Beehive 2023: SEWN

Alex Herr
8 min readMay 6


ROLE: Design Lead

x. extract

Although not as drawn out as my previous post about Glacier Scalp Cooling technology, I have a part II in my chronicle of this 3-section splendor we call the Beehive.

Through the Beehive, I have achieved a lot of success in being blessed to have great roles as Creative Content Leads, Communication Leads, and of course, Design Leads. I want to open up by saying that this experience is legendary to say the least; I could not be where I am at without you and I will hold onto that forever, NWPA Beehive. You are fantastic—I’ll miss you dearly.

Oh, and Scott, thanks for the hat. I wear it nigh-daily.

nigh. I just said that, wow.

i. Introduction

Without further ado, I introduce you to Steel Valley Reserve’s Strategic Early Warning Network—SEWN. SEWN offers a whole plethora of services, including financial analysis, strategic plans, marketing research, and operational improvement. This client also provides exclusive access to Manufacturing News, Tutorial Videos, and insider insights from some of its most successful clients.

In short, they claim to be the gold standard provider in layoff aversion and the undisputed cornerstone to the success of manufacturing businesses in the Steel Valley region of Pennsylvania.

Pay attention to that last part about the whole cornerstone thing—it’ll come up later.

Basically, it’s Bar Rescue for blue collar workers of all sorts. Let’s just hope it doesn’t have the same statistics.

This project was pretty straightforward: Corporate Identity for… well, a corporate office. The spiel with them is that this is a beurocratic environment that needed a very necessary facelift that’s been 30 years in the works.

With our design expertise, we set forth to create the following items:

  1. A Logo + Branding Design (I.E. Guidelines)
  2. A Brochure Layout—front and back
  3. Social Media Posts

Which all-in-all is a fairly simple procedure. Coincidentally, this may have been the easiest client I worked with (thank god, considering the maelstrom that brewed with Glacier Scalp), so less process work was as necessary considering there was no web content to worry about… thank god.

…but they do need a new website. I feel somewhat uncomfortable looking at those doors, as if I was institutionalized rather than seeking a service. This is something weird I’d see Sherwin-Williams Paints doing.

Or Pep Boys. Those guys give me the Heeby-Jeebies, even if they do everything for less.

1. Brainstorming

Designing with SEWN’s goals in mind, we wanted to ensure that the “gold standard” was a high priority in our overall aesthetic. This company juxtaposes Blue and White Collar in a way that sensibly gives them both equality—something that I find to be neat about them.

Although I was swamped with my work with Glacier Scalp Cooling—to which I felt I had to prioritize with my skillset and I knew our team was fine with—SEWN’s main concern was consistency above all else.

Our initial searches showed minimal results for companies like SEWN, but Advance Central PA seemed the closest and most relevant.

With that being said, our aim in our keywords was to hit points of strategy:

I felt like some of the concepts that the client held for themselves were a bit.. well, dated, but we really hit it in the head with some of these. Resourceful, Responsive, and Positive were a couple of my faves.

2. Stylescape

The stylescape is important for SEWN because this obviously gives us the overall aesthetic that we are currently in the cocoon of. As we emerge from that vessel, we’d be prepared and ready to justify any and all decisions, to which our team would have carefully considered.

Our team initially looked at totally different avenues—with some being more aimless than others. I in particular looked at a more Microsoft-like Industrial track in order to convey an emotion of business professionals that are ready to help you dominate while knowing they’re in good hands. Sort of like that aesthetic that UPMC and Microsoft give off, but less minimal. I did not want to go in a direction similar to government organizations, either. A good example of this is actually the Advance Central PA, which just feels a bit like it’s government funded. Ew.

So jumping in with my very, very first idea, I remembered my old job back at a little sign manufacturer called Howard Industries and thinking of Tactile text.

Initially I was all about this weird glow-in-the-dark color, which I scoffed at now but hey—it is what it is.
My first rendition of the stylescape, addressing more of a connection with the user rather than the higher-ups.

Although I was pretty sold on it, I didn’t have enough infographics in, but that’s ok. I ended up expanding this one out and adding more color to it rather than just the yellow.

Important components I wanted to hit included also the ability to rely on these guys by relating to their clients. They didn’t really say anything whatsoever about this.

Although this idea didn’t go forward beyond the first stage for the stylescape, this idea opened up the eyes to how we would handle infographics and ensure the information is expressed in the best tactile way.

/These were also the other peoples’ choices, but in the end…..

The reason this hit hard for them was probably because of the curves and the images—something that seems to always win over the clients.

This was a great base to land on of course, and I’m happy they chose more tasteful colorations than what they had originally.

3. Drafting

a. Logo Drafting

So yeah, I looked into a boatload of different letters to mix and match and then have them intertwine with each other in a unique way, but that idea got quickly shot down.

b. 2nd Round

4. Logo

a. First Round

Digital Round 1

b. Second Round

Digital Round 2

c. 1st Presentation of logo (with rationales)

In the world of layoff aversion, one can imagine that you muststrategize unique ways to properly consult your clients. By using a mix of elements from a business building, this logo intends inviting others to begin thinking “outside the box” in restructuring their operations.
SEWN references being the gold standard of layout aversion. A Gold standard means the best possible quality, and so with this value ofassurance, SEWN is thorough in the approach of leaving “no markunchecked”. Considering further meaning behind the check mark, the implication of positivity is prevalent — an aspect that SEWN aims to be as an uplift towards operations in need.
Origami as a whole is often seen as a symbol of longevity and fortune. Traditionally, it was believed that if one folded 1,000 origami cranes, one’s wish would come true. Through this connection of 1,000 origami cranes, I channelled the concept of connectivity and unity towards the goal at hand.

Often seen on your coworkers’ desks, paper cranes also have become a symbol of hope and stability during challenging times — the former of which being something that I believe the SEWN Service aims to offer.

…instead, they went with this mixed with my thicker font versions of this:

Enter: The Keystone. Again.

d. 2nd Round Revisions

So everyone uses the keystone, but we ended up getting a pretty witty tie-in into the designs too. So, we needed structure and strength—two things that I believe this is lacking. Also balance. Also… a lot of things, but it’s ok.

The symbol for the “W” is where the strength of SEWN comes in, which is right where the tie-in with the keystone finds the most success. Also note the awesome Dorito version that I did in the top right corner. Scrumptious.

e. Final Logo

Finally, the branding trickled down to this as the final, hitting the mark of ensuring that “STRATEGIC EARLY WARNING NETWORK” was important in making this company be understood.

5. Branding + Observations (of other material)

Finally, building the supplementals after the logo made the process a lot easier. I waited a little further for the other designers to cook some new juicy steaks of design work in so that I can basically be Moses and write the Ten Commandments.

Expanding on the logo was the step I did in the meantime:

And then came the rules:

But one of the most important aspects to really touch on was color. Why, you may ask? Because complementary colors obviously vibrate if their hues are too similar. Take that balance off and you have yourself way less vibration and an effective means to showcasing the colors.

For the font choice, we decided on the usage of Area due to its newness and the idea of

And finally, after all of the content was fully built by the team:

These assets were built by the team, but I expanded on them in order for them to make sense. I find that this is a crucial role for anyone who is to be a creative or art director of any sort, because the main goal of the team can be conveyed.

In observation of the social media aspects, these points were pulled out additionally from the collateral made by the team:

6. Conclusion:

I think this was a very nice, relaxed project that gave me a nod off to who I was before I was at Edinboro. A company like this was as high up as I thought I’d want to go, but now I aim so much higher. The idea of working with someone like this was great, but I also know their communication with us was a bit lackluster. They just didn’t seem lively, which was sad.

A final challenge that I really wanted to achieve here in making that logo was to acquire a sense of timelessness in it. That logo as it is now will more than likely not have any issues because of the lacking trends going on with it. The colors were not my favorite to work with, but the project was a blast overall.



Alex Herr

Graphic Design / Creative Direction