Featured client: EMC Performing Arts Studio (Here's to 25 more)!

One of our very oldest and most favorite clients, Robin Snyder-Wiencek at EMC Performing Arts Studio is celebrating 25 YEARS of business this year. Wow—what an amazing accomplishment! Go Robin!

To celebrate, we wanted to share some of our favorite designs CurlyRed has done for EMC over the past 10 years.

We wish you many more years of beautiful dance, music, theatre and gymnastics. 
Congrats again! 


Why Goal Setting Matters

written by M. Kendall Ludwig, president and principal designer, CurlyRed

Every 90 days or so, I open a PDF that looks much like the one you see above and start writing.

You see, my business coach to the stars Susan Katz won me over in the area of goal-setting. And it wasn't an easy battle. I never used to see the point of setting goals. It seemed like a waste of time, in a way—"I know what I need to do, just let me get to work!"

But I had no idea what I was working towards.

(Now, I could have a whole other debate about settling long-term goals, but I'll leave that for another day.)

Settling goals every quarter, and a strategy to get to each goal, has been of utmost importance in shaping my business. It brings clarity and direction to my daily and weekly tasks. It helps me evaluate the way I spend my time each day. 

These five goals are often a mix of professional, personal and spiritual. Anyone who knows me knows how valuable work-life balance is to me, so I may even have more personal goals in a given quarter than professional ones. 

While most of my goals are too personal to share in a public forum like this blog, one of my more recent goals was to launch the new CurlyRed website. I had a strong desire to make that happen quickly, but also wanted to make sure the design was as strong as possible, and ensure we had thoroughly tested and optimized the site before launching. So that goal remained on my goal sheet for several quarters, as we worked through the various stages.

Once my goals are set at the beginning of a new quarter, I review them just about every day, just for a few minutes. This keeps me focused, and my mind on the big picture (it's just so easy to get lost in the little details, isn't it?). 

If you like what you'd read, feel free to download the sheet above and get planning!

For more resources in this area, you should head over to Susan Katz's site (and maybe contact her, or another capable business coach, if you need someone to hold you accountable). 


Guide to Royalty-free Historical Imagery

So, we are working on a project for a client and we knew that a historic image would provide the perfect backdrop for our piece. But editorial imagery can get VERY pricey

So we did some research and found some great resources for your next project—there are a ton of public domain images available for both commercial and non-commercial uses that are absolutely free to use. Here are a few of our favorites:





We hope these links help you in your creative endeavors. Happy browsing!


TBT: Urban Forest Project

WAAAAY back in 2008, CurlyRed was part of the Urban Forest Project, and this work still holds a special place in our hearts.

The Urban Forest Project was a national exhibition working in conjunction with the Times Square Alliance and World Studio in NYC, put on by Tilt Studios. The project brought together 200 artists, designers and College students, 75+ K-12 students, and another 100+ businesses to produce a visual story based on the image of a tree and the idea of sustainability. Each participant was asked to design a banner, to be hung throughout Baltimore City. The banners were located in Druid Hill Park, Wyman Park Dell, Herring Run Park, Patterson Park and Carroll Park. 

After the closing, the banners were recycled into tote bags and sold as original works of functional art. All proceeds from the project will benefit the Baltimore City Department of Recreation & Parks Tree Baltimore Campaign for a greener city. 

Here's the statement of purpose Kendall submitted for consideration to be part of the “Urban Forest Project.” (written in December of 2007):

“Three months ago, an acquaintance of mine, Zach Sowers was walking from Canton to his home in Patterson Park. Four men pulled up in a car, two of them jumped out, and asked Zach for a cigarette. He said he didn't have one, then one man proceeded to take his wallet, and then beat him beyond recognition while the other three watched. He is still in a coma today, and his wife has been active in speaking in the community and raising awareness about what happened to Zach. You can read about their story and his progress at www.zachsowers.com.

I had the honor of designing the t-shirt that is being sold to help pay his medical bills and raise awareness of the growing problem in this city. But as the crime rate continues to soar, it feels like the message is still getting lost.

I was inspired by Zach to create a poster to express my unhappiness with the growing rate of crime (mostly murder) in Baltimore. Anna Ditkoff, a writer for the City Paper, has created a map that 
pinpoints each murder that has occurred since the beginning of 2007. Viewing this map for the first time was a powerful and disturbing experience, and one that each resident of not only the city, but the whole state needs to see.

An equally powerful image is one of a tree that's been cut down. To some, it might represent possibility made by paper or economic development. But to many, it symbolizes waste, pollution and deforestation.

So here's my poster concept: The poster is a graphic map of Baltimore city. Where each murder this year (to date: 271) has taken place, I will show an icon of a cut-down tree. Even though the trees overlap, there are exactly 271 trees on the map. Underneath, a large image of the cut-down tree will be shown as a visual reference for the viewer. The illustration was created with the help of my husband, Mark Ludwig.

This way the poster has a double-meaning: Baltimore is currently a wasteful and violent place. My hope is that this poster would inspire its viewers to do their part to lower the crime and murder rates in the city.”


It's a powerful message that sadly still needs to be told. But we still have faith in the city Baltimore can be, and will continue to do our part to make our home more peaceful.


Featured client: BlueShift Dance

Caitlin McAfee is not your typical founder of a dance company. She comes from an almost scientific viewpoint in her approach to dance.

She is starting a new dance company, and needed branding as quickly as possible. Caitlin gave CurlyRed the following statements to help guide us in the branding creation process.

BlueShift Dance Artist Statement:
A project-based company with an artistic director, BlueShift Dance is named for the phenomenon of physics which is opposite to red shift – simply put, the expansion of the universe. A theory exists that states that there will come a point in time where the universe will reverse its current state of expansion. It will begin to move toward its point of origin, at which point it will be in blue shift. The creation of the company was inspired by this theory. We seek ways to draw the universe closer.

Mission Statement:

BlueShift Dance is committed to offering unique, immersive experiences with the human body in performance; to bringing interdisciplinary artists together to collaboratively curate site-specific installations and performances; to embracing critical thinking, in an environment of equality, open-mindedness, and artistic growth; and to stimulating conversations important to our community, on a universal scale.

Ee knew we needed to do some self-education to wrap our brains around the idea of "red shift." Once we had gotten the gist, we quickly translated the idea, both in of movement of type, and the color palette. We’re extremely proud of the final result.

Here's what Caitlin had to say:

“I was impressed with how attentive Kendall was to my needs. I gave her only one week, and Kendall brought me through a thorough, multi-step creative process, presenting me with new options on almost a daily basis. The result is a unique, colorful, and versatile logo.”


Where CurlyRed Got It's Name

A lifetime ago, our dear friend Matthew Winner (author, blogger, and of All The Wonders fame) was teaching a class of 3rd graders.

I, M. Kendall Ludwig, president and principal designer of CurlyRed, had an idea for a graphic design firm but DIDN'T HAVE A NAME! I was stuck and needed help.

So Matthew took it upon himself to go to his kids and have them brainstorm on my behalf! He told them all about me, and something that makes me unique (yes, that would be my hair). Here's the email he sent me in March of 2006 (!!!):

"In no descending order, here are the ideas my class came up with.

So here they are...with great thought and consideration from all smiling 24!

1. red.candle.inc
2. Kendall's Crazy Art, Inc.
3. Curlyart Inc
4. Red Art Inc.
5. kendallcurled.ink
6. curlred.ink
7. kendallcurl.inc
8. redhot graphics
9. CurlyRed graphics
10. Red Head Kendall graphics
11. Kendall inc.
12.The Kendall Ink
13. Techno Art inc
14. Kendall Inc.
15. Red Headed Inc.
16. colorful pixel
17. Red Kendall
18. Kendall-Curl Inc.
19. Logo to GoGo
20. Kendall's Super Graphic Co.
21. Red Tech. inc.
22. Kendall co.
23. Curly Red Kendall
24. curly red inc
25. kendall.cool.arts
26. kendall technical arts

and, of course, my contributions are:
* rad graphics
* the red press
* Fern Independent Red Fern Grows in there!>

... of course, mixing colors and animals always makes for great design names hen, blue roof... enjoy>

Hope we could help!



So, as you can see—3 different children came up with CurlyRed, and I have NEVER EVEN THOUGHT OF IT! How awesome is that? As soon as I read the list, that name jumped out. Shortly after, these were the top 3 ideas I developed and then refined it over the years to what you see now:

Lesson learned: never under-estimate the power of kid's creativity. It also helps to have amazing friends like Matthew Winner in your corner. 


Thank you!

Since we went live with our brand-new site last week, the response has been absolutely tremendous!

Thanks to all of you for your kind words of encouragement and support—we're so glad you love the site too! Since we've launched, a few of you have asked us to refresh you on exactly what our services are, so here you go:

outsourced creative direction

Are your design needs all over the map? Would you prefer to have one less thing on your plate? Do your marketing and creative endeavors need to be directed by a professional?

Look no further. We can create a partnership to outsource whatever you need, from branding and print design to website upkeep and content creation.

visual branding / logo creation

A visual branding for your company or organization is the cornerstone of the entire visual identity - it conveys your message to the world. Your logo should stand out from the crowd, be bold and unique.

Through a relationship with you, our client, and a complete understanding of your vision, CurlyRed will help establish an unforgettable foundation.

identity systems

Once your visual brand is created, CurlyRed will help you carry that brand onto your business cards, letterhead and envelopes.

We believe in complete consistency in branding, and will work with you to carry over the same look and feel of your logo into the rest of your identity package.

print collateral / packaging

Every business and organization has different print needs, and we can help you every step of the way. From a fundraiser invitation, to a magazine advertisement, to a full annual report, we can create a unique solution that will be both beautiful and functional.

CurlyRed will even help you find the perfect printer to bring your design to life.

signage / environmental design

Creating directional or informational signage that is both beautiful and functional is a challenge we completely embrace.

From a single exterior permanent retail display sign, to a vinyl banner for your next event, to environmental design for an entire building or campus, CurlyRed is ready to communicate your vision to the world.

web design / development

Your online presence and reputation is more important than ever before. At CurlyRed, we fully understand how to captivate an audience online. We can bring together the perfect blend of intuitive web design, paired with great copywriting, photography, social media integration and search engine optimization to make the largest impact for your investment.

We want to help you carry your brand and message to your audience and create a custom, memorable online experience.


And of course, you can see samples of all these types of work on our new website. Thanks again!

good design for everyone