New Hire: Leslie Olson

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We’re thrilled to introduce the world to our new design intern, Leslie Olson! Leslie comes to us from Concordia University, where she is weeks away from completing her post-baccalaureate program following a bachelor’s degree in journalism (why isn’t she writing this?) at the University of Minnesota.

Leslie is a lifelong illustrator with a passion for listening to and playing music, specializing in singing Bossa Nova classics and acoustic covers of Joni Mitchell’s greatest hits. Her gastronomic pursuits include perfecting homemade pizza, exploring MN’s expansive microbrewery scene, and tirelessly searching out the best scone + Americano combination from local coffee shops.

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Last weekend, Leslie was one of seven scholarship winners at AIGA Minnesota’s “Portfolio 1-on-1” show! You can take a look at her impressive (and award-winning!) portfolio here: www.leslielynneolson.com

Welcome, Leslie!

New Work: Faribault Woolen Mill

 

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In 2013, we partnered with Faribault Woolen Mill Co. to create a line of jacquard blankets inspired by the wildlife of our region. Last winter we were commissioned to add two new designs to the line. The blankets have since sold out, but in true Studio MPLS form, we’re just now getting around to showcasing them. Our friend and photographer extraordinaire Paul Vincent spent a frigid afternoon on the frozen Lake Minnewashta shooting the blankets. With above-freezing temperatures right around the corner, we’re presenting this as our eulogy to winter.

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New Work: Build Kraft

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We recently completed a new identity for Build Kraft, a home improvement specialist based out of Edina, Minnesota. Founded in 2004 by a German-American from a proud heritage of craftsmen, Build Kraft offers a variety of expertise to his clients including masonry, tile, and woodwork services.

Our design solution aimed to reflect and further articulate the precision and skill found in Build Kraft’s work, including a monogram that can be used as an artist’s mark in a variety of applications and materials.

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Midweek Inspiration: Chad Wys

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This week we have been spending a significant amount of time examining the imaginative and inspiring work of Chad Wys, a visual artist, designer, and writer based out of Illinois. Describing his work on his website, Chad writes, “At its broadest point, my work concerns the examination of visuality: of images and objects, decorations and art and how the manifestations of the reproductions of these materials come to influence our everyday experiences.”

“Appropriation as a methodology came naturally and early to me since my academic and personal interests had for so long involved the study of visual production. When it came time to develop a methodology, I simply adapted the technique of literary citation to the realm of the visual. My affinity for Marcel Duchamp, Man Ray, and the other Dadaists, along with the recent Pictures Generation of the 1980s (including artists like Sherrie Levine and Richard Prince)—all appropriators—were tremendous stylistic and intellectual influences in this regard.”

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View more of Chad’s work:

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New Work: Logan & Lenora

Logan & Lenora are makers of waterproof wet bags and accessories for new parents. Their mission is to create products that solve some of life’s smallest challenges, freeing parents to enjoy special moments with their children.

Logan & Lenora approached us for a complete rebranding that more accurately reflected their mission. The assignment also included a packaging exploration, featuring proprietary hanger concepts to be used in their rapidly-expanding retail presence around the world.

Their business has quickly grown from a local boutique to one of worldwide recognition, with products sold in retailers across the country, as well as Europe, Asia, South America, and Australia.

You can learn more about Logan & Lenora here.

Monument Valley

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By now you have probably heard about Monument Valley, the iOS game that won an Apple Design Award last year. (If you have not, please do us a favor, stop reading this, and download it immediately.)

The game is an absolute wonder to experience, as intriguing as it is visually appealing. In a market where games are saturated in vibrant primaries, Monument Valley offers a variety of clean, elegant palettes from beginning to end. The game’s levels have been compared to M.C. Escher’s artwork, including a chapter in which you essentially recreate Escher’s “Waterfall.” As you manipulate the architecture in each chapter, one continuously marvels at the simple genius the designers created through perspective paradox.

Monument Valley’s visual elements are strong enough to stand on their own, but the team at UsTwo intertwined thoughtful design details with a wonderful story, intuitive gameplay, and an atmospheric soundtrack.

mv02The level Halcyon Court (left) pays homage to Escher’s Waterfall (right).

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Learn more about Monument Valley:

Makers of Hit iOS Game “Monument Valley” Reveal Its Costs and Revenue” – Huh. Magazine

The Making of Monument Valley – Behind the Scenes

Inside Monument Valley” – Cult of Mac

Artist Creates Monument Valley-Inspired Alphabet” – Kotaku

Ross Bruggink: Target Dinkytown

It’s that time of year when the frigid weather causes us to forget all the reasons we’ve chosen to live here in Minnesota. As such, we have lately been reminiscent of projects our designers completed in the warmer, more glorious months.

Last spring, our designer Ross Bruggink created this composition for the new Target Express in Dinkytown, the campus village near the University of Minnesota.

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The illustration consists of prominent architecture, objects, and icons seen around the U of M campus and the Twin Cities. They appear as a unified, linear composition where distinction between elements blend together. Every piece was considered as an object students could associate with, whether buildings or patterns. Mariucci Arena, the Washington Avenue Bridge, the Varsity Theater, Northrup Auditorium, and the red and yellow tulips planted around campus are all examples of objects incorporated into the illustration.

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Installed as a large window display, the artwork also was incorporated within typography as a welcome wall for customers entering the store.

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New Work: Home Expressions by JCPenney

We were happy to recently team back up with JCPenney and we’re excited to share some of the work that resulted! JCPenney enlisted us to create a design system for Home Expressions, a home goods brand with products spanning from the bathroom and bedroom to the kitchen. As our process unfolded, it led to the mark that is used in stores today, one that evokes modern elegance while offering a sense of strength and balance. We also designed a concept packaging system that showcases Home Expressions products as part of a refined and modern system available at a lower price point.

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New Work: Straight Line Theory Rebranding


We’re excited to share a sneak preview of the work we’ve been doing with Minneapolis-based UX company Straight Line Theory. To celebrate their move to a beautiful workspace in the North Loop area, SLT wanted a new identity that better encapsulates the work they do and the services they provide to their clients. We worked with their team to design a new identity, business cards, a stationery system, environmental graphics for the workspace, and a new website. Watch for the full case study soon.