:: 5 Questions To Ask Before Meeting A Client ::

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As a creative in this industry or even someone running your own business you are going to get tons of inquiries about projects – someone sends an email, you reply, schedule a meeting/call, and draft a proposal only to never hear back from them. Time wasted. The problem is how do you filter out the potentially productive prospects vs. the unproductive ones?

Before we get into the questions I have to give credit to Rhonda Page for elaborating on these questions. She is a fellow creative who has spent 25 years in the design and branding business – starting as a designer then progressively mastering client services and business development. Rhonda sees both sides of the coin. As a creative you might have an award-winning portfolio but clients primarily want to know if you can solve their problems. Can you? With each inquiry think of it as a strategic partnership and what kind of energy you both bring to the table. Don’t be attached to the outcome if you land the job or not. Rather focus on determining if the parties are well enough aligned to proceed. These 5 questions you ask upfront will save time and benefit clients and creatives alike.

1.) How did this project come about?
You want to find out the story. Does it interest you? What is the series of events that lead up to this? Why are they contacting you? Try to find out what role you will play in this and what problem needs solving.

2.) Who are the decision makers?
You need to find out who they are. Push to meet with them.

3.) What is your budget?
The trickiest question of all. Do this over the phone. If they don’t have an answer then give them a range saying it will cost X amount of dollars. Wait to hear their response. Their tone of voice over the phone can dictate a lot.

4.) How serious are you about moving forward with this project?
What is the time frame? Are they ready to start the next day? If they say they are looking for estimates, then find out what it will take to make them move forward.

5.) Who else are you talking to for this project?
You want to see if they narrowed in on your or are just shopping around. If they are talking to 2-3 other vendors that’s okay. More than 5 is a red flag.

If you feel a connection and think you are a match then proceed with the meeting. Everyone wants to do fruitful work with folks they trust and enjoy. These questions will help you get there faster.

What questions do you ask when a client inquires about your services?



:: Feed Your Soul Apron + Bottle Opener ::

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Fresh off the presses and now available in the FlavorInnovator Store is this all purpose apron and bottle opener set. It’s not uncommon to see folks in aprons and in their element: Chefs, Artists, Baristas, Hairstylists, Pitmasters, Bartenders, and Domestic Workers just to name a few. Aside from being a protective garment why not sport one that speaks to you and your craft? Suit up.

Special thanks to Chris Grunge at AGW Screen Works for taking care of me. Mad respect. Support those who support you.

Purchase: Feed Your Soul Apron + Bottle Opener


:: Illuminaries Rise & Grind Mural in Oakland ::

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In May of 2014 we were commissioned by the Kapor Center for Social Impact to paint a mural that could a.) loosely depict the mission and philosophy of the company b.) speak to the city of Oakland and c.) prevent the waves of vandalism that flushed through these walls on a weekly basis. It’s safe to say we maintained our artistic integrity while completing these objectives. Not an easy task, but we made it happen.

Many thanks to Romali for collaborating with us on this production, the Kapor Center, the city of Oakland, all those who stopped by, Instagrammed … oh and to that chick Fatima who said “we are exploiting black culture” I hope you are enjoying yourself. God bless you. The Illuminaries Rise & Grind mural is located at 2148 Broadway, Oakland, CA. “The greatest humanistic and historical task of the oppressed: to liberate themselves.” — Paulo Freire


:: Illuminaries Painting Live in Oakland & Berkeley ::

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We’re going to be painting live this week. Come vibe with us!

Friday for Oakland Art Murmur:
2142 Broadway, Oakland, CA (at 22nd)
All day / night
w/ Romali Licudan and music by Brian Bluz Lu

Saturday for Hip Hop in the Park:
People’s Park in Berkeley, CA
12noon – 5pm
w/ Romali Licudan


:: (Case Study) Logo Design Process for BVMO Music ::

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BVMO is a music collective made up of individuals all coming from different backgrounds. Comprised of Dstrukt, SmoovGroovs, Shea Butter, and Rcade these musically forward thinking individuals strive to create a unique look, feel, and sound to their product. Their genres range from Remix, HipHop, Electronic, Funk, House, Boogie, Soul, to Progressive. Our initial brainstorm for the logo was peppered with adjectives like old school, new school, futuristic, spacey, and vintage. Here is how FlavorInnovator designed the BVMO logomark.



There was a wide array of ideologies to incorporate into one single graphic, but I pushed forward with a direction that suited them — futuristic. The type treatment would allow the name to be prominent while taking on futuristic qualities. I was hoping they would choose A1 because there were endless possibilities with color and using the overlapping elements as a texture for future business collateral. BVMO is also know for taking selfies with their “fonk horn” gang sign so I implemented that personal aspect into a few of the proofs.




Although they really liked A1 they threw a curve ball and asked me to explore a totally new direction using a space helmet. I wasn’t really into the idea at first especially when they sent me their rough sketch. However, after I started sketching things out I saw that the helmet was iconic, visually pleasing, and fit the futuristic theme perfectly. Some times it takes that curve ball to get you out of your box and see things from a different angle and I’m glad BVMO did that. That sketch though!



B6 was the direction to refine. BVMO mentioned they wanted a simple iconic helmet and a detailed helmet that would have stars so I combined the best of both worlds. A really detailed logo wouldn’t work well since they’re meant to be legible when scaled to various sizes. After playing around with the typeface in various locations B7 was the winner. Did some minor tweaks to the logo and there you have it. A rather painless logo exploration for some supremely talented folks! Follow their journey: BVMO on Facebook


:: Dropcap ::

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My submission for our (#wowcollective) passion project at Apple called Words of the Week where we all craft a design based on a given word. This week was Drop Cap. I chose the letter “S” for obvious ass reasons. Follow me on Instagram for exclusive content: @flavorinnovator


:: Illuminaries Shark Mural in Hollywood ::

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So we went to Hollywood to bless this wall back in October 2013. It’s our largest mural, in scale and visibility, to date. 100′ wide x 25′ tall. Pulled 3 all nighters. Had the LAPD send out 4 cop cars and a helicopter to investigate. Got opposition from the CEO of Capitol Records. She kicked us off the parking lot and said we couldn’t paint on their property so we decided to come back and paint at night. All the drama aside we did the best we could with the resources we had. Big ups to Sam, Ron, Erock, and Kero for toughing it out with us. The mural is a portrait of Hollywood in Hollywood. A goldfish trying to be a shark hooked on chasing the dollar. The mural is located at the Lexington Social House at 1718 Vine St, Los Angeles, CA 90028 (across from the defunct Capitol Records building).  www.illuminaries.net


:: Illuminaries Art Show w/ DJ Bluz on Friday, Dec 13 ::

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Peace fam-a-lam!

Join us Friday, December 13th for our very first Illuminaries art show featuring new artwork, limited edition posters, postcards, and T-shirts. Be the first to see Illuminaries in rare form. Next door Cukui, will be having an artshow with the ill Sam Rodriguez as well. It’s like a mini art walk!

Location: 2twenty5
Address: 225 Jackson Street, San Jose, CA
Time: 6pm-10pm
Music: Brian Bluz Lu (https://soundcloud.com/djbluz)
Price: Free and family friendly

Who are Illuminaries?
The Illuminaries are Steve Ha and Tim Hon. Most notably recognized for their work with Vernon Davis and the San Francisco 49ers they have been on a mission blessing walls in San Francisco, Berkeley, and Los Angeles. With an extensive background in graffiti and graphic design they specialize in high impact, energizing decor. Their passion is improving indoor and outdoor spaces with the creative use of traditional or digital mediums.

Come vibe with us.


:: Dedicated to the Craft T-Shirt, Poster, and Raglan ::

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Fresh off the presses and now available in the FlavorInnovator Store! This design is for all those who pursue their passions, put in work after their 9-5, give a 110%, and use their talent for the greater good. Regardless of the madness that inhabits this world you have the freedom to choose how to spend your time. Whether you paint, make music, teach, raise children, cook, or juggle chainsaws do something you truly love and stay dedicated to your craft.

Special thanks to my folks at Mighty Thredz for printing up the shirts and Miles of Idiot or Genius for the screen printed posters! Please visit the FlavorInnovator Store to purchase the goods and support those who support you.