Silk screen adventures with Mila - Buttons

Every week I take a Silk Screen print class at MCBA
I’m taking Kazoo on my journey

This was a collaboration of the students and the teachers

The bright wild background was a group effort. Remember the blog about screen printing with watercolor? Well it also works with crayons!
We all grabbed crayons and attached the screen with random shapes until we filled every corner of the screen. Then we transferred the colors on paper.

While the paper was drying we all came up with illustrations to print on top of the colored paper


The hardest part was operating the button machine. It’s confusing! Luckily one of the other students got the hang of it quickly and made 8 to every 1 button I produced. We ended up with a ton of buttons and my portion ended up on my jean jacket!

Silk screen adventures with Mila - TT

Every week I take a Silk Screen print class at MCBA I’m taking Kazoo on my journey

As the spouse of a Graphic Designer you sometimes get some special perks
Like when I really wanted to print Todd's logo on T-shirts!

Todd has been putting little movies of his students drumming online. This is so the students can brag to their friends and be super proud but also to encourage other kids to take a lesson. How cute would it be if the students are wearing branded shirts with the line: I march to the beat of my own drum? That's right. Very cute!

 I’m mixing red and yellow ink to match the colors to one of Todd’s business cards

I’m mixing red and yellow ink to match the colors to one of Todd’s business cards

 Ink is on the screen and ready to be transferred on the T-shirts

Ink is on the screen and ready to be transferred on the T-shirts


New Business Model for Chiropractics

You raked your lawn yesterday, and you wake up with a fierce pain in your left shoulder. Maybe you played golf with your pals because you haven’t been able to touch a club for 7 months; and after 18 holes, decide another nine holes wouldn’t hurt. But the next morning it turns out it did hurt. Your back is killing you.

Pure Health Chiropractic has a quick answer to these aches and pains. It’s called Pure Health Quick Fix and it allows patients to go to an app where they can see the wait time for an appointment in real time, and instantly book a same day appointment.

Our job was to create a new name, a sub brand identity that worked with his current brand identity plus had legs of its own; along with this, there was need for posters and post cards and a social media campaign. It’s working. Dr. Mancini sees the patient, diagnoses the problem and treats it safely and efficiently in 30 minutes, and sends the patient on his or her way. It should be a good fit into people’s active life styles.

 Business cards created for Pure Health Chiropractic, as well as a peek at some of our process work.

Business cards created for Pure Health Chiropractic, as well as a peek at some of our process work.

 A flyer for Pure Health to hand out to customers who come into their office.

A flyer for Pure Health to hand out to customers who come into their office.

Silk screen adventures with Mila - Snowboard Cat

Every week I take a Silk Screen print class at MCBA I’m taking Kazoo on my journey

This winter was brutal… just brutal! Luckily there was a lady this Winter Olympics who inspired a lot of women and girls to pick up snowboarding. Can I say Chloe Kim got me through this winter? I’m just gonna say it, Chloe Kim made me pick up snowboarding again after 10 years and made me wish for lots of snow!

During my class I wanted to put something on a T-shirt that would make me happy and get me through a spring that just wasn’t happening. A naked Cat and a snowboarding Chloe Kim’s reflection in its goggles seemed like the obvious answer!


My teacher recommended glow in the dark ink for the leopard print. GLOW IN THE DARK INK! THERE IS GLOW IN THE DARK INK AND I GET TO USE IT.


It's also nice on paper

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This project was a smashing success. For me personally.

The Photo Tells the Whole Story

. . . well almost.

Our client, Suppys Multivitamins for children has a great story to tell. Their vitamins
contain 6 organic green veggies and fruits, 11 different minerals, vitamin D3, folic acid
and it also tastes good to the kids. As important as what’s in Suppys is what isn’t.
No sugar. Nada. Nothing. Turns out, the competition has a lot of sugar. 

No sugar is a big part of Suppys story, so we asked just how much sugar does the leading
competitor have in their bottle of vitamins?

The answer is equivalent to 80 sugar cubes.

That’s a lot so the Kazooks decided to tell the story in a big way with a poster at point of
sale. We dashed over to Lund’s & Byerly’s in our neighborhood and bought enough
sugar cubes to show what 80 sugar cubes really looks like. Created a fun tabletop photo,
added a headline and minimal copy, and the differentiating, no sugar story was told in
dramatic fashion.

 In the photography studio, we experimented with different ways to display 80 sugar cubes.

In the photography studio, we experimented with different ways to display 80 sugar cubes.

 The final poster result!

The final poster result!


Silk screen adventures with Mila - Watercolors

Every week I take a Silk Screen print class at MCBA I’m taking Kazoo on my journey

One of my favorite techniques is printing with watercolor.

I colored directly on the screen and used transparent base to transfer the colors onto the paper.

The images fade with each print but you keep adding colors to the screen so all prints will end up looking different
This is for my calendar class project.


It's All In The Bag

There are many ways to promote your business. In the case of Maggie The Food Stylist, a strategic creative partner to Kazoo Branding, she has had good success with email blasts, Facebook postings and a website we developed and regularly update.

All have worked well, but she wanted to provide something more permanent, hands on if you will, for her clients and friends. This led us to start thinking about promotional products, which can come in many forms. Because she spends a great deal of her time schlepping groceries to photo studios, how about a shopping bag?


But this wouldn’t be just any old shopping bag. It needed to be custom branded in a fun and colorful way. We picked a sturdy cotton bag and, and created an illustration which was silk-screened on the bag.  We made a water color illustration of a mango and added the headline, “It takes two to mango.”

Maggie now packs her groceries in her bags and leaves the bags behind. They are fun gift that keeps Maggie’s brand close by.


Silk screen adventures with Mila - Roffa

Every week I take a Silk Screen print class at MCBA
I’m taking Kazoo on my journey

My favorite font and my favorite city on fabric.

Why my favorite font I pretend you ask? Well just look at it! It’s called Fakir and created by Underware who also happens to be my favorite type foundry.

Why my favorite city and what even is Roffa? Roffa means Rotterdam and it’s the city I grew up in the Netherlands.
If you are wondering why Minneapolis isn’t my favorite city my answer is that biking in Rotterdam is better then biking in Minneapolis because of the designated bike paths, you never bike in the same lane as cars.
If Minneapolis works on that… maybe I’ll change my mind.


Kazoo Branding is helping increase value of homes

JJJ Specialty Co has a very simple product with a big promise. It will enhance the beauty and value of your home at a fraction of the cost of replacement windows. The product is a window grille, custom designed to fit any size or shape window. They are made of oak, pine or vinyl and are available in a variety of profiles. They are inexpensive and easy to install which makes them perfect for the DIY market.



Window grilles are millwork products, but it is very difficult to convince cash and carry lumber dealers to carry them. JJJ’s immediate solution was to establish a separate company, called FixHome. Next because we worked with JJJ in the past on marketing their custom windows, they had Kazoo Branding create a new identity for FixHome and to build a website that would allow direct sale of the window grilles to the consumer. We began to apply the new identity and graphic standards to the new website we created in Shopify. We stayed true the brand while at the same time staying within the Shopify templates.

Now that the FixHome store is up and running successfully, next steps will be draw attention to the store through proven SEO techniques. Make sure you explore the new website here.


Silk screen adventures with Mila - Cards

Every week I take a Silk Screen print class at MCBA
I’m taking Kazoo on my journey


Simple print on card

No Pictures of the process but this was done with a very simple cutout attached to the screen and only one layer of silver ink.
If you are wondering what this is? It’s the crocodile I drew when I was 5

crocodile card
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If you are subscribed to our mailing list, you probably saw this sweet image popping up.

It looks like a piece of art, doesn’t it! Its a simple color swatch test our teacher did to show us how Cyan and Magenta work together.
Picking out colors is really fun but often hard to imagine how they will co exist and mingle on actual paper when using multiple colors


Silk screen adventures with Mila - Distorted Guitar

Every week I take a Silk Screen print class at MCBA
I’m taking Kazoo on my journey


As a designer, there are times I can't help myself, and I need to turn my ambitions toward passion projects. Lately, the art of silk screening got me going, and now I am taking a weekly class. Follow along and I will show you what I'm doing. This week, I grabbed my guitar and worked up an idea that I could produce. These are all the steps that went into my 3 layer Distorted Guitar print

 Finished print. Increase your viewing experience by listening to Sonic Youth

Finished print. Increase your viewing experience by listening to Sonic Youth

Financial Planning is a Life-Long Journey

Even though financial planning is the heart and soul of our client, the Birch Cove Group, they felt the need to add another level that would differentiate them from the competition in this market. Co-founder and current partner, Robert Bjork, discovered the value of financial planning early on as a student at the University of Minnesota when a financial planner helped his family after his father passed away from cancer. It was this experience that caused Mr. Bjork to change his studies and embrace financial planning as a life long calling.

From the very beginning, Mr. Bjork has differentiated his practice by recognizing that his clients prosper best by providing them with tools for both financial planning and life planning. It is this approach that we focused on to help rebrand Birch Cove Group.


With over 300,000 financial advisers nationwide, it is a competitive landscape, especially for those FPA’s who want to attract high-net-worth individuals with significant assets. A sophisticated group, many of whom are retiring from the C-suite of large corporations, or some who have acquired significant assets from selling a business, or others that are high-income professionals. These are clients that require the Birch Cove Group to offer a complete and comprehensive suite of tools in order to satisfy their complex needs.

In addition to recreating their website, social media and collateral, key messages were developed to accurately express their core brand essence.

Birch Cove recognizes that the growth and protection of assets are closely tied to the life issues that clients experience throughout their lifetime prior to retirement. The two are intertwined, and BCG takes a very active role in bundling together the financial and life issues.

A meaningful life is the new currency of retirement, which is why Birch Cove puts financial planning and life planning together for every client.

See what your life can look like


The new Birch Cove Group homepage:


Birch Cove Group's capabilities:


View the live Birch Cove Group website here.

2017 Is A Wrap

. . .  but not so fast.

Love this business. There’s constant change, new businesses, new opportunities, new people and new ideas. There is one bit of wonder about new ideas. Just when you think that you have had your last good idea two weeks ago, and you are in a panic mode, all of a sudden you get new ideas in bunches. We experienced all of this and more this past year.

We facilitated several branding sessions for new clients, married up new logos to the new brand, created the corresponding brand identities, created and developed a very diverse group of websites, worked collaboratively with some insanely creative partners, and headed the business association for all of the retailers and restaurants located directly out the front door of our office here in northeast Minneapolis.

Before we move on to 2018 though, we would like to linger for just a short while on 2017 and how we ended up. The ending is a good one, so stick around for this.

Believe in Good(nola)!

I started as a graphic design intern at Kazoo in May, and my very first project was to create a label for Goodnola, a homemade granola. What a great first assignment! The Kazoo team had already gone back and forth with the client a few times, and knew the label should have a old-fashioned look to it that references the homemade nature of the granola, while also evoking the sense of a high-quality product. With some guidance from Mila, I pursued a Delft Blue inspired design because the style's association with homemade craft fit with our client's business.


The above examples of Delft Blue helped inspire the Goodnola design.

I used a monochromatic blue color scheme, and incorporated floral illustrations that borrowed characteristics from oat and barley grains. For a typeface, I chose a serif font that fits with the classic look of the Delft Blue, and also evokes an old-style, homemade feeling.This project only required the design of a front label, but I decided to expand the identity system by designing a back label as well. To do this, I took an illustration from the front and created a pattern out of it. Solid, blue outlines ground the pattern and prevent it from feeling too busy, and copy sits inside a white box where the text is easy to read. 

This was a fun project to work on, and I enjoyed having the challenge of creating a design that references a particular art style. If you've got any package design needs, send them over to Kazoo and we'll work with you to give your product a personality that stands out and speaks for itself. Bonus: I'll be one happy intern!

Branding for a Newsworthy Event

Every year, the Northeast Business Association (NEBA) hosts a dog parade in the neighborhood. The purpose of this event, in part, is to show off the Northeast neighborhood and all of its locally owned, small businesses in a fun way. Kazoo Branding has the job of creating posters, flyers, and social media postings for this event. This year our work resulted in a huge turnout and spots on two different news outlets. Read on to find out how we drummed up attention for the Northeast Dog Parade.

We started by creating an eye-catching visual identity.

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Posters and flyers in bright, primary colors catch the attention of passerby from a distance and stand out on a bulletin board full of competing information.

Then we posted on social media. A lot.

Using the visual identity created for the print materials, we designed several graphics specifically for Facebook. These were posted about twice a week for the month leading up to the event.

Finally, we helped make sure the event ran smoothly.

We took lots of pictures and handed out promotional materials for local businesses, as well as cute Dog Parade buttons that Kazoo designed.

The rigorous campaigning for this event resulted in the Northeast Dog Parade being featured on Channel 5 news later that night, and given a spot in CityPages as well. Given that NEBA hoped to draw people and attention to the neighborhood through this event, we chalked it up to be a great success. Whether it’s for a new restaurant or a dog parade, Kazoo Branding knows how to build buzz.

Behind the Scenes: SUPPYS Product Shoot

Now and then, we find ourselves in a situation where a client needs on demand, high quality product photography.

Such was the case with our client, SUPPYS who recently began to offer a children’s chewable multi-vitamin through a monthly subscription plan. Following closely was the launch of their new Omega-3 fish oil smoothie. The “mom bloggers” were showing great interest because it is such unique product - really good for kids, and it tastes great.

Very quickly there was a need to simultaneously get product photography ready and available to the bloggers, on the website and in social media.

Out came our light set, down came the white sweep, and in comes the camera. Combined with the available light in our office along with our strobe lights, we were able to bring out the color, texture, and life of the subject. Mila was able to manipulate the light so as to minimize undesirable shadows and to bring the colorful SUPPYS product to life.

After shooting the individual product, we added shots of the SUPPYS fish oil with a few visual clues to help viewers understand how they might use it. The target market for SUPPYS are moms who are concerned about their kids health, and placing the fish oil product next to healthy foods put our audience on the path to envisioning how they could use the product in their own lives.

Kazoo has the ability to economically shoot professional photos quickly and without a hassle. Overall, it took the Kazoo team less than two hours to get several amazing shots of the SUPPYS fish oil. Whether you need product shots or portraits, Kazoo Branding has the ability to deliver great photos.

Bada Bing Bada Boom: Ludwig Drum Jam Session

Kazook designer Mila Samson had the chance to shoot some fun product shots for her husband, who teaches drum lessons at Murco Music School. Todd has been drumming all over the world for years and is endorsed by Ludwig Drums. The manufacturer of percussion products is known as the “most famous name on drums” and is celebrating 108 years of business.


Pack a room full of Todd’s students with sugar rushes from Glam Doll Donuts and you’ve got yourself a killer jam session. Mila was able to capture the energy from the Ludwig Drum Company Appreciation Day in the photos you will see below. Her tip? Keep it as fun as possible, even when shooting still lifes of cookies.


New Website for a Timeless Neighborhood

Welcome to Northeast, our trendy and charming neighborhood that offers something for everyone. In order to continue to elevate Northeast’s presence in the Twin Cities, we needed a new website to match the dynamic neighborhood’s bustling personality. Since February, the Kazoo team has been working on creating the new Northeast Minneapolis website. This project has been a great reflection on user experience; how viewers are able to interact with our website in an efficient yet engaging way.

Paying attention to how consumers interact with a website is especially important in today’s tech-savvy world. While we worked on creating the website, we kept specific aspects of the neighborhood in mind that we wanted for our users to be able to learn more about; location, businesses, and events. Where exactly is Northeast located? Where can I shop? Where can I grab a bite to eat or a drink to sip on with friends? All of these questions and more we kept in mind as we rebuilt the website. See for yourself at