SOCIAL ADDICTIONS

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.

Sep 15

I guess you could say Chef Ann is our latest celebrity crush and all the recent media hype she’s received has made us giddy. We’re huge fans of this renegade lunch lady and her initiatives as she works to reform US school food programs one district at a time. Oblique has recently teamed up with the Chef Ann Foundation to create a fresh new brand for their new program, the School Food Institute. We came up with the name, mission statement, logo, tagline and website copy for this thriving organization.

If you’re unfamiliar with Chef Ann Cooper, you won’t be for long. Her goal is to create an organization that grants children daily access to fresh, healthy food in their school cafeterias. At this time Chef Ann oversees the cafeteria food preparation for 50 different schools in the Denver area, which leads to 13,000 meals prepared each day. With the introduction of programs such as the School Food Institute, these numbers will only continue to grow.

The School Food Institute is an online educational program that provides in-depth training, operational skills, and strategic vision to food service professionals. These skills will help to bring healthy and sustainable food into lunchrooms across the nation. The program also hopes to bring attention to issues within the school food system and inspire change among them. Already, they have been recognized for their outstanding efforts in changing the Denver school food system and they recently received a $520,000 grant from the Colorado Health Foundation that will allow all Colorado food service workers to enroll in SFI courses at no cost. It’s encouraging to see so many school districts coming onboard and participating in this outstanding certification program! You can read more about Chef Ann and the School Food Institute in recent articles from the Denver Post and the New York Times.

We’re proud to have developed the face to this impactful name that is already making a difference in our local Colorado community, and in communities across the country. You can learn more about the Chef Ann Foundation or donate to their cause here.

Aug 31

Oblique is moving down to the big city… Pearl Street! Our new office will be downtown at TEEM’s co-working space, right off of Broadway and Spruce.

Our new space offers an environment that maximizes productivity working alongside highly-skilled, motivated professionals in our industry. TEEM’s tenants are like-minded creatives, striving to advance their own businesses in this vibrant, energetic environment where ideas and execution thrive. This community will provide a sounding board for creative concepts, a team to brainstorm alongside and a competitive environment in which we’ll be challenged to constantly improve our craft.

The Oblique team will be moving in the first week of September. What does this shift mean for our clients? We will still consist of the same small, niche kickass team, but we’ll be working in the heart of a creative incubator and saving money with the intention of passing the savings onto you.

Come visit us in our new space. There’s free coffee, happy hours every third Thursday and did we mention that dogs are welcome? We look forward to welcoming you there!

NEW ADDRESS:  2088 Broadway, Boulder CO, 80302
NEW PHONE NUMBER:  303.718.9811

Aug 22

Long have I awaited for the day to not call myself an intern but an actual professional. Well today, it still hasn’t come. With a year of school still to go and new experiences on the horizon I refrain from being a self declared professional and am putting my drive on cruise control. But, my time here at Oblique has gotten me that much closer. These mentors/colleagues of mine (now friends as well) are legit. They know the in’s and out’s of the agency community. Whether it is in advertising, branding, design, or just knowing how to be honest with your partners and clients, they know it all. Here are a few lessons I learned along the way.

Organization
When you have multiple clients, with multiple projects, all with multiple due dates, organization is a must. While this sounds simple, it’s not, one missing file can spell disaster for an entire project. Have backups, have backups of the backups, and make sure everyone is on the same page.

Adaptability
You’re not always going to hit a home-run with the first design or idea you have. Everything in the agency community is trial and error. Having version 2.6.3 is not uncommon, you must learn how to be in tune with your client and their vision. While making suggestions is a must, it takes adaptability between both sides to have a finished product that is satisfying but also creates lasting value for the client.

Don’t be Afraid to Learn
Good teams are created by having skillsets that are different but still work great together. Finding your niche and adding value to the team is the best way to help out. And when you don’t know something, ask! Don’t be afraid to learn, and take your mistakes as teachable moments.

While these lessons were learned at work, they can be applied to life as well. Make sure everything you do can be used as a way to improve yourself. I know I did.

Jul 26

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.  

Jun 28

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.

Jun 13

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.

May 30

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.

To see Oblique Design’s portfolio, click here.

May 1


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.

Mar 28

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!

Mar 7

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.