Amy Stolls’ site is a great example of design collaboration, incorporating our own ideas and those of our customer. We developed a textured, vibrant, friendly looking layout for Amy, and then incorporated photos of stuffed animals she sent us to make each page’s heading a little bit different. It’s also as functional as it is beautiful. Every time Amy wants to post to her blog, she can automatically forward that post to her Twitter and Facebook accounts.
Amy Stolls is the author of the novel The Ninth Wife (HarperCollins, May 2011), and the young adult novel Palms to the Ground (Farrar, Straus & Giroux), published in 2005 to critical acclaim and a Parents’ Choice Gold Award. She spent years as a journalist covering the Exxon Valdez oil spill in Alaska before she received an MFA in creative writing from American University. Currently, she is the literature program officer for the National Endowment for the Arts, collaborating with thousands of writers, editors, booksellers, and publishers.
One of our earliest and most massive web sites was a collaboration with Nick Zammuto and Paul de Jong, the founding members of electronic-folk group, The Books. The web site was designed to match the band’s collage-style music, incorporating dozens of interactive, animated pages, unpredictable exploratory environments, and, of course, easy access to tour dates, news updates, and merchandise.
The Books were a critically acclaimed band based in Vermont, whose intricately edited music often featured spoken word samples in place of, or in addition to, sung lyrics. That common trait, alongside the strange and beautiful combinations of digitally altered acoustic instruments, made them one of the most unique bands of the past decade. Their albums, Thought for Food and The Lemon of Pink landed on Pitchfork Media’s top albums of the year lists in 2002 and 2004.
For this series of comedic short films, we developed a web site with one primary objective: super-low load time. Once you’ve loaded the main page, you’re done. Click any other section, and it quickly slides into view. Want to play one of the videos? Just click one of the custom screenshots and the layout dims to focus on the film.With its narrow, vibrant design, it looks even better on mobile phones. Pull it up on an iPhone and the animations evoke the familiar sliding motions of many apps.
Evil Grin Gift Box is an ongoing series of short films with a bent toward dark, absurdist humor. Some of them are directly related through recurring characters, while others are indirectly connected through common themes. Members of Shrieking Tree write, direct, edit, act in, and compose music for them.
When I stepped inside Beth Abroms’ Washington, DC salon, I noticed two things: an emphasis on curly hair, and fun, lighthearted décor. I worked with Beth to transfer these ideas to the screen, resulting in a vibrant design, well suited to compliment the concise blocks of text used to describe the salon’s services. It’s based on the WordPress framework, which means that when the staff wants to change a service or price, it’s easy altered in ten minutes or less.
Fiddleheads is an award-winning salon in Washington, DC. Voted one of DC’s top three salons in Washington City Paper’s 2012 Readers’ Poll, Fiddleheads has been lauded in Washingtonian Magazine as the go-to salon for curly hair. (But we know our way around a head of straight hair, too!) Since 1999, Fiddleheads offers a personalized, integrated approach using Deva techniques when appropriate. We make sure our clients leave the salon with a skip in their step, giddy and gorgeous.
This great art magazine was stuck on an aging, buggy web site that undermined their 2,000+ articles of fantastic content. When it was time to upgrade, we took up the task of transferring and debugging that massive amount of content and placing it in a new minimalist design that highlights the artists’ work in every article they post. The new, integrated store makes it easy for them to sell books and magazines, keeping an online inventory of every product.
Hi Fructose is an internationally distributed art magazine, covering hundreds of unique artists across the globe since 2008. Its six annual issues and daily web articles give readers an in-depth look at the artists behind a wide range of different styles, often highlighting surrealist and abstract paintings.
As a new business preparing to launch, Iowa Land Sales needed a competitive web site that simplified the process of buying, selling, and managing land. We looked at the cluttered approach its competitors’ web sites used, and opted for a sleek, simple design that is best highlighted by its listings section. Customers can easily expand sections of text to see the information they’re looking for, while leaving the others out of sight.
The staff at Iowa Land Sales brings buyers, sellers and owners more than 30 years of combined experience in real estate sales, farm management and dealing with land-related legal issues. Our knowledgeable sales professionals and experienced real estate attorney have the qualifications to market or manage property and walk through any and all legal issues related to property transaction.
Humor writer Jay Clark already had a web site when he came to us, but it was in dire need of an upgrade. In short time, we ported his content into a shiny new layout that better reflects his lighthearted spirit. All of the navigation options are hand-drawn in an ink-on-paper style that stands apart from standard fonts, and the site’s content all rests upon a textured page that pops out from the bright blue background.
Jay Clark is the author of young-adult novel The Edumacation of Jay Baker. He uses his web site to provide his readers with entertaining short stories and news updates.
As an auctioneer, Jason wanted to produce a site with the most comprehensive database of information about Iowa farmland prices. We worked with him to create an interactive map, which allows users to click any of the state’s counties and get loads of information about each. If Jason’s got an upcoming auction in that county, the county’s page will highlight that in a dynamic sidebar that appears when needed.
Jason Smith is an Iowa Auctioneer with experience in real estate sales including homes, farms, land and acreages. Providing professional auctioneering services in the Midwest for all types of auction events including real estate, estates, farmland, machinery and liquidation.
Ah, Murdertusk. While it is one of our humbler film efforts, its site still makes us smile. I’d always wanted to make a web site for a film, and this was a fun chance to do it. The layout’s inclusion of actors’ faces flanking the video at center stage was inspired by old-school film posters, while other pages utilized the gritty, textured appearance of more famous movie web sites. Although it’s goofy, the site’s look is a good example of yet another design style.
Murdertusk is the first 30-minute film from Shrieking Tree. After losing all of his money producing the failed film, Dragonfist, Thomas J. Buxtehude hatches a plot to capture a narwhal, pluck its prized tusk, and sell it to accrue vast sums of cash just prior to destroying the entire world. Walter, having burnt down Buxtehude’s office, must do his bidding or face blackmail.
This wonderfully distinct site stands out from the pack with its object-based navigation. Author Myla Goldberg sent me images of a shelf and several objects from around her house, which I then edited to create a fun, curiosity-provoking home page. Roll over any of the objects and the top of the shelf will tell you where you’ll be heading when you click it. Jump to another page and the shelf shrinks, providing ample room for expanding content below.
Myla Goldberg is a the bestselling author of three novels, including Bee Season, which was a New York Times Notable Book for 2000, winner of the Borders New Voices Prize, and a finalist for the Hemingway Foundation/PEN award, the NYPL Young Lions award, and the Barnes & Noble Discover award. It has been adapted to film and widely translated. Myla’s short stories have appeared in Harper's and Failbetter, among other places. Her book reviews have appeared in the New York Times and Bookforum.
As a small new business, New World Café were in need of a site that was simple, inexpensive, and easy to update. The resulting web site packs a lot of punch for the price, including an effortlessly updatable menu, an integrated Twitter feed at the top, and a minimalist, earth-toned design that lets the food take center stage. When the site was finished, we also designed their large, outdoor sign, and the menus.
New World Café is an all-vegan restaurant in Des Moines, Iowa. With an abundance of tasty, made-from-scratch recipes, the owners support local, organic farms, donate to commissary funds of animal rights activists, and compost all of their food scraps. Beyond that, they offer at least one sliding-scale menu option at all times, allowing customers to pay what they can afford, to accommodate those with tight budgets.
The owner of Opprobriations came to us with design images he’d created himself, and asked us to help him turn them into a fully functional web store. We worked with him step by step to build a minimalist, zippy site that provides an uncluttered environment for the shirts to live. As the site’s owner, he can keep track of which items he has in stock at all times, and add new products any time he wants.
The committee on opprobriations was created to explore the use of modernist design and Absurdism to challenge traditional concepts. The committee on opprobriations seeks out new techniques, plainly describes its approach, and then shares the results of its work. It is left to the individual to interpret what those results mean. The products designed by the committee on opprobriations use high-quality materials, sourced to ensure both excellence and social responsibility.
A minimalist, uncluttered web site, created to be fast and functional. It includes a store for fine art prints, options for sharing those items on social networks, a database of current and previously exhibited artists, a video blog, and more.
Spoke Art is an art space specializing in new contemporary painting, sculpture and illustration located in San Francisco’s Lower Nob Hill neighborhood. Their rotating monthly exhibits feature a wide variety of solo and group shows, many of which feature our international roster of represented artists. You can visit them at 816 Sutter Street in San Francisco, California.
As one of the most prestigious sites we’ve had the opportunity to work on, we took great care in adapting Stanford’s design ideas into an easily updatable live site, where events content is highlighted through text and images in a number of different areas. Those who update the site fill out custom fields for event title, date, and summary, and the site cranks out the info in various sizes and formats depending on the page visitors are looking at.
The Stanford Arts Institute focuses on promoting cross-disciplinary approaches to the arts—in teaching, research, and art-making. Drawing on Stanford’s strengths in collaboration and innovation, the Arts Institute exists to integrate the values and skills found in the arts throughout a Stanford University education.
Stanford University’s YAH site was designed to provide a look at upcoming exhibits from their students. With that in mind, we created a system that would allow the site’s owners to upload photos once and have them automatically resized and re-formatted to fit different pages across the site. (Some of the site’s menu items are hidden for time being, but these will soon be unlocked for all to see.)
The Your Art Here Program coordinates several student-run gallery spaces across Stanford campus, enabling members of the Stanford community to display their work. The program is run by a staff Oversight Board and a Student Committee, and gives students the opportunity to gain curatorial, installation, and gallery management experience. Students are responsible for planning, curating, and installing the exhibitions, and are given training opportunities with professionals in the field.
This minimalist, modern web site is one of our more deceptively powerful creations. It allows people to find ethically made clothing companies and sort them using a multi-layered search. So if you want to find American made clothing, you can sort it by Made in the US/UK, as well as the usual Men's, Women's, and Kids departments.
BetterThread is the best place to find ethical clothing companies. The site finds the best companies making clothes for men, women, and kids and grades them based on how well they treat people, animals, and the environment. Users can then search those companies by type of clothes or by ethics badges, including American Made, Fair Trade, Vegan, Sustainable, and Charitable criteria.
This site was developed as simple and affordable way for people to buy limited-edition fine art prints from a range of skilled artists. It typically features two prints at a time, each highlighted on the home page with its own timer that shows visitors how much time they have left to buy it. The owner’s end of the site allows him to set start and end times for each item and upload a set of photos to show them off from different angles.
Fine art for the masses. That’s the goal at the People’s Printshop. They believe that every man, woman, child and cat should be able to purchase amazing limited edition art prints by some of the world’s leading contemporary artists. Their fine art giclee prints come on a luxurious 300# Italian cold press watercolor paper, and are always printed with archival Epson Ultrachrome HDR inks. Their screen prints are lovingly printed by hand, and all of their printing is either done in-house, or at the very least, here in the good ol’ U S of A.
This site is simple, sleek, and lightning-fast. We took razor and superhero imagery as inspiration and created a coordinated logo and layout that communicate efficiency just by using the site’s navigation. You don’t have to wait for new pages to load. You don’t have to scroll to read massive amounts of text. Yet everything is still a cinch for the site’s owner to update whenever he wants.
Three Razors is the home of digital media strategist Todd Razor, providing social media campaigns, search engine optimization, video production, and more for its clients.
This organization combats what is one of the most unpleasant evils alive in the world today. But though the topic is truly awful, I sought to highlight the beauty of the group’s work through a gritty, orange and black themed site. The home page offers a rotating set of images that spotlight the latest content, and the Resources section provides a visual guide to the ever-expanding catalog of books and films that tackle the issue.
Witness Against Torture formed in 2005 when 25 Americans went to Guantánamo Bay to protest the detention facility. Since then, the group has organized vigils, marches, nonviolent direct actions, and educational events calling for the close of Guantánamo, an end to U.S. torture, accountability for the torturers, and justice for the victims.
Our first book is a 74-page collection of stories from nine homeless teenagers from Iowa, complimented by multi-layered visuals on every page. Shrieking Tree staff brought the project from conception through the writing, editing, design, printing, and marketing phases, raising over $40,000 for homeless youth shelters as a result.
Zakery's Bridge: Children's Journeys from around the World to Iowa
Our second book focuses on immigrant and refugee children, featuring nine stories from kids who share their experiences of moving from their home countries to the midwest. The book's proceeds were donated to CultureALL, which works to raise cultural awareness with kids at schools.
The crafty folks at Raygun created a book packed with graphics, which we then converted into ebook formats for the Kindle, iPhone, iPad, and Nook. Features we added include a linked table of contents, reformatted images, and hundreds of linked names that, when tapped, let readers discover where in the midwest each person in the book is from.
After working with the Books for a few years, collaborating on a web site and several animations, I created this poster for their show at Grinnell College, in Iowa. The poster uses a four-color, minimalist vector style, represents each musician with the instrument he plays, and incorporates the tapes the band collected from thrift stores to nab samples from. Also present is the mischievous fly we used as a back button on the web site.
Shrieking Tree regularly designs posters for local benefit concerts in Iowa. The Community Bash benefit concerts raise money for local homeless youth organizations, and the WAT Torture Survivors’ Benefit concerts raise money for the Torture Abolitionist Survivors and Support Coalition.
Best Place Ever
Best Place Ever provided an alternative to big-name video rental stores, keeping a collection of rare and hard-to-find films on its shelves. In addition, the store organized events each year - film screenings, concerts, and item/service-trading gatherings. We designed posters for some of these.
Witness Against Torture Posters
To raise awareness about the plight of innocent men trapped at Guantánamo Bay, I created posters to raise money for WAT. The posters highlight direct quotes from cleared-for-release detainees, statistics about the detention center, and photos I took at protests.
Ad for From a Growing Community, Iowa's Homeless Youth
After creating this book, we decided to bypass traditional publishers so that we could give more of the proceeds to homeless youth shelters. That meant marketing the book ourselves, including a campaign to sell the book at midwestern coffee shops and book stores using stands with this ad attached.
Longbottom Leaf: The Everyday and the Unknown Album Art
Prog-rock band Longbottom Leaf writes songs that are long, structurally complex, imaginative journeys. We tried to reflect that in the art design for the release of their album, The Everyday and the Unknown.
New World Café Sign
One of our most beloved creations is the giant beet adorning the outside of local vegan restaurant, New World Café. The unique and colorful sign stands apart from those of other restaurants, and clearly communicates the café's emphasis on veggie-based foods.
New World Café Menu
After designing the café's web site and sign, we created menus to compliment their appearance. The green-themed menus show off the restaurant's wide offering of vegan food in a bright, colorful format and stand out nicely when sitting on the restaurant's wooden tables.
Iowa Land Sales Tri-fold Brochure
This land auctioning and management company was looking for a way to highlight three distinct aspects of their business. This seemed well-suited to the tri-fold brochure format, which we used to focus on the three individuals who oversee each branch of the company's services.
Shrieking Tree is a little troupe of artists with over 15 years of design experience. We design and code web sites, create books, posters, signs and more. We also write, shoot, and edit short films, and are available to capture footage of live events. Give us a call for more info: