Sunday, November 08, 2009

How To Network On-line For Your Next Big Project

These days I do a lot of my networking and marketing on-line. The web reaches more people than any brochure or media kit, with less time and money. The two that really helped me are: On-line networking/directory web sites and posting in forums.

Having a profile/account/portfolio on any free networking sites like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, or Creative Hotlist will get your name out there. Posting on forums will also help to build relations and trust that may bring you new clients and projects.

That's how Create Magazine contacted me to design their 5 page featured article. I have a portfolio on their site. After looking at my work. They thought I might be a good fit for the magazine.

I post on design forums pretty often and have built many relations. As a result, Jeff Fisher, Jeff Fisher LogoMotives, asked me to submit some of my work for his new book, Identity Crisis! 50 Redesigns That Transformed Stale Identities Into Successful Brands.

Another example, Steve Gordon, Jr., RDQLUS Creative. Asked me to submit my work for his book, 100 Habits of Successful Freelance Designers: Insider Secrets for Working Smart & Staying Creative.

Twitter is really a great place for building connections, relationships and interactions with brands and high profile people like Chris Brogan or Guy Kawasaki. In the off-line world you wouldn't have these opportunities, or would be very difficult to get in contact with them.

I've been talking (bantering) with Guy Kawasaki on Twitter for some time. He must really like my style, because Guy approached me to do some design work for him and Alltop. He's a really cool guy (no pun intended) to work with. He actually, listens and are open to suggestions.

If you get a chance, take it to the next level by attending Meetups, Tweetups and Conferences, where you actually meet "In Real Life (IRL)." It's like meeting an old friend, which helps to really build a bond with the relationships you have developed on-line, then off-line into the real world.

So get out there! Start networking, connecting and building relationships.

Here are a few resources that will help with your networking.

Business Networking Web Sites

Ad Holes
Fast Pitch
Start Up Nation
Meet Up

Design Networking/Portfolio Web Sites

Carbon Made
Design: Related
Creative Hotlist
Design Hide
Designer ID
Logo Pond
Logo Lounge

Design Forums

HOW Design Magazine
Freelance Switch
Graphic Design
Estetica Design
You The Designer
Designers Talk
All Graphic Design

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Monday, May 04, 2009

Mayhem Studios Featured in 100 Habits of Successful Freelance Designers

Several of my tips and my work will be included in a new book about freelancing, "100 Habits of Successful Freelance Designers: Insider Secrets for Working Smart & Staying Creative," published by Rockport and authored by Steve Gordon, Jr. with Laurel Saville.

Good habits are found in every part of the design process, from promoting yourself well in order to land the client, to working with that client, to achieving the desired results on press.

"100 Habits of Successful Freelance Designers" reveals solutions from a wide range of freelance designers whose years of experience have helped them find not only the most creative solutions for their clients’ design needs, but also the most successful solutions. The book also focuses on the daily habits that inspire these designers to stay creative, and business strategies to be successful when working on your own.

About Steve Gordon, Jr.
Steve Gordon, Jr. has been a professional graphic designer for the better part of a decade. He’s run the full range of the career path with experience from in-house design at internationally recognized Fortune 1000 companies, agency and studio work, to now working as an independent designer and creative consultant, RDQLUS Creative.

He frequently lectures on how small studios/freelance designers can stay competitive in the design field at conferences such as the HOW Conference.

Follow @mayhemstudios and @RDQLUS_Creative on Twitter.

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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Mayhem Studios Business Cards Flogged On The Design Cubicle

Brian Hoff, owner of The Design Cubicle recently joining the Twitter community. He's been introduced to a diverse range of creative and talented persons that share his same passion for graphic/web design, web development and blogging.

Brian asked Mayhem Studios along with twenty five other designers, developers and blogger friends on Twitter, if they would like their business cards featured on his next blog post, 26 Business Cards of Graphic & Web Designers on Twitter.

You can read the full article and discussion at The Design Cubicle.

Mayhem Studios also received a mention in the October issue of Flogged Magazine (pdf - 5.2 mb). As one of the featured Twitters of the month.
"Some exciting, beautiful and funny tweeples we’ve met on twitter ... you’ve made the past month exciting, thank you."

About The Design Cubicle
The Design Cubicle is run by Brian Hoff. A graphic/web designer and front-end web developer with 7 years of professional experience.

His experience and passion for graphic design has led him to start The Design Cubicle which focuses on graphic design, offering free tips, resources, articles on all subjects of print and web design. Topics range from, but not limited to, print and logo design, web design, typography, freelancing and marketing.

For more information about Brian Hoff, please visit

About Flogged Magazine
Has a client rejected one of your designs recently? It was a great one too. You kept on looking at the design, it excited you! Well, send it off to Flogged Magazine, we celebrate good designs that have been flogged in a monthly magazine.

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Sunday, January 13, 2008

Mayhem Studios Works Featured In American Corporate Identity 2008

The Studios' works, Dermatologic Laser Institute Logo, Fagerholm & Jefferson Law Corporation Stationery Design and ET Products Stationery Design are among the winning entries featured in David E. Carter's, American Corporate Identity 2008, Now available in bookstores.

Several hundred creative design firms have work included in American Corporate Identity 2008, ranging from the well known to the up-and-coming. Many trend setting styles have first appeared in this series since its inception, making this book a must-have reference for every corporate identity designer’s bookshelf.

David E. Carter, best-selling editor/author in the history of graphic design books. Since 1972, he has produced more than 100 books; all David E. Carter graphics books are published by HarperCollins of New York City, with distribution in more than 120 countries around the world.

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Sunday, January 06, 2008

HOW Design Forum Secret Santa 2007

Every Christmas over at the HOW Design Forum, we have a Secret Santa gift exchange. It was fun waiting to see what I would receive and from whom.

The Wait Is Over! Thanks Tess, Jasmine and Karma for all the gifts.

• The Creative Business Guide To Running a Graphic Design Business
• Walking Robot Pencil Sharpener
• 9th Wonder Heroes TV Show Tee

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Mayhem Studios Case Studies Published In Jeff Fisher's Identity Crisis!

Los Angeles, Calif. July 2, 2007 - Mayhem Studios, Award-Winning Los Angeles based design firm client, Fagerholm & Jefferson Law Corporation and the Studios' own identity will be featured in Jeff Fisher's next book Identity Crisis! 50 Redesigns That Transformed Stale Identities Into Successful Brands. Identity Crisis will be released by HOW Design Books in 2007.

Identity Crisis takes a fresh look at 50 before and after case studies by exploring the process of redesigning existing identities to help businesses refine their image, communicate with customers, and find success.

Readers will get an inside look at the challenges of redesigning identities. They'll see the creative and strategic thinking behind fresh design work as well as have a powerful tool to show clients what a difference a professional can make to their image.

For more information, please visit Identity Crisis Book

"It's a pleasure to include the crisp, contemporary design work of Mayhem Studios in 'Identity Crisis!' Calvin Lee's efforts are a great example of a one-person design firm being able to compete successfully with much larger design entities on the international creative playing field."

Jeff Fisher, LogoMotives, author of Identity Crisis! 50 Redesigns That Transformed Stale Identities Into Successful Brands.

Jeff Fisher, author of the "Savvy Designer's Guide to Success" is the Engineer of Creative Identity for Jeff Fisher LogoMotives. He has received over 550 regional, national and international design awards for his logo design efforts. His work is featured in over 85 books about logos, the business of design, and small business marketing. Fisher serves on the HOW Magazine Editorial Advisory Board, the UCDA Designer Magazine Editorial Advisory Board, and the HOW Design Conference Advisory Council. In addition, Fisher also writes for and HOW Magazine.

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Wednesday, June 27, 2007

HOWie Poster 2007

If you have a design question, need a critique or just hanging out in the lounge. The HOW Design Forum is the right place for you. I really enjoy interacting and learning from all the forum members, aka HOWies. It's really fun when HOW members participate in creative projects like the "Our True Colors" HOW Poster.

Jasmine Wabbington was the head honcho on the project with Jroz, serving as project manager. Both amazing ladies rounded up 37 members to participate. The results were amazing!

The poster came out great! Congrats to Jasmine, Jroz and all the HOWies.

Other sightings of the HOW poster were spotted on Jeff Fisher's blog, blog-omotives and Jroz's blog, From The Drawing Board

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Creative Brief: Client Goals & Expectations

It's a good idea to get some background information about your client before starting on any project. It will help to met client goals and expectations. Using a creative brief will help accomplish this.

A creative brief lays out the visual design directions to explore and the objectives of the project. Using the information on the form to make sure that we are both focused and are on the same page throughout the creative process to deliver the clients message.

I give the client a creative brief form to fill out before our first meeting. They don't necessarily need to fill out the form, it will give them something to think about before the actual meeting. You both can fill out the form together during the meeting.

A few things to consider on what should be included in a creative brief. A sample of the Mayhem Studios creative brief may be viewed HERE.

+ Client information
+ Who are you?
+ What do you do?
+ What are your goals?
+ What is your budget?
+ How would you like to be perceived?
+ Who is your audience, demographics?
+ Who is your primary competitor?
+ What do you want this project to say about you?
+ What's your favorite/least favorite color and why?
+ List logos you like and why?
+ What would you like produced?
+ What keywords describe your business?

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Tuesday, May 01, 2007

What Should Be Included In a Contract

Before you start any project or do any kind of work. Always get a signed contract and a 50% deposit. A contract protects you and your client from any miscommunications. A 50% deposit insures that the client is serious about working with you. Consult an attorney once you have drafted a contract, to cover all your bases.

A sample of the Mayhem Studios contract may be viewed HERE.

A few things to consider on what should be included in a contract.

+ Client Information
+ Project Description: Details of what product or services is to be performed.
+ Details the number of concepts/revisions/color explorations.
+ Deadlines: Start and delivery dates
+ Payment Schedule: Deposit and final payment
+ Ownership of the design/source files.
+ Rights to use the project for promotional and educational purposes.
+ Include a specific number of copies you will receive, of the printed project.
+ Proofing: Mistakes are not your responsiblity after sign off.

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Thursday, March 08, 2007

The Burning Lounge

My good friend Geoff. An awsome guy and designer. Master of corporate design and cool distress/grunge style works. Geoff recently launched his blog, The Burning Lounge. It has a great mix of design talk, posts of his lastest works and free Photoshop brushes.

His Photoshop brushes are pretty cool. Making it easier for designers to create textures/backgrounds. Check out his Photoshop brushs now.

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Friday, March 02, 2007

BoDo Launches!

BoDo also know as Business of Design Online, website have launched this week. It's a great resource for designers setting up shop who have searched for answers and assistance by posting questions on various forums, emailing pros for advice, reading everything on offer and googling when it's not.

Topics including: starting your own design business (online or off); marketing; dealing with clients; working with printers, photographers, copywriters and other surrounding industries; pretty much anything to help a design business grow.

Forums, books and blog postings are helping to address this issue, but from our vantage point, concentrated help was needed.

As a Creative Latitude response, the Business of Design online (BoDo) was created.

Conceived and developed by Catherine (cat) Morley, Neil (nt) Tortorella and Jeanette (jay) Wickham (the BoDo team), BoDo’s aim is to provide a focused wealth of information, tools and techniques for successfully managing and marketing a design practice.

That's right, there won't be a Photoshop tutorial in sight.

On BoDo you’ll find continuously updated resources for running a design shop, including select e-books, business forms, excellent articles and more.

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Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Craigslist: Free Design Work

I was looking through Craigslist the other day for some potential clients. I came across a post from an unknown designer expressing his feelings about how the general public views designers/creative services, NOT BEING OF VALUE. Employers promising fame and fortune in return for free designs, which you sign all your rights away to.

This person is dead on. I totally agree with him/her. I'm posting it here to help educuate designers, employers, potential clients and the general public. I encourage you to repost this on your blog and websites.

I know it's a little long but well worth the read. The original post from Craigslist have been deleted, no surprise.

Since reposting it on the HOW Design Forum. It's gotten a great response of support from Designers. Many Designers reposting it on their blogs.

NO!SPEC: I Wish I Had Written This
Designers Who Blog: NO!SPEC Looking For Craigslist Author
Adventures In Blogging: Free Graphic Design
Delineate: I Wish I Had Written This
Position Relative: Craig’s Pissed
A Little Hut: Preaching to the Choir
Plush Cadillac: Who Wants Free Design Work?

It landed on the front page of UnBeige. They picked up on the Criagslist posting I reposted on a local design meet up group/email list I belong to, Kernspiracy. Which Alissa Walker, editor of Unbeige is also a member.

Every day, there are more and more CragsList posts seeking "artists" for everything from auto graphics to comic books to corporate logo designs. More people are finding themselves in need of some form of illustrative service.

But what they're NOT doing, unfortunately, is realizing how rare someone with these particular talents can be.

To those who are "seeking artists", let me ask you; How many people do you know, personally, with the talent and skill to perform the services you need? A dozen? Five? One? ...none?

More than likely, you don't know any. Otherwise, you wouldn't be posting on craigslist to find them.

And this is not really a surprise.

In this country, there are almost twice as many neurosurgeons as there are professional illustrators. There are eleven times as many certified mechanics. There are SEVENTY times as many people in the IT field.

So, given that they are less rare, and therefore less in demand, would it make sense to ask your mechanic to work on your car for free? Would you look him in the eye, with a straight face, and tell him that his compensation would be the ability to have his work shown to others as you drive down the street?

Would you offer a neurosurgeon the "opportunity" to add your name to his resume as payment for removing that pesky tumor? (Maybe you could offer him "a few bucks" for "materials". What a deal!)

Would you be able to seriously even CONSIDER offering your web hosting service the chance to have people see their work, by viewing your website, as their payment for hosting you?

If you answered "yes" to ANY of the above, you're obviously insane. If you answered "no", then kudos to you for living in the real world.

But then tell me... why would you think it is okay to live out the same, delusional, ridiculous fantasy when seeking someone whose abilities are even less in supply than these folks?

Graphic artists, illustrators, painters, etc., are skilled tradesmen. As such, to consider them as, or deal with them as, anything less than professionals fully deserving of your respect is both insulting and a bad reflection on you as a sane, reasonable person. In short, it makes you look like a twit.

A few things you need to know;

1. It is not a "great opportunity" for an artist to have his work seen on your car/'zine/website/bedroom wall, etc. It IS a "great opportunity" for YOU to have their work there.

2. It is not clever to seek a "student" or "beginner" in an attempt to get work for free. It's ignorant and insulting. They may be "students", but that does not mean they don't deserve to be paid for their hard work. You were a "student" once, too. Would you have taken that job at McDonalds with no pay, because you were learning essential job skills for the real world? Yes, your proposition it JUST as stupid.

3. The chance to have their name on something that is going to be seen by other people, whether it's one or one million, is NOT a valid enticement. Neither is the right to add that work to their "portfolio". They get to do those things ANYWAY, after being paid as they should. It's not compensation. It's their right, and it's a given.

4. Stop thinking that you're giving them some great chance to work. Once they skip over your silly ad, as they should, the next ad is usually for someone who lives in the real world, and as such, will pay them. There are far more jobs needing these skills than there are people who possess these skills.

5. Students DO need "experience". But they do NOT need to get it by giving their work away. In fact, this does not even offer them the experience they need. Anyone who will not/can not pay them is obviously the type of person or business they should be ashamed to have on their resume anyway. Do you think professional contractors list the "experience" they got while nailing down a loose step at their grandmother's house when they were seventeen?

If you your company or gig was worth listing as desired experience, it would be able to pay for the services it received. The only experience they will get doing free work for you is a lesson learned in what kinds of scrubs they should not lower themselves to deal with.

6. (This one is FOR the artists out there, please pay attention.) Some will ask you to "submit work for consideration". They may even be posing as some sort of "contest". These are almost always scams. They will take the work submitted by many artists seeking to win the "contest", or be "chosen" for the gig, and find what they like most. They will then usually have someone who works for them, or someone who works incredibly cheap because they have no originality or talent of their own, reproduce that same work, or even just make slight modifications to it, and claim it as their own. You will NOT be paid, you will NOT win the contest. The only people who win, here, are the underhanded folks who run these ads. This is speculative, or "spec", work. It's risky at best, and a complete scam at worst. I urge you to avoid it, completely. For more information on this subject, please visit

So to artists/designers/illustrators looking for work, do everyone a favor, ESPECIALLY yourselves, and avoid people who do not intend to pay you. Whether they are "spec" gigs, or just some guy who wants a free mural on his living room walls. They need you. You do NOT need them.

And for those who are looking for someone to do work for free... please wake up and join the real world. The only thing you're accomplishing is to insult those with the skills you need. Get a clue.

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Mayhem Studios' Works Featured in Creativity Awards 36

Mayhem Studios, award-winning design firm is recognized for its graphic design excellence. The Studios' works featured in David E. Carter's next book, Creativity Awards 36, released Summer of 2007 by Harper Collins.

Two of the Studios' works, Family Medical Clinic Banner and ET Product Stationery Design are among the winning entries featured in the Annual. This year’s quality was unprecedented, the Studios entries were chosen among the submissions from over 38 states and 29 countries.

The Creativity Awards competition honors outstanding work done each year by creative professionals in every discipline. Awards are based strictly on the quality of the submissions, not the size, nor reputation of the firm.

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Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Getting the Word Out & Finding Potential Clients

Since this is the start of the new year. I thought it would be appropriate, the first post of 2007 would be about getting the word out and finding potential clients. Here are are few tips to let people know who you are, what you do and finding potenial clients.

Press Releases/E-Newsletter - Have some exciting news or completed a successful project? That's a good reason to send out a Press Release or E-Newsletter. Send the E-Newsletters to current and potenital clients. Send press releases to media outlets (on-line, local and industry related papers/magazines).

A few on-line resources to post your Press Releases.

PR Log - free
PR Leap - free
PR Web - a fee
Free Press Release - free

Blog - Start a blog, write articles. Makes you an expert in your field. Potential clients will see, you know your stuff and trust to hire you. It's all about building trust and relations.

Design Competitions - Enter your works in design competitions. International advertising if you win and get in to the book.

A few resource of design competitions.

Graphics Books
Rockport Publishers
Roto Vision
American Design Awards
Summit Awards
Communication Arts
How Design Magazine
Print Magazine

Join a Networking Social Events - Lets people know who you are and what you do.

Let friends and family know what you do - Potenial referrals from friends and family.

Ask For Referrals - Ask Friends, family, clients: current/previous, printers, paper sales reps, pre-press houses for referrals.

Volunteer - Volunteer in your community and non-profits. More about networking and building trust.

Local Papers - The local news papers, business section. Often print the names and addresses of those applying for a business licenses.

Keep Your Eyes Open - Look for new construction or businesses moving in. Get their information. A good chance they may need creative services.

Find a Niche Market - Specialize in an area of expertise that other companies may not be filling the need for.

Chamber of Commerce - Chamber of Commerce may have a list of their members info for free on-line. Joining the Chamber of Commerce is another option for networking and potential clients.

Business Cards - Bring business cards with you everywhere you go. Strike up a conversation with people when you are out.

On-Line Directories - Get listed on free and paid on-line directories.

Forums - Post on forums, design as well as business and related markets you are targeting.

Signatures - Have a signature of your contact information on all correspondence, emails and forum posts.

Marketing Websites/Blogs - Check out other marketing sites/blogs, Inside the Marketing Mind and The Marketing Mix.

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

Southern California HOWie Get Together 2006

Forums is a great place to network and meet new friends. Sometimes you even get to meet a few forum members in person, which is pretty fun and exciting. This weekend some of us from the HOW Design Forum got together for dinner, drinks and good times.

It was a fun and great time meeting all the members. One forum member even lead us in an arts and crafts, making a mini-book. I hope there will be many more get togethers in the future.

Posted are a few photos of the fun evening and more photos may be veiwed HERE

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Friday, November 03, 2006

Mayhem Studios Gets Creatively Self-Employed in New Book

Los Angeles, Calif. - November 3, 2006 - Mayhem Studios, award-winning design firm featured in Kristen Fischer's new book, Creatively Self-Employed: How Writers and Artists Deal with Career Ups and Downs, published by iUniverse is expected to be released in December of 2006.

The Studio is featured among the 65 real-life stories of how designers, writers, and artist deal with the good and bad of living off their talents, dealing with rejection, building a support system, growing your business and even dealing with the independent contractor loneliness. It offers practical business advice for dealing with unique situations that creatives often find themselves in.

Kristen Fischer, Author of Creatively Self-Employed: How Writers and Artists Deal with Career Ups and Downs, gives high praises for the Studio’s contributions.

"This book exposes what life is like after people have the guts to go into business based on their talents. With more than 65 creatives speaking out about issues such as rejection and isolationism, it's refreshing to have a book like this on the market.

I am pleased to have Calvin Lee, Mayhem Studios contribute, as he had a lot to say about being creatively self-employed. His honesty helped make the book so relatable."

Fischer is a freelance writer who specializes in creating marketing collateral for a wide array of businesses. After more than three years of working 9-to-5 jobs, she started her writing business in 2003. She has contributed to Men's Health magazine, Philadelphia magazine, Skope magazine and College Bound magazine. She lives in Manasquan, New Jersey. For more information, please visit

Lee serves as a member of the Platt College Advisory Board for the Visual Communications Department and on the NO!SPEC Committee. Lee is also the organizer and president of the Los Angeles Designers Association.

Mayhem Studios is a small award-winning design firm located in Los Angeles. Developing identity and brand recognition for the business sector across the nation. The Studio uses strategic and creative design with effective messages targeted to the client’s specific audiences to produce identity and branded collateral pieces, annual reports, brochures, logo design, advertising & interactive web sites. Additional information may be found at the Studios' web site,

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Self Promotion: Power of Blogs

Blogs is a very useful tool for self-promotion and educating the public. I have experienced the power of what a blog can do for self-promotion. In one of my blog posts, "I've been Tagged!" It's a fun little post about listing your favorite things in fours. In turn, you would tag another person that would list their favorites and so. I was originally tagged by a friend of mine Jeff Fisher from his blog, bLog-oMotives

In my "I've been Tagged!" posting it listed "The Greatest American Hero TV Show" as one of my favorite shows. Which was read by M80, a marketing firm working with Anchor Bay Entertainment on releasing "The Greatest American Hero TV Show DVD Limited Edition Box Set." I recently received an email from M80. They offered me a free "The Greatest American Hero TV Show DVD" in exchange for a review of the the TV show on my blog to help create an on-line marketing presence for the dvd.

I agree to the review, since it's one of my favorite shows and a free dvd. How can you beat that? So where are the MacGyver TV show people at?

"The Greatest American Hero TV Show" is a fun show that aired in the 1980s staring William Kat, Robet Culp and Connie Selleca. It's a show about, what if you have a super powered suit with exordinary powers, which is given to you by aliens from outer space, you lose all the instructions on what powers you may have and how to use them. Resulting in a hilariously funny buddy buddy, action comedy and super hero spoof.

It's fun watching the characters Ralph Hanley (William Katt), Bill Maxwell (Robert Culp) and Pam Davidson (Connie Selleca) interact with each other in every episode. Discovering how to fly without crashing into walls, buildings or trees in his tight red suit. The fun part is his discovery of his new found powers and his clumsy crime fighting skills.

This show would be enjoyed by young and old. A great gift for the holiday season.

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About me

  • Mayhem Studios is a small award-winning design firm located in Los Angeles, California, developing identity and brand recognition for the business sector across the nation. The Studio uses strategic and creative design with effective messages targeted to the client's specific audiences to produce identity and branded collateral pieces, annual reports, brochures, logo design, advertising and interactive web sites. Calvin Lee, Principal & Creative Director of Mayhem Studios is a graduate of Platt College and serves as a member of the Platt College Advisory Board for the Visual Communications Department, NO!SPEC Committee and on the Creative Latitude Management Team.
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