I'm Julia Allen, a designer in Napa,
California. This blog is my place for
gathering and sharing inspiration.
It's also where I can share ideas and
processes for my design work.
(and sometimes, you might just see
a posting for the rant, of just because
a moment needed to be shared.)
Please feel free to say hello &
share your tendencies at
I had the pleasure of a visit from my friend Robert Swartley, one of the foremost talented engravers in the country. He brought over his current project, an antique gun. You can see the workmanship in the pistol grip, eventually gold to be applied in the deep grooves. He's a master. I am always in awe of his skills and artistry... and he has such a sweet heart. (hint hint, he works slow these days, but still is actively working!)
Christmas in August! No, not really, but feels like it when newly printed design samples grace my desk. This Save the Date event was inspired by The City Club of San Francisco - all dressed up in her glory of deco swirls and shimmery elegance. Loved the creative process on this one!
Feeling loads of gratitude for the work I receive and especially when the end product is met with praise... like awards.
Some nice mentions came in the last few weeks. Helping me to remember what I love doing everyday... being a designer. So, here are some of the mentions.....
As always, a tip of my hat to all my clients and supporters out there. Without you, I wouldn't have an aim for where to target my goals!
• A GOLD ASTER Award for the 2009 St. Helena Hopsital Foundation Annual Report (without the beautiful photography of Megan Reeves, this project would not have stood on it's own. Thank you Megan!) the details... The Aster Awards, one of the largest national competitions of its kind, is hosted by Marketing Healthcare Today Magazine and Creative Images, Inc.. This elite program recognizes outstanding healthcare professionals for excellence in their advertising/marketing efforts for the calendar year 2010.
The 2011 Aster Awards received approximately 3,000 entries from across the United States as well as Canada and South America. Participant’s entries competed against similar-sized organizations in their category. Entries must score at least in the top 85% to receive an award. Judging criteria includes creativity, layout and design, functionality, message effectiveness, production quality and overall appeal.
2 American Graphic Design Awards for: • "Breath Love" CD & Packaging Design for Dr. Rhea Zimmerman (photography by me) • Stony Hill Vineyards Company Brochure (yours truly designed the website as well, partnering with Camaleo who managed and built the site. A big thanks to Robb McDonough for his beautiful bottle shots in this piece!) the details... For nearly 5 decades, Graphic Design USA has presented national design competitions that spotlight areas of excellence and opportunity for creative professionals. It honors outstanding works across all media: print and collateral, advertising and sales promotion, corporate identity and logos, websites, packaging, broadcast and motion graphics. The 2011 American Graphics Awards attracted 8,000+ entries in which a very select 15% were selected with Award Certificates of Excellence, with Folia Design winning 2 of them.
Spanish illustrator Xavi
Garcia created his stunning ‘Handmade’ banknote illustration as a
reaction to soulless digital design. “This note pretends to remind the
viewer the amount of work, hours, patience and love that artisans put
into the handicrafts they produce and stress how valuable they are,
replacing currency for the amount of time spent working on it (3 months
were given for this project). Entirely drawn by hand, using different
printing techniques, it features security measures common in banknotes
such as watermarks, tactile elements, see-through images and invisible
UV ink.” On the front it says “Tempus Neminem Manet” meaning “Time waits
for no one” and on the back it reads “Tempus Fugit” meaning “Time
Flees.” As you stare at his work, it makes you wonder about the world it
may have come from… and i love the concept of time as currency. After
all ~ Time is Money, right? How nice would it be to be paid with one of
these 3 month notes? How would you spend it? See the details up close on
the next page…
Drypoint, screenprint and stamps on newsprint.
For those of you who appreciate the old craft of engraving and printmaking, you will love Robert Swartley's work! He is a master engraver, a protégé of the late Josef Fugger while working at Griffin & Howe (1962-1964) with over 50 years of experience. Just google him and you'll see his name mentioned as one of our iconic American engravers. And, he's about as humble and sweet as you can get! A few years ago, he (with a little twinkle in his eye), admitted to be working on the engraving for the prince of the United Arab Emirates saber sword! It is the part of the handle called the hilt. I wish I could have seen it, but I am sure it was as spectacular as the sample photos below. Robert has and continues to do beautiful jaw-dropping engravings for wineries, on guns and banknote style engravings. To give you a sense of the delicate hand-work required for such a feat, the tip of his pick (used to engrave) is sharper and pointier than the tip of a needle! Painstakingly slow too!
I'm excited to say that we've teamed up to work on a wine label together for Del Dotto Vineyards. The label is being marketed as a haute premium cab under the name "Villa Del Lago" (must remember to get me a few bottle samples!) The engraving took 9 months (with a pencil rendering first, 2 months in that alone)! When we were nearing the end of the engraving, Robert brought over a sample, and literally said "don't look too closely, because you might see a little mistake." My reaction? I just looked at him and said "Huh? I wouldn't even know where to look!" I had to scan the engraving at 2500% to even see what he was talking about! (And he's in his 70s!)
To top it off, Robert just stopped by to let me know he will be in an upcoming book on American Engravers, coming out in the fall. (I'll post a link later for those interested). I'll be helping him get his artwork together! This is where I want to toss the world of technology out the window and say, "Can I be your apprentice? Please! I've got my little stash of letterpress goodies already...my loupes, book presses, and I love the smell of ink!"
Sometimes, I think I was born in the wrong century!