Spruce interactive



Re-branding and development of a community-based do-it-yourself writing platform for authors.

Project Type: Branding & Web Design / Development

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 Details

Designed by KJ Parish : kjparish.com

diyMFA is an exciting, community-based network for authors, which offers a variety of hands-on tools and inspirational articles which aim to help authors remain focused on and committed to the writing process. When we first met Gabriela Pereira, she was interested in rethinking the brand as a whole and bringing her blog (and core community) into a new era of increased sleekness both visually and functionally.

We began by mapping out the goals for the new visual direction, which was to remain friendly, but grow in sophistication and authority at the same time. The word “DIY” is often associated with building things that are tangible in a “pick yourself up by the bootstraps” kind of way. So naturally, some early sketches started trying to pull common tools into the mix to imply this level of self-driven hard work. But eventually, it became clear that the tool of the writer is, in fact, the pen and not the hammer, wrench or sword. The cat liked it, so we knew we were headed in the right direction. Included below is the resulting icon we  landed on.


Next, we developed these symbols and logo concepts into vectors and awaited feedback. Early questions at this phase were focused on the relationship between the words “DIY” and “MFA” – which one should be dominant? How can we blend these two concepts together visually, essentially merging the “work hard, and do it yourself” vibe with the level of sophisticated education implied by the word “MFA.”

The client liked the interplay between the italicized lowercase “diy” and the uppercase, multi-toned “MFA” which brought us to our next phase: color. The finals are included here.

The multi-color version was determined to encompass the entire brand, while the other colors were sectioned off to represent 4 core sections: reading, writing, community, and tools. Each new section was also given a colored icon.

The site design uses these colors in a structured way, changing the branding colors when the user lands in the 4 core sections. Otherwise, the default multi-color version is displayed.

The site also includes a “writer igniter” a slot-machine-like idea generator that writers can use to get inspired. Simply hit the shuffle button, and the options seem almost endless.

Soon, diyMFA will be launching their new online store, which will feature tools and workshops for writers, so stay tuned.


Talk to Us

Wise men have said, "All good things must come to an end", and so it was with Spruce. We began our first project in 2006, and completed our last in Fall 2013. It's been a wonderful experience, but now it's time to begin the next adventure.

Though...we wouldn't want to leave you hanging, now would we? Here are our top recommendations for world-class branding, design, and web development:

  • Kristina (KJ) Parish and Beam Collective:
    KJ provided the artistic vision that allowed Spruce to succeed, and we still think she's the greatest designer in the entire world. She's started a new collective with some talented developers, and is covering much the same territory as Spruce--design and development all under one roof, with a caliber of service and professionalism seldom seen in this business or any other. If you like what you see on the Spruce site, then definitely get in touch with KJ at kj@beamcollective.com
  • Permanent Art & Design
    Permanent is a nationally recognized design & branding firm out of Minneapolis, MN. They've been a long term collaborator and strategic partner over the past couple years, and we'd recommend them for medium to large sized businesses/organizations who are serious about putting their best foot forward. In addition to design, Permanent offers strategy and marketing services, plus in-house and networked developers. For more information contact Joseph Belk joseph@permanentadg.com
  • Nate Thompson
    A freelancer, Nate reminds us of ourselves back in the day. Smart, communicative, and skilled, Nate is our recommendation for small to medium sized businesses/organizations who have sites built on Wordpress or other open source content management solutions. With a background in both design and development, he's a one-stop shop for most web-related tasks. You can get in touch at nate.a.thompson@gmail.com
  • Kevin DeBernardi
    Designer turned developer, Kevin is embarking on a freelance web career after working as the in-house designer at the Museum of the City of New York. He's adept at translating his design ideas into custom PHP code, and is constantly expanding his technical palette. Kevin's a good choice for projects that don't quite fit into the Wordpress mold, and that would benefit from a consistency of presence and vision from design through execution. Kevin can be reached at kevin@analoglifestyle.com