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About a year ago I had breakfast at the Bijou Cafe with B Scott Taylor and Susan Bladholm. The conversation about typography and marketing the Greater Portland region lead to my attendance of a Portland Barnstormer’s meeting about a month later at North. I presented my font Portland and discussed the identity/characteristics of the city for which it is named. At subsequent meetings the group discussed how to market the region with local business leaders, a inspiring conversation lead by Thom Walters and Jerry Ketel that concluded with the showing of a video presented by Andy Frasier of Sockeye Creative.

A short time later Jerry Ketel enlisted me to design the identity. My first sketches were plays off G and P – very direct “Global Brand Minimalism.” The result was a little uninspired. I was sharing my sketches with Jerry, telling him how unhappy I was with the G and P devs when we got to something else that I had been sketching. Triangles.

Pages of them. I had been exploring 45 degree angles and come across forms that were speaking to me.

I explained that I thought it was a stretch, but there was a particular grouping that suggested trees, mountains, cities and that groups of triangles relate to connectivity and community. He didn’t think it was a stretch. He thought that it illustrated the creative tension between the Portland business community and Portland’s creative culture.

I tuned it upside down and developed the main color pallet.

The type treatment wanted to be geometric. Something like Avenir or Gotham, but have more individuality. I ended up adapting Rockwell Light, removing the slabs and making it feel like a refined Avant Garde ultra light. It also wanted to be something that engaged the form, hence the nesting and white space that is demands.

The mark is now starting to be used, as you can see in the “Join Us” video that Sockeye Creative made.

In late summer we had a collaborator round up of sorts at Bladberry Farms to introduce the brand and discuss the future. It has been an amazing process thus far.

I feel the need to mention as many of the collaborators as I can think of: Susan Bladholm, Jerry Ketel, Thom Walters, Rebecca Armstrong and Jim Carey of North, Andy Frasier and Pete Metz of Sockeye, Frank Grady and Andy Askren of Grady Britton, Meridel, Ron, Lynette…