New Work: Build Kraft


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.



Midweek Inspiration: Chad Wys


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.”




View more of Chad’s work:


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


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).




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.


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.






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


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.





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.


Sneak Peek: J. Carver Distillery Branding

This week we made a visit to Waconia, MN to tour the new J. Carver Distillery. The minds behind this exciting venture approached us last year to help bring their artisanal craft distillery to life. It was fun to walk through and see the progress of the build out as it nears completion, and particularly neat to see the stills up close. Here are a couple photos to share from our visit.

Stay tuned for a more complete case study to come in the near future.



Studio MPLS State Fair Day 2014

Every August we tie up our sneakers and brave the unconditioned air for a day at the Great Minnesota Get-Together. We like to spend our time wandering the fairgrounds eating all manner of strange foods [Buckeyes, Frickles, Pretzel Curds] and perusing all manner of creative endeavors [Seed Art, Student Art, Fine Art]. This year we even had a cheese curd taste-off! We’re also proud this year to have contributed a solid count of seven to the Minnesota State Fair’s all-time attendance record. Enjoy a few snapshots of our day!


Cheese curd taste-off.
L to R: Pretzel Curds from O’Gara’s [NEW!] vs. Original Cheese Curds [WINNER!] vs. Mouth Trap Cheese Curds from the Food Building


The taste-off ringleaders: Christina, Ross & Brent.


Dan & a fresh cob of corn.


Ross & a fresh stick of deep fried peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate and funnel cake batter.


Faces by kids.
Far right: “RuPaul – Portrait of an Inspirational Person”


Artpartments designed by 5th graders.


Kindergarten class art.


Your friendly Studio MPLS crew (except Allison, she took the photo!)


We leave you with this gem.

New Work: “Voice From the Stone” Poster Design


We’re excited to share the poster we recently finished for the upcoming psychological thriller “Voice From the Stone,” starring the gorgeous Emilia Clarke from “Game of Thrones.”

Set in 1950’s Tuscany, “Voice From the Stone” tells the haunting story of a nurse aiding a boy through the trauma of his mother’s sudden death. As the nurse works with the troubled boy, a malevolent force inside the castle where they live begins to ensnare her. The film is set to begin shooting this November in Italy.

We can’t tell you how much fun we had working on this poster! We’re certain “Voice From the Stone” will be a must-see.