IIRPHere's a mouthful for you — International Institute for Restorative Practices. Exactly 45 letters, not counting word spaces. Imagine the logo conversations around the conference table when art270 agreed to take on this Bethlehem, PA, graduate school when they came looking for a re-brand. It couldn't have been something simple like Apple or Target or Nike, no, it was so long that we immediately made a note to never create a text template with narrow columns or we'd never see the name on one line again. The name length issue was pretty quickly resolved when we settled on the much simpler acronym IIRP for most brand applications. After all, everyone associated with this institution had already resorted to IIRP as the go-to shorthand solution.

Once that was out of the way, art270 went on to create a simple and clean logotype, all lowercase for impact, and a brand standards manual that identified approved typefaces, color palettes, page templates and logo extensions.

The crown jewel of the brand makeover was a website built from scratch using the Joomla content management system. The extensive new responsive website features include a custom student/faculty login with highly-detailed user access control, event registration integration, blog, and interactive maps.

It was a great project that required a high degree of client-vendor cooperation that allowed art270 to properly build a scalable user experience, and we even learned what restorative practices is. If you're curious, you'll just have to visit the new website, then give us a call to refresh your tired brand and website.

OvertonesFallFor just short of 30 years, art270 has designed and produced Overtones magazine for the Curtis Institute of Music — Philadelphia’s gift to the music world. In an era of digital news, Overtones is a testament to the beauty and viability of print. With more than 40 pages of beautiful photographs and engaging, well-written stories, this biannual magazine for Curtis alumni, students, families, staff and donors has grown from a simple two-color, self-cover, 8-page newsletter into a coffee table-destined “viewbook” on life behind the walls at Curtis. If you don’t know the Curtis Institute of Music, then you don’t know Philadelphia. Discover this vibrant world-renowned institution.To see more of this beautiful publication click here.

Step Up to College Guide 2016 1This time every year Philadelphia Futures, with design and production help from art270, publishes Step Up to College, a college planning guide for Philadelphia’s high school students. art270 has worked with Philadelphia Futures for more than 15 years producing these comprehensive guidebooks that have grown from a simple two-color document into a full color magazine-like presentation that can’t be matched for the information it provides to Philadelphia high school students. Kudos to Philadelphia Futures and their Executive Director and Mentor-in-Chief, Joan Mazzotti for another outstanding resource for Philadelphia's youth. To look at the guide in detail click here.

A little glimpse of heaven

2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service. If you haven’t had an opportunity to visit one or more of our Country’s most awe-inspiring places, I’d suggest that you get it on your bucket list. Recently, I had one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences driving with my son Ryan in his ’99 Dodge pickup 2,956.3 miles from Carversville, Pennsylvania to Reno, Nevada where he was headed for college. There are lots of stories from the trip (fortunately the truck made it without a breakdown), but one that stands out was a visit we made to Rocky Mountain National Park along the way. I had been to the Park twice before, 18 and 30 years ago, so what amazed me was that nothing had changed. It was like a time warp. No commercialization had taken over, no new roads had been cut, no hotels had sprouted. The Park looked just the way I remembered it with beautiful mountain vistas, tall trees, and wild elk and mountain goats wandering free. I was thrilled to share it with my 18-year-old son.

That’s what our National Parks are all about, preserving those wild special places so that we will be able to share them with generations to come. I’ve now checked dozens of National Parks and Monuments off of my bucket list including Zion, Capitol Reef, Bryce Canyon, Glacier, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Crater Lake, Redwood Forest, and locally Independence National Park, and Gettysburg to name a few. I can’t wait to explore Yosemite in California and Denali in Alaska someday.

A while back art270 created a series of birding guidebooks for New Jersey Audubon followed by road signs for the New Jersey Department of Transportation to identify some of the many scenic byways to be traveled around the State. I was just told by a little bird (or for you non-birding types, it was actually a tufted titmouse) that the Delaware Bayshore Scenic Byway signs are now being installed. How many of these signs have you spotted in your travels through New Jersey? If you send us an Instagram(art270inc), a Tweet(@art270) or simply an image of you standing next to a New Jersey Byways sign, we’ll post the collection on our website and Facebook page and send you a gift card for Rita’s Italian Ice to help extend your summer a bit longer.


gamesEveryone is a collector of something, and I’m willing to bet that you have a collection of some sort. It may not be a formal, organized collection, but I know you collect something. It might be shoes or golf clubs, or postcards or beer coasters. Maybe it’s a collection of Pink Floyd concert tickets that you inherited. Whatever your collection might be, you have more than one of something because you get a smile out of it. Let me introduce you to one of my design-inspired collections.

I have about 70 bagatelle games hanging in my home and office. “Bagatelle” in this instance is the original name that was used to describe laptop games that required a ball or marble to be rolled into a hole in a game board. The bagatelles in my collection evolved from a tabletop game that had wooden pegs set up to “defend” the holes. These wooden pegs later were replaced by metal nails, and eventually the boards included spinners, pockets, ramps and other elaborate obstacles. Over time, these games evolved into bar billiards, Pachinko games and pinball.

Today’s electronic games take the tactile contact out of playing the game which is why I enjoy collecting these works of art from the past century. The graphics that were created all over the world are a daily inspiration, and visitors to my office can’t help but try their hand at one of the many games hanging on my wall. My favorites are the wood models, some made up entirely of hand-driven nails and painted with a brush. I also have one that made the boat trip to America from Russia. The images of animals painted on the surface have that look from another land. See the image above with the woodland animals.

If you enjoy vintage comic books, folk art or anything retro-Americana, you will appreciate these games from years past. If you want a challenge, stop by and try your hand at "Frenzy." I have yet to solve this rolling marble game of hand-eye coordination and I've been trying for more than 25 years!

–Carl Mill, President, art270

billboardSo, imagine a poster or an ad that changed content depending on the reader? What would your ad say to a twenty-something college graduate or a 40-year-old working mom? It looks like smart billboards are on their way, which mean that smart bus shelter ads and electronic sign boards won't be far behind. Better get to work on your focused ad content now while you have a chance. Your first order of business will be determining who your ideal customers are. Not sure? Maybe it's time we meet for lunch and do a little self business analysis before this new wave advertising overtakes us. But first, check out the article here.

sjiThe cavemen did it first. A drawing of several antelope running in a group meant a good hunt or plenty to eat tonight. A sun scrawled onto a rock could mean a new day, a drought, or maybe a note to turn your iWatch ahead for daylight savings time?

We are experiencing an explosion of infographics and pictorial images like never before (think emojis). Today we communicate in short-hand, on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter. Copy longer than 140 characters is considered too wordy. Social media has forced us to think more simply, concisely and accurately using both words and pictures. Infographics as part of the graphic designer’s tool chest have been with us for a long time, helping to stylize and synthesize complex or wordy ideas into short, easy to digest and understand pictures. USA Today does an especially good job of using infographics to convey information. In fact they have done such a good job using them that the phrase “USA Today-style” as designer-speak has become synonymous with infographics, much like “Googling” has become synonymous with an info search. In their newest annual report, South Jersey Industries, the parent company of South Jersey Gas, elected to use infographics to tell their story. art270 created several pages of graphics to call out the most pertinent and interesting facts and concepts from the copy. The result is a bold, visual presentation that tells the story in a way photos or traditional illustrations and charts can’t. Need to shoehorn your story into a too-small space? Or wishing you could make your point without writing a hundred words? Call art270 to create memorable infographics to deliver your message with style.

stampsIf you haven’t already heard, I’ll make your day by letting you know that postal rates are actually dropping on April 11. This isn’t an April Fool’s joke. The letter rate is actually dropping by two cents. Time to toss aside those smart phones and let art270 design a custom eye-catching invitation or direct-mail marketing promotion. Nothing has the same impact as a hand-stamped envelope that you get in the mail. Read more about the new postal rates then give us a call to get started on your next promotion.

doodleartAre you a doodler? I remember my little brother doodling with his finger in the air while he sat at the dinner table. My family couldn't see what he was drawing but if we asked him, he would describe his drawings of the Red Baron in a dogfight with a Sopwith Camel somewhere in the skies over France. We were so intrigued by his detailed descriptions that we could almost hear the battle taking place over our kitchen table. I used to doodle all over my school notebooks and even on my canvas school bag — and as I recall, so did many of my schoolmates. I think doodling tends to fade a bit as we get older and life takes over our spare moments. The computer has certainly put a dent in our pencil to paper fantasies.

As a "big kid" now, my doodles have turned into focused pencil sketches as I visualize layout possibilities for a publication, logo, or a webpage. Sometimes I sketch on a scrap of paper, sometimes on a napkin next to a cup of coffee, but whatever form the sketch might take, it's still a great way to think through ideas long before I go near a computer. It's amazing how much creativity can come from a 2 x 2 inch drawing. Google has kept doodling and illustration alive on their ever-changing homepage. Check out some of the illustrations that have been submitted by students from across the U.S. for consideration. Vote for your favorites and keep those doodle dreams alive.

scrapplefest2016.1Yes, I said it. Scrapple — that oh-so-Philadelphia delicacy that you either love or hate. I grew up in Philly and found it adorning my plate, usually next to a pile of scrambled eggs my mom would serve for breakfast every now and again. “It’s a treat,” Mom would say, but for me scrapple looked like anything but a treat. After all, who named it scrapple? Eventually, I actually learned to like it. Prepared well, with a good brown crust that adds a bit of crispy texture and a bit of ketchup, it’s pretty good. If you like sausage and bacon for breakfast, it’s an interesting alternative, and once you’ve eaten it, you can brag that you’re a real Philly-ite, even if you only taste it once. Kind of like one good jog up the “Rocky” steps at the Art Museum. Reading Terminal Market is throwing a uniquely Philly event on January 23rd — Scrapplefest. (See the attached poster that art270 created for the event). If you want a chance to taste a variety of scrapple recipes without having to commit to a plateful, this is the event for you. There will be lots of tasting opportunities from a variety of Market chefs. If you’re a real scrapple aficionado then this event is for you too. Where else will you find all things scrapple under one roof, and lots of other great food options to boot? Mark your calendar.

Need us to help you make pigs fly or turn your new product into the next sensation with great graphics? You know where to find us.

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