When I was taught color theory, I was taught about additive and subtractive models. In either case, all colors when combined become a single color, white or shades of brown. When I was taught letterpress, I was shown how to blend inks to create any color I could imagine by understanding how each of them reflected or absorbed light. I've never stopped seeing how this is a metaphor for humanity.
When I learned the rules of branding, I was told they had to be one color, and that this was because certain production media were single-color processes. I was told I couldn’t have a seven-color brand. When I was taught letterpress, I was show how to break the rules and create multiple colors in a single-color medium using a rainbow roll and overprinting methods.
Question: If all colors when combined become one color, why can’t I represent all the colors to communicate the need for a spectrum of identity?
When I was taught type design, I was taught finely tuned typographic pairings, and the intentional selection of each typeface to communicate clearly and consistently. When I was taught letterpress, I was told of the history of Hellbox or mixed-letter typography that breaks convention, but makes for visually complex typography, it also uses what you have in the shop to get your point across.
Question: If hellbox is a traditional, imperfect, nuanced expression of typography, what if I used it to express a diversity of perspective coming together to form a shared idea from imperfect individuals?
When I was taught design, I was told it’s not art, it’s creative business. Art is subjective, design is an objective service. When I was taught letterpress, I learned design is a thought process that can be applied to a variety of creative methods such as printmaking to create beauty, art, awareness, and cultural impact. I learned that the printing press has been at the heart of human-liberation movements since Martin Luther used it to stand against the Catholic Church.
When I was taught design, I learned a lot of rules. When I was taught letterpress, I was taught why they existed and how to break them.
I look around in my professional landscape and I see the same muted colors all talking to me about social change. All following a convention of brand thought. All perpetuating the same rules for graphic design handed down from the legendary white men who defined the craft to aid capitalist objectives, and perpetuate the social oppression we most want to dismantle today. I resist the notion that the complexity of the human experience can be narrowed down to a single color, or single typeface. When I started Lenspeace I felt the pressure to fit in. I used my key color of Lenspeace blue or gray to color everything with the rainbow as an accent. White American culture has a way of stripping all the life, flavor, and color out of our lived experience in its quest for sameness. Why is it that as soon as western capitalism touches something it strips the essential humanity from it first to create a monoculture?
Rainbows are the result of imperfections. A symbol of hope, of the worst being behind us, of heart-centeredness, luck, abundance, new futures, and diversity and inclusion. It's everything I stand for. Everything Lenspeace stands for. It’s a new me and new studio practice. As someone with an actual printing press who was told it couldn't be used this way, I am going to do what I do best, do it anyway. So with my brand refresh, I am declaring rainbows on everything! I am a damn rainbow and so are all of you.
Also, I’m a free agent. In every essence of the word, no one owns me. I’m an independent consulting strategist & designer for hire. I facilitate discussions around how friggin’ hard it is to be a creative human in our current world, and how we can help each other do that better. Accessing that part of our heart that still believes in a world that cares, and is willing to change to make it that way for real. Lenspeace is about shining a light and a spectrum of perspective—metaphorically represented with the rainbow and letterpress—into the dark corners of systemic constructs and inherited bad ideas that keep us from the humanity we desperately crave.
I’m not here to fit in, make you comfortable, or subscribe to existing rules. I’m here to redefine them, alongside new methods of creativity that foster socially sustainable solutions. I’m here to hold space while we wrap our heads around how challenging the problems we collectively face are.
My brand re-fresh says all of this and more in every conceptual detail of its creation. Haters can go ahead and hate the branding rules I may or may not be breaking. I send y'all hearts, stars, rainbows and unicorns full of love.
I honor tradition, I break with convention, because change should actually look and feel different than what we’re used to.