Design For A Lifetime

Good design almost always comes from good communication. Sometimes a client knows exactly what they need and our job is to execute. Other times someone brings us an idea, and we flesh it out for them. Last week, I asked Morgan, one of our incredibly talented designers here at Might & Main, to do both - with an emphasis on flesh.

Shortly after the birth of my daughter, Ramona, I knew I wanted to commemorate the experience. I'd always wanted a tattoo, but it wasn't until I met my wife and we welcomed our daughter that I knew what I wanted - both of their names, prominently placed on my forearm. I'd tossed some ideas around over the past year, but all of my ideas's just say "subconsciously influenced". 

It pays to know when your ideas are "subconsciously influenced". 

It pays to know when your ideas are "subconsciously influenced". 

At a certain point, it dawned on me, "Hey, I work with the best designers in Portland, maybe they can help me!" Being the production manager, in charge of keeping everything moving forward and on point at the agency, I squirreled a few hours away for a consultation with Morgan, our print and interactive designer. 

"So, what do you want?" she asked. 

"Ramona and Bre, on my arm, pretty big." I said.

"What style are you looking for?" she replied. 

"I don't know, it just needs to be awesome." 

Now, I should point out that I knew I wasn't making this easy on Morgan. I wanted something specific and that spoke to me, yet gave her all but nothing to go on, save the words and that it couldn't look too dated (or like Might & Main's type). A few days later Morgan came back with a four page pdf with several distinct styles.

Working through some type options.

Working through some type options.

I had always thought the design would have an ampersand for the and, but Morgan had created some really cool blocks of text that spoke to me immediately. 

The design was perfect, but the font wasn't quite there. We spent a lunch hour trolling through various fonts, and, on a whim, tried the treatment in a font called Duke (designed by James T. Edmundson). Suddenly I felt the feeling I had been waiting for - a design that looked awesome, spoke to me, looked classic but still contemporary, and wasn't the type of font you'd normally see on a tattoo. We had a winner. Morgan finished some designer odds and ends (proper kerning, alignment, and sizing), and I brought it to the amazing and talented folks at Made-Rite Tattoos, a few blocks away from our offices.

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Gemma, a friend and skilled tattooist, did a wonderful job translating the one dimensional type to my arm. I was well aware that doing a piece like this might not be the most rewarding for a tattoo artist, as it wasn't Gemma's design and was fairly exact in detail and scope. If it bored her, she didn't let it show in the slightest, and treated me with kindness, respect, and professionalism. Her skill was evident as she really took her time to get the lines, spacing, and detail picture perfect. Soon enough it was done and looking better than I could have imagined.


Overall it was a pretty unique experience to be on the client side of things at Might & Main. I can now say I fully understand what it means to work with these fine folks on both sides of a project - as a member of the team and as a client. Before this I would have raved about our skills and talent to anyone, but can now honestly say there isn't a better team to work with than the team at Might & Main. And of course, many, many thanks to Morgan and Gemma.