I was very pleased to learn this week that Small Pond Graphics is the recipient of an American Web Design Award from Graphic Design USA magazine for the design and development of the Starkville School District website! The website design, which launched in July 2014, came as the culmination of a year-long process of working with the SSD communications team to rebrand and retool the district’s marketing and communications efforts.
In 2013, SSD embarked on a strategic planning process which identified key communications goals including the development of a bold, new marketing campaign. I was privileged to lead a branding discussion and work session with the strategic planning committee, which allowed us to identify ideas and target audiences. This session served as the seed of the district’s new “Starkville Spark” brand and marketing campaign. The campaign, which included a new logo, email newsletter, media advertising and promotional materials as well as the website, won top honors in the 2015 Mississippi School Public Relations Association Awards of Excellence program.
The new SSD website employs more resources and downloadable information, easier navigation, an interactive calendar, personnel directory, news feed, as well as a cleaner, well-branded design. In conjunction with the desktop site, the development includes an app-like mobile version, making it easier to navigate for the growing number of mobile users.
I am very proud to have the chance to be a part of creating a new face for the public school district in my own community! I’ve written before about my belief in public schools, and it means a lot to me to be a part of telling the story of the teachers and programs that my own children benefit from each day! It has made this client project a very personal one, and makes the American Web Design Award even more special.
For more than five decades, Graphic Design USA magazine has sponsored a prestigious slate of annual awards including the American Web Design Awards program. The awards are judged by a nationwide panel of distinguished design professionals. According to GDUSA, over 1100 entries were received in this year’s competition, with only the top 15% recognized as winners. The Awards program showcases the “power of design to enhance websites and online communications.” GDUSA has been in publication since 1963 and serves as a comprehensive resource on the news, trends, people and products of the graphic design industry.
April is National Letter Writing Month, and it’s inspired me to get some of my latest card designs added to the Etsy shop! It’s amazing how treasured a hand-written letter or card has become in our culture of digital communications. I’ve enjoyed thinking through stationery sentiments with some of my daily lettering practice. Here’s a sneak peak at the new card designs. I hope you’ll take a look at the print shop and get inspired to send some snail mail!
Posters are some of my favorite types of design projects, and I’m so blessed to have the opportunity to do quite a few of them each year, especially for area community events. Over the last few months, I’ve been able to use watercolor illustration for several poster projects, so I thought I’d share a quick recap of some of the pieces. Plus I’ve included glimpses of the behind-the-scenes paintings used to create them.
For this annual spring event series for the Starkville Convention & Visitors Bureau, I painted backgrounding and an illustration to represent each of the four events. The Savor Our South series poster included all four illustrations, and I used the bowl to create the event poster for Souper Bowl. I got my marching orders last week for the King Cotton Crawfish Boil, which (I think) will use this crawfish and corn illustration. I’ll be sure to share that poster when it’s complete.
I was so pleased to be asked to create the 20th anniversary poster for the Market Street Festival in Columbus, Mississippi this year! I decided to create illustrations of some of the iconic images from Downtown Columbus, where the festival is held. For this one, it was also fun to hand-letter most of the text for the event specifics!
Many times when I do posters or even stationery designs, I create a lot of individual illustrated images and use Photoshop to put them together — just like the process I shared recently for my lettering practice. For this holiday poster I was asked to create last fall for Starkville, however, I wanted to do an illustration of Main Street, so I created more of a true painting using watercolor and some acrylic paints. Then, I hand-lettered the text to add on top of the painting. This poster is one of my favorites!
This summer, Crosspoint Baptist Church commissioned me to create a series of prints to hang in our new children’s worship area. They gave me four Bible verses they wanted to include, and it was very fun to work on depicting them in watercolor paintings and painted lettering! You may recognize some of the inspiration from this year’s Summer of Water painting adventure! I decided to add a couple of them to the Etsy print shop. You can check out the art prints here!
I wanted to share a little client design work this week. I’ve been excited to work on a few new projects this year for the Starkville Convention & Visitors Bureau, and one is the design suite for the annual Downtown Block Party. The event serves as the kick-off the Fall football season and includes a pep rally, so we wanted it to have a bit of a “fan” feel. It was fun to use a photo of the Mississippi State University cheerleaders I had taken at a previous block party and convert it to a more “posterized” look similar to the New South Weekends campaign. [It was also kind of fun to sneak a little hot pink in with the typical maroon around here :)]
Enjoy! And, if you’re in the Starkville area, I hope to see you at Downtown Block Party this Friday night!
No, watercolor painting is ALL I’ve been doing this summer! I thought it might be good to share some of the client work that has recently launched. This is my fourth year to have the opportunity to design the New South Weekends design suite for the Starkville Convention & Visitors Bureau. The Fall series centers around annual Friday evening events held during Mississippi State University home game weekends.
This year, I wanted to design something that had a very “college football” look, but also a little edgy to follow some of the flavor of the Starkville brand we’ve established. I went on a search for vintage football imagery for inspiration – very fun. I ended up taking an illustration from a 1938 Amhearst College football program that I found in the public domain, and giving it a more maroon (go Dawgs!) and modern feel. Here’s a look at the vintage illustration and a couple of the 2014 New South Weekends pieces. I hope to see you in Starkville this Fall for some of the great events!
[1938 Amherst College Football Program]
[2014 New South Weekends Poster – Starkville, MS]
[Mobile Site Graphics]
We’re getting into farmer’s market season, and I’ve been very excited to work with Starkville Main Street to produce graphics and this poster for the Starkville Community Market. It was particularly fun this year because we decided to use watercolor imagery. I was able to do some hand-painted lettering and watercolor sketches of produce to use for the pieces. If you’re in the Starkville area, I hope you’ll stop by opening day for the Market this Saturday. I know it will be fun! Meanwhile, I thought I would share a few of the process illustrations for this year’s graphics. I started with a quick mock-up pencil sketch for the arrangement of the poster before painting various sketches of fruits and vegetables. For the lettering, I began with light pencil guides and very sketchy graphite letter structures on the largest elements and mostly freehand strokes on the other words. Through the wonder of Photoshop, I’ve been able to use the paintings in different variations and arrangements.
I’m very pleased to share that one of my photographs has been accepted for the Best of Botanicals exhibition opening on May 22 at PHOTO, a fine art photography gallery in Oakland, California. The national juried exhibition will benefit the San Francisco Botanical Garden. It will be on display until July 12, so if you’re in the San Francisco/Oakland area I’m totally jealous! I hope you’ll visit the gallery and tell me all about the beautiful botanical imagery.
“Winter Fencerow” ~ Haley Montgomery