ray

(it all started with this logo design)

In the early days of 2010 when we decided to start Ben Towne Foundation we knew we needed to get moving on a website and initial branding. I proceeded idiotically by searching “website designers” online. I found a guy who didn’t look like an ax-murderer and operated out of an office fairly close to us. In my slow moving, grief-induced-fog those requirements seemed good enough. After meeting and explaining who we were and what we were setting out to do he said he would be in touch with an initial design concept. Fast forward a couple weeks and I am not joking when I tell you that his design involved Ben’s face, a halo and angel wings. I sobbed, not out of grief, but out of the sheer horror of terrible design.

In a fateful moment of clarity I made an SOS call to my friend Sue who owns her own design firm. I told her what had happened, begged for forgiveness for not thinking clearly to start with, and asked if could she help us begin again. Sue graciously said yes (after laughing to probable tears over the initial concept) and followed with, “I know the perfect designer for you.” Enter our beloved designer and now friend Ray. Ray took our words, our story, our tears and out of the gates created this:

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It had heart, it had soul, it told Ben’s story and ours practically without words – it was perfection. For the past five years since that initial concept Ray has worked pro-bono for BTF (while maintaining a full-time job!), designing each and every piece of our work. His hand, heart and mind have been a huge part of our success – crafting our brand and creating visual consistency and recognition. It would be impossible to show you each and every piece he created for us, from our logo to our second website, but here are some of my favorites:

december give logo

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benefit 2012 poster

remission-blade

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final circle

There are so many, I literally have to cut myself off from posting them all (plus Ray in his perfectionist ways won’t like how mismatched in sizing they are – haha! My bad.) But moving along, a couple weeks ago over lunch we were reflecting on our initial meetings back in 2010 and Ray said, “That is the most nervous I have ever been to show a client my ideas.” I asked him if it was because Ben was dead. He said no, it was because it felt like being asked to name someone’s child. I couldn’t put my finger on it before, but his words rang true. We entrusted Ray with Ben’s image and visual legacy and could not be more thankful for all the beautiful pieces of art that he created in honor of him and this work.

So as we continue to wind down, I want to say thank you to Ray publicly (even though he won’t like it because he is so insanely humble and private). Ray, you are the most extraordinarily gifted designer. Your humble nature coupled with your depth of soulful talent has been a total gift to us. Without you, Ben Towne Foundation literally would not have existed! As our BTF working relationship comes to an end I am grateful that we have an awesome friendship that will remain – rooted in a mutual love of sports, humor and reality tv. Can’t wait for our Bachelor viewing party to resume on January 4th (don’t even think you are getting out of this season – his name is Ben)!

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Thank you Ray.