CurlyRed's top albums of 2008

Music is exciting once again in 2008. I didn't get to attend as many live shows as I'd like, but did discover many new artists and sounds. I'm especially excited to be part of a band myself this year called Siberiana and to be a small part of the exciting things that are happening in the Baltimore music scene. Anyway, on with the list:

Honorable Mentions:

Santogold - Santogold
Beck - Modern Guilt
Nine Inch Nails - The Slip
The Black Keys - Attack & Release
Keane - Perfect Symmetry

Favorite Song of the Year: American Boy (feat.
Kanye West) by Estelle

Top 5:

Coldplay - Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends

4. Of Montreal - Skeletal

3. The Ting Tings - We Started Nothing

2. The Raconteurs -
Consolers of the Lonely (also my favorite live act this year)

and *drum roll*

Sigur Rós - Með Suð Í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust

Enjoy and Happy New Year :)


The best CurlyRed Christmas present ever.

My amazing husband, Mark Ludwig, created this for me:

(sorry for the picture quality-it was early! and I couldn't use a flash due to the finish)

Mark was kind enough to write out his process:

December 19
1. First, I enlarged the CurlyRed Logo to approx. 2' x 3' in Photoshop. Because the image was much smaller originally, I used the Sharpen filter to crisp the edges. I also erased all outlying pixels and cleaned up the edge.

2. I took the file to Kinkos and had them print the logo out in color, full-size.

3. In the meantime, I used a table saw to cut a piece of luon (about 3/16" thick) to the 2' x 3' rough in that I needed. I then spray painted the wood a deep red. I did 2 coats on the front. I also spray painted the clock hands white, doing 2 coats on each side.

December 22

4. After the logo was here at work, I used scissors to rough in the edges. I knew I wanted about 3/4" all the way around the logo in white so after I roughed them in and freehand drew them, I used an X-acto knife to cut them cleanly.

5. I then used Super 77 spray adhesive and sprayed the back of the print and used a burnisher to mount the print onto the luon. After pushing out all of the air bubbles, I allowed the glue to dry for a few minutes.

6. I applied a light coat of Modge Podge to the front of the print, making sure to cover the edges sufficiently. The print started to bubble a little, but I still liked how it looked.

December 23
7. The next morning, the bubbling had gone away (I left it overnight in a warm room). I then applied another thin coat of Modge Podge to the print.

8. After that dried, I used a pencil and drew a freehand outline (again about 3/4") on the red of the wood to mark my cutting line. Using my jigsaw, I started carefully roughing in the shape.

9. I clamped down the piece and would only cut a little at a time. At first I was following the curves, but then I started sectioning off the piece and making straight cuts into my line, and then cutting little pieces off.

December 24

10. After I had completed all of the cutting, I used a Dremel on the edges and slowly sanded them down. Once I had the shape I needed, I used 600 grit wet sand paper and sanded the edges smooth.

11. I carefully laid the piece on its front and spray painted the back of the piece. I put 2 coats on this and then sprayed 2 coats on the edges.

12. After the paint was dry, I applied a coat of Modge Podge to the back and edges to seal them.

13. The last step was to drill through the piece and add the clock. I marked my spot with a pencil, and drilled through the hole with a small bit. I then drilled through it again with the proper bit for the diameter of the clock piece.

14. I cleaned out the hole with a cylindrical file and then pushed the clock through the luon. I attached the nut, and tightened it down. Then I attached the hour, minute, and second hands. The clock was now complete!

15. The only thing left to do was wrap it up so you could not tell what it was and (hopefully) be able to hide it and surprise Kendall on Christmas morning, which I did!


Happy Holidays from CurlyRed!

Dear friends, colleagues, valued clients, and random readers of this blog,

It’s been a pleasure working with you this year. Thank you for your support and your business!

CurlyRed wishes you a very safe, healthy and happy holiday season. We hope it is as stress-free
and joyous as possible!

May you have a very prosperous and successful 2009.


M. Kendall Ludwig
CurlyRed Inc.


Fabulous 2008 CD artwork

Still looking for gift ideas? Here are a few great albums that have come out this year that also happen to have great design:

með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust by sigur rós (maybe my favorite album of the year, or at least top 3). I love the imagery and type treatment. There's just an easygoing feel to it.

Consolers of the Lonely by The Raconteurs. Great band, and on this album Jach White really shows what he's made of. The photography is amazing throughout the CD booklet, one reason I still don't buy albums from iTunes.

We Started Nothing by The Ting Tings. Fun new band I've discovered this year with a 80's pop sound, reflected in the artwork's color palette and "cut-out" theme.

Finally, a quick plug for this local band, Beach House. They put on a good show, and their website rocks! Maybe the best use of sequins, ever.


Free CurlyRed iPhone Wallaper!

For those of you who are lucky enough to own an iPhone, we have designed a CurlyRed wallpaper. You can download it for free at ideal size (320 x 480 @ 180 ppi) by clicking on the above image. This will open the image in a new window where you can drag (or right-click) and save the image to your desktop.

Happy Friday!


My favorite blogger is expecting!

Heather Armstong, of dooce.com fame, is pregnant with her second child.

Dooce is maybe my favorite personal blog, because of Heather's great writing style, but also because of her elegant layout design and stunning photography.

Congrats Heather, and thanks, as always, for the blogging inspiration!


Important News from CurlyRed

Hi everyone! We hope you are having a great fall.

January 31st, 2009 marks CurlyRed's 2nd anniversary and we want to thank you all for making CurlyRed a success. As a result of your feedback and suggestions, we are proud to announce that we will soon be accepting payment via credit cards.

Our new hourly rate as of January 31, 2009 will be $90. Please contact CurlyRed before Jan 31st to place any orders for design work at our current rates!

Customer feedback is important to us so please continue sending us your suggestions and feedback.

We look forward to hearing from you!


www.curlyred.com has been updated!

Happy Friday everyone,

We are pleased to announce that we have added a new website to our portfolio section, HEGRA Architects!

We worked with Ed Goldberg, owner of HEGRA to redesign his menu and restructure his site to be more efficient and better organized.

We will be updating our site again soon with more portfolio pieces, so please check back often!


Good question, Jessica!

My friend, Jessica Watson from Happy Hour Studio posed the following question after viewing my last post:

If your company had to design a poster to promote voting, how would you go about it?

I happen to love poster design, mostly because of my love of color and bold graphics. Posters tend to be more powerful the less text they have on them. People won't bother to read a wordy poster. As a designer, you should be able to convey everything you want to say using imagery, and minimal text if absolutely necessary.

To give you an example, please take a look at the poster I designed for the Urban Forest Project in Baltimore:

And here is the story behind it:

A little over a year 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 passed away this past March, 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 at

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 of 2007 has taken place, there is an icon of a cut-down tree.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.


I feel I would take the same approach in creating a poster for voting. Strong imagery, little or no text, with strong meaning behind it. Jessica, I hope that answers your question.


Election 2008 Design Trends

With less than a month to go, election design is all around us.

Recently, AIGA had a contest called "Get Out the Vote 2008" where designers submitted designs for posters encouraging Americans to vote. Above are some of my favorite winning posters.

As far as the candidates go, the McCain/Palin ticket seem to be relying heavily on text only. In fact, I had a hard time finding any McCain posters or signage with imagery. But they are consistent in color scheme and in using this campaign's typeface of choice, Optima:

And then there are the Obama/Biden posters, which rely much more on strong, simply colored images and minimal text:

Visually, the Obama/Biden posters are more visually appealing to me, but I also think the Optima typeface is strong and works to convey McCain's reputation as sturdy, patriotic and dependable. Regardless, both campaigns have fully embraced the importance of strong branding.

What do you think?



Yes, this is a shameless plug of my husband Mark's website. He just added new portfolio pieces and I just can't get over how good his site looks. Please check it out and feel free to give him feedback at mark@snowjumpstump.com.


Women in Leadership 2008 Forum

I would like to thank Laleh Malek, Director of Professional Experience at College of Business and Economics at Towson University for asking me to speak in last night's forum, "Women in Leadership 2008".

I'd also like to thank my fellow panel members: Martha Lucius of Boheme Cafe, Kris Appel of Encore Path, Inc., MonykaBerrocosa of MyCity4Her, Aimee Bracken of Form, and Claudia Towles of aMuse. All of these ladies are really sweet, intelligent and determined to succeed.

We discussed how we became
entrepreneurs, how we are dealing with changes in the economy, and what advice we had for a graduate looking to start his or her own company. I commented on the importance of networking and strong branding—without either of these is it much more difficult to succeed as a business owner.

If you have any questions for me in regards to being a business owner, please feel free to e-mail me at kendall@curlyred.com.


Congrats to all the Best of Baltimore Winners!

The Baltimore CityPaper's Best of Baltimore issue is quite possibly my favorite publication all year long. Maybe it's because I just love Baltimore so much. But who doesn't love seeing people and places they know and love get the attention they deserve?

A few highlights:

Best Neighborhood: Hampden
Best Oriole: Nick Markakis (love him!)
Best Do-Gooder: Anna Sowers
Best Cheap Restaurant: Holy Frijoles!
Best Blueberry Beer: The Dog Pub (my favorite bar in Baltimore)
Best Dance Club: Sonar
Best Dance Company: The Collective (my best friend, Martha Reyner, is part of this group!)


Why LinkedIn works

So I do like to feature resources that have helped me succeed as a designer and a business owner. Most professionals I've met over the age of 30 are weary of online networking sites. They might think of Myspace or Facebook (which aren't bad places to network either, if you know how to use them).

But LinkedIn is very different. First of all, is a professional-only networking site. It's a place to post your resume, job experience and what kind of business connections you're looking for.

Second of all, it's a great place to ask for testimonials. Your "friends" on LinkedIn can write ones about you, and they can ask you to write one about them. The more people who recommend you, the higher your name will appear in a LinkedIn search.

Lastly, I will look at my friend's connections. If they are connected to someone I'd like to meet, I can simply ask my friend for an introduction. I have met many new people through LinkedIn, some of which has led to new business for CurlyRed.

So don't knock it till you've tried it. Oh, and ask me to be your friend if we aren't connected already.


curlyred.com has been updated!

Check it out!

It now has a link to this blog, a new website in the portfolio section, and all new testimonials!

As always, any feedback is welcome. Enjoy!


Fall 2008 Internship Available!

Do you live in the Baltimore area and want to intern for CurlyRed?

CurlyRed Inc. is a local graphic design company that is looking an intern for the Fall 2008 semester.

This internship is open to college students working on their degree in graphic design. It is an unpaid position, consisting of 8-10 hours per week for the fall semester. The days/hours for this internship are very flexible, CurlyRed will work around class and work schedules. The internship will start the 2nd or 3rd week of September, so all candidates will be interviewed no later than Sept 3rd.

Intern duties:

• Assisting me (the owner of CurlyRed) with the production (and possible design) of CurlyRed materials, including but not limited to logos, identities, publications, brochures, advertisements, posters, promotional materials, websites etc.
• Scanning images, color correcting or modifying images, and updating design files.
• Providing administrative office support, including file and database management, answering the phone, and other office-related tasks.
• Possibly accompanying me to occasional client meetings and/or networking events.

Candidates should have:

• Proficiency with the following programs: Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign, Acrobat, and Word.
• Some samples or a portfolio of design work.
• Reliable transportation—CurlyRed is located in the Reisterstown, MD area.
• Excellent communication and organization skills.
• Ability to work independently.
• Desire to learn about the business side as well as the creative side or owning a graphic design business.

All interested candidates: please e-mail me at kendall@curlyred.com with your resume before August 29th.



I'm not even sure how I first discovered this blog, but this blog has become one of my favorite inspirational sources as a designer. To visit this blog, click here.

I had the privilege of meeting Grace, the writer behind Design*Sponge a few weeks ago at an event at the American Visionary Museum in Baltimore. I also got the chance to hear her speak briefly on the best way to submit a press release to publications. She is quite the professional!

Also, check out this sweet Baltimore Design Guide. It was written by Grace's guest blogger and my fellow B'More Creative member Anne Ditmeyer.


Atomic Cheescake

As you know from my last post, I'm a fan of pinup art.

As my husband's birthday was approaching, I decided that it would be a cool gift to have some vintage pinup photos of myself taken. So after a quick Google search that took me to a recent City Paper article, I found out about Stacey Barich, the woman who owns Atomic Cheesecake Studios http://www.atomiccheesecakestudios.com/) in Baltimore. She specializes in classic pin-up photo shoots.

A few phone calls, e-mails, and about a mont
h later, I was in her photo studio, trying on vintage clothing (she has a very impressive collection). Stacey also did my hair and makeup for the shoot. I found her to be professional, sweet, and easy to talk to—this transformation look a little while! But I was having so much fun being dolled up into a 1950's Hollywood starlet.

Just this past week, I received my CD of photos from the shoot. I am so impressed by the quality of her photography work that I just felt I needed to post one here. I was also impressed by how reasonably priced her work is! Let's just say, my hubby was thrilled and I would recommend her to anyone.

Can you tell which image inspired my photo?


What's in a brand?

My friend Neil Blumberg over at Aquent suggested that I talk a little bit about the following girl in my life:

She's a beauty, isn't she? Well, she's been a blessing and a burden.

I've had a deep love for pinup art for years now. I've found it to be beautiful and fun. They are pieces of art that celebrate women as they really are, not what high-end-size-0 runway models would have you believe they are. But I never realized how much controversy one small drawing of a red-headed woman would cause.

This woman has been described as elegant, vintage, French, playful, sexy, scandalous—maybe even a woman of the night? I find it fascinating how two people can look at the same image and come away with two completely different opinions!

She's very polarizing, in a way. People either love her or hate her, embrace her or feel threatened by her. And that's not a bad thing. One design concept that I've always held true is this: Interesting, memorable, creative design tends to polarize its viewers. Even if it means getting a creepy phone call once and a while about it (but that's a whole other story). For all the grief she's caused me, I wouldn't trade her for the world. She embodies many things I love about art, design and being a woman.

How do YOU feel about my logo? I'd love to hear your thoughts on the subject.


Welcome to my blog!

A year and two days ago was my last day at Polk Audio. I had been at Polk for almost 4 years and it really was the place where I made my transition from a student of design to a professional, experienced designer. I had amazing coworkers and a creative director who really mentored me in many ways. I had some amazing opportunities: at the top of the list was the chance to design a Polk Audio/Hyperlite wakeboard and then go to the National Wakeboarding Competition in Atlanta and see my designs "in action."

Giving my two weeks notice to my creative director is one of the hardest things I've ever done. Not only would I miss her (and Polk) terribly, but I was also stepping out into the unknown, taking CurlyRed full time. The time had come for me to take the leap, and see if I could make it on my own.

Well, it's been an exciting, and terrifying year. But CurlyRed is still kicking, and determined to survive.

I've worked with over 30 new clients this year, in addition to a few repeat clients that I've had for a long time.

I was honored to be involved with two great non-profit events this year: I designed a poster for the Urban Forest Project (www.bmore-urbanforestproject.org), and I designed the t-shirt for the Neighbor's Night Out in honor of Zach Sowers (www.zachsowers.com).

I've met some incredible people, who have continued to mentor me, support me, and encourage me. They have had faith in CurlyRed even when I didn't.

And finally, I've had the amazing love of my husband, Mark. Ever since CurlyRed was even just a small idea in my head, he's been there, and he's always been my number one fan. Over the last year he's celebrated with me, comforted me, and critiqued me when I needed it the most. It sounds like a cliche, but I wouldn't be where I am right now without him right there behind me.

So thank you, to every one of you reading this post. I will continue to update my website and this blog, so please check back often.
good design for everyone