Thursday, November 14, 2013

Client Spotlight - Freya Metaphysical Enterprises Inc.

I've always had an interest in the unusual and the supernatural, and being a long-time friend with the co-owner of Freya seemed like the perfect opportunity for me to flex a bit and combine two interests.

When we first started discussing the overall brand for this company, there were many things that wanted to be considered: a warm, inviting atmosphere, a little of the beaten path, and honorarium to the mystical side of the goddess Freya and the supernatural nature of the business. We wanted the support images to capture these later ideas, and so I used nature imagery (the stars, the moon, leaves, etc.) to tie together the natural with the supernatural.

I chose a font appropriate to Freya, sort of a Celtic font (with Celtic adornments), and then used a fitting secondary font to create the tagline. There's also an homage to the cardinal elements found in the choice of colours, just to add a little fun :)

As usual, the logo was rolled out onto some corporate materials, and we were able to put together a nice little website for all the company events and seminars that they do. For those that don't want to click the link, here's an excerpt to let you know what Freya Metaphysical is all about:

We offer helpful workshops and presentations to stimulate your mind.  Ongoing discussion groups to discuss the metaphysical realm of life!  Browse metaphysical products and art.  Vibe room for consultations for entertainment purposes by a number of intuitive workers.
Drop by, we would like to meet you!

And from their Facebook page:

Our Mission is to bring the best-of-the best local Psychic/Mediums to you, and to help nurture and enlighten folks with innovative Spiritual Development, Seminars, Education Programs, and Guest Speakers. To take all that we grow with and open it up like a flower bud to blossom into a flourishing bloom.

As always, thanks for reading :)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Client Spotlight - Living Out Loud!

While I was still in the Niagara region, I was contacted to work a small business start up package for a young woman who had just come through the same program that I had.

We sat down at a local Tim Hortons to chat face to face, and I can honestly it was one of those initial client meetings I wish I had all the time! Morgan was so involved in the work that she did, and had such a passion for it that it was easy to get caught up in what Living Out Loud! is all about. Here's a little bit about the company, from their Facebook page:

Living Out Loud listens to the needs expressed by its families and creates programs to meet those specific needs.
Our Place provides children with exceptional abilities and their families somewhere to drop in and hang out. Our Place offers parents and their families the opportunity to relax, visit with friends, collaborate resources and gain support. We offer an accepting and empowering atmospher
e where all who come feel welcome.
Every child deserves to discover what lights them up. The Dream Catchers program creates a personalized plan to not only allow your child to discover what lights them up, but to help them become great at it. You can then take your personalized plan and apply it at home, in a school setting, or join us weekly to spend time with other Dream Catchers.
Living Out Loud would like to make a lasting difference for you and your family.

Morgan had a thousand and one ideas about what she wanted to do to help those kids, but like most small businesses had no clue how she wanted the company brand to look like.  In the end, we were able to brainstorm some solid imagery, and developed the logo below:

We were both very happy with the result here: able to capture the overall energy and drive of the company, while still speaking to the core concept of children being able to use their services to reach for their dreams, to take the "wish" and make it a reality. The concepts we worked through for this design were similar from start to finish, only because we were able to grab everything Morgan wanted pretty much off the bat :)

For a bit more information, check out this article.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Client Spotlight - Motivated Motion

Today's client spotlight features the always interesting, the bizarre, and the wonderful Motivated Motion. In one way or another, I've been working with Motivated Motion for a long time: I did some work with the owner's son years ago, I consulted on several side projects, and we're finally working to roll out the business proper!

Here's a little bit about the business from the Facebook page:

The Motivated Motion Gallery is where you can find out the daily goings-on of Motivated Motion. Crafty Metaphysical Shop at The Courtice ON Flea Market
This is a quickly growing company. It started as a logistics company and evolved to a driving instruction company, and then upon the retirement of its owner Lynn Tucker- became an online craft boutique. In 2013 Motivatd Motion is taking a new approach to the business. It is becoming a full Metaphysical Shop with hand made jewelry, needle felted sculptures and wet felted table and alter cloths. Plus we are doing a great number of Psychic Fairs in Ontario throughout the year. We also have expanded our E-Commerse to a main site for our Spiritual Products and Etsy for our Handmade Products, all available at
 For anyone interested in unique, handmade crafts and jewellery, and you're in the Oshawa area, I highly recommend them (and not because I get a new toaster with three more referrals ;) ).
The company logo. Design was based on the mascot from years ago, which was a small, stuffed mouse.

Some concepts for the landing page of the main website.
These will in turn link to various shopping sites.
As always, thanks for reading!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Live And Direct From Oshawa...

Good morning everyone!

Carla and I get back from our honeymoon, and are automatically hit with a hundred things to do. We get about a week free to decompress when Carla finds out that she got a new position with the school board out in Peterborough.

This is great, it means she has work :) But it naturally explodes more things we have to do. At this point, aside from balancing out the things we still need to do from the wedding (the thank yous are coming!) we now need to find a place in the area AND get a second car.

At about this time as well, we take up some dear friends' offer to move in with them for a while until we figure out what we're doing. These two weeks are pretty busy, but I manage to get a bit of work done while Carla galavants around taking trips here and there and getting some other details taken care of.

In and around this time, Carla's brother also gets married, and we offer to do some of the work for his wedding (made the cake, provided the deserts for dinner) as he was very helpful and involved in ours. If you're reading this sir, thanks :)

I manage to make it around for some meetings and set up some possible new work around this time, which is nice. But as day leads unto day, we find ourselves at the weekend before Carla is set to start work and still don't have our own place or a car. Cue in yet another amazing friend who lets us stay with her for a week until we can sort that out. If you're reading this madam, thanks :)

While we managed to borrow a second car, I got out into town and did some networking, joining some groups, things like that. I'm really letting some personal projects slip though, and I absolutely want to be addressing those. Remember this one? It's next on that list.

So after a few days we find a nice basement apartment and move ourselves in. We still need a second car because I'm sort of confined to the house otherwise. I'd love to get along with some of those side projects again, the the apartment is FILLED with boxes, and in those boxes things, and on those things, dust. We're almost done moving in just in time to become Fall-busy :P

And THAT'S what I did for my Summer vacation :D

Thanks for reading ;)

Monday, July 29, 2013

San Diego - I Con You Not! Part 1

Hello everyone!

It's been a while since the crew have posted a new blog entry here, but I promise you there have been some very good reasons!

First, since I posted last, I got married :D I'm now officially an old man, and that's not including having kids or my own house or any of that stuff yet. The wedding was amazing, and we had a lot of our own little touches in practically every aspect of it (could you expect anything less from a designer??), from the Stag and Doe:

To the invitations that we sent out:

Followed right into the wedding itself, where we came up with creating table numbers based on different things we liked:

As well as labels for both the wine bottles and the tea-themed favours that we gave to all our guests:

I'm particularly proud of the thank you gifts I gave to all my groomsmen. I found a template online to create a papercraft tuxedo, so I ran out to Michaels and picked up the exact colours of the tuxes, vests and bow ties and went to work creating miniature replicas of everything! I added the final pieces to a shadow box and included a small commemorative plaque :) Oh, by the way, everyone also got a copy of Amazing Spider-man Annual #21, the famous wedding issue ;)

Those are just some of the highlights of our wedding :) We were back from the wedding for about a week when we managed to land tickets to the San Diego Comic Con honeymoon! Look for the upcoming post about that trip. Nerds: it was epic :D

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Designing Intelligently, One Year Later

Greetings again from the collection of folding tables and chairs that is my office :)

It was one year ago today that I officially launched Intelligent Designs!
One year ago today I was sitting nervously in my first small business class with the instructors from Ontario Office Works Inc. getting primed on how to properly start up, build, and maintain my small business, and it's been one solid ride since.

I post or two ago I mentioned that I wanted to switch up the format of how I write these blog posts, wanting to involved my readers (and their readers, and so on...) in a little bit more of what my process is for what I do, and to give back a little to the numerous businesses that have helped me grow along the way by giving me a chance :) Today is going to be a soft start to this new world order, and I figured that a little bit about OOW and the people there is a great way to start.

Lifted from their website:
Ontario Office Works Inc. started in 1994 to provide assistance to businesses in implementing employment equity in the workplace. Diversity is still an important aspect of our training. In 1995 we started providing Self Employment Support to individuals on behalf of Human Resources Development Canada. We continue to provide self employment support to individuals through the Ontario Self Employment Benefit Program on behalf of the Ministry of Training Colleges and Universities. This Employment Ontario service is funded in part by the Government of Canada.

Ontario Office Works Inc. has helped more than 1,100 people start their own businesses since 1995. We are here to help you explore the possibility of becoming self employed and determine what is right for you!

The staff at the office are amazing at what they do, too. They're a team of bookkeepers, accountants, social media experts, etc., each able to answer a variety of my constant questions and help grow every aspect of my business. Although I've been working graphic design freelance for many years at this point, I had no idea how to do it for myself, and they walked me through through enough of the process that I can now say to other people "hey, it's a little scary, but running your own business is actually pretty easy once you get the pieces sorted out!"

I've also taken them on as a client, and am currently working on a number of visual communication pieces for them, including updating their logo, their brochures, window decals, and their charter, which I feel sums up their business perfectly:

Ontario Office Works Inc OOWI OOW Charter Robert Stea Intelligent Designs

A big thank you to the team at Ontario Office Works for putting me where I am today, and a big thank you to all the readers that keep this blog going.

Thanks as always for reading!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Check One Off The Bucket List

Greetings all!

Thanks for sticking around! I know there hasn't been an update in a while, but that's because weddings are hard :P In the next little while I'm hoping to even out the work-life balance, and am actually thinking of doing a little retooling to the blog here in a hope to involve my readers more in the workings  of Intelligent Designs, as well as to bring a steadier stream of content.

Stay tuned for that :)

But to the post at hand!
This past weekend was Headshots From The Heart, which you all know I was (and will continue to be as long as they'll have me) the official graphics supporter for :) The entire event went off swimmingly, and it was a lot of fun. For the second year running, Kwartzlab hosted the event, and while I would love in this post to tell you all about them, I'm going to leave that for an upcoming update.

But Kwartzlab is awesome because I was finally able to take the Blender TARDIS that I had built and run it through a 3D Printer!!!!! I feel bad for Ben, who represented Kwartzlab while the event was going on, because I was totally geeking out about it and checking back on it every ten minutes :P

Anyway, pictures:

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Headshots From The Heart

Who doesn't like playing video games?

Who doesn't like donating to needy and/or sick children?

Who hasn't stayed up all night (at least once) wondering how in this age of computers and horseless transportation that they could save even a moment of their time by combining these two noble ideals into one, beautiful fulfillment?!?!


Headshots From The Heart, the wonderful, twenty-four hour, gruelling butt-numb-a-thon returns this year to help raise money for Child's Play. As with last year's event (where they played through the original), players will play through as much of Borderlands 2 as possible before their eyes start to bleed and fingers grow numb. Every head shot they secure gains them donations, and along the way they will be auctioning off amazing prizes, hosting live interviews, and giving the audience a chance to sit in a rotating chair and try their hands at eliminating the bad guys, one brainpan at a time!

They're still looking for volunteers, looking to fill the LAN party, and looking for general support, so pop on over to the website linked above and see what you can do. It's a good cause, and you know your momma says you should do it too ;)

For the second year running, Intelligent Designs is stepping up as an official sponsor, providing the creative team behind the event as much graphical support as possible. Things like banner ads:

Various logo designs for side projects:

As well as concepts for their achievements! These are super cool: the audience can actually contact the players AS THEY PLAY and pledge money to the cause in exchange for the characters performing and achieving certain goals, such as:

I could go on about how awesome it all is, but you really should check it out for yourself :)
As always, thanks for reading!

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Project - Mass Effect Valentines

To wrap up the massive Valentine's Day card rush I had this year, I've been working on a Mass Effect themed card for a client whose boyfriend loves the game franchise.

I was looking for an excuse to try something new with this project (as I normally am with each new venture) and my client was very open to any idea I had. I opted to attempt a coded message style screen, like the old books you used to buy with the special glasses? You know? Yea, you know...

Overall, I'm very happy with this project. I learned a little bit more about 3-dimensionalizing objects and building them out of parts to a new, final project. As this was the first time I tried one of these secret message, I also experimented a lot with the transparencies and realize now that when you create a .pdf, it flattens them :P

Anyway, I hope you enjoy as much as my client! Thanks for reading :)

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Blender Update #2

The design is done, and I caught a tutorial on how to turn it into a MagicEye, although that process now is turning a little wonky :P

Thanks for reading!

Monday, April 8, 2013

Blender Update #1

The program is fun. Intuitive, but with a steep learning curve if you want to dive right in. Some wonderful Youtube tutorials help, plus I'm the type of person to just sort of go with it and look up questions when I get stuck :P

10 points to Gryffindor if you can tell what I've spent two days building ;)

Thanks for reading!

Friday, April 5, 2013

Wanna Build And Render A Heart Using Blender...

Watch is spin around in a beautiful oblivion....

I know you now have that song stuck in your head. You're welcome ;)

Something I've wanted to do for a long time now was create 3D models. Just sort of adding it to the laundry list of little niche skills I want to have.

This isn't really coming out of left field either: always wanting to push myself and try something new, I had a brief period there where I wanted to create special occasion cards (as I often do) with Magic Eye. So I went and found the program online that allows you to add the image to it, but you have to have a 3D image to start with. Reason #1.

A little while after that I got it in my head that I could create a cooler looking model for King of Tokyo than the card ones provided out of Sculpty. That was fine and dandy until I become more acquainted with 3D printing. So then I was totally down with that method, but you have to create a 3D model for the program to use. Reason #2.

Oh, and Carla wants to make some keychains :P Reason #3.

Off the hop, it looks like a beast of a program. Not difficult I'm sure if you know what you're doing, but I just sort of dove right in. Now I'm taking a step back and looking at some tutorials. I'll keep you posted ;)

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

What's Been Up

Greetings and salutations!

So there's been a couple of things happening since February, mostly work related things, a few small projects here and there, the typical ins and outs of running a business.

I had a wonderful odd call from someone randomly asking how much I charge for a logo. After launching into my speech about cost, value, etc. I found out she is from the Ontario Office Works program. lol. That's two people I've directly contacted out of that office now :)

I'm also into consideration for working on a retainer. This is huge for me. It means that I set a price for a certain amount of work over a certain amount of time, and that's my fee. I can make a couple of month's pay at once with this, and it guarantees work. I'll let you know how this goes.

I've been working through some side projects for friends also, cards and shirt designs (check my previous posts). I'll make full posts about the bigger projects when they're finished.

On top of all I'm working on the wedding :) I'm designing the signage and the cards and we're organizing the fun and games. Another post of wedding stuff will follow, as well as invitations and such :)

Thanks for reading!

Contests... For Science!

Good morning all.

I promise to create a legitimate post by the end of the day, but for now the wonderful Lara has pointed me in the direction of this contest. Looks pretty awesome :)

Who knew that being a designer and a nerd would eventually pay off, eh?  I've already posted some of my Portal related work here and here, but this gives me a chance to collect up some of the things I've done in the past :P

As always, I own the designs and the art, but I don't own any of the characters, their images, GlaDOS, the companion cube, and I don't work for Valve.... yet ;)

A Valentine's Day card I made waaaaay back...

 A poster I made for Carla when she was gone to Japan for a year...

A t-shirt I deisgned for my sister who wore it at a con last weekend.

Thanks for reading!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Valentines Double Shot!

So as I posted on my Facebook account, Valentines Day was just around the corner, and I was offering the creation of custom, nerdy cards for your geeklove.

Well, the wonderful Lara commissioned me to create a card for her boyfriend, who is madly in love with Game of Thrones. For those of you who aren't, well, there's no accounting for everyone.

With the limited timeline to needing this done (they did in fact only receive it in the mail today) I had to stick with interesting basics. This isn't to say that I skimped out on the card, or that they or I didn't love the results, but one day my cards will play music!

I also take the opportunity to make my fiancee a nice card when I can, and I put together this little gem because she too is a massive nerd and likes Portal...

As always, much love to you all, and thanks for reading!

Monday, January 28, 2013


It's still the start of a new year, and that means working up some new ideas, new projects, and some new fun to share with the world :) I have some new projects on that go that I'm hoping to report on in the near future, but for now I'd like to comment on this new thought experiment I'm involved in, brought to you by the brains floating in that jar over there...

I'm not going to go into the details now, I want you all to pop over, read it for yourself, and then hear what you have to say. But I am down with the idea. My goals look like this:

  • Gain a new client - I'm a freelance graphic designer and visual communications expert that owns his own business, so I'm trying to expand my client base.
  • Finish a play test of my board game - I love anything nerdy, I love board games, and I have an idea for one that fulfills a lot of needs for me. I need to complete a play through so that I can start the beta testing, and not just design the art for it.
  • Outline a single story I am writing - Not only do I do board games, I write. I have a number of stories bouncing around in my head and I should start outlining them in order to complete them.
  • Check off at least 4 things from the wedding list - A list of things yet to do for our upcoming wedding. Need to keep on track of it all so that it doesn't lag behind and we don't stress at the last minute.

I think they're pretty reasonable, and obtainable. I need a kick in the arse every now and again to keep working, and I fond that I had already let one or two goals lapse in the first cycle. If for no other eason, I hate not to feel like I'm accomplishing things!

Speaking of, I need to make some phone calls. Goal number one, after all :)

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Creativity Is Like A Race...

The first to the finish line gets the glory, everyone else gets to go home in defeat :P

At least I know I had mine finished, poster sized, ready as Christmas presents...

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Bit of Silly...

... in this commission for the holidays. Hope you enjoy!

Thanks for reading :)