Detroit Dog Park meets its Kickstarter goal of $15,000

Detroit Dog Park meets its Kickstarter goal of $15,000

Folks, i just received word that Detroit Dog Park has surpassed our Kickstarter goal. A great big hannon le (thank you) to everyone who made this possible. Read below for more info on this great group of people!

Guys, guys! Guess what tomorrow is…

elf, will ferrell, lord of the rings, hobbit, tolkien, christmas, funny, geek

i wanted my two favorite Christmas elves to come together. I passed through the seven levels of the Candy Cane forest, through the sea of swirly twirly gum drops, and then I walked through Mirkwood Forest…

Detroit Dog Park

Something awesome is happening in Detroit.

This sort of goes without saying, though it might surprise some outsiders to hear. In the past few years, Detroit has been fighting ups and downs as usual. But this time i’ve seen a number of non-profit granting creative community hub information exchange organizations popping up. These young entrepreneurs are scary educated, as well as determined, and pledge to transform Detroit into the next Portland. This arguably recession-inspired economic development has been gaining media attention nationally. From Detroit SOUP to D:hive, we’re seeing the city becoming a humming welcome to innovators and green future global growth connector engagers. Of course, this comes at the same time that the city is wrestling over bankruptcy, faced with no funding for basic public services such as street lighting, garbage pickup, and even police and firefighters. The Detroit dichotomy. But that’s for a more qualified writer to discuss.

Enter: Detroit Dog Park. Detroit Dog Park is one of such organizations of ambitious young professionals that saw a need and has made a pledge to meet it. Dog parks are a symbol of a thriving and self-actualized city (Chicago, Portland, San Francisco, New York). i myself ended up leaving the city after living there for 5 years partly because i knew i wanted a large dog, and found the answer to how to exercise such a beast on a daily basis tricky. Fast forward to 2012, when we have been approved to transform a lot adjacent to famous Detroit landmark Michigan Central Station into a doggie playground haven.

This has proven to be the most involved freelance project i’ve taken on, and i’ve made the acquaintances of some brilliant, wonderful people who are taking a real stance on positive change in Detroit.

i happened upon Detroit Dog Park years ago through an accidental friend-of-a-friend notification on facebook. (i have an extremely love-hate relationship with facebook’s inherent oversharing of information. Usually it is more hate than love, but this is an instance where i was glad for it.) Very shortly after i joined, the group was holding a logo contest. Being an opportunistic freelance designer with a lifelong seldom-rivaled passion for canines, i came up with something and submitted. Then got about half of my facebook to vote for my design (thanks guys, you are the best).

My design was pretty simple and based loosely on a few other relevant Detroit business logos that i related with the prosperity and grassroots growth of the city, like Canine to Five and City Bird. i thought people would associate the block color, skyline and simple cutout figures with a modern, thriving Detroit that already carried those connotations with the similar look of other local logos. (A side note – Canine to Five is a huge supporter of what we’re doing!) i thought the clean, apple green and white would indicate a new feeling about Detroit. The logo contest runner-up, DistinkDesigns, applied the term “unleashed,” and Detroit Dog Park incorporated that into the final logo as well.Image

My design was pretty simple and based loosely on a few other relevant Detroit business logos that i related with the prosperity and grassroots growth of the city, like Canine to Five and City Bird.

From there the identity took on a clean dark grey as i was asked to create business cards, flyers and other promotions. More recently, for our Kickstarter campaign (which comes to a head in just 9 days – December 17th!), i added pops of bright cyan, to call the right kind of attention to our usual branding that people had been used to seeing around the city, to say, hey. This is new and awesome.


With our Kickstarter campaign has come an unexpected (and very welcome) amount of media attention, and we have been so far featured on mLive Michigan News, Curbed Detroit, AltDetroit, the Huffington Post, the Detroit News, the Free Press, CBS Local, and even had a morning news TV spot on Click On Detroit (Channel 4 News).

And here i was filled with pride when Justin and i sidled up to the Detroit Dog Park tent at Tour de Troit in September, and saw a table spread with our banner, stickers, and volunteers. i’m sorry, but i was kind of geeked to see my logo on TV.


For our next appearance, look for us at Detroit SOUP presenting our idea for a rain barrel system in the park. Winning the grant for this expense would free up money for us to use the $15,000 from our Kickstarter campaign on other elements of the park, like gates, fencing, benches, and poop bag dispensers. (Yeah, i said it.)

It started with a logo contest that i thought would be a good fit for me, and has culminated with hours of meetings, brainstorming and a branding campaign that have all been surprisingly eye-opening for me. My buddy Calvin, normally an oversharing heart of gold involved-in-everything-we-do super cuddler, is on his way to becoming arguably more socially learned than his owners, and loves the monthly Pop-Up Dog Parks that have been hosted at Old Tiger Stadium in lieu of an upcoming permanent park.

This has proven to be the most involved freelance project i’ve taken on, and i’ve made the acquaintances of some brilliant, wonderful people who are taking a real stance on positive change in Detroit. It’s been an exhilarating experience, and i’m continually amazed by what this group of people has been able to accomplish. i hope to update again in the summer when our little logo is situated firmly on the front gate.

See below to watch our Kickstarter video (Calvin and i make a dorky cameo at 1:15), and go to to back our project. We have some cool Detroit-themed rewards to thank you for your donation!

Godspeed, little padawan.

Having a little lady job shadow me was so cool. i met Maitreyi about 2 weeks ago. i had wanted to post about this sooner because i was so energized by it. It put things in perspective to spend time with a youngin’ who is just approaching that higher-learning era of life. Those were great […]

Hawk Show {Hour Detroit}

Check out this link to a story by Hour Detroit on birds of prey in Metro Detroit! This is what Rusty Feathers is all about – birds of prey adapting to dominate any habitat, no matter how unlikely.

What about second breakfast?

i remember when i bought my very own complete 120-piece set of Prismacolor pencils.

Colored pencil has always been my drug of choice, but Prismacolor in particular for their soft core and almost oil pastel feel. i always wanted the brilliant, deep hues of paint but without the mess and with more precision. i started out with a small set, 48 or so, probably a birthday gift, but also collected them from my dad, an artist by trade. [Although in designing cars for the Big Three, he was more likely to use Prismacolor fine art markers, the smell of which i still find myself nostalgic about.]

i wasn’t satisfied with those 48+, though: i had my eye on the prize, the 120 piece set. Back in high school $150 was a lot of cash to drop on a box of pencils. i didn’t even have my first ‘real’ [re: retail slave] job yet.

i saved, [and i used a gift certificate and a Michael’s coupon], but eventually i bought them for my own. My precious.

And do you know what i did with that glorious, 3-tiered glossy black case of subtle wood aroma?

i put it on my bed and stared at it. For months, those pencils went without so much as seeing a sharpener. In fact, i did not use them to create the portrait you see below. i was like a fangirl who wanted her collection to stay mint-in-box. Trust me, i did eventually break the seal, and if you look at them today they are obviously well-loved. But enough about pencils.

Let’s get out our geek flags.

Those of you who know me personally will roll your eyes when i come out with this astonishing fact: i am a huge nerd. i found Fellowship of the Ring in my parents’ basement and blew through it in 2 days. In fact, i met the love of my life over an Elvish alphabet exchange. But that’s another post…

Pippin isn’t necessarily my favorite character in the epic saga written by an Oxford professor nearly a century ago. i did portraits of most of the movie characters at some point. He is, of course, a beloved one. Pippin’s dichotomy is the best thing about him. He’s silly, young, green, foolish, adorable (in the movie adaptation, at least), a drunk and a weed-smoker. And apt to get beaned in the head with flying apples. But when the world is darkest, he is surprisingly and endearingly melancholy, serious, and full of heart. He is the childlike innocence for which the world must be saved, sobbing over a lost friend, complaining about the noticeable lack of food while roaming the wild, and singing a song of death’s indifference to a corrupt king.

i was aware that Tolkien Gateway [a large not for profit Tolkien encyclopedia using the MediaWiki software] had found this image of mine on Elfwood [a fantasy art community that i belonged to in my early days] and was using it as their profile image for Peregrin Took’s entry. i was pretty flattered. They recently contacted me and asked for official permission to host my image and link it back to me, so… here it is, at the end of all things.


Hello world!

i thought the WordPress-supplied subject line was appropriate.

Hello world! My name is Sarah. i am an art director by day, freelance designer by night living just north of Detroit.

My work is influenced largely by growing up with an affinity and respect for nature, and also by my years living in Detroit while i went to school for design. My experience with Detroit didn’t stop there – we live less than a mile from the Detroit border, and stay abreast of the incredible socioeconomic / cultural movement bubbling up in the city. Read about how The Dream of the 90’s is Alive in Detroit.

i’ll make a confession. When i received my BFA {double concentration in graphic design and drawing} in 2008, i had a poor idea of what it meant to be a designer. i took on a position at a printing company as a pre-press assistant, making plates, checking files, and even performing physical labor like packing boxes on an assembly line and moving hundreds of pounds of ballots in a hot warehouse for 8 hours a day. i dreamed of a day when i would find a job as the head designer for Lake Erie Metropark or something.

i never got that job designing for wildlife, but i did eventually pass through a marketing manager position and end up as an art director for a fairly progressive company. Now i find myself indulging in design blogs, news and trends in order to make my magazine the best it can be – and i discovered something else.

Being a designer {especially in a big city} is not a 9-5 job. It’s a cult, a highly skilled trade, a profession, a way of life.

i’d like to dedicate this blog to my journey into that cult, and share with you my experiences so that everyone might understand that this is the way i want my life to be.

There’s so much more to it than i thought.

{Please visit and browse what’s there, or follow my typography pinboard on Pinterest!}