Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Classic Travel Art—in a Wall Calendar and a 3-Box Post Card Set!

Every year, we create a new wall calendar to showcase our original poster art. The theme for our 2015 calendar is American National Parks. For this calendar, we adapted 13 of our original posters to fit the 11" x 14" format and added lots of interesting information about each park under the calendar grid below. This calendar was printed on premium gallery-grade paper, so folks can cut out each of the 13 mini prints and frame them.

Creative Director Joel Anderson chose his favorite National Park prints from the dozens of posters his team has created over the last 4 years. The chosen illustrations were done by ADG team artists such as Andy Gregg, Julian Baker, Michael Korfhage, Joel Anderson. ADG designer Ryan Pflasterer did the cover and veteran staff designer Edward Patton laid out the interior. McQuiddy Printing, (a Nashville-based printer that has been in business for over 100 years) produced the calendars just before they closed their doors forever. It was a great way to go out!

This calendar has been our top-selling calendar ever. We have fewer than 100 left in stock! (Nab yours at our web site while they last!)

Sure, wall calendars with 13 free ready-to-frame prints are great, but we also needed a product to showcase our Art & Soul of America travel poster art that would not expire at the end of the year. The collection has grown to feature over 150 designs and, of course, nobody has enough wall space to display them all. So Joel came up with a way for any poster art fan to own 100 of our best American travel posters—he shrunk them down and created a deluxe 3-box set of postcards! The collection is broken into 3 sets—set one features 32 Western U.S. Cities (located West of the Mississippi.) Set two includes 36 National Parks, and set 3 boasts 32 Eastern U.S. Cities. The box fronts showcase 3 iconic scenes from West to East. The spines are red, white and blue, and the backs line up to create a nifty map of the USA scene!

These special edition postcard sets were printed in Oklahoma by CRS Printing on premium paper. We made sure the print quality and finish were just as fine as the calendars, just in case people want to decorate with art from both items. We produced a limited number of 2,000 of these beautiful 3-box collector sets. (You can find them for sale on our site, too.)

Line up the backs of the 3 boxes to create this swanky Explore America scene!
The prints from the National Parks calendar fit a standard 11" x 14" frame. The postcards are standard postal regulation size: 4.25" x 6". Together, they are an easy and cheap way to collect and enjoy over a hundred different classic illustrated poster designs by Anderson Design Group.

Here are just a few of the posters from the Art & Soul of America series. You can see the entire collection, (our official retail site.)

This summer, Joel and his family is going on a 2-week trip to visit several National Parks and take more reference photos for new posters. Look for a whole new collection of prints next year! Until then, enjoy our 2015 wall calendar and Deluxe 3-box postcard collection while supplies last!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Nathan East CD Package Design

We don’t do as much music package design as we did in the old days. (When we opened our firm in 1993, almost 80% of our design work was done for record companies.) Album cover design was a big reason why the design scene in Music City became so vibrant. During our first several years, we did hundreds of Country and Gospel covers for Capitol records, DreamWorks, EMI, MCA, Benson, StarSong, and other labels. Since then, the whole music biz has changed a lot. When budgets kept shrinking, we moved on to doing original poster art, branding and other adventures in design.

Several months ago, we got a call from Yamaha Music asking us to create the CD packaging for Nathan East. He is probably the most famous musician that you might not know. In addition to being a fabulous bass player, composer and all around musician, he has recorded, performed and co-written songs with performers such as Eric Clapton, Michael Jackson, Joe Satriani, George Harrison, Phil Collins, Stevie Wonder, Toto, Daft Punk, and Herbie Hancock.

We assigned the job to our in-house design star, Edward Patton who totally got into the groove. After looking through hundreds of photos, he settled on a few choice images and enhanced them with painted textures, marrying the imagery with typography, making the whole vibe look a lot like the how the music sounds.

The resulting package design was one of our favorite projects ever. As cool as this album cover looks, the music is SO much better! We highly recommend that you rush out and buy a copy of it right now.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Fat Bottom Brewing Co. Packaging and Posters

It's time for us to pin-up our latest packaging design (pun intended.) We worked on branding for Fat Bottom Brewery a couple years ago, starting with the logo art, which evolved into having a unique female character to match the personality and flavor profile of each beer. Fat Bottom founder Ben Bredeson has worked very hard to build the brewery into a true Nashville original. His East Nashville brewing company and tap room has been kicking booty ever since it opened over 2 years ago. Today, demand has increased to the point where he needs to start packaging his 2 most popular flavors for sale in stores.

After requesting as many samples as we could justify (for research and inspiration, or course,) we asked our in-house illustrator and designer Aaron Johnson to retool all the character art to better fit the vertical format of a beer can. While we were at it, we added a couple new characters for the ever-growing lineup. From the beginning, our challenge with this branding scheme has been to create a nostalgic American vibe that conveys old-fashioned craftsmanship and good times. With that in mind, we set out to render character art that looked like the pin up girls featured on World War II airplanes. Our stylized women needed to be fun, sassy, and unique—sensual, but not inappropriate—just the kind of girl that would give a soldier a reason to stand proudly, work hard, celebrate the good times, and hurry home after serving his country with honor.

Once all the pin up girls and flavor logos were updated, we began creating a branding scheme for a 5-color can and a 4-pack box.

The cans would be sold individually, and as a 4-pack in a cardboard box. So the can art had to communicate no matter which way it was turned on the store shelf. A bold color was worked into the background overlaid by a pin up girl resting on top of the Fat Bottom logo which was set over the flavor name.

Once the aluminum can designs were finalized, we created a packaging concept that would allow each square box to be stacked or displayed in a number of ways so stores could create different scenes or even an entire wall of Fat Bottom Girls. 

After the master packing concept was figured out, we hammered out the box designs for 2 different flavors—Ruby Red and Knock Out IPA. The beer boxes quickly became collector’s items—now avid Fat Bottom fans can build their own beer box walls or Fat Bottom Fortresses. (Just think of the possibilities!)

These swanky 4-packs can be seen on shelves in grocery stores around Nashville. 

With seven character designs finished, we asked Aaron to create a poster series that is now a part of  the Spirit of Nashville Collection. (We are always adding new Nashville-themed prints that celebrate Music City’s unique history and charm.) These lovely 18" x 24" and 11" x 14" prints are available for purchase on our site.

Check out Fat Bottom's website for more info:

Creative Director: Joel Anderson
Logo Designer: Ligia Teodosiu, Joel Anderson
Illustrators: Aaron Johnson, Andy Gregg, Ligia Teodosiu, Joel Anderson
Packaging Designers: Joel Anderson, Aaron Johnson

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Hauntings of Hermitage

It's the time of the year for Halloween themed posters, and this year we were fortunate to have the opportunity to make one. Our project began when The Hermitage asked us to redesign their logo to reflect their new direction. They wanted to rebrand the site as as Andrew Jackson's Hermitage and make our nation's seventh president more prominent in the name and logo.

Located in Middle Tennessee, Andrew Jackson's Hermitage gives tours that tell the story of how 1000 acres changed from frontier forest to Andrew Jackson’s prosperous farm, deteriorated into post-Civil War dilapidation and was finally rescued to its current state as a public museum and National Historic Landmark.
We started with the portrait of Old Hickory himself. Fun fact; the $20 bill is one of the most circulated pieces of currency in the world. This makes his portrait one of the most recognizable faces around. Illustrator Aaron Johnson came up with a few different ways to depict the iconic portrait based on classic paintings of Andrew. Once AJ had drawn a few AJs we all took a shot at different configurations.

The client picked a style they liked and Aaron finished it out in color. One of the challenges was making Andrew's signature more legible so that it can read well when seen at a glance. To accomplish this Aaron used letters from different scans of signature provided by The Hermitage. The client wanted a logo with the portrait off to the left, and we also created a centered version for use on their sign. 

The Hermitage hosts an annual Halloween event with rides. ghost stories, and a mystery trail. This year's theme was based on Edgar Allen Poe's classic horror stories, which are featured in the mystery trail. You can find our more about the event here. 

Aaron designed a poster that highlighted themes from the two Poe stories featured at the event: The Raven and The Fall of the house of Usher.

If you live near Middle Tennessee and haven't been to The Hermitage we recommend checking out their historic site or attending one of their events. Here's a link to their Facebook page. 

Monday, September 22, 2014

Switters Iced Coffee Branding & Packaging

We love coffee. And we love working with local artisans and small biz owners. So when we got a call from the folks at Switters about creating a logo and developing a band look for their new iced coffee product, the answer was as obvious as if you had asked “Does Juan Valdez have an overworked donkey?” We met with Kyle and his wife Sheri—two hip young entrepreneurs who really know their stuff about coffee—to find out how we could help them turn their dream into a reality.

After hearing about their passion for making amazing coffee, and after tasting some of their off-the-charts chilled caffeinated delights, we started working on rough logo sketches. We like to capture the essence of a brand in our initial concept sketches. A logo is like meeting someone for the first time... (you often make up your mind about them before you really even know them.) So a logo must give off the right first impression.

We started with sketches and then moved to tighter vector art, after a general direction was established. Several of us submitted logo ideas. This is how we work—as a team, we all brainstorm and throw in ideas. Each of us renders our own ideas and then we present the best ones to the client.

They happened to pick a logo concept by Joel Anderson (Anderson Design Group’s founder and Creative Director) so he was tagged with the honor of finishing out the brand mark.

After our friends chose a concept, we did a few more rounds of subtle tweaks, enhancing the brand mark by degrees. (We consider our clients to be our friends because they entrust their hopes and dreams to us and we end up communicating quite a bit during the whole process!) The winning logo concept featured a single glorious coffee bean shining like a great idea that the world has not heard about yet. The name Switters was below the shining bean (we still are not sure what Switters means, but it is very memorable and fun to say!) Then a heart symbolizing a passion for brewing and drinking coffee was set behind the words Iced Coffee. The bottom of the logo tapered to a point which released a single droplet of the nectar of the gods. 

The logo—like any good brand mark—said it all via type and imagery.

Next, Joel experimented with color. He chose coffee colors to convey from a distance that this was not grape jelly or lime juice. Beyond dark brown, light brown and cream, another accent color was needed to help draw the eye to the brand. Red was eye catching, but it is a hot color, and this is an iced coffee product. So he experimented with some icy cool colors. The resulting color palette was established. It said iced coffee. It suggested all-natural ingredients and a simple, good artisan-crafted product.

Once the logo was approved, Joel started working on label designs. Kyle and Sheri started out with 2 flavors—Black Coffee and Sweet Coffee (which has sweetened condensed milk in it.) A few weeks later, they added honey-sweetened coffee. This 3rd design needed a bee, some golden color, and a honey comb pattern to set it apart from the other 2 flavors. 

The results have been great. We created a SOLD HERE sign and an ad to get the word out. Whole Foods picked up the coffee immediately, and our friends are now on their way to success.

The coffee is truly superb—we think it tastes even better than the branding looks! If you have not tried it, you really need to check it out. Learn more about Switters here.