Welcome to Downtown Design, a column that will focus on the graphic design of downtown Phoenix and bring awareness to the talented designers that we have living and working among us.
Take a look around as you stroll down the streets of Downtown Phoenix and you’ll quickly notice that there’s no way to avoid design. From our historic architecture to the brand new signage guiding you through town, every inch of our space is designed.
Graphic designers are the “silent artists.” The work they do is everywhere, yet rarely do they get to place their signature on a piece, or even receive credit in a byline. Sometimes they feel like they are simply a tool for someone else’s use in creating their vision, and sometimes that’s true – most often at the beginning of their careers. But most of the time, they take their clients’ ideas and direction and distill it to reflect the intended message using typographical treatments, photography, color, and format.
But graphic design goes much further than “art.” Graphic designers come armed with an arsenal of knowledge and connections, along with a keen business savvy, memorized fontbank, and extensive color theory. Designers must also be knowledgeable in many areas including psychology, engineering, printmaking, fabrication, advertising, marketing, coding, proofreading, and so on.
Beyond their own skills, they often draw from a reserve of allied professional resources, like photographers, coders, filmmakers, sound engineers, printers, tech support, publishers, editors, and even lawyers.
Of all artistic disciplines, I’ve personally found graphic design to yield the most opportunities to work in an array of fields. My career has taken me from animation to fashion, to music to Fortune 100 corporate. The constant in each industry is that they all need graphic design.
A company can create an incredible product, yet, without the proper identity and brand, it’s going to be a hard sell. How often have you chosen one type of food at the grocery store over another simply because of the packaging? Maybe you don’t even realize it’s the packaging that’s appealed to your subconscious. That’s the “ghost artist’s” handiwork. An ingredient list doesn’t offer a story – great packaging does.
With Downtown Design, we will explore graphic design, from slick corporate design to sign painters delicately designing store windows. We will also post opportunities available for graphic designers and a calendar of events and competitions, which we would love to see one of our very own win! You are also invited to share any news of your own graphic design work at email@example.com. Let’s connect our graphic design community here through DPJ’s Downtown Design.
AIGA AZ Event Dinner with Designer: Marissa Groom & Ryan Anderson—August 31, 2015
AIGA AZ Event: CreatAthon Phoenix 2015—September 12-September 13, 2015
AIGA Design Conference 2015 New Orleans—October 8-October 10, 2015
HOW Poster Design Awards—DEADLINE October 2, 2015
Images courtesy of Rhonda Zayas
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Longtime vacant lot activated as temporary pocket park
After two years of planning and many volunteer hours, Downtown Phoenix Inc., along with partners Logan Simpson Design and Balfour Beatty Construction , will unveil the Space Between — a beautiful and inviting temporary vacant lot activation project Friday, Aug. 21 from 8-10 a.m.
Led by Phoenix City Councilman Michael Nowakowski, the ribbon cutting ceremony begins at 8:30 a.m.with free coffee and donuts from Rollover Doughnuts for the first 100 people, pop-up games, music and information about the park.
This new community gathering space and pocket park, located at 517 N. First Street, brings shade, grass, seating, activity and vitality to a vacant parcel of land spanning First and Second streets, nestled between the Valley Youth Theatre and Taylor Place.
“Having an impromptu place to relax or gather with beautiful shaded areas, amenities like tables or benches, all in an intimate, comfortable and vibrant setting — that’s something that we just don’t have enough of in the Urban Core,” said Ray Cabrera, streetscape programs manager at Downtown Phoenix Inc. “We have wonderful parks but we just don’t have enough of them.”
The city-owned lot is slated for future development — hence the “temporary” aspect — so the park’s design incorporates ideas of sustainability, mobility and utility.
“It became clear to us that even though it was going to be a temporary park, people didn’t want it to feel disposable,” said Chad Atterbury, landscape architect at Logan Simpson Design. “We definitely wanted to use salvaged trees, recycled materials and things that could be later moved to a different space — but we also wanted it to look finished and beautiful.”
A number of mature trees salvaged from downtown construction sites highlight the park’s commitment to sustainability, in addition to desert-friendly plants, recycled materials, passive rainwater harvesting and lots of shaded, open space.
Construction got underway Jan. 2015 with the help of Logan Simpson Design and Balfour Beatty Construction — donating time, services and manpower to get the idea of the ground.
“Our company gets involved with a few different charities and we do a lot of volunteer work as well — most of the time it’s commitment of our manpower, not so much development of projects like this,” said Stephen Hulston, vice president and business unit leader for Balfour Beatty Construction. “So being able to transform the space and make something of it — a place where people can come, enjoy, or maybe just get away from it all — that’s the beauty of it.”
In downtown, many vacant lots occupy prime locations between businesses and residences. Not only does the Space Between create a platform for urban regeneration, placemaking and connectivity, but it will hopefully launch new ways of understanding vacant land use and activation.
“We can take what we’ve learned and take what we’ve built and move it to someplace else,” said Cabrera. “There are plenty of other lots either publicly or privately owned — I’m hoping this project takes it to the next level and helps us do this in other places in Downtown Phoenix.”
The Space Between is open to the public. To inquire about booking the space or for more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos courtesy of Downtown Phoenix, Inc.
We’re looking for writers who can help us tell the story of downtown Phoenix: where we came from, where we are and where we’re going. We say “we” because at DPJ, we are more than just observers of downtown. We are active participants, engaged with the people and places that make it what it is and what it will be. We are invested in and excited about the future of this vibrant, fun and ever-evolving community. In short, we love downtown Phoenix. Do you?
If you would like to help tell the story of the people and places that make downtown Phoenix great, we invite you to apply to be a contributor to DPJ. You can find the application below.
We look forward to hearing from you!
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DPJ’s Wire series delivers news and information straight from the source without translation.
Enterprise SaaS Startup Allbound to join lineup of premier tech and creative companies headquartered in Phoenix’ entrepreneurial district
Allbound, an innovative partner sales and marketing software startup founded by local entrepreneur Scott Salkin, has won six months of free office space at 111 W. Monroe. The company will share the newly renovated mid-century modern building with other entrepreneurial and innovative tenants like Uber, Cannon Design and Inspire Data Solutions. Allbound is set to open shop at The Monroe Building on July 13, where they’ll relocate their growing team to Downtown Phoenix.
“Our team is honored and thrilled to have been chosen as the winners of the Startup PHX Challenge. When you take into account the number of impressive entrepreneurs who are helping turn the Valley into a startup hotspot, it’s really humbling,” says Scott Salkin, CEO and Founder of Allbound. “We couldn’t be happier to be moving to downtown Phoenix. With ASU and UA, the light rail, more and more technology companies, and a growing entertainment and restaurant district, it’ll be great for our culture, our recruiting and our customers.”
Allbound’s software-as-a-service (SaaS0 solution helps organizations accelerate revenue growth through their partners, resellers, franchisees, brokers, agents and other indirect sales channels. The mobile-friendly platform provides unprecedented data collection and business intelligence on channel performance, allowing both manufacturers and their partners to measure performance and quickly fix shortcomings. Allbound’s cloud-based, subscription model is built to extend the power of partnerships to everyone – from startups to Fortune 500’s.
“We are excited to welcome Allbound to the Monroe community,” said Tim O’Neill, part of the ownership group behind 111 W. Monroe. “We were looking to award free office space to the startup that would benefit the most and contribute significantly in accelerating the firm to the next level. Our selection panel was thoroughly impressed by Allbound’s business plan, momentum, and early success. We are excited to be able to support their growth by welcoming the company into our hub of innovation at 111 W. Monroe and bring yet another growing business with disruptive technology to Downtown Phoenix,” he said.
Allbound will call 111 W. Monroe their new home with a fully-furnished 1,200 square foot, 12th floor office space featuring panoramic city and mountain views. In addition to six free months office space, Allbound will receive complete office furniture, provided by Goodman’s Interior Structures, another Phoenix-based company passionate about doing good and fueling growth.
“It’s these types of opportunities, provided by established leaders in our hometown business community, that mean so much to a startup’s ability to gain traction, grow and give back to the community themselves,” Salkin said.
111 W. Monroe has quickly become a leader in Phoenix’ entrepreneurial ecosystem. With additions like Allbound, it continues to attract innovative companies in emerging sectors like design, technology, and marketing—and the building wants to add even more game changing companies to the mix. The locally owned building offers a premier downtown location, first class renovations, extensive underground and street parking with valet, proximity to light rail and bike sharing, and ground-level retail amenities.
“We are excited to have Allbound join our exciting City of Phoenix entrepreneurial ecosystem,” said Phoenix City Councilman Daniel Valenzuela. “They are a wonderful addition to the growing number of transformative startups in downtown Phoenix. 111 W. Monroe’s support of the StartUp PHX Challenge is just another example of Phoenix becoming the most generous community for entrepreneurs. Innovators and entrepreneurs like Allbound are the economic engine that will drive our economy into the 21st century.”
From fireworks to pool parties to baseball to music, there are plenty of ways to celebrate the 4th of July like a true downtowner. Check out our roundup of happenings in downtown Phoenix over the Independence Day weekend, and to give it that extra local touch, you can ride light rail or bike to any of these great events!
“Independence & Music” – An Evening of Music at The Newton: Continue the Independents Week celebration with independent music from North Brother Island, Longbird, Pageant, and Teddy’s Bullet at The Newton.
First Fridays at The Heard Museum – Native + You: The theme of this month’s Native & You is “Super Kids,” where kids become “super heroes in training.” You’ll find a DJ spinning Brazilian music, Capoeira demonstrations and an artist meet & greet with Joe Hopkins.
“Order, Chaos and Everything in Between” at monOrchid: Check out the opening reception for artist Ryan J. Carey’s solo exhibition, presented by Shade Projects.
Fabulous Phoenix 4th at Steele Indian School Park: This Phoenix 4th of July tradition is celebrating its 30th year with two stages of local entertainment, vendors, kids activities and one of the largest firework displays in the southwest.
AZ Diamondbacks at Chase Field: The Diamondbacks take on the San Diego Padres at Chase Field at 6:40 p.m., but there is plenty going on before and after the game. Tailgate Games start at 5 p.m., the first 20,000 fans will receive a stars and stripes t-shirt, a pre-game ceremony will honor our military and after the game, the ballpark roof will open for a firework spectacular.
Made in the USA Rooftop Pool Party: LUSTRE Rooftop Garden at the Hotel Palomar will keep their “100 Days of Summer” series going with a patriotic pool party on July 4th and 5th. Enjoy live music, specialty cocktails, a patriotic costume contest and a great view of the Chase Field fireworks display.
Red, White, & Booze at Copper Blues: Have a delicious 4th at Copper Blues with a $20 all-American, all-you-can-eat BBQ, live music, spiked snocones and beer garden games.
Bad Cactus Brass Band at The Nash: Celebrate America at Downtown’s premiere jazz venue with the Bad Cactus Brass Band and hot dogs from Short Leash. Rumor has it the band might even head outside during the fireworks!
Funky Soul 4th at Valley Bar: Keep it cool at Valley Bar with DJ MR PHX & DJ M.Rocka’s mix of funk, soul, new soul and old school jams, then follow it up with live band Southside Soul featuring Larry Bailey.
Featured image: Jennifer Stewart/Arizona Diamondbacks