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Auto Shop Showcase Postcard Mailer DesignAuto Shop Showcase / Bowling Green, KY

My longtime client Gary Gunn started up a new business in 2023, returning to mentoring auto repair shop owners. Gary collaborated with me on his new website, as well as his online and print advertising campaigns. This postcard mailer design has been a huge success for Gary’s startup business. In fact, it has attracted several valuable automotive business owners to join his monthly mentoring meetings.

Postcard Mailer Design Story – Changing Business Model

Gary Gunn started his career in the automotive industry in 1979. When we first crossed paths in 2006, he hired me to work in office doing clerical duties, sales calls, and human resources tasks. Soon, he saw my talent for graphic design and allowed me to manage his website and lay out CDs and printed curriculum for his coaching clients. When I moved to Lexington from Bowling Green, KY years later, he kept me on hand as a freelancer. Gary eventually sold his coaching company and helped others start their own mentoring and coaching businesses. In 2023, he finished his tenure working with them and started a new business, Auto Shop Showcase.

Back side of the business coach postcard mailer design

The back side of the auto shop coach postcard mailer design.

Initially, Gary’s business model centered around interviewing shop owners and other automotive industry professionals. I got his podcast and Youtube channel up and running, as well as his website. Soon, his business model changed, as business models often do. While his business’ end game was always recruiting auto repair shop owners to his monthly coaching calls, the weekly interviews were unsustainable. I soon shifted to editing daily social media Reels, in addition to the long form Youtube “Auto Shop Tips” videos. In addition to creating and managing his Facebook Ads, I laid out this postcard mailer design.

Postcard Mailer Design – Getting Started

We all get bulk presorted mail in our mailboxes. A lot of what we receive is “junk mail” that we chuck in the recycle bin right away. Business owners especially are bombarded with unsolicited offers. However, the right offer, coupled with an eye catching layout, can break through. Gary and I collaborated to create just that. Which elements came together in order to create a campaign that continues to deliver results?

When Gary first came to me for this postcard mailer design, I already knew what he was looking for. Since I had designed print projects for him for so many years, I knew his tastes by heart. Our collaboration method has not changed much since I left Bowling Green and started working from home. Gary begins the process with a mockup in Microsoft Word. He includes a few suggested images, headlines, and copy in order to get his point across. I start by correcting any grammar and spelling errors and selecting the most effective text. Then, I make my own tweaks to it before moving on to Adobe Photoshop for the actual design.

Graphics And Layout For Direct Mail Card Design – Front Side

Regarding this piece, I already had the perfect stock image in mind. The older gentleman featured is a blue collar worker who looks like he could be right at home managing an auto repair shop. He is clearly frustrated. By what? In this instance, it is a lack of written SOP’s (Standard Operating Procedures). Without a clear operations manual, none of his mechanics, service advisors, or management know how to do their tasks properly. You can see why he is so frustrated!

Gary’s business Auto Shop Showcase has the solution. When a shop owner scans the QR code on the card with their phone, it takes them to an online form. When they provide their email address, they receive a free starter kit teaching them how to write SOPs, step by step. Gary also follows up with them in order to make sure they understand. This also opens the door for him to offer them a spot in his monthly mentoring meetings.

Returning to the elements that make the card effective, I added a motion blur to the shop owner, since he is shaking his fist. I employed a bright purple to pink background behind him, with an image of a repair shop faded into it. In order to make the headline pop, I used the wacky title font made famous by the video game Fortnite, heavily stroked in black. The phrase “Frustrated by SOPs?” is highlighted in golden yellow. Futura Black spells out the rest of the card’s content.

Back Of Card Design – Completing The Message

The back of the card repeats the faint automotive shop image, this time over a bright teal blue background. Gary’s smiling face is beaming to the left of his bio. The shop owner from the front of the card returns, this time with a smile of satisfaction on his disembodied head. A final nudge urges the reader to “End Your Frustration Now”. Clearly, it has been an effective campaign thus far. After all, many automotive repair shop owners have signed up for the starter kit using the link.

Do You Need Your Own Postcard Mailer Design?

Despite the many rumors of its demise, direct mail advertising is alive and well! Gary has had massive success in the auto repair industry with this campaign. It all starts with an eye catching layout. That all starts with an experienced graphic designer. Investing in my skills will pay your business back in spades, so contact me today.

Pop Art Poster for Rock ConcertCourtney From Work

Columbus, OH

Our upcoming gig with Wicked Peace and Courtney From Work was approaching. These bands are known for their energetic live shows and are loads of fun to hang out with. That’s why I chose to lay out a pop art poster design in order to promote it. The bright colors, halftone patterns, and exaggerated facial expressions common in vintage comic strip and pulp stories were perfect to match this bill’s vibe.

Pop Art Poster Design story

While perusing royalty free stock art online, I chose a few images that I could lay out in order to tell a story. The focal character in the top panel is on her phone, starting a rumor. In the next panel, another lady whispers the gossip into her friend’s ear. Finally, in the last panel, the man is frustrated at reading the news on his computer. These Jezabels have ruined his reputation!

In reality, the story came second to the details about the show. I patterned the venue and date displayed at the top after a comic strip name and author byline. The top panel heralds the headline act in a mix of bright blue and black, popping out from the speech balloon. “21+ Adults Only!”, the banner at the bottom of the panel declares. Underneath the main illustrations, I added the other band names in a classic comic strip font. Then, I accented the band names with two more eye catching pop art poster characters splashed over the stark black background. Finally, the poster declares the door charge “Only Five Bucks!”. You just can’t beat that for a night of entertainment!

Contact Me For Your Event’s Pop Art Poster Design

Are you promoting an upcoming concert or event? Looking to promote it with a splash of tongue in cheek kitsch? Then you should contact me today!

Sempervivi

Lexington, KY

I’m a big time band merch nerd. Especially stickers. If I don’t have the money budgeted to buy a shirt or hoodie from a band at their show, I will at least purchase some stickers. They end up either on my truck, toolbox, or the filing cabinet in my office. I always make sure my band Sempervivi’s merchandise table is fully stocked with items ranging from inexpensive to higher priced items. In 2022, we were running low on previous sticker design concepts, so I took advantage of a Sticker Mule sale and stocked up. I worked up four different designs and had all of them printed in order to offer some variety to our fans.

Sticker Design Story

First, I thumbed through some old line art books and picked out a nice roaring tiger. I colored in the tiger’s fur with a golden yellow hue. Then, I combined this expertly detailed illustration with our name uppercase in a vintage font. Our hometown “LEX KY” nestles between two simple lightning bolt icons in yellow, completing the first sticker design.

Since many would call our band’s genre “skate punk”, I incorporated a rad broken skateboard image into an old school signage layout. The bold image of the broken deck jumps out in front of the marquee font spelling our band name. I added our hometown and Roman numerals for the year 2015, the year when our band began. I played with a few different different color schemes. The band members couldn’t choose between the two palettes I pared it down to, so we had both printed. I love the alternative “Joker” combination of mostly purple and lime green. The melon red and Carolina blue scheme is lighter, cleaner, and more fun.

Finally, I had been toying around with a rugged “stamp” style logo for the band. I jumbled the sizes of the letters and tilted them, creating a chaotic style to match our fast, loud punk sound. The final touches came together as I filled in the characters in neon pink and turquoise. Then, I outlined the letters in black and added a solid black shadow to the art to make it pop.

Contact Me For Your Band’s Sticker Design

Every musician needs merch. If you are a live performer, your fans want to buy merch to support you. An inexpensive way to get started?  Contact me today to bring your sticker design to life.

Pedestrians Kentucky Blues Concert PosterPedestryans

Lexington, KY

Here’s a retro concert poster that I designed for a 2022 show at Lynagh’s Irish Pub in Lexington. My friend Destry is a classy lady who sings and plays guitar in the blues based alternative rock band Pedestryans. Her selfie game is on point, and she often rocks a variety of vintage styles, so I thought featuring a classic 1950s style pin up girl would fit.

Retro Concert Poster Story

When I chose the vintage style pin up girl photo from my extensive stock image collection, I knew that I wanted to bathe it in an aqua blue tint. I overlaid the whole image with a wavy “static” pattern, so as to imitate vintage TV interference. Also, I envisioned wrapping the band names around the black vinyl record that she is holding. The bright pink and orange hues of the names help them stand out over the wax circle.  

For the date at the top, I manually jumbled the letters in order to give it a retro, playful feel. I also jumbled the letters at the bottom of the page that spell out the venue name. The bright yellow date is encased in a typical 50’s “futuristic” style black curved shape. I then added a subtle gradient that fades the aqua blue to purple at the bottom in order to highlight “At Lynagh’s”. Other event information floats to the left and right of the pin up girl in black. I added a wave warp effect to it in order to give it some movement and also to increase the kitsch factor.

Contact Me If You Need A Retro Concert Poster

Are you holding an event that would benefit from a retro concert poster design? I love incorporating vintage 1950s elements into promotional ads! Contact me today to get started.

Dream Lovers Podcast Website DesignPatch and Sara Drury

Lexington, KY

When I first moved to Lexington in 2009, I befriend Sara Drury and her husband Patch. Since that time, I’ve been privileged to work with them on a myriad of projects. The Drurys initially worked day jobs, but today, they both work for themselves from home. Sara began a successful life coaching business for women, while Patch collaborated on video projects and explored podcasting on metaphysical topics. Starting in 2021, the husband and wife came together to start a new podcast about dream analysis. In Dream Lovers, these certified experts share their knowledge of the subconscious mind, and interpret listeners’ dreams. As such, they needed a podcast website design. Naturally, they contacted me for a quick turnaround site. You could say I was now a podcast blog designer.

Podcast Website Design Story

Patch and Sara needed a basic, two page web design. The top bar features a media player which automatically plays their newest episode. When a new show drops each week, I write a search engine optimized blog post to recap it. I select a fitting featured stock image, and center each post around a keyword, in order to help Google and other search engines find the site.

The Home page features a brief description of the podcast itself, as well as a call to action for listeners to submit their own dreams. A feed of blog posts summarizing each episode scrolls below the description. An expanded About page gives the reader more information about the show, as well as a larger player with a feed of all past episodes. Below that, the secure form to submit dreams and sign up for their mailing list displays.

Contact Me If You Need a Podcast Website Design

Patch and Sara’s podcast has a been a huge success from the jump. Dreams are a subject everyone can relate to. Everyone has had dreams that puzzled them, and Dream Lovers analyzes them in a thoughtful and entertaining way. If you have an idea for a show that listeners will love, you also need a podcast website design to complement it.  Hire me today to be your podcast blog designer.

LGBTQ Fairness Benefit Poster Design

Fairness WV

Huntington, WV

West Virginia based band Jay Parade offered my band Sempervivi a spot on this benefit show they were holding for Fairness WV. The guys liked my poster design for another show we did together, so they asked if I would donate my time for this cause. I happily agreed to provide this LGBTQ fairness poster design.

LGBTQ Fairness Poster Design Story

Josh from Jay Parade gave me all of the information about the equality event, such as the bands performing and the starting time. I contacted the venue, as well as Fairness WV, to obtain their logos. Since the organization had confidence in my skills, they did not insist on any specific design elements for the layout. Although I knew I wanted to include a rainbow in some way, I didn’t want to stoop to cliches or pandering. When working on a project such as this, it is easy to make it too cute. I wanted to create an eye catching, bright poster that clearly announced what the event was, as well as its goal.

Using negative space for some of the typography was another goal. White “paint” splatters create that negative space in front of the rainbow color gradient background. I reversed out both the logos at the top, as well as the date and other information at the bottom. Then I added a rad rocker jumping with his guitar as the focal image. I reduced the image down to black and white, so it would stand out in front of the rainbow background. Once I added a motion blur filter, the guitarist was complete. Each of the band names features a perspective warp to give it some motion as it wraps around the guitarist.

When I put all of those elements together, I thought it was good, but not quite complete yet. In order to complete the LGBTQ Fairness Poster Design, I shrunk everything down and centered it. Then, I created an homage to the Appalachian mountains shared by West Virginia and my home state of Kentucky. I added some black and white mountain photos to make the new background. Now, the rainbow scheme really pops!

Contact Me For Your LGBTQ Fairness Poster Design

Will your fairness campaign hold a fundraiser soon? You need a professional graphic designer to help draw attention to your benefit event.  Contact me today.

St. Patrick's Day Poster Design for Lexington, KY Irish BarLynagh’s Irish Pub

Lexington, KY

I experienced some of my favorite memories of performing original music live on stage at Lynagh’s. Lexington’s finest Irish Pub has always been good to me and my bandmates in Sempervivi. Since they are an Irish themed bar and grill, St Patricks Day is a hugely successful time of year for this bar. The Slams are a local favorite Celtic Punk style band. Therefore booking them to play with us at the pub on this occasion was a no brainer. Of course, I took on the task of drawing up the St Patricks Day poster design, so let’s dive in, shall we?

St Patricks Day Poster Design Story

I knew right away that the central image would need to feature a buxom Irish lass. Therefore, the perfect illustrated stock image portrays a luscious redhead in green leprechaun garb holding aloft a mug of foamy beer. After adding her to the composition, I wrapped the event name around the circular frame behind her. “March 19th” displays in a scrolling banner using an old English style font, while each of the band names is “stenciled” on the wooden fence our lucky lady sits on.

Additional event information also displays in a lime and dark green box at the bottom. In order to add a little flair to the dark green background, I inserted some fizzy bubbles, mimicking those founding in the beer mug. Finally, I added a solid orange shamrock shape in each corner to contrast the green and tie everything together. 

 Contact Me For Your St Patricks Day Poster Design

Are you planning a concert event or party at your venue for St Patricks Day? Don’t press your luck! Hire a professional graphic artist with over 20 years of experience to design your poster. Contact me today!

Sempervivi Hoodie Graphic Design - Front and BackSempervivi

Lexington, KY

Since 2015, I’ve designed several shirts for my pop punk project Sempervivi. As the band has grown, so have our merchandise offerings. We decided to take the next logical step by putting out some hoodies. I have done hoodie graphic design before, but this was special, since it was for my own music project.

Hoodie Graphic Design Story

Printing hoodies can be expensive. I wasn’t sure if there would be a big enough demand for Sempervivi hoodies, so setting up a preorder on our website for a limited run made sense. My friend who prints our shirts (Jeremiah at Flesh and Blood Printshop) might have a few extra blanks lying around. I asked him, and it turned out he had a lucky number of 13 surplus hoodies, both pullovers and full zip ups. There was also a mix of black, dark green, and heather grey garments, in a wide variety of sizes, so it helped create a sense of scarcity.

Once I got our plan in place, I started working on a design, which is usually backward from my usual order of doing things. Our bassist suggested that I create the design around silhouettes of us rocking out. I’ve done this theme several times over the years, both for artists and businesses. I used Adobe Illustrator to outline a few screen captures of live video footage, as well as some professional photos our friend Carmen had taken.

After I arranged the silhouettes, I framed them in a grungy circle of stars, adding the phrase “Kentucky Punks” underneath. To punctuate that phrase, I added our state’s motto “United We Stand, Divided We Fall”. Then, I arched the band name at the top using a tall retro title font. I adjusted the “M” for legibility, and added a small crown at the top to finish the back art.

Finally, I added the front design to the left chest. The silhouette of Kentucky contains the new logo font without the arch, along with the crown.

Hoodie Graphic Design Color Variants

Since we were printing on three different colored garments, I asked our printer to use three different ink color combinations. In addition to this being our first hoodie design, it was our first apparel to feature more than one ink color. For the black hoodies, we used a combination of cyan blue and white. The forest green garments featured orange and white. Lastly, the heather grey hoodie graphic design was printed using black and pink ink.

When I finally nailed down the design and the color schemes, we set up the online preorder for our fans. Once we had sold enough hoodies in advance to break even, I sent the files to press. Suffice to say that everyone loved them! Order yours here.

Contact Me For Your Hoodie Graphic Design

Inspired to offer hoodies for your fans? Contact me today to create a hoodie graphic design for your own band or business.

Various / Nationwide

To be honest, I could take or leave Cable TV, as well as most streaming services. I am, however, a Youtube junkie. I’m always adding videos to my “Watch Later” list. I consume hours of content about retro gaming, pro wrestling, and other topics. During the pandemic, my band could not rehearse in person for over a year, so I decided to focus on creating content for our channel. I went all in, studying how Youtube algorithms worked. One of the crucial elements in building a successful channel is to make sure  your Youtube thumbnail design is on point. I observed techniques many creators used in their thumbnail creation and put them to work for both my band and my regular clients.

Youtube Thumbnail Design Story

During the 2020 quarantine, I laser focused on some of my favorite creators. I noticed that channels such as Punk Rock MBA and Top Hat Gaming Man employed an effective thumbnail design style. Since thumbnails often display at very small sizes, it is important to maximize the space you are given. The most impactful art in this format tends to employ a bright colored background. A big, bold headline occupies approximately one half of the space, usually in white and outlined in black. Most importantly, the other half of the thumbnail usually features someone’s face, with a clear, often exaggerated expression. A face with an obvious expression, when paired with a compelling headline, can spark curiosity and generate clicks.

After study time, I put all of this knowledge to work. I sharpened my thumbnail skills while editing original music videos for Sempervivi and clips of Zoom classes by my clients You Net Results and Sara Drury. One such video for the band enabled me to partner with my favorite female pro wrestler Thunder Rosa, using footage from her career before she signed with AEW.

Do You Need A Youtube Thumbnail Design Created? Contact Me Today!

From the beginning, I have loved creating quick turnaround web graphics. Moving from one concept to the next on a tight deadline keeps my creative skills sharp. Do you need an experienced graphic designer to make your Youtube thumbnail design shine? Perhaps you even might need some video editing for your productions. Contact me today to see if we are a good fit!

Anniversary shirt design - Lynagh's Irish Pub - Lexington, KY

Lynagh’s Irish Pub

Lexington, KY

The staff at Lynagh’s Irish Pub have been great to me over the past few years. They have hired me for some of my favorite apparel and concert poster projects. Despite the COVID-19 pandemic reducing all of our local gathering places to carry-out only in 2020, the owner Jeb was still looking ahead to next year. He contracted me for an anniversary shirt design to commemorate Lynagh’s 40th year of service.

Anniversary shirt design diary

As usual, Jeb gave me one bullet point and let me run with it. He requested that I recreate the Lynagh’s storefront from a few photos he sent. Other than that, he gave me complete creative freedom. I rubbed my hands together and started sketching out the perfect apparel design for this special occasion.

Initially, I intended on featuring the storefront front and center, with all of the other elements situated behind it. However, the building is not exactly very distinct, apart from the signs on top of the roof. I decided it would be more effective it were “contained” within a shield shaped frame. I made a very detailed drawing of the store, including the West Sixth Brewing neon sign in the window. The glass door opens to invite everyone in the friendly confines of the pub. I took some liberties with the illustration for artistic effect. Specifically, I enlarged the signs on the roof so they would stand out more within the shield. I needed to maximize the space on the art board. I also added a black “night sky” with stylized stars to help the sign pop more.

Finally, I laid out the shield and the heraldry. Outside the frame, I added a civic crown wrapping around either side in order to add a touch of class. I typed “40th Anniversary” in the Copperplate font, and then placed it into a double stacked banner in the center. To balance all of the elements out, I added a three leafed shamrock at the bottom, as well as a regal crown on top. The years 1981 and 2001 proudly display on either side of the crown.

Contact me today for your own anniversary shirt design

Does your business have an important milestone coming up? Let’s celebrate! Contact me today.