–Branch MGR Logo

It has been a long time since I have featured something on this blog that I created!

Last summer my high school classmate, Andrew Branch, reached out to me about designing a logo for his songwriting ventures. Andrew is a smart, friendly guy with many talents and interests. While we were in school together, he was known as the guy everyone liked to be around. He also wasn’t shy to bust a move, especially when he was dressed up as our Blue Devil mascot! After high school Andrew studied Portuguese and Systems Engineering at the United States Military Academy in West Point.

For nostalgia’s sake, here we are back in high school during homecoming week. (Look at those youngins’!)

Now he is based in Nashville and is crafting his songwriting skills that span an array of genres on the side. Give his awesome music a listen: https://soundcloud.com/branchmgr

In Andrew’s own words, he describes his primary musical inspirations to be….

The Beatles (genres they crossed in a short time), Stromae (his ability to make tough topics dance-able), Prince (for being an uncontrollable force as a musician and not giving a hot ham what people thought of him) and Otis Redding (for being the king of Soul and an electrifying performer)…..those four are the strongest influence on me, artistically.

With a mix of pop, rock, and even country music influences, Andrew needed a logo that could speak to it all and be true to who he is as a brand. Andrew wanted the logo to say “-branch mgr” (branch manager) as his way to sign off any music he wrote and produced with the concept that he will do what he wants creatively as far as genre is concerned. “Branch” is also his last name.

First, I researched design associated with his musical inspirations, general songwriting symbolism, and music label groups while listening to his songs on Soundcloud. Then I emailed him a series of sketches.


An icon I kept returning back to was a heart. Andrew has a big heart and his music is infused with heart, as well. He was surprised by that choice, and in his email response said…

Strangely, I hadn’t considered hearts…at all. hahaha. But, you may have me pegged better than I do.

Andrew picked his favorite 4 ideas for me to focus on with an explanation of why he liked each one:

• 1, the treble cleft b should just be my personal emoji for all things in life. Haha
• The 27 represents, in my mind, a heart with walls, which is very symbolic to me as that’s how I approach songwriting.
• 23 is significant in that, my moniker is -branch mgr, representing my signature being on something means I’ve approved of it as quality
• 9, I just feel is reflective of life and a pulse…music is my pulse and as displayed there, it comes from the heart.








Then it was time to move on to digital black-and-white mockups.


This was the chosen grey scale logo:

Next was color. Andrew knew he wanted a blue scheme, but I threw in a couple other color variations for good measure.


This was the winner, shown with white and black backgrounds:


I also set the icon apart for social media purposes:



Andrew was a great client to work with! I wish him well with all his songwriting endeavors.

Be sure to also check out Andrew’s website and like his Facebook page!

Design I // Suddeth Elementary School Installation

Fall 2016: For Design I’s final project, I wanted to do a collaborative vinyl installation similar to one my class did a couple years ago as blogged about HERE, but in a location with more permanency to be enjoyed by the public. Getting students outside of the classroom to put their skills to use opens them up to the realization that the things they are learning in this freshman level class has meaning and a place in the world.

I contacted Suddeth Elementary School in Starkville, MS to gauge their interest in the project. They happily accepted, and they considered windows throughout their campus that would be an inviting place for colorful vinyl stickers. This hallway with two sets of windows was chosen by their faculty committee for this project:

Next we had to determine a theme. Suddeth’s faculty committee decided to illustrate quotes based on kindness per set of windows: Plant Kindness, Grow Love and Throw Kindness Around Like Confetti.

My class was split so half were to work on one quote, and the other half focusing on the other quote. Each student brainstormed with a series of thumbnails, and I helped them narrow down to their best idea to be drawn in more detail on proportionally gridded spaces on typing paper in relation to the window dimensions. Then my students voted on the strongest sketches in the class, 3 designs for each quote for a total of 6 ideas.

I invited Principle Mosley to come to our class for a presentation of the top 6 sketches to choose the top theme for each quote. School counselor Mrs. Caradine joined her. After the presentations, they consulted their faculty committee and chose the final designs (labeled as WINNERs below).

Below are images of the top 6 sketches and presentations :

Plant Kindness, Grow Love


Anna Terry’s sketch


Anna Terry’s presentation


Caroline Fitzwater’s sketch


Caroline Fitzwater’s presentation


WINNER: Meghan Norman’s sketch


WINNER: Meghan Norman’s presentation

Throw Kindness Around Like Confetti


Savannah Martinez’s sketch


Savannah Martinez’s presentation


Megan Henry’s sketch


Megan Henry’s presentation


WINNER: Melissa Sones’ sketch


WINNER: Melissa Sones’ presentation

Meghan and Melissa were so excited to have their designs chosen!

I scanned in their designs and worked on various color combinations using Adobe Illustrator, only using yellow, blue, red, and green. I also added a fun elementary-feel typeface for the text in place of their sketched handwriting.


Meghan Norman’s design with color


Melissa Sones’ design with color

The vinyl was ordered and shipped, so it was time to cut out the stickers! The digital images were projected to scale onto our classroom wall. Students traced off the shapes onto the corresponding colors of vinyl with Sharpies, and handed them off to another group  who cut out the shapes with an X-acto knife and peeled away the unnecessary background vinyl. Then large-surface masking tape was applied on top of the vinyl sticker and labeled to be fully prepped to operate as a sticker for installation day.

Finally it was installation day! Students carpooled over to the school that rainy morning and we got to work.


Organizing (and sometimes improvising) stickers


Photo by Megan Bean, MSU Public Affairs Photographer


Photo by Megan Bean, MSU Public Affairs Photographer


Working together to separate, organize, and install stickers


Photo by Megan Bean, MSU Public Affairs Photographer


Photo by Megan Bean, MSU Public Affairs Photographer


The finished product!


The finished product!


The whole crew: (Top left–right) Mary Katherine Swindoll, me, Tess Frazier, Savannah Martinez, Meghan Norman, Karleigh Harfst, Anna Terry, Hayden Hunt, Dee Triplett & Eric Lindsey. (Bottom left–right) Ashtyn Carpenter, Melissa Sones, Megan Henry, Caroline Fitzwater, Haley Lawrence & Elise Sears.

The project was featured on Mississippi State University’s “State Spotlight” blog on December 8th and MSU’s College of Architecture, Art + Design blog on December 7th.

We greatly appreciate the opportunity of Suddeth Elementary School opening up their hallway for us to use as canvases, and hope the children and faculty enjoy these art installations for many years to come!


Intro to Computing // Pen & Pixel

Fall 2016: My students’ next Photoshop project was entitled “Pen & Pixel,” in which they had to construct a self portrait. It was a requirement to scan in textures, drawings, paintings, or items they could edit to become a part of the image. Many students demonstrated impressive concepts about themselves. Below are some examples that were turned in. All have aspects to be improved upon for their portfolio, but overall I was very pleased with their results!

* I have permission from my students to promote their work on my website.


by Carly Bond


by April Porter


by Bethany Smith


by Gerald Wicks


by Laura Leigh Hicks


by Mary Emily Moore


by Milly Rone


by Olivia Ketchum


by Parker Webb


by Allie Hanson


by Katherine Jenkins


by Josie Goodman


by Meredith Morris


by Morgan Helton

Design I // Value

Fall 2016: For Design I’s fifth project, we focused on value. Students chose a photograph, magazine ad, or calendar photo, and were challenged to extract color from their chosen area, leaving only value. They painted 20–25% of the photo with white, black, and grey acrylic paint, following the original values so closely that their painted shape fit seamlessly on top of its unpainted photograph. This challenge was much like a “paint-by-number” activity. If a well-done solution is photographed or Xeroxed in black and white, it should be difficult to distinguish the area painted in greys from the original.

Below are some of the pieces that were submitted. All have aspects to be improved upon for their portfolio, but overall I was very pleased with their results!

* I have permission from my students to promote their work on my website.


by Anna Terry


by Ashtyn Carpenter


by Haley Lawrence


by Karleigh Harfst


by Megan Henry


by Meghan Norman

Intro to Computing // Creature Cartoon GIF

Fall 2016: As an added continuation of their first Creature Cartoon project done in Adobe Illustrator, I challenged my students to turn it into a GIF after we started learning Photoshop. There are many ways to make a GIF, but in my research I found it was best to form their creature in Illustrator, and pull the file into Photoshop to put it into action.

Since I had not made a GIF before, I had my own homework in figuring this out so I could teach my students. I read and watched many demos until I found a system that seemed to work well. I even recorded and posted my own Part I and Part II tutorial YouTube videos demonstrating the steps on my laptop screen so students could reference them outside of class to produce their own GIF.

Students had to implement at least 3 actions in their GIF to receive full credit– for example eyes blinking, arms moving, and feet tapping. The number of frames they incorporated depended on their actions and how many they personally needed to see the actions to smooth completion.

It was so fun seeing these little guys and gals come to life!

Below are some GIFs that were turned in. All have aspects to be improved upon for their portfolio, but overall I was very pleased with their results.

* I have permission from my students to promote their work on my website.

by Kaitlyn Upton: angry, fly, whiskers ^

by Josie Goodman: squishy cheeks, joyful, upside down ^

by Mary Emily Moore: big eyes, broken-hearted, eat ^

by Ques Nevels: grumpy, webbed feet, skate ^

by Meredith Morris: tentacles, mellow, float ^

by Ashley Rude: curious, climb, short legs ^

by April Porter: webbed feet, anxious, float ^

by Gerald Wicks: excited, climbing, long tail ^

by Ryan Guillory: horns, exercise, lazy ^

by Brittany Riland: mad, long arms, swing ^

by Laura Leigh Hicks: squishy cheeks, afraid, smell flower ^

by Olivia Ketchum: happy, sharp teeth, read ^

by Morgan Helton:  beak, sleepy, read ^


Design I // Texture

Fall 2016: For Design I’s fourth project, we focused on texture. Students collected an assortment of black and white textures including…
found (photography, magazines, books)
rubbed (charcoal rubbing of physical texture on paper)
created (using a range of mediums to invent a texture).

Then they collaged and glued them together into a quilt block pattern of their choice. They had to be precise and mindful of their workmanship. Since they were working with a grid and pattern, slight mistakes would be noticeable.

Below are some of the composition sets that were submitted. All have aspects to be improved upon for their portfolio, but overall I was very pleased with their results!

* I have permission from my students to promote their work on my website.


by Anna Terry


by Ashtyn Carpenter


by Karleigh Harfst


by Mary Katherine Swindoll


by Megan Henry


by Meghan Norman


by Melissa Sones

Intro to Computing // Impossible Reality

Fall 2016: For my students’ first Photoshop project, I wanted them to think outside the box and create an “Impossible Reality”. They had to gather their original photography and make new photos as needed to compose their surreal image. The main artist of inspiration was Eric Johansson. He is an incredible Photoshop artist, but also kind enough to post photos and videos to demonstrate his entire process, which is great for beginners to see. Like Eric, they needed to produce an image that tricks the eye to appear realistic.

Below are some examples that were turned in. All have aspects to be improved upon for their portfolio, but overall I was very pleased with their results!

* I have permission from my students to promote their work on my website.


by Bryce Sheasby


by Hannah Livingston


by Kaitlyn Upton


by Brittany Riland


by Gerald Wicks


by Olivia Ketchum


by Allie Hanson


by Ann Gray Flowers


by Canaan Griffin


by Ques Nevels

Design I // Balance

Fall 2016: For Design I’s third project, we focused on balance. Students constructed 4 compositions based on the following options of balance: symmetrical, asymmetrical, radial, and pattern. Their theme had to be inspired by the lyrics of a song or poem of their choosing. The medium used to depict these shapes was black construction paper, and good craftsmanship was emphasized. They also had to implement the elements and principles of design in their work. Some students even accepted the challenge of making 3D pop-up elements.

Below are a few of the composition sets that were submitted.

* I have permission from my students to promote their work on my website.


Song: “Georgia on My Mind” by Ray Charles; Design by Hayden Hunt


Song: “Poor Unfortunate Souls” from Little Mermaid; Design by Megan Henry


Song: “A Whole New World” from Aladdin; Design by Meghan Norman

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