During high school, I had a problem: My parents didn't give me an allowance, but I wanted spending money. In response, I devised a novel solution. My friend Richard and I had been making websites since middle school, and apparently that was a marketable skill. Thus, in 2009 I recruited him to start BWC Productions, a web, graphic, and business development firm.
Our little allowance-earning side job took off, and I quickly learned to wear many hats—designer, developer, product manager, account manager, contract writer, and more. While Richard specialized in corporate-centric areas like spreadsheets and databases, I leaned more towards user-centric functionalities like design, frontend development, requirement/feature definition, and marketing.
One of the most memorable projects I led early on at BWC was developing an identity for Nomadic Ground, a San Francisco company that delivered both coffee and podcasted stories. To encapsulate this unique purpose, I crafted graphical elements representing mobility, coffee, and storytelling, using colors, imagery, and typography to invoke, in the client's words, "a liberal bent".
While my deliverables included website and logo designs, Nomadic Ground's proprietor also had me design his coffee bags—and ended up personally mailing me one to enjoy (see pictures above). Therefore, with this project, I literally tasted the fruits of my labor!
For more of what I've worked on at BWC, feel free to take a look at our portfolio, though I'll admit it's a bit outdated since these days a) I am too lazy to update our corporate site and b) we tend to get clients who like NDAs.
During the summer of 2012, I embarked on an effort to completely revamp the BWC brand. Our previous identity was rather whimsical, and I felt that it was essential to professionalize our image in order to move up the value chain and expand our client base. At the same time, I wanted to maintain a sense of tradition—BWC's name is an homage to "Black and White Cow", an entertainment site I created in middle school—and friendliness in whatever new designs I created.
To that end, "Black and White Cow" became the seed of BWC's new brand. Given its psychological associations with sophistication, black was a natural base for our new color palette. White and select shades of gray built off that foundation, and hints of dark red added accents as needed. Keeping our bovine tradition in mind, a stylized cow profile became our logo.
Then came time to apply these elements across multiple mediums. Along with a new corporate website, I designed business cards, letterheads, marketing materials, and internal publication templates based on our new brand.
First impressions count, and our new brand identity helped make ours even sharper when I created a client pitchbook in early 2013. The pitchbook was made from scratch: I InDesigned its layout, wrote its copy, and even stuck in some of my own photography.
You can take a look at it here:
Thanks to BWC, I've had the opportunity to work with a diverse array of clients including the Stanford Graduate School of Education and United Nations Academic Impact. BWC also gave me the chance to lead a dedicated team of associates, subcontractors, and, at one point, interns. Because of BWC, I’ve met people from Australia, Canada, and the UK—once we even had a lead find us through a postcard I jokingly left in the British Library.
With that said, I think it’s fair to say that BWC was more than just supplementary income—it was a laboratory for my passions.