All Posts in Denver

August 3, 2022 - No Comments!

Reading The Waves

Learning from a master is faster

La Paz letters along the beach

Four thin textbooks arrived in a blue drawstring bag in December, our reading assignment prior to boarding a 42-foot catamaran. In late April, we were to set sail from the port just outside of La Paz, Mexico. Reading one book per month couldn’t be so bad, right? By the time we set foot on the Fountaine Pajot, however, we’d made our way through just one and a half.

Learning the sailing terms was like another language, but without the benefit of a good reference for decoding, like my French gives me clues to understanding Spanish or Italian. There was little other than colloquialisms—it took the wind out of my sails, learning the ropes, he was three sheets to the wind—as hints. I was clueless about clews, goosenecks, halyards, and shrouds. Slogging through the first book twice and quizzing myself until I could earn an honest B was the best I could hope for. It would be easier once I was on the boat, I assured myself.

The first step, after meeting our captain Troy Mills of Nautilus Sailing and additional newbie crew, was to learn about the boat’s features and functions—opening lockers, inventorying cushions, locating fire extinguishers, and counting personal flotation devices (PFDs). We learned about provisioning, the heads (and their touchy waste system), navigation devices, desalination tanks, and engines. The purpose of the first lesson was to know the boat, but also to accept that each of us would depend on the combined knowledge and actions of the captain and entire crew on this journey. Our craft was white, sleek, and stable, and would carry us out to sea without any communication from the outside world. Sheer bliss.

“Each of us would depend on the combined knowledge and actions of the captain and entire crew”

Sea Life

We slept aboard and floated off the dock the next morning with green buoys drifting by. Our six night live-aboard adventure to learn and earn our captain certifications was underway. Two young humpback whales—one flashing its tail, the other keeping a low, sleek profile—escorted us into the Sea of Cortez, “the world’s aquarium.” The waves were soft and sea turtles the size of manhole covers floated alongside us. A pod of partying dolphins met us as we rounded a small island, swimming fast along our twin-hulls and surfacing in graceful arches.

With nightfall came more lessons: How the right anchorage site could shelter us from shifting winds and surf so we could sleep without the risk of heavy rocking or swinging into another boat. Captain Troy could see things we couldn’t. Given his years of experience, he could quickly calculate how rough a sea we were likely to encounter by reading the waves’ amplitude and direction and feeling the wind on his face. He explained how to account for the tides with our timing on and off anchor. Why the boat was built with redundancies—from dual engines to anchor lights and alarms—to prevent a pan-pan or mayday call. How to troubleshoot using an if this, then perhaps this metric. How clear communication among the captain and crew supports good decision-making. 

We learned pragmatic rules to sail by and sayings with deeper purpose, including Captain Troy Mill’s salty favorite “A boat shrinks an inch per day,” a nice way of saying keep your stuff stowed or your shipmates will want to deposit you on one of the five uninhabited islands on our journey. Everything in its place can truly prove lifesaving should the weather turn abruptly—tools stored, sheets flaked, and phones far away from a wet sink. When sailing, thinking through everything that could possibly happen and taking preemptive action prior is key. After the first day, it became clear that this week of lessons was just the beginning and there was a lifetime of learning to become an accomplished sailor. As the sun set on our first night at sea, eagle rays leaped along the pink horizon and pelicans settled into our inlet as night patrol. Fair winds and following seas. —Helen

Continue reading: Permission to come aboard?

  • Photos by captain and crew of the journey, Helen, Karl, Troy, Rachel and David.

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June 20, 2017 - 1 comment.

Tennis, Anyone?

With Colorado’s tennis league season in full swing and Wimbledon approaching on July 3, there’s no better time to celebrate our favorite sport here at EnZed Design.

We’re hard at work on a brand refresh for the 2017 Colorado State Open, our state’s most prestigious and well-attended tennis tournament. (We had the pleasure of rebranding the tournament entirely in 2016, which you can see here.) Adding animation to our repertoire, we’ve created a video teaser to bring the dynamic motion of tennis to the tournament’s vibrant brand. Watch the video below.

Mark your calendar for September 15–24, 2017 to catch the action and see our work on display. In the meantime, check out another tennis branding project, TennisAdvisor, whose logo represents the converging of coaching, the game, and the junior player.

June 1, 2017 - No Comments!

Catching the Conversation

Strike up a casual conversation with a stranger and you may well find you share a good friend or favorite experience. Kismet? Coincidence? We’re not sure, but we do know that same, wonderful connection often happens in design. Gather a team of designers, writers and clients for a brainstorming session and they naturally bring diverse backgrounds and perspectives to the table. The result is a far richer journey into the communication challenge.

Last summer EnZed Design welcomed a new talent to our team. Peter Williams was a recent design school graduate with a keen eye for iconography and a keen ear for syncopation. Adding his skills to our bag of tricks, we initiated an in-house project to experiment with audio and animation media. Some of you have met Peter in person or via email, but for those who haven’t yet, here’s your opportunity.

We sat down together to chat about design, our other interests and life experiences and how they intersect. Take a listen.

Tracking Thoughts Episode 1: Match & Mix was produced by EnZed Design with music and animation by Peter Williams. View Peter's video described in the interview.

Where do your passions intersect? Please comment below. We’d love to hear your story.

November 12, 2015 - 8 comments

A Creative Collective

Summer of 2015 was a busy season, so busy we are blogging about it in November! EnZed Design hired Ligia Teodosiu, designer and talented illustrator, Helen finished her term as president of AIGA Colorado, and we moved to a new beautiful space at 2626 West 32nd Avenue, just around the corner from the old Tejon location. The new studio is a store front in a small shopping district surrounded by stately Victorian homes and refurbished bungalows as well as restaurants, coffee shops and small boutiques. And lest we forget, the North High School tennis courts are just steps away.

Helen and Ligia are enjoying the company of several creative firms, the same crew from before. Two digital designers—Matt Crest of ACL Software and Chris Arnold of Authentic Form & Function—and two print experts—Jason Wedekind of Genghis Kern and Maura Gauthier of The Paper Guppy—are the primary office mates. There are currently 6 more desks available for other creatives to add to the buzz.

The Furniture Creative Coworking space came about a dream realized by Jason Wedekind to have his letterpress shop under the same roof as his design studio. (If you’re wondering about the Furniture reference, it’s a letterpress term.) When the space came up for rent, he pounced and the renovation began. The new space is has lots of natural light, high ceilings and an open floor plan with designer touches throughout. There’s a private conference room with sliding steel framed walls, a phone booth room with a wall that glows blue when in use, and a sizable kitchen with a garage door in lieu of plate glass window in the back. Jason’s contractor, Sam Brown, salvaged ceiling planks to cover divider walls and built custom 10-foot steel doors for the press room. Wood floors, exposed brick, white walls and stripes of steel lighting give the place an airy open feel with edgy industrial finishes.

Although the LoHi neighborhood is constantly changing, this area is more settled with established store owners flanking the studio. There is lots of street parking on 32nd and the side streets. Look for the original big blue “Denver Fine Furniture” sign.

We hope you’ll come for a visit and explore LoHi a little, too.

 

July 2, 2014 - No Comments!

High Tea and High Fives

Aspire awards brown palace hotel denver, Helen Young

On a sunny Sunday afternoon in June, the ladies and I gathered at the Brown Palace for high tea. We had our pretty summer dresses on and arrived to a room filled with roughly 200 gorgeous people looking freshly scrubbed and happy. Our plates were ready, full of adorable tiny sandwiches and sweet petit fours. The tiny purple macaroon immediately caught my eye, topped with a blackberry and a little gold leaf garnish. I was saving that one for last.

“I want to nominate you for the Aspire award and I need a bit of information to complete the entry.” my accountant, Beth Ann Bethel, had told me a month before. I’d seen the promotional email from my financial advisor, Laura Rumans, a few weeks prior. Trilogy Financial Services was planning Aspire: Celebrating Denver’s Women of Distinction. The award recognized women with four key qualities — ambition, perseverance, humility, and influence. I liked those adjectives, but breezed passed it trying to get control of my inbox.

A few weeks later, I discovered I was a finalist — one of six women to be honored at the awards ceremony. It was a lovely event. Nick Richtsmeier of Trilogy served as emcee and introduced the keynote Pui Kalyanamitra to kick things off with an entertaining story about her mother’s ambition to provide opportunity for her girls in a freer society. The program continued with three women from different backgrounds sharing their stories about building a business, overcoming obstacles and challenges, opportunities earned, lessons learned, and work-life balance. Each story was unique and had a memorable message or outcome. Then Nick introduced the finalists, describing their achievements and challenges with a surprisingly meaningful and personal delivery. I was really touched to hear him describe my own and each woman’s experiences. This room was hopping with life and passion.

Many simple truths rose to the surface during the two hours together sipping Earl Grey and daintily nibbling on cucumber sandwiches. One is that we’re in this together. Each woman’s story was about how she had struggled and found support or had others whom she supported in their struggle. Challenges, success and failure are part of life and growth, whether in health or home or work. Another theme was how defining one’s life on one’s own terms is a large part of being a woman. When work, family and life passions are combined, an infinite number of combinations become available, and we don’t need to fit within a defined role. Most of the women presenting started with an education pointing them in one direction and evolved their careers into something quite different. There was no straight path, no set of predetermined steps. Each woman chose her signature route.

The award went to Jolene McKenna; her story was of overcoming challenges, generosity and resilience. I came home with a finalist trophy — an engraved glass pitcher ready for mojito season — and a feeling of empowerment from being surrounded by good energy--both from the sparkling guests who attended and the special women at my table who are both inspiring and supportive. Thank you to Joy Lowe, Cyndi Maupin and Beth Ann (along with Linda and Katherine) and Carla Carwile (there in spirit) for being part of my tribe, now and over the years. They have helped me realize my potential, navigate obstacles, and reach out to others.

I may have left that day with a few scones tucked into the trophy box, but what I really took home was that everyone there could be an Aspire winner — which truly is inspiring. And with all those pitchers, that could make for a pretty good party.

February 14, 2014 - No Comments!

President, AIGA Colorado

Aiga president Colorado Helen Young

Last summer, I accepted the role of President for the Colorado Chapter of AIGA, the professional association for design. AIGA is a national organization with 25,000 members and 67 chapters. The AIGA is committed to advancing design as a professional craft, strategic advantage and vital cultural force.

Founded in 1914, AIGA celebrates 100 years this year. The Denver Art Museum is keeper of the AIGA National Archives, a collection of more than 6,000 of the physical artifacts representing decades of the best in design and communication. Their new exhibit pulled from the Archives, Drawn to Action, is up throughout 2014.

AIGA Colorado consists of 550 members and 2,500 friends. Each year, AIGA CO hosts 35 local events and initiatives relevant to designers and industry friends. Starting in May 2014 through June 2015, the chapter will celebrate 25 years serving the local design community.

This volunteer position involves guiding a dynamic board of directors, along side President Emeritus Elysia Syriac, and representing the organization within the local community. My love of AIGA began in the mid 1990s when I served on the Board as Communications Chair, producing the quarterly newsletter. My membership has never lapsed and my involvement with AIGA has continued throughout my career via attending local speaker events and national conferences.

When asked to take a leadership role, I viewed it as an opportunity to expand my knowledge of the myriad design disciplines that have arisen since founding EnZed Design 17 years ago. So much has changed since “print” was king. Teams of specialists now work seamlessly together to communicate within diverse media. Being part of AIGA helps me keep on top of trends and best practices. A true passion for design craft and design thinking—that together create strategic communications—is what really fires my caldron. AIGA offers an outlet for both. Read my post on AIGA CO’s website for more thoughts on why AIGA is still relevant to designers, after all these years.

As President, I’m in a unique position to see the organization in a national scope. It’s been a privilege to get to know presidents from other chapters, national board members, and the national staff who are the wind beneath the sails of the organization. And it’s been a delight to get to know an enthusiastic local team of go-getters in the design industry making waves in the community.

And it’s only just begun. I’ll be sharing more of AIGA Colorado’s plans for the coming two years of my term, including highlights from the National Leadership Conference hosted right here in Denver in May 2014. Stay tuned.

Photos taken at the National Design Conference and at AIGA Colorado Gala (by Jason Hayes).