriculum – had come to an end. Thrown into the maelstrom of competing in the freelance market again during an economic downturn proved challenging. Jean (my wife) and I were struggling to pay the mortgage at 18% interest rates, unsubsidized child care and provide for our day-to-day needs.

Noticing a want ad for a designer at a company called Baseline Type & Graphics Cooperative, that carried little detail other than “interested individuals should leave their letter of introduction and resume at the front desk”. I left the documents at their desk, a nondescript office on the second floor of the old Harry Hammer warehouse at 990 Homer Street. When hired and eventually offered membership, we worked hard through two decades, two recessions and a constant requirement to adapt to the ever-changing requirements of the design and communication industry, we built, and secured our place as a quality driven design studio, with a growing roster of clients across a broad range of businesses, not-for-profits, unions, governments and the corporate sector.

The new 2011/12 Baseline business model…

…fast forward to May, 2010 and again we saw the financial winds of change. Our lease was up at 736 Granville at the end of June that year, and like many in the business we had witnessed a slow down and felt the challenges presented by the tightening belts of our long-standing clients. We saw the impact of shifting budgets to a different set of deliverables such as video and online social media. We witnessed crowd sourcing and it’s impact on pricing for identity design. Print still had a place, but the perfect storm of the above and a continued slowing in the BC economy forced us into realizing that the long-term prospects for Baseline delivering well executed design and communication solutions would be through the creation of an effective virtual office versus our beloved downtown central address.

In June 2010, we signed the lease at 736 Granville for one more year, providing time to put into place the tools and protocols necessary to effectively work from our respective home offices.  David Lach built an online CMS administration tool for tracking client work, opening new business dockets, provide staff with electronic time sheets and Baseline management with an online invoicing capability. Our most important branded assets, such as the Baseline phone number, our respective email addresses and website URL had to stay in tact – believe me a real challenge when dealing with Telus, Bell and a third-party telecommunications provider who will remain anonymous.

During May and June 2011, Baseline updated its identity, customized a comprehensive CMS administration and management tool and developed a new website in preparation for our move to our virtual office. (Click to enlarge).

We needed a virtual and central Vancouver mailing address, new business cards, online letterhead and connectivity through our respective cells and where necessary Skype accounts for day-to-day communication.

On June 30th, Baseliners’ saw their respective and numerous labeled boxes, slowly disappear into the back of a uHaul rental truck, ready for our 4-point Greater Vancouver relocation.

Our team – David Lach, senior web developer and my partner for the last 26 years, Andrew Ware our senior web and print production artist for 15 years, David Steiner, senior web developer for the past 6 years and Marian Lau, our incredible office manager for 12 years – are now into their first week of working from home. A  daunting, but not unique prospect in this fast paced and changing business environment. The discipline of getting up at the same time (well maybe not exactly the same time) along with a myriad of other not yet experienced issues, when working at distance from the people you have worked so closely with, I’m sure will present themselves in due course, but Baseline is now committed and well prepared for another decade of challenge and we look forward to offering you designed solutions that will fit your needs today and tomorrow.

Our Team can be contacted at the following numbers and email addresses:

Ian Bateson, Creative Director
tel. 604. 683 5038
cell. 604. 809 8409

David Lach, Senior Web Developer
Direct: 604. 809 5038

Andrew Ware, Senior Production Artist
tel. 604. 683 5038
cell. 604. 992 5038

David Steiner, Web Developer
tel. 604. 683 5038
cell. 604. 818 7049

Marian Lau, Production Manager
tel. 604. 683 5038

Our new mailing address is:
Baseline Type & Graphics Cooperative, 170-422 Richards Street, Vancouver, BC, V6B 2Z4.

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Concepts cometh before execution…

In 1999 Universal Dynamics (UDL), a leading and successful Canadian engineering firm, provided cutting edge solutions using their patented technology to solve the most demanding issues in the assessment, design and implementation of environmental, instrumental and engineering control for heavy industry.

Sales Brochure (click to enlarge).

Baseline enjoyed an 8-year relationship with the UDL management and marketing team, creating a new corporate identity, providing writing, concept and design for their marketing, training and sales collateral.

Being engineers – a conservative, detailed orientated bunch – we approached each project with an attentive ear, a collaborative spirit and careful assessment of their audience through research and appropriate application of key messaging.

Plain English translations of complicated engineering concepts and emotionally charged call-to-action headlines played an important role in the development of their corporate brochures, sales collateral and interdepartmental sales materials.

During this period, David Lach and I spent a lot of time trouble shooting and word smithing – generally spending more time together than our respective partners probably appreciated – to lay the groundwork for ideas for each project, presented initially as rough conceptual sketches.

We were lucky in dealing with an open and engaged marketing department and a CEO who embraced creative ideas. They were not averse to testing concepts with their established clients to determine appropriate messaging prior to final production.

1999 Corporate brochure (click to enlarge).

1999 saw the increase in growth of businesses supplying crowd sourced stock photography and illustration and in order to differentiate our clients visual communications – but remain competitive to this new era of inexpensive visual resource – I honed my Photoshop skills to uniquely illustrate and position our clients messages.

During the mid to late 90’s, Baseline enjoyed growth in design and production for print, experiencing – over the next 6 years – a 75% growth in revenue, the remainder coming from development of emerging web-based work.

Fast-forward to 2011 and we are seeing quiet the reverse, with 75% of our business from the web. One thing remains the same though, the need for thorough research, clear and understandable writing and dynamic graphic and visual design to tell a compelling story to effectively differentiate our clients message.

All logo’s, photo’s, illustrations are Copyright© Registered® or Trademarked™ by their respective owners.

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Effective design is more than look…

…a case study.

 Our client:

Anne Borschneck, V.P. Communications, at Minto Research & Development, Inc., approached me in 2003, not pleased with her current graphic design and sales tools. Anne recognized design must offer more than mere looks, and prep for printers.

Our first discovery meeting was long, during which I realized a huge potential in working with and helping this family-run business achieve far more through their communication and advertising. Like many of our clients, Anne needed a design communication partner to effectively market her company’s remarkable emergency response products onto the next level.

Anne was fully conversant and knowledgeable about Minto’s product capabilities, but she needed creative help in presenting them to prospective users through effective advertising, marketing and communication design but also required ongoing advice regarding new and emerging possibilities, such as leveraging the web and online business-to-business networks.

Our brief:

The Sager® product logo and the Minto™ company logo had 25 years of branding value and was not to be considered for a make over, everything else was up for discussion and renewal. The only other proviso, Minto™ should not be seen as competing with their stable of world-wide distributors in terms of soliciting direct sales, but rather, be seen as augmenting and helping drive sales through their distributor networks, a tough course when competing with an array of alternatives sold through the same venues.

Our first order of business: identify and produce a plan of action, provide time lines, a strategy and a budget for reshaping the face of the company and its brands.

Work for print and the web:

On agreement from Minto™, we proceeded (working closely with Anne) to create a distinctive branding message applied to a modern, clean stationery package, a compelling sales brochure for the primary splint products, a product newsletter and the initial phase of what would be the first of two web sites designed and produced over an 8 year relationship.

Minto’s and the Sager product line identity.

Click to enlarge

We recognized early, there had to be a stronger understanding of the Sager® products strengths and differentiate Sager® by highlighting the superiority of the Sager® products through a succinct and quantifiable branded message. We began a series of updated, marketing newsletters, aimed directly at EMS responders – Emergency Medical Services – delivered via direct mail to the Sager® list of distributors, demonstrating the superior quality of the Sager® splints through comparative studies and white paper medical reviews.

We also designed and produced a series of EMS World periodical full-page ads carrying the same distinctive messaging which could be tailored and customized for product specific announcements. Minto™ knew the importance of consistent and repeated exposure through well designed advertising, in fact we have helped Minto™ win awards from two of the top U.S. trade magazines (EMS World and JEMS) for what reader surveys considered – the most engaging, memorable and professionally produced ads, over a 12 month period.

Design for Sager ads 2003/11. (click to enlarge)

Other products necessary for increasing sales:

Minto™ provided us with a copy of their first training video produced for the fractured femur treatment kits. They had not found an effective means of distributing it to potential buyers other than through direct product sales or individually mailed. We recommended, streaming the video, breaking it into chapter by chapter offerings, providing the end-user choices for information relevant to their particular product purchase. We designed a consistently branded DVD version for packaging with all newly purchased products along with the comprehensive product guideline.

The training kit they were distributing through snail mail was difficult to update and maintain, so we redesigned the publication, along with the necessary completion certificates and additional instructor power point tools. During the planning phase of the first web site, these were introduced into the site and made easily accessible through one click off the home page. These initiatives alone saved Minto™ money on bulky packaging and postage. It made sales calls easier by providing simple directions to the appropriate location on the web for answers about training questions and appropriate downloadable resources.

2003 to 2011 award winning prints ads (click to enlarge)

Minto™ Research & Development didn’t sit on their laurels, over the last 5 years they’ve developed additional fracture response kits – SEFRS®, Sager Extreme™, Stormpac™ and the Minto™ Fracture Kit – all requiring sympathetic branding design and their own specific communication and training tools. In 2009 we began the design of the second web site, art directed and produced a new video and packaging kit, provided Minto™ with a conference display kit and continue to help them develop ongoing advertising, providing the company with a ROI, the only true test of quality and consistently well applied design.

David Lach, Baseline’s Senior Web Developer recently completed a CMS editing suite for the newly designed web site and provided Sager® with an effective online newsletter tied to an email announcement and pdf generator for those wishing to print the document. We completed the implementation of the Minto™/Sager® Facebook and LinkedIn landing pages and we’ve produced and trained Anne in the use of a custom company blog, providing this valued customer the tools required for ongoing success.

2010/11 web site and social BtoB launch. (Click to enlarge)

2010/11 web site and social BtoB launch. (Click to enlarge)

Sager began working with Baseline in 2003.
We have since relied on Ian Bateson, Baseline’s Creative Director:
  • to revamp our identity to better reflect the corporate structure of Minto and it’s Sager brands.
  • reposition the Sager products through design of product specific marketing brochures.
  • design, illustrate and produce extensive training and teaching manuals for all our product line, and effectively allowing any user of our products immediate access to this valuable resource online.

design, produce and manage our web site, with the most recent addition of;

  • a streaming product video, Ian designed and art directed.
  • banner advertising development placed in a trade web site that effectively leads potential customers to the Sager web site providing us with a valuable data entry point for ongoing and future sales.
  • Baseline has implemented and designed a comprehensive on-line quoting ability for customers around the world, without compromising our relationships with long standing distributors.
Ian remains a valuable partner and supplier to Sager, both in a marketing capacity and design and implementation function. He is committed to our ongoing requirements both in print and the web and never compromises on quality of execution wether it’s a full-colour trade ad, or an update to the web site – Ian has never missed a deadline.
I would highly recommend both Ian and Baseline, to anyone for their skill in understanding sometimes complex issues, and dedication to timely execution of a finished creative result.
Yours sincerely
Anne L. Borschneck, Vice President, Marketing
SEFRS™, SEFRS Adaptor™, MINTO™ and SAGER™ are registered trademarks of Minto Research & Development, Inc. 20270 Charlanne Drive Redding, CA, USA, 96002

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Christy Crunch ad hit the mark

For 10 years I have enjoyed working on a wide variety of interesting projects for NOW Communications. But few have amused me as much as when Paul Degenstein, NOW’s esteemed Chief Creative Officer, asked me into their office to be briefed on the preparation of a graphic mockup and production for the recent Christy Crunch ad.

When he read the script, in his so television voice over, I just burst out laughing and left the office with the assignment to create what everyone saw as being the Liberal 2011 product that fell off the shelf. Best negative political ad ever.

Click to enlarge

So as a preemptive to the by election I thought I’d share those images again, only this time it’s the flattened art that went to make up the box of cereal that really should fall off the shelf. Well done NOW Team!

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A big thanks for all your support.

In December 2010 I noticed an open competition from Canada Post for the design of the Mental Health 2011 stamp, a first where the corporation would allow all Canadians a voice through social media to vote for the winning design.

December can be a very slow month for active paying work and I decided – between trying to market Baseline to new clients – to give some thought to what I hoped would be a compelling design solution. My black sketch book became the starting point for conceptual and visual thoughts. I researched past stamp finalists, looked at the stats for mental health issues across Canada (they are many and varied) and decided to approach the issue not through typically representing people but rather the overwhelming numbers of fellow Canadians suffering mental health issues.

The following was my submitted and requested verbal rationale to answer the brief:

“I found it striking that in your introduction to this competition, one in five Canadians are suffering from mental illness in one form or another. I have attempted to reflect the Canadian part of this story (Coast to Coast, North to South) with what I think most  of us have come to associate our country with, the maple leaf. It has five sections and one has fallen. The rest is self-explanatory and as I love typography the message is clear even at the actual size these stamps would be reproduced.”

2011 Mental Health Stamp Competition

2011 Mental Health Stamp Competition. (Click to enlarge).

I didn’t win, but became a semi-finalist – announced through an email from the Canada Post Corporation – in April of 2011. What I didn’t submit – which was perhaps an important error – a bilingual version included in the attached illustration. I want to thank all my family, friends, co-workers and clients for supporting me during December and January’s public social media voting and wish the very best to the winner, Miriane Majeau for her submission.

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Concrete Typography and CS4.

As a graphic designer, words have played an important role in my work. Function has always superseded form, clarity and ease of reading uppermost in my consideration of a page layout whether for print or the web.

So it’s no surprise, that I should on occasion be moved to create a more artistic approach when using letters and typographic forms. The following are a series of vector based pieces I created recently, for lack of any other inspirational idea I might have had for this April, Baseline blog.

These would have been very difficult to produce using traditional methods, even with photomechanical processes, the steps required for the necessary transparent layering would have taken days to produce a finished product. The following examples probably took me four hours using Adobe Illustrator and can be easily transferred to any medium in minutes.

live…love…die. good…bad…ugly.

live…love…die. good…bad…ugly. (Click to enlarge).

inspire… inspired… desire. dream…wonder…create

inspire… inspired… desiConcrete Type Combined (Click to enlarge).

Maybe I could make t-shirts with the designs?

warning… danger… alert

warning… danger… alert (click to enlarge).

Concrete Type Combined

Concrete Type Combined (Click to enlarge).

As art students in the 70’s, we where lucky in having access to a traditional typesetting and print department, allowing us to experiment with both metal and wood type composition. The room was huge and contained font and spacer draws, chokes for setting, inks for custom hand printing using various Gutenberg mechanical printing presses. The smells and noises coming from this department where an amazing impression on the senses and the instructors seemed, at the time, as old as the equipment. The last illustration is one of many pieces I produced over what was an exciting foundation year covering typography, silkscreen and stone lithographic printing, etching, photography, life drawing, colour theory, etc.

Wood Block setting produced in 1974

Wood Block setting produced in 1974 (Click to enlarge).


Filed under 25 Years of Baseline