The Trickle-Down Stress Effect

Wow. It’s been a long time since I’ve blogged. That’s partly because I don’t consider myself someone who has much to say and partly because I’ve thankfully been busy enough to not worry about where my web site ranking is based on my pathetic blogging record. But being busy and staying sane are two completely different things. I’ve been a graphic designer for over 20 years (ok, now I just feel old) and I have never seen the time-crunch crises that I’ve seen escalating over the last year. My four least-favorite letters are:…
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Coalition for Children, Youth & Families Logo

We’re not at all sad to say we won’t be working with Adoption Resources of Wisconsin anymore – because they have changed their name to Coalition for Children, Youth & Families! And Tessera Design created their new logo and is currently working on branding and transitioning during this exciting time. CEO, Colleen Ellingson, has grown this adoption and foster care organization, not only beyond Wisconsin state borders, but beyond it’s original mission of supporting children to more inclusively encompass all ages and roles in the adoption and foster care process. This idea is…
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Rave Reviews for Madelynn Cassin Designs

For several months Tessera Design has been working on a web site for Madelynn Cassin Designs. madelynncassin.com Madelynn creates the most beautiful Deco-inspired, contemporary jewelry we've seen. The reviews from her Facebook friends make us smile. "The site looks great!" "Kudos to you and your designer, your site is truly beautiful!" "gorgeous site!" "The site is amazing. I love the new logo and of course the classic font." "It's a beautiful site, Madelynn! Can't wait to shop it!" "Your website is a beauty!!" The orders are flying in as Madelynn converts her listings…
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Enthusiastic for NY Food Tour

Little did I realize that the highlights of my quick trip to New York to see a college design friend would be an amazing food tour and being on the last flight back to Milwaukee on Sunday before Hurricane Sandy struck. When all of the others in our group cancelled on Saturday, Susan, of The Enthusiastic Gourmet proceeded to take us on our own private Melting Pot Tour of the Lower East Side. The fact that many of these shops lost power and may still be closed because of the terrible damage in…
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“Posters of Paris” Ponderings

After a lovely afternoon at the Milwaukee Art Museum with the audio guide and my notebook as my companions, these are few of the observations I jotted down while navigating the metaphorical Morris columns: 1. Morris columns are smooth, cylindrical pillars installed on Parisian streets in the late 1800s—specifically for displaying poster advertising in the round. 2. These advertising posters (affiches artistique) inspired poster mania (affichomanie). 3. People coveted these works so much that artists like Grün had to stamp their art with, “This poster may not be given or sold.” 4. My…
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The Alma Center: Men We Love 2012

When Jan Wilberg introduced me to Terri Strodthoff, Founder & Executive Director of the Alma Center, I knew this non-profit group was exceptional. It wasn’t the details about their domestic violence rehabilitation programs, or the data about recidivism (yeah, I had to look that one up)—it was when Terri shared that her grandmother’s name was “Alma” and that the word means “soul” in Spanish. She had me at “Soul Center.” Terri and her not-enough-amazing-adjectives-in-the-world staff deal in healing the trauma of violence—pain instilled in boys; who become angry men; projecting it onto defenseless…
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Italy and Art in Sheboygan

Ok, so last October I'm watching Wisconsin Foodie on PBS and I knew as soon as host, Kyle Cherek, started discussing the pork chops with Trattoria Stefano owner, Stefano Viglietti, that I was going to be making a day trip to Sheboygan. You see, I was the weird kid who could have any meal I wanted for my birthday and I ALWAYS chose pork chops. And these clearly were not my mother's pork chops. (Sorry, Mom.) Plus, it gave me a great excuse to stop in at the Kohler Arts Center – which is…
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Men We Love – A Special Project

Tessera Design has worked with lots of nonprofits on lots of fundraisers, but none has been quite as unique as the Men We Love book. Every year the Alma Center – led by founder, Terri Strodthoff – compiles a beautiful hard cover book (we are designing it for 2012) and fills it with memorable dedications. The dedications are both a photographic and written tribute to a man that the dedicator loves, admires and respects. Men that are honored include fathers, brothers, sons, friends, clergymen and bosses – among many more – and represent…
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This Isn’t Your Grandma’s Impressionism

Don’t go see Impressionism Masterworks on Paper for the water lilies. Because there aren’t any. Save those for the guest bedroom at Grandma's house. See it for the draftsmanship of great artists like Monet, Toulouse-Lautrec and Pisarro. I think I expected something very French Vanilla in this Milwaukee Art Museum exhibition, expertly curated by Christopher Lloyd and Laurie Winters, but what I got was a very Neapolitan-By-Way-Of -Paris collection of masterful avante-garde drawings. There’s something so immediate and vital about a sketch dashed off in minutes or a sweep of white pastel on…
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Facebook is Fun

There’s nothing like listening to a panel of savvy social media users share advice with a great group of non-profit thinkers to motivate you to write on your much-neglected blog. Thanks to Jan Wilberg of Wilberg Community Planning for moderating the discussion at the Milwaukee Planners and Grantwriters Roundtable with Matt Brown of MKE 123, Mari Maldonado from Volunteer Missionary Movement, Jim Raffel of Color Metrix, Alysha Schertz from Milwaukee Biz Times and Carol Voss of Independence First. The takeaway from today’s talk is that the ideal social media presence is one that…
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