Nice as Ice

Being a studio that prides itself on having a wide array of design experience, we can now cross Design Graphics for a Curling Rink off the list! That is correct, one of our longtime clients and colleagues, G2 Technology Group, employed Alphabet Arm to design their very own, private, super exclusive, curling and hockey rink. Utilizing a number of design elements from their visual language and embellishing upon that for the rink, we developed a system that would make the 1924 Winter Olympics Curling Team proud.

They even requested we have a credit within the design which marked another first for us, we had never frozen our logo before. Pass the hot coca.

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Turn it Up! Our Best Albums of 2012

Being huge fans of music (and some of us being musicians, ourselves) we thought that we would share our favorites of 2012. Enjoy.

Aaron

1. White Rabbit / Milk Famous
Got two drummers and a piano player? This record offers up the perfect blend of quirky accessibility, crafty songwriting and unexpected instrumental.
2. OFF! / self titled
A perfectly executed hardcore classic channeling records from the heyday of 1983.
3. Soft Pack / Strapped
Although this record doesn’t completely follow up on the promise of the self titled ’10 debut, it’s a solid set of fuzzy, post punk gems.
4. Plants and Animals / The End of That
This record completely took me off guard, then again, I wasn’t sure what kind of expectations to set. A rocking folk masterwork? A touch of Canadian Americana? An unexpected collection of lyrically heartfelt indie pop tracks? I offer all of the above.
5. Tame Impala / Lonerism
Trippy psychedelic Australian fuzz no doubtably recorded on all analog gear. An otherworld of surprisingly catchy psych rock.

 

Ryan

1. The Menzingers / On The Impossible Past
How could one record sound so melancholy, yet so hopeful? I can’t help, but to sing along.
2. Japandroids / Celebration Rock
This record sounds like a party. Try not to stomp your feet to “Fire’s Highway” Play this loud.
3. Jimmy Cliff / Rebirth
An amazing comeback record by an absolute icon who defined roots reggae.
4. Luther / Let’s Get You Somewhere Else
Big vocals and full of hooks. This record is poppier than I usually like, but the attitude from these boys from Philly make it work.
5. Apologies, I Have None / London
Emotionally charged, heart-on-your-sleeve debut from the English four piece. I can’t believe this is a debut album.
Honorable Mentions: Classics of Love, The Men, Morning Glory

 

Nathan

1. Earl Sweatshirt / Chum
Okay, I know I’m kicking it off a with a single, but I don’t care. This song rules and I cant wait to hear the rest of his tracks off his upcoming album Doris. Also props to Hiro Murai for the dope video.
2. Japandroids / Celebration Rock
The title says it all. Fun, energetic, Celebratory rock.
3. Beach House / Trouble Maker
I was almost afraid to listen to this after loving their previous album Teen Dream so much. As anyone else who has given this a listen knows, I need not be afraid.
4. Son Lux / We Are Rising
Okay, I know cheating by using an album from 2011, but I just heard about this one a few months ago and it has been in heavy rotation since. If your behind the times like me and haven’t heard it yet, do your self a favor and give it a listen.
5. Grizzly Bear / Shields
It seems that anything these guys have touched is gold, and this album is no exception.

 

Tarah

1. Grizzly Bear Shields
It took a few listens for this album to resonate with me, but now it’s playing non-stop. It sounds like classic Grizzly Bear, just pushed a little further. This album is by far my favorite album of the year, I highly recommend it.
2. Sufjan Stevens / Silver & Gold
Three hours of Christmas music that is actually good!
3. Daniel Rossen / Silent Hour / Golden Mile
Rossen is one of the most talented song writers around, and probably my favorite member of Grizzly Bear. He never dissapoints.
4. Justin Bieber / Believe
I’ll totally own the fact that I listen to this album all the time. It’s super catchy and features artists like Drake and Nicki Minaj. They make listening to the Biebs cool right?
5. Family of the Year / Loma Vista
Just a nice relaxing listen.

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I Can’t Quit You

I never knew that the summer months could feel so short! I’m  super sad to say that my summer at ABC is ending. My brotato chips Aaron, Ryan and Nathan made my internship here wonderful with their extensive tips, suggestions, and great sense of humor. I can’t thank the studio enough for all that they’ve given me (including, but not limited to: buckets of caffeinated beverages, frisbee tips, lots of laughter, experience, a fondness for illustrator…) Thanks to everyone who took part in this great experience! Hopefully we will meet again soon; I’ll be tearin’ up Providence (and buckets of cotton candy) until then.
Robin
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I lost 646 pounds using these SpaghettiPants!

Hi everyone! I’m Robin Hayashi, latest intern addition to the Alphabet Arm crew. I’m one week in and knee-deep in projects. Aaron, Ryan and Nathan have already provided lots of insight, many tips, coffee and tons of music. In searching for a studio to intern with, I found Alphabet Arm, and was immediately drawn to their playful attitude and impressive portfolio. They’re committed to great design…and great jokes.

Throughout my younger years (in Newton, Mass.), I always knew that I’d pursue in a visual career. However, it wasn’t until my freshman year at the Rhode Island School of Design that I stumbled upon Graphic Design. Through my sophomore and junior years in the Graphic Design department, my affinity for form and communication (and desserts) has only grown, and I now consider typography and color (and ice cream) great loves of my life. I’m so excited about Fluffernutter and the weeks to come here at the studio!

Check out my website, robinhayashi.com, for some of my work, and drop me a line at robin@alphabetarm.com I’d love to hear from you.

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the long goodbye

Whatup blogonauts! Matt / Matty K. / Matty Nice / MATTress here. I’m sadly reporting to let you all know that my time at Alphabet Arm has come to an end. For the past year, I have seen more, done more, and learned more than I could ever have dreamed. I have added countless designs and illustrations to my portfolio, but even more importantly I have added a whole new group of people to my family. Aaron and Ryan, along with Silvi, Flo, Laurie, Alfred, Jeru and Nate (and everyone else I met along the way) have helped make my first true foray into the design profession one that I will never forget. I am grateful for everything that they have done for me, and for teaching me that going to work can sometimes be more like going to your cool uncle’s annual memorial day barbecue. Good luck to all future interns, and hopefully this won’t be the last time you here from me (especially if you keep tabs at mattkaiserdesign.com cough cough). Cheers!

Oh, this screenshot you ask? It’s a long story, but this link might help shed a little insight!

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Win Win Won

BLOGGERY UPDATE TIME! Do you recall this posting about our branding work for intelligent.ly? Well, it turns out writer Marissa Lowman attended our intelligent.ly class, and wrote quite a nice piece for Boston.com here!

 

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A Few Thoughts Regarding Logo Life Span.

 

How long should a logo last? It’s a question most business owners, universities, corporations and entities wrestle with. The answer justifies the time, effort and cost of developing a logo that should stand the test of time. Consider that the iconic Coca-Cola logotype script was developed in 1941, the fact that Paul Rand’s restrained television network identity for ABC from 1962 still rings true, and the legendary Saul Bass designed the original Lawry’s brand mark in 1959. Of course these may be extreme instances, but its safe to say the companies “got their money’s worth”. Most agencies, art directors and designers attest: a well considered, thoughtfully executed logo should last 10 to 15 years. As a studio, we can only hope to have an identity stand as long as some of our design heroes.

As we were writing this post, we decided it might be more powerful to ask a couple clients to share their thoughts on their logo:

Almost as soon as Fenway Recordings had a name, it had a logo. Neither decision was complicated. The logo is, and will remain timeless, looks great any size, and recently had a bit of a renaissance as we just celebrated the 10th anniversary of it’s creation. Alphabet Arm knew how to make our identity graphic and iconic, and as far as I am concerned, it will last forever, and may be the most reasonable investment that we have made.
Mark Kates / Fenway Recordings

We never seem to tire looking at the Harlem Vintage logo, even after the eight years of our wine store’s existence. It was important for us to have a graphic representation reminiscent of the renaissance in Harlem juxtaposed with “newness” of the wine experience we were creating in this neighborhood. Alphabet Arm exercised patience and perseverance in creating just that perfect balance to convey who we were…even as we were trying to figure it out ourselves.
Jai Jai Greenfield / Harlem Vintage

Ten years ago I had a meeting with the team at Alphabet Arm and proposed the name and concept behind BzzAgent, which was a task in and of itself . No one had a clue what Word-of-Mouth was at the time, and what it would become. Before I knew it, a brilliantly simple solution was proposed and we quickly had the logo that still stands and represents our social marketing company perfectly. A lot has been made of the “angry bee” which we have embraced and used as a talking point about the logo, “he’s not angry you see, he’s determined.” The logo has been the visual cornerstone of our marketing strategy. It’s been imprinted on hundreds of thousands of our BzzGuides, carved into a conference table and its likeness cast in 3D sculptures. The logo and branding remains front and center, even after our acquiring by Tesco.
Dave Balter / BzzAgent, Inc.

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I recently lost 645 pounds!

Hello all. My name is Nathan Hass, and I am proud to say that I am the newest member of the Alphabet Arm family (although rumor has it there are a few more on the way). I’ve been interning here for about a week now and the gang already has me problem solving and pixel pushing. Things have been great thus far, and I can’t wait to see what is still on the horizon.
I hail from Andover, MA where I have developed a reputation for being a bit of an art nerd. My love of art, design, and creative problem solving has lead me to MassArt where I have just finished my junior year studying Graphic Design and Art History. I have been a huge fan of The Arm for a few years now, so I’m super excited to learn all of the tricks and tips that Aaron, Ryan, and Matt are willing to teach me. I love branding, typography, and logotypes that are both beautiful and conceptually compelling. Alphabet Arm will be a wonderful studio for me to grow, learn, and have a lot of fun.
If you want to get to know me a little better or just say hi, shoot me an email at nathan@alphabetarm.com or check at my portfolio at NathanHass.com. Incidentally, the subject line / joke line, was just that.
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Lawrence Nightingale

Dearest friends of the Bloggery:

It is my last day interning at Alphabet Arm! It has been a pleasure to work at this studio alongside Aaron, Ryan, Matt, and Fredo. The guys at Alphabet Arm are outrageously talented, always willing to help, and as an added bonus, they are pretty brilliant in the humor department. If you get the chance to work here, you will learn from the best. If you become a client, Aaron and Ryan will set you up with a logo, branding system and or, a design solution that will knock your socks off. Seriously, I can’t speak highly enough of these people, they are the best.

Until next time,

– Laurie / Lawrence / LawR / Lory Borry Alice

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Recent Records Rocking the Studio 2012 / PT. 02

The second installment of what is currently spinning in the studio. This time a not-so-subtle punk rock thread carries through our featured favorites.

 

Sharks  > No Gods // English punk rock band that are often compared to The Clash… there could be worse things. However, they’ve definitely put their own youthful spin on genre // HIGHLIGHT “Arcane Effigies”

The Underground Railroad to Candyland  > Knows Your Sins // Quirky, dark, jangley, surfy, DIY, indie rock. Yes, this was realeased last year, but it’s new to us! // HIGHLIGHT “Jimmy V”

Classis of Love  > Classics of Love // Energetic and angry. The classic voice of Jesse Michaels from Operation Ivy returns with fury // HIGHLIGHT “What a Shame”

The Menzingers  > On the Impossible Past // Quality songwriting on this mature sounding take on singalong anthems and self-deprication// HIGHLIGHT “The Obituaries”

The Men  > Open Your Heart // Garage rock meets 80’s hardcore with great riffs throughout  // HIGHLIGHT “Turn It Around”

Apologies, I Have None  > London // Emotionally charged, heart-on-your-sleeve debut from the English four piece // HIGHLIGHT “Clapton Pond”

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