The “B” can be anything you want—a witch’s caldron, tinker tools, watercolor flowers—anything. When our agency was founded in 2003, it stemmed from the freedom of creativity and design. We could simply show you our polished creations, but it’s the rough cuts and edits that spin the wheels of our wonky, passionate, and innovative team behind the scenes.

So we decided to give our designers the whimsy to take the branded “B” logo, slice it in half, and tell a story through the other half, creating a work of art in iteration of our “B” logo. Cecile Jordan, designer, was approached by vice president Ernie Achenbach to create a new piece that would be both eye-catching and inventive for our next advertisement in Association Media and Publishing’s Signature magazine.

“I’m not the best Illustrator, but I really enjoyed doing cut paper,” Cecile said. “It’s something that I’ve worked with in the past in college and always really enjoyed it.”

All previous “B’s” in our “Storytellers by Design” campaign used vector designs on the computer or were hand illustrated and transferred into Illustrator. Cecile wanted to put a twist on technique.

“Since I couldn’t rely on illustration, I gravitated toward photography and cut paper to add textural elements,” Cecile said.

Cecile started her process by searching for inspiration for eclectic cut-paper projects online. Her concept was to take the versatility of cut cardstock paper and turn that story into a reality. She sketched by hand a general idea before outlining it on the light table for cleaner lines and edges. Scanning the sketch into Illustrator enabled Cecile to use the pen tool to digitally draw the same sketch in color without the flaws of erase marks and flyaway lines.

She cut cardstock into strips using an X-ACTO Knife—that’s where the fun began.

Cecile applied paper quilling, the coiling and shaping of thin strips of paper, to achieve the smaller spirals in her design. Paper quilling tools are house-found items like straws, pencils, needles and toothpicks, but Cecile opted for the thin straw from a canned air duster. Using the light table with her polished Illustrator template underneath, Cecile began to vertically overlay the cardstock quills onto a clean sheet of paper by securing them with tacky glue.

She experimented with heavy spotlighting shadows to photograph the design once it was completed. When the photograph was scanned into Photoshop, she hardly made edits to the picture. What the end result exhibited was a completed whimsical display of art and representation of the talent within our agency.

“I’m really happy that we chose to take this “B” in a very different direction,” Cecile said. “I like that it highlights Bates’ ability to create something visually beautiful separate from the computer. Taking the time to create something with your hands is always really rewarding, and this ad shows our potential clients that we create custom designs in any medium if presented with the opportunity.”

You can view the polished advertisement that was ultimately assembled in InDesign in the July/August issue of Signature magazine.

As always, your thoughts are appreciated—tweet us @batescreates!


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