Friday, September 26, 2008

More press on HAMMERPRESS

HAMMERPRESS, the Kansas City letterpress studio teamed up with Chronicle Books on a provocatively patterned set of 12 mix-and-match gift bags. There are sizes to cover most of your standard gift-giving occasions, plus a sticker sheet to let you add your own texture.

Just don't cry when your niece tears one to shreds.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

100 Best Companies for Working Mothers :: 2008 List

Hallmark is officially one of the best companies in America for working mothers. That’s the conclusion of Working Mother magazine, which named Hallmark to its 100 Best Companies list for 2008.

The list recognizes companies nationwide that are “leading by example, giving women the programs, choices and support they need to shine at work and at home.”

Now, I'm not a mom yet, but I hope to be some day (a long, long time from now...). I also have a lot of friends here at Hallmark who are moms. For all the mothers here, and for potential future mothers, it is empowering to work for a company that supports family and work/life balance.

Here are some quick facts about Hallmark's benefits for working mothers, and you can click here to read more about Hallmark and the other 99 2008 winners.

Quick Facts
-31,412 total employees (nationwide; approx. 5,000 at KC World Headquarters); 25,951 women (nationwide; no data on number of women at KC World Headquarters)
-57% Women among top earners (nationwide); 1,162 women managers/executives (nationwide)
-Hallmark was the only Kansas City-based company honored on the 100 Best Companies for Working Moms list
-While based on the business needs of each area, Hallmark’s policies support flexible work hours, job sharing, telecommuting, voluntary time off and leaves of absence for all employees
-All employees can take advantage of many family-friendly programs and learning opportunities, strong healthcare benefits, and generous paid time off

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Freshest

Here's a quicky from us. But a longy (is that an expression?) from Design Sponge.


It's an interview with KC's own Fresher than Fresh Sno-Cone's. It's new to me today because i hadn't been back to Design Sponge in a while, but it was posted last Thursday. So if you frequent, you may have already seen it. It's a good interview and it's great she is getting some widespread recognition.

Happy Monday.


Friday, September 19, 2008

HomeGrown, Part 2

Since Josh put the pressure on me to post more on this event (ha ha, just kidding Josh), here some of my thoughts and pics from the event.

We (the AIGA KC board) have had this "homegrown" idea in mind for some time. Our Programming Chair, Anne-Marie, finally gave the idea wings, and worked her magic to make it fly (forgive the cheesy comparison, but that is what it felt like when it finally came together). The timing seemed right for this idea when we learned some surprising statics from and recent U.S. Census data study. Kansas City currently ranks 6th in the nation for over all concentration of Graphic Designers. We are also 8th in overall concentration of Visual Artists, and 3rd in the nation for overall concentration of Architects. Now these are stats that need to be celebrated!

This first edition of HomeGrown was set up as a dialogue (as just mentioned) between two small, local design firms who have received national recognition and awards for their work. These firms could have chosen to put their roots in any city, but selected KC as their place to start, to thrive, and to grow, maybe not in size, but in stature. Future HomeGrown evens will include Studio Tours and more Dialogues. The next HomeGrown is set for mid-December, and will be a studio tour of Barkley, a KC-based ad agency.

And now, without further ado, the photo-recap of HomeGrown: Hammerpress + Design Ranch.

Limited Edition posters designed for the event.

A crowd begins to gather at Rush Wade 2 Studio, who graciously donated their space for the event.

Lindsay L., creator and owner of Fresher than Fresh sold tasty homemade (and all natural) frozen treats.

A big crowd gathers to participate in the Design Ranch & Hammerpress dialogue.

The dialogue begins with Ingred Sidie (not pictured) presenting Design Ranch's portfolio while Michelle Sonderegger (left, Design Ranch), Erin Mills (middle, the dialogue moderator), and Brady Vest (right, Hammerpress) discuss.

Special thanks to Lorraine R. of LorraineDesign for the photos. [Note: Lo just started on the AIGA KC board as our new Event Photographer. All of her AIGA KC event photos can be seen on Flickr].

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

KC HomeGrown

Tonight, AIGA held an event at Rush Wade Photography showcasing some of Kansas City's own. Known nationally for their impact on the design community came Brady Vest from Hammerpress, and Ingred Sidie and Michelle Sonderegger of Design Ranch. The greatest impact to me was the sheer honesty and willingness to share how they really felt. There was an unexpected contrast between Brady, who still believes in a very "indie" outlook on his business (even with the significant growth of this company in the last few years), and Ingred and Michelle's corporate dealings with fun high-profile companies like Buckle and HR Block. What both companies definitely had in common was they clearly have a love for this city, and would only like to see the best things come from it. Each of them from the Midwest, they all seem eager to "expand the bubble" of the "truly" great things happening here.
Over all, it was an inspiring talk from three totally rad people, especially for the younger designers in the audience; sharing some of their triumphs and pitfalls of being in the "big-times". Not to mention "Fresher than Fresh" brought snow cones! This could be the first of many in this series so keep an ear out, it could well be worth your time.

I'm sure Erin would like to add a little more about this event (and maybe some pictures, if you are lucky), so stay tuned.


Monday, September 15, 2008

Creativity In Living

"The person who follows the crowd will usually get no further than the crowd. The person who walks alone is likely to find oneself in places no one else has been. Creativity in living is not without its attendant difficulties, for peculiarity breeds contempt and the unfortunate thing about being ahead of your time is that when people finally realize you were right, they'll say that it was obvious all along. You have two choices in life. You can dissolve it into the mainstream or you can be distinct. To be distinct you must be different. To be different is to strive to be what no one else but you can be." -Unknown

Some Monday inspiration.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Z.L. Newton and KC Songwriters

Ah yes, I'm back. Have no fear. I haven't been around for a while because I've been working hard of lots of cool stuff I can't talk about. I'm sure you didn't even notice i was gone, but I'm sorry anyhow. As time goes by I am slowly becoming the token music guy. But that's a perfect role for me, because I just love it. Here's what's tonight:

Tonight, starting at 7, at Blayney's Irish Pub in Westport (415 Westport Rd.), they are holding part of the KC Songwriters Acoustic Showcase. If you are into folk music, you are in for a folkin' good time (sorry, some Shoebox-eque humor there). Pubs are the perfect atmosphere for it.

Maybe most importantly, one of Hallmarks own designers, Z.L. Newton (flyer pictured above) will be subbing in at the show at 7:30. He has a talent for story telling, and a shaky folk voice that's perfect to tell it with. He'll also have CD's for sale at the show, one of which is a brand new EP.

So, go, have a cold one and enjoy some music if you live in the area. And if you don't, try clicking on some of those links and giving the bands a listen.

The lineup is as follows:
7:00 Kaye Johnston
7:30 Z.L. Newton -
8:00 Elaine McMilian
8:30 Dan Divine

Sorry, I'm not sure if there is a cover.

Until next time,

Tuesday, September 9, 2008


Pictured above is my friend Pat (far left), me (gray t-shirt), my friend Stacy (red shirt), and the members of improv group Der Monkenpickel featuring Jason Sudeikis (far right).

This past Saturday I spent the day participating in the KC Improv Festival Workshops. What a fun experience! I had been a member of an improv group back in high school, but I have to admit I was a bit scared to dive into an all day event where I was forced out of my comfort zone. Luckily I had two of my wackiest (that's a compliment) friends come down from Iowa to join me.

We spent the morning with Jill Bernard, a professional improv performer from Minneapolis, learning her method of VAPAPO. Focusing on Voice, Attitude, Posture, Animal, Prop, or Obsession we were able to build compelling characters to create scenes and situations. Let me tell you, it was hilarious.

In the afternoon we learned how to take absolutely everything further with Eric Davis. Following impulses and feelings we acted upon them, and continued pushing it further and further and further and further....

The day concluded with a performance and after party. Both were fantastic! Jason Sudeikis (of SNL fame) performed with his group, Jill Bernard did her unbelievably entertaining "Drum Machine", as well as two other talented groups played to a sold out theater. The after party was held at Bar Natasha where Jason Sudeikis took the stage for a couple of numbers.

The KC Improv Festival was a great experience! You can catch local improvisers this weekend at the H&R Block City Stage in Union Station. Click this link to order tickets. (PS- Hallmark's own Trish Berrong is a member of the group "Tantrum.") Don't miss it!

Read what the Kansas City Star had to say about it here.

Monday, September 8, 2008

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