Tammy Lenski LLC is a business that deals with conflict resolution in the workplace, and Dr. Tammy Lenski approached me to re-design the company brand identity, business card and letterhead.
I’ve always found it a pleasure doing business with someone I know, and this time was certainly no exception. Tammy and I have been in touch with each other ever since she first discovered my blog article about the graffiti project on Kelburn Castle.
For a while now, Tammy needed a more cohesive branding job for her print materials and website, but business had been going so well that she allowed herself to repeatedly put it off. “No more.” she told me.
The company was previously called ‘Lenski Strategic LLC’, and I was shown the old logo design before commencing the project. This logo was only available in .jpg and .pdf format, which wasn’t ideal. To enable a logo to be printed at any size, the optimum file type is .eps (encapsulated postscript), and all my clients are provided with this format.
When discussing the identity project, Tammy wanted a design that was:
- Simple and clean
The corporate colours of purple and green were already set in place, and Tammy went on to tell me of her love for origami cranes. There’s a story about these symbols being associated with peace. I was referred to the touching story of Sadako Sasaki, mentioned on Wikipedia, and I’ll give a brief overview here:
The story of Sadako Sasaki
Sadako Sasaki (January 7, 1943 – October 25, 1955) was a Japanese girl who lived near Misasa Bridge in Hiroshima, Japan. Sadako was a victim of the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima and was only two years old on August 6, 1945. At the time of the explosion she was at home, about 1 mile from ground zero. Ten years later she was diagnosed with leukemia, which her mother called “an atom bomb disease.”
In November 1954, lumps developed on her neck and behind her ears. In January 1955, purple spots started to form on her legs. On February 18, 1955 she was diagnosed with leukemia. She was hospitalized on February 21, 1955 and given, at the most, a year to live.
Sadako and the paper cranes
On August 3, 1955, Sadako saw a gift of 1,000 origami paper cranes that were donated to the hospital from the people of Nagoya as a “Get Well” gift. Inspired by the cranes, she started folding them herself, spurred on by the Japanese saying that one who folded 1,000 cranes was granted a wish. A popular version of the story is that she fell short of her goal of folding 1,000 cranes, having folded only 644 before her death, and that her friends completed the 1,000 and buried them all with her. This comes from the book Sadako Sasaki and the Thousand Paper Cranes. An exhibit which appeared in the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum stated that by the end of August, 1995, Sadako had achieved her goal and continued to fold.
She had plenty of free time during her days in the hospital to fold the cranes, but lacked paper. She would use medicine wrappings and whatever else she could scrounge up. This included going to other patients’ rooms to ask to use the paper from their get-well presents.
During her time in hospital her condition progressively worsened. Around mid-October her left leg became swollen and turned purple. After her family urged her to eat something, Sadako requested tea on rice and remarked “It’s good.” Those were her last words. With her family around her, Sadako died on the morning of October 25, 1955.
For more details of this sad story, read about Sadako Sasaki on Wikipedia.
It was clear to me that the origami crane would act as an ideal symbol in my client’s line of work (conflict resolution), and Tammy mentioned this in one of her emails:
“Of course I’m already imagining all the things I could do with real origami cranes as handouts at workshops, etc, but am trying to rein in my playful mind until I know whether the crane as part of the logo really works!”
So I set about researching the crane, with the aim of adapting the image into flat artwork that would work effectively across a wide range of media.
There were a few layout options we both discussed, and I’ve shown a couple below:
With these ideas, it was felt the symbol could all too easily be interpreted as more of a ‘crown’ than an ‘origami crane’, especially with the mark placed above the company name. Having the ‘LLC’ characters on their own line also added more complication than was necessary. Simplicity was key.
I also experimented with the tracking between the Futura Thin characters. Changing the spacing between letters can alter the impression dramatically, as shown in the image below:
The 5th option appears constricted, and doesn’t lend itself to offering a fresh, peaceful appearance. Number 5 is the standard typeface tracking, so each previous option was a manual adjustment in Adobe Illustrator.
Business card design
As well as the logo design, I created a business card and letterhead.
If you click on the image below, you’ll see a larger version of the first three options.
“I prefer the portrait orientation and like your idea of business name only on one side and contact on the purple reverse.”
Tammy proposed making her card more unique by adding a die-cut, an idea that would allow for the crane symbol to be ‘stamped’ out of the card. This adds expense to the printing, but I believe it’s a great idea to set yourself apart with these little touches, particularly with print, which is a tangible promotional tool that once given, cannot be changed (unlike online promotions).
Design number 5 was considered the most suitable for use:
“The card looks perfect! I love it. Go ahead and send me the files and I’ll pursue the die-cut questions with my printer. Thanks so much for your work on this, David. Best business card I’ve ever had…and one I’m finally satisfied with.”
The die-cut questions that needed answering revolved around the following image:
Whether Tammy’s chosen business card printer could work with the segmented die-cut, at the size shown in the card design above, would need clarified. It’s possible that the size is too small. Regardless, I went ahead and created a mock-up of what the business card will look like when printed.
The following link downloads the Tammy Lenski letterhead design (opens a PDF file). I showed Tammy a few layout options, and this is the preferred design.
“David Airey’s work impressed me on multiple levels. He had an uncanny sense for what I was pondering but hadn’t yet said aloud, really listened effectively to what I was seeking, brought forward beautiful design ideas for my consideration, and did it all in a timely manner and with excellent communication skills. How could so many terrific characteristics and abilities find their way into one graphic designer? I recommend David unequivocally and would hire him again in a heartbeat.”
Dr Tammy Lenski
Tammy Lenski LLC
My thanks to Tammy. It was a pleasure working on this project.