Nothing gets our inspiration flowing like a good, juicy blog post. Read about what we’ve been working on (our latest launches), what we can’t stop thinking about (design trends, industry happenings and new partnerships) and what we think you should know (expert branding insights and probably some stuff about dogs).
Check back often—we’re quite chatty when we want to be.
If you didn’t know this yet, here at Oblique we love everything Colorado, especially our North Boulder Community. As a company, we strive to make a difference where we can. This quarter we decided to reach from our roots and design a cycling jersey that represents our close-knit community and raises money for a local nonprofit, Boulder Food Rescue.
Boulder Food Rescue, founded in 2011, provides soon-to-expire and overstocked food from 28+ local businesses to 40+ recipient sites ranging from day shelters to community centers. With the help of hundreds of volunteers, Boulder Food Rescue has redirected almost two million pounds of good food from landfills to hungry bellies in the city of Boulder. They collect food up to fifteen times a day, everyday, relying only on buggies connected to bicycles.
As avid cyclists ourselves, we thought a cycling jersey to be a fitting way to support an organization that relies solely on bicycle transportation. Partnering with local businesses in North Boulder, we’ll market and sell the jerseys to other cyclists across Boulder. With 100% of sponsors proceeds and approximately 15% of sale proceeds we hope to provide Boulder Food Rescue with resources to keep their awesome project going.
Anything involving cycling and helping out the community means all hands on deck here at Oblique. (I mean just look at those designs!) If you’d also like get involved with this project, as a sponsor or purchasing your very own jersey, contact us here. If you want learn more about Boulder Food Rescue click here.
What if one company could save the world? While Instream Water may not be that company (yet) Oblique is proud to help them reduce the number of plastic water bottles entering our landfills everyday. Based out of Denver, Instream Water is a technologically advanced, convenient, sustainable and affordable alternative to bottled water. Instream Water is both an economical and environmental alternative to bottled water. Their goal is to revolutionize the distribution of filtered water and inspire sustainability through simplicity and technology. Oblique has already designed a logo for Instream Water, and we are currently in the process of creating an animated video, mobile app and assisting with kiosk development.
Instream Water will be incorporating their kiosks into any establishment where people can reuse their water bottles such as public parks, concert venues, sports stadiums, and large corporations. Their goal is to capture an audience by introducing customizable water options offering not only pure filtered water but sparkling water as another alternative. They hope their differentiation in the market inspires people to save millions of plastic water bottles from going into landfills and to live a more sustainable lifestyle.
This project is ideal for Oblique Design. We love collaborating with a progressive company we can stand behind professionally, environmentally and personally.
Oblique Design is teaming up with the oldest and most premiere zipper company, Talon Zippers, to rebrand their TekFit technology. Talon has been the leader in zipper and trim since 1893; they’ve worked with the some of the most recognized apparel companies in the world, including Ralph Lauren, Reebok, American Eagle, Vans, Kohls, and Levis.
Always striving to be ahead of their industry, Talon’s introduced its newest division, Tekfit. The patented technology allows waistbands to stretch and contour to the user’s body to ensure maximum comfort. Since the initial launch, Talon has modified their design to improve the quality and incorporate it into collars and other apparel goods. With the technology’s recent success, the company is rebranding TekFit to fit the athleisure category and expand into an international market. Check out the technology here.
Talon believes in the spirit of collaboration and that design is in the details — qualities that Oblique stands behind and loves to see in our partners. Keep an eye out on Talon’s Website for an updated TekFit name and logo.
We recently sat down with Janice Ferrante, owner of Oblique Design, during the 15 year anniversary of her company. We asked her to tell us about the changes and challenges she experienced within the advertising industry over these years.
What has been the biggest changes you’ve seen within advertising and branding in the past 15 years? The biggest change I have seen is that everyone is now able to work remotely and collaboration has grown through online mediums. Oblique was started in New Jersey, but relocated to Boulder, Colorado, because it became feasible to serve clients remotely and see them when needed. Quite honestly, clients don’t have the time like they used to for face to face meetings with agencies. Advancements in video conferencing, sharing ideas through the cloud, and of course, social media, helped make client/agency collaboration seamless. It has been remarkable to see how easy accessibility has become with all these new advances.
It’s been also interesting to see the progression and continual evolution of web design trends. Whether it’s parallax scrolling, responsive or collapsing menus, it’s a whole new world. If I were to go back to school to study graphic design, the classes would now focus on social media, UI/UX and interactive web design.
How has Oblique adjusted and adapted to these changes? Throughout the years at Oblique, we have done everything the design industry has to offer: brand strategy, naming, logo design, taglines, print brochures, ad campaigns, websites, creating content for social media, you name it. However lately our sweet spots are brand strategy, interactive and packaging.
We have also become a small boutique agency, by design. Although we have taken advantage of the technology around us, we always prefer face-to-face communication. We enjoy the simplicity that technology gives us, but Oblique still believes in old fashioned teamwork and partnerships.
What do you see as biggest threat to the future of advertising and branding? The biggest threat is that logo and web design are turning into a commodity. A myriad of new companies are now offering inexpensive standardized logos and “cut and paste” website design. These might be solutions for certain businesses, but more serious companies need tailor made solutions to support growth potential and build memorable and lasting brands.
Any last words of wisdom you want to share after 15 years in the design industry? Change is inevitable. Irrespective of your industry, the world is changing at an ever faster pace. My advice is to embrace change, make it your business to stay ahead of the curve, and enjoy the stormy ride.
We’re very excited to announce that Oblique Design was chosen as the branding and design agency for Ginger and Baker, located in Ft. Collins, Colorado. Ginger and Baker has it all; a bakery that makes shakes from yesterday’s pies, fresh coffee and pie baked daily, an event center, a private wine cellar, a teaching kitchen and much more. Not only is their building a renovated feed mill that was built in the early 1900’s, they’ve also constructed a beautiful modern building connected next door that will house their casual cafe and a high-end restaurant.
Oblique has teamed up with Ginger and Baker to create their packaging, print collateral, signage and anything and everything print. Ginger and Baker is the destination place to go in Fort Collins, hands down. It’s your home away from home, a place to gather and tell stories over great food and make new stories along the way.
Ginger and Baker plans to open their doors late August, 2017 to the public and we can not be anymore excited to watch them grow and flourish. Mark your calendars because this place is not to be missed. To learn more about Ginger and Baker and keep up-to-date on their progress, visit their site.
It’s such a thrill to announce that Leonardo DiCaprio has just invested and has become a board member for LoveTheWild. Just this last year we did a complete packaging redesign for LoveTheWild, purveyors of farm-raised, freshly frozen seafood kits. LoveTheWild is based out of Boulder, in our own stomping grounds. We’re just giddy over the attention that this brand has gotten and hope that they continue to thrive and strive. Leo is basically our new bff now. To find out more about their partnership, you can read the full article here. To view the packaging design we did for LoveTheWild, visit our portfolio here. Learn more about LoveTheWild and their mission.
New Hope Network, the leader in healthy lifestyle products industry, has also spotlighted LoveTheWild’s new packaging design as 1 out of 5 natural product rebrands that rock in 2016!
When talking minimalism, simpler does not mean easier. In fact, it is extremely challenging to create great interactive web design with all the functionality users need and few extra elements, which is what minimalism strives toward. The great Antoine De Saint-Exuprery put it perfectly when he said “Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away,” and the team at Oblique’s web design firm couldn’t agree more. We want to guide you through the primary elements of minimalism and what to remember when it comes to color, typography and whitespace. To get you in the right mindset, here is an example of how Apple masters minimalism.
Make Color Meaningful Again
When deciding on colors to use for your design, first decide what color means in this medium. Is it to draw attention to something? Is it meant to create a particular mood? Will the target audience relate to this color well? These will help you use the chosen colors consistently in the right location without overuse or confusion.
Color can also help create hierarchy without using additional visual hints. Try using a bold but simplified color scheme that will both accentuate the design’s intention and also blend well in the background. Be careful not to include too much color or create something too bold, it will take away from the design’s intent and can mask the content. It should be about finding a balance. Instead of using only black and white, think about adding just the amount of color that the design requires.
Choose your Words Wisely
Minimalist philosophy centers on the idea that you must design around the content: content is king, and visual layout salutes the king. Minimalism is about using only what is essential to the design, so the words in the design are just as important as the typeface that they’re in. If the design is bold and simple, the copywriting should be as well. It should be clear what the user is supposed to do, where to do it and how to do it.
From there, readability and legibility are the most important. By all means, go forth and be bold, but do so with meaning and intent. For example, avoid using too many typefaces because the design can become cluttered. Instead, create consistency throughout the design with typography that relates each piece back to the same core.
Less, but Better
If you didn’t know already, whitespace is absolutely key to minimalist design. Through abundant space, the design can organize elements in a comprehensive order. It can also allow the design to guide the viewer toward the most important content. Just as with color and typography, there must always be intent and meaning behind every bit of empty space.
A grid system is the best tool to create spatial relationships and find the right balance between too much space and just enough space. It gives the eye a path to follow through the content while also being visually pleasing. This should not be confused with adding “mystery” to the design, there should always be clarity, accessibility and functionality through every placement. Whitespace is an art on it’s own and takes practice to master. For more info and tips, check out The Next Web’s free ebook.
To Wrap Up
Don’t forget that the goal of minimalism is to only use elements that contribute to readability and usability. Using meaningful color, bold typography and consistent whitespace are all important pillars of the minimal technique and using these incorrectly can lead to over-designing and ultimately a dysfunctional design. Minimalism is not an easy task, but when mastered, it can lead to thoughtful, beautiful and rooted design, which is something every designer should strive for.
Packaging design might just be one of our most favorite areas of expertise here at Oblique. We wanted to share a few of our (not so secret) secrets on how we approach and execute package design. Everyone knows when it comes to packaging design, it must be eye catching and appealing. Food products need to make consumers salivate, beauty products should be desirable and healthcare products need to look trustworthy and safe. But there are other details that should to be taken into consideration when creating a new package, no matter what what category it falls under. Here at Oblique, we look past the obvious and into the details.
Here are just a few more details we think about when it comes to packaging design:
It’s not just a barcode, it’s a blank canvas:
It’s not entirely a new concept, but it may be for some. Morphing barcodes into illustrations is becoming the trendy new fad when it comes to packaging. In the past, adding that dreadful, bulky barcode to a beautifully designed package was deflating to a designer. Now the barcode can be part of the overall design, rather than sticking out like a sore thumb. Businesses may be skeptical as whether or not to take this artistic leap. “What if the barcode won’t scan due to the artwork surrounding it?” In reality, you only need a very small area to actually scan the barcode. That leaves a lot of room for artistic interpretation on our end.
Here are a few of our favorite barcode designs out there:
Use sustainable products (think of the future):
Each year, over 33.6 million tons of plastic are discarded into waste landfill sites across the United States. Using recycled materials for packaging, therefore is needed for both our environment and to start seeing savings across manufacturing industries. Recycling materials actually helps to stimulate more economic growth in the long run for your business, and for those across the country. Using recycled products also tends to cost less in packaging, so there is very little reason not to start using recycled materials now. We are happy to announce that our “Love the Wild” packaging is completely made from recycled materials. Not only is the box recyclable, but the sauce trays within the packaging are also recyclable. View our “Love the Wild” packaging project here.
Don’t limit yourself to 1 design:
At Oblique, we always over deliver. Just ask any of our clients. Packaging needs to really stand out against competitors, because it’s always going to be surrounded by other great or terrible packaging.Below are just two examples of how diligent we are about showing multiple design directions for our clients:
Barology:ranging from photography to vector illustrations Power Plant:ranging from organic farm stand designs to modern pop
With the fresh start of a new year (Happy 2017, everyone!), also comes reflection and resolutions. Team Oblique couldn’t be happier with the projects we completed, the clients we worked with and the growth we have gained as a company.
Last year, Oblique made the big decision to give our portfolio a complete makeover. Our updated and improved portfolio contains new projects and an original look. We went even further and created a micro-site (obliqueslant.com) to give potential clients a quick (and might we add, beautifully designed) overview of what Oblique offers. It’s different from what you’ll see on your average Colorado design blog and that’s what we’re after.
For Oblique’s new portfolio, we demonstrate how our Boulder interactive agency creates a fully rounded brand, not just a logo or website. For example, we show that a logo like the one created for Handcraft Kitchen is not only built to be executed on a web page, but how those elements are conveyed through menu design and exterior signage. This is the full-circle design that Oblique thrives on.
2016 offered opportunity for Oblique to build several brands from scratch. One of our favorites, “BOOM Properties”, was especially unique because this client wanted to push all boundaries when it came to creative solutions. From naming their company, designing their logo, tagline and stationery, all the way to a fully functional responsive website, BOOM is just one of the many satisfying accomplishments we encountered last year. Check it out in our (new!) portfolio here.
This year, Oblique was reconnected with League Collegiate Outfitters to update the design of their website to match the look and feel of their new 25th anniversary catalog. Since we designed their original website a few years ago, we were excited to create a new look to with them and are happy to announce that the site is officially live!
League is known for their smart vintage-inspired collegiate apparel designs, iconic logos, and all-around American aesthetic. You can find their clothing at most colleges and universities across the country. League has lead the way for ethical practices and global consciousness in the workplace and have always been a valued client of Oblique. Check out the site and let us know what you think!