Everything changes—spring to fall & fall to winter, kids grow to adults, puppies become dogs—we live in a constant state of change, fight it and fail, embrace it and ride your wave on to wild new adventures. I’m excited about some hefty changes around here, specifically, I’m officially announcing the re-brand of my design studio MWH Design, now befittingly, a Dog-Crazy design studio.
“Progress is impossible without change.” – Walt Disney
A brief history – back in 2002 I caught glimpse of a movement where design professionals were finding success away from the traditional corporate office. I saw peers setting up shop at home either telecommuting for their employer or freelancing for multiple employers. Keep in mind, this was 5 years before the first iPhone and long before mainstream cloud computing. Then, remote work was challenging and expensive making it far less acceptable by employers, including my employer at that time. Furthermore, I was commuting over an hour each way through chaotic traffic leaving my dogs behind for 10+ hours a day, I hated it. The writing was on the wall, my curiosity & entrepreneurial spirit took over, I left the office behind and set my sights on a modernized professional freedom where my dogs could become part of it all vs. the latter.
For a brief period, I lost sight of the Dog-Crazy philosophy, I had removed all dogs from my company identity after losing my best friends. I realize now I should have embraced that. It was a difficult time, but they helped me get things going 15 years ago. Thank you to my awesome clients who’ve repeadtly ask to bring back the dogs.
R.I.P. Griz and Walter
Self promotion brochure designed in 2002 featuring my dogs
My design studio turned 15 in 2018, I will turn 42. Like most folks who work with the same company for 15 years, to keep things fresh they look for pay raises and job advancement, or they move on. If neither is applicable things could get a bit stale. Now, I’m not saying I was losing interested in my career, owning a design studio keeps you on your toes. On any given day I could be working in drastically different industries, from veterinarians to a snowboarding company, the work is always engaging! Aside from client work, however, always being busy and dedicated to helping my clients improve their businesses, I lost sight of my own. I realized this in November of 2017, around Thanksgiving when all was quiet I spent some time looking at my website. I’m ashamed to say I had not done this in quite some time, but there I was, reading my own content and I could hardly recognize it, it felt extremely disconnected to my ideology today, it was a major problem, and it was from that point that I decided it was time to reconnect the dots, it was time for a change.
I’ll never change my logo completely, but over the years I’ve improved it twice. At the core, my logo was designed as an ambigram using my initials MWH which is also part of my studio name. The definition of an ambigram is;
A word, art form or other symbolic representation whose elements retain meaning when viewed or interpreted from a different direction, perspective, or orientation. Wikipedia
In my case, the logo is the same when flipped upside down, only it wasn’t. The first rendition was almost a true ambigram, but due to the decision to use separate colors on the M and W, it wasn’t exactly a true ambigram. Fast forward to 2007, I revised the logo with slightly thicker lines and softer edges, but again I lost track of the ambigram aspect by angling up the M and W, a decision I made to give the logo a kinder, lighter-hearted look, only flipping this version on its head did exactly the opposite! Now, I’m most likely the only person on earth to realize my logo was meant to be an ambigram, so these issues were only issues to me, but the design perfectionist in me wanted to make this right. This brings us to the latest version, I went back to the flattened center of the M and W, and stripped all color dependency finally achieving a true ambigram status! In addition, I refined the edges once again overall, rounding some corners and flattening others. This one is by far my favorite.
Probably the most notable change with my re-brand is the color palette. Visually it was an enormous shift going from Red and Black, colors that I saw as powerful and passionate, to green & gold. I felt the change was essential to achieve my goals of getting closer to my Dog-Crazy roots and nature, both of which are my main sources of inspiration.
2002-2017 MWH Design Color Palette
2018 MWH Design Color Palette
Aside from the first version of my logo, I never chose specific fonts as part of my branding, even the logo font was heavily customized and only used with the logo mark. Now was the perfect time to revisit this as well. For my logo, I plan to use it without text most of the time, however, I know there will be situations I’ll need it both ways. So after sifting through thousands of configurations, I finally landed on a pair of fonts that work wonderfully as part of the logo, and on their own.
Wordmark and body text
Titles and quotes
Last but not least I’ve re-designed my website pulling it all together. To not reinvent the wheel completely as the CMS development work was done and some of the content would be carried over, I re-wrote my stylesheets and HTML reflecting all of the above. I’ve also been working on updating my portfolio with new projects, and page content with language that reflects my studio today, this will be an on-going effort.
As an extension of my website and online brand persona, I stay quite active on Instagram and Facebook. My social media strategy is basically to be authentic as possible, not be super serious, and live out my brand philosophy by sharing photographic adventures with all who persue the same ideology—to be Dog-Crazy!