The Bloggery

Music Matters

If I can lament for a moment, back in the early days of the design studio (2002 – 2007 gulp), the primary workload was creating visual identities (logos) for bands, music management companies, record labels and radio stations. Beyond that, we would art direct a lot of albums, up to 75 CDs (see Compact Disc) a year. For designer – and recovering musician – this was very coveted work. A lot if designers were interested in working at Alphabet Arm specifically because of our reputation as specializing in “music-based-design”.
As the music industry struggled to embrace a new digital medium, new modes of listening, and changing consumer trends, many record labels were forced to close. As a studio, we had to make some hard decisions and shift our business model. That said, I still have opportunities to design and art direct albums. Here are a couple recent covers.
I will will share some process work, package photos and design details on another post, but thought it might be fun to share the cross section of cover treatments sooner than later.

Run London Run

In the early stages of my design career (prior to being computer literate) I would draw + re-draw letterforms, photocopy type as small as possible (only to blow it back up), crumple paper, sponge water, tear + tape, use blender pens, etc. to replicate worn typography and illustrations I would find in archival books and vintage signage. In my own low-fi way, I was trying to age branding elements in the most honored and authentic way I could. Given that, it is pretty sweet when you can go back to your design roots and kick out a type treatment that feels just as relevant and appropriate now. Honoring the New Balance relationship with the London Marathon, we created a special branded RUN LDN pack, blimey!


Run, Test, Run, Test, Run,





Straight from the future the ’90s imagined, the second limited-edition launch of our New Balance <Test_Run> program is an ultra-modern mashup combining massive plushness with wild head-turning style. An ode to the next millennium, it shares the radically soft midsole of the Fresh Foam More running shoe, which features our most premium version of Fresh Foam cushioning to date. Meanwhile, the futuristic upper — with hypnotic accents including translucent material and bold arcade colors — is sure to warrant endless double-takes.
Custom logotypes, stencil typography, and badging by yours truly.

BAD LOGO, BAD! (Part 1.)

Over my 20+ years of creating visual identities, logos and branding systems, I’ve always taken the “high road” when it comes to being overly critical of fellow creatives. That said, within this new blog series, I intend to shine a light and call out identities that are poorly constructed, feature crap typography, do not seem to leverage any kind of conceptual thinking, and are just bad science.

Today, I saw a commercial for the branded wearable company, 4 Imprint. There is a lot to unpack here, not just that they are in the business of promoting brands primarily through a company logo, and this is what 4 Imprint comes to the table with?
No bueno.
Typographically, it appears like they have taken the antiquated typeface and further squashed the “imprint” type to be condensed (see distorted dots over i’s). Apparently, they determined the number 4 didn’t deserve the same punishment. Then, time traveled back to 1957 and borrowed the – 100% stylistically different – Newport Cigarette swoosh. Unlike the oval shaped dotted i’s, they opted to include a perfect circle to be a… dot or some sort representing some high ideal? An oversized period sitting above the baseline? A point to the exclamation swoosh? Dunnoh, but it saddens me.


Hometown Pride

As a long time New England Patriots fan, I supported my team + favorite players like Stanley Morgan, Russ Francis, Mike Haynes and Steve Grogan through countless loosing seasons. So that fact New England is now the preeminent football franchise in the NFL, and the envy of all other football fans around the league, is A-OK with this fella. In honor of this momentous, 6th World Championship, I gave myself a little design assignment and through the on-demand magic of the good people @cottonbureau you can order your own (and for just $22!).


Set. Brand. Love.

One of my first design initiatives when joining the creative leadership team at New Balance was to update the antiquated and counterintuitive (in my humble opinion) logotype that was being used for one of the brand’s biggest and most successful collections; Fresh Foam. Check this IG post for more.

The hexagon form itself is a key visual for the technology of the collection, so I opted to build a logotype utilizing the hex to define the character terminals (see process image). The final result is a distinctive, bold – if not somewhat subtle – logotype that features a great deal of flexibly. Due to the fact the logotype is used on product, as well as our print, digital, in-store marketing efforts, it was important to have a variety of lock-up options within the branding family. For context, note the before and after.

This branding system is featured on the new Fresh Foam Lav men’s tennis shoe.

We teamed up with professional tennis player Milos Raonic to develop this dynamic model. It features a Fresh Foam cushioned midsole, external heel counter and Kinetic Stitch to ensure lockdown stability.

Like the Fresh Foam visual identity, Kinetic Stitch is another example of a custom logotype created for New Balance. Kinetic Stitch is an upper technology that helps athletes lock in their feet during lateral cuts on court.

Weighing in on the ‘Grams

Marketing your service, product or business has changed forever. It is remarkable how differently (and successfully) savvy companies use social media to promote their brand. The power of platforms like Instagram to use imagery and video content to create awareness and engage with new consumers is by far my preferred medium.
Its always inspiring to see companies I brand pop up in my feed, here are a select few doing it right:

Altatude Beverage Company
Eatable Popcorn
Perfect Fuel
Loco Coffee

P.S. you can always find me at @alphabetarm

Up Your Bureau


They have done it again, the good folks at Cotton Bureau now offering t-shirts On Demand. Whether you are a coffee enthusiast, an aficionado of robots, or just dig typography, check the shirts and see if one is worthy of your collection!
P.S. Stay tuned for new designs in the coming months.

The Blog is Back in Town!

Hello there friends, after a few years off (and the site being hacked by some ding dong located in an army base in Texas), The Bloggery is back for your entertainment, information, eye candy, and enjoyment.

Let’s begin with a little context first, after running the formal design studio for 15 years (featuring a bevy of talented designers, illustrators, typographical ninjas, bad-ass interns, and all around good folks), I accepted a full time position (Creative Design Manager : Brand + Visual) at New Balance in 2016. I plan to share a number of visual identities, branding systems, re-brands, and sweet, sweet New Balance work here as well as many new Alphabet Arm projects.

Stay tuned, welcome back, and crank up some Think Lizzy.

Geometrically Speaking

Another notch in the logo belt… presenting the new mark and business card we designed for Curl Simitis Architecture + Design. From their website: “With a deep appreciation for New England’s long tradition of craftsmanship and a love of contemporary design, Curl Simitis Architecture + Design’s work is unapologetically eclectic.” This brand identity was a great chance to revisit our roots of strong geometric design principals. The underlying grid structure is composed of 4 modular squares. At first glance the rectangular forms are a beautifully balanced abstract design. However, upon further investigation, the rectangular shapes reveal the negative spaces of the initials of C and S.

Lucky (for you) 13

That’s right, all schwag in our Big Cartel store is marked down to just $13.00 (+shipping). Alphabet Arm has been kicking it for thirteen years, and on this fine day of March 13th, it makes perfect sense to celebrate and offer you the deal of a lifetime (okay, maybe the deal of a lunchtime). Check it out!

Get Your Bath On

Family owned and operated for over 50 years, the Murray Design showroom showcases a variety of bath and kitchen appliances from top industry brands. The Murray Design marketing team felt the previous identity and branding were no longer representative of the products they offer. Furthermore, they were concerned the branding didn’t connect with their changing demographic.
Alphabet Arm set out to create a clean, sleek identity to reflect the beauty of Murray Design’s product collection and honor their talented team of designers. Drawing inspiration from the curvature of the many fixtures and appliances found in the showroom, we rendered a mark that embodies both a faucet and an M that embraces a sophisticatedly, minimal aesthetic. For the color system, we utilized a calming blue and a metallic silver, naturally representing both water and the reflective finish found on many of Murray’s products.
Previous logo before Alphabet Arm got our hands on it:

all the kids are doin' it…

The Grams, IG, Instagrandma, Insta, gramz, no matter what you call it, it’s become a social media phenomenon.
We are rather excited to report that NBC News just filed a report highlighting our lil’ Instagram feed > read it here.
And check our placement on the homepage, we ranked higher than that wannabe Cronut! Take that – trans fats!
We spoke to Jim Collins, Director of Multimedia and discussed of passion for Instragram, the community itself, and how it all ties back into our design work here at the studio.
And of course, if you’d like to see our IG feed, kindly follow us at @alphabetarm

This report, just in…

Branding identity
It is the duty of the court reporter to record spoken word in the form of written language. This documentation process is invaluable in a courtroom setting, as well as for live captioning for broadcast television. Reporting companies – more often than not – bare rather lackluster branding, but Jones & Fuller Reporting decided that it was time for Alphabet Arm to give them a new look to stand out from the pack. The process began with a conversation regarding the company name itself.
In order to depict the note-taking nature of Jones & Fuller’s business, it was important that the mark featured both the appearance of a “verbal” graphic element to imply speech as well as an element based in writing. By dividing the form of a speech bubble in two and making one half representative of a transcript, we create an opportunity to visually explain the responsibilities of court reporting itself. Once the logo re-brand was complete, Alphabet Arm developed the system of office materials and marketing collateral.

Branding identity

Branding identity

Branding identity
Logotype + naming prior to Alphabet Arm’s re-branding:

Geometry in the Geology

GeoOptics specializes in fiber optic sensors used to peer deep inside the earth for energy resources. Our goal in creating the new logo was the same as most any logo we design: distill the main idea of the company down to a simple, striking mark. Rather than getting overly complex with the fiber optic technology, we focused on a simple geometric approach that could depict the idea of seeing inside the earth — which is the broad concept that lies within the name: Geo (earth) + Optics (see). Our sketches capitalized on the fact that the initial G is based on a circle, so we iterated from there. It was important that the globe and the G have the same line weight to create unity. The placement of the bar of the G also suggests direction to the earth’s core.

Alphabet Animal Farm, Part 02

Vista Clothing Company is among the new breed of conscious-minded  apparel companies that have a charitable giving commitment integrated within their business model.
Drawing influence from classic and iconic brands like Izod and Penguin, the Vista bird mascot will carry the lions share (no pun intended) of the branding responsibility. At it’s root, it is a simple and graphic form that is easily removed from the typographic lock-up. It features a subtle V form across it’s chest – honoring the company name. VistaLogo-Bloggery
The flexibility of the simple mark, not only allows the color palette to constantly evolve, but will make embroidery and skill-screening both cost effective and very clean.

Alphabet Animal Farm, Part 01

Friends of The Bloggery, we hope this post finds you well. We are kicking off a series of recent logo projects that feature animals. Whether they are simple and iconic, or stylized brand mascots, an animal can often function as an ideal visual for a brand or service.
ScoutLogo-BloggeryThe Scout Tint Meter is an innovative, handheld, new tint reading device developed by a State Trooper.
Alphabet Arm was hired to conduct a Naming Exercise and create the initial step of the brand voice. We typically begin the process of name development by defining the audience the brand must speak to. We take a broad look at the competing brands (if they exist) and we define the characteristics and key brand attributes. Then we brainstorm, create word lists, free associations, brainstorm, mind map, and brainstorm some more. Generally, the sessions generate a furious list of hundreds of names. We dissect them, deconstruct and recombine. A significant part of the vetting process is rooted in online research to ensure none of the proposed names are being used verbatim. Ultimately, we look for simple answers to complex ideas.
In the case of Scout, avoiding the commonly used technical naming strategy (most often initial and number combinations) and utilizing a familiar pet name was the ideal solution. To offset the product name, we introduced a concrete, descriptive tagline. Pairing the new name with a focused, trustworthy, shepard illustration has already set Scout apart from the pack and reinforces their primary demographic of law enforcement professionals who will be using this device.
Due to the nature of the mediums that will be branded (molded plastic tint meter shell, carrying case, operating instructions, etc.) the Scout logo system utilizes a number of lock-up options and a simple atomized version of the mark.

Official Release : Day 1

Sundays are magical for a number of reasons… sleeping in, glorious brunches, professional football tournaments, and of of course, just one day before the new and improved is released into the wild.
– Team Alphabet Arm

Official Release : Day 2

The weekend has come, but that does not stop our countdown, just two days left before our new website goes live. Stay tuned for the launch on Monday!
– Team Alphabet Arm

Official Release : Day 3

The fully official, officially licensed, completely official countdown continues for the launch of our new website! We appreciate your continued patience and enthusiasm, now just three days left. Stay tuned for the launch next Monday!
– Team Alphabet Arm

Official Release : Day 4

It’s official, the new website countdown continues! We know it can be difficult to wait, but there are just four days left. Stay tuned for the launch next Monday!
– Team Alphabet Arm

Official Release : Day 5

It’s official, the new website countdown has begun! We know it can be difficult to wait, but there are just five days left. Stay tuned for the launch next Monday!
– Team Alphabet Arm

The Dot Coms

That’s right friends, we have exciting news to report, Alphabet Arm is merely days away from launching our brand new web portfolio. It’s been completely re-engineered, re-built and re-loved. Fear not, The Bloggery will also have it’s share of upgrades shortly! Stay tuned for the full launch announcement!

That's the spirit!

Fresh of the press, we are happy to share two t-shirt designs we created for Tuthilltown Spirits. Just like the distillery, these shirts celebrate their local ingredients — New York state’s grains and fruit. Today, Tuthilltown Spirits distills vodkas from apples grown at orchards less than 5 miles away from the distillery in the Hudson Valley.

You just might be our Type.

Lovers of Typography, we come to you bearing good tidings. Our previously-sold-out, ode to archival typography t-shirt, is now available again. Christmas miracle? Perhaps. Only available for a limited time – most definitely.
Our “Awesomely Alphabetical”  t-shirt is now being featured on a fantastically brilliant, radical online shop > Cotton Bureau. It features a two color imprint on a luxurious, American Apparel tri-blend, heather black tee. The hitch is, you only have a couple days to order yours as the production window will be quickly closing, grab your here. Happy Kwanzaa!

Ivanna > Out

Hello again! You know that cliche saying, “time flies?” Well, it is overused for a reason, it is the truth.
This summer has gone by faster than I imagined. To be honest, I don’t know if I am quite ready to start college this fall, graduate from Youth Design, and leave Alphabet Arm. Why do all good things have to end so quickly? What I love about being a Youth Designer is that every summer is a whole new experience. And thanks to Alphabet Arm, my final summer as a Youth Designer is more than what I could’ve asked for. As an up and coming graphic design college student, I was uncertain that I made the right decision with my major. I’ve never really done graphic design other than creating school flyers here and there. Not only did the team at Alphabet Arm exposed me to this new world, they made me love it.
Beside the client projects I had the opportunity to work on, I’ve been designing a poster for the past few weeks. This is my submission to Youth Design’s annual Take Action competition. The mission is to design a campaign poster that raises awareness for a cause, or social issue we are passionate about. With the help of my Alphabet Arm peers – I developed the concept, art directed the photography and customized some typography for this poster – that I’m really proud of. Wish me luck on the competition!
I’ve gained so much from just working on a few projects and observing how the other designers work. Although, I’m still not an amazing designer (just yet), I’m definitely a better one thanks to the incredible Alphabet Arm team!

We H E A R T Coffee

It’s no secret, at Alphabet Arm, we love coffee. In fact, we think it’s the most important meal of any given day. Simply follow our proprietary brewing system for a perfect cup!
Our “Coffee Contraption” t-shirt is now being featured on a fantastically cool online shop, Cotton Bureau. Cotton Bureau is a curated online community for design and tech-focused t-shirts. These are ultra-soft, Athletic Blue, Tri-Blend American Apparel shirts. That all sounds like the perfect cup – right? There is a catch – you only have a couple days to order your own as the production window is quickly closing, grab your here.

Topping Off the Week

Hi there, I’m Ivanna Lin, a current Youth Design intern at Alphabet Arm this Summer. I started interning two weeks ago, and everyday has been an exciting with a variety of cool, new projects. However, there was a morning that was kind of different from the others. Aaron (Alphabet Arm’s Art Director) and I stepped out of the studio and did some hands-on creative work with Youth Design.
On Tuesday, July 29th, we joined the Youth Design / Troy Boston Team. The team consisted of Youth Designers, mentors, volunteers, and YD staff. Troy Boston, a new, multi-building development in South End, was hosting their “Topping Off Ceremony”. As a part of the eventful morning, Gerding Edlen Developers invited us to paint one of the buildings ibeams. Our color palette was a combination of orange, white, black and gold, a mix of both Youth Design and Troy Boston’s brand colors. Our assignment was to create designs that were inspired by our city and the Troy Boston logotype. With a nudge from Aaron, I volunteered to work on the logo (my typography exercise of the day). Aaron developed on a design that symbolizes the positivity of Boston. Beside getting the opportunity to be creative, we also go to witness the incredible view of Boston on the 12th floor of larger of the two buildings. And finally, we saw our very own ibeam being placed on the top of the building. Now, if you find yourself on I-93 South, you just might see our dashing ibeam proudly placed on the 17th floor (but of course, keep your eyes focused on the road!). – Ivanna Lin  //  Design Intern
Stay tuned for these gems to soon join our fair skyline:

get up and glo…

Glomag is the name, funky fashion is the game. Gloria Magale recently took her fun, personal, fashion project to a new level with an official brand: Glomag. Alphabet Arm worked with Gloria to refine the company name, and create a unique, cost effective, branding system. We developed hang tags, rubber stamps, apparel hem tags and a beefy set of 34pt. business cards which feature edge painting.
When tasked with creating a mark that captured the edgy nature of Gloria’s clothing, we pulled inspiration from the clothes themselves. After a review of the line, we picked up on the common use of oversized flowers which felt like a bold differentiator to our eyes. We embraced the vibrance and overall shape of the flower when creating the logo, and developing the Glomag color palate. The type treatment was inspired by graffiti and black letter letterforms. The sum of the parts harmoniously create a beautiful, feminine, and edgy brand system.
Here are a few of our favorite additional Glomag logo treatments that didn’t not make the final cut:

If you see Harold, simply say "Hey".

Alphabet Arm was tasked with developing an identity for an original web series featuring the legendary Judge and Analyst, Harold Lederman. Harold joined HBO World Championship Boxing broadcasts in 1986, and now has his own series discussing the sweet science and fight match-ups. Harold often refers to classic bouts when analyzing boxers and breaking down boxing styles. We were well aware of his great reverence for the rich history of the sport and used that as inspiration for the series logo. Like a left hook to the chin, it’s to the straight to the point and makes an impact.
Need to get schooled in the art of boxing? Check out Hey Harold! This World Boxing Hall of Fame member knows!

The Golden Rule in your Cotton Bureau

That’s right, our shirt The (wearable) Golden Rule is being featured on a fantastically radical storeCotton Bureau is a curated online community for design and tech-focused t-shirts.
Why The Golden Rule you ask? What better way to remind ourselves to be good human beings, and treat our fellow man with respect and honor?  And if a sweet set of otters, and a little pun re-mix helps us do that, well…then we all win.
The catch is, you only have a couple days to order your own as the production window is quickly closing, get to it!

An Artistic Ecosystem Aesthetic

Alphabet Arm recently finished a branding project for a new home-grown arts organization.
Alter Projects is dedicated to fostering social innovation with and for the arts. Built on the core ideology that a healthy arts ecosystem has a direct effect on the social, cultural and economic viability of our community, they design custom experiences with contemporary art and artists. Ensuring their clients with a new era of access, appreciation and support for the arts in Greater Boston and beyond.
Expressing connection and customization in a static mark is an exciting challenge. The very literal name of the organization led the process in the creative direction; an alteration of letterforms. By leveraging the Gotham typeface, and it’s inheirant geometric qualities, it streamlined the dissection of its form. We painstakingly segmented the typeface in order to show its structure in an architectural way, alluding to the tailored and connected nature of Alter’s community. The logo can be used simply as a one color, in a multi-colored form (preferred) or in a dynamic state with integrated photography revealing the many faceted sides of the organization.

…Over Troubled Water

bridj-blogBetter transit. For everyone. We can definitely get behind the tagline of our newest client, Bridj. In their words, “Bridj is the world’s first smart transit system which uses big data and awesome shuttles (WiFi!) to adjust to your individual commuting needs.” Our primary intent, when starting the design process for the Bridj logo, was to create a mark that read cleanly and distinctly at both very small sizes (on a smart phone) and very large sizes (on the side of a bus). We feel the logo achieves this legibility with a bold sensibility and clean lines that suggest a sense of classic modernity. Not to suggest that the design was easy, but the final mark looks remarkably like the very first sketch we did. Throughout the entire process, this mark seemed to lead the pack and just simply felt “right.”
Keep an eye out for Bridj, they are poised to do some really exciting things in the near future. The app is nearly ready for release and we’re currently in talks to design bus wraps, signage, off systems and more.

Grace(note) Under Pressure

“Alphabet Arm has been great to work with. They’re professional, human, creative, and in touch. All of these attributes made re-branding with Alphabet Arm an enjoyable and valuable undertaking.”
– Patrick Barter, Founder, Director – Gracenote Coffee Roasters
If you know anything about Alphabet Arm, you know we are almost as passionate about coffee as we are about branding. So, when these worlds collide, we are happy designers. Initially, Gracenote reached out to us to develop some branded merchandise for them. After discussing the state of their current identity and it’s inherent challenges, it was determined a re-brand was in order. Beyond the new typographic updates and streamlining the color palette, we also finessed the graphic elements themselves, creating a kinder balance between the lock-up elements. The next step was to propose new business card layouts. Given their aesthetic, utilizing a robust chipboard stock and a new graphic language to contain and organize information seemed to serve their needs.

Next, we updated the retail bag labels, utilizing the established framework developed for the business cards.
Now, we are receiving all kinds of fun images from the founder sharing his various applications as he is exploring branding opportunities with the new logo. He seems as inspired as we did (not to mention, he fueled our creativity with several bags of his spectacular product!)


Fox Got Your Tongue?

Recently, Alphabet Arm’s senior designer and resident beer snob, Ryan, tried his hand at a little brew-you-own-beer experiment. After much deliberation, a recipe for American Pale Ale was chosen. A bit hoppy, floral, citrusy and well balanced — it seemed like a great choice for drinking in the (hopefully) warmer months ahead. Of course, for a graphic designer, at least half of the fun of brewing your won beer is getting to name the product and design the brand in whichever way you choose, with no pesky clients to get in the way.
Pale Fox was the chosen name (pretty much, any excuse to spend some time drawing a fox) and the clean, modern take on a beer label followed suit. Pale Fox turned out to be a tasty brew. The process of brewing the ale, bottling, and design was good fun. Thanks to Hopsters for assisting in the brew process and all-around rad experience.
BeerMaking PaleFox

A House of a Different Color.

Not long ago, we branded Stillwater Unlimited  –  a division of the Ferree Group, Inc. Stillwater Unlimited is an all inclusive, concierge level service that delivers best-in-class home services to their client’s doorstep. In laymen’s terms, high level property & lifestyle management. Once their logo, branding elements and marketing collateral were solidified, we were tasked with developing a website that spoke to the level of thoughtful and unique service Stillwater Unlimited offers its clients.
We immediately felt a parallax scrolling site with a boatload of custom illustration would be a wonderful way for potential customers to be educated about the services. The site’s platform also felt like a great way to set Stillwater Unlimited apart from the competition – which felt a bit antiquated and too hoity toity (in our humble opinion). So, are you ready to get your property & lifestyle management kicked into high gear? Look no further > Stillwater Unlimited.

Much Respect for the Musk Ox.

Well Hello there friendly Bloggery enthusiasts. For this blog entry, we can’t think of a better solution than to simply have a recent client share their experience of working with us.
“As an educator who is trying to change the way that people view education with a brand new (and very different) program, the first impression that I make, and the program makes, matters a great deal. When I approached Alphabet Arm to inquire about whether or not they’d be able to help me come up with a logo that appropriately represented the program I am starting. Not only was my contact (Aaron) more than happy to help out, he employed Alphabet Arm’s group of incredibly skilled designers to come up with a number of absolutely beautiful logo designs for The Penn. 
Every single one of these designs was original and all are more eye-catching than almost any logo I see in my daily life – it seems kind of crazy that those companies wouldn’t have already been in touch with Alphabet Arm to have him help them. Out of the choices presented, there were two that I felt fit the personality of The Penn the best, and after all their hard work and ingenuity, it was now my turn to work. Although I wish I could choose all of the logo treatments as the final design, I feel that the final logo that I settled upon could not possibly better represent the program. Aaron and the team at Alphabet Arm were able to give me a visual representation of the thing that I’ve spent years pouring my heart into and for that, I am unbelievably grateful.”
– Andrew Lapham Fersch / The Penn

Shine On You Crazy Gem

He went to Jared? We should hope not. We had the unique opportunity to work on The Gemvara Experience retail store with our key partners, Heart and Brandon Bird Design. Being a successful online, custom jewelry destination, the Newbury Street location is Gemvara’s initial foray into a brick and mortar storefront. We designed the logo and store branding and worked closely with Brandon Bird to develop the concepts – and ultimately – execution of the window displays, wall installations, signage, display cases and general aesthetic of the store. A multitude of partners, vendors, architects, electricians, carpenters, painters, former interns, friends of former interns, friends of intern’s friends formally known as friends, were all employed to help us realize the vision.
We introduced a cornucopia of mediums and fabrication techniques to the project. As a studio specializing in print design, we embraced the chance to really push ourselves as 3 dimensional, creative problem solvers. Look for a full blown case study on our portfolio soon, but for the time being, go create some custom jewelry and see the space for yourself!

just what's in the boxx you ask?

Building upon an established brand sensibility can be a challenge for a designer. Respecting the existing system while introducing a new aesthetic requires a delicate hand. As you might expect, we prefer to develop logo and branding elements ourselves, but there are times we are hired to work with an existing system. Take Promoboxx as an example. They have a unique approach helping companies work with retailers to market their products. Promoboxx hired Alphabet Arm to build a modular logo system for their Client Services offerings. Each service having it’s own messaging but serving the overarching brand as a whole.
As part of our creative process, we developed some recommended usages of the system. Signed, sealed and delivered!

Raisin' Up

Looking for a great job in the Boston area? Raisr may be the answer. You see, Raisr is a new online platform that utilizes complex algorithms to streamline your experience of locating, and applying for your ideal employment. It’s all about finding the right job for you, efficiently. The name Raisr is meant to suggest raising your career status, profile, and pay grade. Alphabet Arm was employed to create a new logotype for the company. Our approach was to craft a custom type treatment that could be uniquely theirs. Both the full logo and the pull-away R icon are an exercise in simplicity with a decidedly modern sensibility. It’s all buttoned up (like you should be for that job interview).

Badges of Honor

Buttons! Button! Who doesn’t love buttons? What about a big ole box of buttons? Well, our pals at now offer custom printed button boxes. Bright, full color printing and heavy stock makes these boxes perfect branding for trade shows or bands on tour.
Alphabet Arm got the chance to design two custom boxes, full of fun buttons. Check out our ode to classic boxing aesthetics and our latest robotic creation. Contact Pure Buttons today and order yourself some. And of course, contact us if you need them designed! Get buttoned up.


Bloggery-SBWe’ve worked with Sarah Borges and The Broken Singles on several projects in the past, so we were quite enthusiastic to work on her brand new, solo record. Radio Sweetheart was crowd-funded by her loyal fan base, its chock full of what Sarah does best: well crafted old rock n’ roll with a country twang thrown in to keep things interesting. Sarah got dressed up all-fancy-like and had a photo shoot with her dad’s classic Thunderbird. She turned the photos over to us and it was our job to create a album cover that looked timeless and exuded cool (which Sarah has in spades). We were especially pleased to find a light-hearted image of Sarah behind the wheel with a candid laugh, it took some doing to convince her that was the way to go, but we were glad she trusted our instincts. Do yourself a favor, and turn this one up!

'tis the season

In this season of giving, may we be the first to offer you and yours the gift of five magical days of blogging?
That’s right, we’ll be posting a new blog entry every day this week. It truly is a holiday miracle. A Cheerful Merry Happy Happy to you.

Honesty, is always the best policy (Bob).

“The CDs are now in hand, and look really awesome! Everyone we’ve shown them to is really impressed. Thanks a ton for your fine work once again.”
DealoftheCenturyMINIHappy clients, well… make us happy. Honest Bob and the Factory to Dealer Incentives enlisted the studio to develop the art direction for their latest musical offering, Deal of the Century. We had previously worked with the band and appreciated their faith in our ability to develop the visual complement to their music again. We assembled a visual narrative to the album’s title and riffed on the idea of four bandmates being represented by four mailboxes. Clearly, not a group of guys who get caught up taking themselves too seriously.

Contemporary Affection

May we present David Lockwood’s latest release, Modern Love. Our art direction was inspired by the sweeping, cinematic concept of the album. We also drew largely from the lyrical content (which itself was inspired by a famed, recurring article in the New York Times). This cover image was quite a labor of love itself. Partially sourced from royalty-free Library of Congress images, we assembled a composite image based on a narrative of the two people, and a dwelling in the distance. Our intent is to allow the viewer to determine the dialog between the characters – one of everlasting love, a pending break-up, the challenge of a long distance relationship or perhaps they simply enamored by the different perspectives of hovering typography in the sky?

this here league is rich with talent.

Talent League is an online marketplace that matches curated pre-professional student talent with companies facing evolving business and resourcing challenges. Re-imagining traditional student engagements, Talent League enables companies to enhance their workforces by leveraging an underutilized pool of qualified, affordable and flexible labor,  either remotely or on-site. Creating the visual identity for such a complex business model and service offering was a daunting challenge. We tackled it head on, being the gamers that we are. In the end, we victoriously waved our flag (ummmm, pennant, that is) in triumph. Above is the final Talent League logo lock-up, below are some of the other directions we developed along the way. Go team!

Workin' Some Magic…

Let’s face it, some clients are just more bad ass than others. Such is the case with the talented Sarah Borges. As we are knee deep developing the Art Direction for her new release, Radio Sweetheart, it was determined she needed an identity for her new imprint, Modern Trick. Having the opportunity to work with Sarah for several years now, there is wonderfully liberating mutual respect and trust we share. We know she will record a killer collection of well-crafted roots rock pop gems, and she allows us complete freedom to create the visual counterpoint to her songs. Stay tuned for the Radio Sweetheart, but in the meantime, have a look-see at this little logo.

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.

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.

no moles were harmed…

This just in, new Alphabet Arm branded Moleskine notebooks! And just who doesn’t need a rockin’ pocket notebook handy at all times? Whether you are taking field notes, sketching future facial hair options or scrawling a shopping list, this little fella will ensure you look crazy stylish doing it. This 3.5″ x 5.5″ features graph paper pages and a sweet laser-cut Alphabet Arm logo on it’s cover. Nab one here.
As a added incentive, any t-shirt or baseball hat purchases in the month of August will earn you a free Moleskine, how-you-like-them-apples? Get to it >

It's That Time Again…

We’re happy to announce that we’ve just updated our website with the latest round of featured projects. Head on over to to get the details on the very newest of new projects we’ve been working on.

On The Mark…

We were hired by our long-time collaborators, BzzAgent, to design a print piece for the Draftmark tap system. Draftmark enables customers to have draught beer straight from the tap, right in the comfort of their own home.
The collateral utilizes a gloss foil stamp contrasted against a sleeve of uncoated, felt textured, cover stock (sorry to get all print-nerd on you). We were able to harness of an already nicely designed brand and tailor it toward the specific audience of BzzAgent.

Ho Ho Hoa

Hey everyone! My name is Juan Aguirre, but some people know me as Phil Hoa, so feel free to call me by that nickname.
I’m from Colombia, but before moving to the USA two years ago, I lived in Spain for three years. I’ve been learning about design for five years now, and that’s the main reason why Design become my life-passion. So is the music, and that’s why I know that I will enjoy my time in Alphabet Arm, because they are the best proof that I can blend my two favorite worlds, my two passions, and make them work together.
The reason why I’m here is because I’m into the summer program Youth Design, which is responsible of giving to High School students an oportunity to know how the professional environment of design works.
I just graduated from high school, and my next step is to study graphic design at Montserrat College of Art. So I know this summer internship will give me a lot of experience and knowledge.
If you want to check some of my work, you can visit my fanpage on facebook. Don’t forget your “like” if you like what you see.

Life as a Turtle.

Hi there!  I’m Chris Allen and I’m interning with the Alphabet Arm team this summer.  I’m a Marketing student at the University of Maryland, and I’ll unfortunately be entering my senior year in the fall.  This is unfortunate because by all accounts I’m on track to graduate in four years, and I’m not ready to leave the ever-charming College Park.  My parents don’t think a fifth year victory lap is a worthwhile investment, so here I am gaining work experience for when I’m inevitably forced to move on from life as a turtle.
As a Marketing major I have no formal training in graphic design, and until last semester I was able to say I’d never taken a design course.  That changed when I was required to take an introductory computer graphics workshop, but it’s all gravy because now I’m superbly proficient at cropping photos and saving Illustrator files.
The bulk of my experience is in editorial design as I first learned page layout using Adobe Pagemaker working on my high school newspaper.  I am currently the Design Editor of the University of Maryland’s student newspaper, The Diamondback, and I spent last summer working on illustrations and layout for Sports Illustrated.  As a freshman and sophomore I worked as the Advertising Director for Student Entertainment Events on campus, and was given the chance to create artwork and promotional materials for some of my favorite performers.  I now work as Concerts Director, organizing large scale concerts alongside 22 other student directors.
Feel free to check out my portfolio here or send me a note at

Mx2 Cx1

M2C1dualhatsAs a design studio, there are a couple key principles we live and breathe: “Happy clients make the world go ’round“, “Don’t fear the Pantone book“, “Not all typefaces are created equal“, “Never put your hand down a garbage disposal“, and “Measure twice, cut once“.
The last of which inspired us to embroider on these sweet Yupoong Flexfit Wooly Combed Twill Hats (in your choice of Navy Blue or Black). Now you can proudly share this rule with all you encounter. Designers, Contractors, Painters, Cabinet Makers and Mathematicians will undoubtably agree.
Grab your ruler, let’s do this thing! Order your’s here.

This Triangle is Impossible

JPRiZM is an up and coming producer, emcee, DJ and singer. It’s a top secret project we can’t really talk about. What we can tell you is that we just put the finishing touches on his new logo. The artist pulls inspiration from sci-fi, comic books, video games and urban culture. Our aim was to create a mark that is hip and youthful, while still maintaning three vital design principals: simplicity, geometry and usability. One might think we were tempted to use the full spectrum of color to illustrate the use of a prism. But in the end, a limited color palette created a sense of clarity and restraint. It also proves easier (and more cost effective) to reproduce across various media and merchandise.
Here are several other proposed designs that show the range of options we strive to present for any given logo project:

Coffee Anyone?

Oh, hello! I didn’t see you there…I’m Jordan Frease, one of the new interns at Alphabet Arm. I’ve been here a couple weeks now and have already learned an incredible amount, thanks to Aaron and Ryan. I’ve been watching Alphabet Arm for a while now and have always loved their stuff, and I’m proud to say this is my dream internship.
A little bit about me, I tend to quote movies…a lot. I’m originally from Clearwater, Florida and I’m going to be a fifth year senior at Boston University, majoring in graphic design. I was a division one wrestler for four years and absolutely love the sport. I have two brothers, one of whom is the aforementioned Ryan. In short, I’m very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.
If you wanna learn more about me or just chat about punk rock, just send me an email at

sad kitten / shed a branded tear

Well, I’m sad to say that my time here at Alphabet Arm is coming to a close. Within these past few months I have learned more than I ever could have imagined, and I am extremely grateful to Aaron, Ryan, Matt & Nathan for their willingness to help me along the way. I’m so proud that I had an opportunity to be part of this amazing team, and can’t even begin to explain how valuable this experience has been for me. There are so many things about working at Alphabet Arm that I’m going to miss; the projects, the gallons of coffee, and the pleasure of working with such fun & talented people, just to name a few. Thanks for everything guys, I truly appreciate it. I’ll definitely be back sometime for another game of four square soon! // Tarah Hursh

Nathan > Out

Greetings to all those out there on the blogocube. I come to you today with a sad bit of news. After an incredible summer internship and an even more incredible 9 months of freelancing, my time at Alphabet Arm has come to a close. It has been an amazing experience working here over the past year. Aaron, Ryan, Robin, Matt, and Tarah have all helped me grow as a designer, and moreover, have become some really great friends! For the foreseeable future, I’ll still be pushing pixels in Boston, which means I’ll definitely be stopping back at the office for some lunch-time wall-ball. Feel free to check up on me at or send me an email at Thanks for everything guys, it’s been great. – Nathan

Blast Off School

Our clients at LaunchWare contacted us recently to refresh the Launch Academy logo. Launch Academy offers a 10 week intensive program, transforming 30 eager learners into rising stars within the Boston web development community.
Oddly enough, another designer had repurposed the original LaunchWare rocket to connect the two entities, which made good sense to us. Unfortunately, the execution featured a number of tricks-of-the-design-trade that – as a studio – we don’t typically embrace. We will always advocate for the timeless, 2- D, restrained approach – versus slick beveling, super gradient, solar glare and webtastical sheen – but that’s just us. Within our logo design work, we avoid getting too caught up in current trends, which can eventually make a logo feel dated and require costly re-brands.
After the form and type treatment of the updated logo was approved, we presented a color study for the final logo system, only to have the Launch Academy team embrace the idea of sticking with a simple, one color mark. Classic Black and White.
Previous Logo:
Updated and approved for take-off!

It Ain't Easy Bein' Cheesy.

Today marks the third time I say goodbye to Alphabet Arm, and each time it’s harder to do. But it also marks two years on and off of doing what I love with a group of people that have truly become my family. I came to Boston for school, clueless as to just how many great colleagues I would meet and how many great opportunities would come my way. I consider myself extremely lucky to have picked up a position at this studio, especially one that had such an important role in shaping who I am. Who knew that being a designer could be as much talking about music and throwing a pinky ball as it is making a logo? This experience has opened up to me the idea that designing isn’t a job, it’s a way of seeing and interacting with the world around us. Every small chat we had, every joke, every game, it was all inadvertently teaching me who I was and what being a designer could mean.
Now I’m graduating, moving out of the city, and taking my career in new directions that would never have been possible without first following my path through Alphabet Arm. I am grateful for all that Aaron, Ryan, and the rest of those who came and went have given me, and it’s an appreciation that will remain with me throughout my life. I couldn’t have asked for a better job, and I wish everyone the best! – Matthew Kaiser


Defaulting To What We Know.

Like many Bostonians, New Englanders, Americans and Humans, we are struggling to make sense of the recent attacks on our hometown and our neighbors. We have been living in, working in, playing in, and loving our city for years. While we await for authorities to apprehend the responsible parties of this unthinkable act, we can’t help but feel a little helpless. So, we do what we are built to do, and use our creativity to cope with the situation. For decades, we have been documenting our city. Be it images of typographical samples, iconic landmarks, worn-out logos, abandoned warehouses, rusty signage, industrial architecture, we appreciate it all. We can only hope this image gives you a moment of peace, as it has us. One Boston.
If you are interested in helping the families most affected by the tragic events of April 15, 2013, Governor Deval Patrick and Mayor Tom Menino have established The One Fund Boston, Inc. >

Time To Clean It Up

Troupe Waste Services, Inc. came to us with a new vision for the future of their brand: Troupe Waste & Recycling. It was important to emphasize their new outlook on sustainability and the environment while maintaining the existing typography that trusting clients have come to recognize for nearly a decade. In order to both modernize and reinvigorate the logo, we tracked out the name and meticulously kerned the letters, elevating the presence of the word mark, and then introduced a single leaf, which along with the complimentary “fresh” green makes it unmistakable that Troupe is looking toward the future. Keep your eyes peeled for beautifully branded barrels, dumpsters and trucks coming to a neighborhood near you!
Prior to our re-brand:

sit boy, sit!


As a design studio, it is always liberating when a client comes to us who would like to ignore current design trends. Embracing the idea of being original and irreverent while still addressing their target audience is truly music to our ears.
RightPet has cultivated a loyal community of like-minded pet owners who “Share the good, bad and smelly on the animals who’ve owned them. From dogs and cats to insects and livestock, RightPet has owner reviews of them all.”
We entertained a number of design directions for this logo; a rotating cast of pets, typographic options, a magnifying glass wielding canine, fur-covered-fonts, a check box system of appropriate pets… Part of the challenge of rebranding the site was to address all potential pet categories without making one more important than another (the last thing you want is a slighted Coral Snake owner!).
The final solution embraces the ridiculous and unexpected notion of a girl walking her pet elephant – possibly the right pet for her, possibly not for all. Especially if you’ve recently moved into that 7th floor walk up apartment.
Before our re-brand:

Jump in, the water is fine…

The first edition of the Logopond Identity Inspiration book just arrived in the mail, and we are very excited to see a sample of our work strewn throughout. In addition to a sampling of our logos, they even asked as to design a page featuring our studio profile.
Thanks for the props Logopond!
Looking to get a copy of your own? Pick one up here.

Lion(ess) Tamers

As much as we love to obsess over typography, that doesn’t mean we can’t get down with a pure illustration gig from time to time. Due the über, stealth nature of this particular project (sorry, you simply don’t have Clearance Level Mach 9), we need to be careful with how much we can share. What we can say is that this illustration was developed for an elementary school in a suburb of the great city of Boston, and it is indeed a lion. A lioness, actually. A lioness wearing a checkered bandana – there, we did it – we already shared too much! Sheesh. Don’t tell them we told ya.

Clean the Heads is a new service born out of the simple idea of keeping digital music tangible. By sending a postcard with a link to a custom playlist, the good people at Mixcard have given new life to the mix tape of yesteryear. The service works by choosing art for the front and creating a customized play list on the back. Once your friend receives the postcard they can follow the link to a digital version of your play list. Keeping this in mind, we went back to the roots of sharable music, the mix tape. Working with the key elements of the tape, we created a logo that is recognizable and slightly nostalgic while also looking clean and updated. Keep your ears perked for more on this one, as these guys are on the verge or taking there site live.

King of the Jingle Jangle Jungle

Featuring bouncing basslines, soulful vocals, lush production, and a definitive “from-across-the-pond” inspiration (it was partially recorded at Abbey Road!), here’s the cover for New Lion Terraces. As with any CD Art Direction project, it was a challenge to nail down a visual style for Corin Ashley’s new, full length album. After exploring a wide variety of designs, illustration styles, and photo manipulations, we landed on the simplest solution: draw a lion. Duh. Making use of a bright color palette, boatloads of custom typography, and a psychedelic-yet-refined visual style, we were able to achieve a vibe that was 1/2 throwback and 1/2 twentythirteen.

Here’s a peak behind the curtain of the rough sketch we later refined:

And the complimentary show poster, Grrrrrrrrrrrrrr:

Nice as Ice

Being a studio that prides itself on having a wide array of design experience, we can now cross Design Graphics for a Curling Rink off the list! That is correct, one of our longtime clients and colleagues, G2 Technology Group, employed Alphabet Arm to design their very own, private, super exclusive, curling and hockey rink. Utilizing a number of design elements from their visual language and embellishing upon that for the rink, we developed a system that would make the 1924 Winter Olympics Curling Team proud.

They even requested we have a credit within the design which marked another first for us, we had never frozen our logo before. Pass the hot coca.

Call me "Tear-ah" or "Tar-ah"

Hello there! My name is Tarah and I am super psyched to say that I am the newest intern here at Alphabet Arm. I am a somewhat recent graduate from Mass College of Art, where I studied Illustration. Illustration is awesome, but in my senior year I realized that what I really wanted to do was pursue a career in design. Luckily the guys here at Alphabet Arm were willing to take me on, which I will forever appreciate. Since I’ve been here I’ve already been working on a logo project, business cards and a bunch of other awesome stuff. Thanks to Aaron, Ryan, Nathan and Matt, I’ve already learned a ton of key commands, how to not be terrified of InDesign and what South End sandwich places will most tempt my vegetarianism (I’m looking at you Formaggio).
I’m currently living in Auburn, New Hampshire where I work as a freelance Illustrator/ substitute teacher. When I’m not illustrating or designing you can probably find me drinking coffee, reading Game of Thrones, or talking about how awesome dogs and cats are. Feel free to check out my work at, or say hi at
[editor’s note: Tarah (actually pronounced “Tear-ah” allowed us to all call her “Tar-ah” (rhymes with Sarah) for an entire week before we realized we were mispronouncing her name.]

Road to Recovery

Over the past few months, we have had the privilege of working with the team at New Road Fitness. Their newly founded fitness enterprise is not your average gym. By forming partnerships with health facilities around the country, they are able to provide specialized fitness regiments for individuals with unique health constraints.

When developing concepts for their logo, we wanted to create a visual language that emphasized the close association that New Road Fitness shares with the medical community. By combining a traditional medical icon and an imagery of a crossroad, we identify the gym as a place where people can turn a corner and make choices to better their health. The asymmetric typography offsets the strict symmetry of the icon, giving it a unique and modern sensibility. We are currently working on floor graphics, exterior signage, office systems, marketing materials, wayfinding, consulting on interior design elements and designing all internal signage. Stay tuned for a full portfolio unveiling, but for now, grab a towel and start stretchin’.

Look at Those (Bezier) Curves

The studio just finished a new logo for Ooh La La Records. They are a boutique artist development company and independent label based in Brooklyn, NY. As you can see, their previous logo was quite provocative, but difficult to use due to it’s challenging typography and full color palette; not to mention, scalability issues. Our solution was to make an about face. We used only the tantalizing curves of script type to to create the allure of Ooh La La. The new mark is concise, flexible, scalable and looks sensually sharp when used as a one color.

Turn it Up! Our Best Albums of 2012

Being huge fans of music (and some of us being musicians, ourselves) we thought that we would share our favorites of 2012. Enjoy.
1. White Rabbit / Milk Famous
Got two drummers and a piano player? This record offers up the perfect blend of quirky accessibility, crafty songwriting and unexpected instrumental.
2. OFF! / self titled
A perfectly executed hardcore classic channeling records from the heyday of 1983.
3. Soft Pack / Strapped
Although this record doesn’t completely follow up on the promise of the self titled ’10 debut, it’s a solid set of fuzzy, post punk gems.
4. Plants and Animals / The End of That
This record completely took me off guard, then again, I wasn’t sure what kind of expectations to set. A rocking folk masterwork? A touch of Canadian Americana? An unexpected collection of lyrically heartfelt indie pop tracks? I offer all of the above.
5. Tame Impala / Lonerism
Trippy psychedelic Australian fuzz no doubtably recorded on all analog gear. An otherworld of surprisingly catchy psych rock.
1. The Menzingers / On The Impossible Past
How could one record sound so melancholy, yet so hopeful? I can’t help, but to sing along.
2. Japandroids / Celebration Rock
This record sounds like a party. Try not to stomp your feet to “Fire’s Highway” Play this loud.
3. Jimmy Cliff / Rebirth
An amazing comeback record by an absolute icon who defined roots reggae.
4. Luther / Let’s Get You Somewhere Else
Big vocals and full of hooks. This record is poppier than I usually like, but the attitude from these boys from Philly make it work.
5. Apologies, I Have None / London
Emotionally charged, heart-on-your-sleeve debut from the English four piece. I can’t believe this is a debut album.
Honorable Mentions: Classics of Love, The Men, Morning Glory
1. Earl Sweatshirt / Chum
Okay, I know I’m kicking it off a with a single, but I don’t care. This song rules and I cant wait to hear the rest of his tracks off his upcoming album Doris. Also props to Hiro Murai for the dope video.
2. Japandroids / Celebration Rock
The title says it all. Fun, energetic, Celebratory rock.
3. Beach House / Trouble Maker
I was almost afraid to listen to this after loving their previous album Teen Dream so much. As anyone else who has given this a listen knows, I need not be afraid.
4. Son Lux / We Are Rising
Okay, I know cheating by using an album from 2011, but I just heard about this one a few months ago and it has been in heavy rotation since. If your behind the times like me and haven’t heard it yet, do your self a favor and give it a listen.
5. Grizzly Bear / Shields
It seems that anything these guys have touched is gold, and this album is no exception.
1. Grizzly Bear Shields
It took a few listens for this album to resonate with me, but now it’s playing non-stop. It sounds like classic Grizzly Bear, just pushed a little further. This album is by far my favorite album of the year, I highly recommend it.
2. Sufjan Stevens / Silver & Gold
Three hours of Christmas music that is actually good!
3. Daniel Rossen / Silent Hour / Golden Mile
Rossen is one of the most talented song writers around, and probably my favorite member of Grizzly Bear. He never dissapoints.
4. Justin Bieber / Believe
I’ll totally own the fact that I listen to this album all the time. It’s super catchy and features artists like Drake and Nicki Minaj. They make listening to the Biebs cool right?
5. Family of the Year / Loma Vista
Just a nice relaxing listen.

Newest of the New

Hello friends! We’ve been wicked busy designing graphics for everything from baby togas to coffee vehicles to beer repositories to (gasp!) a website. We felt it vital to keep you posted on all of this sweet stuff, so we’ve updated our website with a plethora of new featured projects. Check them out at

Watch out for splinters


That’s right folks, our latest self-promo postcards are printed on actual wood veneer. The fine people at have carved themselves into a unique spot of specialty printing — focusing on printing 4 colors on wood. What better way to show off our love for scratched-up, well worn, rustic typography? Each card has its own unique wood grain pattern. If you happen to have the perfect design project that might involve printing directly on wood, we should talk.

"Why I Otter…"

As a design studio, we appreciate puns almost as much as we appreciate cute, furry, aquatic creatures. Which made us the ideal designers to handle Otterter’s (pronounced Aud-it-ter) logo. Full disclosure, one of our t-shirt designs actually inspired the founders in their naming process for the company. It’s a service that helps businesses with management and auditing media for their organizations – clever, huh?

The Otterter logo and mascot had to, of course, be an otter, but figuring out how it would look was no easy feat. We took multiple approaches, from detailed and playful, to simple and geometric. The final design landed right in the middle of the two. We took our geometric concept and gave it some character, adding whiskers, waves, and of course a big smile. We paired that with a modified, lively script. In order to pull the otter away from the lockup, we took an extra step and built a full body off of our initial illustration of the face. Two webbed feet and one plump belly later, an Otterter was born!

Alphabet Arm on Sale Saturday, Oct 27th

That’s right, ladies and gentlemen, we’re very excited to announce another t-shirt sale on If you don’t already know, Fab is a curated online offering of all sorts of cool design goods. If you’re not a member and need an invite to the site (all members are invite only), we’d be happy to do so for you. Just shoot an email to request your invite to
Check out our sale on Saturday, October 27. Here are just a few of the sordid characters gracing our latest batch of t-shirts:

Get Some Shut Eye

Recently launched by Rest Devices, Peeko is an awesome new product for the parents of infants. We were excited to design the logo, packaging and branding, which was just unveiled and this year’s ABC Kids Expo. Peeko monitors a baby’s respiration, room temperature, and body positioning by wearing a cotton bodysuit. The device transmits the information to the cloud so that it is available to your smartphone or tablet from anywhere in the world. Our goal was to create a brand that was warm and approachable to new parents, while still feeling modern and technology based. We felt it was crucial to retain the simplicity and sophistication of our iconic character in order to help it stand apart from the vast sea of cute and cuddly mascots used in the baby product industry. In other words, our aim was to create plenty of personality, whimsy and adorable-ness without entering the forbidden territory of fuzzy ducks and pastel bunnies.

Down the Hatch!

Our pals and collaborators at G2 Technology Group asked us to design a logo for their annual NOCtober Fest event. They were quick to educate us that NOC was an acronymn for Network Operations Center, used commonly among technology professionals. NOC + everybody’s favorite beer-centric german holiday = a bunch of tipsy geeks technology professionals (it sounds like a party to us). We started by designing a custom typeface based on german blackletter type for the word NOCtober. Legibility was a key factor, since the title is not an actual word and could be difficult to read. Our sketches lead us to experiment with combining elements from both traditional beer steins and computer circuitry to create a unique emblem. Can’t wait to see how this looks emblazoned onto a pint glass full of IPA.

M to the C


We recently had the dubious honor of working with long-time-friend-of-the-studio, Maggie Cavallo. Maggie is a proud bay state based curator who needed a bit of personal branding for her various endeavors. Maggie’s exhibitions are typically performance based and focus on elevating underground / alternative subject matter to a fine art atmosphere. When it came to designing her logo, we wanted to create a logo that had a refined feel with a definite edge. The custom “M” and “C” letterforms framed by a system of bars offer a decidedly alternative feel, and might relate to yet another one of her creative passions (stay tuned here for more regarding that). The black and white color scheme and Futura Condensed Bold elevate the logo for a gallery setting.

When it came to designing her business cards, we thought long and hard about incorporating a tertiary color. In the end, we decided that the strong contrast of the black and white had an elegance and punch that was appropriate for the fine art world. Word up.

knock knock, collateral knocking

There are few things we enjoy more than building a visual language inspired by one of our logos. Creating a cohesive branding system can be challenging endeavor, fortunately for the studio, we develop long-standing relationships with our clients. Which in turn, allows a great deal of trust and open discussions that enable us to extend their brand assets across a variety of mediums. Thus is the case with the innovative childproofing company, Rhoost.

This whimsical brochure and postcard set is our take on the typical – and somewhat uninspiring – trade show materials normally distributed.

The modular, oversized postcard system allows Rhoost to update the set whenever they add a new product. Now, play safe you kids!


Old School Baking

The Ancient Bakers is a specialty baking company that focuses on ancient grains and medicinal plants as ingedients for cakes, cookies, muffins, breads, brownies and even bagels. The company enlisted Alphabet Arm to embark on a logo design project. Our creative process started with the name. Initially the company was called Vision’s Sown, an Ancient Baking Company. We suggested pairing the lengthy name down to its essence: The Ancient Bakers.
Original name and logo:

Creating a logo for The Ancient Bakers meant exploring type and imagery that expressed the tradition, sustainability and pureness of ancient baking practices. The stalk of wheat has remained the heart of natural baking techniques since the dawn of time. This — along with the addition of a nutrient-rich rose hip and a traditional serif typeface — tells The Ancient Bakers’ story: that the best, most wholesome ingredients will always withstand the test of time.
New name and logo:


Wave Hello!

We just wrapped up a new branding project for a long-standing client of the studio. Stillwater Unlimited  –  a division of the Ferree Group, Inc. –  is an all inclusive, concierge level service that delivers best-in-class home services to their client’s doorstep. What does all this mean? High level property & lifestyle management, silly!  Given their white glove service and discerning clientele, we felt the need to have the identity share the same sophisticated and stylish attributes. The final logo features a rendered, monogram waveform set which was inspired both by the location of their clients homes (ocean front, lake side, etc.) and the luxury brands they have come accustom to. We paired that with trusty, typographical foundation, keeping the mark fully accessible.
Here is where some of the initial sketches took us:

And a sneak peep at their business cards:

LogoLounge 7

That’s right ladies and gentlemen, we have several logos published in the 7th edition of LogoLounge by Rockport Press. It’s always an honor to be recognized for doing what you love — and we love designing logos. Where can you find one?
Try here.


The Coolest Geeks We Know

G2 Technology Group is an information technology consulting firm focusing on ongoing support, technology consulting, and information technology project management. In other words, “High tech solutions from down to earth people.” They do an outstanding job of taking care of all of the technological mumbo-jumbo and explain it in simple terms that anyone can understand. If you’re in search of an awesome team of geeks (we mean that in the best way possible) to act as your outsourced IT department, we highly recommend them.
We’ve collaborated with these fine folks on several projects over the past few years, including rebranding G2 from the logo up. So, when they asked us to design their new website, we were quite enthusiastic to get started. Usually — if anyone asks us about designing websites — we run for the hills screaming in fear. You see, designing websites isn’t really our bag. Why, you say?… the simple answer is that we just don’t enjoy the process anywhere near as much as we enjoy designing for print. It has to be a pretty special project with amazing people for us to bend our rule. In the case of G2, it was a no-brainer.

We kicked off the project by organizing a photo shoot of the G2 team. Based on their unequalled customer service and emphasis on the human side of IT we understood the importance of showcasing the people behind the scenes.The photographic theme was continued throughout the site by featuring images of the Fort Point Channel area of South Boston (where G2 proudly calls home). We also introduced a system of simple icons to help users understand the complex offerings described on the site.

All of this web design talk is given us a headache; we’re spending the rest of the afternoon with a pencil and a sketchbook.

Featured on Fab!

The fabulously curated site (of vintage goods, apparel, housewares, fine art and technology gadgets) is featuring our t-shirts on Sunday, August 19th! Sweet – right? We’ve been long time fans and shoppers on the site and we are very excited to be featured. We’ll be offering 24 unique t-shirts for sale, all at discounted prices. Shirts include some classic favorites and several brand new designs (not to mention, our very first glow-in-the-dark shirt). We hope you’ll get a chance to check out the sale — it’s for a limited time, so don’t dilly dally.

If you haven’t been an early adopter and need an invite to the site (all members are invite only), we’d be happy to do so for you. Just shoot an email to to request your invite to
Here’s a sneak peek at some of the new designs:

These Are Not You Mother's Rebates…

…not that we want to be talking about your mothers, but the new direction of the site + service is quite unlike what you have become accustom to. Redeeming product rebates has long been an imperfect science and certainly less then convenient, not to mention leaning heavily on snail mail. will harness the power of the interwebs, making the process easy, and offering recommendations for relevant rebates. With a company name and an exclusive domain such as, we knew their logotype should justify that concise URL clout. Within the initial options proposed was a curvaceous, custom script we rendered. It seemed to achieve the balance of  consumer familiarity and bold, new direction. We worked exclusively with the President and CTO – both being quite visually savvy – and we got right down to brass tacks with very specific kerning and letter scale requests to finesse the final solution.
As we know you enjoy seeing process images, here is the sketch and a few of the initial iterations:

And, well, their previous logo:

And of course, the final logotype:

Log on now and become an early adopter. Tell them who sent you, maybe they’ll be a rebate in it for us both!


Because, The Early Bird Tricycle of Extreme Espresso Glory, would be a mouthful…

Over the past month, we have been fortunate enough to develop a logo / branding system for the The Coffee Trike. Founder, owner, and barista extraordinaire Alessandro “San” Bellino is changing the coffee game in Boston by bringing the first espresso tricycle to the States. By combining his love for cycling with his passion for great coffee, he has spawned a truly unique and exciting business. Here at the studio, coffee and bikes are some of our favorite things, so we were very excited to get involved with this project. In developing the logo system, we wanted to highlight the timelessness modernity of San’s idea. The type treatment is stylish, understated, and references old world typography without being dated. The icon set clean, direct, and emphasizes the two most important parts of the business. Keep up with San on Twitter @thecoffeetrike to find out when he’ll be pulling espresso in your neighborhood.

I Can't Quit You

I never knew that the summer months could feel so short! I’m  super sad to say that my summer at ABC is ending. My brotato chips Aaron, Ryan and Nathan made my internship here wonderful with their extensive tips, suggestions, and great sense of humor. I can’t thank the studio enough for all that they’ve given me (including, but not limited to: buckets of caffeinated beverages, frisbee tips, lots of laughter, experience, a fondness for illustrator…) Thanks to everyone who took part in this great experience! Hopefully we will meet again soon; I’ll be tearin’ up Providence (and buckets of cotton candy) until then.

The (wearable) Golden Rule

What better way to remind ourselves to be good human beings, and treat fellow humans with respect and grace?

Simply combine a sweet set of otters and a little pun re-mix – based on the age old golden rule and it all becomes quite clear. Tune in, turn on, crack yourself a clam!

Snag one for you here!

Go BiG or Go Home

We recently had the privilege of branding Black is Global, an organization dedicated to a worldwide cultural connection. The founder has big plans on how to build awareness for charitable organizations and businesses that draw all black people together through their roots.

The logo we developed speaks to a shared identity. Although all people are unique, everyone of African descent can identify by embracing their history. Within the process, we were definitely not afraid of getting our hands messy, making good old fashioned handprints with speedball ink. After a bit of scrubbing and rinsing, we pieced the elements together digitally to build the final icon and paired it with a contrasting type solution.

T-Shirt of Champions

Just in time for the upcoming Summer Olympics, the graphic tees we designed for team Saucony’s Wallace Spearmon Collection have been released. Saucony asked us to propose several apparel designs for the decorated 200M sprinter. Most of the Alphabet Arm crew are avid sports fans, so we jumped at the chance to design pieces that would represent the style of a 2008 and 2012 Olympian. We created an emblem that encompassed the qualities of a world class athlete: speed, precision and symmetry. We then did some distressed the crest to give a the feel of  diehard training and exhaustive preparation. In the end, we’re very happy with the colorways Saucony finalized for the line. Hopefully we’ll see some dedicated fans rocking these shirts in their support of Spearmon in London. Good luck, WS.

Adventures in Graphic Design

Have you ever imagined an all-powerful Ray Gun that you could blast at any lame design – and presto – it would be transformed with turbo-boosted, super-rad, visual awesomeness? Well, that was the inspiration behind our latest t-shirt design. Not to mention a plethora of snobby typographic tirades. If you look close, you’ll even notice a nifty overprinting of transparent yellow (engineered especially for design nerds). We know, this all sounds like science fiction, but you can order yours now!

Heads up!

We’ve updated with  a brand spankin’ new set of featured projects. A little something here for everyone: package design, die cut logos, medical illustration, ginseng, CD art direction, higher learning, rocket ships and woodgrain. As always, thanks for checking out what we’re up to.

I lost 646 pounds using these SpaghettiPants!

Hi everyone! I’m Robin Hayashi, latest intern addition to the Alphabet Arm crew. I’m one week in and knee-deep in projects. Aaron, Ryan and Nathan have already provided lots of insight, many tips, coffee and tons of music. In searching for a studio to intern with, I found Alphabet Arm, and was immediately drawn to their playful attitude and impressive portfolio. They’re committed to great design…and great jokes.
Throughout my younger years (in Newton, Mass.), I always knew that I’d pursue in a visual career. However, it wasn’t until my freshman year at the Rhode Island School of Design that I stumbled upon Graphic Design. Through my sophomore and junior years in the Graphic Design department, my affinity for form and communication (and desserts) has only grown, and I now consider typography and color (and ice cream) great loves of my life. I’m so excited about Fluffernutter and the weeks to come here at the studio!
Check out my website,, for some of my work, and drop me a line at I’d love to hear from you.

the long goodbye

Whatup blogonauts! Matt / Matty K. / Matty Nice / MATTress here. I’m sadly reporting to let you all know that my time at Alphabet Arm has come to an end. For the past year, I have seen more, done more, and learned more than I could ever have dreamed. I have added countless designs and illustrations to my portfolio, but even more importantly I have added a whole new group of people to my family. Aaron and Ryan, along with Silvi, Flo, Laurie, Alfred, Jeru and Nate (and everyone else I met along the way) have helped make my first true foray into the design profession one that I will never forget. I am grateful for everything that they have done for me, and for teaching me that going to work can sometimes be more like going to your cool uncle’s annual memorial day barbecue. Good luck to all future interns, and hopefully this won’t be the last time you here from me (especially if you keep tabs at cough cough). Cheers!
Oh, this screenshot you ask? It’s a long story, but this link might help shed a little insight!

Win Win Won

BLOGGERY UPDATE TIME! Do you recall this posting about our branding work for Well, it turns out writer Marissa Lowman attended our class, and wrote quite a nice piece for here!

A Few Thoughts Regarding Logo Life Span.

How long should a logo last? It’s a question most business owners, universities, corporations and entities wrestle with. The answer justifies the time, effort and cost of developing a logo that should stand the test of time. Consider that the iconic Coca-Cola logotype script was developed in 1941, the fact that Paul Rand’s restrained television network identity for ABC from 1962 still rings true, and the legendary Saul Bass designed the original Lawry’s brand mark in 1959. Of course these may be extreme instances, but its safe to say the companies “got their money’s worth”. Most agencies, art directors and designers attest: a well considered, thoughtfully executed logo should last 10 to 15 years. As a studio, we can only hope to have an identity stand as long as some of our design heroes.
As we were writing this post, we decided it might be more powerful to ask a couple clients to share their thoughts on their logo:

Almost as soon as Fenway Recordings had a name, it had a logo. Neither decision was complicated. The logo is, and will remain timeless, looks great any size, and recently had a bit of a renaissance as we just celebrated the 10th anniversary of it’s creation. Alphabet Arm knew how to make our identity graphic and iconic, and as far as I am concerned, it will last forever, and may be the most reasonable investment that we have made.
Mark Kates / Fenway Recordings

We never seem to tire looking at the Harlem Vintage logo, even after the eight years of our wine store’s existence. It was important for us to have a graphic representation reminiscent of the renaissance in Harlem juxtaposed with “newness” of the wine experience we were creating in this neighborhood. Alphabet Arm exercised patience and perseverance in creating just that perfect balance to convey who we were…even as we were trying to figure it out ourselves.
Jai Jai Greenfield / Harlem Vintage

Ten years ago I had a meeting with the team at Alphabet Arm and proposed the name and concept behind BzzAgent, which was a task in and of itself . No one had a clue what Word-of-Mouth was at the time, and what it would become. Before I knew it, a brilliantly simple solution was proposed and we quickly had the logo that still stands and represents our social marketing company perfectly. A lot has been made of the “angry bee” which we have embraced and used as a talking point about the logo, “he’s not angry you see, he’s determined.” The logo has been the visual cornerstone of our marketing strategy. It’s been imprinted on hundreds of thousands of our BzzGuides, carved into a conference table and its likeness cast in 3D sculptures. The logo and branding remains front and center, even after our acquiring by Tesco.
Dave Balter / BzzAgent, Inc.

I recently lost 645 pounds!

Hello all. My name is Nathan Hass, and I am proud to say that I am the newest member of the Alphabet Arm family (although rumor has it there are a few more on the way). I’ve been interning here for about a week now and the gang already has me problem solving and pixel pushing. Things have been great thus far, and I can’t wait to see what is still on the horizon.
I hail from Andover, MA where I have developed a reputation for being a bit of an art nerd. My love of art, design, and creative problem solving has lead me to MassArt where I have just finished my junior year studying Graphic Design and Art History. I have been a huge fan of The Arm for a few years now, so I’m super excited to learn all of the tricks and tips that Aaron, Ryan, and Matt are willing to teach me. I love branding, typography, and logotypes that are both beautiful and conceptually compelling. Alphabet Arm will be a wonderful studio for me to grow, learn, and have a lot of fun.
If you want to get to know me a little better or just say hi, shoot me an email at or check at my portfolio at Incidentally, the subject line / joke line, was just that.

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.


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

Lawrence Nightingale

Dearest friends of the Bloggery:
It is my last day interning at Alphabet Arm! It has been a pleasure to work at this studio alongside Aaron, Ryan, Matt, and Fredo. The guys at Alphabet Arm are outrageously talented, always willing to help, and as an added bonus, they are pretty brilliant in the humor department. If you get the chance to work here, you will learn from the best. If you become a client, Aaron and Ryan will set you up with a logo, branding system and or, a design solution that will knock your socks off. Seriously, I can’t speak highly enough of these people, they are the best.
Until next time,
– Laurie / Lawrence / LawR / Lory Borry Alice

Chad Z

We jumped at the chance to design the visual identity for San Francisco Bay Area photographer, Chad Ziemendorf. Although he specializes in architectural photography, Chad also shoots portraits, landscapes, food and sports — basically anything with an interesting visual story to be told. Chad also happens to be a former professional baseball player. Our concept for designing his new logo was to hint at the timeless aesthetic of  baseball, without overtly referencing the sport. We borrowed the style of old fashion uniform patches and modernized them by using a heavier line weight and complimenting them with simple, sans serif typography. After a thorough color study, both Chad and the team at Alphabet Arm felt like the monochromatic solution was the way to go. Nothing says timeless like black and white.

Recent Records Rocking the Studio 2012 / PT. 02

The second installment of what is currently spinning in the studio. This time a not-so-subtle punk rock thread carries through our featured favorites.

Sharks  > No Gods // English punk rock band that are often compared to The Clash… there could be worse things. However, they’ve definitely put their own youthful spin on genre // HIGHLIGHT “Arcane Effigies”
The Underground Railroad to Candyland  > Knows Your Sins // Quirky, dark, jangley, surfy, DIY, indie rock. Yes, this was realeased last year, but it’s new to us! // HIGHLIGHT “Jimmy V”
Classis of Love  > Classics of Love // Energetic and angry. The classic voice of Jesse Michaels from Operation Ivy returns with fury // HIGHLIGHT “What a Shame”
The Menzingers  > On the Impossible Past // Quality songwriting on this mature sounding take on singalong anthems and self-deprication// HIGHLIGHT “The Obituaries”
The Men  > Open Your Heart // Garage rock meets 80’s hardcore with great riffs throughout  // HIGHLIGHT “Turn It Around”
Apologies, I Have None  > London // Emotionally charged, heart-on-your-sleeve debut from the English four piece // HIGHLIGHT “Clapton Pond”

Worthy of Hype

BzzAgent, one of our long-standing clients, recently came to us with a unique design challenge: create an award identity honoring the best new consumer products of the year. Often, our job is to create logos, collateral, etc. for existing companies, but occasionally we are asked to take part in choosing the name itself. As you may or may not know, naming an identity is a fun and challenging process, so we were happy to oblige. Plus, with a savvy client like BzzAgent, we were able to fully remove our pun-filters! Here are a few of our finalists: The Nextagons, Remarkabees, The Counter Top, The Hypeworthies and Jabber-talkies. In the end “The Hypeworthies” was chosen, and step two began, brainstorming and sketching:

From there, we scanned and stream-lined our favorite concepts. Here are a few of our finalists:

To see the final logo in all its glory, head to Cast your vote for the most hypeworthy product of 2012!

Recent Records Rocking the Studio 2012 / PT. 01

As a musical public service blog-a-nnouncement, we wanted to share some recently released records that are gaining serious play in the studio (and since people always seem to ask what we are listening to at the moment).

Young Knives > Ornaments From the Silver Arcade // rev’d up, Brit rock featuring hooky tracks, snarky vocals and gorgeously obsolete synth patches // HIGHLIGHT “Love My Name”
Cloud Control > Bliss Release > trippy, super creative, spaced-out indie melodic rock heaven // HIGHLIGHT “There’s Nothing In The Water We Can’t Fight”
Plants and Animals > The End of That // surprisingly catchy, laid back, organic rock with killer dynamics // HIGHLIGHT “Crisis!”
Yellow Ostrich > Strange Land // jaring dissonance pared with pop sensibilities and much in the way of percussion // HIGHLIGHT “Marathon Runner”
Ben Kweller > Go Fly a Kite // sing-a-long 70’s songwriter sensibilities crowbar’d into a contemporary slant HIGHLIGHT “Gossip”
Good Old War > Come Back As Rain // subdued acoustic rock sounding both vaguely familiar and brand new with more hooks than a bait shop // HIGHLIGHT “Calling Me Names”
22-20’s > Shake/Shiver/Moan // epic guitars and sparkling harmonies make for an intriguing intersection of British Invasion inspired Arena Rock. HIGHLIGHT “96 to 4”
Jack Peñate > Everything is New // imagine Robert Smith sounding 64% less annoying while fully embracing a quintessential UK pop aesthetic // HIGHLIGHT “Pull My Heart Away”
Thomas Dolby > The Golden Age of Wireless // okay, busted, this is not a new record. but, it’s a brilliant collection of cinematic synth tracks circa 1982…don’t hate // HIGHLIGHT “Europa And The Pirate Twins”
How about You?

Katrin Came Calling…

…looking for art direction, and we were happy to oblige. Boston-based acoustic rock siren Katrin had a handful of striking images courtesy of Dion Ogust and (long-time friend of the studio) Liz Linder but was struggling to tie it all together. Our initial step was to develop a custom logotype for her.

Former Alphabet Arm intern Florencia Tasso rendered a simple yet stylish type treatment that was introduced to Katrin’s photos. It soon became an essential branding tool for Katrin and her management. As a designer, it often becomes our job to show restraint and not overwork a design or add elements not crucial to a specific piece. Sticking with a clean layout and letting the images lead the way, we did work in a number of hand written lyric selections from Katrin which added some depth and visual interest.

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.

Masters of the Logoverse – The Return

The Logolounge Master Library Vol.4 (Type + Calligraphy) was just released and we’re incredibly proud to announce the esteemed editors (Ken Barber, Bill Gardner, Jessica Hische + Miles Newlyn) included a boatload of our logo designs in the book. Don’t believe us? See the index image below! We are always honored to have our work included in any volume of a Logolounge collection, but the Master Library book series feels extra special! It’s a great resource and form of inspiration for any designer, order one for yourself.

No Assembly Required

A short time ago, one of our existing clients — who shall remain nameless at this time — asked us to create a mascot to use as a secondary branding tool for their I.T. company. We proposed a short list of possible directions that included an otter, a mongoose, a robot, a crime fighter and several other quirky choices. Of course, the robot was the winner (because robots are the best… duh). We wanted to make her a lady robot (or “Shebot” as we’ve been calling her around the studio) to give a twist to the typical notion of a retro tin robot. She’s smart, a bit sassy and she’ll fix your computer in the blink of an eye.
Here is a quick look at the process that made her the robot she is today. As you can see, the smirk gives her just the right bit of attitude.

Through the process, we also developed this crime fighting super hero. She didn’t make the final cut, but we were really excited with how she turned out. In other words, we couldn’t bear to see her fade away into the logo graveyard without showing her to the world.

Marketing is for the Fleas…

We had the dubious privilege of working with the team at Flea Marketing before re-branding them. So, we had a solidified sense of what they would respond to visually. The Brooklyn based company makes it impossible for indie retail to not pay attention to new releases. Their clients include legendary labels such as Dangerbird, Barsuk, Warner Bros. + Vapor. Two of Alphabet Arm’s intern army (Matt Kaiser + Laurie Mildenhall) expertly crafted the new logo and business cards. The new branding features some severely compromised typography, a (bit-too-life-like) flea and some custom illustration tying the system together.
Check Flea Marketing out on the Facebooks and follow their Tweetifications.

Their Legend Continues…

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt contacted Alphabet Arm to design a simple, yet flexible logo to be consistently used for their series of books, Good Sports (not to be confused with Good Sport).
Prolific sports writer Glent Stout’s new series for middle-grade readers focuses on the careers of trailblazing ballplayers, professional athletes who serve in the military, and female sport pioneers.
Special props to the talented Laurie Mildenhall for shooting these for us.

tee it up!

Woo Hoo! We are always stoked when someone takes the time to write about the studio or review our work. Recently, The Tee Gazette posted a very nice piece about us. The Tee Gazette reviews a boatload of apparel companies and designers who specialize in apparel design, so yeah, it’s pretty sweet. We recently got turned onto the site after one of our clients, Invisible Sun, had some of their shirts reviewed. We were so inspired, we worked up this lovely t-shirt design!

Calamari with attitude

We came up with this squid illustration a few years back in honor of our shared affinity for anything inky. He hadn’t seen the light of day for quite some time, so we thought we’d bring him out of the deep to live on your very own desktop.
What are you waiting for? Get started downloading! You can either right click and then “Download linked file” or control-click to do the same.
Download the squid. You’ll receive a zip file containing the following desktop resolutions:
2560 x 1440
1920 x 1080
1280 x 720
1280 x 800

Tastes Like Medicine

Here is a first look at a branding project we are currently finishing up. “Know the Signs, Know Sepsis” is a campaign for the Boston Medical Center to increase awareness of the life threatening condition of severe sepsis. As a studio, we embrace the opportunity to take on different types of design work and show our range — and who knows, we might even learn something in the process. In addition to the logo design, we also named this campaign. We’ll post a more comprehensive look at the project once all of the posters, pens, pocket cards, notepads and buttons are back from production. Now go eat your veggies.

say hi to pete…

Sad to say, but this post concludes our series of skate decks as fine art.

This decks was inspired by a book of soundtrack artwork from the 60’s we have in the studio.

After acquiring a couple new typefaces we were all geared up to use, and wanting to work up a whimsical deck to offset some of the slightly more serious directions already completed, this one came about. We also like the play of “for Pete’s sake” to “for Pete’s skate.” We’re just hoping Mr. Sellers would approve. Expertly printed by BoardPusher.

Comfort For Less

Here is the latest segment of our ongoing series of skate decks as fine art. This one just fell into place and it didn’t even seem like we were trying — a rare (but highly coveted) project where there is very little artistic struggle and it just feels right. It started as a loose pen and ink drawing (see process photo below) and finished with a quick brayer of yellow ink, some zipatone dots and a bit of photoshop. Done and done. Expertly printed by BoardPusher.


Amory Man

Our friends at Amory Group (a marketing agency specializing in social, digital and inbound marketing services) asked us to create an illustration incorporating their logo (which we happened to design a couple years back). Tim Linberg, the founder, described his vision as an old school superhero ripping away his dress shirt to reveal the Amory Group insignia emblazoned across his crime fighting costume. Of course, we covet any project that draws on vintage printed material (especially of the comic book or sci-fi genre) as inspiration. Below is a detail image that depicts the distressing and the mottled texture we developed to create a vintage, golden age look. Also, check out the original pencil sketch we presented before fully rendering the final illustration. This was a fun one to work on and Amory Group seems to think it’s just super.

Two Little Birds

Nathan Fried-Lipski is a professional photographer here in Boston. Nate’s portfolio includes news, events, corporate and even wedding photography. That’s why we wouldn’t pigeon hole him as just a “wedding photographer” — rather a photographer who happens to shoot weddings. And if that wasn’t creative enough, on his down time he builds hand crafted birdhouses made of recycled antique wood and found objects.
We thought that using iconic birds in Nate’s logo was a perfect fit. The birds both metaphorically represent his wedding audience and literally portray his passion for wildlife photography and handmade birdhouses. We also made use of the birds to create a pull away icon that Nate can use as a watermark.

Rainy Day Deck

If you are a frequent reader of The Bloggery, you might recall the previous decks we designed for the gallery show Human Powered Works, here’s another one in the set. This piece is appropriately titled Rainy Day Deck. It features a little character we illustrated for a skateboard shop in Austin 5 or 6 years ago. They skipped out on the balance of their invoice and this fella (“Harry Knees”) was archived, never to see the light of day. We finally brushed him off and gave him some shine (not literally – mind you – he’s attempting to outrun a lightening storm). For the record, this design was printed courtesy of BoardPusher.

For the record, it’s raw and rainy here in Boston today, how is that for keeping it real?


This masked lucha head came about while we were designing a marketing piece for the studio (it’s since appeared in a number of applications).
It was only after each person who received the piece stated, “this would make a really sweet t-shirt,” did we think to ourselves, “this would make a really sweet t-shirt”. Not only are they offered in the glorious blue + heather red option, there is an equally kick-ass gray on gray version available! Both are screen-printed on American Apparel – and wouldn’t you know – make a joyous holiday gift (sorry, tacos no longer included)!

For your viewing pleasure > various uses of the famed lucha libre character.

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 :

Look Sharp

As you might recall (if you’re a frequent reader of our blog) we recently designed several art pieces in the form of skate decks. They were exhibited in the gallery show, Human Powered Works, curated by Silver Oris. Look Sharp is an homage to The Outsiders, Johnny Cash, Arthur Fonzarelli, James Dean, Marlin Brando, and rebellious, greasy-haired tough guys everywhere. Props to James T. Edmondson for designing the boss typeface Wisdom Script available at the Lost Type Co-op. Now, who want’s a knuckle sandwich?


Merch Media Mania

All around bad-ass MC, Mr. Lif, just hipped us to the fact that he is repping Alphabet Arm in a new Thievery Corporation video for “Culture of Fear” in which he is featured. Rocking a classic El Cahote / Designbot t-shirt, he’s looking fresh as ever. Although the original El Cahote shirt is sold out, these two complementary counterparts are available and in stock (for the time being at least).
Longtime friend of the studio, Fred Eltringham, is also looking razor sharp in one of our Reel Audiofiles Unite shirts for is recent Vater Percussion profile. Fred is currently touring with K.D. Lang, but has played with a who’s who list of artists: Dixie Chicks, The Wallflowers, Ben Kweller, Tears for Fears, etc. since playing with the former Boston quartet, Gigolo Aunts.

Now you can look as hip as these two cats!

Old Lucky 13

Richard Shindell is an expatriate New Yorker currently living in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Richard is a craftsman of folk songs that are often laden with rich storytelling. Thirteen Songs You May or May Not Have Heard Before is “a relatively spare, no-frills revisit of some of the songs from his catalogue.” To compliment his rustic sound, we designed his upcoming CD package with a hands-on approach. We stamped each letter of the title by hand and made sure to retain the beautifully imperfect character of the type. An archival scan of wood type (which had definitely seen better days) was incorporated to reinforce the unrefined quality of the cover. Props to Richard for embracing the stark, bold, type-only design that we think is quite eye-catching.

O U SK8 1 2?

Not long ago, artist, former intern, and curator extraordinaire, Silver Oris, assembled a gallery show aptly titled, Human Powered Works.
She asked Alphabet Arm to design a few new pieces for the show and we collectively agreed skate decks would be the ideal medium. Not only do we appreciate skate culture, the decks themselves allow a great deal of creative leeway. Whether it be conceptual, playful, ironic or topical, we embrace the fact boards have become a medium for fine art. The format itself allows us to break out of the typical rectangular framework we find ourselves often working with. We’ll be post some new deck designs over the next few months, here the first installment of the series.
As one of us here at the studio has become somewhat consumed with the social-media-image-driven-craze of Instagram, it made perfect sense to design a board using some of our favorite shots. The idea of having a print medium for these images was rather exciting as we’re usually held to the confides of the interwebs. Ride on.


Laurie Boire Alice

Hello there! My name is Laurie Rane Mildenhall and I am a newly enlisted member of Alphabet Arm’s intern army. I can’t believe I get to work here. I hail from San Diego-Encinitas if you want to get technical-where I learned to love the beaches, cheap Mexican food, traveling and music.

It was not a struggle. I’ve always loved drawing, but I suppose my passion for typography began in middle school when I started making these elaborate hand-lettered doodles in my school notebooks, often to the chagrin of my teachers. However, it was many years, two unfinished majors, and three years in college before I met with the head of graphic design at BYU and asked, “What exactly is graphic design?” Instead of throwing my ignorant behind out of his office, he explained that graphic design is about solving problems and communicating through type and images. He also said that if I wasn’t committed to excellence I should find a different major. Sold. It has been about a year and a half since then and my life has been a giant design explosion. I graduated a couple of months ago and then moved to Boston which, it turns out, is just about the best place ever. Some other fun facts: I love black liquorice, I’ve fractured and sprained both of my arms, and I’m married to a guy named Nick.
To wrap things up, I can’t think of a better place to be learning the ropes than Alphabet Arm. Aaron, Ryan, and my fellow interns are quite simply the cat’s pajamas, and I’m lucky to work with them.
Feel free to say hello! or check out some of my work:

These Boots Were Made For Walkin'

We just put the finishing touches on the poster design for “The Balcony” — the latest production presented by The Boston Conservatory. The setting of the play is a brothel in the midst of revolution. Thus, the director asked us to combine the aesthetic of propaganda posters with provocative imagery (but not too suggestive, of course). The idea was to portray the strange mixture of sex and politics that runs through the play. Design inspired by propaganda posters has been quite popular of late, so we pushed ourselves to put our own personal interpretation on the style.

Opportune Time.

Kairos, translated in Spanish, means opportune time. Apparently, it was the opportune time for this recording project rooted in R&B, positivity, pop and the band member’s faith. Alphabet Arm was hired to art direct their debut release, Corro A Ti. We augmented their travel-themed photos and developed a textured, bold layout to compliment their music and its complex influences.

Alfred & Apollo

Hello all you type and design groupies…

My name is Ryan Severance and I am the most recent intern for Alphabet Arm. This is my first installment of bloggery goodness. Due to a certain Senior Designer here at Alphabet Arm, I am banished from the privilege of using my given birth name. Subsequently, I have already accumulated a plethora of nicknames, none of which we will delve into at this juncture. I have achieved most of my schooling in the oh-so-corrupt city of Chicago. I have a great love for typography and the individual form of letters, but interesting ligatures seriously launch my Apollo. I stumbled across the work of Alphabet Arm, by chance, and inquired of an opportunity such as the one I am in.
But, you know what they say, ’til next time, Alfred signing out.

Get Rad

Growing up, one of the first things that inspired us to get into art and design were skateboards graphics. They’re striking, brazen, even subversive and just plain cool. Skateboards have always been a medium we’re drawn to. So, you could say we are stoked to be among the artists and designers selected in Rockports’s latest: Inside the World of Board Graphics. The book is chock full of amazing the art that adorns skate / surf / snow boards. Besides that, the book itself was expertly designed by Modern Dog, a studio who’s work has always inspired us.

No Zaboobs Allowed*

After designing the identity system for the surf-inspired apparel company, Invisible Sun, Alphabet Arm was hired to develop a number of merchandise designs for the company’s launch. The entire studio team jumped into the deep end to generate a cross section of styles, phrases and illustrations. Big props to Silvi Naci + Matt Kaiser for their great work. Surf around and let us know if you like what you sea.

*Completely wacked out surfer who never touches the water.

None of Your Bees Wax

We worked with word-of-mouth marketing experts, BzzAgent, to create a new piece for the for Burt’s Bees Natural Skin Solutions BzzCampaign. It was great to work with such a recognizable brand, not to mention the fact that we happen to be devoted users of several Burt’s Bees products. The cover was printed and embossed on a lovely recycled, felt textured paper. Our objective was to design an approachable feeling brochure with a sophisticated look that suggested the natural ingredients used in the products themselves. We hope those bees are hard at work, this stuff doesn’t grow on trees.

It's Nice to Splice.

Whether you are serious about the process of recording, the history of all things audio, or simply a music enthusiast – we feel you. And YOU will feel this shirt that proudly honors the aesthetic of music’s past. With this three color, screen-printed American Apparel T, now you can finally look as good as you sound!

Snag your own at our store while they last.

Onwards and Upwards

We worked closely with recent intern, Matt Kaiser, to develop the new logo for Amalgamated Balladry, an independent, musician-owned record label. The founder of the label, Richard Shindell, asked us to draw our inspiration from the iconography of Industry. We particularly liked the idea of contrasting the imagery associated with WPA posters of the 1930’s with an overt musical reference. Hence, the our friendly factory worker with a guitar — his tool of choice — slung over his shoulder.

Ice Cream & Tears

I recall wanting to be a part of Alphabet Arm for three years, when I got this amazing opportunity to Intern this Summer with Aaron and Ryan, I was so thrilled. Today is my last day here at Alphabet Arm and as my last hours pass by with tears as I think that this has been one of the best experiences & times of my life. What more can you ask for when you get to spend your day with two incredible human beings, artists and inspirational people that push you to be better and help you grow in many areas of your life as possible. I must say that Aaron Belyea and Ryan Frease have been not only great inspiration and motivation for me and the other interns here this summer, but great friends. From helping me grow as a designer to being part of a show I curated this summer (Human Powered Works) to BBQs and ball games at lunch, I know these guys will always be a part of my life. I am very sad to go but am also excited to use all the things I’ve learned here in future projects. I’m sure I’ll always refer and remember the little tricks Ryan taught me and the process that Aaron helped me develop.
YOU GUYS ROCK!!! I hope that every Intern from now on has just as great of a time here as Matt, Flo and I shared.

Thank you Alphabet Arm for everything you’ve taught me and all the laughs we’ve shared. See you all on the flip side, Silvi signing off.


Soundtrack to the Future

This Summer, our fantastically talented set of interns participated in an awareness campaign for the Future of Music Coalition’s groundbreaking survey for musicians and composers. The task: create an informative, eye-catching poster design to promote the Artist Revenue Streams project. The lengthy copy led all three of the designers to take a hands on approach and experiment with a bevy of hand drawn typography and rough-hewn textures. We were very pleased to see the high level of detail (including a couple hand drawn QR Codes!) and creativity they brought to the posters. Nice work, team.


*Does It Look Like We Like Writing Blog Entries? Only when they pertain to B.A. merchandise design projects.

After re-branding the apparel company Dilligaf, we designed a number of apparel pieces for the acronym inspired business. As the new line and branding is being rolled out we don’t want to give away too much, but, here’s a sneak peek at some of the new merchandise we developed. We are particularly excited about the embroidered label that brands the exterior of each shirt as well as the phrases we developed that tie in the designs with overarching concepts.


en contacto con nuestro lado femenino…

We recently completed a BzzAgent project for a Covergirl product, LipPerfection. It’s a 6.25″ saddle-stitched, square booklet. It happens to feature a perfectly executed, sculptured emboss cover (courtesy of Flagship Press) as well as a selectively placed UV varnish. Not only is the lovely Drew Barrymore the spokesmodel, but the booklet is bilingual. We opted to use a “flip book” layout to accomplish this. Depending on which side you open, the content reads in either English or Spanish. ¡Es hermoso!

Sweet Rewards

Our longtime clients and friends at BzzAgent have been keeping us quite busy lately. This recent project included collaborating with the BzzAgent Marketing team and designing a piece based around the concept of “Sweet Rewards.” With bold messaging on the cover, a clear description of BzzAgent’s mission and a surprise gift of artisanal honey, this nontraditional marketing piece is sure to get attention… and it compliments any cup of tea.

Peacocks, 45"s, Robots, Seeds + Squids.

Let’s face it, most Americans struggle with lackluster zipper experiences everyday. What could be worse than being completely uninspired when securing a bag shut or zipping up a jacket? Statistics show that adults spent approximately 11.5 hours a week wrestling with faulty zipper products* and many instances result in serious bodily injuries**. That’s no way to live. Well – fret no more friends – Alphabet Arm has a solution.

And in 5 friendly flavors.

That’s right, you guessed it, we have some new zipperpulls, courtesy of our friends at Pure Buttons. Want to snag a set of your own? That’s easy, head to our store!

*Give or take 11.0 hours – Source : Dr. Steve Brule **Source : Dr. Who (Classic)


Winner Winner Calendar Dinner

In 2010 Alphabet Arm teamed up with Flagship Press to create a unique, fine-art inspired calendar. Our favorite aspect was that each month featured radically different artwork and gorgeous printing techniques. On top of that, the calendar came with an all-in-one easel/envelope. Well…we were recently informed the co–branded promotion won a Pinnacle Award! Look at us!

Need to be reacquainted with this calendar wizardry? Have a look-see.

Automated Excellence (The Triumphant Return of El Cahote)

If you at all familiar with the studio, you’ll recognize our trusty, robotic mascot “El Cahote.” He’s (it’s?) taken on a life of his own, working his automated, rust-free magic onto marketing materials, stickers, buttons and hoodies. This is actually the third shirt he’s appeared on. People can’t seem to get enough of him – who knew? We upped the anti with his image bleeding off the bottom of this uber soft American Apparel 50/50 Black Heather shirt. Would you dig your very own?

Do You Know Flo?

Hola!! I’m Flo (Florencia Tasso, that is) and I am one of the lucky few here at Alphabet Arm interning this summer.
I come from Argentina, where I graduated as Graphic Designer at Buenos Aires University last year. I´ve been thinking about traveling abroad for a very long time, looking for people to share ideas and visions with, to enrich my experience, and discover different ways of working and thinking about design.
How did I end up here? Well… I remember sending an e-mail saying “Hi! I´m from Buenos Aires, I am in Argentina right now; if I move to Boston, can I work with you for a couple of months?” Later, and of course after a 12 hour flight, I met Aaron and Ryan, two friendly and humorous people at the studio. And now, I am writing a blog post about how this summer will be one of the best times in my life. I’m very happy to be here and to have the chance to collaborate with these great designers and with the rest of the creative crew: Matt, Silvi and Jeru. Here you know that you’re involved in great projects, but yet you feel like putting pencil to paper and playing with your own funny ideas. Graphic Design is what I love to do, I’m passionate about almost anything hand-drawn, I am a loving type guardian and strive for finding beauty in defective photos.
You can find some of my work at

When constructing a good website…

Alphabet Arm developed the logo and business cards for the Ferree Group a number of years ago. Since then, we have worked closely with the general contracting firm. We’ve designed advertising, marketing materials and branded a bodacious, vintage van for the firm who’s specialty is fine home renovations.

All that is fine and well, but without a complimentary web presence, how many potential leads could be lost? For that very reason we developed the Ferree Group website with our development partners, G2 Technology Group. The general contracting firm’s branding system worked seamlessly into an – easy to navigate – web portfolio.

Hop on the site, view the Ferree Group’s recent projects and fill out a contact form if you find yourself in need of their top notch services. And always remember – measure twice, cut once!

Kidd in the house.

So the topic of ” What’s your plans this summer – yo” came up between a group of my friends. Some said “chilling…”, some said “parties erreday yo!”, and some even said “I’ll be at the beach.” I said, I’ll be working in a graphic design studio called Alphabet Arm with two bosses, Ryan and Aaron, who seem more laid back than my parents. Youth Design has really landed me in an ideal space where I can benefit from my bosses and three interns, Matt, Silvi and Flo. I can tell you what makes this place so great, between the breaks to toss a football around or the constant jokes around the table for lunch, long days don’t seem that long here. Aaron has been altruistic enough to guide me through some of the essential things I need to know to be a good designer and I know that I can really benefit from what everyone knows here. After this summer I think I will almost master Adobe Illustrator and pick up some key components to be able to strongly use the programs. Being 16 years old, I probably could be “chilling” or “partying erreday,” but I understand that I am being given a unique opportunity that some kids my age just dont have. My goal is to take full advantage of the opportunity that’s in front of me and take what I learn here and apply it to the things I happen to do in the future. My name is Jeru Berry, I’m an all-star football player, an inspired designer, and a Youth Design student at Alphabet Arm – and by the way you – can call me Kidd!

As American as Ollie

Actually, Ollie Childs is not American at all, the singer / songwriter was born in England, but he has written a stellar track celebrating the states. Non-Drip Gloss Records was savvy enough to coincide its release with Independence Day. Here is the cover for the single (available on iTunes):

Being a studio with an extensive record collection of our own, we are never satisfied to stick with the expected singer / songwriter “glamour shot” album motif. Much credit goes to Ollie and his management to allow us much visual leeway. In this instance, we also didn’t want to be overly nationalistic, but liked the idea of introducing something as iconic as the American flag into the layout. We used a great deal of layered Photoshop images and textures (close to 30) to achieve the final cover treatment. We were greatly inspired by the depth, tone and lyrical content of Ollie’s songs. Here are a couple detailed views to wave your flag to:

No Bumping!

We can’t think of a project much more awesome than branding a new go kart track for the summer. The Salisbury Speedway is soon to be opening in (you guessed it) Salisbury, Massachusetts in the very near future. You could say we are super excited to be in the driver’s seat for this type of project. Both the design team here at Alphabet Arm and the owners of the track agreed we would draw on old filling stations of the 1950’s as inspiration for the new logo and branding. For this particular project, we want to hand-draw a classic looking script to contrast the blocky “speedway” typeface. We’ve dabbled in creating custom scripts in the past, but this was a chance to really immerse ourselves in the tedious process of drawing the thick and thin strokes, as well as the hours of pulling points and finessing the bezier curves. Here are some process images.

Initially, we were very pleased with how the the “Si” ligature worked out. But, unfortunately we had to lose it and the swoopy “y” which just didn’t fit into this particular lock-up. We added some speed lines onto the “S” and “l’s” in order to give the type an extra bit of flare. Here is a larger image of the final script:

We’re currently working on a signage system, stickers, t-shirts and a custom paint job for the ticket booth and shop on site. We’ll post more images once it all comes together. Buckle up!

Pretty Green*

Ecologically responsible gardening and landscaping is the focus of our new client, Mow Rake Sow. The company’s mission includes using all electric equipment for landscape services — something we can certainly support. The aim of designing a new logo was to emphasize the eco-friendly aspect of the business as well as create a unique aesthetic which would set them apart from other landscapers. We found the company name, Mow Rake Sow, particularly inspiring. Our approach was to design a logo that literally illustrated each of the three services in the name. We agreed the mark should have a clean, modern look while avoiding the visual clichés that seem to grow like weeds in this industry.

*The headline is a reference to an amazing song by The Jam. If you don’t know it, you should.

Sing along with Ollie


Singer-songwriter, Ollie Childs, asked us to design a new logo for his fourthcoming album (coming soon) and other related materials. We opted to create a original type treatment crafted from the ground up. The mark itself draws influence from the pop sensibilities inherent in the music as well as Ollie’s British background — both of which comes through in this “Mod” inspired logo. Our goal was to create a treatment that was unique and memorable enough to be used on it’s own, but subtle enough it could take a back seat when used with photography. We also designed a new logo for Ollie’s independent record label. Non-Drip Gloss Records is a reference to Ollie’s blue collar roots.

The Man known as Pan.

Another superlative day, another superlative logo…

Pan the Man (PtM) is a Boston based wholesale, retail and lifestyle brand of apparel built around a social network for those who Live Superlative™. PtM has planted its flag in the ground, claiming as its constituents all who are entrepreneurial, driven, open-minded, creative and young at heart.
During our initial meeting with the PtM team, there was some discussion of the word Pan (within the logo) taking on some human characteristics. Once we better understood the philosophy behind the brand, the idea of buttoning up the logo with a classic fedora and an all-knowing smirk, made perfect sense. This logo, in particular, was developed to be atomized down to a simple, one color Fedora + Smirk that can be used to brand the apparel line.

While the formal site is being built, you can find PtM elsewhere on the interwebs, friend them on the Facebooks.

I Know You're All Jello!!!

Heyyyyy Yooooo,My Name is Silvi and I just started here at Alphabet Arm as a Design Intern for the summer. I know you all love Alphabet Arm, and let me tell you that it is incredible being here. It was one of the happinest news I received that I would be interning here with two amazing designers and people.
I graduaded from NESAD at Suffolk University this May with two degrees in Fine Arts and Graphic Design. I’ve been attending art school ever since i was 6 yrs old. Life doesn’t make sense to me without art in it. The work that I do goes from, Printaking, Letterpress, Graphic Design, Illustration, Web design and Animation. I love how a piece of art has it’s own life, from conceptualization to realization. I’ve always known that Art was the path I’d be on for the rest of my life. Being able to translate and convey the ideas fermenting in my brain into a tangible form and then share it with the world still amazes me. I actually find the whole process almost shocking. Design should make us think, surprise, fill us with wonder and exhilarate our senses.
Being an artist makes everything I do that much more stimulating and intoxicating. Sometimes even my bike rides get so exciting, looking up at the clouds and cooking up some great idea that I can’t wait to share with the world. Being at Alphabet Arm makes all this goodness happen and I can’t wait to sink into more design as the time passes.
If you’re feeling bored and such, you can check out my work here:

Thanks for reading, Silvi

Let the Looting Begin…

Alphabet Arm just wrapped up a logo project for a new retail shop in Turners Falls, MA. The owners came to us with a cool concept and a great name. Loot, the shop, will feature found, archival goodies ranging from large scale industrial pieces to smalls. During our initial meeting with the owners the idea of a mascot was proposed and one of them shared the idea of a raccoon. We argued (respectfully – mind you) as to which of us would tackle the mascot illustration. Although this final solution was proposed along four different logo treatments, the owners felt he spoke to them. He, whom we have affectionately named Leo, was initially sketched in a tiny Moleskin and redrawn in Illustrator.

The type treatment was born from simple geometric shapes which seemed to compliment the playful character of Leo without being redundant.
We are currently designing die-cut business cards, overarching branding, signage and consulting on the exterior of the shop front. Stay tuned to for it’s anticipated opening. Stop by and see Leo if you find yourselves in Turners Falls.

Geared up!

Once again, we have designed a poster to promote the latest production from The Boston Conservatory.
“Factory Girls tells the story of best friends Sarah Bagley and Harriet Farley, factory operatives in Lowell, Massachusetts in 1844. High wages and a chance to improve their family’s lives draws Yankee farm girls to the “City of Spindles” by the thousands. Even after laboring for up to fourteen hours a day, the girls write and publish their own company-sponsored publication, The Lowell Offering, which becomes a worldwide literary phenomenon. When working conditions deteriorate due to competition and economic hardship, Sarah speaks out against the corporation; Harriet, as editor of the Offering, refuses to sacrifice the gains the women have made. The resulting battle rips their friendship apart and alters the course of the American worker.”
Our intent was to create a poster with a dark, ominous feel to reflect the struggles and harsh working conditions of the characters. We were especially excited to find scans of the antique newspapers that inspired the production… which we quickly incorporated into the design itself.

Goin' Big / Part 04

All good things must come to an end. Here is the last of the one-off, full color, high resolution dye sublimation t-shirt series all lovingly printed by Jakprints. This design is a graphic, cautionary tale inspired by the dangers of keeping wild animals as household pets. Oh, and also because we heavily dig wood cut type.


I ate a gyro for lunch yesterday.

Whatup blog readers! The name’s Matt Kaiser, and I’m a new summer intern here at Alphabet Arm. It’s only been a week and I’m already way too excited, so I’ll reel it in just do what I do best: talk about myself. I was born and raised in Baltimore, Maryland where I never really left my bubble. I was just a nerd who also played soccer, ran track and got into art and digital media (through Pokémon, actually, but that’s a story for another day). When college rolled around, I only knew two things: I wanted to study graphic design, and I wanted to get the hell out of Baltimore. Now I’m a rising third year graphic design major at MassArt and I’m loving every moment of it.
I have a real passion for branding/identity design and typography, and would probably have an alphabet half sleeve if that was an original idea… Alphabet Arm was foreign to me until the end of my freshman year when Aaron and Ryan held a presentation at my school, showing off their rather incredible branding projects and CD art direction. I was impressed. When the time came this year to find a summer internship, former intern Jeremiah mentioned the work he did here and how talented yet laid back the guys were, so I drafted an email and gave it a shot. As a younger designer I feel very fortunate to have secured this position and to have the opportunity to work with a studio that follows my exact plan for the future. Just a few days in I’ve already been included in apparel design projects for multiple clients. And I’ve acquired an awesome hat.
This will be quite a summer working alongside Aaron, Ryan, and Silvi – the other 2011 summer intern who does a great job keeping us laughing (unintentionally) – I’m psyched!
Feel free to get in touch with me at and keep an eye on our gradual loss of sanity at
P.s. I hope you like the design above. See if you can catch the viking hat I subtly integrated into the logo.


At Alphabet Arm, we dig sweet, illustration-heavy design, we also dig music…oh, and we dig t-shirts too. With Summer at our doorstep, we decided it was the proper time to unveil this shirt and add it to our store. This design was unabashedly inspired by the Jamaican sound systems made popular in the 50’s + 60’s and was expertly illustrated by Alphabet Arm alum Ira F. Cummings. Heck, you can even win one if you act quickly and head over to our facebook page! No pressure, no problem man.

April in May

April Verch and her band play an energetic style of blue grass, blues  and pop (among other styles) deeply rooted in the Ottawa Valley musical tradition. Not only is April an highly accomplished fiddler, singer and songwriter, but she’s also a pretty amazing step dancer. Seriously, she’s s super talented. Recently, we finished up the design for April’s forthcoming CD. From a design standpoint, April basically asked us to do what we do. In this case, that included hand drawn typography and rustic canvas texture.

Save me a seat

Our client, RSmeP, has created a web-based application/tool used to add online interaction to event planning. Essentially, the tool allows users to create interactive seating charts specific to their event. When the partners asked us to create a new identity for the company, we knew it would be a challenge. The name, RSmeP plays on the well known acronym R.S.V.P.  — with the “V”  replaced by “me” to emphasize the fact that the application empowers the user or attendee. So… if the logo itself doesn’t hint at the missing “V”  then essentially, we’ve missed the clever wordplay that is the title of the company. You follow?
Along with the logo, we also designed a set of nine icons that will be used as navigation on the app. Obviously, the icons had to be quite small, yet communicate clearly and be visually compliment the logo. Check, check, and check.

Goin' Big / Part 03

Howdy folks, here’s another in the series of one-off, full color, high resolution dye sublimation t-shirt tests courtesy of Jakprints. This composite design was largely inspired by some found textures, an old schematic and the Handyman’s Book (published in 1951) that was discarded and subsequently found in a one of our basements. Note the left shoulder supporting the illustration of the handyman expertly using a handheld drill (also his left shoulder). This shirt looks even better on, we’ve already had three offers to buy it on the spot.


Winter Solstice Design Sprite!

You know when you think about that job you had way back when, and you just smile because it was a great time in your life? Years from now, I will remember working at Alphabet Arm with Aaron and Ryan, and how it was one of the best experiences I could have asked for. I learned how to work more efficiently, look at work with a more critical eye, and have fun while doing it! These guys are masters in practicing – not only kickin’ design – but masters in professionalism, patience, and all at the same time, take any opportunity to laugh. They are rather hilarious, and obviously love what they do here in the studio!
With that said, some of the challenges I personally faced as their intern was 1. keeping up with their drinking (coffee that is!) 2. understanding obscure jokes from the 80’s (Who knew who the heck H.R. Pufnstuf was) 3. working on what seemed like an endless flow of projects day to day (which they do all the time, and then some) 4. commuting to the studio (I had to climb mountains of snow on the sidewalks of Boston) 5. educating and being patient with clients.
Everything I did here was great practice, helping with both production and creative work. In a nutshell, I was able to work on projects where I designed logos, t-shirts, beer labels, business cards, marketing guides for larger companies (like Dove, Multibionta, Braun/Venus, & Scott’s) and I even had a chance to help with some CD packaging. I discovered the process of working with a spectrum of clients, and how there are degrees of difficulty and new challenges with each project. With this enlightenment, I look forward to doing work in the future where I am able to make clients happy with the work I produce! I’m sure both of the “Misters” agree, it is rather rewarding to be a designer.
As my last day in the studio, I can say I am sad to leave, but I am leaving satisfied with the great experiences I have encountered during the last six months. The work I made, and the friendship I have gained with Ryan and Aaron has been absolutely wonderful. Thank you guys for the laughs and mind power!
Signing off, Amy

DISCLAIMER: The following image of Amy is not to scale.

Sun is shining, the weather is sweet…

Invisible Sun is a soon-to-be a surf-inspired apparel company on a mission to spread positivity. You see, the ethos of the brand is inspired by surfing, but the concept encompasses more than that — it’s about people doing what they love. Call it beach culture with a optimistic twist, which includes music, spirituality and living in the moment. We wanted to take a strong, decorative typeface and give it a slightly organic feel that could suggest the motion of the sea. The process involved printing out an existing typeface and then heading to the light table. We sketched dozens of  flourishes and used drawing as a means of finding smooth, organic ways of implementing the ornamentation into the type treatment. After a quick scan, we translated the sketch into vector art by lots of pushing and pulling of bezier curves in illustrator. The resulting mark is a unique logo that will hopefully resonate to their audience of soul searchers near the sea.

Goin' Big / Part 02


Hi there, as previously promised, we have some more merchandise testing examples with our home skillets Jakprints. It’s a relatively new process implementing full color, high resolution dye sublimation. This old chestnut, in particular, revives a previous t-shirt design we sold out of a few years back. “Giant Squid Attack” was limited to three colors in it’s previous incarnation. With dye sub printing, both numbers of colors and the imprint size are no longer an issue. Ink on!!!

Thanks a latté

It’s no secret, we love coffee. In fact, we think it’s the most important meal of the day. We even have our own proprietary way of brewing our favorite beverage…find out our top secret method with this “coffee contraption” tee. And if that wasn’t enough, this shirt comes complete with it’s own fancy QR code technology. What are you waiting for? Head on over to the Alphabet Arm cafe to get yours.

See you at Heartbreak Hill

We are super excited to share with you the new t-shirts we recently designed for Saucony. The limited edition tees will be available at their Boston Marathon Expo booth and select retail stores. The folks at Saucony were particularly great to work with and we are enthusiastic to be a part of the project. Get yours for Marathon Monday!

Zip This!

Our old pal designbot aka “El Cahote” makes it’s triumphant return on this slim-fit, Independent Trading Co., soft as heck hoody. Featuring a covered zipper with a White + Gray imprint on the front and an additional Gray back shoulder imprint to get your gears churning. This promise to move quickie, get you one while you can now.

Goin' Big / Part 01

We recently did a little merchandise testing with a new print technique our homies at Jakprints are perfecting. It’s a process implementing full color, high resolution dye sublimation. So, creating unique, one-off shirts is very simple. As a busy design studio, there are plenty of bits and pieces of ideas or treatments we’ve amassed over the years that haunt us. Even if a client didn’t deem them worthy, this is a fun way to get them a second chance at a little exposure. We have a couple different shirts we’ll share with The Bloggery over the next few weeks. This piece, in particular, features one of the many studio mascots (The Football’r) set against some leftover photo elements from a design installation (Graphic Takeover) we tackled back in ’06. Old school baby!

A Shared Vision

Whenever we have the bandwidth to do so, we like to give back to worthy causes and support our respective communities. Quite often it takes the form of pro-bono design work. We recently wrapped up a logo project perfectly managed by former intern, John Boilard. But, enough from us, we’ll let the client share some thoughts:
“Alphabet Arm generously provided pro-bono design services for our Roxbury-based volunteer neighborhood group – Highland Vision. Thanks in part for the nifty new logo which was used in flyers and emails, our recent neighborhood planning meeting brought in 4 times as many attendees as expected (a crowd of 60). In contrast – our pre-branding meeting, some six months ago, attracted only 15 drowsy neighbors. This is my second encounter with the team at Alphabet Arm in their skateboard decked conference room. First time was for a for-profit project my design/build company is pursuing (Powahouse).”

– Simon Hare
We couldn’t have said it any better ourselves!

spin it!

SpinTally is a unique mobile app. created to help people connect and share information about the sports they, their friends and family love to play. With SpinTally, users can create a Team, Player, or League for almost any type of sport. Users can invite or allow others to “Fan” them and leverage the service to easily “push” content and share information via text message, email, Facebook or Twitter to fans and friends who don’t yet have the application.
Alphabet Arm was hired to design a logo for the application. One of the creative challenges was to develop a versatile, sport-inspired logo that was not specific to one sport in particular. We were also asked to incorporate a sense of community and social media into the icon. The end result is a bright, dynamic icon that feels sturdy and engaging. The depth of the graphic beneath the custom rendered S implies a virtual conversation. Go Team!

Good Morning, Indeed

We were enthusiastic to see some of our business card designs among those featured on CBS Sunday Morning. We’ve been long-time fans of the show and it was awesome to see our designs on screen along with the iconic Sunday Morning sun logo. See the video here.
Here are some screenshots…

Check out the highlighted business cards we’ve designed over the years.

Our Favorite Lounge

Rockport’s successful series of design books, LogoLounge, has just released their 6 volume. Once again, it is completely gratifying to see our work included among such talented company. With a showcase of 2000 logos and a color scheme featuring magenta, black and gray, what else could you ask for? Buy one.

Good Call!

If you are at all familiar with our studio’s work (which seems silly to state if you’re reading our blog), you might recognize one of our beloved mascots, The Design-Bot, aka el Cahote. Over the years, he has appeared on Alphabet Arm merch, marketing materials, ads, and various promotions. He can now be seen on our Art Director’s iPhone case, expertly laser-engraved on bamboo courtesy of Grove. Check out this bad ass Portland based shop and see what they can make for you.


Embracing Individuality

If you’re a regular reader of the bloggery, you may know we do quite a bit of design work for BzzAgent and their word-of-mouth marketing clients. From time to time we’re asked to design various projects for their internal use. In this case, as BzzAgent was reassessing their company values, they asked to us to create a piece showcasing each of their affirmations. Although we were quite temped to design an inspirational poster involving a majestic bald eagle, we opted for a expressive typography approach. The project took shape of a poster that could be perforated into six core values for display around the office. Employing a vivid, but limited color palette allowed us to create unity from one statement to the next. The end result is a striking new poster for BzzAgent and it doesn’t hurt that we created a design using multiple arrows and lightning bolts — a win-win in our book.

The Show of Poster Prowess

The Say Something Poster Project concludes it’s epic battle of considered communication and stunning design at the end of this month. Curated by the savvy Jason Stevens, the competition benefits The Home for Little Wanderers. Among an impressive line-up of caregivers, creatives and professors, our very own Art Director was selected as a judge for the contest. The project concludes with a gallery show of the final 25 semi-final posters to be whittled down to the final 10. Should YOU get involved? In a word – Yes.

Location: The Fourth Wall gallery
132 Brookline Avenue Boston MA
Date: February 26th, 2011 – Time: 7:00pm – 11:00pm

put a lid on it…

Being a design studio who is often hired to design logos + develop identity systems that can fluidly apply to a variety of mediums, it’s always a hoot to use our logo much the same way. To that point, we like hats. Baseball hats in particular. Branded baseball hats to be very specific. Now we finally have our own. You can have your own too! Hit up the store. These will most likely go quickly, so get yours now or forever hold your hat. These are Yupoong Flexfit Wooly Combed Twill Caps available in S-M + L-XL.

Anatomically Correct

Adam Levy is a singer-songwriter and guitar player residing in New York. We recently finalized the art direction and design for his latest solo album, The Heart Collector. Adam pretty much left the door wide open for our creative interpretation on his record. We used the lyrics and dark mood of the title track for inspiration which was full of interesting descriptions and metaphors — perfect for creating visuals. Vintage anatomy text books quickly became the device we used to structure a diverse sampling of textures and imagery we associated with the themes of The Heart Collector. Look close and you can even see how we were able to tuck some of Adam’s lyrics and a map of his NYC stomping grounds cover collage itself.

All about the Acronym

We recently re-branded an apparel company who has made their name largely due to the meaning of that very name. If you don’t know what Dilligaf stands for, you probably know someone who does. It’s an acronym that ends with a question. That was one of the visual cues we wanted to address while developing their new logo. Their rabidly loyal fans wear Dilligaf apparel like a shield of honor – you guessed it – visual cue #2. Lastly, we wanted their brand + line to soar above the typical graphic solutions (skulls, gothic type, snakes, dark tones, skulls, splattered blood, skulls, etc.) that seems to dominate their customers’ culture. During our initial meeting, there was a very frank discussion as to whether Alphabet Arm was actually the appropriate studio for this project or not. To their credit, the team at Dilligaf convinced us that we were. We’re happy they were so persistent. They too seem to be happy, which might be why they wrote this kind review on Yelp, “The folks at Alphabet Arm have enabled us to elevate our line to a totally higher level.  They have inspired and amazed us both with their professionalism and their incredible understanding of our product.” TFTKW*

*Thanks For The Kind Words

Now Hear This!

Have we mentioned – as a studio – how much we enjoy the process of developing the visual counterpart to music? Well, we do. It’s even more liberating when a client trusts us to do so. Thus was the case with Jason Young and his recording project, heartour. We’ve worked with Jason and his previous band, The Ruse, as well as his debut release of heartour. Part of the reason he has faith in us, is our constant effort to make his albums look as interesting as it sounds. We couldn’t help but be inspired by the album title, Submarine Sounds, and layers of sonic treats he folds into his songs. Adding levels of imagery, both overt and abstract, seems to gives the final package the depth we were hoping to achieve. The type treatment we developed for the cover now serves as the new identity for the project. Dive! Dive!

“Pahkah” Puffin Spirit Month!

I have to say it – Alphabet Arm is an awesome studio. I have officially decided that Aaron and Ryan are probably the coolest bosses I could have hoped for, and while they primarily focus their daytime lives on kerning type and debating Pantone colors, they also enjoy other interesting activities such as listening to a variety of good music, eating lamb shank (Ryan) and tofu (Aaron), cracking jokes left and right, scaling the walls of tall buildings, and shopping for bidets. This is all very entertaining for me!
But seriously, it’s been about a month at the studio for me, and they are great people to be interning for not only because they are genuine guys, but they kick butt at designing and they provide a great learning environment for me to grow as a young designer. The efficient work pace and high quality of design Alphabet Arm delivers time and time again is positively influential. And so far I am having a blast!
The design tasks I have been given so far include developing concepts for logos, designing business cards, laying our marketing collateral, and prepping files for print. So far I have learned some handy shortcuts, new tools in the programs, and fun terms such as “indicia,” “bug,” “antiquated,” and “lock-up.” Oh Education, how you follow me in even the most entertaining of places!
I am looking forward to my last semester of school and continuing intern duties at Alphabet Arm. I expect to design some fun pieces (already 99% of my projects have been fun), learn more about design, the programs, and myself as a designer. I especially expect to have a great time doing it. I am very lucky to have been given this opportunity and discover design in new ways.
I was asked to think of a spirit animal that would represent me, because  the guys have all thought about their own animal metaphors before. Boneyard offered his suggestion of a puffin because I love orange and yellow, and I believe the puffin aesthetic relates because I am a fairly small person (puffins stand less than a foot tall). Puffins are definitely cool birds because they fly with their awkwardly shaped wings, but they also have the ability to dive into icy depths of salt water with their water-proof black feathers. So these little birds are adventurous, colorful, and have a fun attitude, which describes me! Now the studio is filled with the spirits of a dog, a puffin, a meerkat, and a cat!
Signing off, Amy “Pahkah”

TypoShirt One

We are psyched to have several designs selected to be published in TypoShirt One. The new design compendium showcases stand out t-shirt designs from around the world and is published by Index book. Also heavily represented is our good friend Chris Piascik of Print Brigade fame. The book features a ton of great work with a really wide range of graphic styles. Check it out.

The Big Give Back

It’s that holiday time again and the studio continues our tradition of volunteering in the toy room at The Home for Little Wanderers in Boston. It’s one of the small ways Alphabet Arm likes to give back to the great city we inhabit. We were particularly excited to have current, intern rockstars Amy and John (aka Boneyard) join us this year! The Home for Little Wanderers still needs your help, would you like to donate toys or clothing to children in need? See The Home.

"Twelve Calendar Inserts and a Partridge in a…"

‘Tis the season. The snow is beginning to fall. The stars are shining brightly. But which is this you might ask? We’d like to think the image suggests a likeness to both. As this calendar collection began in January, we kicked it off with some composited images from the Mars HiRISE project. This month, we’ve come full circle with an equally ambiguous and dreamy image. Is it a blustery evening snow shower or blurred photograph of a telescope view? We’ll never say. What we would like to say is that we thoroughly hope you have enjoyed these monthly calendar installments designed by your friends at Alphabet Arm and majestically printed by Flagship Press.
We utilized a spot UV coating on the front of this December calendar. It’s a great way to subtly highlight specific elements within a composition. By using this print technique, one can add a level of information or visual interest without obstructing detailed imagery. Printing on a coated paper stock gives the maximum result of glossy contrast. Similar to the January calendar, we paired the spot UV with the flexibility and precision of 4 color process printing. That said, Happy Winter!

The Bone Machine is no more.

Alright! It’s about that time. 22 projects, 35 lunches, 4 football breaks, and 12,621 jokes* later, I am hanging up my intern gloves here at Alphabet Arm. In an effort not to gush about how appreciative I am about my time here, I won’t go on about how awesome it was to work with Diego, how Aaron and Ryan were completely willing to help us learn the ropes, or how I feel like this experience has been one that has helped me grow in quite a few ways, both as a person and as a designer. I almost can’t believe how much we were able to fit in during 16 weeks (bobo). Instead, I’d just like to say that I’ve had a fantastic time here at Alphabet Arm, and I’m glad to have been apart of the team. Thanks for everything guys!
– John
*Edit – Ryan just told another joke while I was typing this. 12,622 Jokes to date.


Team Alphabet Arm, D-Rock is out!
Oh boy, this is it. My internship at Alphabet Arm has come to an end, and man it flew by! But that’s what happens when you’re having a good time – right? I have to say I learned so much during my time here at the studio. From new skills and strategies in design (both conceptual and technical) to even American culture and jokes too (not to mention that I expanded my vocabulary quite a lot). I will definitely miss all the good times we had, like the trips to Food Nation, the Bean Show on lunch, Football breaks, music lessons, and the overall cool vibe of the work environment. Thanks to you guys I’m a little more into the sport, broaden my views in design and you made me love pencils again. I can’t express enough my gratitude for everything I have experienced.
I stand proud to have interned here. Keep rocking it dudes!
Love, Diego

The toughest clients in the world

As a design studio, one of the greatest challenges can be designing for yourself. The flip side of that coin is that the process can also be extremely liberating. Being free to explore solutions, finishing options and stock that clients may ultimately shoot down. Such was the case with the new Alphabet Arm business cards.We utilized three separate vendors to complete these bad boys: Letterpress cards (220# Cranes Lettra featuring magenta edging) – Mandate Press / Wrap-around Die-Cut Labels (with metallic ink) – Flagship Press / Custom-tooled arrow hole punch – Hole Punch World / Our loyal army of interns have been champions of assembly! And a special thank you to our friendly neighborhood photog Tony Luong for the killer macro shots!

Play it again Sammy…

We recently developed a business card system and postcard set for Sam’s at Louis Boston. If you’re not familiar, Sam’s strikes a balance between the simplicity of an American Diner and the timeless appeal of a classic French Bistro. They proudly feature local product from New England’s farms and artisans. The physical aesthetics of the restaurant’s space are a stunning contrast as well – poured cement, brushed steel and the open floor plan against the picturesque waterfront view. All these attributes influenced the bright, organic, industrial slant we brought to their print system. Pull up a chair and tell Esti + Drew we sent you!

Thinking Outside the Bun…

It’s always both refreshing and exciting to see a long-standing business with years of success embrace a new way of thinking about their brand’s reach. That couldn’t resonate any truer than our new client, Joe’s Famous Steak & Cheese. Instead of resting on their 40 + years of proudly serving Dudley Square, they have opted to go viral. The initial phase of their marketing efforts is a line of playful, stylish t-shirts. And guess what fortunate design studio they have decided to work with? Go ahead – take a bite!

¡Viva Lucha Cubby!

Not to toot our own tacos, but we have a sweet new piece o’ artwork in the studio we thought we would share. We hired the vinyl wizardry of Bob Shane / Vinyl Countdown to assist us with 40+ inches of lucha love we developed. He labored over the placement and multitude of individual pieces until the 2 color imperfect off-registration was perfect. Bob is the man, interested in seeing some of his other work?

This one is for Rube

Feast your eyes on the November edition of our monthly calendar promotion. Imagine this contraption in motion: spinning whirly gigs, flashing bulbs, shooting steam. But it’s not a pipe dream… amongst the swinging boot, hamster wheel, and various other flim flams is a QR code. Just follow the 3 easy steps below and the QR code will magically take you and your smartphone to an animated contraption in full motion. Fancy huh?
Step 1. Download a free QR reader application to your smartphone.
Step 2. Use the app to scan this QR code on screen.
Step 3. The code automatically takes you to content on the web right on your phone. In this case it’s an animated version of the contraption Alphabet Arm created for November.
What better way than to create a link from your print materials — expertly printed at Flagship Press, of course — to your interactive, online content?

It's Alive!

We admit it, we’re total suckers for Halloween. The challenge became how to creatively integrate a calendar into a frighteningly familiar horror icon? That’s easy—design the calendar to be used as a mask. With the help of our good friends and collaborators, Flagship Press, we even went so far as to perforate the eyes and nose to make the mask actually wearable.
Do you happen to be one of those people that doesn’t wear a costume to the office party because you couldn’t get it together in time? Fine, we did the work for you… just grab a string, and strap this bad boy on. We also recommend a couple of bolts and a black turtleneck sweater. Arghhhhh!

Just a little off the top…

We often work closely with The Boston Conservatory to design posters for their stage productions. This time, the Halloween inspired show is Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. We were going for simple and striking with a bit of victorian elegance. The bloody barber pole seems like a perfect metaphor for the main character of the musical… besides, we never miss an opportunity to make a drippy mess of ink on paper. And while the barber pole is the “punch line” for the poster, creating the ornate framework for the type treatment turned out to be just as creatively satisfying.

a fevered fest for the fall

The Mercury Brewing Company hired us to design the poster for their annual Ipswich Ale “Fall Fest.” We were immediately excited to hear the day’s events included a vintage baseball game played with historically inspired uniforms and mustaches to boot! Alphabet Arm’s pal and all around master illustrator, Alan Pearsall, worked up the image we based the design around. Integrating color and texture to his pencil drawing was an honor. With hopes of perfectly imperfect registration, we lovingly weathering the image. We were also rather inspired by the notion of printing on a wooden crate, hopefully these visual strategies helped knock this one outta the park.

Bonin' in the Boneyard*

“Hi”. This is John “Johnny Bones” Boilard. It’s nice to meet you, and it’s a pleasure to be here. Very strange but awesome timing brought me to Alphabet Arm. This past Summer I was a day away from writing Aaron about an internship in the Spring, when a message popped up in my inbox titled “Internship”, and it happened to be from Alphabet Arm. It turns out a very kind, very talented Mass Art alum had recommended that Aaron and co. get in touch with some of the rising seniors at Mass Art. I feel pretty fortunate to have gotten the gig and I’m really loving my time here. And as if the deal weren’t sweet enough, I get to work alongside my good bud Diego, the other Fall intern for 2010. How I got into graphic design was not so much about strange or awesome timing, rather it sort of happened out of necessity. Collectively, a group of friends and myself have been setting up arts / music events in Western Mass (and more recently in Boston as well) since May of 1998. It was through the need to promote these events, that I discovered my love for type, design, and screen printing. 12 years later I’m still enthusiastic about making posters and setting up shows, and it’s something I hope to always have a hand in. With less than a year left of school, I’m getting ready for the working world, and although I’ll miss being at such a rad place like Mass Art, I’m pumped to be working soon, and look forward to putting all that I’ve taken in from places like school and Alphabet Arm to good use.If you’d like to say hi, or have a band that would like to play Boston or Western Massachusetts, feel free to get in touch.Thanks and have a cool day!-
J.P. Boneyard

*STUDIO DISCLAIMER: “Bonin’ in the Boneyard” is a track by the legendary band Fishbone (see the 1988 release, Truth and Soul)

tune in, turn on and win this

It’s pretty obvious that we here at Alphabet Arm love music, and that’s why our latest shirt “Stereo Schematic“, is an homage to the equipment that brings the celebrated sounds to our ears. To share our enthusiasm for the recording process itself, and to make sure you are looking fresh this Fall, we are giving away a shirt to the first person to answers the following questions correctly. That’s right – it’s a three-parter:
A. How may Flux Capacitors are pictured?
B. What is the typeface used in this design? (HINT: it’s our studio standard)
C. How many speakers are included in the schematic?

D new addition to ABC!

That’s right! This is D joining the ABC team (Alphabet Arm) as an intern for the next few months. I’m a Designer to be and Rocker to the Co?e.
Full name is Diego Tang. I’m a bit of a cultural mix, and I’d like to share it with all of you: I was born in Medellín, Colombia (as some people like to call it, the city of “eternal spring”) however, my parents are both chinese. So basically I’m a Colombian with a chinese heritage. It’s been 4 years now, and ever since I moved to the States I started an affair with design, which I’m developing more and more the through studies at MassArt and in my work at internships and whatnot.  The time I have spent here at Alphabet Arm has been amazing. It’s more of the environment I like and the guys here are just super chill. I like the office, I like the work, and most of all, the jokes and talks with the folks. It’s only the third week and I already have been exposed to some great design work. Now I’m working on a logo for a record label (how cool is that!). I’m looking forward to learning tons of new things on design, especially more “vector wizardry & knowledge”
I’m interested in very broad sorts of music, as some of you might tell. Rock and Acoustic music are on the top of my list, especially Spanish and Japanese, but I enjoy American music more and more as I discover new feels and vibes here at the office. If you want to chit-chat, discuss, or drop me a joke or a line, but all means shoot me a e-mail to and remember, stay tuned through twitter to see what’s up

Masters of the Logoverse – The Sequel

The Logolounge Master Library Vol.2 book has arrived and we’re incredibly proud to announce the editors included ten of our logo designs, including a number of in-studio pieces (the “El Cahote” design-bot and Arno, the Alphabet Armadillo).
We are always stoked to have our work included in any volume of a Logolounge collection, but the Master Library book series feels extra special! Get your own copy here.

Still Crankin'

September is half over (already!) and these have been circulating around for a couple weeks, so we figured it’s high time to share them with the rest of world. Our focus was to give props to Flagship Press and their commitment to the environment. Whether it’s printing with soy inks on recycled paper or delivering the finished product in their hybrid SUV (with graphics designed at Alphabet Arm), Flagship Press has made it a priority to run an environmentally sound business. They’re even proud to say that they are 100% powered by the wind energy. That said, we based the design on historical reference. The vibrant colors and geometric, flat shapes were inspired by the posters created for the Works Progress Administration in the 1930’s and 40’s inspired us to create the artwork for September. It’s a call to arms to take responsibility for our own actions and their impact on our environment. Our hero cranks away at the inner workings of a factory powered by nature. Don’t ask us how it all works, the patent is pending.

Sign of the times

If you’re a regular reader of our blog, you may have read an entry or two about our old friend Kay Hanley. In fact, we’ve been art directing/designing albums together since 1997. Her latest project, Palmdale is a collaboration with multi-instrumentalist/producer, Linus Of Hollywood. It’s a tour de force of rockin’ pop hooks. How to Be Mean is their second EP. After talking to the band and hearing the rough tracks from the EP, we opted to take a literal approach to the cover and digital booklet. Palmdale is actually named for a city in southern California. Palmdale sounds picturesque, lush and pristine — over time, it may have fallen short of the promise the romantic name portrays. Kay and Linus felt the music should complement both sides of that coin. This photo was taken in California a dozen years ago and seemed like the perfect starting point for the cover. We labored over distressing the image and type and added a warm color palette to mimic the intense heat in the vast concrete landscapes of SoCal.

Choke on this!

While working on the promotional poster for an appearance by the infamous Stevie Starr aka “The Regurgitator,” we caught ourselves thinking, “are we really working on a poster for a gentleman who has made a living by eating and regurgitating that which should not pass one’s lips in the first place?” The Nobles and Greenough School challenged us with the task of working up an old school, horror inspired poster that utilized images of specific faculty and alumni members—around 30 to be precise. Intern extraordinaire, Jeremiah Louf, spent quite a few days clipping out the people that populate the bottom of this image. The build-out was rather time consuming, with a great many elements to prepare before developing the various type treatments and lovingly setting the poster with a delicious halftone pattern.

Johnny was a good man…

Johnny Foresight is a prolific, up and coming DJ, producer, songwriter and engineer. He is a production juggernaut who combines elements of electro, glitch, and hip hop to form a new innovative genre. Johnny asked us to draw inspiration from 90’s video games and masked vigilantes from another dimension. Sounds like fun, right? We definitely enjoyed the low-fi process of hand drawing the expressive, three-dimensional type that would is the visual representation of the epic persona, Johnny Foresight.

The following poster has been approved for all audiences

The Boston Film Festival contacted us to create the artwork for the poster and program cover for this year’s festival. Now in its 26th year, the BFF is one of the country’s longest running and most recognized celebration of films. As clients, they were great to work with and gave us full creative control. The only requirements for the artwork was to feature Boston and cinema in some way, and of course, no yellow. We wanted to create a poster that was simple, striking and maybe even a little clever. During the brainstorming process, we made 2 lists: icons for Boston and icons for cinema. We basically mixed and matched items from each list until we happened upon this final solution.

Jerry Gots to Go.

Holy guacamole-musk-melons-Batman, eat it with your Nose!
I want to recap my summer internship in full, complete with too many PB & Jerry’s and all the hot and heavy short trips to Foodies for chips and food-snob drinks and do it in style like the hip, skinny jean wearing smuck I’m supposed to be here at Alphabet Arm. But I’m not sure I have the creative juices left to do so.
I would also love to go down in studio history as another intern to leave a sarcastic fair-well about how I learned nothing but how my boss takes his four dollar coffee, but I just ain’t got the heart. I haven’t one negative thing to say about this design studio.
Aaron, Ryan and NickyGee made my summer killer. Spending mostly every Monday thru Friday with these three, I curated a bundle of music and design training camp-worthy knowledge. Now I can feel a little more like a food snob too with my wonderful Trader Joe’s “in” status. (TJ’s if you’re in the know.)
I’m damn proud to say that I played a small role in this studio. Besides being the coolest people I know with great taste in music, Aaron, Ryan and Nicky are the nicest, funniest, most ethical, well-mannered people I know. It’s an honor and a pleasure to have been associated with such knowledgeable & polite folks for the summer. Being invited to their annual summer Birdbath Invitational cookout meant more to me than they probably know. (Although Chris, you didn’t have to take it out on my finger, that shiz was swollen for about a week after that pigskin catch – sheesh!)
I’m going to miss being called Jerry, and shocking everyone with my lunchtime genius food inventions and justifying random ketchup usage. I’ve taken a lot from this internship including a ton of Alphabet Arm stickers that I’m going to continue sticking on street corners wherever I go like a punk rock mofo they taught me to be.
Thanks Guys, you’re all alright.

Ride the Branded Stallion.

We have had the distinct pleasure of working on a number of projects with the lovely and talented Sarah Borges and her band The Broken Singles. It’s a pleasure, because Sarah embraces the collaborative design process and fully appreciates that we are always looking out for her and her band’s best interest. We’ve consciously established a number of consistent design elements (their logo, typography standards, reoccurring patterns + textures) between all of the band’s releases. Within those standards, we like to vary usage as much as possible and keep the band’s look evolving and their imagery fresh. This live DVD was filmed at a club in Michigan called The Livery. A 100 year prior to it’s current club status, it was a horse stable, hence the branded stallion on the cover! Ride on!

Proud as a…

On quite a few occasions we have discussed the idea of having a studio pet. The obvious choices have been proposed: dalmatian, guinea pig, canary or possibly a turtle named Gary. None of those options were colorful enough for a design studio. So…a peacock seemed like a perfect solution. Part of the inspiration for this month’s design comes from the artwork of fruit crate labels produced in the mid 1950s. We respond to the bold and vivid aesthetic of these classic American labels. As we got deeper into the design process, we proposed the idea of treating Hank (the peacock) as a die-cut to add some dimension to the calendar. Watch where you step.

Tables for Ladies: NickyGee™ Signing off.

Wow…did this summer fly by or what? I remember my first day here at Alphabet Arm, I was nervous as ever. The guys made me feel like I was apart of the design family in no time. This internship at Alphabet Arm has had a big impact on my life. My perspective on design has strengthened. Even in the first couple weeks I learned more than I thought I would. I am so thankful for Aaron and Ryan to give me the opportunity to intern for them. Being able to experience how a design studio works and actually take on projects for clients was awesome for me to be apart of. Being able to use my photography skills this summer was a big plus. The quality and attention to detail throughout my images look stronger and well-polished. What I will be taking away from Alphabet Arm are my newly improved prepping designs for print skills, my newly installed logo generating techniques, my expertise at designing albums, and many more.
I’m going to miss all the laughs and lunch breaks that made everyday such a fun atmosphere to be apart of. I will miss our breaks to watch Dr. Steve Brule inform us with his rules(…For Your Health), myself and Ryan’s deep conversations on what should have not been changed in the special edition versions of Star Wars Episodes 1-3, Jerry and his usage of ketchup, Aaron’s quick statements about how close of a relationship twitter and I should have, and many many many more. Even though I was quite known to space out during conversations and eventually enter my way back in by thinking I knew what they were talking about (yeah…fail on my part), I was always prone to have funny jokes make about me. Getting to work along side intern #2, JerryChant, was the best. We’ve become great friends through this experience and I know that we’ll definitely stay in touch, life after Alphabet Arm.
“Note to self lessons” and goals accomplished here:
1. Apple + y (in illustrator) = very, very, VERY important when designing.
2. Open files FROM the application, DO NOT drag files to icon. CAUTION: will cause computer to take a while to load and Aaron will make fun of you.
3. Become a mastered Sushee-lady…check.
4. Pencil sharpeners must always work effectively.
5. Add more key commands to my memory…check.
6. Rubber Bands create excellent and efficient weapons on defeating enormous flies.
7. Do not leave the table when eating lunch because your food could be tampered with.
8. Take a picture of Ryan without him knowing…CHECK! (See below)
So my fall semester starts early for me and I’m heading down south to Ringling soon. If anyone wants to stay in touch feel free to email me at
Stay fancy Alphabet Arm fans,
-Nicole /

Lucky Who? Lucky you!

David Lockwood’s new LP, titled “Lucky Me”, stirred up a lot of ideas about traditions based around luck. In the end, we came to the conclusion of using a lucky rabbit’s foot. It took Aaron on an adventure to actually find an actual rabbit’s foot. He got lucky while stumbling into a wig shop. Why a wig shop? Well, Newbury Comics didn’t have any, of course. We took the rabbit’s foot idea into our own hands by setting up our own photoshoot. We ended up photographing David holding the rabbit’s foot. The idea was to create a warm, emotive image that portrayed luck. We applied textures to make it look old and worn, giving the viewer the feeling of an antique photograph. The final cover has a rich, tactile quality of that relates directly to David’s music.

Pull Up a Chair.

New England Lifestyles Management (a division of one of our loyal clients, the Ferree Group, Inc.) is an all inclusive, concierge level service that delivers across-the-board home services to their client’s doorstep. New England Lifestyles Management will sit down and draw up a customized suite of services to ensure that all their client’s needs are covered throughout the year. As the logo designers, we felt the brand should resonate with accessibility, top-notch service, trust and sense of ease that you have finally found a lifestyles management company you can completely depend upon. Go ahead, sit back and relax.

Apparently…Design Matters (but we knew that).

Rockport Publishers have done it again, another stellar collection of inspired design samples. This go-round, they contacted Alphabet Arm to include our Sample Paks + promotional materials as a case study for the book. Pretty fancy – right? They interviewed us and everything, and wouldn’t you know it, we came off sounding real, real smart! Pick up a copy for yourself here.

Coming to a Library Near You

We are quite excited to report we have several pieces featured in a new book published by Collins Design. The New Big Book of Layouts includes an in-depth case study with our commentary for the BzzGuide we designed for The Other White Meat. We’re always happy to see design books that include some behind-the-scenes content on the design process, rather than just pretty pictures. Other print work by Alphabet Arm featured in the book include: Storyville BzzGuide, Sol Beer BzzGuideBzzAgent  Overview BookAlphabet Arm and Jakprints promos and the Go GaGa Marketing Brochure. The book is filled with tons of great work and we are honored to be a part of such an outstanding sampling of designers.

Did you know July is "National Sweatshirt Month?"

One of the primary objectives of Alphabet Arm is to achieve authenticity within our work. What can we say – we appreciate realism. As well versed as we are in Photoshop’s tools & trickery, we always prefer to “do the real thing” whenever possible. The idea of designing and screen-printing a shirt came up early in the calendar brainstorming process. Sure, we could have cheated it but it seemed like a great opportunity to share a different side of our studio process. We called on some valued colleagues to assist us with the vision. Like Alphabet Arm and Flagship Press, both Liz Linder Photography and Mammoth Printshop value the process of working closely with their clients and place a very high value on customer service. We all tend to treat our clients the way we would want to be treated. Once we were done designing the calendar & sweatshirt, we flew the files over to Mammoth, two weeks later we had “product” in hand. Liz Linder came by the next day for the photo shoot and we were ready for Flagship’s top notch print production! Go Team!

Go Crimson!

Here is a look at some buttoned-up print materials we developed for the Harvard Medical School. We designed a modular system that is flexible enough to apply to various formats and sizes. The grid we employed works well with photography as well as large blocks of copy. Obviously, we were sure to use good old Harvard Crimson throughout. Don’t tell Ryan’s brother about this piece, he went to Brown.

"Dude, you must seriously like the alphabet, right?"

In a word, yes – yes we do. Which is why famed author Ina Staltz asked one of us (can you guess who?) to be part of the second volume of her Body Type series. The book collects over two hundred new typographic tattoos and explores the ideas and emotions behind this indelible commitment.  This stunning photography collection features commentary on the letterforms as well as personal recollections by the tattooed on the motivations for their decided words. Order your copy here. Special thanks to the talented Janet King who shot the images for us.


Like many of our clients, we’ve developed a long standing relationship with our friends NRG BAR. This is both convenient for our clients — because they know and trust us — and exciting for us to design new ways to promote their business. Recently, we developed the artwork that wraps the NRG BAR company vehicle. We jumped at the chance to emblazon the Land Rover with the vibrant color palette and lightning bolts that are the cornerstones of the brand. If you happen to see bright orange, yellow and blue SUV streak by, do your best to catch up and ask for a sample… you’ll be glad you did.

The Skyler's the Limit

How do you present a new artist to the world without succumbing to the typical, silly headshot-on-the-cover of an album or EP? By making everyone (read: Artist, Management, Label, etc.) happy by fusing said artist or band into a slightly more engaging setting. Obviously we wish we could report that we had the budget + time to hire a muralist to paint Skyler’s new logo 15′ wide on a beatifuly weathered wall then call on savvy, local photographer, Tony Luong, to capture it all. Not the case my friends, this cover became a labor of love in Photoshop. Peep the details.


June is here and that means that we’re at the halfway point of the year and our calendar project. It also means that summer is has finally arrived — and what’s more reminiscent of summertime than a makeshift robot dancing in the sunshine? We created our boombox-BBQ-android by making a collage of clippings from old magazines and catalogues. We asked Flagship Press to print the metallic spot colors on uncoated paper, Strathmore Grandee in Blazer blue. The textured stock gives a nice understated quality and has a rich tactile feel that demands to be handled.

Newest member of the intern army

“Be daring, be different, be impractical, be anything that will assert integrity of purpose and imaginative vision against the play-it-safers, the creatures of the commonplace, the slaves of the ordinary.”
– Cecil Beaton
Designing is a major part of my life and I have a great passion for what I want to do. I love what I do and that gives me the drive to work hard and submerge myself in anything and everything design. I’ve been interested in the arts and design since I was young.
So I’ve got a little nerdy side… I taught myself HTML code when I was 11 and used to make websites using the good old notepad on my Windows 2000. That’s what pretty much started the idea of what I wanted to do in my future. My name is Nicole and I’m known as NickyGee here with the guys. I’m from Canton, Mass and I go to Ringling College of Art + Design in Sarasota, Florida for Graphic Design. I am truly a Boston girl and I definitely miss the cold weather and city life when I’m down south. At Alphabet Arm, I’m here to learn more about design, grow through skills I am starting to develop, and be introduced to all different perspectives of design. This is my second week here and I have already learned so much! The guys have been more than welcoming and I’ve been loving everyday in the studio. They might make fun of me from time to time because I’m not a big fan of the look and smell of ketchup with (scrambled) eggs or the fact that I think I’m telling this great story and it turns out to be a big fail on my part; but I love how comfortable it is to work and have fun here. I love Star Wars, digital collaging, checking out design blogs 24/7, and music. I love pretty much all kinds of music. Currently my playlists are focused around: experimental, alternative, folk, indie, hardcore, and DJ/electro/techno/house (my friends are DJ’s). I also minoring in photography which is a huge asset to my work. I am mostly into portrait and beauty/fashion photography. I am working at infusing the two skills to enhance my work and train my eye to view art in different perspectives.
I’m working on a number of different projects thus far; logos, business cards, retail coupons, and marketing materials to name a few. I’m excited for what will come and how much I am going to learn and grown from this experience.
Hit me up an email if you’d like!
If you want to read all about what’s going on everyday, check us out on twitter:
I’ll end this with some inspirational words from master Yoda: “Try not. Do or do not…there is no try. Always in motion is the future.”

Jerry Jerry Jerry Jerry!

JerryChant, JDOT aka Jeremiah J. Louf here. I’m one of two new, true blue interns at Alphabet Arm. Much like the little bee girl in the “No Rain” video, I seem to have found a place where I’m surrounded by others that share a passion for wearing tight yellow and black striped spandex and costume wings. Alright, alright, I mean a place full of skinny jeans & plaid button ups (not button downs, I’m an optimist) deep fried tofu, PB & ME (J.), and music. Oh right, they mentioned something about graphic design.

Currently I’m a pupil, often trapped on the 9th floor of the Tower Building at Mass College of Art down on Huntington studying design. It’s a fantastic place that comes complete with everything you need to make anything in the world and everyone you’ll ever need to teach you how to do it. Many people there will also give hugs and cookies when needed during the grueling end of semester reviews.

I hopped on the noodle train here at Alphabet Arm last week and the guys treating me more than well. As is the great smelling hand soap in the restroom on the 3rd floor of a gorgeous building in the South End surrounded by restaurants that I can’t afford to eat at. The vibe here is killer, eat your heart out Guitar Center (yeah, I worked there). I’m extremely excited to dig my hands into some projects this summer and try not to make too much of a mess of things.

All of my tattoos are blue, I write and record music as much as I can, and I only listen to hip hop, Black Metal, and Blues. Shoot me over an email to bicker with me about drop shadows, or better yet, write me snail mail!
500 Harrison Avenue {3R} Boston MA 02118 Attn: JerrryChant

Signs of a Feather

When we complete an identity project and let a new logo out into the wild, we are normally both parts excited and somewhat protective. We like to work closely with our clients so their branding + messaging is cohesive across all platforms. As satisfying as it is to see our logos used consistently any one of many applications (websites, in advertising, as Facebook and Twitter profile images), nothing beats a lovely, crafted, dimensional store front sign. Such is the case with the swanky, hippie-chic women’s boutique, Flock. We worked closely with the boutique’s owner as well as a sign maker to propose the most engaging brand solution. The sign sets the tone for the apparel and accessories found within. You should fly in sometime.

Bianca Signing Out

I made it through the winter months and I’m in the clear for spring, no rats in my bed this time around, but I’m sure my nickname R.Q (Rat Queen) will forever stick here at Alphabet Arm. My internship for the past 4 months at Alphabet Arm Design had a significant impact in my life. The boys opened my eyes and ears to so many things that I feel like I was living in the dark before interning here. School and classes can only teach someone so much, but its truly this experience that has taught me the most so far in my design life.
Some things that I wish I was leaving with: an undying love for coffee, a logo design that is done faster than Ryan can, meeting Soledad, knowing the right typeface to use right away without opening linotype, seeing June’s calendar, a complete understanding of Twitter and the pristine knowledge of key commands Aaron has.
Haaa, honestly no complaints, I’m going to miss Alphabet Arm and all the good company, the laughs and stories I got to share every day here. On to my next adventure! As I graduate in just one week I will be getting ready to bike from Boston to San Francisco bringing everything that I’ve learned with me and seeing where the road takes me. My friend and I are going on this trip to raise money for Autism and celebrate the end of our college careers. Follow us along the road and get in touch if there is any advise, job offers in states that I’m pedaling through, warm showers you know of along our route, or support you would like to share
This is Rat Queen signing out
P.S. As you can see even after spending all this time in an award winning design studio, my love for cheesy Photoshoping will never die*

Let us set the record straight

Isn’t there something completely satisfying about a vinyl record? One with a sleeve and full-size artwork and even the subtle imperfections from being touched by human hands. Now don’t get us wrong, we’re all for the convenience and portability of digital music, but we’ll always have a soft spot in out heart for records. Flagship Press helped us out with an amazing print job on the May edition of our calendar. Double hits of white and the fluorescent Pantone 805 printed on the ultra-dark Black Kromekote make the label visually pop off the paper. And for the added touch of reality, we’ve used a contrasting dull spot varnish to define the ridges in the record. Did we mention we had them actually drill the center hole?

It All Adds Up

Although we get plenty of chances to design robots and monsters, we also embrace the opportunity to design an identity with a more formal, classic aesthetic. We wanted the new logo to represent Lindsay CPA LLC as well-respected and established, but without looking stodgy. The solution was a simple and beautiful Baskerville “L” with an accompanying laurel branch to signify excellence. And for an extra punch, the printed materials will utilize a metallic silver spot color.

We have an Idea(Paint)!

Ideas happen everywhere, and IdeaPaint is the perfect creative solution to turn almost any surface into a useful and interactive workspace.
Marcus from IdeaPaint recently can by to assist us in painting our conference table with IdeaPaint PRO to create a unique space to engage our clients, and improve our team collaboration.
We are excited about using this table in a totally new way, and equally excited about doing away with the mounds of index cards we typically use at each meeting. So now instead of killing more trees, Alphabet Arm has an Earth-friendly workspace that allows us to work together in a dynamic, evolving way. When they’re done with a brainstorming sessions or a wire-frame design, they just snap a photo and store the notes digitally. Eureka.
Our friends at Amory Group + Plus1TV came along to film the installation. Enjoy!

Bringing Down the Hammer

Friends of the studio, Joy and Jeff Shranghamer are creators of the non-profit organization, The Hammer Fund. The focus of the group is to raise awareness and funds to benefit the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America. With such a noble cause, we were more than happy to help them out with a new logo they could be proud of. We designed the new identity to represent the strength and resolve of those people afflicted with Crohn’s. There’s also a new website on the way (rumors of sweet branded buttons and t-shirts as well, hope we get our hands on some!) for The Hammer Fund, but for now, click here for details.

April: Hidden Messages

Sure, we’ll admit we’re slaves to our computers and fancy-pants design applications, but we consider them just another tool we use within our creative process. Back in the early stages of our collective careers, a number of us cut our teeth using pencils, Letraset, transparencies, and copy machines. We genuinely enjoy the process of rolling up our sleeves and getting our hands dirty in honor of creating honest design. It allows us to feel less confined by perfect alignment and precise registration and actually embrace all the imperfect little characteristics that often occur. Not to mention that we really dig apes, cats and old school hip hop. Given that, we decided to put our spin on an advent calendar and offer some thoughts or activities to make each day of April a little more fun. By printing all the type as an offline, tinted varnish utilizing Pantone 8340 (10% to be precise), we achieved a slightly “hidden message” vibe to the piece.

Mona Out!

Eeeeem… (I say that a lot, and have been teased endlessly), bye bye time for me. I don’t feel quite ready to leave.
Just had déjà vu about writing this entry, I guess it means it’s meant to happen. It’s been awful here (not really). The guys are great, I was happy to walk into Alphabet Arm everyday and see what the day had in store for me. I want to say that I’ve never met nicer, and more talented people than this team. Mr. Tofurky you’re the man! Ryan, Ira and Chris, thank you guys for everything. You taught me more than I’ve learned in my last 4 years of college. I’m going to miss you guys a lot! I wonder if you’ll miss my Spanish accent? Time for me to go and look for some jobs and keep doing what I love to do.
I’m a dream machine! Hakuna matata. Mona

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:

Brought to you by the letter A

The A is for Amory Group. The founder, Tim Linberg is a long-time friend of Alphabet Arm. You could call them experts in the field of  Strategic Social Marketing. Consequently, the logo needed to have a strong presence for all of the various sizes and formats of the many social media outlets. Our goal was to create a simple, striking mark with plenty of flexibility. The role of color, in this case, was to help differentiate Amory Group’s voice from the multitude of other companies vying for attention.

March: Fasten Your Seat Belts

If you hadn’t guessed, we’re huge fans of vintage comics and the campy look of old B-movies. Our March calendar takes the old adage about March weather: In like a lion, out like a lamb and gives it a fresh new take. Finally a project where we can illustrate some boss muscle cars. Zipatone dots and out of register printing on French Paper’s newsprint cover stock gives the piece a truly authentic feel. Flagship Press hooked us up with a killer print job of 2 colors overprinting to create a third. You can get your hands on a subscription to the entire set of calendars here.

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

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


We just got our hands on a new business card book published in China and wanted to share it with you. They included quite a bit of our work which was quite flattering. Here are some examples:

Q & A: Desert Island Fonts

You’ve all played that game: “If you were stuck on a desert island, what’s the one _______ that you would take?” As designers, we’ve occasionally been asked which is our favorite typeface. It’s not easy for us to pick just one, especially since one font never works for all scenarios, but in this case we limited ourselves to one font that we enjoy using more than others. Here they are, in alphabetical order:
Gill Sans specimen

Gill Sans


Sure, it’s a quirky face, but it’s kind of like your eccentric older uncle: he’s been around for a while, done some interesting stuff, has tons of great stories and is just a bit off. It doesn’t matter, though, because everyone likes him anyways. Gills Sans is just like that, with its humanist shapes and the occasional character that just seems, well, different. But taken as a whole, it immediately lends its own subtle traits to your copy. It’s a modern face that’s not cold or off-putting in the least. In fact, I’d say that it’s a very personable typeface indeed.
Knockout specimen



Inspired by the tradition of classic letterpress printing of posters, broadsides, signage and advertising, Knockout is deeply rooted in Americana. It’s blocky and extended, thin and condensed, its full of character and each of the 32 weights has its own unique voice. It’s barbecue, it’s Johnny Cash; it’s a bit peculiar and imperfect and I like it that way.
Thesis specimen



We are family—I got all my sisters with me! We are family—Get up ev’rybody and sing! Oh… sorry. Thesis just makes me want to sing sometimes. Thesis is what you call a “Super Family.” It features a stellar serif typeface, sans-serif typeface and a mixed typeface. Overall this family has a warm, humanist feel with a corporate leaning. When working with a lot of copy it’s incredibly useful to have the broad diversity Thesis offers. What’s better than a sans and serif font that are made to work together?
Trade Gothic specimen

Trade Gothic


“T.G.” and I have been friends for about a dozen years now. Even if we don’t see one another for a stretch of time, he’s always welcoming and it seems we can pick up right where we left off. He comes from a great, hardworking family (I think his Dad makes suitcases or something). Of all my friends, I wouldn’t say he’s the most adventurous. He’s not really into excessive heights or extreme sports and generally plays it safe. There was one time on a field trip, he did get in trouble talking trash about Frutiger, it was kind of hilarious. T.G. just one of those dependable types that will always be there when you need them and typically handles himself with an understated grace.
Those are our favorite typefaces. What are yours?

Q & A: Ask Us Your Branding and Design Questions

Q&A: Ask and we shall answer
Whenever we start working with a new client, there’s always a period of learning—for both parties. As the design studio, we need to learn about the client, their business, and their audience. The client also tends to have a lot of questions for us, specifically about the design process and how we do what we do, as well as general design and branding questions. In the interests of helping to figure out the often confusing world of design, we thought that we’d pull back the curtain a bit and let you into our world.
That’s where you, our loyal Bloggery readers, friends, and compatriots come into the mix: what have you always wanted to know about branding or design in general? Some questions might be: Where should you start the branding process? How do you work with an established identity? How does a logo become a brand? Can a logo have a glow and a drop shadow? Anything in that ballpark is fair game, and we plan on making this a reoccurring series, so if you have a question, don’t be shy. Feel free to leave a comment below, and let us know what’s on your mind.
Of course, you can always e-mail us with your questions:
And we’ll also field questions via Twitter here: @alphabetarm
As far as the answers to all of your non-design related questions:
A) Celery
B) We’ll never tell
C) Blue, no yellow

Cardious De Business

The Best of Business Card Design 9 (Rockport) was complied by Rule29 and they state the following: “The book features an innovative collection of the most current and best work by top designers worldwide. The “go-to” sourcebook for business card design inspiration, this volume contains pages packed with business cards, showing front, back, and special elements and materials. This unrivaled resource is sought by professional designers, corporate executives, and in-house marketing departments as an essential identity and branding tool.” Wow, and the fact they selected a number of our client’s designs as well as our studio business cards is quite an honor. Grab your copy here.

Site Update: Winter Projects

We know that regular readers of The Bloggery are exceptionally intelligent people who are always up to date on the most current news. However, should somebody stumble across this blog while looking for design goodness, we feel it is our duty to let them know that we have updated our portfolio site with new projects. Fresh for winter oh-ten.
In addition to the usual new Featured projects, you may notice other new work and more projects throughout the site. Check it out here.
Winter featured projects

Masters of the Logoverse

Masters Degree, Master Robin, Grand Master Flash, Masters of the Universe…finally we feel worthy to add our studio name to that impressive list. The Logolounge – Master Library Vol.1 book was just released and we’re proud to announce they’ve included seven of our client’s logo designs! We are always stoked to have our work included in any volume of Logolounge, but the Master Library series feels extra special! Get your own copy here.

February, The Saga Continues

Well, it’s a new month—so you know what that means! It’s time for our newest addition to the Alphabet Arm / Flagship Press 2010 calendar. February features a blind-emboss matched with opaque white ink on the stunning Curious metallic silver stock.
The name February comes from the Latin word “februum,” which translates to purification. After the densely-layered imagery we created for January we wanted to make something stark and elegant to purify our “design” palettes—if you will. As a studio we obsess over typography and we certainly enjoyed creating this strictly-typographic composition. Did you know that February doesn’t always have a full moon? This year it ends with one!
Interested in ordering one? We have both subscriptions and single month pieces available on our BigCartel store.

Stick to the Plan(ner)!

Events on a Mission is a New York based event planning service. What makes them so unique is that they incorporate charitable giving within an event. From intimate, private parties, to formal, ballroom galas, Events on a Mission allows their clients to relax and leave all the planning to them, while giving to a cause that is near and dear to their client’s hearts.
The logo itself was inspired by the owner’s innovative approach to business. In a market that is inundated with competition, she thought (and we always agree) that the logo should stand apart from what’s commonly used within the industry. We split the different between a formal affair and an assertive mission stamp. It’s buttoned up enough to appeal to her female demographic, while not alienating the dudes. Party on people—and feel good about it!

Better than the hunky fireman version

In order to start the year off on the right foot, we’ve teamed up with Flagship Press to create a unique, fine-art inspired calendar. The coolest aspect is that each month will feature radically different artwork and printing techniques. Each month will serve as a handy guide to different print processes and paper stocks, as well as ample eye-candy. The calendar comes with an all-in-one easel/envelope. When you are done viewing a particular month, you can store it in the envelope for later reference.
As we kick off the new year, we can’t help but to look even further forward to what lies ahead for humanity. The other source of inspiration for January is a collection of satellite photos being released by High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE), capturing the surface of Mars. Simultaneously familiar and alien, these images sparked our creative fires and our imaginations; leading us to wonder what marvelous technologies the future will bring. After all, we’re also still waiting for our very own flying DeLoreans.
January’s calendar was printed on 12 pt. Nordic cover stock, with process inks. Additionally, it was printed with both matte and UV gloss varnishes to give extra contrast between the dull and shiny surfaces.
We’re offering the calendar for sale on our store. You can get it both as a yearly subscription, or just your favorite month. Take a look here.

New Intern 2.0 -Bianca

It’s true: there are two of us. I am also a new intern at Alphabet Arm and a full-time student at the New England School of Art and Design at Suffolk University. I have ventured down this long road to make it to where I am sitting right now, in my cute office on the 3rd Floor in a hipped out building in the South End. Although I may have doubted myself at times, I’m happy to say that I will be graduating in May with a BFA in Graphic Design.
Alphabet Arm seems to be the perfect cup of tea—or coffee depending on the amount of sleep from the night before—for me. After I graduate, I want to be in the print design field and work with a small group of people who share the same creative goals as myself. Seriously this couldn’t have been a more perfect place for me to intern, with comfy clothes, logo projects, music, sweet treats, sticker cutting and of course great company. Love it. All four guys are great. Aaron’s height makes him move like a gazelle and it scares me at times. Ryan will someday get a dog, have to pick up its poop and probably email me about it. Ira is the smiliest person I have ever met, and Chris seems to share a love of purple with me. All in all, I am more than content here.
The guys have pretty much convinced me to adopt a cat, despite my allergies and dislike of the seemingly cute creatures. I have an issue of waking up in the middle of the night with a nice Charles River rat chilling on my pillow next to me (yes alive and yes I did freak out). So the question they seem to keep asking is, “Really, why don’t you just get a cat?” Cat allergies versus bed rats. What’s a girl to do? I am on my way tomorrow to go adopt one!
-Bianca Pettinicchi
Email me with ideas for cat names, or any other trick to keeps rats out of a bed:
And I am becoming savvy with this thing called twitter 🙂

To Dye For!

Happy 2010 people! To continue the tradition of giving back we’re going to give away a very exclusive Alphabet Arm x Jakprints all-over print shirt. Our friends at Jakprints asked us to design a fun, dually-branded shirt to test out their dye-sublimation process. There are only about a half dozen of these in existence! This one has been hanging in our merch closet since we got back from the Monolith Festival and we’d much rather have it be loved in a good home. In order to get this custom, one-of-a-kind shirt (which is a men’s medium, American Apparel shirt, BTW) send us a picture of an Alphabet Arm sticker. We’ll pick the best photo and send the winner their glorious bounty.
Note: you can either post a link to the photo as a comment or email them to info at

Previous Contest winners, as well as employees of the Province of Waterbury, Two Tree Beatins Ltd, Limpy Justice League of America, movies with subtitles set in Papyrus, representatives of Dr. Dolittle, Hard Sauce Co. and their respective affiliates and members of the immediate families of any employees of those organizations are not eligible to enter or win the Contest. This Contest is void where prohibited by law. Former interns: fahhhgetaboutit.

Music picks for ’09

We had fun last year highlighting our favorite releases of the year, so we thought that we’d do it again this year. Well, fun like a stick in the eye, but we decided to do it anyway. The reality of the situation is that it’s so difficult to pick one release over another. Some folks out there—principally every music magazine in existence—are releasing their top releases of the decade. That just seems like an exercise in cruelty for us, so we’re going to keep it to the past year. In no particular order, here’s how it breaks down:

Ryan’s List

Ira’s List

Aaron’s List

Chris’s List

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.

The Ripple Effect

With a service as niche as “Asian fabrics for the home,” it would seem natural to have very specific direction when beginning an identity for The Barii Group. In fact, the business’ owner had a very specific image in mind: a serene pond, surrounded by bamboo with a picturesque tea house sitting on its shore. While this may indeed be a beautiful image, it seemed a bit more complicated than the clean and modern tone that the client wanted to project. During our research and concepting process, we isolated the image of ripples in a pond as the most important. We focused on these overlapping ripples, and they became the central mark of the brand. The type solution revolves around a sophisticated but unpretentious serif face, featuring an “r-i” ligature that we created and paired with a clean sans.

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].

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).

Logo Graveyard: Base Camp Communications

One thing we’ve learned over the years is that things rarely ever work out the way that we plan. Case in point: a recent logo project for Base Camp Communications. When we got the call from the company’s founder and director, we were definitely excited. It was obvious that they were serious about brand communications and cared passionately about the industries that their clients supported. With all of this in mind, we began the process and created several concepts—a few of which are showcased below—that embodied the client’s independent, outdoorsy philosophy. Of the presented directions, the one that really struck the client was a yak. The yak, or course, is a hardy animal. A workhorse that isn’t afraid of any peak; it is equally at home both on a rocky slope and a wintery plain.
Base Camp Comm concepts
Once the yak direction was chosen, the client asked us to explore some different ways to represent the yak. What began as a rather geometric and angular interpretation of a yak, became a bit softer and more shaggy.
Base Camp Comm yak 1 + 2
In the end, we hit it on the head—not literally—with a stylized yak that was forceful and energetic without being sharp and unapproachable.
Base Camp Comm 3 + final
Though the client was happy and really liked the yak, Base Camp was acquired by another company, leaving the yak out to pasture. We decided to share it with you all here, just give the guy a chance to run free.

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

Designin' for a Rockin' Cause!

In our effort to assist with worthy causes, we answered the call from a long time friend and client involved with the site Target Cancer. The site promotes targeted research into curing cancers lacking treatment protocols, supporting the development and codification of cutting edge and life saving protocols, and funding research into alternative treatment options and drugs.
There will soon be a component on their website that will offer music downloads from artists like Juliana Hatfield, They Might Be Giants, Ween, The Donnas and Buffalo Tom. Rockin’ for a ’cause!


We recently received a copy of Design For Obama, a book published by Taschen, by Aaron Perry-Zucker, Spike Lee and Steven Heller. The book was released on November 4, 2009 to commemorate Obama’s victory. It features a plethora of wonderful posters by a huge cross-section of artists and designers including Chris Piascik, one of the 4* corner-stones of Alphabet Arm!
*The number 4 does not reflect Donnie Bloggernaut or any other intern-extraordinaires

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.

The other side of branding

Few things make us happier than seeing our clients succeed. NRG BAR is one of our long-standing clients, and things are really catching on for them. Having proven themselves at outdoor sport shops and bike shops throughout the area, you can now find NRG BARs in Whole Foods stores throughout New England. As part of the owner’s push to get into more stores, we were hired us to design a box that would stand on the shelves with the national big hitters. Our solution replaces the brand stripes with typographic stripes that showcase the product’s main bullet points. Utilizing the brand’s distinctive and bold colors, we created a box that showcases the brand from all sides.
NRG BAR box angleNRG BAR box detail

Powa to the People

If you are in the Boston area there is a good chance you recently read about Powahouse on the cover of the Boston Globe. A Powahouse is a small apartment building that packs a big punch. It’s also a Boston-based project, currently incubating, that’s scheduled to hatch first thing in 2010.
The basis for the name “Powahouse” comes from the fact that this project is a way for homeowners to make their apartment a renewable energy power plant as well as the idea of setting a powerful example in efficient design and construction. When we first met to discuss their new identity the client expressed their desire to balance the playful take on the word Power with a more serious mark.
The concept for the winning logo stems from the idea of a carbon footprint, or better yet, the lack there of. The focal point is the stark, white house-shape formed in the negative (or positive if you will) space between the dirty, inefficient homes. The type is clean and modern reflecting the ideals of Powahouse.

If This Van's a Rocking

Here is the newly completed logo for an independent concert promoter based in Barcelona, Spain. Music Van Promotions specializes in booking contemporary bands that are in part influenced by the late 60’s- early 70’s Folk, Garage, Psychedelia, Prog and Hard-Rock which ultimately gives them a timeless feel. Our goal with the logo was to honor the company’s affinity for both classic and current music while focusing on a contemporary look + feel with the identity’s execution. The real challenge was to simplify the complex form of a van stuffed full of musical instruments into a clean, easy to read logo.

"I always feel like somebody's watching me"

From time to time we get the opportunity to design event posters for The Boston Conservatory student performances. In this case, Machinal is the story of a woman driven to murder. We intended for the poster to reflect the tension and paranoia of the main character — who is essentially drowning in the dark urban landscape of society. We spent a lot of time away from the computer on this one. One of our favorite tools, the photocopier, was used to create texture. We also cut up the type by hand and then pasted it all back together for the title treatment.


Sci-fi, Low-fi

Check out the 2 color linocut print Ryan recently cranked out of a familiar face at Alphabet Arm. This piece attempts to answer the age old question: what would you see if you looked at a robot while wearing a pair of x-ray glasses? It’s proof, once again that there is still something very gratifying about getting ink under his fingernails and making artwork that is tactile and smells like solvents.

When constructing a good logo…

The greatest challenge we encountered when developing the visual identity for the Ferree Group, Inc. was the being constantly aware of the two distinct demographics that the company is balanced between: new clients and trade professionals. The Principal of the Boston based general construction company was very conscious of the importance of having a strong, professional brand he would present to new and potential clients. At the same time, he was also very concerned about the trade professionals and B2B vendors he worked with on daily basis and didn’t want his company’s new identity to feel too “design-y.” Taking this into account, we developed a classically simple, bold type treatment to complement the “F column” icon. The column itself was born from the group’s dependability and commitment to quality work.
Typically, we are hired to design business cards once a logo project is completed. This is ideal for us as it’s typically our first opportunity to take a logo and start crafting a bit of a brand around it. Here are the Ferree Group business cards.
Ferree Group Inc. logo
Ferree Group Inc. card front
Ferree Group Inc. card back

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

A Logo for Clarias

Not too long ago, the manager the Boston-based band Clarias got in touch with us. She was shepherding the band—who have opened for names such as Bon Jovi, Barenaked Ladies, and Kanye West—in a new, more focused direction. With her help, they would put out a new release, fine-tune their image and organize an ambitious tour. As part of this new momentum, we were pulled in to create a logo for the band. Given only four days from concept to completion, this was no small challenge.
The band was presented with several directions, but final decision was made to go with a design that would act as a neutral canvas of sorts. Providing a solid back-bone with which to begin, the logo could be adapted and expanded upon through the course of multiple releases or different styles of merch pieces. It is an example of the type of logo which has a character all its own, but with the flexibility to work in a wide range of contexts.


Hollywood Squares

Sure, it’s a bit of a shameless plug—but we still get a kick out of seeing our (we mean their) branding being used on a regular basis. In this instance as Twitter icons. We decided to gather a list for you.
Empire Attire / Moustache Sally / New Collisions / Rhoost / Arts Boston / Mediadonis / Plus1tv / BzzAgent / Monolith Festival / Harlem Vintage / Sarah Borges / Schranghamer Design Group / Viximo / Boston Phoenix / Fenway Recordings / GoGaga / Clarias / Daily Grommet / Well Rounded Radio / Open Bicycle

Attention Fellow Type Geeks!

It’s time for another contest. Typophiles, this one is for you. Take a good close look at the freshly released “Alphabetical” t-shirt and do your best to identify the typeface used on all of the numerals. The first blog reader to identify it wins a free shirt. Leave your answer in the comments and be as specific as possible. (Those of you reading this on The Facebook or The Twitter, make sure you enter your answers on our blog).

Previous Contest winners, as well as employees of the Province of Saskatchewan, Sherby Lou’s FroYo, bands who insist on stretching (or squishing) typefaces, representatives of DJ Cry Baby LTD, Pumpkin Bandage Co. and their respective affiliates and members of the immediate families of any employees of those organizations are not eligible to enter or win the Contest. This Contest is void where prohibited by law. Former interns: don’t even think about it.



We’re type geeks. Seriously, we’re not even ashamed of it. We’ve been waiting since we named the studio to design a shirt that would express our undying devotion to the alphabet (especially of the distressed, weathered variety). The perfect opportunity arose after one of our designers attended a recent antiques fair and stumbled across a veritable treasure chest of assorted vintage wood block type. After blowing all the funds from the studio’s petty cash drawer on the type, we were inspired to design this shirt. This time we had them printed on v-neck and standard crew neck American Apparel t-shirts. Grab yours at our store.

Czars of Sneakers DAY 06

Today is a somewhat sad day in the studio, not just due to the torrential downpours we’re experiencing, but because we wrap up our daily shoe shot series today. The response has been rather amazing, thanks for sharing thoughts, sneaker obessions and images with us. Perhaps we’ll do this again sometime.

Czars of Sneakers DAY 05

We’ve already heard from a couple loyal followers that this little series of ours has pressured them into updating their own collection. In honor of those folks…here are four more fresh pairs!

Monolithic Pile

Between our blog posts and tweets you’ve probably heard us mention the Monolith Music Festival on a number of occasions. We posted the logo and the festival director’s business card on our site but thought it would be beneficial to show how we branded the entire festival. People often ask what branding entails—so while we had our photographer shooting a bunch of new projects to be featured on our website we had him shoot a pile of collateral left over from Monolith. Here you can see a range of items from VIP passes to ads to schedules. We actually have another package of samples on the way as we type this, including merchandise and other print samples. Keep an eye on the website to see the rest!

Czars of Sneakers DAY 01

From time to time we’ve mentioned that we are collectively “t-shirts and jeans” kind of studio. Nothing goes hand in hand with that brand of informal wear than a fresh pair of kicks. One might even consider us sneaker collectors. Although we’re not in the “buy-them-and-keep-them-pristine-in-a-box-in-the-closet,” type of collectors. We’d like to think of ourselves more along the lines of “sneaker advocates.”
To prove our point, we have committed to documenting our footwear for a week. Every day. Yes, it’s that serious.

Win a shirt, you turkey!

You may have noticed that we have a new shirt design, dubbed “Music Connects Us”. We’re pretty psyched about it, so we want to give one away to a lucky blog reader. All you have to do is answer this simple trivia question:
Over the years, we’ve done a lot of work for great bands. Still, there are a bunch of bands that we haven’t worked with (yet). Which of these bands have we worked with?
A. The Pixies
C. The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
D. Flogging Molly
E. Less Than Jake
Easy as pie (which Donovan hates). Just leave us the answer in the comments, first one to get it right wins.

Previous Contest winners, employees of the State of Nebraska, White Sauce Inc., Dr. Pancakes 24-HR Diner, Drive-Through Hoagies, Babies With Sunglasses Games, and their respective affiliates and members of the immediate families of any employees of those organizations are not eligible to enter or win the Contest. This Contest is void where prohibited by law. Former interns: don’t even think about it.


Consequence of Sound is a New York and Chicago based, heavily influential online music publication that seeks to cover the music world as it has never been covered before. They were in need of some equally bad a** business cards and we were happy to be of service. For those of you new-schoolers, that shot on the back of the cards is a wall of vinyl, long-playing records. We had some help from intern extraordinaire Michael Deal on this project.

Consequence of Sound business card front

Consequence of Sound business card back

Happy Body Food

We recently wrapped up a new identity for Noshies. Fortunately for us, the Brooklyn-based protein snack company kept us well fed. Noshies are organic, nutritionally balanced, whole foods protein snacks, that taste great! Free of soy, wheat, egg, transfats, artificial sugar, artificial colors, artificial flavors and preservatives. The inspiration was the hand-crafted aspect of these little treats, think cozy, country kitchen with an urban, hipster attitude.Noshies

Music Connects Us

It should come as no surprise to anybody reading this that we’re huge music fans. It’s is a common topic of discussion here in the studio, we love working on music-related design projects and having some tunes playing is always a major creativity catalyst. Some of us are even musicians and veterans of local band scene. Our new shirt design pays tribute to the role music has in our lives. It’s aptly called, “Music Connects Us” and you can pick it up at our store now.
"Music Connects Us" front
"Music Connects Us" details

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

Brand New Intern

Shark Bridge
Hello everyone, my name is Donovan Brien. I just started working here at Alphabet Arm as the new intern. I currently am attending Boston University majoring in Graphic Design, but I am originally from New Orleans, Louisiana.
Over the first week, I have been surprised at the attitude and style of Alphabet Arm. It’s unlike any other studio I have worked for. Everyone here has an excellent sense of humor, and being here is always extremely interesting. We have discussed everything from mega shark’s size in comparison to the golden gate bridge to the theory of relativity. Needless to say, the great atmosphere is definitely something I look forward to when coming to work.
Despite the colorful conversations and fun environment though, I have been given a lot of cool design stuff to do, and have already been working hard on a huge variety of different projects. It’s been really awesome so far, so I’m really looking forward to the rest of my time here.
Don’t forget to follow us on twitter at I will be posting frequently, so if you want to know what everyone is working on, or what bizarre animal related topic we are discussing that day, you will most likely be able to find it there.

The Bear Necessities

One of our designers, Ira F. Cummings, was invited by the art director of Select Design to participate in a show of custom-painted Qee figures. The show is part of Select Design’s South End Art Hop festivities, and features Qees painted by Dalek, Gary Baseman and other big names from the art world. Check out his finished bear:
Ira Cummings custom painted Qee bear front
Ira Cummings custom painted Qee bear back

Anita Logo

Anita Quinto is the moniker of this Venezuelan percussionist, composer and arranger. She attended Berklee College of Music and has performed on National Public Radio and Public Television. She has toured across the globe including stops in New York City, Las Vegas, Miami, Caracas, Bogota and Copenhagen. When we first met with Anita she told us that she was seduced by our work. That may be our biggest compliment yet!
Anita liked the idea of a graphic element working subtly into her logo. She often plays the Conga (otherwise known as a Quinto) and thought it would be beneficial to incorporate that into her identity. She also mentioned that it would be nice to reference her Venezuelan background—we worked that in with the color scheme (taken from the Venezuelan flag—of course!) In the end this logo represents Anita perfectly, it’s as bright and lively as she is.

The One and Only… Patti Fine

Our friend Patti Fine is a Real Estate Consultant. Sound kinda boring? Well, Patti is not boring in the least. In fact, she is clever, spunky and even a bit edgy. She insisted that her card should reflect her personality and asked us to design her a business card that would stand out among the often drab print materials that populate the majority of the Real Estate biz. We had a quite a bit of fun designing this simple little card. Its only 2 colors, but the metallic silver and dark brown inks on green paper stock (French Pop-tone) really help to give this card some punch. In the end, we think think any prospective client will see that Patti’s personable approach really comes through in her new identity.

The New Collisions

It may seem like we missed Blog Day Wednesday®, but it only seems that way. You see, we’re just so crazy busy, that we’re operating on our own time-line. One of the projects that’s keeping us moving is the debut EP from The New Collisions, titled “Invisible Embraces.” They’re based out of Boston, but poised to break out in a big way, if a recent tour opening for Blondie and The B-52’s is any indication. They have an extremely well refined New Wave sound, and it was a lot of fun to work on a project with a bit of a different aesthetic. It also helped to have fantastic photography to work with from studio favorite Liz Linder.
The New Collisions "Invisible Embraces" cover
The New Collisions "Invisible Embraces" back cover

Signing out

Well, my time here as summer intern is finally up, and thank goodness for that. It’s been terrible.
I came here because I quite enjoy the therapeutic acts of filing papers, scanning stuff, taking phone calls, getting coffee, and reformatting images for the web, but I I’ve had almost zero of that.  It’s like they’ve been giving me the tasks of a fifth employee, but with the zero-accountability of an innocent naive intern in case I screw up–How dare they assume I enjoy things that are the best of both worlds?
I quickly realized the hell I had gotten myself into, but it was too late. It’s been one agonizing day after another of new experiences, working on too many projects to count for a sickeningly eclectic mix of clients, breaking out into random toy ball throwing wars inside the office, then throwing the effing football around outside in the afternoons, and a whole bunch of making friends for life and bonding and all that poppycock. That might be the worst part: knowing I’m going to be in contact with these fun and talented jerks for years to come. It’s just too much.
And they won’t leave me alone either. What’s with all the personal attention and teaching and helping? I didn’t ask for all this new knowledge. I’ve learned more about graphic design this summer than I did during my entire four years in college. I can’t handle such a productive pace. The only thing that’s gotten me through these final grueling weeks have been the warm prospect of getting back to having no job at all. All of the non-stop laughter and friendship is exhausting.
Oh yeah, and thanks a lot ABC for screwing up my portfolio. Now I have to go back in and replace all those student projects with all this real work for interesting clients. Here’s a bunch of bull**** logos I did during my stint here:
I’m sweating with frustration, so I gotta sign off for good now and drag myself over to the round table to have another long leisurely group lunch where I have to constantly worry about carefully timing my sips between the barrage of jokes and fun. No man should have to eat in fear like that.
Freedom from this place is only a few hours away, but I’ll never be able to forget this experience.
PS: Hit me up at

Logo Lounge 5

As promised, check out the details on Logo Lounge 5 book. We’re honored to have our logos published in the latest book of this top-quality series. If you’re interested, you check see more about the book and buy it here.
(Also note that nobody has won the shirt contest from last week. Is it really so hard to just guess a number?)
Logo Lounge 5 cover
Empire logo
Transistor TV logo
ReMod Media logo
the wild sea logo
slingbeat log

Winner, Winner, Walkie-Talkie!

We’ll keep this contest simple, answer the following question. How many of our logos have been tattood on clients? Now take that number and add it to the number of Alphabet Arm’rs who have tattoos themselves. Show your work for credit. One lucky winner will be the owner of a new “Communication is Key” shirt.

Previous winners, employees of the State of Ohio, Contest sponsors, Digimondo, Baby Kitty Advertising, Telepathic USA, and Mediocre Lakes Publishing, and their respective affiliates and members of the immediate families of any employees of those organizations are not eligible to enter or win the Contest. This Contest is void where prohibited by law.

Communication is Key

Mobile phones, land lines, fax machines, computer cameras, secret notes, the interwebs, we all need to communicate, we suggest going old school and busting out some sweet walkie talkies.
Being designers by trade, our goal is successful visual communication, one way you could do the same is by proudly wearing this t-shirt we apply named “Communication is Key.” This lovely set of walkie talkies was left in Aaron’s basement when he moved in and he’s been waiting years for the right opportunity to use them. Now you can too. There are lots of adventurous new American Apparel colors too choose from!

Essential Reading

We mentioned a couple weeks back about some recent books that have showcased our work. Well, we have the hard copies in hand, so we figured that we’d share them with you—starting out with Typography Essentials by Ina Saltz. It’s an honor to be included, and we think the book looks great. Have a look at the work they selected:
Typography Essentials cover
Kay Hanley "Weaponize" album cover
Baggataway logo
Lemon Fresh Kids and Big Honcho Media shirt
The Boston Conservatory "Lucky Duck" poster
Tennessee Hollow and Avoid One Thing logo
nectar logo
MAE shirt
Stay tuned for details from Logo Lounge 5 next week.

The Newest Deal

We’re currently wrapping up the art direction for the packaging of the new album by WPA. The band came to us with the idea of referencing vintage posters of the Works Progress Administration of the late 1930’s as a concept for the cover. So far it has been good fun to research and draw inspiration directly from such well done historical designs. And of course, we always relish the chance to add some vintage paper and distress the art in order to add to the authenticity. WPA consists of Glen Phillips (Toad The Wet Sprocket), Sean Watkins (Nickel Creek), And Luke Bulla (Lyle Lovett) along with Sara Watkins (Nickel Creek), Greg Leisz (Joni Mitchell, Bill Frisell), Benmont Tench (Tom Petty And The Heartbreakers), Pete Thomas And Davey Faragher (Elvis Costello And The Imposters). Check out the freshly approved cover.


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.

What's going on AFTA work next week?

AIGA AFTA hosted by Alphabet Arm Design
We’re hosting an AIGA event, that’s what. AIGA:Boston AFTA events are agenda-less, free-form gatherings of area creative folk. Each month a different firm gets to pick the place and play host for the evening. For July, it’s ABC’s turn, and we’re going to do it right by hosting the shindig at ROCCA, just down-stairs from our studio. The event is going down July 16th, with the fun starting at 6pm and going until 9pm. Drop in, meet the crew, talk shop and have a good time. For those anxious types who just can’t wait until next week, we suggest thinking about what your favorite album of all time is. It just might come in handy…
For more info, check out the official even page here. A not-required-but-much-appreciated RSVP and more info here.

Pack Your Bags

We just wrapped up the art direction for G&F Records‘ newest project titled, “Our Musical Journey.” We decided to take a semi-literal approach to the “journey” theme starting with a beat-up, vintage suitcase. Using the track titles as inspiration we designed some travel-inspired tickets and stickers to decorate the suitcase and use throughout the packaging. If you didn’t notice, we also designed their logo several years ago.

Intern Logo 001: Project T.E.A.C.H.

Right out of the gates in my first days here I began work on logos for a couple of different clients.  It was exciting to jump into real work, and it was immediately clear that my role as an intern here wouldn’t be that of an office servant.

The logo I’m sharing today is for Project T.E.A.C.H. (Teen Education About Careers in Health), a comprehensive summer program for 10th graders at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, which includes paid summer employment, seminars, math and science courses, and opportunities to shadow health care professionals in the emergency department, operating room, and on patient rounds.  Sounds pretty sweet to me.

In the first round of sketches, I couldn’t get away from the symbol of the medical cross because it just conveyed that side of Project T.E.A.C.H. so quickly and clearly.  Here are a few of the initial sketches:

Project Teach Logo - Sketches

Here are the three refined versions sent off to the client for consideration:

Project Teach Logo - Options

Here is the final logo along with a 1-color alternative mark:

Project Teach Logo - Final

Everyone seemed happy going with the less conservative of the three options, the one I affectionately call TeachBob SquareBulb.  Or maybe it was LearnBulb SquareTeach.  Something like that.

The Big Reveal

For those who’ve been keeping track, we were asked by Brandon Bird, of the AIGA B(oNE) Show and Brandon Bird Design, to create one character in the title’s signage for the B(oNE) Show. We’ve been teasing the final design here, here, and here. Hopefully, some of you got to see the final piece in all its glory, but for those who didn’t, here a couple shots of the “i” in place. Each of the thirteen characters were auctioned of to benefit AIGA:Boston, with the one prize being bragging rights. We’re not usually ones to brag, but in this case we might make an exception.
AIGA B(oNE) Show signage
The ABC "i"

Our very own B(oNE)

We recently attended the 13th biannual AIGA Best of New England awards – or better known as the B(oNE) Show. And guess what… we won Alphabet Arm Design’s very first B(oNE) award! Our winning entry was none other than the logo and office system for Proof Wine Marketing. With over 500 entries and only about 50 winners, we are very excited to be holding our very own B(oNE) award. We were amazed at the high quality of work represented at the award ceremony and we are truly honored to be among such talented designers.


We make it rain…logos

From time to time, we get asked about the philosophy and process behind our logos. Affluent Magazine recently asked us how we approach logos, and how companies should address the challenge of identity/branding development in light of the current economic down-turn. The article went live yesterday, and it’s a good insight into how we approach the logo design process. It also showcases a few examples of recent logos we’ve designed that have helped to generated business and shape brands. Check the article out here, then peep the yacht reviews for your place on Nantucket.
Affluent Magazine article

None More Black

After countless man hours, numerous trips to the hardware store, and and the sacrificing of several plastic toys, we’re finally done. Last week we put the finishing touches on our character for the B(oNE) Show’s signage, and we’re pretty happy with it. We’re going to keep the final assemblage under wraps, though, until the actual show. You’ll have to turn up to see it in all its glory. See you Thursday.
The B(oNE) Show character detail shot 1
The B(oNE) Show character detail shot 2
The B(oNE) Show character detail shot 3

In good company

A new article just went up on that discusses some of the more publicised identity revamps of the past year or so. We’ve always maintained that a fresh identity can be a great way to stay relevant. It can often be the best course of action when a business has changed its course or had a leadership shift.
There are certainly some big brands showcased, and we’re proud to have a few identities that we’ve designed in the mix. The logos that we did for our friends at Cable Car Cinema & Cafe and The Wine Bottega wrap up the gallery. Take a look at the article and see the comparison of the old and new identities. logo article

June Bloom

Are you aware of the fact that we update our website with new, featured projects every month? (This month’s featured projects include: Monolith Festival branding + collateral, Flock logo design, Lisa Rigby Photography logo design, Daily Grommet branding + collateral, Style Boston logo design, and a Canadian Pork BzzGuide)
If you have a moment, we’d dig it if you dug them: Go [here].

Just Like a Rolling Stone

Things are moving quickly with the character for the B(oNE) Show. As you can see, we’ve got a pretty good collection going of materials with which to assemble the letter. We couldn’t help ourselves, though, and just had to follow Mick’s advice…

New Intern

Sup, web friends? My name is Michael Deal and I’m the new intern around here. Born and raised in Seattle, a magical sanctuary tucked between mountains and bays, I’m here to bring a little Northwest flavor to the office.
We played football outside on my first day, which conditioned me into subconsciously expecting it the next day. That might be analogous to how my career is kicking off, because this internship might spoil me into measuring all my future opportunities against Alphabet Arm. That could be trouble, because there can’t be too many places out there like this. These guys are talented, fun, and sharp, and I can’t imagine a better place to intern.
I think my official intern nickname is Sherbie Lou. Aaron mentioned the initial nick of Sherbet Hat after reading an entirely unrelated upside-down scheduling note about my interview. That evolved to Sherbie Lou before my first day even started. I’ll be broadcasting live from the studio’s Twitter account, so follow AlphabetArm to catch a bit of the day-to-day action. Don’t be a stranger now.

Flexing our artsy B(oNE)

We’re in the midst of a really fun project for AIGA Boston’s upcoming BoNE Show. It’s a bit out of the scope of the average design project, but the idea is to create one character in the “AIGA B(oNE) SHOW” title, which will eventually become the signage for the exhibit. Our assigned character is an “i,” and we’re taking somewhat of a sculptural, assemblage approach to it. We’re bringing disparate elements from the aspects of our lives, and creating a unified whole. Also, there will be electricity.
Parts for the AIGA B(oNE) SHOW character


Aaron was recently profiled on Each week they feature an entrepreneur who they believe is standing out from the crowd. You can check out his interview [here] and make your own call!

Big Fish Belyea

This past weekend Aaron traveled to CT to judge the Connecticut Art Directors Club annual awards show. He spent a couple days reviewing hundreds of projects along side a high-profile lineup including photographer John Madere, Josh Silverman of Schwadesign, photographer Rick Koconis and Megan O’Connell of Hill Holliday. The CADC awards show always proves to be a great show featuring the best work in CT. This year’s Show is being held at Mystic Aquarium & Institute for Exploration on June 18th. A portion of the entry fees will be donated to the Marine Mammal and Sea Turtle Rescue Program at the Mystic Aquarium and Institute for Exploration!


Being big fans of independent music we like to give back to the indie music scene whenever we can. For example, we teamed up with OurStage to offer a free logo design to one of the top rated bands on their charts. OurStage users voted for their favorite musical acts within 50+ categories. It was our job to choose one of the top 25 (from any category) to bestow our gift upon. It was not an easy task to say the least. In the end we chose a band from Stillwater, Oklahoma called Other Lives. OurStage just posted the news on their site, which included an interview with Aaron. Check it out [here].

Spread the Word

The BzzAgent Overview marketing piece opens with the quote “We hate brochures as much as you do.” It’s this kind of tongue-in-cheek humor that makes it fun to work with these word-of-mouth media gurus. The booklet was developed to show off BzzAgent’s capabilities as well as explain some of the basic concepts of word-of-mouth media to outsiders. Their team did a great job of keeping copy to a minimum to allow us the luxury of developing a dynamic layout that utilizes everybody’s favorite design element: whitespace. Check out the unique finishing, including grommet binding and pages with diecut tabs.
BzzAgent marketing book cover
BzzAgent marketing book page 1
BzzAgent marketing book page 2
BzzAgent marketing book page 3


For the first time since we started this blog we don’t have anything to show you… and we can’t even blame it on the economy! In fact, we’re insanely busy (which we’re quite thankful for)! At the moment we have 7 logo projects, 7 office systems, 8 collateral pieces and 2 album packages all in various forms of completion. Oh, and on top of that we are branding a super-hip music festival at Red Rocks. We are very excited about developing the visual compliment to the always stellar lineup at the Monolith Festival.

Safety for your nest

While a myriad of products exist to help parents ensure the safety of their children, many are only marginally functional and most are visually unappealing. Enter Rhoost: an inventive start-up, who have developed a line of furniture safety accessories that are functional while being complimentary to the urban household.
Our take on their identity was to echo the company’s mindset and keep it simple, yet stylish. We opted to develop a logotype from the ground up and integrated a Swiss-inspired stencil set (if you will). Now for some design lingo + insight: while we were exploring the stencil counter option, we kept the base letters in purple (randomly) to keep track of each letter’s progress. When the heavy lifting was finished, the final form of the logo in purple felt like a perfect match. Fortunately, both of the Rhoost co-founders agreed. If only color selection was always this effortless.
We thought lovely letterpress business cards would compliment the logotype perfectly. Our friends at The Mandate Press did them justice!
Rhoost logo
Rhoost business card


We recently finalized the redesign of the ArtsBoston logo. The objective of the project was to give a unique identity to a “robust, online calendar featuring information about theatre, music, dance, visual arts, opera, arts classes, comedy, film, programming for kids, lectures, readings, and free events across Greater Boston.” From the project’s onset, we were careful to choose a form that wasn’t specific to one single type of performing art, yet referenced them all. The concept chosen was inspired by the forms of stage spotlights. In the end, the mark itself is quite abstract — a quality we thought worked well with the broad range of ArtsBoston.

Tie one on

In these tough economic times, when the Man’s trying to take the shirt off your back, we’ve got something to keep you covered. It also happens to be just the thing to wear on your next job interview. All you have to do is answer this simple trivia question:
Which of the logos/brands that we’ve designed also features a dapper gentleman, similarly dressed in a fetching bow-tie? Here’s a hint: take a look at our portfolio.
Whoever posts the correct answer first, via the comments on this post (e-mails don’t count, kids) will win themselves a fashionable ABC® Tuxedo shirt in the color of their choice*. Make sure you include your e-mail, so we know what to tell the Pony Express. And just so you know, this is the first in a series of give-away promotions, where we’ll be giving out a shirt each time we add one to the store. The Bloggery subscribers (join now) will get advance notice and details on each contest before it goes live.
ABC Tuxedo shirt
* As long as it’s black.

Somebody's watching

Business cards are both one of our favorite things to design, and one of our greatest design challenges. There is so much information in each card, they say so much about the owner, and they are an interesting way for your work to circulate. So with all of that hanging over our heads, it was no easy task to design our own cards. We’re pretty happy with them though, and they tend to generate conversations when we meet people. It seems somebody’s taking notice, though, as the site Card Observer is showcasing our cards on their site. Take a look.
Card Observer ABC business card showcase

Prize-winning hog

Here at Alphabet Arm, we’re not glory seekers. We no narcissists, always looking for the limelight. Although, when we do get some props, it is freakin’ sweet.
As we write this, Communication Arts has a feature in their exhibit section on the BzzGuide that we recently did for the The National Pork Board. It was a fun guide to work on, and we don’t think it’s too boastful to say that it turned out rather well.
Communication Arts - The National Pork Board BzzGuide in the Exhibit section

Are you ready to Rumble?

For the 5th year, Alpbabet Arm is involved with the WBCN Rock N’ Roll Rumble. As we’ve done in the past, we provide the Grand Prize winner with a complimentary CD Art Direction package. Not only will they win a hoard of recording time to work on their record, we’ll make sure they look pretty too! Lucky them huh? Winners in the past have included The Gentlemen, Dresden Dolls and Township.
WBCN Rock ’n’ Roll Rumble logo

Hat Trick?

We’ve spent the last few months designing two EPs and the full length release for Will Dailey (CBS Records). Will is an impressive, award-winning Boston singer/songwriter. He was joined by some very high-profile musicians during the recording of Torrents 1 & 2, including Roger McGuinn, Kay Hanley, Tanya Donelly, Elliott Easton, Tim Brennan and Duke Levine. One of the coolest aspects of the release is that they are presented in CODE, a high-resolution audio standard pioneered by T Bone Burnett.
It was rather liberating for us to develop a specific visual vibe for each release while retaining a continuety throughout all three. We were also fortunate enough to work with the ever talented photographer Liz Linder who supplied us with great visuals to work with.

The People's Champion

Last month we posted about, our very own, Chris Piascik being selected to compete in the Boston Cut & Paste Digital Design Tournament. Well, it happened, on March 14th to be exact. Crowds of people filled the Cyclorama, Boston Center for the Arts to watch 8 designers (for the 2D competition) go head to head in a battle royal. The concept was 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.
Chris was ready for the challenge and made us proud. At the end of the night of he was declared “First Runner Up,” and more importantly, he won the “People’s Choice” award. He’ll always be our champion!
Photography by Jason Lewis

Texas Fame!

While at SXSW this past week we checked out the always amazing, Flatstock poster exhibition. One of Texas’ local news channels, KVUE, was on the scene. They approached us, asking if they could interview us and then follow us a round a bit. We happily obliged, of course.
You can check out the video [here].

South By…

South By South West, as you probably know, is an unstoppable beast of music festival and a monster media event. Aaron and Chris are headed down to Austin, TX to represent Alphabet Arm. They’ll be shaking hands, making connections and rocking out with all sorts of big shots down in the Lone Star State. So if you happen to find yourself at SXSW and you see two tall New Englanders on bikes (pasty white from a long, cold winter) you should say hello. They’re nice dudes and they won’t bite — unless you have tacos.

This one's for the ladies

One of our recent projects designed for BzzAgent is a box showcasing the new CoverGirl lipstain. The scope of the project allowed us to design a unique box that each agent will receive. Printed with silver metallic ink, each box contains a BzzGuide booklet—also designed by us—and product samples. Featuring the likeness of Drew Barrymore and silver ink throughout, the guide is a sophisticated way to communicate the quality of the CoverGirl lipstain. Or so we hear, since none of us dudes are that into wearing lipstick.
CoverGirl BzzGuide box
CoverGirl BzzGuide box open
CoverGirl BzzGuide booklet cover
CoverGirl BzzGuide inside front spread
CoverGirl BzzGuide page

Check this out, fancy pants!

T-shirt and jeans happen to be the required dress code here at the Alphabet Arm studio. Which raises the question, what do we do when formal attire is more appropriate? Well, this here tux-ee-dough t-shirt is our answer to the question. Great for proms, weddings or impressing that special someone. It’s like saying, “I want to be formal, but I’m here to party too.” You can order your very own at our online store. Sorry, no rentals.

Reel Rocking + Red Rocks

We don’t work on DVD packages as much as we would like, but we just finished two so we thought we’d share them with ALL of you.  Our friends at Q Division, who run a stellar recording studio and record label, now offer in-house music services for TV and film. We pulled together the packaging design for their director’s reel. We also just wrapped up Big Head Todd and the Monsters new DVD titled, Red Rocks, which features a live performance at the famed amphitheater in Colorado.

Command X, Command V

Our one and only, Chris Piascik, was selected to be one of the eight contestants in Cut & Paste’s Digital Design Tournament 2009! The premise is that eight designers will go head to head in series of advancing 15-minute elimination rounds until one is left. In the first round, the eight competitors will take the stage in two heats of four designers at a time. The two heats make up the first round. A panel of judges will score their work, and the top two competitors from each heat will advance to the final round. The winner of the final round will go on to compete against fifteen other city champions in the global championship.  
The main event takes place on March 14th at The Cyclorama, Boston Center for the Arts. Until then we’ll have Chris locked in the closet—training day and night.

The American Soul & Rock & Roll Choir Merch

When we got the call to develop merch designs and a potential logo to brand a musical, we were rather excited. Then we heard the name, The American Soul & Rock & Roll Choir. Naturally, we asked, “you don’t have anything a little longer?” Kidding aside, that’s what we do here at Alphabet Arm, solve visual problems creatively. Given the classic collection of songs, we opted to develop some designs that felt visually complimentary. For one of the treatments we developed a type treatment honoring old broadway marquee signs and lovingly weathered it. We opted to go clean and roadster emblem-like for another direction. Ultimately, both were approved!

Eat Healthy Live Healthy

In an increasingly crowded market, NRG BAR differentiates its product by using only all-natural ingredients to create a snack that’s good for you and also really tasty. Definitely not mono-glycero whatsits or yellow #47 in these bad boys, and any samples that get left around the studio disappear quickly. They also stand out in part due to a powerful logo that we designed for them.
NRG BAR logo
We also designed the packaging for the individual bars and the display box. Our friend Tony Luong helped us out by shooting the packaged bars, along with some of the ingredients that are in each flavor. These shots will get used in some promotional materials and on the client’s website.
NRG BAR Lemon Flax
NRG BAR Chocolate Coconut
NRG BAR Cranberry Almond
NRG BAR Pumpkin Ginger

All Wrapped Up

Breaking new ground in the sphere of virtual gifts, Viximo is already one of the leaders in the field. We helped them to establish their brand with a new logotype. Through several rounds of iteration, they chose a bespoke typeface whose simplicity allows for clear reading.
The goals and direction for this project were a bit different from many of the identity projects that we work on in that it focused on a logotype without an icon. Since we did a lot of type creation from the ground up, we thought we’d give everybody a peek at some of the other directions that we presented to the client.

Viximo logo

Viximio logo concepts

Channing Johnson

Channing Johnson is a photographer out of Boston, he is widely known as a wedding photographer, but also works as a photojournalist. He came to us a few weeks ago for a new logo design. We worked on a number of treatments for him that each tried to suggest photography without falling into the usual trappings.
Lucky for us, Channing was pleased with all of the logos we created for him and was able to narrow them down to two. The first option strikes a balance between something that would work for a wedding photographer, but also have some grit and edge—speaking to the “bearing witness” style of a photojournalist. Letting our imagination get ahead of ourselves, we imagined this being something that was found stamped onto some documents or photographs. The second option was the slightly safer solution. It expresses the idea of photography though the beams of light and also is reminiscent of an eye. 
In the end, we let Channing think about it over the last week. He went with his gut feeling and chose option 1. 

Darth Intern

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away…. four wild-eyed creators came together to bring to life an abomination to be their own personal purple monkey dishwasher as well as a protector from the evil space bots that threatened to steal their cookies and hoagies everyday between the hours of 9 and 5.  For months they whipped out their test tubes, wore bras on their heads, told bad “that’s what she said” jokes and labored tirelessly calculating calculations that would bring life to their creature. With the calculating completed, the creators took all the nessecary componments and put them into the microwave for 3-4 minutes (or until hot). But then, only seconds into the cooking process, the microwave exploded sending shards of goo and plastic all over their la-bora-tory. The elder of the four creators stood up, pointed to the ceiling in protest and  proclaimed “That is why I eat my lunches cold!” However, when the dust settled and the goo was gone, they noticed a large goofy mass with thick classes and torn up Vans sitting in their supply closet eating their cookies and scanning their images. “Its Alive!!!!!” celebrated the creators in unison, while also dancing in circles and handing out fives up high. No longer would the creators have to clean their own dishes and enter deadly four square battles with the evil space bots.  Unfortunately for the creators, as time went by they began to notice that their creation was no purple monkey dishwater at all!!! He was nothing but ME, DARTH INTERN!!! a design loving, sci-fi moving watching, nacho munching creator similar to themselves, except with a lower skill-set of course. Despite their disappointment, the four creators vowed to take me in for the upcoming months with the hope of rearing my abilities and raising my creator status to a more professional level (while also scamming on some sweet free intern labor). So that is my story. I know it sounds ridiculous and very untrue (which it may very well be) and many of you will take me as a kook (which I may very well be), but at least take my advice: Never cook an abomination in the microwave on high in a non-microwave safe bowl or you’ll come face to face with the wrath of DARTH INTERN!!!!! MUAHAHAHAHAHA!!! MUAHAHAHA!!!!! MUAAHAHAHA!!!!!!….Oh! By the way, as for the space bots, the creators let them give me wedgies for a few hours during the day so they can eat their hoagies and cookies in peace.
until next time,
this is Darth Intern signing out.   
Note: Darth Intern is really just Frank LeClair our newest intern from the New England School of Art and Design. The story above is entirely fictional and any resemblance to actual peoples is entirely coincidental and weird.  To learn more of Darth Intern and his crackpot ideas visit his website at But don’t tell him we told you his secret identity.

Our top albums of 2008

Yeah, we know—Everyone is posting their favorite albums of the year—but hey, we wanted in on the fun.
Aaron’s Top 5
1. The Black Keys – Attack & Release
2. CSS – Donkey & Fleet Foxes – S/T (TIE)
3. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
4. Deerhoof – Offend Maggie
5. Gnarls Barkley – The Odd Couple
Chris’s Top 5
1. Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
2. Wolf Parade – At Mount Zoomer
3. The Gaslight Anthem – The ’59 Sound
4. The Roots – Rising Down
5. Tom Gabel – Heart Burns
Ryan’s Top 5
1. The Gaslight Anthem – The ’59 Sound
2. Lagrecia – On Parallels
3. Vampire Weekend – Vampire Weekend
4. The Airborn Toxic Event – The Airborn Toxic Event
5. Tom Gabel – Heart Burns

Ira’s Top 5
1. The Sword – Gods of the Earth
2. Jay Reatard – Singles ’06-‘07
3. One Day as a Lion – s/t
4. Tom Gabel – Heart Burns
5. These New Puritans – Beat Pyramid
Darth Intern’s Top 5
1. Paint It Black – New Lexicon
2. Shai Hulud – Misanthropy Pure
3. Failures – S/T
4. Beck – Modern Guilt
5. Cult Ritual – 2nd EP

Dudes 'n' Deeds

It’s that holiday time again and we continued our tradition of volunteering in the toy room at The Home for Little Wanderers in Boston. It’s a rather personal tradition for Aaron in particular because he was child care worker and assistant art teacher at The Home for Little Wanderers for 5 years. Normally our time volunteering there is chaotic and quick paced due to the large amount of donated toys. This year was a little different because donations are at a record low (obviously the troubled economy is having an impact). BUT there is still time! Head on over before it’s too late so you can help some kids have a good Christmas!
The Channel 5 News team was there doing a piece on the economy’s effect on donations. No, we didn’t have to wear make-up for our appearance.


Logo for Laura

We just finished designing a logo as well as some marketing pieces for Laura Barisonzi, a photographer out of New York. You can check out her work [here].

American Idol on American Apparel

We just finished up these merch treatments for Taylor Hicks. We have to say working for an American Idol winner is a bit out of our comfort zone—but we like to think we are up for any challenge. His management was on a tight deadline so we were only able to develop 4 designs, fortunately (for everyone) they approved them all.

Web 2.Awesome

We are in the midst of completely overhauling our website. The new design will be quite a bit simpler and more focused on individual projects. To present our work in the best possible light we have hired our good friend and photographer Tony Luong to shoot all of the pieces we will be featuring (using his best possible light). If you can guess our nickname for Tony we’ll send you a wonderful gift (no, it’s not Tony Photo…but close).

Message in a Bottle

The Wine Bottega is a swanky, upscale wine shop in Boston’s North End. We just finished a logo for the new owner, check it out. We also included some sketches to give a bit of insight on our process. And yes, we actually draw this stuff!


Although half of the Alphabet Arm team are proud vegetarians, the four of us are united in excitement for a recent BzzAgent project — the official Pork BzzGuide. Lots of nice bells and whistles help made this quite a fun piece to work on. The cover features a diecut pig diagram and the whole booklet is fully wrapped in butcher paper. Meaty!

Cable Car Cinema & Cafe logo

Already established in the art-house movie scene, a pair of cinemateurs recently relocated to Providence, RI, to breathe life into an existing theater. They commissioned our services to differentiate themselves from the other area theaters with a first-class identity. After extensive research and sketching, we crafted a logo that references Providence’s rich history, as well as the fact that the theater used to house a cable car garage. Iconic and bold, the logo has a extensive branding options and we look forward to designing the entire office system, as well as helping to help brand cafe and theater. Stay tuned for a full reveal.

Are you old school (relatively speaking)?

We are, and have to say we’re pretty stoked to work up the art direction for this Letters to Cleo b-sides collection to compliment their reunion tour. The Cleos and the extended band family have always been a very loyal lot, we couldn’t be more appreciative. We were given the very daunting task of pulling this artwork together within a weeks notice. Lots of scanning, hand writing, weathering, image chopping and duct taping was necessary. Full props must go to USA Michael Eisenstein for the initial concept which honors the rough and ready, cut and paste, design aesthetic of the 1990’s indie rock packaging. We had the luxury of using a bunch really great photos taken by Steve Latham. If you don’t know him – you should!

Los Logos 4!

Alphabet Arm is proud to be featured in the new LOS LOGOS 4 book by Die Gestalten Verlag. They actually selected 18 of our logos, which may or may not include the following list of clients:
Art is War Productions, Double Guns Records, The Dresden Dolls, Empire Attire, The Fray, The Get You, Go GaGa, Leiana, Mr. Lif (X2), Tim McCoy and the Papercuts, Red Red Rocket, Relentless Skateworks, Pacific Electric Music Publishing, Static of the Gods (X2), Skeetwear Apparel and Tennessee Hollow.

New Year, New Look

It’s fall and the smell of viewbooks are in the air. We just received The Boston Conservatory viewbook samples back from the printer and we couldn’t be happier. We received a hand written note form the Director of Marketing & Communications stating, “The final product is sleek, stylish and stunning…and we are absolutely thrilled with the results.” She went on to say, “Thank you for your patience with us throughout this process and your adherence to detail and overall style.” Honestly, we couldn’t say it better ourselves (plus, that would have been mighty bigheaded of us).

SOWA Open Market presents Baked Fresh

Come get some fresh air and check out live indie music and shopping for handmade DIY arts and crafts and indie designer wares from 140 established artisans… including Alphabet Arm.
If your in Boston stop by and say hey, especially since we’re sharing a booth with our friends at Print Brigade. We’ll be selling our line of shirts and other fun stuff. Hope to see you there.
South End Open Market
Sunday, October 5 from 10am to 5pm. 
540 Harrison Avenue, Boston

It's in the Bag

Go GaGa designs and produces bags that are stylish, versatile and ergonomic. In the past we designed their logo and office system and now a fresh new docket of interchangeable postcards, folders, and even hangtags. We worked with a great photographer, Ion Sokhos, on the lifestyle shots. You can check out the bags here. They are super well designed and all around awesome (and we’re not just saying that).

ABC Photo-trivia!

Our good friend, photographer, Tony Luong came by last week to take some fresh new snaps of the studio. He also took a couple shots of us, which we won’t share cuz’ we’re shy. However, if you can correctly answer these 4 trivia questions, we’ll happily send you one of our new Skull Cahote shirts!
Answer each question with the corresponding “Designer Number” from the image above.
A. Which of us recently face-planted off their bike into a patch of poison ivy?
B. Who “saved” numerous bags of expired torteloni from the trash and ate them all?
C. Who is most likely to do battle with a skunk in their front yard?
D. Which of us would rather eat icy-cold corn than heat it up in a microwave?

¡Viva Lucha!

Have a hard time deciding what to wear while you practice your Flying Bulldog or Spinning Cobra Clutch? Have no fear, we’ve got your answer. This tough-as-nails luchador has found his way into several Alphabet Arm promo pieces in the past and we’ve finally decided to feature him on a t-shirt in all of his mexican grappling glory. Order your very own here.

This is no hoax!

“We’re not sure what kind of imagery we want, but we know it should be unexpected and fun.” We couldn’t have been more enthusiastic to hear that from the founders of Proof Wine Marketing. The final design solution makes use of a rotating logo family that is comprised of 3 different characters, each with its own corresponding color. The system remains cohesive by using a consistent type treatment… its a bit hard to put into words, but you can see what we mean. Besides, what’s better than big foot with a bottle of his favorite red?

A Grommet a Day

It’s our pleasure to again be partnering with Pod Design to develop and launch a new brand: Daily Grommet. Looking to fill an untapped niche, Daily Grommet is aiming to bust open the social commerce scene. Living as both a website and web widget, Daily Grommet will showcase a wide range of products that are sure to be the objects of desire for hip moms worldwide.
Our role in the project is identity designers and brand stewards. While the official roll-out is still a little ways off, we’re proud to reveal the final logo (there are a few select sites and blogs that are unveiling it as well). The design process explored several initial directions, but the final version highlights an actual “hero” grommet with secondary hand-drawn elements. As part of the process, we created a custom logotype, as well as secondary lock-ups and are developing the brand standards. Stay tuned for the full brand launch later this year.

Can't make a CD without breaking some eggs

Sometimes, it’s the simple idea that makes the cut. That was the case with our design for the latest release from Honest Bob and the Factory-to-Dealer Incentives. Without much more than the album title to work with, we pitched this concept to them which utilized our own photography and tongue-in-cheek sense of humor. Fortunately for us, the guys in the band can take a joke, and the theme was continued throughout the entire package. We’ll do a full reveal once we have the CD in hand, but in the meantime, we’d also like to draw your attention to the “Zero Down Entertainment” logo that we also designed for the record label.

Logo Allstars?

Out of the 98,000 logos on LogoLounge, our submissions stood out to the powers-that-be so much so that they decided to feature us. LogoLounge is not only an amazing online community and resource of designers + firms, but it’s also become one of the best selling logo design book collections. It’s quite a honor for us!

“Game Over, Man. Game Over.”

Hi there. Limpy Justice here, and wouldn’t you believe that it’s my last day here at the ABC®? Well, my friends, believe it or not my time here has come to an end. But fret not! Instead, come with me on a trip in the Justice Retrospect Machine™.
In May of 2008, a scared, little baby fawn by the name of Josh LaFayette (whom didn’t even like coffee) packed up his Volkswagen Jetta in Auburn, Alabama and drove, along with his wife, the 20 hours to Boston, Massachusetts. On the morning of May 28th, he rode his bicycle (which was later stolen) to 500 Harrison Avenue, rode the elevator to 3R, and walked his shaky, little chicken legs down the long hall to Alphabet Arm Design. It was like a dream. He was actually inside all of the photographs that he had studied online. “OMG, there’s the round table!” he thought. “There’s an extra chair there for me! There’s the logo wall! I think I’m going to vomit!” His plan was to gain a plethora of skill, live up to his portfolio, and show the guys at Alphabet Arm Design that they had made the right decision in taking him on for the summer. But he wasn’t the most confident of fellas. He figured, “These guys are professionals, they’re actual designers and they are much too cool for you. Just do what they ask and don’t piss them off.” Well, little did he know what would ensue.
Day after day, our precious little fawn got more and more comfortable and confident, all the while picking up a million skills an hour. He really liked everyone at Alphabet Arm and it seemed that they really liked him back. These guys were professional designers and they were cool like he thought, but they were also glad to have a baby deer for an intern. They had actually become friends. Like, real friends. The kind of friends that you hang out with on the weekends, and pull practical jokes on. Our little baby was blissful. He stayed focused and continued to learn, help out, and share special YouTube videos that the others were unfamiliar with. To me, it looked like everything was working out, to me.
Now, after just ten short weeks, that little little fawn is a 15-point buck named Limpy Justice. LJ is headed back to The Plains with a whole new skill set, a brand new outlook on design, a love for coffee, an extensive list of nicknames, a satchel-full of new music, a new bike, and even new, vegetarian-inspired eating habits.
If you would like to keep up with your old pal LJ, you can visit I would like to thank everyone for all of the fan mail that they sent and let you know the autographed portraits you requested are in the mail as we speak. If you’re in any state on the East Coast south of Mass and north of Florida, keep a look out for a Jetta with a bike rack and Alabama plates, we’ll be looking for a place to stay.

Sounds We're Digging: Ryan v.3

• One Day As A Lion – EP
• The Gaslight Anthem – The ’59 Sound Single
• Lagrecia – On Parallels
• Chinese Telephones – Chinese Telephones
• Joe Strummer – The Future is Unwritten (documentary)

Stars & Curses

Here is a sneak preview of the new full length release we just finished up for our friend Coby Brown. A Boston native who now resides in LA, Coby is a singer-songwriter making soulful indie-pop music. The artwork explores the ideas of fate, randomness, destiny and triumph. Although the digipak is still in production, but we’re so excited, we just had to blog about it.

Check your Fakts

We’re happy to report that a record we designed about 5 years ago has finally been manufactured and about to hit the streets. For those of you who don’t know Fakts One, he’s 1/3 of the Perceptionists (Mr. Lif and Akrobatik) and one hell of a DJ. We hadn’t heard a bunch of these tracks until recently, but it was well worth the wait!

If you haven't noticed, we really like robots.

We also dig monsters and kitschy old comics. That was the inspiration for our latest self-promo piece. Once again, we teamed up with Jakprints, our partners in crime with ton of super-powered printing abilities (not to mention, they are industry trailblazers in eco-friendly printing). They did an amazing job printing the piece we designed and illustrated — including a sweet multi-level embossing of a giant radioactive lizard. P.S. You can get your very own when ordering a sample pak!


We recently finished work on a new identity for a swanky new wine bar in Harlem. We’re quite pleased with the fact that it is a rather versatile system. It works simple + clean as a standalone mark while holding it’s own in the more ornate branding banner. Our intent with the brand colors was to utilize a two color system that would work equally well on both light and dark backgrounds without sacrificing the logo’s integrity.
As the story goes, we made a cheeky little joke with our client when they asked what kind of bird we modeled for the logo, “a harlembird of course.” That turned out to be the element that sealed the deal on that treatment, you can never underestimate the power of quick wit.

Skull Cahote

We have a few new Alphabet Arm t-shirt designs in the works for the very near future. This one is hot off the presses and ready to be ordered + rocked. Summer is here and you’ll need a fresh new shirt to wear to barbecues, firework displays, backyard wrestling tournaments and robot conventions.
You can get your very own at our online store. Check back soon for new designs!

Bringing the weaponery

If you’re from Boston, you know Kay—or at least, the legend that is. If you don’t know who Kay Hanley is, you need to. She is a supremely talented songwriter / singer / guitarist, this record kills it. One of our first high-profile CDs we art directed was for her former band, Letters to Cleo (GO! – Warner Bros Records). Kay is one of our favorite and most loyal clients. Check out what she wrote about us on her blog.

Meet Limpy Justice

We have a new intern joining us all the way from Bama! (that’s Alabama for those not in the know) Josh, or Limpy Justice—as we like to call him, is a talented, young designer finishing up his undergrad at Auburn University. As some of you may know, our intern program has been on “hiatus-status,” for a bit. We were so impressed by the portfolio and charm Josh brought to the table that we decided to get things going again (if only for the summer). Josh deserves extra props for this, as we receive an average of at least 5 internship/employment requests each week. Say Hi!


Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better than our new ABC pins—we bring you zipperpulls! Our friends at did’em right. Feeling like you want a set of your own? Check out our store!


We recently designed this logo for Mediadonis, the CEO of german based SEO (Search Engine Optimization) Company CIA – Creativity in Action. The logo will be used for his blog,, which he describes as “the diary of a compulsive search engine marketer and internet entrepreneur.” He wanted to keep things light-hearted and definitely not too serious—we think this superhero pulls that off quite well!

Paperback Writer

Dave Balter, CEO and Founder of BzzAgent and longtime client asked us to design the paperback edition of his book, Grapevine. He gave us a great deal of leeway and allowed us to develop an unexpected color-scheme that really pops off the shelf. If you are at all curious about word of mouth marketing, we’d highly recommend this book.

Sounds We’re Digging: Aaron v.3

• Matt Costa – Unfamiliar Faces
• Gnarls Barkley – The Odd Couple
• Jeru The Damaja – Wrath of the Math
• Black Keys – Attack and Release
• French Kicks – Swimming
• The Last Shadow Puppets – The Age of the Understatement

Sounds We’re Digging: Chris v.3

• The Kills – Midnight Boom
• The Roots – Rising Down
• Cadence Weapon – Afterparty Babies
• The Dodos – Visitor
• MC Frontalot – Secrets From The Future
• Death Cab For Cutie – Narrow Stairs

…the water is fine

Sure, it’s sad when bands break up or can get tricky when they change their name. Unless you’re us. We’ve known more than one band that splintered apart and when members started new projects, they all came calling…we like that. We’ve also designed a ton of logos for bands that found the need to change their name for one reason or another. Which is true for The Wild Sea, who were was once known as RUTH. We were asked to work up some new logo treatments for them. After the initial round of options they determined the wave was the winning direction. They requested we present a number of type lock-ups to pick and choose from. We’ve included a few of them underneath the approved logo.

Boston Magazine

Last month we were asked to participate in a University re-branding exercise for a Boston Magazine article. We were in good company with a few other design firms including, Arnold Worldwide and One Pica. Our assignment was to create a new logo for MIT. It wasn’t a particularly easy task as we all appreciate and respect their current identity. Nevertheless, we embraced the challenge head-on and came up with our own spin on the mark. You can check it out now in the current issue (May 2008).

Ewald Spieker

Aaron spent much of the past two weeks in Europe, namely Barcelona and Amsterdam. While in Amsterdam he visited the Dutch Typographer Ewald Spieker’s type gallery. Ewald Spieker has an amazing body of work that you can check out on his website, here. He may or may not have even included a picture of Aaron on his blog, but you didn’t hear that from us.

T-Shirt Factory flash game

Last year BzzAgent launched a new site called FrogPond. The site features companies that users can review and rate, the premise is that consumer opinions can help you cut through the clutter online. We were one of the early companies profiled on FrogPond. We decided to make a special, little flash game for our new visitors to play with before checking out our site. Now that time has passed we have this game sitting around not getting any love… so we decided to put it up here for you call to enjoy!
T-Shirt Factory Game!

Flagship Press Hybrid

We have a long standing relationship with Flagship Press, who have always been a cut above the rest when it comes to quality printing and great customer service. Now they are leading the way as an advocate for environmental sustainability in the printing field. Not only do they print with soy inks and have a large selection of recycled stocks, but they are also powered 100% by wind energy. Flagship decided to highlight some of their environmental initiatives with a Ford Explorer Hybrid and a full vehicle wrap, which they asked us to design. Our design features a lush, detailed landscape that has something to look at from every angle.
Flagship Press hybrid front
Flagship Press hybrid details

Stick this FNX!

Last year we designed the packaging for a WFNX sampler CD. The design was such a hit that they just asked as us to retrofit it into a sticker. There’s been rumors of a t-shirt being made too…our fingers are crossed!WFNX sticker

Sounds We’re Digging: Ryan v.2

• Fake Problems “Viking Wizard Eyes” EP
• The Copyrights “Learn the Hard Way”
• Lagwagon “Trashed” repress on blue vinyl (isn’t that fancy)
• Joe Strummer & the Mescaleros “Streetcore”
• Dinah Shore “Shoo Fly Pie and Apple Pan Dowdy” Dinah Shore

The Head Set

We were instant fans of catchy tunes and garage-ish rock of The Head Set from NYC. We designed their new logo utilizing an interchangeable system of colors and textures that will allow for multiple variations to keep it looking fresh and ever evolving.


Sounds We’re Digging: Chris v.2

• Murder by Death – Red of Tooth and Claw
• Bon Iver – For Emma, Forever Ago
• MGMT – Time to Pretend
• Cat Power – Jukebox
• The Raveonettes – Lust Lust Lust
• Why? – Alopecia

Sounds We’re Digging: Ira v.2

• The Riverboat Gamblers “To the Confusion of Our Enemies”
• The Horror Pops “Kiss Kiss Kill Kill”
• Goverment Issue “You”
• X “Los Angeles”
• The Flesh Eaters “A Minute to Pray, A Second to Die”

Killer 'stache

Often times, the most fun logo projects are the ones that don’t take themselves too seriously. Whether the client has a great sense of humor or just a quirky name, it’s great to flex our funny bones. Such was the case with the logo for Moustache Sally, a humor/blog/video site. We definitely enjoyed ourselves and created some magnificent ‘staches. The final logo is a humorous take on 50’s illustration with some of our trademark wit.Moustache Sally logo

Sounds We’re Digging: Aaron v.2

• CSS “Cansei De Ser Sexy”
• Bon Iver “For Emma, Forever Ago”
• Miracle Fortress “S/T”
• The Futureheads “News and Tributes”
• Lee Morgan “The Procrastinator”
• Radiohead “In Rainbows”

All Buttoned Up!

Sure – buttons are always hot, but your very own, customized button pack to compliment them?!?! Come on — now that’s killer! Our new pal Hillary at PureButtons hooked us up with with some samples. Check em’ out: buttons.jpg  

mae: New Shirts

Zach, the guitarist from the band mae (Capitol Records) recently contacted us about designing a new merch piece. He tracked us down all the way from Australia where they are currently on tour. The band made the suggestion that it would be cool if the art somehow referenced the architectural nature of their first album, Destination: Beautiful. Have a look.

mae shirt

Big Honcho Media Merch

We just got some samples of the merch we designed for one of our favorite clients, Big Honcho Media. They are a boutique marketing agency that specializes in radio, television and online promotions. We have worked with them on a number of projects including a redesign of their office system and associated marketing collateral.

Big Honcho Media Merch

Big Honcho Media Merch 2

BzzGuides a plenty!

BzzGuides Feb. ‘08
Here’s a quick sampling of just a few recent marketing materials (BzzGuides) we’ve developed for BzzAgent and their clients. These BzzGuides vary in length, but are normally 12-20 pages, to get your hands on one you’ll have to sign up to be an Agent. As you can tell they keeps us extremely busy!
BzzGuides Feb. ‘08

From the Top

Tim Linberg has been a staunch advocator of Alphabet Arm for years. Now functioning as the Director of Marketing & Communications at From the Top, he hired us to develop this fun ad campaign for their new season. After he approved our sketch for the design we recommended he hire Liz Linder for the photography.

From The Top Poster

Harlem Vintage on CNN

Our long time clients Jai Jai Greenfield + Eric Woods from Harlem Vintage received some pretty heavy duty props from CNN on the wine boutique’s success, not to mention the fact their logo + branding were specifically mentioned as well (we like that!).
Harlem Vintage on CNN

Big Head Todd Merch

After winding down the design for their latest album and DVD, the management for Big Head Todd and the Monsters asked us for a merch design. Taking the photography and signage themes from the album and running with them, we created this T-shirt that fans can purchase to commemorate the tour. We even went the extra mile (ha ha!) with the list of tourdates on the back, and created something probably all touring bands can relate to. You can grab the shirt here.

Big Head Todd & The Monsters shirt

Logo Lounge 4

If you haven’t heard of the Logo Lounge website and book series you are missing out. The 4th edition was recently published. We were honored to have 5 of our logos selected for this book.


Logo Lounge 4 Cover

Our logos in LL4


Akrobatik's new album arrived

We just received samples of Ak’s new album that dropped this week. Did we mention we designed the 12in as well as the CD? We were enthusiastic about seeing the artwork on the matte finished goodness of the LP sleeve—have to say it looks pretty sweet!

Akrobatik’s new release

We're Huge in Buenos Aires

That’s right, when Aaron’s wife was in Buenos Aires for work recently, she stepped into a book store and being the loyal designer’s wife she is, looked through the Graphic Design section. She was drawn to the metallic silver of Diseño de Logotipos 4 only to be even more excited to find one of our Counting Crows designs smack-dab on the cover. Thanks Vianka!

diseño de logotipos 4

The Machinery of Love

We recently worked on a very fun project in conjunction with Pod Design for the The Biography Channel. It’s an interactive game called The Love Machine, and just in time for Valentine’s Day! The goal was to seamlessly fuse 50’s style technicolor artwork with victorian age illustrations within an interactive user interface. Sounds easy right? Well, in our minds, we did have the easier aspect of the project (with the exception of the 184 live Photoshop layers we supplied to Pod). Pod Design had to fully animate the game, and they did an amazing job. It was a very different project for us to work on and was a creative blast. Check it

The Love Machine

Liz Linder shirts

We’ve worked with photographer Liz Linder on 40 or 50 CD packages to date. Know her work? Because you should! We designed a couple exclusive, hard to find, super-coveted promo t-shirts for her. Hotness:
Liz Linder \"Dancer\" T
Liz Linder \"Get Shot\" T
Liz Linder \"Get Shot\" detail

Mixed Media Piece

Our good peeps at Jakprints purchased a mixed media piece we did for our now infamous design installation, Graphic Takeover. Here’s a shot of it hanging in their lobby (spray paint + cut vinyl on archival tin sign – original photo courtesy of Michelle Perez). Happen to be in need of any printing?
Mixed media artwork

Christ Church Cambridge

Sure, we do the Rock, as well as the Roll, kinda design. That doesn’t mean we can’t handle designing a logo for a house of worship, here’s the new identity for Christ Church Cambridge.
Christ Church Cambridge logo

LA Ink

Do you watch La Ink? Of course you do—silly—but did you happen to catch Cat visiting her local Dr. TATTOFF for some tattoo removal work? (okay we admit it, we designed their logo).
L.A. Ink featuring Dr. Tattoff

Sounds We’re Digging: Ira v.1

• The Hives “The Black and White Album”
• Jay Reatard “Blood Visions”
• The Chinese Stars “Listen to Your Left Brain”
• The Nekromantix “Curse of the Coffin”
• The Bloody Hollies “Who to Trust, Who to Kill, Who to Love”

    ReMod Media

    ReMod Media is a production company focusing on online TV content and the like. The concept for the logo was to create a character who was quirky, yet sophisticated with a nod to history. It was a lot of fun fusing together the helmet of bizarre contraptions, not to mention, when animated he looks amazing. The ReMod’ers lovingly named him “Barneby.”
    ReMod Media logo

    Sounds We’re Digging: Aaron v.1

    • The Almost “Southern Weather”
    • Peter Bjorn & John “Falling Out”
    • The Thrills “Teenager”
    • The Little Ones “Sing Song”
    • The Broken West “I Can’t Go On I’ll Go On”.

    Zox your sox off

    Zox released their 3rd full-length “Line In The Sand” on Side One Dummy. These dudes from Providence, Rhode Island have crafted quite the album of indie rock joy. We designed the CD packaging as well as a new type-driven logo.
    Zox \"A Line in the Sand\" cover

    Sounds We’re Digging: Chris v.1

    • Radiohead “In Rainbows”
    • M. Ward “Post War” 
    • Cadence Weapon “Breaking Kayfabe”
    • Beirut “The Flying Club Cup”
    • Aesop Rock “None Shall Pass”
    • Matt & Kim “Matt & Kim”

    Tim McCoy

    Tim McCoy is a helluva guy. We’ve had the pleasure of working with Tim and his many bands for years. Check out his solo record “Late Nights On Washington,” you’ll love it!
    Tim McCoy \"Late Nights on Washington\" cover

    Absolute Value

    Boston hip hop legend, Akrobatik, hired us to art direct his anxiously awaited new album, “Absolute Value,” featuring the likes of Talib Kweli, Chuck D. of Public Enemy, Mr. Lif, Bumpy Knuckles, and Little Brother.. Perhaps you’ve heard him on the new NFL / Diet Pepsi TV spots, nice work Ak.
    Akrobatik \"Absolute Value\" cover

    Sounds We're Digging: Ryan v.1

    • The Gaslight Anthem “Sink of Swim”

    • Wu-Tang Clan “8 Diagrams”

    • Defiance Ohio “The Fear, The Fear, The Fear”

    • The Aggrolites “Reggae Hit L.A.”

    • Ben Weasel “These Ones Are Bitter”


    Need some CD or DVD manufacturing? Look no more my friend, our pals + partners, Icon Omnimedia can do it all, and with stellar customer service to boot! Heck, we even just designed a swanky new split promo with them, ourselves and Eulogy Records. It’s cleverly titled “Fisticuffs”. Check out the dope foil stamp + embossed digipak, mmmmmmmm:
    Fisticuffs cover


    This year’s WBCN Rumble winners, Township, cashed in on their coveted Alphabet Arm prize and had their new record, “Coming Home”, designed “on the house”, even nabbed a brand spankin’ new logo out of the deal. Thin Lizzy would be proud:

    Misty Fjords Lodge

    Every once in a while we break free of our “less is more, simple + bold” logo protocol, we designed a super complex vector logo for Misty Fjords Lodge, in Alaska. That’s right kids, 100% vector! We keep hoping to be invited up to the lodge but thus far the phone hasn’t rung.
    Misty Fjords Lodge logo

    Novum Magazine

    Novum magazine published a feature on us last year. We never really had a place to post about it until now… So check it out!
    “Novum is a German magazine covering the world of graphic design. It reports on industry news, technology, trends, book reviews, job opportunities, and more.”
    Novum cover
    Novum spread

    WellDiggers Banquet

    We recently designed the packaging for the WellDiggers Banquet CD. They are an alt-country band out of Los Angeles. They were quite easy to work with throughout the entire process, which was really refreshing.
    Whoever can guess where we shot the tanks used in the packaging will get a shiny new Alphabet Arm pin!

    Welldiggers Banquet back
    Welldiggers Banquet CD/inside