A few of the carved pumpkins at KSD on Halloween in previous years.
I'm a Halloween baby and over the years we've celebrated at KSD with costumes at work, pumpkin carving contests or masquerade parties. However, this year’s celebration holds more meaning.
During the last 30 days, the designers at the studio have shared memories and images of some of our favorite projects and people from the past 30 years; projects and people that have been essential to the formation and growth of KSD.
As the years have gone by I have been fortunate to learn a few lessons along the way.
An aluminum wheel produced by Alumitech. Photographed on 4x5 black and white negative film.
Graphic design studios typically hire photographers as needed, but KSD produces the majority of our photography in-house, and has done so for almost 30 years.
The technical side of photography has changed dramatically during this time (primarily film to digital), but the skills required have not changed. Exposure, focus, composition and a sense of timing are still critical to creating strong images. We disassembled our darkroom almost a decade ago and now use a vastly more efficient digital workflow.
The primary job of photography in marketing is to make something look beautiful, look interesting, tell a story, evoke a feeling, or all of the above. A drug testing kit with urine can be photographed by anyone with a smart phone, but to make it look striking requires control of the light, the background and the perspective, as well as meeting the technical requirements for print or web publication.
Below are a few samples of photography KSD has produced for clients.
Malcolm Grear at The Center for Rural Development in 1998.
I enrolled as an undergraduate at the University of Kentucky in the fall of 1977 thinking I would eventually go to law school. By the summer of 1979 I had officially turned away from the idea of a legal career to a path in journalism. I landed a summer internship at The Commonwealth-Journal (a rural, community newspaper in my hometown) working in the copy editing and typesetting department.
One afternoon looking over the press release basket in the newsroom, I saw a release from the Veterans Administration (now the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) announcing the agency’s 50th anniversary. To commemorate the event, they had designed a new stamp that was being issued by the U.S. Post Office. Attached to the release was a color PR photo of the stamp sheet.
A catfish playing basketball; a college student in a circus cannon; a movie director framing you for a close-up — this is what 30 years of illustrated solutions at KSD looks like. Imagery that’s full of metaphors or incongruous mashups — sometimes bold, sometimes quiet, cartoonish, business-like or elegant — but always driven by the needs of the message.
“When I was a child, I heard my parents sing songs telling of marvelous things that happened long ago.” — Daniel Dutton
This is the opening line from artist, composer and storyteller Daniel Dutton’s Ballads of the Barefoot Mind, a catalog designed by KSD for his opening exhibition at 21C Museum in Louisville, Kentucky. For 30 years, we have collaborated with Dan to share “marvelous things” from his creative world, through posters, catalogs, album art, photography, websites and more. A true renaissance man, he is an accomplished musician, painter, poet, sculptor, writer and storyteller.
Many of my early lessons did not come from a master of design.
They came from a master of donuts.
On January 18, 1951, my father gave my mother a bakery. It was her birthday gift, one she often told people kept her in a job her entire life. From an early age, my brothers and I learned to get up early and go to bed late, that hard work and making a quality product were required for success, and that it’s not enough just to make the product — you have to sell it.
It is certainly not every client meeting that ends with go cart racing, but this sort of thing just emphasizes how much we enjoy our work!
KSD is developing a new name and brand, website and marketing solution for Visual Risk Technologies headquartered in Nashville. After a morning of concept presentations and photographing staff for the project, Kirby, Bill Jones and William Cox were invited to join the company in an afternoon of (relatively) high-speed laps at an indoor track. Much fun was had by all.