04/03/15 By:

Silver and Gold


Its that time of year again… Award Season.

Once again, AAF Akron treated the Akron creative community to an evening of good food, great company and well-deserved kudos for all of the amazing work that was produced over the last year.

As always, we are proud to be included in such a talented group of agencies and individuals. Each year the bar is raised with new and outrageous ideas, innovative design concepts and flawless execution. 427 Design is excited to have been awarded four Akron ADDYs this year, one of which has gone on to win a Silver District ADDY Award.

Thanks again to all of our clients, vendors, partners and fellow agencies for playing your part in keeping the Akron creative community thriving.

2015 Akron ADDY Awards – Gold: 

Nightlight Theater Opening Night Poster
Client: Nightlight Theater

Open House 8 Invitation
Client: 427 Design

2015 Akron ADDY Awards – Silver: 

Open House 8 Poster
Client: 427 Design

2015 Akron ADDY Awards – Judges Choice: 

Nightlight Theater Opening Night Poster
Client: Nightlight Theater

06/15/14 By:

Get to Know: Kaitlin Meme (Pronounced: \ˈmē-mē\)

427 Design officially has its own Meme!

Not this kind of meme…


 This kind of Meme…


Tell us a little bit about you. Where did you grow up, your childhood memories, ya know, the early years. 

I grew up in the Cleveland area… I was pretty shy, quiet child, but definitely kept myself entertained by making things or playing outside. One of my fondest childhood memories was when my grandpa came to pick me up on a snow day in his convertible with the top down and heat as high as it could go. 

So you just graduated, huh? Tell us about that… 

It was weird, exciting, and bittersweet all at once. (Most people think I’ve only just graduated high school.) I graduated with a BFA in Visual Communication Design from The University of Dayton Forever a Flyer! I received the Mary Ann Dunsky Award for Scholarship in the Visual Arts, Outstanding Senior in the Visual Arts, two Silver ADDYs, and a Bronze ADDY award over the past two years!

Well, well, well, Fancy Pants… BRAG MUCH?!

So your last name is Meme, which we are super excited about (clearly). Do you have a favorite meme (and we’re not asking you to choose between your family members)?

Personally, I think I should be credited with the invention of memes, though my life hasn’t changed too drastically since they’ve gone mainstream. Sadly, everyone thinks my name is pronounced this way, though. Surprisingly, I’m not an avid meme user, but I am fond of the “Oh Crap” meme, just because the drawing is so hilariously ugly. 

Three words to describe you:

Determined. Positive. Thoughtful.

Favorite Quote:

“You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” — Winnie the Pooh

What’s on your iPod?

Twenty One Pilots, The Format, Eric Hutchinson, Regina Spektor, Paramore…

You beat out thousands of intern candidates last year. And after that grueling experience, you’re back?

Somehow you crazy people lured me back. No, but for real, I love it here, and am amazed by the quality of work and amount of fun that can be had while doing it.

But seriously, you’re regretting not taking that job in Cincitucky aren’t you? 

What was your first impression of 427 Design?

I was scared of Justin.

Everyone says that. Get it together, Tokos. 

What do you hope to have accomplished in five years? Ten?

I hope to have played a crucial part in some sort of big award winning project.

Stick with us, kid…

And maybe even give a cool presentation or talk at a convention or something to inspire students in the field. Who knows!

 If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

It would definitely be bilocation… one of me could be at work and another one of me could be ANYWHERE.

Favorite word?


Least favorite word?

Fabulous. It’s just annoying.

What sound do you love?

Cellos… I could listen to someone play all day.

What sound do you hate?

Clocks that tick loudly…they make me crazy.

What is your favorite curse word?

“Shit” is usually what comes out of my mouth when I’m messing things up so…that’s what I’m going with.

If heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the pearly gates?

“Ya done good,” accompanied by a high five, or something to that extent.

What inspires you, and why?

Nature/the outdoors…there’s always something beautiful to see, and it helps clear my mind.






05/13/14 By:

Get to Know: Yana Hartzler


Tell us a little bit about your background.

Well, I was born on the coast of the Black Sea in wonderful Ukraine. When I was six, my family moved to Cleveland and that’s where I’ve been ever since. I was a quiet child, my parents told everyone I was very shy. But I wasn’t shy at all, I just preferred to be quiet. One of my fondest memories as a child was running and hiding from Gypsies that apparently kidnapped children.

Three words to describe you:

Determined. Jumpy. Reserved.

427 Design isn’t the place for a jumpy intern. We have a thing for scaring the bejeezuz out of people. With air horns, for example. 

Favorite Quote:

“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”
– Oscar Wilde

What’s on your iPod?

A mixture of Folk Indie, sadly no techno or polka.

So, what brings you to 427 Design?

Justin Tokos

You really still showed up after you met Justin Tokos? 

What was your first impression of 427 Design?


What do you hope to have accomplished in five years? Ten?

In ten years I hope to move to Belgium.

Because beer… and waffles. We totally get it. 

If you could have a superpower, what would it be?

The ability to have all superpowers.

That’s selfish, dontcha think. Save some superpowers for the rest of us. Sheesh. 

Favorite word?  

Screen Shot 2014-05-13 at 9.40.21 AM


Uh, ok.

Least favorite word?  


What is something that no one would ever believe to be true about you?

When I was fifteen I went to Africa with a group of strangers for a month.  I was so terrified that I didn’t sleep for three days.

So that was more terrifying than working here? 

What inspires you, and why?

Everything, especially nature.

What fictional character do you most closely identify with?


“Yana, Yana, let down your hair, so that we may climb the golden stair”. This works out well since the elevator is basically a death trap. 

04/22/14 By:

Open House 8 is Almost Here!


The design game continues to be an incredible journey for 427 Design.

For those of you who have been Breaking Bread with us from the very beginning, you understand that Building Creative Unions and establishing One Fun House has been the foundation of our business. We have led the Fight Against the Ugliness for eight years, and shared our office space with some Out-of-This-World talent. We think we’ve done a pretty good job at Leaving Our Mark on This Town and it sure isn’t by some stroke of Luck that we’ve made it this far.

Now we’re One-Upping Our Game, yet again, and we invite you to join us at the eighth annual 427 Design Open House on Friday, April 25th at 4:27 pm!

Take a walk with us through the first seven epic Open House celebrations as we look back at all that we have accomplished and look ahead to all that is in store.

RSVP here to start playing!

04/08/14 By:

“There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy and the tired.” —Nick Carraway (The Great Gatsby)

Screen Shot 2014-04-01 at 4.20.11 PM

There’s an old adage that the Shoemaker’s children always go barefoot. The best description I read was, “a skilled or knowledgeable person commonly neglects to give his own family the benefit of his expertise.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. 

Its a common problem in this industry. We create  brands and identities for outstanding companies, concept and design multi-media marketing campaigns, develop cutting-edge websites, and write content for a variety of mediums… like blogs… for our clients every day. 

Its what we do.
Its what we love.
Its what we’re good at.
Its also why we’re barefoot.
(Or at least why its taken over a month to draft a blog post of our own.)

Its a Catch 22 really. You see, we have these clients. Really great clients. And we’re lucky enough to collaborate on some really great projects through the year. And as your parents always told you, hard work pays off. In this case, it paid off in the form of another award-winning season for 427 Design. 

Screen Shot 2014-03-28 at 4.18.57 PM

Thank you to the members of the Akron Ad Federation for organizing such an amazing event, and congratulations to all of the winners of the evening! We are proud to rub elbows with such incredible talent. We feel so honored to be recognized by our peers, and to have been the winningest agency in Akron at the 2014 ADDY Awards.

Bringing home a total of eight Akron ADDY Awards, a Judge’s Choice Award and a Best in Printing Award from the Great Gatsby-themed event hosted at the beautiful Akron Civic Theater turns out to be just the beginning for our team. Three pieces have gone on to win Regional Gold ADDY Awards and will compete at the national level. This is the fourth time 427 Design will have work recognized at the National ADDY competition, something we are incredibly proud of.

Its a testament to the collaboration and trust of our clients, the vision and talent of our team and the collective creativity of the greater community. We are proud to call, sort of sunny, Akron our home. And we are looking forward to what the future brings for 427 Design here. Stay tuned for updates as we make another run for a National ADDY Award! 

2014 Akron ADDY Awards – Gold: 

The Bomb Shelter Poster
Client: The Bomb Shelter

Cloud Nine Cupcakes Logo
Client: Cloud Nine Cupcakes

Padua Franciscan High School Admissions Campaign
Client: Padua Franciscan High School

427 Design Open House VII Campaign

2104 Akron ADDYs – Silver

Diversified Disaster Recovery Video
Client: Diversified Digital

Fontoween Poster
Client: Myers School of Art, University of Akron

427 Design Thank You Cards

427 Design Open House VII Poster

(Click to view the pieces or visit our clients’ websites)


Get to Know 427 Design: New Years Edition



I resolve not to make New Years resolutions. I think it sets me up for failure from the start. I guess I just set my mind to want to make each year the best that I can. To try new things, to work hard, to spend quality time with the people that I love, to learn from all that has happened in the previous year and to grow in the new one. And I think as the years pass, I have done just that.


I made a New Years Resolution to never make NYE Resolutions again, and it’s worked out really well. 


Yes, I always want the New Year to be better than the last. This coming year I want to complete a sprint triathlon and do another death-defying backpack or climbing trip with my son.


I don’t believe I’ve ever made one. If I did…I’ve forgotten about it.


I don’t make New Year’s resolutions. I tried once. It was to stop eating so much junk food, and well…yeah.


No, and so, no.


Never made a resolution I can remember. I’m too cynical. Always seemed like a dumb reason to do something I should already be doing. 



Get to Know 427 Design: Gift Exchange Edition



Joe. He shares in my love of craft beer. So maybe there’s a mix-a-six in my future.


I hope it was Joe, because I think he’d ask Allie what to do. 


Kevin…because he knows nothing about me.


Brad. It would probably be the least ridiculous and I could really use a kettle bell set at home.


I know whoever pulled my name will get me something I will love and cherish, so I can’t say it matters who actually did.


Either Paul or Andrea, because he probably knows me best, and she would get me some good beer.


Kevin, because it’s his last shot at redemption.


I hope Paul gets me a gift because we are besties and we are going to Dave & Busters after work to hang out and play games and drink beers. I feel so fortunate to have a great friend like him!!! He loves me. 

Get to Know 427 Design: Christmas Movie Edition




Elf has always been my favorite. Why? Well, I don’t really think this requires much of an explanation. Will Ferrell…in a giant elf costume. “The best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear!” However, I have a three-year-old and have recently been introduced to the Polar Express. So I guess that snuggling on the couch with my little nugget has probably made that my new favorite Christmas movie.



I love the movie How the Grinch Stole Christmas. It’s always been a tradition between my sisters and I to watch that movie the night before Christmas.



It’s a Wonderful Life and Christmas Vacation.  It’s a Wonderful Life because it’s charming and Mr. Potter is a hero to us all.  Christmas Vacation because, well… “shitter’s full”. 


Love Christmas Vacation…especially the cat chewing on the lights scene! Most of those who are closest to me will understand why.


Die HardDie Hard is a Christmas classic.  They tried to recreate the magic in Die Hard 2: Die Harder, but it pales in comparison to the original.


Home Alone (and Home Alone 2). I don’t think I need to explain why.


I’ve got to go with the classic A Christmas Story, but I also have a soft spot for those stop motion Rankin/Bass films from the 60’s. Who doesn’t love “The Bumble”? 


I don’t like Christmas movies.


Get To Know 427 Design: Christmas Gifts Editon



When I was about 8, my sisters and I opened a box that just had a key in it and were told to go look out back. When we went to check, there was a four-wheeler sitting on the deck!


Probably the Ghostbusters Fire House. It was like the crown jewel of playsets, and provided me countless years of action figure mayhem. I think that came out in ‘87, which makes me three years old at the time. It was probably just as tall as I was.




I guess the best Christmas gift has to be the only one I can remember right? I was 10. All my brothers and sisters had bikes of their own. I walked downstairs Christmas morning and BAM… Awesome Huffy 5-Speed bike with a speedometer and the gear shifter in the center of the handlebars. I still have it today actually.


Boy, that’s a tough one. So many great ones through the years. I’m going to have to say the one I haven’t received yet… My son Bryan, daughter Erin and wife Jamie are getting me hooked up with a really sweet Trek Domane 4 Series bike. It really pays to know people in high places (Bryan is an industrial designer for Trek.)


It was Christmas 1992. I was six and we spent Christmas morning in Ohio with my Grandma before driving nine hours home to New Jersey. Despite having already opened presents at Grandma’s, when we got home there were gifts aplenty under the tree. Highlights included the Crash Test Dummies Crash Test Center, which provided 101 ways to kill Crash Test Dummies, and a Creepy Crawlers machine. Probably the best Christmas ever.



When I was in sixth grade I wanted a Yo! MTV Raps leather jacket (don’t ask questions). I was certain it was my ticket to eternal, epic coolness. And sure enough, my parents totally bought it for me for Christmas. Then, tragedy struck. Before you could say “Downtown Julie Brown”, my aunt told my clueless, suburban, not-so-music-minded parents that Yo! MTV Raps was a rap/hip hop music show (evidently the name wasn’t telling) and they promptly returned it for something they deemed more “age appropriate”. Worst. Christmas. Ever.


BEST CHRISTMAS GIFT?!  Yeesh.  Hard one. I’ve been really lucky. So many people in my life have really paid attention the little things that make me… well, ME. so picking one gift out of so many awesome gestures is impossible.  From my mom and dad getting me my first set of tools which helped me with countless little projects… to my best friends giving me paintings they made, or drawings they created… to people giving me a really great song they think I might never have otherwise heard.  All of those things sort of just became a part of who I am. Those were, and I guess always will be, the best gifts I could ever get.  

NOW.  BEST GIFT GIVER?!  Man, that’s  Alexandra Charitan.  This is a person that I SWEAR thinks about Christmas ALL YEAR. And has to be, by far, the most endearing, thoughtful person at Christmas I’ve ever met. Every Christmas detail is always perfect and genuine. And I can’t not think about how awesome someone with that much heart makes christmas that much better.  Or. Worse, if you think of it as a competition, because you lose. 


Nacho cheese. Two years ago, my mom wrapped up little packs of nacho cheese because I didn’t have very many presents that year and she wanted to get me multiple things. So she found them and thought they were cute. And I don’t even really like nacho cheese, so it was pretty random. I told her this year not to wrap up any food items. Its always a disappointment to get food. 

Rebranding the Bruin


This summer, the 427 Design team was tasked with giving the Padua Franciscan High School mascot a fierce facelift. When designing the new athletic logo, a lot had to be taken into account. He needed to be representative of the staff and student body of Padua Franciscan; positive, strong and respectable. The new Bruin would require balance, should be stern and intimidating, yet not vicious or violent.

Oftentimes when a high school logo is developed, inspiration is drawn from college and/or professional team logos. But we feel that athletic teams at the high school level also deserve a strong and original logo. So we set out to deliver a great product without borrowing from an existing design. Padua Franciscan High School already stands out in so many ways, so the goal was to create a rebirth of the Bruin that would stand out in a sea of generic team logos. This logo would need to embody all that Padua stood for on and off the field or court.

Putting Pencil to Paper

In these initial sketches the bear was just starting to take shape. What started as a minor update to the existing logo (bottom right), quickly developed into a complete overhaul. While nearly four dozen different concepts were developed through this process, this small grouping shows the progression and various secondary logo ideas; essentially depicting the Bruin in every angle and mood imaginable. The top two are the genesis of what would become the final logo.


Once we settled on the front facing Bruin as the main logo, work began trying to find the right style. The challenge with a front facing bear is the angle of the face, it could easily look too much like a lion or wolf depending on the brow and muzzle placement. We started with an open roaring mouth concept, but it proved to be far too aggressive. 

As you can see below, subtle changes through the various revisions make for significant changes overall.

The Life Cycle of the Bruin Rebranding

  1. A straight vector version of the initial top left sketch.
  2. A secondary concept featuring an open “roaring” mouth that was agreed to be a little too aggressive. 
  3. A variation of the use of half-light/half-shadow approach. 
  4. A variation of 3 but with a center light source, showing that when compared to the next version, how dropping the muzzle slightly can change his personality entirely
  5. Another variation in muzzle placement, as well as color usage.
  6. This was stage in which the look started to click with the whole team as a final concept. 
  7. Narrowing of the face and facial features to give him a lean and mean presence. Aiming for a rounder appearance rather than a heart shaped one previously depicted. 
  8. A minor adjustment to his “beard” and enlarging his facial features and Viola! 


From one logo concept comes three variations of the Padua Athletics brand. It is important to have a tight design where the various elements can stand alone, and be just as recognizable as they are when they are presented all together. This gives the new Padua Franciscan High School athletic logo the versatility and originality that sets it apart from other athletic logos. The Bruin head can stand alone, as can the Padua Franciscan Bruins word mark. And then, the shield marries the imagery and the name together for a complete logo. 

bruins-4In the end, we are really proud of the final product. The new logo strikes a great balance of meeting all the goals and objectives of the project. More to come on the next phase of the Bruin logo, as we develop additional angles and positioning.