Thursday, December 13, 2007

Nothing says Happy Holidays like a Store Window!

Ever since the Intuit project wrapped, I've been busy helping some local retailers prepare for their holiday season. At Wag hotels, I art directed a photo shoot of some darling dogs in their holiday finest for use in the windows and in store.

We at Studio Picotee put ourselves in the dogs' position so see what they would like for the holidays and came up with some fun wish lists for them too. Rumor has it that Santa will be making an appearance at Wag, and I hear he understands barks and whines.

Along with Wag, a store that is a winter staple in all our wardrobes, The North Face, asked me to help them out with some type treatments for their holiday windows. They already had the birch theme in effect, but just needed a little polish on the decal. Based on the number of times I was asked to send along that artwork, I have a feeling it's ending up in more places than just in the windows.

I also just came across a great article on that which is what reminded me to do this post. Entitled "World's Stylish Holiday Window Displays", the article covers some of the key marketing points to why holiday windows are so important to retailers. And make sure you check out their pictures - there are some fantastic ones that the big stores in New York get to do. Someday, I hope to be a part of that!

Happy Holidays to All!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Do you know Jack?

Not only is Studio Picotee hitting the road with Intuit's Just Start campaign, we're also hitting the shelves with Earbud Jack! Jack is a neat little gadget that my friend, Mike Simmons, invented to keep your earbud cords organized and free of knots.

Studio Picotee designed the packaging using translucent plastic to show off the product since the way he is attached would otherwise hide most of it. And the graphic of the earbuds superimposed on the plastic illustrates how Jack is used. And the copy, written by Katie Ginder-Vogel of Poppy Communications is written to give Jack some personality. He's your fun friend who's got it all together.

Jack just arrived, so get him while the getting's good! He'll make a great stocking stuffer too! The best place to buy on-line is at MacFriends.

Jack's got it all wrapped up.

Just Start!

Some have you have heard about this from me, and others may have wondered where I went to the last 3 months. Well, the day is almost upon us when the project that I have been absorbed by is coming to fruition. It is a traveling booth for Intuit (the QuickBooks people) to help spread the word about their free software (which unfortunately doesn’t work on a Mac) and encourage people to start up their small business dreams.

I took this on because the customer they were speaking to was me, having just started my business a year earlier! It was a lot of fun to think of ways to give people the motivation to start their own thing. I designed the logo for the campaign and the overall look and feel of the booth and the collateral. I did contribute some to the website as well, but mostly that was an Intuit thing. Katie Ginder-Vogel, Petra Andersson-Pardini, and Dana Glenn were members of my team who helped me take this on. I couldn’t have done it without them.

I’m off to Seattle to see the event in action next week, so look out for some pics on my website or blog shortly. There’s been a lot going on at Studio Picotee, so stay tuned for more once the dust settles on this one.

Here’s the blurb from Grow – the marketing company I worked with on this:

To further empower the 10+ million Americans who dream of doing their own thing, QuickBooks Simple Start is sponsoring a nationwide JUST START contest where one grand prize winner will receive $50K ($40K in cold hard cash and $10K in expert resources) to get their business started or to take it to the next level. Submit a photo or video entry stating what you want to Just Start, what you're resigning from and what you'd do with the $50K worth of help to enter.

Also, we're hitting the road to share the news -- the campaign will come to life through the Just Start Lounge, interactive pop-up experiences inside high traffic commuter hubs. Here people can meet with Simple Start guides, small business consultants and entrepreneurs to get inspiration and free guidance to help them make the jump. Of course there will be detailed tutorials on how to use the free QuickBooks Simple Start software and all kinds of inside scoop, plus a chance to enter the contest by having the video contest entry filmed for you by a pro.

We'll be in the following markets on the below dates helping the people who aspire to do their own thing to make the jump (and Just Start)...
• Seattle: West Lake Center; October 24-25
• Chicago: Union Station; November 1 -2
• New York: Grand Central Station; November 8-9
• Boston: South Station; November 13 -14

Check out the web site - - to help you with resources and the possibility of a nice chunk of change...I know most of you do dream of your own thing or have just started it...

Feel free to enter yourselves in the contest, download their software (if you’re on a PC), and take the plunge to Just Start! I know someone who can help you with business cards. ;)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Flash Games for Healthy Relationships

Finally, one of my first projects as Studio Picotee has come to life on the web! It's been one of the hardest ones to explain, so now you can see it for yourself.

My client, Power of Two, is a marriage counseling service, and they were awarded a grant from the federal government to create interactive content that teaches relationship skills to unwed, expecting parents. A pretty narrow segment, I know! I think we did a pretty good job of creating a collection of games to teach and demonstrate positive skills for preserving a relationship during a time of life changes.

As Creative Director of Power of Two, I oversaw the look and feel of these games, and created many of the flat templates that the animators used to make the games a reality. And I also designed the Power of Two logo as well as the ads on the BabyFit site pointing you to the games. This was definitely an educational experience for me, as I learned a lot about flash animation, game design and more about the technical side of design like this. We're currently working on episodes 7 and 8, and they're getting better every time.

Take a look at the first three games posted here on BabyFit. Feel free to play them comment on them etc. And I hope you enjoy them!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Old Enough to Buy Art 3

Not like Studio Picotee needs side projects, but this has become an annual event that despite the work that goes into it, it ends up being totally worth it. Since I'm low on extra time today, I'm going to post here the press release so graciously written by my dear friend Katie Ginder-Vogel. I hope to see you at the show!

“Old Enough to Buy Art 3” Benefits National Parkinson Foundation
Innovative San Francisco Art Gallery Show Attracts New Collectors

San Francisco, Calif.—August 16, 2007—Studio Picotee, a San Francisco-based design firm that works with clients such as Wag Hotels, the Gap, and The North Face, is sponsoring an art show to benefit the National Parkinson Foundation. The goal is to provide a comfortable venue where young collectors can find accessible, enjoyable art that they want to bring into their homes. The show will take place September 19-22 and 25-26 at the Melting Point Gallery, 1340 Bryant Street, San Francisco, 94103.

Show Curator Heather Landers, the Design Director of Studio Picotee, conceived of the show when she turned 30, as a way to celebrate her friends’ creativity, and art she admired. Landers was able to introduce her peers to the idea of collecting art while giving back to the community.

“You’ll see pieces here that you may not consider to be art, or works a little rough around the edges. I did that on purpose, because I believe everyone needs a little piece of art in his or her life--in whatever form speaks to him or her. It’s not always going to be a Rembrandt or a Picasso – it might just be a friend or neighbor’s piece. It might be by someone you’ve never met, but somehow, they captured exactly what you were thinking. Or maybe it just makes you smile and would look great in your kitchen. Take a look around. See what you like. Ask questions, and see what the artists have to say,” Landers said.

Prices are under $250 for works by local, up-and-coming artists, as well as established designers. The mixed-media show includes photography, prints, and paintings. Artists may earn 50% of the sales from their work but are encouraged to consider full donations or their art. Prints and multiples are preferred. The show is a fundraiser for the National Parkinson Foundation, an organization that resonates with Landers and a number of the artists and organizers involved with the event, who have family members who suffer from the disease. This year’s show even features an artist who has Parkinson’s himself and has managed to use his tremor to his advantage in making art.

“We can all do our small part to make a contribution to the scientific research that will hopefully someday find a cure for our loved ones, and in the meantime, make it easier for them to cope and survive,” said Landers.

The opening reception will be held Wed, Sept 19 7-9pm, and the artists will be present. Last year’s show drew hundreds of people over the course of its run, and a generous donation was made to NPF, doubling the amount raised in 2005. The event has proven to be a popular opportunity for new collectors to add work to their burgeoning collections. The work is pocketbook-friendly and offers the added draw of benefiting a worthy cause.

Remarks Landers, “No matter how old you are, you are Old Enough to Buy Art.”

More information may be found at

About Studio Picotee
Studio Picotee ( offers a range of creative services, including large-scale graphics for retail and corporate environments; branding consultation and design; consumer packaging; personalized invitations; and custom wine labels.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

1 Year Anniversary of Studio Picotee

This is it. Today is my one year Anniversary. And as promised, I've got an update for you all in one place here.


One year ago today, Studio Picotee became a reality, and I started my independent design services business. Somewhat to my surprise it wasn’t as hard as it could have been, and much to my delight, it has been going very well; I've stayed very busy (more than I ever imagined!), and have little to complain about. I definitely think this is a sign that all the stars were in alignment, and Studio Picotee was meant to be.

I've updated my website a bit - added in some more features, but of course there is still more I could do. I've gathered images from some of my recent projects with Wag Hotels, the North Face and some wine label designs. But there are small teasers from many of my clients as well, so that you can see the range of work I've been doing. (You may need to empty your cache on your browser to make sure you see all the updates.)

This experience has really helped me figure out what I'm good at, what I should focus on, and what I need to learn more about. I have had so many opportunities to try out all sorts of design, and I really appreciate all my clients who have trusted me to delve into an area that may be somewhat new to me.

Power of Two
has asked me to expand my knowledge of interactive design, and combine it with my branding and environmental design work, to create a virtual environment for their new line of interactive games that teach relationship skills. These games will be available on any day now, so stay tuned and I'll let you know when you can check them out.

The North Face has been a wonderful client who has really pushed me creatively to come up with some really fun graphics to go with their seasonal campaigns. On my website (and in stores!), you'll see my work for First Ascents of the 70's, but I also just finished a project for them that is dear to my heart. This program is about the last non-motor-powered trek across Antarctica, instead it was by dogsled. Along with some great posters, we did some super fun dog silhouettes cut from each of the participating countries' flags. Very punk rock. I can't wait to see the photos of these elements in real life.

BellyBar continues to keep me busy with all sorts of marketing elements. Postcards, mailers, ads and now their website, trade show booth, and even a POP display are in the works. As their business grows, I am growing too, which makes for a really great relationship.

TFC is a fulfillment center and marketing services provider up in Napa who has also been testing my range of capabilities. I started last year designing a truck wrap for their delivery truck, but more recently got involved with designing some charts to explain their services and processes. Information graphics for a sales presentation are a completely different way of thinking than trucks, so it was a great brain exercise! I’ve also continued to help them brand their new products and keep up the look and feel as they also grow.

Kaia Foods
is launching a new line of buckwheat granola, for which I did the packaging labels. This was great fun to be part of a start up, and I learned a lot about natural raw foods! It’s pretty tasty actually, so look out for it on your natural grocer’s shelves soon, as the labels are due from the printer any day now!

And of course, Wag Hotels is now up and running. You all probably got my notes on it when it opened, but now you can see pictures on my website. That was very fun content – how can you not love looking at pictures of dogs all the time!?

I’ve also continued to do work for the Gap, Robert Frear Architects, the March of Dimes, the Rush Group and Along with the retail and print graphics, tradeshow booths and packaging projects keep popping up as projects requested by many clients and are proving to be quite fun to work on.

The other thing that I have really learned over the course of this past year is what great people I have met throughout my career and how wonderfully supportive you all have been. Whether it’s referring clients, providing your services, working together, or just being an ear to bounce around ideas with, I can’t do it without you. This may be a sole proprietorship, but I certainly am not out there doing all this alone.

Studio Picotee is also working on some fun things on the side, so be sure to check out the website for the links to my SuperBaby line of products on CaféPress as well as info about the 3rd Old Enough to Buy Art show coming up in September!


Thursday, August 02, 2007

Not for a lack of news

Studio Picotee has been very busy this summer - the lack of posts is not for a lack of news! I'm approaching my one year anniversary next week, at which point I will compose a very well documented update of the year in review, but in the meantime, I'd be happy if you checked out my latest update to my website. I'm still working out some kinks - trying to use iWeb to do the layout on my own. It's been fun to play with, but as I'm sure many of you who also manage your own website, there are about a million different ideas for it!

And here's a picture of my latest work up in the stores! First Ascents of the 70's for North Face.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Wag Pet Hotels Opening!

Finally, my first client as Studio Picotee is opening its doors in San Francisco in May. Wag Hotels and Stores opens May 12 with opening festivities both the 12th and the 13th. Come on by and see what Studio Picotee has been up to!

We designed all the permanent signage for this facility, everything including the front entry signage, the code required signs, room signs for the dog hotel "rooms," and all the people room signs too. (Make sure you go to the bathroom and see the signs there!)

We also did a lot of consultation on the retail store area as well as designed all the graphics within this space.

This project has been a long time in coming, but it's looking good so far, so I can't wait until you all can see it in person. I'll post pictures as soon as I get some when it's really ready!

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Branding your Business

I came across this article today in the SF Chronicle Business Section. It really says it all in terms of the importance of your company's brand, especially as you're getting started or trying to launch into a new arena.

Branding is key to future success for small companies and startups

They use Apple as a good example to follow. Being a veteran of the Apple Graphic Design Department, where I lived and breathed "good branding" for 4 years, I learned a thing or two. They make sure everything they do is brand appropriate, and even if a project is really simple or seems inconsequential, it still follows the brand standards. By keeping these rules handy it makes the design aesthetic very recognizable. Something you want in a strong brand.

Take a look and come back and talk to me! I'd be happy to help you make your brand a reality.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Spring Blooms for Studio Picotee

Studio Picotee has officially been in business now for just over 6 months, and we're doing great, thanks in large part to YOUR support and connections!

I just did some quickie updates to the website, so you can see what we're up to. The site is still somewhat archaic in its production value, but that's on the list to change soon!

First, I've added Celebrations by Studio Picotee. This is our offering of custom invitations and party designs. Wedding season is fast approaching, so get on the docket soon! Babies, birthdays, and all sorts of other reasons to celebrate are on the horizon, so please let me know if we can help you with anything from ideas to invitations.

Next, I just went to a talk about Art in the City, and it inspired me to get the 2007 Old Enough to Buy Art 3 show started. One of the things discussed was that San Francisco won't become a mecca for the arts because there aren't enough buyers. I hope to change that by getting us all to think about the value of buying art, along with the value of making it. Check out the website to see pictures from last year, and start thinking about submitting something or volunteering to help this year.

And lastly, a short summary of the past 6 months:
**Opening March 31 - Wag Hotels San Francisco (14th St, behind Rainbow Grocery)
Studio Picotee has designed the permanent signage and retail graphics and consulted on a number of other retail and design concerns for this new store and pet hotel. Come check it out!

** trade show booth
Studio Picotee concepted and designed this booth to support's message and highlight their special products during their managers' conference in Kansas City.
I got a very nice note upon completion of the show from the project manager: "I just wanted to let you know that the space was well received in KC, to put it lightly. Everyone from Merchandising to Marketing LOVED it. They've said it was the best show ever, and I want to thank you for your help in conceptualizing the space and executing on the design."

**Power of Two branding and on-line games

Studio Picotee has acted as Creative Director for the Power of Two, a relationship counseling practice that was recently awarded a hefty federal grant to produce content to promote lasting relationships among unwed pregnant couples. This has been a great challenge – not only in design, but also in managing multiple contractors to get the work done, expanding my skills into the interactive realm, and getting my head around a new area of content – pregnancy and expecting parents. I'll share the games in the next update – they're about to roll off the line soon!

**Gap training tools
One of the nicest things about this new gig is getting to keep in touch with old friends by continuing to work with them at the Gap. I have been able to support the Learning and Development team by designing magazines and other training tools that go into the Gap stores. In keeping with my newfound area of expertise, I have been focusing a lot on the kids, baby and maternity business.

**Belly Bar branding and design support
Again – on that pregnancy line, I've found a client who has a fantastic product which makes it a lot of fun to design for. Belly Bar makes nutrition bars for expecting moms (and they're good for women in general!). Studio Picotee has been supporting their design needs from web banners to magazine ads, from shelf talkers to brand identity.

There's been more in there too, but these are some highlights for now. So far, so good! I'm looking forward to what the next 6 months bring!