Boston Pride

Monolith Recap (Top 10 List and iPod Winners)

This past weekend we flew out to Colorado for the Monolith Music Festival. (For those of you that don’t remember, we branded and designed nearly all of this year’s campaign). We had an amazing time—going into great detail would be too difficult—so we decided to break it down into a simple, concise list of our favorite moments/things.
Our Monolith Top 10 List
10. The epic landscape
9. Boston band, Passion Pit, causing Red Rocks to bounce. Literally.
8. Being on the verge of sickness from endless honey-roasted peanuts courtesy of the SouthWest Airlines booth
7. Riding in Method Man’s van (you’ll have to ask us for the sorted details)
6. Watching M. Ward at arm’s length
5. Experiencing The Mars Volta experience from back stage
4. MF Doom performing 20 feet from our booth
3. Being on stage while Rahzel KILLED IT and then getting high-fives from the legend-himself.
2. WaterCourse Foods – epic vegetarian dining
1. Cross-promoting our services, cavorting and sharing a booth with our pals at Jakprints!
Speaking of Jakprints, we teamed up with them to give away an iPod Touch on both Saturday and Sunday. The contest consisted of a festival-photo-scavenger-hunt. In true-fashion we branded the giveaway, designing hand-out cards, a horde of banners and some insanely sick, dye-sublimation t-shirts—all beautifully printed by Jakprints (of course!)
In order to be entered into the drawing one would need to shoot photos of the 5 items on our list before the last band went on (each day). We were really pleased with the amount of people that participated. We received some fantastic images to put it mildly. In the end there could only be one winner each day—so big congrats to our winners!:
Jenna Spencer and April Ramquist
Jenna’s photos from the Saturday contest:
1. The Jakprints/Alphabet Arm booth 2. The Monolith Logo 3. Someone with a band tattoo 4. A white dude with dreads 5. Someone wearing fresh, green sneakers
April’s photos from Sunday contest:
1. Someone doing a handstand 2. The Esurance logo 3. Someone with a completely righteous tie dye shirt 4. A radical mullet 5. A recycling bin

Get Your Learn On.

Our very own Art Director, Aaron Belyea, has been asked to teach another class at this week. He will be joined by Kimberly Rose, the CEO and Founder of the apply named, NameGirl. The class, “How to Name Your Company & Design a Knockout Logo“, will be held on Wednesday, August 7th. If you a Bostonian entrepreneur, a start-up savant, or a local business owner, this could prove to be a highly beneficial class reinforcing the importance of your brand positioning and visual identity.


We are enthusiastic to announce that our very own Ryan Frease and his wife Jessica will be featured in an upcoming gallery show presented by our friends at Goosefish Press (and they were kind enough to create a Facebook event page for the reception).
Please join us at the opening reception on May 4th from 5:30pm – 8:30pm
Sowa First Friday at Goosefish Press, 450 Harrison Avenue (#65)
The show will be up from May 1 – June 28

get schooled!

Alphabet Arm recently finished creating the logo for and is well underway crafting the overarching brand for the smart, new learning environment. helps entrepreneurs and business owners learn what they need to know to win, from people who’ve done it before. A wide array of engaging classes from some of the most respected thought leaders in the Boston startup ecosystem are being offered. We wanted the logo to feel as dynamic and exciting as the teaching concept itself. With that in mind, we felt it was important that the identity’s icon take on a structured and dimensional form playing off the physical space of the campus. Extra Credit: Our very own Art Director will be offering a series of need-to-know design classes as well, sign up for the initial course, “The Importance of Design & Branding” on May 21st.

Hey, What's the Big IDEA?

Alphabet Arm and our partners: G2 Technology Group and Amazon Web Services are calling all Entrepreneurs & Start-ups for a new competition. 

There is a local scene of innovation here in Boston’s Innovation District, and we want to show future generations of entrepreneurs that their ‘Big IDEA’ means something to all of us here in the Boston community.
You could win $10,000 in cash and more than $30,000 in prizes for your innovative business idea. It’s easy, all you have to do is provide links, upload a document, or fill out the online form with an Executive Summary of your Business Proposition and a short “Elevator Pitch.” Find out more here>
And, yes, of course we designed the logo and collateral.

Cut & Paste Global Championships

If you’re an O.G.A.B.C.B.R (Original Gangster Alphabet Arm Blog Reader) you might remember that Chris competed in the Boston, Cut & Paste Digital Design Tournament. Tomorrow evening Chris will be competing in the Cut & Paste Global Championships in New York City. For those of you that aren’t “in the know,” the Cut & Paste competition consists of designers going head to head in a battle royal. The concept is simple, though ridiculous, design something from scratch, based on a theme, within fifteen minutes. Oh, and do it in front of a huge crowd of people. The Global Championship consists of the winners from each of the 16 cities (LOS ANGELES, SAN FRANCISCO, PORTLAND, BOSTON, NEW YORK, TORONTO, CHICAGO, AMSTERDAM, LONDON, BERLIN, BARCELONA, MILAN, SHANGHAI, TOKYO, SYDNEY) coming together to determine who is the champion of the universe (not to be confused with He-Man, he’s the MASTER of the universe you turkey).
Here’s the details:
Date: Friday October 16th, doors open at 7pm
Where: Hammerstein Ballroom, NYC


As some of you may know, last week we hosted an AIGA AFTA event. We had a rather adventurous theme for the evening which was to ask each attendee “Tell us record that inspires you.” We then took that album cover and printed it on their nametag. We also had built a web-application that populated the letters A.F.T.A with the chosen album covers in live time. From what we heard of the AIGA higher-ups we were to expect 50-60 guests, when we printed our 120th nametag (and subsequently ran out) we realized the event was well-attended. If you are reading this and you attended—thank you for coming out! Our friend, Liz Linder, did us a solid and took a couple quick pictures documenting the evening.

The ABC's of Expressive Type

By Donovan “Donny Bloggernaut” Brien
Being a student, one of the hardest things to concentrate on is making typography itself expressive. Graphic design, after all, is a layered and complex artform, and its very easy for students to forget about their type in the process of design. Knowing Alphabet Arm’s passion for typography and exceptional talent for making type expressive, I invited the team to come down and give a workshop at Boston University for the BU AIGA student group, which they happily agreed to do.
The workshop specifically concentrated on weathered type treatment both on the computer and by hand. The students were asked to create a composition based on their initials using a pool of resources provided for them. They were then taught various ways to use the type expressively and methods of achieving an archival and weathered feel to their type.
As the students worked, Aaron, Ryan, Ira, and Chris helped the students with technical issues, design choices, and suggested methods to help them achieve successful designs.
Overall, it was hugely successful and was extremely well received by the students. Check out some photos from the workshop below.

Guilty by Association

{Facebook event page}
We are quite excited to announce that we will be having a gallery show along with fellow Alphabet Arm’r Chris Piascik at Silpe Gallery located at the Hartford Art School. The show will feature a broad selection of our design work as well as art pieces. Come one, Come all!
Here’s the details:
Opening: April 6th 6:30PM – 9:00PM
Show Duration: April 4 – 8
Gallery Talk: 7:00PM
Gallery Hours: Monday – Friday 9:00AM – 4:30PM, weekends by appointment
Sponsored by: CADC and the Hartford Art School VCD Department
Silpe Gallery, Hartford Art School
University of Hartford
200 Bloomfield Avenue
West Hartford, CT 06117

Everybody Loves Raygun

We recently tried our hand at some traditional screen printing. It had been a long time since we’d tried pulling prints by hand and there was quite a learning curve. The strategy was to do ourselves a favor by designing a piece with overprinting that did not require tight registration. After overexposing the screen 3 times, we finally got it right. We learned a lot in the process, although we got neon green fingerprints on everything.
Why did we spend our time getting covered in ink, spilling emulsion and inventing new swear words, you may ask? The answer is two-fold. We wanted to promote our recent public artist talk at Montserrat Collage of Art. And we’re psyched to report that our piece will be hanging among amazing creative company at The National Poster Retrospecticus. “Lincoln Arts Project presents The National Poster Retrospecticus, a collection of hand-printed posters from over 50 local, regional, and national artists.” Not to mention, the show is curated by none other than JP Boneyard, friend of the studio and former intern. Check out the list of participating artist for a seriously impressive list of poster creatives.

Open Office Hours with Alphabet Arm

Open Office Hours with Alphabet Arm Design: How does effective identity and branding help to quickly establish your start-up or new company? How can rebranding your company reposition you as a leader in your respective industry? Gather unique insight from the award-winning studio that has built their reputation on developing bold, creative and distinctive design solutions for their clients.
10 minute slots available from 9:30am to 11:30am on Tuesday, December 15th.
See available slots below.
Contact: / 617-451-9990 to reserve your spot.
Open Office Hours are your opportunity to receive targeted input and advice from industry professionals, without the pressure of cost or obligation. In the provided 10 minute slot, attendees are given an open forum to discuss anything related to identity and branding.
Alphabet Arm – 500 Harrison Avenue, Studio 3R, Boston

Open Office Hours 2.0: High Speed – Brand Audit

Is your brand lacking inspiration or languishing in a “we’ll try and tackle that tomorrow” strategy?
Does your in-house creative get handled by the Accounts Receivable department?
Is the tag line on your web site different than that on your business card?
Are you unsure if your messaging is highlighting your capabilities or targeting your ideal clients?
Gather your branded materials, business cards, sales collateral, website screen-shots and schedule a get together with us for some objective feedback and strategic advice on how to fine tune your brand.
We have nine years of experience working with start-ups and entrepreneurs. Our studio is known for developing thought provoking identities that help our clients appear focused, established and as innovators within their industries. These identities can then serve as the groundwork for an entire brand—from an office system and website to marketing materials and campaigns.
Contact us at: 617-451-9990 or info at to schedule your complimentary 15 minute time slot.
Event Date: Tue, 03/30/2010 – 9:30am – 11:30am
Location: Alphabet Arm 500 Harrison Avenue, 3R Boston, MA 02118

Open Office Hours Tomorrow

In case you’re still on the fence, we would like to encourage you to book a slot for our Open Office Hours tomorrow morning. You can read more about them at the original post, and see the calendar below for the open slots. They are a great way to get some very objective and honest opinions on where your business stands from a branding and creative standpoint. We’re also looking at them as a great opportunity to network and talk to some people who may be out of our typical circles. Lastly, we’d like to stress that it doesn’t matter the size of your company: big, small or in between, we’d be more than happy to chat.
If you’re interested in booking a slot, you can e-mail us here or call (617) 451-9990. We’re located in Boston’s South End (map).

Droppin' Science… err.. Art

We were recently asked to give a lecture at MassArt in our home town of Boston. The topic was to be our design process. We pulled together a broad range of work ranging from identity design to CD art direction to print collateral. The turnout was great and the students seemed really enthusiastic—and we only had very minor technical difficulties—I’m looking at you Preview! One of the students, Caley Ostrander, posted a nice, little write-up on her blog [here].

Helping out the Little Wanderers

In all of the craziness of the holiday season, it’s sometimes easy to forget about the really important things. That’s one of the reasons that we volunteer every year at The Home for Little Wanderers annual “Big Wishes for Little Wanderers” gift drive. The most vital reason, however, is that volunteering is a small thing that we can do that hopefully impacts some kids who have little else to look forward to during the holiday season. The staff at The Home is great, and there’s always a solid crew of volunteers to help out. Donations were down again this year, which is unfortunate but understandable given the economic climate. If you are in a place to help out this year with a donation to The Home or another charitable organization, your gift will go even further this year.

TEDx Cambridge > Thrive

Alphabet Arm recently collaborated with our good friends at Brandon Bird Design to design the branding elements for the latest TEDx Cambridge event: Thrive. The one-day event went over fantastically and we are proud to have been a part of this gathering of regional intellectuals and innovators. The talks, demonstrations and performances focused on an exploration of our brains and bodies, questioned the relationship between nature and nurture, and examined the different understandings of the good life — in essence, how do we thrive?
Brandon Bird Design, a multi-disciplinary design firm specializing in exhibit design, approached Alphabet Arm to contribute by designing the Thrive logo, printed collateral and consult on the signage and multimedia displays. Together, we created a logo that would literally represent the idea of a thriving organism. A logo that could show growth, progress, and vigorously flourish. The final logo solution was a mark that had several stages of growth and expansion that would reveal itself over the event.

Special thanks to Justin Ide for the stellar photography :

Guilty by Association: Update

As promised in a previous posting, here are some images from Guilty by Association, our recent gallery show with Chris Piascik. A big thanks to everyone who attended the opening and gallery talk at the Silpe Gallery, Hartford Art School. Our pal, Jamie Murrett did us a favor and provided photography. Have a look: