The Power of Color

Microsoft PowerPoint - 3-8Waller Water Works Preso PC.ppt [Read-Think of your favorite sports team’s jerseys, your company’s logo, and the packaging of any product you enjoy. What do they all have in common? If they’re done well, they all feature bold, distinctive colors. Color is powerful – it makes key items stand out, it subconsciously makes an item more memorable, and it enhances brand recognition. Continue reading

Chris Celusniak

Celusniak-Austin Texas-SCAN_250wFor June, Miller IDS turns its monthly Featured Artist focus on Chris Celusniak, a true storyteller through his intricate artwork. Chris’ art shows a hidden depth of stories within stories that come together to create the whole picture. The eclectic works derive their form from patterns, improbable vintage, and a world of endless color. Viewers look into the canvas and find the intimate spaces within the larger whole, to read the narrative of its inhabitants, each with a story to tell. Chris works to create a window on a feeling that both he and the viewer may share.

Recognized with multiple awards, Chris has exhibited across the country. The native Texan was born in Houston, is a member of the San Antonio River Art Group and now lives in Austin with his family. We will have a print of Chris’ Austin-Texas hanging in both our downtown and north stores for the month of June and hope you’ll come by to check it out and/or visit his website to see more.

Proud Supporter of the West Austin Studio Tour 2015!

VG_MillerBP AD (3)
Page 81 of the WEST Austin Catalog

We’re proud to support the WEST Austin Studio Tour this weekend and next throughout local Austin studios.

WEST is divided into four participant categories: Artist Studios, Exhibitions, Happenings, and Select Events. Artist Studios and Exhibitions are free to the public and open on the weekends of May 9-10 & 16-17 from 11am – 6pm. Happenings are also free, occurring on the weekends of the tour with varying hours. Select Events may be ticketed and take place throughout tour weekends as well as the weekdays and weeknights in between.

The 2015 WEST catalog is a guide to all the participants on the tour. Each artist studio, exhibition, happening, and select event is featured with images and information. Also included will be the 2015 WEST fold-out map insert. These beautifully designed catalogs have become coveted collectors’ items over the years, and are invaluable references to the arts in Austin.

Check out our ad on page 81 in the online catalog and map here!

Condo explosion: The Independent unveils latest renderings (Slideshow)

The Independent — the proposed condo high rise in the center of the rendering — would bring an eye-catching silhouette to Austin's skyline.
The Independent — the proposed condo high rise in the center of the rendering — would bring an eye-catching silhouette to Austin’s skyline.

Residential condo development is booming after years of stagnation. Downtown Austin has several high-rise condo projects in the development pipeline, including Seaholm Residences, Fifth & West and The Independent.

This week the developer of The Independent released additional renderings and announced that a sales center is opening to the public off West Avenue and Fifth Street. Urbanspace, a real estate brokerage with offices at that location, has been hired as the exclusive listing broker and operator of “The Independent Presentation Center.”

Click on the “related slideshow” link next to the photo to see the latest renderings of the project, which includes a doggie lounge and kid’s playroom. Rhode: Partners is the project architect, by the way. Full article>>

Major downtown Austin office project lands site plan approval; will financing follow?

The proposed Waller Creek mixed-used development will bring even more density to the rapidly growing Rainey Street District. Here's the latest rendering.
The proposed Waller Creek mixed-used development will bring even more density to the rapidly growing Rainey Street District. Here’s the latest rendering.

McCourt Global, the development partner on the proposed Waller Creek mixed-use project near Cesar Chavez and Red River streets, said Wednesday that a site development plan has been approved by the city.

What this means for moving the 2 million-square-foot project forward isn’t entirely known, given that financing still must be lined up and the development has yet to receive a formal name. The design and configuration also continue to be hashed out.

Still, Drew McCourt, president of MG Properties, wants people to know that plans are moving forward.

“There’s a good amount of work to be done getting the site prepped for construction,” McCourt said in an email to the Austin Business Journal. “We intend to get that process started in rather short order.”  Full article>>

Robots in Architecture

RobotBuilderRobots have long been used in manufacturing – it’s probable that your car, computer, and dozens of other possessions were at least partially built by robots.  And now you might even find a robot at the drawing board next to yours!

Well, not exactly. The robots aren’t being used to create drawings – CAD does that well enough – but they are being used to create precise structures that would be beyond the abilities of a normal human builder.

There’s even an organization that promotes the use of robots in design and construction: the Association for Robots in Architecture The group sponsors the Rob/Arch conference, which introduces architects to the capabilities of robots. The next conference will be held in Sydney, Australia on March 15-19, 2016.

So what do the robots do?

They are being used for complex, tedious projects involving masonry, wood, foam, and other media. These projects could conceivably be done by an extremely careful human, but a robot can do them more quickly and accurately.

“The use of robots, combined with digital design tools, means a new aesthetic becomes possible, with novel shapes and patterns that would be nearly impossible to achieve without the automated machines: industrial manipulators that are extremely precise and good at repetition,” wrote Markus Waibal in blog about automation. Read the entire blog, and see some examples of these robot-made projects, here:

The robots being used are the common robot arms that have been refined over the past two decades or so. They are generalists – that is, they can be programmed to do an endless variety of tasks precisely and tirelessly. This makes them perfect for stacking bricks in intricate patterns, carving exact shapes into acoustical panels, or countless other construction tasks.

In addition to operating Rob/Arch, the people behind the Association for Robots in Architecture have developed a new controller plugin for Grasshopper, a visual programming tool that works inside the 3-D CAD modeler software Rhinoceros.

Swiss architects Fabio Gramazio and Matthias Kohler are leaders in robot construction. They used a large robot to create a curving, 100-meter brick wall in an architectural exhibit in Venice. The bricks were unmortared, and a straight wall would have been dangerously unstable. The robot, on the other hand, was able to precisely place the bricks in such a fashion that the wall was completely stable.

Robots have countless uses in modern society, so it’s no surprise that they’ve made their way into architecture and building, too. Look for a robot at your next worksite!


Posted in AEC

5 Tips to Improve Your Design Business

DesignDollarsYou probably became a designer because you’re a talented artist or graphics professional, not because you like the business side of things. But a designer without clients is like a chef without customers – they can cook all they want, but they won’t be able to pay the bills. With that in mind, here are five tips to keep your design business humming:

  1. Get Personal. Networking is key to any small business, but especially one in which it’s sometimes hard to distinguish quality producers from wannabes. When you open your business, or expand, or introduce a new service, let everyone know through a targeted, personal email. Sure, you can mention your new business on your website and Facebook page, but nothing beats the personal connection. And don’t forget the “ask” – “Do you know of anyone who might need such-and-such service? If so, please recommend me.”
  2. Network Your Suppliers. Too often a networking effort, such as described above, is limited to obvious candidates such as friends and former clients. Thing bigger. Who else in your world is connected? Probably the most connected people you are in contact with are your suppliers and their salespeople. That nice guy at the art supply store? He probably personally knows half the designers in town, and would be a perfect conduit for spreading the word about a new service you’re offering. The key to tapping your network of suppliers is courtesy – when salespeople email, call, or visit, resist the natural urge to blow them off and instead give them a few minutes of your time. When you turn the tables and contact them about your new services, they’ll remember that courtesy.
  1. Forget Competing on Price. If you think you’re going to land that new client because you’re cheaper than the other five designers in your neighborhood, visit one of those online freelance design marketplaces, such as or, and see what some of those designers charge. There’s simply no way you can compete on price with a talented overseas freelancer who feels $5 an hour is a great wage. Instead, compete on skill, personal service, or a specialty (see next tip).
  1. Don’t Be All Things to All People. Book covers are not magazine covers, and websites are not Facebook pages. You might think you’re talented and versatile enough to design anything – and maybe you are – but most clients typically work on one project at a time and want a designer who specializes in that type of project. If a family counselor needs a designer to make a snazzy cover for a book she’s writing to promote her services, she is more likely to choose the designer whose portfolio contains book covers and book-related marketing ancillaries than a designer who has a hodge podge of random designs. Find what you do well and promote it.
  1. Partner With a Trusted Print Supplier. The final product of your design probably will be some kind of printed piece, say a banner, brochure, or poster. Don’t let all the work you put into the design go to waste by choosing a fly-by-night, low-budget print provider. Show your client that you care about quality throughout the project, and insist on printing your work with a top-quality provider.

Featured Artist: Mare Kretschmar

koi ADJ_300Each month, we feature one of the many talented Austin-area artists who use Miller IDS’ fine art scanning and reproduction services. This month, we turn our spotlight on Marianna (Mare) Kretschmar, a native Austinite who works in multiple media.

Currently favoring acrylic on canvas, Mare paints a very focused subject matter, resulting in a fanciful abstract canvas. You can check out more of Mare’s work on her website or stop by either of our two locations this month to see a reproduction of this featured painting.