Print Design

The OMG Friends!

The OMG Friends are a family of pocket-sized adventure plushes that I created, mass-produced, and developed into a product line.

This project represents a very extensive body of work including: Creative Direction, Character Design, Illustration, Print Design, Photography, Marketing, Product Design, Web Design, Logo Design, Copywriting, and many other business-y things.

Project Objective: To create a brand and eCommerce website that delighted, enticed, and introduced the world to a new and beautiful family of wonderful products. 

This was a mammoth project that I worked on full-time with angel investors for two years. Strap in, because there's a lot of cuteness below. 

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Examples of the eCommerce site where the OMG Friends were marketed and sold.

Brand Identity

The OMG Friends logo was designed to embody the delight and excitement that people express when first seeing the critters. I created a custom typeface for the word "friends" to lend a friendly and handmade feel to the logo.

 

 

Sgt. Peepers the Adventure Owl

This is Sgt. Peepers the Adventure Owl. He is a seasoned world-traveler whose favorite means of transportation is riding in pockets. 

Butterscotch the Adventure Bunny

This is Butterscotch the Adventure Bunny. He enjoys candlelit cabbages and long walks along produce departments. He can frequently be heard asking “what’s for dinner?” and “are you gonna eat that?”

Truffles the Adventure Pig

This is Truffles the Adventure Pig. She loves warm socks, pancakes, books about quantum mechanics, and going to the library. It's not uncommon to hear her say things like “Do you have a library card? Let’s go get some books! Oooh! and french fries!”

And in case you're wondering, that is a tiny glass of milk and miniature books that I made. :) 

Shipping & Retail Display

The OMG Friends traveled to their new homes in stylish cardboard boxes, and congregated in retail shops in the beautiful wooden boxes you see below. 

Plushes to Illustrations

Most of my work begins with sketches, but I designed the OMG Friends through a process of iterating hand-sewn plushes. I eventually had to work my way backwards and figure out how to draw 2D versions of what I'd only known as 3D critters.

Scout Books & Postcards

I love finding old journals and getting to review what my life was about back then. That was the inspiration for these OMG Friends Scout Books. Each Adventure Journal has 32 blank pages, that are perfect for recording bits of epic journeys and general life-bits, and they’re high-quality, meaning they’ll be around for years to come. :)

Doernbecher Children's Hospital Donations

I had the opportunity to donate a few hundred OMG Friends! to Doernbecher Children's Hospital on Christmas Eve. Stuffed animals weren't going to cure what was ailing any of those precious wee ones, but love and delight are excellent medicines, and the OMG Friends! had a lot of both to give.

Miscellaneous Cuteness

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Related Project

Be sure to check out the OMG Friends' Halloween Mask Activity Sheet project for more cuteness and delight. 

Muse Storytelling, Inc.

Muse is the patent-pending storytelling process developed by 5-time Emmy Award-Winning video production company, Stillmotion.

My contributions to this project included: Art Direction, Visual Design, Branding Design, Copywriting, Development of Educational Iconography and Conventions, and Print Design.

As Art Director for the organization, I used feedback from the founders and their customers to completely redesign the preexisting brand, educational collateral, and to develop visual communication conventions that would extend through all of the company's offerings.

A brand had been developed before I came on board, but the overall response was that it was "cold," "too masculine," and "confusing." A complete overhaul was needed to convey the intended tone and reduce confusion in learners. 

The objective was to make it clear, succinct, and friendly, while still conveying authority. 

Final Revised Poster & Iconography

Simplicity is frequently mistaken as the result of an equally simple process, but arriving at what you see below was remarkably complex (we'll review the process and my thinking in detail below). A great deal of work was required to whittle down the depth and nuance of the Muse Storytelling system into an easily digestible reference and educational poster.

 

 
  Final Revised Poster   Simple, clean, & clear

Final Revised Poster

Simple, clean, & clear

 

The Preexisting Visual Design Convention

At first pass the original poster looks cool, but in use, the visual conventions and design bells-and-whistles break down. There are many mixed metaphors being used, and the intended meanings behind various icons don't come across well.

The poster has to convey information that is really complex, so simplifying the poster required a lot of work and thoughtfulness.

Preexisting Design

 
  Preexisting Poster   Very busy & confusing to learners

Preexisting Poster

Very busy & confusing to learners

 

The Big 3 Things

The Muse Storytelling process is for telling stories about people. And in the Muse framework, a strong character has to have 3 things: complexity, uniqueness, and desire. The character who possesses high ratings in each and lends themselves to telling a compelling story is chosen to be the "Heart" (or main character) of the story. 

Preexisting Design

To effectively redesign the components of the brand I had to learn the Muse process inside and out, but I couldn't make sense of a lot of what I was seeing. This heart represented a very key concept, but the intended meaning was obscured by conventions that were too subjective.

The hatched pattern was meant to convey “complexity,” but that only became apparent after someone told me that's was the intended meaning. Also, the markers point at different parts of the heart implying that's where those traits are found, but I couldn’t make sense of why they would be located in those places. It seemed arbitrary. 

 
 

Final Revised Design

The final graphic I created shows three distinct and clearly interrelated parts that make up a "Heart," and the labels now clearly demonstrate the Heart's anatomy and that the three combine to make a whole.

 

 
 

The 4 Layers of Place

Next comes the 4 Layers of Place. This is what lends a story the authenticity required to transport the audience into another world. The 4 Layers of Place are: Location, Objects, Situation, and Time.

These are not easy concepts to succinctly communicate graphically. :)

Preexisting Design

When I first saw these icons I thought "house, football, romance, and clock." Granted, there is always going to be some risk of possible misinterpretation in abstract iconography, but what these conveyed was pretty far from the intended meaning. 

 
 

Sketching

To lend a more human and warm feeling to the final graphics, I sketched many ideas and eventually landed on a set of icons that would become final.

Final Revised Designs

Here they are! The final set of icons for The 4 Layers of Place. You wouldn't catch this yet, but the shape of the mountain mimics the Muse Plot Arch (which you'll meet a little further on).

Purpose Lens & "Chain"

Identifying the purpose behind the story you want to tell is required if you're going to say what you mean to say. As such, Purpose is a key concept in Muse. 

Preexisting Design

The shape of the original graphics were meant to represent the aperture of a camera lens, but it was a little esoteric and easy to miss. Also, the company wanted to move beyond just speaking to filmmakers (their initial audience), and the aperture reference would be lost on a lay-person.

 
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Final Revised Design

In Muse, Purpose is the lens you use to focus your message. I developed the aperture concept from the previous design into a graphic most people would recognize and be able to quickly understand the implied meaning. 

Plot Arch

Ok, this was a really tricky one. Plot is an extremely complex concept that has several interrelated components that needed to come across clearly.

Preexisting Design

Hoo boy. There's a lot going on here. There are many superfluous deign embellishments that are confusing if you're looking to the graphic for educational information.

The wavy line between the punching glove and fishing hook was meant to convey the "bob and weave" of a narrative's arch; the Heart in the upper left of the Plot Arch is just decorative; the... ok, I'm going to stop there—looking at this thing makes me dizzy. :)

 
 

Sketching

Sooooooo many fun sketches came out of exploring how to both simplify and expand this concept. Here are a few. 

The Six Universal Conflicts

Before getting to the final Plot Arch design we need to make a quick detour to The Six Universal Conflicts. The Plot Arch represents the "shape" of the Heart's story, but it's one of the Six Universal Conflicts that starts the whole journey. 

Preexisting Design

 
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I wanted to find a way to unify the Six Universal Conflicts with the Plot Arch to show how they're connected. 

Final Revised Design

 
 

The angled shape of the Plot Arch demonstrates the crescendo of intensity (or tension) in the story; the anatomy markers at the top show where the 6 Essential Plot Points (i.e., Hook, Ask, Acceptance, Hurdle, Answer, Jab) ideally fall; the markers at the bottom remind the user of the generally best-practice story formula of 25% / 50% / 25%; and the nuggets at the top represent The Six Universal Conflicts that initiate a journey. 

I told you it was complex. :)

Bringing it All Together

All of these icons and conventions then needed to be unified into a clear, concise, and beautiful poster for people to learn with and reference as they create their work.

Here is the final revised poster again. The Heart goes on a journey through one of the Six Universal Conflicts, and works its way through the primary Essential Plot Points of the Plot Arch.

 
 

Founder Testimonial

As the co-founder of Stillmotion and Muse Storytelling, two companies that have worked with hundreds of designers in our 10+ years, Ryan is without a doubt one of the most talented folks I’ve ever worked with and we were incredibly fortunate to have him shape our brand.

He’s incredibly detail oriented, is always ensuring that he’s considering the bigger picture, and has a rare talent for bringing intention and purpose to everything he crafts.

I’ve never worked with an Art Director or Designer that brings the same level of passion and commitment to what he does as Ryan.

Patrick Moreau
Co-Founder of Muse Storytelling & Stillmotion

Related Project

Be sure to check out the Muse Storybuilder project to see how this rebranding effort informed the creation of Muse Storytelling's flagship SAAS offering. 

OMG Friends Halloween Mask Activity Sheet

The OMG Friends love creative projects. They also love dressing up! This is a Halloween activity I created for fans to complete with their OMG Friends adventure plushes.

My work on this project included: Creative Direction, Illustration, Character Design, Print Design, and Photography.

Sketching Ideas

Testing Designs

Final Activity Sheet

Related Project

If you're wondering who the OMG Friends are, be sure to check out this project

Kinokophonography Event Poster

Kinokophonography is a collective that organizes live social events for people who are interested in field-recording.

My contributions to this project included: Creative Direction, Graphic Design, and Illustration.
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Kinokophonography is a field-recordist collective that started in Manchester, England, and is now centered in New York. They create community and host live events where field recordists can share and listen to their field recordings.

"Kinoko" is the Japanese word for “mushroom"; "phone" pertains to sound (e.g. telephone, microphone, headphone); and “graphy” relates to a style or method of doing something. The founders of the group used a microphone head on a mushroom stalk as their mascot, which I expanded on for this poster. 

WebLively Infographic Banner

WebLively is an online platform that helps patients better coordinate and collaborate with their team of health professionals.

My contributions to this project included: Creative Direction, Graphic Design, Illustration, and Copywriting.

This infographic was created for use as a large banner at live events. To do its job at these busy events, the infographic needed to clearly communicate the concept and features of WebLively, show how it empowers its users, and convey friendliness and approachability. 

Planning

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Digitizing Graphics

Final Infographic