Saturday, November 26, 2016

Sanctuary on the Fleet: Abbotsbury Swannery, Dorset

Meet the majestic mute swans of Abbotsbury — more than 900 birds!

[Desktop / laptop computers: click any photo in this essay to see a large slide show of all images]

Abbotsbury Swannery is magical — a sanctuary for birds and humans. The grounds are peaceful in this one-of-a-kind place, and visitors are invited to walk amongst the birds, and even help feed them.

Established in the 11th century by Benedictine monks, with written records documenting the colony since 1393, the Swannery is located nine miles from Weymouth, on England's south coast. This is a terrific half-day out, tranquil and spiritual, much like visiting a church.

Most English swans are owned by the Crown. This colony is privately owned, and open to the public. The birds are well cared for and have the freedom to fly into the Fleet, Lyme Bay and Chesil Beach, and along the coast. Many do, but the majority of birds return to the Swannery for nesting each spring. The setting is ideal — a weather-protected lagoon, with shallow, salty water and adequate sources of food (grasses), not to mention attentive human caretakers.

Bring your binoculars — more than 300 different bird species large and small have been documented in the area. Wander the paths and listen to the chorus of songbirds at every turn.

Abbotsbury Swannery's website is HERE

Abbotsbury, England
October 2016
Photos by Emilie Pallos and Vic Pallos

Bird photography
Swans are on the move, especially at feeding time. They are curious and smart, so be patient and wait for the perfect moment. The birds will settle down, or take a leisurely swim. Some even pose for the camera!

Cygnets have grey plumage, and by October, are almost as large as their parents. They grow really fast.


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Our creative services: art direction, graphic design, location photography, illustration, and web development for print and web-based projects. Good design is good business.

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Saturday, November 12, 2016

Le déjeuner sur l'herbe

Edouard Manet
Le déjeuner sur l'herbe 

"The Luncheon on the Grass"
I studied this work in college and have always liked it, despite the woman's nudity and the men being fully clothed, which seemed quite sexist to me at the time! Classicism was big in the 19th century, so Manet gets my benefit of the doubt since this work is so beautiful. The Courtauld owns this smaller version of the same work on view at Musée d'Orsay in Paris.

What a stunning canvas, with all four figures in a "triangular" composition and strong use of color. The lady's gaze hints at boredom: What is she thinking?... One man is gesturing, the other pretends to be interested... Rather amusing.

The Courtauld Gallery is a gem of a museum in London's Somerset House. See a nicely-curated collection including French Impressionist, Post-Impressionist and British art, select 20th century paintings, a few rooms of antiques and gorgeous 15th century Italian Renaissance icon paintings. Relax and enjoy the uncrowded galleries.

Then have lunch or tea at the charming French bistro in adjacent courtyard. And bring your skates! Somerset House features an ice rink for the holidays.

Courtauld Gallery's official website is HERE

Pastries, tea and coffee at Somerset House. Clementines, my favorite!

Thursday, November 10, 2016

Lease Your Class A Office Space Here!

Behind the scenes of the Charles Dunn Team portrait. Glendale city skyline and Verdugo mountains in distance.

NOW LIVE — Our custom website for Charles Dunn Company Tri-Cities:

The northern L.A.-area branch office for the commercial real estate company did not have its own website, and had been using LoopNet for online advertising and leasing needs. With other commercial real estate offices headquartered in downtown Glendale, CDC Tri-Cities needed to better promote its expertise of this geographic area (Glendale/Burbank/Pasadena and nearby valleys).

Bill Boyd, Linda Lee and Scott Unger have unparalleled experience, and know the commercial real estate market inside out. But their office was "under the radar" without a dedicated website.

Emilie and Bill Boyd met late last year through another client. They talked about "old school" corporate graphic design and the importance of good advertising. She suggested developing a custom website for CDC Tri-Cities, with professional design, impactful photos, quality editorial, strong SEO, and a searchable database of the firm's current property listings.

Bill and his associates hired our team. A budget of $10,000 was set for creative work and site development. 

Location photography
The city of Glendale, located 10 miles north of downtown Los Angeles, has the most recognizable skyline of commercial buildings in the Tri-Cities area. Plus, you can see L.A. from Glendale, so a skyline photo taken from the Verdugo mountains was a must.

Thanks to Glendale Mayor Paula Devine and Art Devine for allowing us to use their home for location photography. Read blog entry “Waiting for the Perfect Shot” for photos.

Custom design for clients
Every company or individual in business benefits from a high-quality website, plus solid brand strategy and marketing materials. Websites and print communications are personally tailored for each client. Sites often contain WordPress functionality, so clients can maintain specific pages within sites themselves.

Our associate Tom Ferguson is a master web developer and SEO expert. He and Emilie work closely on all website projects to ensure smooth sailing from design through site launch.

Good design is good business.


Charles Dunn Tri-Cities / Verdugo Consulting, Inc.
Commercial Real Estate
Bill Boyd, Linda Lee, Scott Unger

Site Credits
Location photography, staff portraits & copywriting: Vic Pallos
Site development & SEO: Tom Ferguson
Art direction & website design: Emilie Pallos

Contact Emilie for brandling, marketing and advertising solutions for your company or organization. 

Glendale, California
Downtown Los Angeles in the distance and Griffith Park to the West
Photo by Vic Pallos

Linda Lee, Bill Boyd and Scott Unger
Charles Dunn Tri-Cities Team
Photo by Vic Pallos

Friday, November 4, 2016

Event branding for new medical series

GAMC CEO Kevin Roberts (right) with event presenters Marco Quadrelli, PhD, and Adrian Stoica, PhD

Client Irene Bourdon, President of Glendale Adventist Medical Center’s Healthcare Foundation, asked our firm to design a custom brand identity for an exclusive new event for donors. 

She gave us free reign to create a current, yet scientific look for this new medical series. "Work your magic!" she said. We were given an outline for an idea of what the event would include. Scheduled speakers were prominent scientists from NASA-JPL and JPL. This design project was a good challenge.

Our team began research, created many pencil drawings (we always sketch ideas before taking concepts to the computer), designed various type configurations and presented two solid concepts for client’s review.

Irene and her team were captivated by “the logo with the dots.”

Finished art
The mark, and its dot configuration, is inspired by cells, the basic building blocks of life. We paired the “monogram” artwork with beautiful typography, and incorporated the color blue for consistency with client's current branding. Typefaces are a Roman, Monotype Bembo, and a sans serif, Johnston Underground.

The inaugural event took place Nov. 4, 2016, at the historic Athenaeum on the campus of California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. 

Our New Frontiers brand was projected on large touch screens which set the tone for this prestigious event. Our studio also designed the event invitation (print project).

Custom event branding and print collateral design
Contact Emilie at We have great design ideas for all projects. Get in touch!

Good design is good business.

Research on cell structure

Invitation back and cover design

Invitation interior spread

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Stargazing: Greenwich, England

Chapel, Old Royal Naval College

A nod to Britain's storied maritime history

NOTE: Click on any photo within this story to see a large-format slide show of all images.

London: Greenwich
Catch the Thames Clipper near Westminster Bridge and travel directly to Greenwich Pier. Despite its proximity to central London, Greenwich feels like a day in the country, with vast swaths of green lawns, trees and iconic architecture. Hike to the top of the hill and enjoy impressive views of the Park, Old Royal Naval College, National Maritime Museum, the Queen's House, and Thames. 

At the Royal Observatory, visitors snap endless photos while straddling the western and eastern hemispheres. Watch out for selfie sticks! Inside Flamsteed House, antique-filled rooms and well-paced environmental graphics explain the history of time, navigation and astronomy. Founded in 1675 to help mariners find their way at sea using longitude, the Observatory now defines time and place for the world.

Best way to see Greenwich Park? Walk! The eighth Royal Park covers 180 acres, now in the midst of spectacular autumn foliage. The Park dates to Roman Britain, and has been enclosed since 1433.

The Old Royal Naval College is stately and impressive. Sir Christopher Wren and Nicholas Hawksmoor designed the campus as a hospital for mariners, which opened in 1694. In 1873, the buildings were converted into a school. The campus is now home to the University of Greenwich and Trinity Laban Conservatoire of Music and Dance. The Painted Hall and Chapel are well-known landmarks.

Our brilliant and witty friend David Thomas teaches voice at Trinity Laban. David is a classical bass singer (now retired from performing), who began his career as a chorister at St. Paul’s Cathedral before winning a place at King's College, Cambridge, as choral scholar. He has performed with top orchestras and conductors worldwide, and can be heard as soloist in an extensive discography of early music recordings, including this tour-de-force Handel recital conducted by Nicholas McGegan: Arias for Montagnana.

LISTEN: David Thomas sings Purcell with soprano Emma Kirkby HERE.

Future blog entries will showcase more British architecture, gardens, art exhibitions and galleries, plus the city of Dorchester, England, birthplace of novelist Thomas Hardy.

Design for Clients
Emilie Pallos Graphic Design produces websites, marketing collateral, annual reports, and corporate identities for clients in a range of professions. We have a strong team of creative pros with many years' experience in art direction/design, photography, writing, illustration, post-production and website coding. View projects: Contact Emilie:

Good design is good business. Since 1997.

Chapel interior

Greenwich Park, Queen's House, iconic spires and beyond

Observatory — red time ball drops at 1 p.m. every day
Observatory Gate 24-hour clock
First clock to show Greenwich Mean Time to the public (1852)
The Prime Meridian attracts visitors from around the globe

John Flamsteed, the first Astronomer Royal (1646-1719), who catalogued more than 3,000 stars
Catching up with friend David Thomas at Trafalgar, a Greenwich pub frequented by Charles Dickens