Who We Are

January 28, 2011

MANVIL is a small creative services firm. We do what we do because there is beauty in simplicity, and simplicity is never as simple as it sounds.

MANVIL provides graphics, photography and copywriting services for clients who prefer a hand-shake as opposed to a litany of contracts. (Although good business sense requires we take half-down upfront) We provide customers with straight forward graphics and content for all marketing and branding needs. We do everything we can to watch our client’s backs, and we believe our clients would do the same for us. If your heart isn’t in it, it ain’t worth a damn.

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Hell-somebody-Claim-FinalHuge, lousy puns are a part of the gig here. A rolling of the eyes is fairly standard, and really, taking things too seriously is something that can be tedious.

So when our fine couple here decided to get hitched, they wanted something light and easy going for their big event in Hawaii. There should be a theme, there should be some formality, but there really shouldn’t be something that might be considered “wedding formality”. Like, ‘off the shelf’, or, ‘our wedding planner said so’ formality. And the floodgates were open.

The betrothed liked orange and marine blue. They liked the idea of a central image. And the wedding was going to be in Hawaii. Go!

First, ya gotta get on a plane, and since they require a luggage tag, use that. Of course, go for old school. Real tags, with a brass punch, and a hole and a string. Just like ye olde school airlines. (Besides, it’s rad!) Drop a magnet on the back because if people are going to save the date and go to this kinda thing, it might be nice for them to think about it for a few months. (Hawaii is nice, but flying isn’t free, and neither are hotels.)

The monstera plant was a chosen favorite as well, because rad, and Diamond Head gets a placement, because Hawaii, specifically, Honolulu.

 

Hell-somebody-THE-inviteNext, the invite: A little bit formal, holding the colors, with some heartfelt nuance in the text. Put the main logo up top, make it look nice and formal-ish.

Yeah, this is the part where we’re willing to concede to fashion. Nobody needs to make the invite to a wedding look like the printer barfed toner, or the designer had a tab of acid before plundering the font store.

Legible, straight forward, and perhaps a little glam in the font. (Wives seem to like glam or this whole thing is for naught.)

Finding an appropriate envelope that is stylish yet so chic also works wonders. (They went for orange from a box store and saved hundreds)

 

Finally, if you want to hit the damned ball out of the park. Design a thank you card. Seriously, we stayed on theme and they loved it. Quirky and heartfelt, yes. The standard, hell no. It had just enough fun to make the experience enjoyable, and the folks who received them knew where, and who it came from! Good times for the whole family.

Hell-Somebody-Aloha! Will we be hired again to brainstorm something like this again… who knows, but it was a freaking blast as it happened. And the couple still takes pride in the work.

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Bacon

RibeyeI hear it often. I have since Parks and Rec hit the air. “You like bacon, and you look like Ron Swanson… ”

To be fair, I do like bacon. I like ribeyes more.

I will also concede, whoever put the left-most graphic together did a great job. They really caught Offerman’s features well. I have neither the time, nor the inclination to make myself look any better than what’s displayed.

I’ve enjoyed ribeyes longer than Offerman’s had an acting career, but he is a funny SOB, and I look forward to his next-whatever-he-does.

 

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Rusty-'15-Tee-FINSo its been a while working on a rather large side-project, and after the good work with the Ford F-150, it was time to do the annual Pacific Outrigger Canoe Club, Rusty Iron graphic.

We’ve been in a bit of a Hawaiian kick of late, and in doing so, we stuck to our hometown style and made this graphic for the race.

If you look closely, as if that’s truly possible with the image provided, the flowers are actually based on the blade end of Hawaiian canoe paddles, and the chest logo is a mirrored graphic for the logo of the race with a semi-firey notion at the top.

Pineapples are a cultural reference of welcoming, and since the race is often visited by teams that have driven some distance, we figured it was OK to show our Aloha to the visiting teams. The six “quilt” patterns are representative of the six paddlers in every OC-6 race boat.

The print is being put on a nice 100% cotton tee on a color called “Blue Dusk”. We’re pretty sure they’ll be rad. We’re looking forward to the race at Frenchman’s Bar on April 25th.

We’ll get some more recent works on here as well.

 

Rusty-2015-BOM3

 

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Ford LariatAnybody interested in trucks knows that Ford’s new F-150 has a new aluminum body on its stout metal frame. And while the aluminum body is a pretty big leap in weight loss, we at MANVIL weren’t satisfied that that was a good thing. How could the number one truck manufacturer in the world change the mix so hugely and make it work with lightweight aluminum?

Due to our close ties with Pete Wilson Stoneworks, we have a pretty good idea of the abuse real work trucks get. And the 2015 F-150 would have some serious shoes to fill for PWS small truck needs. Any rig worth its salt would have to accept the burden of the current rig, a reliable, and remarkably stout 1997 Ford F-250 king-cab long bed. The new truck would have to be comfortable, carry 3/4 of a ton of rock and aggregate, and be able to return for more all day long. And continue to do so flawlessly year after year.

We didn’t doubt that a truck the size of Ford’s F-150 was up to the task, we doubted that an aluminum bed could handle the pressure without displaying some serious wear. So we took Ford up on their ‘You Test Challenge’. We posed that the new Ford F-150 would show significant wear after a day of loading and unloading basalt stones. Ford rose to the challenge in a manner which could only befit the number one manufacturer of pickup trucks in the world. They showed up with a beautiful short bed, quad-cab Lariat XF4, a truck too good looking to call ‘work ready’. I was satisfied that the creampuff they arrived in for the quarry work would be a hulk they’d have to return to Dearborn on a trailer. I was wrong.

And then they upped the ante by making the video an international affair: a la Francaîs!

The test was as unvarnished and brutal an attack on the bed of a truck as I’ve ever seen. Loading with an excavator is not unusual in the stonemasons day at work. Unloading rock from a pickup bed with an excavator is, as I said, “An act of lunacy”.

In the out-takes, which may never air in any form, I explained aloud that if I ever came to a site and saw a man with an excavator planning on unloading my truck I’d tell him “To get the fuck away from my truck and escort him the hell off my site”. From my point of view, the test was an exercise in hamfisted showmanship. On every unload the excavator operator, who knew better, pushed the bucket down on the bed til the suspension hit the the wheel stops, and dragged the rocks out. I watched as he pushed the wall of the bed towards the cab to grab rocks, and stood by thinking of the less than kind words I’d fire off had it been my truck. As I’d compose the vitriol laced sentence in my mind, the bucket would come away from the cab and the bed would simply flex right back as if nothing had happened.

After 51 runs of this same abuse, which represented probably 6 months of Pete Wilson Stonework’s small rock runs, I can say this: The bed held up stunningly well. It was dented in spots, you would be too with some of the 80+ lb. rocks we chose to drop in it, but it was alarmingly resilient. Serious props to whoever makes Ford’s factory spray on bedliner. The dude with the excavator looked hell-bent to scrape that stuff off, and it took every amount of scraping, dragging, gouging and mechanical abuse and stuck around to do its job.

I wasn’t kidding when I said my hat was off to Ford. They abused the hell out of a gorgeous F-150 that might otherwise have lived a sedate life between the mall and the cul de sac. The Lariat finished off the challenge I gave it, shook off the slight abuse, and went up to Alaska for more punishment, still on the “You Test Challenge” roadtrip.

The 2015 Ford F-150, MANVIL approved!

 

 

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Rusty-Iron-debacleWith almost tiresome frequency, we at MANVIL admit we love design. We enjoy putting things together that are nice to look at, for us anyway. It is, however, always important to step back and look at a design with other eyes.

So when we considered putting a back-ground pattern together for a Hawaiian print we sort of focussed tight on the task at hand and we got creative.

The Pacific Outrigger Canoe race at Frenchman’s Bar was to be held Saturday April 26th, and as usual we worked the design aspect for the team. We thought we’d put together a reasonably nice shape to surround the logo and content, and we wanted to throw together some image that could be used as backfill to keep the eyes busy.

Now pattern design isn’t necessarily our strong suit, but it wont ever be if we don’t start trying to figure out how it’s done.

We took the swoopy design and threw it together with other versions of itself: forwards, backwards, inverted, melded, meshed and mal-aligned. When all was said and done, we got the image to work as a pattern, and we were kinda stoked because essentially, we’d fallen so deep in the rabbit hole of design that we were excited to get a perpetually repeating pattern the likes of which looked pretty damned good… until it underwent a second inspection… and we (and others) noticed things.

Lots of things really. Long things, saggy things, thick things, puckered things, all sorts of ‘things’ that would not be suitable to promote as a pattern for a nice Hawaiian shirt.

We ran the design up the flagpole to have it shot down in a blaze of censored glory the likes of which we had clearly not recognized. And we’re glad we were shot down.

We went from ‘pleased creatives’ to ‘skeeved-out designers of Larry Flint’s Hawaiian boudoir wallpaper collection’ in under forty minutes, and we have to admit, we’re still kinda laughing at it. The whole affair was an innocent gesture that, upon review, looks pretty much like we were some have dosed, early 70’s porn cartoonist.

So here it is. And if anybody uses this, you should possibly have your mouths washed out with soap.  ;)RI-oh-dear-ii

 

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Anne's-giftWhen the lead designer at MANVIL came across the conundrum of finding a suitable ring for his fiancé, instead of paying out to somebody to provide a design, he brought it in house. He stuck it to Jared.

Designing a wearable item requires a bit of out-of-the-box thinking. It has to meet several criteria:

1) It needs to be durable: We enjoy active, outdoor stuff and don’t want to spend time repairing dings and mars, or weeping over lost stones. The metal that was chosen was 304 stainless steel.

2) It needs to be kind of mechanical: The company is MANVIL. We love tools, and if you can’t use tools making this thing where’s the love!?

3) It should be kind of design heavy: Function/form -v- form/function… you know the drill. It has to keep our attention while building it, and if it draws a bit of attention, all the better.

4) Production needs to be somewhat challenging: A bit of sanding and grinding doesn’t hold the interest as much as a multi-dimensional design. If the designer is challenged, then he might learn something.

5) The plain yoke needs to be removable in order to switch out to the stoned yoke after the nuptials are all said and done.just ring

6) There’s one more that we can’t recall right yet.

We’ve had some choice work with a number of vendors, for any variety of fabrication work and we’ve yet to come across someone we couldn’t or wouldn’t recommend. Such is the case with Profile Laser. We provided a precise rendering of what it was we were looking for and they lit up the lasers and cut us a few choice blanks. From those blanks we ground, sanded and filed our way to the perfect fit on her finger. At that point all the joy was focussed on finding the right sized bolt, drill bit and tap to affix the yoke.

The process itself was illuminating, and it should be mentioned that it was not some simple walk in the park. As with anything done for the first, second, third, fourth and ultimately fifth time, choice words were spoken, blood was spilled, and there were more than one or two self-imposed time outs given. Lessons range from: “carbide drill bits are vastly superior to black metal bits” to “hole tapping surfaces must be lubricated constantly and held on a set base, not by hand” to “brass screws can’t handle the torque of a long screw driver”.

The base is sand blasted, the yoke is polished to a high shine, the bolts are the eighth purchased and there is not one complaint about the effort it took. Because she accepted it with graciousness and love, and in doing so, WE stuck it to Jared.

The ring

 

 

 

 

 

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MANVIL: Keep shoveling

February 13, 2014

Beaten2At MANVIL, we’ve not gotten into graphics because it’s easy.

We love making original graphics. Seeing the finished product of design come to fruition, when done right, is a feeling somewhat akin to child-birth for us. We’re thankful for great vendors big and small, and we’re thrilled for great clients, we’re also very thankful to the folks on the sidelines who appreciate our efforts.

In the last few weeks any number of cities in the US have been muffled with a blanket of snow. When that weather came to Portland last week Friday, we at MANVIL were supposed to be at an event called SWACCESS. We were supposed to be getting into the start-up spirit, and we had just finished getting all of the SWAG together. Braille embossed bottles, and braille embossed tees. No, they’re not necessarily rocket science, but great looking gear none-the-less. And just making the attempt to include blind folks in the ownership of graphic tees seems worthwhile.

As we left the tee printers office (OSI) with a still-dryer-warm box of tees, the snow began to fall in Portland. As anyone who uses a powered chair to commute can tell you, snow accumulation ends outdoor wheelchair travel. It also hampers mass-transit, along with all other traffic, and it strains the skill sets of guide dogs. Essentially, truly foul weather put the kibosh on our Access oriented gathering… and we were all bummed to hear it.

It was, however, the only option with the weather at hand.

SWACCESS will happen, the bottles and tees will keep, it just can’t happen with 4+ inches of snow on the ground.

In a display of the true fickle nature of Portland’s weather, the snow has all melted, the streets are all clear, and the sun is out. It’s currently 48′. We didn’t even have the chance to dig out.

So here’s what we at MANVIL threw together as a tribute to the efforts put together so far.

You can rarely do something you love and believe in without taking a few lumps. Get beyond them, and keep moving forward. It’s worth it.

 

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SWA Bot Ext Detail Sml As if the shirts weren’t fun enough to put together for SWACCESS, the other part of the job was SWAG. As opposed to the magnets, stickers, bags, and zip drives, we got together with Liberty Bottleworks and they KNOCKED IT OUT OF THE FREAKING PARK!

 

No words will do these bottles justice. Enjoy and think about the huge level of win these things are. Braille, Embossed, colorful, with a killer design and made in the PAC NORWEST.

 

Way to go Liberty!

SWA Bot ctr sml SWA Bot side 2 sml SWA Bot side det sml SWA Bot vert det 2 sml

 

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SWA tee full back sml SWA Tee back sml SWA Tee close smlAt MANVIL, we do shirts a lot, but when it came to producing a braille functional shirt, we knew this was something kinda special. Sometimes we go overboard explaining stuff, this time not so much.

Here it is: The SWACCESS event SWAG tee… with braille:SWA Bot side 2 SWA Bot side det SWA Bot ctrSWA Bot Ext Detail

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SWACCESS-BOM-2.0When MANVIL was asked to consult with Startup Weekend to do the graphics for Startup Weekend Access, we knew that we were in for a great education. To get a graphic designer to consider designs that might function well for all folks including the blind kinda takes a designer out of his/her element.

We at MANVIL are used to a realm where the visual does the talking, and we love that, but working with a program that is all inclusive requires a little more effort. We really liked the work ViewPlus put together for the SWACCESS event flyer. Tangible graphics aren’t necessarily the norm. (look in any magazine, can you feel the image?)

The SWACCESS flyer graphic tells all the pertinent information upfront graphically, while the braille tells the story to those who can’t see it. Added embossing, an idea brought about by the abilities of the ViewPlus printer, let those who are sight impaired feel more of the image. Tangible graphics aren’t something too over the top, but using them forces other designers to consider future possibilities.

Since MANVIL took on the SWACCESS project as the consultants for marketing, we wanted to make promotional tees that included braille in their production as well. We were aided in this endeavor through the helpful staff at Portland based Incight.org, a resource for the disabled to reach self-empowerment.

With no set guidelines for tee design for the blind, we asked those who are visually impaired “what would be a functional placement for braille communications on a tee shirt?”  We need to note that the braille communications cannot be placed on the front of a tee, for obvious reasons. (Think about it, nobody wants anybody “reading” their chest or tummy for messages, even if they are kind words) The left shoulder, one inch across from the arm seam and three inches down from the shoulder seam. That’s where the message should start.

Braille has a set font size, so the words “Pitch. Build. Enable. Launch!” takes up a whole 7.25 inches across when printing, and it needs to be printed in a density that can be felt, with an ink that lasts more than just a few washes. We’re working on the tests with our vendor OSI as this is being written, so once we get the product production ready, we’ll update the blog and let you know how it looks.

PS: As we write this, we’re considering heavily whether a tee shirt, which is really rather ill-suited for those with limited flexibility to get something “over their heads”, is the right way to go. Although more expensive, and somewhat less ‘a give-away item’, a zipped-front hoodie might be more suitable for those with physical impairments. We’ll try to push the hoodie as the apparel item of choice. (Mgt.)

 

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Tue
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Wed
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Thu
88°F
61°F
Clear Skies
Portland
United States
Wind: 10mph NNW
Humidity: 67%

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