The Back Story
Four years ago, Jason Punches and I co-founded the design and branding studio Tag Collective. It’s been a wild ride. We’ve worked with some outstanding clients, won some awards and had a lot of fun in the process.
Frankly though, it isn’t enough. We’ve done great work; but we’ve got more in us and we want to take our skills beyond just our clients.
We’ve always been told “just sell t-shirts or something” — scratch that itch to create and diversify your revenue stream. It’s smart, but so far we haven’t been able to for one simple reason:
We want everything we design to have meaning,
to have an ethos, to solve a problem. If a t-shirt does this, we’ll make it,
but first we need a cause — a rallying point.
After working with a few restaurants we think we’ve found our cause. Restaurant owners work their asses off, yet sadly, in NYC 80% of the restaurants that open will close in just five years.
Currently, we only work with restaurant owners that a) know how much good design can set them apart and b) can afford an experienced design studio. This, unfortunately, is a very small pool. That said, we believe good design should be available to all of those who fall in group “a”. We believe in accessible design, that is considered and practical.
To whom does design address itself: to the greatest number, to the specialist of an enlightened matter, to a privileged social class? Design addresses itself to the need. — Charles Eames
Thus an idea was formed, and not just for restaurant owners. What if we could find the standard items that all businesses need and make them better? What if we could give all businesses the ability to have unique and engaging design?
Where to start? This one actually seemed obvious to us. Our first product, appropriately enough, is the open sign.
This particular sign has become more than just a cue for customers to enter. It’s an introduction to the world, an invitation to connect and a symbol for entrepreneurship.
An open sign is what you hang on your door, when you’re ready to welcome the world, to share with them your hard work.
So, in this spirit, we think it’s time for a change. Enough with the blinking / blinding LEDs. Enough with this poorly kerned type. Enough with these signs that don’t match the quality of the business.
It’s time to make something different. Something a business owner — who works so hard — can be proud to hang in their storefront.
We kept the design simple and fun, referencing vintage books from Speedball (warning, ebay rabbit hole). The final design is eye-catching and inviting, that gives a nod to well-designed open signs from the past.
For the production, we focused on quality. We chose to go with a two-color silk-screen process, on a 1/4 inch thick, birch veneered board. Everything was hand-crafted and produced either by us or locally. For the final steps we sealed the signs, making them weather resistant and used a durable nylon rope so they stand the test of time.
(which is actually just another beginning)
Introducing While Supplies Last, a company dedicated to making standard better.
Being a business owner can be exhilarating, but also a little lonely. It involves going in early, worries you try to ignore and even some sleepless nights. But at the end of the day, creating something you believe in is rewarding in a way that compares to nothing else.
See more at: www.w-s-l.co
Thanks for reading!