Truth to progress.



In 1976, Lou Bellamy created a forum for African-American playwrights, actors and artists in the heart of St. Paul’s Rondo Neighborhood. Penumbra Theatre has gone on to widespread acclaim, not only for its singular artistic productions and famous alumni but for its role as an essential truth-teller in the community. 40 years is a milestone worth celebrating. We had the good fortune to help pitch in. 40 years is only the beginning!

From Belgium to Bayport


Made from scratch meals, handpicked wines, beers and artisan coffees roasted on location. For the crew at L’Etoile du Nord Cafe these things aren’t just lip service, it’s a way of life. And clearly the masses are on high alert, as LDN has been lauded with accolades since it’s inception, including the Star Tribune’s “Best Waffles, Best of MN 2015” and a City Pages writeup, amongst others. We rolled up our sleeves and tackled every aspect of the L•D•N brand including their digital strategy and a squeaky clean new website.  Joie de vivre, y’all!

I Know What’s Next…


The International Interior Design Association has long been one of the premiere professional organizations in design. We had the honor of reimagining the IIDA Northland’s student awards competition for 2013. Naming, rebranding and concepting the video challenge was par for the course. The result is IIDA Next, a video based multimedia challenge for the NEXT generation of designers, creators and thinkers. A drastic departure from the usual Interior Design competition. In two minutes or less students are challenged to, surprise, provoke, and intrigue. Did the winning video rise to the challenge? We think so. Our efforts earned us a national award of excellence from the HQ. High fives all the way around!


Ride it High, Rub it On


The end all be all of the hoity toity world of fly fishing is the dry fly. For the uninitiated, this is the quintessential methodology to subdue a rising trout. An often overlooked piece of this delicious puzzle is that of the fly dressing or floatant. Few advancements have been made in floatants in many moons. The category is inundated with a brand attitude and product assortment on par with wart removers. That’s where High Horse Fly Dressing kicks into high gear. HH helps your fly ride high in the water column with the added accoutrements such as UV, or scent infusion. In a sport where the participants have the darndest reputation for taking themselves, and their pursuit a bit too seriously, we’re proud to have engineered a new brand from the ground up. So step on up to your High Horse and rub it on!

Dusting Off the Spray Cans



We had the pleasure of creating some custom graffiti work for Joel Pilger of Impossible and his ReKnew project featuring Greg Boyd. Hitting the abandoned Fruen Mill site in north Minneapolis with our pieces was a bit creepy, it felt like a scene right out of an episode of Scooby-Doo. The video was shot by the boys at Telegraph Studios. Check out their killer B-Roll promo piece as well. Nice job fellas! I felt compelled to throw down a few Adrift™ tags as well just for good measure. I’m sure the other graffiti writers will be wondering WTF when they break into the mill and see the HouseFly!



This is Fly


Labor and our Adrift™ fly fishing blog are featured in the June/July issue of This is Fly Magazine #35. We did an interview and designed the cover for the fine folks at Brooklyn-based TiF. Here’s a sneak peak at a few of the concepts we created for the issue. Tight lines y’all!

Welcome the Accounting and Creative Mixer


A rebrand effort is well underway for our friends at the MNCPA. We’ve been designing conference materials for them for a number of years. This is our first crack at doing some branding work, in addition to the usual print collateral and website development. They’re overdue for a shout out from team Labor.

Ooozing with Goodness


Sure doughnuts may not be the most healthy choice for breakfast, and are wholly inappropriate for high end culinary inspiration, but there’s no questioning their appeal. I’ve always been partial the Krispy Kreme variety (amongst others). I love the textural quality of the freshly fried dough dipped in sugary goodness.

It’s with this in mind, that we approached a new round of business cards for our long time compatriots at Cooks of Crocus Hill. I’ve often joked with Cooks for years that I’ve designed everything imaginable for them except business cards.

The idea of thermography  had been on “the list” for awhile, just sitting there waiting for the right opportunity. In my book thermography gets a bad rap, often being associated with the cheap and “undesigned” handouts from the ubiquitous small businesses of the world. The “creative types” often go for the beautiful and passe qualities of letterpress or screen printing. For the Cooks cards we wanted a thick field of thermonuclear love.

I wanted these bad boys to look like they’d been dipped in the dip cone tank at DQ, though they look eerily like a square of Neopolitan just begging for the scoop. Is that such a bad thing? There’s nothing quite like the decision when staring down the open box, do you go Chocolate or Strawberry? Forget the Vanilla in the middle, it’s not a real flavor it’s just white space.

Cook, Eat, Live – LifeRecipe™


A Labor of Love. Our buddy Karl has been killing it this year, after many years of preaching the LifeRecipe gospel. If you’ve seen the Andrew Zimmern Health Partners / YumPower spots on TV the last few months, then you can appreciate his efforts (it’s a spin-off of our core LifeRecipe program).

We finally got around to developing a proper interactive sales app for LR (amongst other marketing pieces). Live better, my friends.


Thanks Gutenberg…


Man what a run it’s been! Since the invention of the printing press, has it been seriously challenged for communications supremacy? While print certainly isn’t dead, we’ve seen a significant shift in the way that our clients value print.

These days when we do fire up the press, we have to be “extra” certain that the choosen vehicle provides a unique brand interaction. Case in point, our own business cards. They provide a cornucopia of earth-friendly options, and possibly serve a dual purpose (if you’re lucky). Give us a shout, we’d be more than happy to meet and have and old school business card exchange. Who knows you may find a hidden gem in our stash? Just know you have a friend in Labor, Johann.

This is one hot potato.


If you’re not careful you may get a visit from Ms. Susie and her “hotter than blazes” event sales app. This is just one of many tools in the Cooks rebrand toolbox. We like to refer to it as the drill driver, it’s the real workhorse in the arsenal. Get on over to Cooks for your forthcoming 50th anniversary party or corporate teambuilding event. Heck, you might even learn the nuiances of foie gras and end up with a full belly, killing two birds with one stone.

Boldly go where no branding has gone before.


A stalwart component of the Labor philosophy is to work hard, play harder. Yup, that sounds cheesy, but it’s true. One obscure pursuit that we claim supremacy is in fishing talent. Hey big agencies you may be big, you may be bad, you may be expensive, but we can out fish you?

For years when interviewing creative talent I always asked the question, do you fish? It was always enjoyable to hear prospective designers squirm when trying to wrap their heads around that odd question. They would typiclly formulate an answer that was constructed to say what they thought I wanted to hear. Often times stories relating to “fishing with my grandpa when I was a kid.” Our on the water skills were particularly useful in our Pure Fishing branding years before they got swallowed up by a monster conglomerate and evacuated my beloved Hawkeye state for a warmer climate.

Which brings up another philosophical tenet. Not that Labor has studied the klingon language, but we are familiar with some of the general concepts behind Star Trek. Boldly go where no man has gone before, and in this case the new frontier is fishing. Often times our work isn’t the most glitzy or slick but we are always looking for opportunities to take quality design to places rarely touched by our profession.

Sorry fishing, but there is only a small percentage of quality creative being done in your industry, and online fishing communities are no stranger this idea.  With that in mind we decided to help brand the foremost trout fishing community in the midwest’s famed Driftless area. Brad Pitt from A River Runs Through It need not apply. Typically there’s a Hatfield and McCoy style feud between many fly fisherman and old school worm dunkers, but this group simply shares a passion for pursuing the world class spring creeks of the midwest. Tight lines, folks.



Refresh Your Space



Why throw out old office systems on your next office space redesign? It seems kind of wasteful doesn’t it?  Enjoy a snippet of our new work for RenuSpace, a customizable office panel system that makes Moonlighting era Herman Miller office spaces feel like a squeaky new pair of sneakers.

Oscars Press-Kit


Are you a voting member of the Academy Awards? Didn’t think so. Here’s a sneak peak of the PR kit we created for the Ana’s Playground Oscar submission. Making the top ten of independent short films produced in the last year is rarified air. Good job Minneapolis!

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