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Artown 2015: One poster commemorating two decades

We here at Stan Can Design™ consider ourselves incredibly lucky to be chosen year after year to design the official Artown poster. We feel especially lucky to be doing it in 2015, twenty years after the very first festival took place here in Reno, then named Uptown Downtown Artown.

Screen Shot 2015-05-18 at 2.59.56 PMWe know a little something about celebrating Artown anniversaries. When we designed our first poster with the festival in 2010, Artown was celebrating its 15th year. Our strategy then was the same as it is now: do something special that separates from prior years’ posters.

What was already special? Artist Franz Szony’s amazing rendition of Mnemosyne, the personification of memory in Greek mythology that will represent Artown 2015:

As in all my photographs, my goal is to depict a message or theme as a personified character. In a sense, think of her as “Lady Artown”… she is a showgirl, a goddess, and she represents the divine feminine (which is at the core of all the arts). – Franz Szony

Franz also incorporated the starburst atop the Reno Arch to represent Lady Artown’s headdress, another tasteful nod to the city resulting in an incredibly well thought out piece that was a joy to design for.

Besides the spectacular art, there were a few other special additions to this year’s poster to commemorate the 20th anniversary. The first is a limited edition 20th Anniversary Artown logo that will be in effect for this year only. The second is a commemorative grip of copy that briefly explains the humble beginnings of what is now a yearly staple in The Biggest Little City.

Of course, you can always see the full list of this year’s events by heading over to

Here’s to July!

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In-depth: Clark/Sullivan becomes “The partner to build with.”

No construction company has left quite the stamp on our area as Clark/Sullivan Construction has. After building the Nevada Museum of Art, the Reno Ballroom, the Reno-Sparks Convention Center, the Renown Tower, and dozens of University of Nevada, Reno campus buildings, the Clark/Sullivan portfolio is brimming with over 3 decades of city landmarks. Since expanding to Sacramento and Laramie, Clark/Sullivan Construction has begun a careful process of remodeling the way they do business.

Clark/Sullivan has been steadily moving from hard-bid methods that helped them survive the recession to a collaborative industry model known as construction management at risk (CMAR), where they focus on working together with owners, architects, and developers to exceed building expectations. Now, they just needed an image overhaul to reflect that.

Clark/Sullivan Logo

“The big ‘aha!’ moment for us was discovering people were more important than the facilities they build,” said Stan Byers. “People are a much bigger part of the equation than the artifacts they leave behind.”

Through our brand discovery meetings, we realized the people that make up Clark/Sullivan Construction were competitive, collaborative individuals who loved coming to work every day. They consistently mentioned making a positive impact with their work, so we sought to create a logo that reflected those qualities.

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The logo works on separate planes to form both a building block and an upward facing arrow to show progress through construction. It was done in a vibrant “Sparks” green to identify with their headquartered city and Museo typeface to add the human element of the people behind it.

Clark/Sullivan Exterior

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The “C/S” in the logo was a conscious decision towards the future, as the sole owner of the company, B.J. Sullivan hopes to soon transfer ownership of the company to his employees. This gives them less of a name and more of an identity to rally behind.

The final aspect of the project was a brand new website that puts their people front and center. The site also features a clean, photo-centric portfolio of work that the C/S staff can display with pride.

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Clark/Sullivan Portfolio



In-depth: Rebranding Red Line Design, LLC.

How do we rebrand Red Line Design, LLC, what started as a boutique interior design firm, into a brand synonymous with intimate events, creative exploration, and personal art by Sarah G. Stevenson? After initial attempts to try revising the current redlinedesign® logo, the look just felt too corporate. It didn’t speak to those familiar with her work as Sarah G. Stevenson and didn’t communicate what was special about the brand.

We worked to craft a visual identity that spoke on a personal level. We explored using handwriting instead of established type faces to tell people that this brand was about one person’s art. Our senior designer, Kelly Wallis, lent her steady hand in developing a wonderful cursive foundation for the logo. “When people see handwriting, it feels much more inviting and humble to them,” Kelly said. “People immediately recognize that this is not some big-box corporation.”

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Sticking to Sarah’s pillars of personal exploration and creativity, we gave life to the “line” of redlinedesign®, allowing it to explore and roam freely across her new packaging and stationery. Along with a web and social update that put her art in the spotlight, Sarah now has a complete brand identity to carry her business into what looks to be a promising year: this is the first year her Create.Explore.Discover Art Retreat will feature multiple dates.


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What seems like a two step process on paper was actually a lengthy, but highly rewarding strategic challenge in business rebrand. Whenever we work with clients we know personally, we want the result of our work to speak of that client the same way we would. In this case, our goal was a logo that reads “Redline Design” but says “Meet my good friend, Sarah.”

Check out the redlinedesign® website, where you can view Sarah’s photo and illustration collections and follow her blog for daily creative inspiration.

New Year, New Brands.

January 1st might have been eight days ago, but if you ask us, the New Year doesn’t begin until we survive the first week back to work. While we sip our third cup of coffee before 10am, many of our beloved clients are starting fresh this year with all new brands and logos to stand behind by the Stan Can Design™ team. Let’s take a look at some of our best rebrands from 2014.

Red Line Design, LLC

The Case: Red Line Design, LLC originally started as a boutique interior design firm for one Sarah G. Stevenson. As Sarah developed her business, she gained a network of followers devoted to her personal art blogging and creative newsletters that emphasized personal exploration. After the first of many successful Create.Explore.Discover. Art Retreats, Sarah wished to shift the focus of Red Line Design, LLC to art and creative exploration.

The Solution: A business that’s all about personal exploration deserves an extra personal logo. To convey the same sort of intimacy and humbling nature of Sarah’s work, Kelly Wallis hand-lettered an original wordmark for Red Line Design, LLC. Furthermore, the “line” of Red Line Design, LLC has a creative mind of its own. It wraps around, fills, and explores the space of various paper materials and packaging for the brand. “The result is a logo that reads ‘Red Line Design,'” said Stan Byers. “But really says ‘Meet my good friend, Sarah.”


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Clark/Sullivan Construction

The Case: A collaborative team of competitors who enjoy working with people, Clark/Sullivan Construction were looking to shed the hard-bid construction company image that they wrongfully earned whilst wading through the construction industry’s recession issues. At the same time, owner B.J. Sullivan also is looking to transition his company to a shared endeavor amongst C/S leaders as he plans to retire.

The Solution: It was clear to us that the new Clark/Sullivan logo not only needed a vibrant and progressive look, but it also had to be something of an insignia to rally troops behind as the company transitions ownership. The result is a shape that exudes both the business purpose and mentality – on separate planes! From one angle, a building block conveys Clark/Sullivan’s mission to create facilities that communities can be proud of, while the upward pointing arrow from another angle denotes the positive and progressive impact that C/S works to achieve with their projects. It’s all done in an energetic Sparks green in a tribute to the city that their headquarters resides in. Their new website is on the way as well, so check back soon!


CWX Architects

The Case: CWX Architects is a young, Midtown-based architectural firm that continues to blossom under the leadership of owner and lead architect, Carlin Williams. Using innovative delivery methods and an eye for timeless design, the firm sought to call attention to their strengths while developing a brand that would help them gain work outside of Carlin’s established business connections.

The Solution: Of course, Stan Can Design is also a fan of timeless design, and so we set to work on a logo that conveyed this to CWX’s prospective clients. Hard, straight lines pay tribute to the history and craft of architectural design. Along with geometric shapes and an easily readable typeface, CWX now sports a fresh logo that is just enough old school and the perfect amount of new hotness.


Fifty South Virginia

The Case: You might not have heard of Fifty South Virginia yet, but you might have heard of the old post office in downtown Reno. Thanks to the efforts of developer and project manager, Bernie Carter, the old post office is now Fifty South Virginia, a wonderfully historic and reimagined business space that stands as Reno’s beacon of revival. Originally finished in 1934, the structure has been sympathetically renovated to not only maintain its original charms, but also to restore those that were lost over the years. The final step was a cohesive brand, logo, and website in order to market to prospective tenants.

The Solution: With a space full of so many special and historic insignias, designs, and symbols, there was no shortage of inspiration for Fifty South Virginia’s new look. We eventually narrowed it down to a classically patriotic shield that pays homage to a symbol used on buttons for one of the building’s marble walls. Speaking of walls, the green used as the logo color is actually the same pale green of the terracotta walls used on the outside of the building. Other than tribute, the shield has been slightly updated to be used in today’s marketing world and is now an easily stamp-able design that should last another 80 years. It doesn’t get much more timeless than that.

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Ludmila CPA

The Case: It would have been easy for Ludmila Smith-Popper to establish her career on nothing more than her skill as a CPA. In 2005, she was the highest scoring CPA candidate in the State of Nevada and, within a short time, rose to partner of a Reno accounting firm. Instead, she established her success on fostering 1-on-1 business relationships with her clients and believing that hiring a CPA is always a positive experience, despite others’ reasons for doing so. It was clear that we needed to make this the center of conversation while crafting a strong brand image to allow her to continue expanding her client base, eventually venturing into different regional markets.

The Solution: Despite questions to do otherwise, we advised keeping Ludmila’s first name as the company name. It’s much more personal than the typical “Collins, Jones, Stevens” accounting firm model that we all seem to be a bit tired of. The use of all lower case was a conscious choice, working with the traditional typography to give off a friendly vibe. The plus symbol indicates a partnership with Ludmila herself, talks about accounting in its most simplest form, and seamlessly segues into their tagline, “Where success adds up.”

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Stan Can Design™ takes home two more awards.

daveyAwardsIt’s always nice when work we’re especially proud of gets some serious recognition. It’s even better when the awards have a little more meaning to them than “good job.” Our campaign elements for Artown 2013 and the Fag Diva™ logo were both recently awarded Davey Awards.

The Davey Awards represent excellence in marking communication from firms who excel through big ideas rather than big budgets. The Davey Awards award outstanding marketing tactics from smaller firms and agencies from across the nation, the “Davids” of creativity, they say.

“It’s nice to see how our work stacks up on the national level. We really appreciate what the Davey Awards stand for and we’re very proud to win on our clients behalf.” said Stan Byers, president of Stan Can Design™.

This is the fourth year in a row Stan Can Design™ has produced campaign elements for Artown. Artown’s mission is to strengthen Reno’s arts industry, and enhance its civic identity and national image by encouraging local artist participation and highlighting the best performers in northern Nevada.

Fag Diva™ was a project for our friend, Beth Luna. When she’s not practicing family law in Reno at The Luna Law Firm, Beth works to change the stigma following straight women with gay male best friends, or “fag hags”.

When Beth came to us with this idea of changing how women like her are viewed, she told us “I’m not a fag hag, I am a fag diva.” That’s when we hit our big, red easy buttons and got to work on logo design for the new brand.

Take a trip from fine art to fab logos and check out our award-winners!