Infographics – Menus of Change

The Menus of Change conference, a joint initiative by the Culinary Institute of America and the Harvard School of Public Health, needed to communicate a set of “Principles of Healthy, Sustainable Menus.” These principles serve as a platform for those in the food industry to create more effective dishes and still remain profitable.  J Wright Design developed this illustrative solution to a potentially bland subject matter. This infographic, the cornerstone of the conference, was printed poster size for the attendees and distributed digitally worldwide.



Menus of Change / Culinary Institute of America & Harvard School of Public Health

This annual conference promotes the business of healthy and responsible food choices amongst those in food industry. As a major educational platform, the Menus of Change conference needed a powerful brand identity to inspire action. Over the past three years, J Wright Design worked closely with the Culinary Institute of America to create annual reports, infographics, signage and stage environments to communicate their message.



Manifest Soul

J Wright Design was called in to develop this Logo and Brand Identity for Manifest Soul, a healing, meditation and end-of-life therapy in New York. This unique form of individualized therapy focuses on developing the inner soul offering a greater sense of well-being.


Design is like Cycling: The More You Suffer the Prettier the Pictures


I’ve been out on my bike for over three hours now, grinding my way back home after flatting-out on a shattered indigo Bud-light Platinum bottle.

It’s another pale grey New York why-am-I-living-here day when I approach the section of road that turns upward, sharply, and back into the peninsula where I live. I’m tired. I’m beaten.

Halfway up the hill, fat white pancakes fall from the sky, forcing my pace, and it’ll be minutes before I start skidding out all over the road. I start to laugh at the absurdity of it all, wondering why I’m even out here in the first place. But I know why. It’s the only way. And it’s beautiful.

Like the Yogi-of Bayonne, Robert Tepper, tells us: There’s “No Easy Way Out“. Every day I discuss with clients short term band-aid design solutions because, let’s face it, money is always a consideration. And I don’t blame them either. These days, it’s very easy to hire someone to knock out a website and call it a day. Slap it together and go about your business. The question then becomes a matter of how long can you fool your customers. Is your company a product of Design Triage?

You see, the ideal solution for any company is to have a long lasting and mutually beneficial relationship with your designer. It’s not about a logo. It’s not about a website. It’s about expressing the same voice, throughout all media, throughout any platform. Let your product or restaurant build a relationship with your consumer. Build their trust. Enough with the social networking shortcuts. They do nothing if you don’t have VALUE. This relationship starts and ends with design.

It’s not going to be easy either. It takes dedication and endurance. Building your business isn’t a sprint. Communicating a message isn’t accomplished by a slapped together brochure or by the number of Facebook fans you might have. It’s all of it. Everything. And a good designer can help define a path and a plan, much like a good coach.

Numerous children’s tales have been told about the wisdom of this approach, yet few really listened.  The Ant and the Grasshopper. The Tortoise and the Hare. Sometimes the immediacy of an event, the limitations of a budget, slow sales or other inevitable things force us to take the easy path. But I like the Way of the Tortoise. My smooth headed resemblance to the Testudinidae aside, I have yet to experience a client of mine fail taking the longer, considered, and much harder route. With regards to design, the message is always communicated faster, stronger and with more sincerity than the alternative.

But man is the work worth it. The suffering is worth it.

And, as you will see, so is the view.




Freeze Your Butt Off – A Design Resolution

It’s 26 degrees out.

I can’t help but think that going out and riding my bike in this weather is just about the dumbest thing a man can imagine. For obvious reasons. But if I want to become better at cycling there’s only one thing I can do. Ride. And the only way to get going is to GET GOING.

“But it’s freezing out here.” SHUT UP. GO.

“The gym is nice this time of year.” SHUT UP. GO.

And so I went. For 2 1/2 hours I couldn’t feel my toes. My water bottles turned to slushies. My friend on the ride – who used to be a marathon runner – talked about how his -um- “parts” – got frost bite in weather just like this. The ride was brutal. But it wasn’t as bad as I imagined. In fact, it was undeniably fun. Most importantly, just getting out there put me one step closer to my goal for this yearIt’s not going to be easy, but anything worth doing isn’t supposed to be.


So now, back at the office, we find the holiday parties are over and the thoughts of getting some serious things done at work are looming large. What will we accomplish this year? How can we achieve our goals as efficiently as possible? More importantly, how will we get it all done?


Many of us – myself included – find ourselves overwhelmed by the thought of a new project looming over our heads. My own site, which gravely needs a redesign, hasn’t been worked on much in about a year. That’s right. A YEAR. I do this for a living and I find it tough to find the time.

So what happens? It sits. I do other client’s design work and help them (quite often) to be more successful. I try to balance my time with family, friends and other non-work related things. I THINK about writing an article or blog post, and thinking about it is “good enough” for now. After all, I have a ton of other work on my plate so it can wait.

So the work remains. And so does stagnation. This is the status quo.

And so it goes for almost all my clients. There is not a single client that I am aware of that could not benefit from targeted design work in the new year. Many of my amazing clients – and you guys are amazing – have waited on projects in 2012 for countless reasons. The economy stinks. Things are busy. “We’ll do it right after we do something else first.” There are a million reasons and a million excuses.

The fact remains that the more you work on your design, the better you will communicate your message. And this almost always results in more business, more revenue, more exposure and, well, more MORE. So if you don’t like how your corporate assets look, let’s change it. Don’t like your logo, advertising or other assets? Let’s change it. Is your website old? LET’S CHANGE IT.

Maybe that first step won’t be fun. It’s not supposed to be. It’s rare that the easy way ever works out. At least redesigning things can be more fun that other aspects of running a business.

So get out there and freeze your ass off. Better yet, give me a call to help you though it. I’m always up for a good ride.

Iron Chef Morimoto – Official Website

If you’ve ever seen the iconic cooking show Iron Chef on the Food Network, then you’re already familiar with Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto. One of the masters of Japanese fusion, Chef Morimoto has become a household name with restaurants spanning the globe. JWD developed Chef Morimoto’s Official Site to match his style of cuisine – a fusion of flavors, color and surprise.

Lucchese – Branding, Packaging, Identity & Design

Lucchese, the legendary equestrian and western boot company, since 1883, turned to J Wright Design for logo design, packaging, branding, site design, and a whole slew of other aspects to help create a face to this fantastic product line.

Spirit by Lucchese – Branding, Logo, Packaging, and Website Design

Lucchese, the legendary equestrian and western boot company, since 1883, emerges onto the fashion scene with the introduction of their new hip contemporary line of footwear and accessories called Spirit by Lucchese. J Wright Design was responsible for the logo design, packaging, branding, site design, and a whole slew of other aspects to help create a face to this fantastic product line.

(product photos by Penelope Salas-Porras)

Decision Rehab: A Designer’s Guide to Knowing When to Say When

“Take time to deliberate, but when the time for action has arrived, stop thinking and go in.”
– Napoleon Bonaparte

Sometimes I like to start an article with an inspirational quote that I didn’t write. I have a million of these quotes all stored up in my mind to make me sound contemplative and wise. Sometimes, I like to call my mind “Google” and I search my mind for hours –  just to find the right quote to use. Other times, like in this instance, I used the first quote that “came” to me because honestly, I could have used almost any other quote about decision making to make my point. A quote by some guy named “Chinese Proverb” might have also worked. Actually, the quote by this Mr. Proverb guy might have been both more appropriate and interesting. Either way, let me be clear:

A different quote wouldn’t have made a difference to YOU. Please take a few second to reflect on this. An intervention may be in order.

Recently, I’ve been working on a series of projects that, for one reason or another, have been excessively delayed because of Design-oholism. I admit it: I’m a recovering design-oholic. In fact, most, if not all, people fall into the dark dirty world of repetitive indecision syndrome. This doesn’t make you a bad person, in fact quite the opposite – people who suffer from this condition are often the most thoughtful and intellectual people around. To a fault.

You see, when it comes to a design project there are almost always multiple solutions that will work. Not only that, but in many cases any of the solutions will work to achieve the project goal. Many of my clients, especially those that are more logically inclined, have a tough time understanding this concept. More concepts + more revisions + more indecision = Better End Result, right? Wrong.

You see, the design process is highly subjective. There aren’t always “correct” solutions. At least not like a math problem. You simply can’t view the process as 1 + 1 = 2. It just doesn’t work like that.

I view the design process not in a binary fashion (right or wrong) but as a three tiered system:  “More correct” , “Less correct”, or my patented “Same Shit, Just Different.” Once you are working with a professional designer, the vast majority of decisions will fall under the last category. Let me say that again: Once you are working with a PROFESSIONAL DESIGNER. In other words, if you have a choice between two designs that are “just different” but equally good, just pick one and move on. A professional designer is hired to help you with those decisions, so TRUST THEM! Your clients or customers will not EVER KNOW that you spent 10 hours picking the perfect “leaf green.”

What’s that?. You don’t think you have a problem? The first step is to admit you’re a Design-oholic.

You’re not Steve Jobs.

Right, right, I know. Your website is going to “change the world”. Ok, maybe that was a little sarcastic so let me rephrase it. Your design project is extremely important and deserves countless hours of attention and revisions. While that is almost always true, you do not have the same budget as Steve Jobs. Nor, I’m guessing, do you have unlimited time in which to get the job done. Hopefully you don’t wear the same black mock-turtleneck that you’ve been wearing since the 80’s. So what’s the hold up ?

I’ve found that the determination of “correctness” of a design project – and the resulting paralyzation of the decision making process – can be attributed to two mental conflicts: The What Ifs and Fear.

The Crippling What Ifs

Consider this: A company has a brochure to do and they hire a designer to come up with some concepts. The designer gives this company 3 options and all of them will get the job done effectively. After all, this company sells a very specific product to a very specific audience. Maybe they are trying to sell Doggie Diapers. Looking at the concepts, the person in charge of the decision making starts getting the What Ifs: What if we used Blue instead of Green? What if we changed the font? What if we used a Beagle instead of a Poodle? What if we put a starburst on the front? What if what if what if? Changes are made. There goes the budget. Timelines gets pushed back. More changes made. Tempers rise. Wait, wait, change, wait, change, wait… and for what? Did the two months of color changes to pick the perfect “Doggie Diaper Green” really make a difference to the END USER? Will that green make them go out and buy your product? What if this company  sent out the brochures 2 months earlier?

The Debilitating Fear

Consider this: A small business wants to get their website live. It’s a unique company, teaching blind people to become crime fighting Ninjas. But this company has no design assets yet such as a logo, business card, site, photography, or anything else. So the owner hires an amazing design company to help them with putting this all together. The designer presents 3 concepts for their logo, each just as good as the next. But our company decision maker just can’t decide. His boss is notoriously cranky (probably due to the stress of sending blind people out to fight crime), so our decision maker is worried that the logo they pick is going to be somehow “wrong.” So the changes begin. The pressure is on! Our company is called to a meeting with the city Commissioner for more business training other crime fighters (yea I know I’m getting ridiculous, just stick with me here.) The meeting is NEXT WEEK! The designer is tasked with changing the font. 10 times over. More thinking. More changing. Will the boss like it? Change it more!! Guess what? The company decision maker didn’t make the deadline and the meeting with the Commissioner resulted in no new funding. The website wasn’t up in time. The big fear, that the wrong decision was going to result in lost business, came true.

Know When to Say When

Sometimes stewing over these little details will make a difference and improve upon a design. There is DEFINITELY a place to explore ideas further and push your designer to offer better work. But you are using a professional designer, right?  Just be sure to be honest with yourself. Will unnecessary changes and revisions be worth it? Are these changes for YOU or your customers? Will this change get your customers to use your service? Get past the What Ifs. Overcome your Fear of making the wrong decision. Know when to say when and admit you’re a Design-oholic. Know that you are not alone! Just make a decision and move on.

By now, I hope you understand that I could have used 25 other quotes to begin this article. None of them would have been much better or worse than the one I picked. For the most part, they are all good, just a little different. So I just picked one, moved on, and instead of ruminating I wrote the rest of this article. My daughter was happy that I did. And just like the wise Señor Proverb once said:

“Man who drop watch in toilet have shitty time.”
– Chinese Proverb

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