NRP and BBBS work together for “Jail & Bail event”

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Friday, October 16th, jailbirds will be arrested by the Niagara Regional Police Service (NRPS) and Big Brothers Big Sisters of St. Catharines-Thorold and District (BBBS) on joke charges and taken to a makeshift jail in the BBBS parking lot. Jailbirds must use their connections to raise bail for their release. The total bail is set at $15,000 and all monies raised will help free up kids who are currently on the wait list, anxiously waiting for a caring mentor through the BBBS In-School Mentoring (ISM) program.

Shapestate Creative created this video of “Jail Bird” local DJ Blake Belcher of By Request Entertainment. To bail DJ Blake out, go here to donate:


“Why city flags may be the worst-designed thing you’ve never noticed.”

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When you’re on the international stage, you want your design to say the most it can in the least amount of time, on the deepest level. This is a great new TED talk on the design of flags at the city level. Get ready for the Good, the Bad, and the just awful.

Roman Mars is obsessed with flags — and after you watch this talk, you might be, too. These ubiquitous symbols of civic pride are often designed, well, pretty terribly. But they don’t have to be. In this surprising and hilarious talk about vexillology — the study of flags — Mars reveals the five basic principles of flag design and shows why he believes they can be applied to just about anything.

Logo Case Study

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We recently posted a logo case study on our website.

This case study observes the design process of a logo created for interior design company ‘sixty5designCo’.

Anne approached me through a referral and I met with her to discuss her business. Anne is an interior designer and had a client base before creating the company Sixty5 Design Co. She wanted a logo from scratch for her newly formed brand. Sixty5 Design Co. is an all encompassing Home, Industrial and Commercial interior design firm.

The case study discusses the brief, research process, design decisions and the outcome and results.

Why are design contests unethical?

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Recently The Government of Canada has initiated a design contest for the 150th anniversary of Confederation in 2017. In their words they are “getting canadians involved”. They are offering a prize of $5000.

What does this say about our government and why are design contests good or bad for designers and the clients involved in them?

Isn’t our government supposed to be creating jobs? When the government needs a new building do they hold a construction contest and whoever’s building looks best is used and the rest destroyed by dynamite? But wait, that doesn’t apply to the design world– design is digital, it’s made up of thin air, it’s not made of atoms. Designer’s should want to enter the contest for exposure, right?  Design is fun! Young hungry designers should put in 10-20 hours of work on a logo that might be picked by an untrained non-professional client because they clearly know what makes a good logo and they know what they are looking for. No need to meet face to face with a designer multiple times hashing out concepts and going through careful revision phases…

Why are internships and contests so prevalent in the design field and other digital fields? There is an illusion that designers don’t mind working for free to get exposure. This is a fallacy and both clients and designers need to be educated on the ethics of the situation.

Spec-work actually hurts the clients in most cases as much as it hurts designers. Clients are not professionals and therefore cannot do the proper market-research required for design projects and really they often can’t pick a good design out of a batch of random ones. What are they basing their choice on?  The prettiest colours?

Design projects such as this can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, so the government is setting the bar extremely low and extremely devaluing designers across the country. Why in this country should one go to school for 3 years at $3000 – $4000 per year to earn a degree and be trained by paid professors to then enter the field only to find themselves having to compete with hundreds of other designers for contests such as this in which their work may not be chosen at all, and if chosen will only yield them 10% of the compensation that would normally be offered for such a project. It’s ridiculous and short-sighted.

For more information on the pros and cons of spec work visit


Should you meet face to face with your designer?

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How do you get the bang for your buck when hiring for design work?  Do you want transparency throughout the design process?  How much hands on time with the designer do you want during your project.  What is your timeline and your budget and how do they all fit together nicely? A designer should give you a good feel, like any person you hire for any other sort of service. Sure you may get a discount if you apply for auto insurance online, but sometimes meeting face to face with a broker is the only time you will receive the absolute best coverage you require, at the absolute best price you can find.

Always recognize that you get what you pay for in the design world, and having a designer meet with you multiple times throughout the design process is part of what you pay for when designing a logo or any other piece. The face to face and hands on process is often what will put your final product above the rest. Communicating concisely in ways other than e-mails and phone calls is a great way to ensure your ideas are conveyed with the utmost accuracy to your designer.

What if you and your company have a vibe or an energy that doesn’t necessarily transpose itself by mere text. You want to give off that vibe face to face– sometimes you just can’t tell who you’re dealing with online. Do you really want your printer to be your designer too? All you’re doing is selecting how many hours you want them to spend on your business card from a drop down menu– this decision to meet face to face with a designer will often determine the difference between good, great, and the perfect design!

Get your project started. Say hello!