Lewis Carnegie Takes Home the Gold!

The first conversation we at ABC had with the design team of Lewis Carnegie went more or less like so:

Us: We want to open a retail store.

Them: Okay. Great.

Us: And we want to open a writing & tutoring center.

Them: Okay. Sure.

Us: …

Them: Well, then. Are they going to be two separate things?

Us: Nope. The same things. They’re going to be the same.

Them: Are you going to sell writing and tutoring supplies at the store?

Us: Nope.

Them: What are you going to sell?

Us: We don’t know.

Them: But it would have something to do with tutoring?

Us: Caves, actually. Something to do with caves.

Them: And bats?

Us: No, no way, definitely no bats.

Them: But, your name…

Us: Nope. No bats, nothing to do with bats.

Them: …

Us: …

It was, in retrospect, a strange and somewhat strained conversation. They weren’t entirely familiar with the concept behind 826 Valencia. We weren’t entirely familiar with how to explain the concept behind 826 Valencia, or the concept of our storefront or why a writing & tutoring center would need a storefront.

We had a multitude of lovely, fantastic images collected and created for us by Murray Legge and his wife Deb Lewis and his sister Andrea Legge (aka Legge Lewis Legge design team). We had the beginnings of a Viewmaster for the aforementioned caves. We had some abstract copy written. We had some big ideas.

Oh. We had a tight and soon approaching deadline. We had that, too.

At the end of our conversation, no one seemed to know what to do next. Except for Sean and Wendy. Sean and Wendy knew what to do next: go on vacation. For three weeks. To Maine.

Great ideas come to them in Maine, they said.

Some time in Maine to think about all the things we’d discussed would work wonders, they said.

Miraculous creative discoveries were implied. We were uncertain, but they wanted to take a shot at some ideas and we wanted them to take some shots at ideas, and we made plans to reconvene in three weeks.

And maybe it’s the altitude in Maine, or the cool morning air and warm, sunny afternoons, or the cranberries, or the craggy shore, or simply finding an escape from the oppressive heat of late August and early September in Texas, but whatever the case, when Sean and Wendy returned, they returned with ideas. Lots of ideas. Lots of great, spectacular ideas, but ideas that didn’t simply compliment the hazy vision we had sketched out for them, but ideas that helped us crystallize our own ideas. Very quickly, then, a strong partnership was formed.

East Austin Cave Map

East Austin Cave Map, Designed by Lewis Carnegie, with art by Legge Lewis Legge

What happens, even now, is that we give them a not-yet-fully-formed idea of copy we’re writing and they come to us with a piece of aesthetic that epitomizes the really good parts of our burgeoning idea, and then together we make beautiful, compelling graphic narratives that explain who we are and what we do and where we’re going and how we hope to get there.

It’s nothing short of brilliant, then, that Sean and Wendy, who have done so much for us over the past six months, were honored last Saturday night — winning Best in Show Print Materials for the Arts & Sciences — for the work they created for Austin Bat Cave.

So we are sending out our deepest, sincerest thanks and congratulations to Lewis Carnegie. We can’t wait to work on our next project together, and then the project after that one, and then the project after that one, too.

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