Like many people these days, I demand quality from the products I purchase. I require quality design, functionality, and have a deep appreciation when they are mad with quality materials and with the intention of excellence. It is important to note that the customer experience doesn’t start when you begin using the product or service, it begins at the first customer touchpoint which can be the website, printed marketing materials, storefront presentation, or the product packaging. Craft Brand Theory was birthed out of necessity.. a need to support, celebrate, endorse stories of craftmanship, passion, and skilled excellence.
This week we feature the World’s First Interactive Album Packaging, DJ Qbert’s Extraterrestria, his long-awaited follow up to the groundbreaking debut album, Wave Twisters from 2001. QBert’s company Thud Rumble partnered with Algoriddim and Novalia to create the Extraterrestria album cover equipped with a Bluetooth chip and reacts when touched, allowing the users to scratch, mix and fade any songs they load into the software. By accessing DJ QBert’s album (or any MP3) through the DJay app, you’re able to manipulate and effect the songs with the use of the built-in controller. This amazing feature will be available for both vinyl and CD packaging. Incredible right, well most of the copies will be going to those that funded the project on Kickstarter, with only a small number made available through Thud Rumble but there may still be a chance to get your copy. It definitely pays to be an early adopter.
To learn more about DJ Qbert and this project please visit
Watch the video below to see it in action!
If you’re not familiar with the DJay2 app required to access this technology check it out here.
At Craft Brand Theory, we are aim to foster richer connections with the people, products and experiences that are featured on the blog. Having said that, I would encourage readers with an interest in DJ culture and studying the art of turntablism to visit Qbert’s Skratch University for some free sample lessons.
Having spent almost a decade marketing and studying the world of fine spirits, I’m super geeked to share my new discovery- a homemade gin distilling kit. One of my all-time favorite brands is Tanqueray Rangpur so I’m not sure about you but I’m anxious to see how I can create my own interpretation of a quality batch of gin without the expensive distilling equipment and corporate barriers.
Join me in the exciting world of DIY booze making and let’s explore together. I’m looking forward to hearing about your concoctions so don’t forget to hashtag #CraftBrandTheory.
You start with a bottle of vodka, which will act as a blank canvas, then add the kit’s hand-weighed juniper berries, mixed spices, and botanicals. The ingredients will need to steep for about 36 hours. Afterwards you’ll enjoy a floral-tinged gin redolent with lavender, sandalwood, and green cardamom, as well as the requisite perfume of sweet juniper. The kit contains two attractive glass bottles for pouring and displaying your batch of quality homemade gin.
If you’re still in the creative zone why stop there. Make some fresh tonic to go with your gin with the Tonic Making Kit.
Try one of my favorite gin cocktails- The Mule
10 mint leaves
1/2 ounce simple syrup (or to taste)
1/2 ounce lime juice
1 1/2 ounces gin
2 ounces chilled ginger beer
garnish: lime wedge and mint sprig
You can order both the gin making kit and tonic making kit at http://www.uncommongoods.com/product/homemade-gin-kit.
Enjoy and don’t forget to drink responsibly.
If you’re a musician, music and culture enthusiast, or film buff, today is the perfect day to watch the 02’ BBC three-part documentary series- Reggae: The Story of Jamaican Music. Produced by Maxine Gordon in collaboration with Mike Connolly, the film explores the origins of reggae starting in the late 50’s with the development of ska, its global transformation during the 60’s and 70’s, and its notable impact on western music, most notably hip hop. Since the days of sound systems and dub music, reggae has continued to reinvent itself as a mighty music and cultural global force. It’s important to note that reggae was not just another genre offered to the world; at its core exists an inseperable intimate connection to the people and the political and social climate of the environment. It was fascinating to learn about the influence of the African drum music traditions of Burru and Kamina on the Rastafarian sophisticated drum ensembles, as well as the influence of bebop jazz on a generation of young classically trained musicians, and early Jamaican DJ party rocking techniques over dub reggae on hip hop’s DJ culture. For your edutainment, please check out this three part series below.
Part 1: 1950’s Ska period & history of Jamaican Independence
Part 2: Roots Reggae & Bob Marley
Part 3: Progression of Reggae in the 80’s and beyond
Roughly twenty years ago I was introduced to the technique of relief printmaking in high school which has had a transformational impact on my art style and overall creative palette ever since. So what is relief printmaking you ask? Well, in short relief printing can be defined as a printing process by which a carved or otherwise created three-dimensional master is used to make duplicates of an image. Woodblock, linocuts and wood engraving are all common relief print methods. In woodblock and linocut printmaking, the parts of the block that are not to appear on the print are removed from the block by cutting them away with a knife or other tool. For printing, the raised parts of the block are inked and the paper is pressed on it by hand or by a press. Printmaking originated in China where both fabrics and books were printed using wooden blocks at an early stage. Woodblock printing had reached Europe by the 14th century and was much used for producing broadsheets and printing books.
Over the past two decades I’ve produced two mixed linocut and woodblock print collections Sirius Art Collection I and The Frustrated Artist Series. In this post, I will provide an abbreviated and simple description of each phase in the process of linocut relief printmaking. I hope that you find this ancient art technique as intriguing as I have and are inspired to create your very own linocut or woodblock print. Please share your work on your social media outlets using hash tag #CraftBrandTheory.
Okay, let’s get started.
Almost all engravings will start with a drawing. I often start with sketchbook drawings. The main thing to remember is that the image you cut on the block is the reverse of the final print. I often make my preparatory drawings in sketchbooks or scrap papers. Most of my ideas are generated from personal experiences and photographed images that I have taking personally and/or collected from another source.
The wood engraving block is cut across the end grain of the block. The traditional wood used for wood engraving is boxwood. The wood has to be capable of coping with the finely detailed work of some engravers. I enjoy using linoleum because of the softness of the texture, which makes it easier to carve and make very detailed engravings.
Preparing the Block for Engraving
In this stage, the method used for preparing the block for engraving may vary according to each engraver’s preferences. I draw in ink or pencil on the natural wood surface of the block. Sometimes I square up the block to transfer the drawing accurately. Occasionally I use tracing film to place the main elements of the design and then add the rest freehand. I will often work freehand throughout. I often make very detailed marks on the block. I find that this helps me make a more lively engraving. Now we need some tools.
The Engraving Tools
Wood Engraving tool developed from metal engraving tools. I use about six different tools in all, but for most of my work I stick to four favorites. The SPITSTICKER is my main drawing tool, especially for curved lines. I have two widths, narrow and medium. I also use them for stippling – making small round marks. The SCORPER cuts straight lines and is good for clearing out areas of white. The TINT TOOL is good for cutting thin parallel lines. The LOZENGE GRAVER cuts lines on varying width.
The handle sits neatly into the palm of the hand and the ‘blade’ is held between thumb and forefinger. The tool is held at a very low angle to the block when the cut is made. It is very easy for the tool to slip and make a mistaken mark that is nearly impossible to deal with so part of the ‘free’ hand (which is actually holding the block) can be used as a ‘stop’ to prevent this. It is important that each mark is a deliberate and considered cut. As with many forms of art, it is difficult to know exactly when to stop. You can always go back and engrave more but you can’t go back if you have cut too much!
Inking the Block and taking a Proof
In this stage I typically use a 64mm treothene roller, with a wooden handle and metal frame. I use a black linseed oil-based ink, which I spread across a glass slab. This is then rolled out thinly until it has a velvet look.
At this point, I take the roller and roll ink onto the block from several directions. A lot of this is trial and error and you have to experiment to get it right. If you use too much ink it will clog up the fine lines and not enough ink gives an unsatisfactory print. I then take a piece of thin paper and place it over the block. I take a smooth wooden tool and carefully but firmly rub it until the design has been transferred to the paper. The sheet is carefully pulled from the block and the print is seen for the first time. I like to use an expensive rice paper to achieve the highest level of print quality.
Now that you’ve completed your linocut relief print don’t forget to share your masterpiece using hash tag #CraftBrandTheory. I can’t wait to see your work.
We must create,
As a former Marketing executive with a passion for the arts, there is nothing more satisfying than to see a brand (small or large) connect with the creative community in a truly authentic cohesive way that affords the artist reasonable autonomy to express the brand’s personality and message through his or her own personal style. When the brand and artist partnership is vetted properly and the necessary trust and understanding is established, true magic and brilliance will follow suit.
In this video, the Ballantine Scotch brand partners with South African DJ and musician, Black Coffee to create a short film that embodies the brand’s mantra, “Stay True, Leave an Impression.” The film is directed by Novemba of Cap Gunna Collective and features an a cappella performance of one of Black Coffee’s best known productions, “Rock My World” by a 40-person choir. Witness a brilliant creative piece that reinforces the brand’s identity without any forced or obligatory product placement.
Although Ballantine is a massive Scotch whiskey, second highest selling worldwide in fact, it’s origin as a small whisky brand in Edinburgh is quite fascinating. Ballantine’s origin dates back to 1827, when George Ballantine set up a small grocery store supplying a small range of whiskies to his clientele. In 1865, he transitioned the store operations to his eldest son Arhchibald while he set his sights on larger operations in Glascow. He then had time to concentrate on global trading and began creating his own blends. As demand exploded in new markets and time passed, ownership changed hands to larger investors with the capacity to continue driving the business. By 1986 Ballantine was named the #1 brand in Europe and the third largest in the world… not bad for a once small batch whiskey eh. In 2005, the award winning Scotch brand was purchased by Pernod Richard and continues to live up to George’s high standard of quality and principles.
Check out the video and visit http://www.ballantines.com/en to learn more about the brand.
As a student and advocate of the makers movement, I’m excited to launch the Craft Brand Theory™ blog with an insightful conversation with Phillip Terril, Co-Founder of Burks & Bailey. I was introduced to Phillip about eight months ago by a mutual friend around the time the Craft Brand Theory™ concept became a fully flushed out idea. Although its trendy now for companies to reference terms like craft, provenance and quality loosely, it was refreshing connecting with a young entrepreneur providing a genuine story of craftmanship, passion, and skill. He describes Burks & Bailey as “a collision of a straight-laced businessman and free-spirit creating a brand that embodies exquisite taste, luxurious palettes and refreshing colors that illuminate wardrobes.” I can certainly speak intuitively and with full confidence in saying that Burks & Bailey is definitely one company destined for breakthrough success. I hope that you appreciate this inaugural interview with our friend Phillip Terrill as he takes us into the world of Burks & Bailey. Enjoy!
A few years ago my wife bought a pair of Eastland boots in a vintage shop in Lower East Side Manhattan. I have to admit I was a little jealous of her discovery. I still remember the first time my Dad bought me a pair of the Eastland penny loafers. I think I may have been a 5th grader at the time. Although I never really inserted a penny, just knowing I could was all that I needed to appoint myself as a self-acclaimed fashion icon. Many years have passed, and I had forgotten about the Eastland Shoe Company, so I’m excited that she has rediscovered them. As a child I had very limited understanding or appreciation for the quality of good craftsmanship, in fact most things were disposable to me because it’s only value was dictated by the latest cultural trends. Today as an artist and student of the maker movement, I have gained an appreciation and curiosity for reconnecting to or discovering the stories and goods created by many of the world’s talented individuals and incredible companies such as the Eastland Shoe Company.
Over the past decade my taste palate and appreciation of fine spirits has expanded by leaps and bounds having worked at Diageo. Although I’ve tasted a kaleidoscope of amazing brands and cocktails, very few have made an impression on me like Bulleit Bourbon. Could it be the undeniable quality of the 175-year-old recipe or simply Mr. Tom Bulleit’s charming down-to-earth personality? I conclude that it’s most likely a hybrid of both of these remarkable qualities that define the brand. I’ve been fortunate over the years to visit the distillery and speak with Mr. Bulleit on several occasions. After meticulously analyzing the steady growth in popularity of the brand and overall bourbon segment, I realize that quality alone is not enough; it is passion and authenticity that truly separates a great brand from a good brand.
Back in the summer of 2013, my wife and I were fortunate enough to visit the Mosaïcultures Internationales de Montréal at Montreal’s Botanical Garden. The purpose of this event was to promote the art of gardening and horticulture as an expression of the values of the new millennium and as a component of the urban landscape.
It’s quite an arduous task to describe in words the sheer magnitude of creative talent and attention to detail showcased in these horticultural masterpieces. The showcase featured over 50 creations from over 20 different countries. My knowledge of Mosaiculture as an art form was slim to none prior to our trip, but I left humbled and with a great level of respect for the horticultural artists and support teams required to maintain these creations in their intended forms for our viewing pleasure.