What is raven + crow studio?
We’re a Brooklyn-born, Los-Angeles-bred, RVA-based design studio that specializes in brand development, design for print + screens, and most anything in the visual creative realm for a bunch of non-profits, small businesses, and other groups + people we like.
Who is raven + crow studio?
The studio is essentially the two of us—husband-and-wife team, Troy Farmer + Katie Frichtel. While we occasionally bring in some other trusted hands for coding, copy editing, and motion work, we’re the artists and creative force behind raven + crow studio and we personally work with each and every client to fulfill their design needs.
So you do everything?
Pretty much. We manage the day-to-day creative while keeping up client relations, organizing daily and monthly work schedules, setting long-term company goals, and maintaining the integrity and style of our work. We also manage all areas of print production, including soliciting and analyzing printer bids, providing printer-ready files and production instructions, and acting as the liaison between the printer and our client. We also manage outsourced programming work and site functionality and directly provide art direction and visual branding for screens. I know, right?
Did you do this site then?
As with most of our work in the realm of online presences, we designed the site and set-up how it would look, feel, and work. Then we belabored our friend and insanely talented developer Paul Singh at Pel with the concept, and he helped make it a reality by setting up the code and structure that would make it all work. We’ve partnered with him on a number of web projects over the years and hope to continue to do so.
How long have you been in business?
We’ve been freelancing since 1999 or so, but we became an official LLC in the State of New York in 2006 and moved the business to Los Angeles at the end of 2013. Near the end of 2020, we moved the business to our mutual home state of Virginia.
So you’re based in Virginia now?
We are. We’ve kept our ties in New York + Los Angeles, as we have a numerous clients in each city and genuine love for both, but we’ve traded the hustle and bustle of our nation’s most populous metropolises for Richmond, Virginia—a place with a compelling mix of big city life and small town charm that’s going through some interesting and impressive social changes right now, we think. You should come visit when things are less weird.
Who are some of your clients?
We work with a pretty wide variety of clients—from small businesses to national non-profits to international humanitarian organizations to the occasional larger corporate client. We’re fans of white space, so we won’t bother you with a list here or anything, but you can find most of our clients in our portfolio, where we’ve made an effort to provide brief descriptions of each of them and links to their respective sites.
Why are you named raven + crow? And do I ALWAYS have to spell it in lower-case and use a plus sign?
We’ve always had a personal fascination with ravens and crows. They’re highly intelligent and, especially in the case of crows, highly social and able to make innovative use of the tools around them. Which is obviously cool. And the imagery of crows and ravens—especially their dark forms set against a sky and the simple grace of their flight—has always impressed and inspired us. We like to think our studio reflects these same characteristics. Oh, and capitalize and notate as you see fit, friend! Caw!
What is your educational background?
Okay, you might want to sit down for this one. It’ll take a while. So, Katie graduated from James Madison University (Harrisonburg, VA) in 1999 with a Bachelors degree in Media Arts + Design, with a focus in Print Communication. She also minored in Studio Art and Theatre Costume Design for maximum arty-ness. She started her career working as a Graphic Designer and Communications manager for a DC-based non-profit, Women & Philanthropy and began freelancing in her not-so-copious free time. After moving to NYC in 2003, she worked as a Graphic Designer & Production Coordinator for the International Trademark Association. She picked up more freelancing jobs and juggled the full time and part time work for several years, all the while dreaming of starting her own studio. Troy ALSO graduated from James Madison but with a degree in Geology and a focus on the environmental field, leading him to volunteer in the Peace Corps’ Environmental Education program in Poland and, upon returning, working in environmental and social welfare non-profit development. Seeing the need that many small non-profits had for strong graphic design, and having a personal interest and flair for that field of work, he began making the shift from development work to design work. He eventually quit his job in graphic design and public affairs at The Trust for Public Land to dedicate himself to raven + crow full-time. Rather than a weakness, our studio views Troy’s lack of formal training as an advantage, giving us added ability to ‘think outside the box’ in situations that demand creativity. Plus he knows about rocks.
How do you two work together?
Um, awesomely? No, we do have very distinctive but complementary design styles. Rather than stepping on each other’s toes while working on projects, we split up the client list and handle our own set of projects. Of course, we always check in with one another to make sure we are both up to speed on the client’s work. When starting branding work with a new client, we’ll both present ideas and designs and let the editing process decide which artist will be the primary contact. It’s usually pretty evenly split. With our more demanding clients that provide us with heavier workloads and tight deadlines—for instance, the United Nations—we both work together to complete the projects.
Why do you do so much branding work?
Man, you ARE inquiring. Honestly though, in our view, logo design and brand identity are the most important forms of visual communication. They represent the very first impression that an audience has of you—whether you’re a national food issues group or you’re a start-up Brooklyn-based fashion designer—and they set the tone for your outreach and public persona. They also dictate the look and ‘feel’ of all your work to come. Ideally, your brand captures who you are and what you do and effectively communicates that for years. Who wouldn’t want to do that kind of work?
Wait, what’s going on in that photo down there?
Troy had just done a flip. We’re wily like that.
Still have questions? Drop us a line.