June 12, 2016 - No Comments!

Startup Weekend Wellington

Startup Weekend Wellington Team May 2016

The Startup Weekend Wellington group – May 2016 (Photo Credit: Ethan Donnell)

A fortnight on from my first start-up weekend and the experience almost feels like a distant dream. Perhaps the slight lack of sleep during the three days made it seemingly more dreamlike – certainly surreal to a degree. Nevertheless, that wondrous whirlwind weekend is worthy of recall, so here is my version of events.


F R I D A Y   N I G H T
Pitch Time & Team Creation

There are three ticket options when you sign up – Designer, Developer, and Non-Tech. I opted for a designer ticket (of course), but regardless of label, any ticket holder can pitch an idea for a new business; the sole criterion that you only have a single minute to sell your idea to the crowd.

Following 42 entertaining quick-fire pitches, people put up makeshift posters on the wall with their idea written in vivid. After public voting via stickers on preferred ideas, 15 business concepts remained. It was time to form teams.

Justice League at Startup Weekend Wellington

The Justice League! Clockwise from top left: Andy Foster, Sam Green, Michael Millward, AJ Esler, Jen Sangaroonthong, Mary Faber, Lilia Alexander (Photo Credit: Ethan Donnell) 

I opted to join the ‘Justice Fund’ team, a concept put forth by Lawyer, Sam Green. In basic terms, his concept was similar to kickstarter but with a sole focus on supporting worthy judicial causes via crowd-sourced funding. I liked that it was a social cause, and the idea quickly collected a significant amount of sticker votes on it which was a good indication of viability.

Plan into action

Justice Fund working at Startup Weekend Wellington

Our team on Saturday morning developing a plan of attack.

Our day began with what the Start-up crew called ‘validation’. This component made up one third of the judging criteria, so was of rather vital importance to get right. A basic summary of the validation process is getting feedback from the public and potential stakeholders as to whether your business idea would be valid and supported in the market.

Mary Faber presenting 1 minute update at Startup Weekend Wellington

Presenting a 1 minute update on Justice Fund’s development.

Our marketing team member, Lilia Alexander, sent out an online questionnaire and we then undertook the person-to-person validation method and ventured outside. The abysmal weather dictated an ‘indoors’ approach to surveying the public, so it was off to Harvey Norman to probe with questions relevant to Justice Fund’s validity.

Mary Faber interviewing public at Harvey Norman during Startup Weekend Wellington

Interviewing the public proved insightful and the Justice Fund concept was well supported.

We had support all round, from both the general public and feedback from lawyers. 94% of our public respondents said they would pay to support a worthy cause provided the platform was trustworthy, and 10/10 lawyers thought the Justice Fund concept was both viable and something they would support.

10/10 Laywers supported the Justice Fund concept

Lawyers also supported our cause

The next duty on my agenda was to design the face of Justice Fund – our logo. This would inform the brand voice, so my first step was a quick round of voting on word associations and colour. From the 30 people asked, the colours voted most approachable were jointly yellow and orange. Reliable & Trustworthy gained votes across grey, black, and blue. With these words representing Justice Fund’s key values, the logo’s icon was set in a mid-point between yellow and orange (a warm, approachable yellow) and the logo text was set in a reliable, trustworthy stone grey.




Justice Fund logo design for Startup Weekend Wellington's Justice fudn team, May 2016




While my approach to logo development usually involves custom type design, given the particularly pressing time constraints I set about finding a suitable existing typeface and an aptly designed icon in order to make that encroaching deadline. The contemporary serif typeface, perhaps not so appropriately titled, ‘Bitter’, combines a strong slab with some softer curves. It speaks accordingly of being trustworthy with a friendly demeanour. These curves were complimented by the cloud & gavel (judge hammer) icon that was combined with the text to create the final logo.

Justice Fund's website design prototype for Startup Weekend Wellington, May 2016

Justice Fund’s prototype website

The next duty was to design and refine our presentation slides, the team lawyers set about refining our business and financial models, and the developers created a website prototype to showcase how our online platform would function.

Justice Fund's process solution at Startup Weekend Wellington, May 2016

How Justice Fund works

Refine presentation, present to judges!

Justice Fund team presenting at Startup Weekend Wellington, May 2016

The Justice Fund team presenting our Startup Business

Now cut to the chase…did we win??

…Unfortunately not, but regardless we certainly felt proud of what we’d managed in that short time and were also inspired by the achievements of other teams. The deserving winners were ‘Rocco’s Dog Food’, a subscription-based healthy dog food delivery concept that also incorporated a social cause via donating to dogs in need. They did a great job of validating their idea, developing a responsive website, and even began selling subscriptions – hopefully they go on to fulfil those orders and more.

So do people actually start a business after all that? Yes, certainly some do, but from what I gather it’s a small proportion of the multitudes of concepts past.

Justice Fund business card mockup for Startup Weekend Wellington, May 2016

Reflection time. A fortnight on – would I do it all again? The short answer is yes, although if you’d asked me on Saturday morning after what could barely be deemed a swift night’s snooze I might have answered otherwise. The organisers did a great job, and I have to award serious bonus points for the provision of fantastic food.

It was definitely an exciting and andrenaline-inducing venture, and it was great to meet other passionate individuals from different fields. It’s easy to become all-consumed by the industry you work in every day, but experiencing how other people approach problem solving and add value to business development is both insightful and inspiring.

The next Wellington Start-Up Weekend has an environmental theme and is in November.
I’ll see you there…

Mary Faber.

April 17, 2016 - No Comments!

Emmersion – A Splashing New Brand Design


When Emmersion approached us to create a new brand for their scuba expeditions business it was clear from the start that they were after a contemporary look that would stand out within the diving industry. The identity needed to appeal to an exclusive international client base, to be modern, professional, and project the scuba world in a fresh, eye-catching manner.

With owner Emma based in Perth, we utilised cloud-based to manage the project online.. An initial skype meeting was held to discuss thoughts for the development of the brand, following which email and chat services were utilised for concept proposals and feedback.

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2_Emmersion_FB_bannerEdit6_swatchesThis partnership resulted in sea-inspired brand with a powerful visual punch that encapsulates the vibrancy of the underwater world. Pulling on the bright hues of the coral reef and its exuberant wildlife, the new identity balances bright colours with a deep-sea navy. This dark tone provides the brand formality, while also creating a contrasting platform for the vibrant tones to bounce upon.

Screen Shot 2016-04-18 at 10.25.56 am

The identity utilises clean sans-serif typography, but within the logotype a slight round edge was implemented to connote the soft waves of the sea. The accompanying wave icon and pattern were born out of the first four letters of the company name, ‘EMME’.


Deliverables for the Emmersion brand identity included; logo design, business cards, pattern design, responsive website across desktop, iPad and mobile, apparel design & photo editing.

The bright and bold aesthetics are functional and also provide an enticing visual experience that appeals to the neo-modern adventure seeker.


January 12, 2016 - No Comments!

Happy New Yeah!

The wheels of 2016 are now well and truly in motion and we can’t wait to see where they roll.

A few client projects will be finishing up shortly so we’re excited to be sharing some new work very soon. 

There is certainly an air of positivity surrounding this new year so we’re going to grasp that resolution motivation and get our teeth stuck in to more design, projects, and both client and personal work.

So here’s to 2016 and bigger horizons. Onward and upward…

F & L.

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December 23, 2015 - No Comments!

Festivities & Laughter

It’s that time of the year again!

We’ve officially arrived at Faber & Lo’s first Christmas. We just want to say a big thank you to our clients, friends and family for all your support over the last eight months, and we look forward to working alongside our existing and new clients in 2016.

Wishing you all a merry and safe Christmas and a happy New Year.

Bring on 2016!

Mary & Alice.





September 08, 2015 - No Comments!

Dear Google…



Dear Google,

Your new logo release has been quite the topic in the design world over the past week, and rightly so given your revered stature in the modern world of technology. We at Faber & Lo would like to begin by offering a supportive nod, as the new design is undoubtedly more in line with the clean, modern and highly sophisticated technology and services you offer. The geometric sans certainly stands its ground as a strong, contemporary logotype, with an elemental quirkiness and approachable x-height.

Brand suitability aside, it is regarding the execution of the design that we would like to suggest a few minor tweaks. If we were faced with refining this particular logo, here’s what we’d do…

Screen Shot 2015-09-08 at 4.21.39 pm

1. That uppercase G – Now don’t get me wrong, in some way the position of the top terminal balances the ‘e’ terminal at the far end, but the wide stature of the bottom of the letterform against the sparse top half make for an uneasy and awkward weight distribution. The top terminal weight is a little on the light side, particularly when compared to the lowercase terminals of the g & e. Additionally the weight coming into the crossbar on the bottom right is on the heavy side, and the horizontal crossbar is markedly heavy relative to the stroke weight of the rounds. The rounds are looking a little what one might call diamond shaped. Let’s pull out those corners, just a tad.

2. Overall weight – Relative to the uppercase G, the lowercase is sitting a little on the heavy side. Particularly the weight of the l; it could afford to lose 5 pounds (or in the case of type design, a few units).

3. Lowercase g – Again the rounds are ever so slightly diamond shaped, and the weight of the rounds coming in to the straight stem on the right could be further reduced, as that gets pretty heavy when small.

4. Lowercase e – This is probably the most uncertain of all the letterforms. While the choice to tilt this little character was justified as playing homage to the original Venetian ‘e’ of your original serif logo (where it makes more sense in a traditional context) the suitability of the form in this geometric sans-serif representation feels awkward. In keeping with the historic reference I’d say sure, keep the angle, but perhaps reduce the angle at which it sits.

5. Kerning – A little tight across the board, particularly as it is mostly viewed at small sizes. Maybe you have a version for large and small sizes, but I haven’t come across a reference for both yet. Regardless, at this particular size, let’s give those letters a little extra breathing space.


Sincerely, Faber & Lo.

Until the next update, Google!

August 30, 2015 - No Comments!

Font Design Workshop

Last month Faber & Lo held an introductory course in font design, where students with typographic affinity were able to learn the basics of typeface development. In this intensive one-day course, we covered the design process from sketching concepts through to the drawing and construction of multiple glyphs on screen. The workshop was held in Sydney, at the inspiring Work-shop premises. It was fantastic to see designers and artists from wide-ranging backgrounds get involved in font design, and we look forward to hosting another workshop in future.

Faberandlo_workshop_7Faberandlo_workshop_10Faberandlo_workshop_3Faberandlo_workshop_8Faberandlo_workshop_6Faberandlo_workshop_4 Faberandlo_workshop_2 Faberandlo_workshop_11Faberandlo_workshop_1

July 15, 2015 - No Comments!

Workshop – Introduction to Font Design

Screen-shot-2015-07-06-at-3.11.40-PM_web (2)

Our passion for letterforms needs sharing, so we’re looking for devoted designers and lettering enthusiasts to come and learn a bit about font design and development. Design practitioners, students, and hobby creatives all welcome – participants will need an intermediate level of understanding of Adobe illustrator.

The workshop will cover letterform drawing, concept refinement, and will then allow participants to start developing their font ideas on screen using Fontlab (free trial download available).

Date: 26th July, 2015
Venue: Work-shop HQ, Cnr Cleveland & Eveleigh Street, Redfern NSW 2016
Time: 10AM – 4PM
Cost: $120
This class is limited to 20 spaces offered on a first-in-first-served basis – get in quick!

For more details and to sign up, visit →

For further enquiries email us hello@faberandlo.com

May 21, 2015 - No Comments!

Jacky Winter Gives You The Biz – Part 2

Jacky Winter Gives You The Biz’ – Part 2


Last week Alice was fortunate enough to win a double pass to the Jacky Winter Gives You the Biz through Desktop Mag (http://desktopmag.com.au/) held in Sydney. This is the second of two posts where Alice shares some insight from the day and valuable business tips for creatives.

→ Just do it!

Brodie Lancaster – I really enjoyed Brodie’s presentation about the journey or her self-initiated project Filmme Fatales and how this lead to further opportunities, including becoming a contributing editor for Rookie magazine. Plus it’s not every day you get to call Tavi Gevinson your friend. The moral of the story? Not only are they enjoyable, but self-initiated projects can lead to greater opportunities. Side note: I have also found that employers love seeing self-initiated projects.

→ Tech savvy

Jeremy Wortsman – The Director of Jacky Winter Group , Jeremy, is down-right hilarious. But aside from his witty charisma, Jeremy also shared some useful tools to help with the administrative day-to-day stuff we have to deal with: 

Xero – Get on it! An accounting software which helps deal with your finances. I’ve heard numerous amazing reviews. Faber & Lo are also jumping on the band wagon.

Gmail family – using gmail, google (shared) docs and google calendar to organise your work life is beneficial for your team and yourself.

Basecamp – Basecamp helps you wrangle people with different roles, responsibilities, and objectives toward a common goal: Finishing a project together.

Teamgantt – Who doesn’t love a gantt chart? this software ensures you meet those key milestones.

Workflowmax – An integrated project management software. WorkflowMax’s software contains everything you need to manage your business workflow – in one integrated platform.

TextExpander  – For those that find themselves re-writing the same email but to a different person. TextExpander saves your fingers and your keyboard, expanding custom keyboard shortcuts into frequently-used text and pictures.

It’s about time!

Benjamin Law  – a writer & journalist gave the final presentation on time management. I know we all struggle with this and I liked the techniques Benjamin introduced:

1. The pomodoro technique – using timers to ensure you get your work done. Find out more here: http://pomodorotechnique.com/

2. RescueTime  – With so many distractions and possibilities in your digital life, it’s easy to get scattered. RescueTime helps you understand your daily habits so you can focus and be more productive.

3. Freedom  – Freedom is the wonderful app that locks you away from the Internet so you can be more productive.

4. Inbox Zero – This is a system developed by Merlin Mann to clear your emails every day. Merlin uses 5 possible actions delete, delegate, respond, defer and do. read more about it here:  http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/inbox-zero

5. Todoist Benjamin didn’t mention this but Faber & Lo have been using this to get our tasks done – we highly recommend it and the basic version is free to use. Plus there is nothing more liberating than ticking off something you’ve just completed!

So here we are at the end of this lengthy blog post. Definitely some useful tips to be had, and if you weren’t lucky enough to attend #JWGYTB but would like to know more, email us at hello@faberandlo.com.

A special thanks to Jacky Winter Group & Desktop mag for gifting the double pass to us.

Signing out,


May 15, 2015 - No Comments!

Jacky Winter Gives You The Biz – Part 1

‘Jacky Winter Gives You The Biz’ – Part 1


Last week Alice was fortunate enough to win a double pass to the Jacky Winter Gives You the Biz through Desktop Mag held in Sydney. This is the first of two posts where Alice shares some insight from the day and valuable business tips for creatives.

I was stoked to win tickets! Since Faber & Lo only launched 2 weeks ago attending #JWGYTB was particularly appealing. The event proved very different to Semi-permanent. None of the big pretty pictures or visual delectables, but certainly crammed with substance. A ton of information regarding the creative industry from a business-perspective, which I think design schools could learn from and teach.

The day was jam-packed with… animated gifs! But also 12 high-profile speakers with some great advice. I won’t detail every speaker’s presentation but the parts that I found useful. So for budding creative start-up studios or freelance designers, this is what I learnt on the day…

→ The Law

Lawyers David Vodicka, Julian Hewitt & Yasmin Naghavi from Media Arts Lawyers who represent musicians, artists & designers spoke individually and at length about the copyright law, contract negotiations and licensing for creatives.

In Australia, the copyright law states that  any original artwork produced by you is automatically copyrighted. But! (there is always a but), the copyright law does not apply if you were commissioned or the artwork was created whilst under the employment of a company. The copyright on an artwork lasts for 70 years after the creators death. Please note: the copyright law is different in every country. Make sure you find out what applies to you.

For contract negotiations Julian suggests to look at the big picture of the project first, and then to hone in on the details, and make sure you negotiate a fee which forms part of the terms of agreement. Yasmin highlighted a very important point – make sure you state the exclusivity of the work you are producing, and that you read the small print. Who gets credited? What is the warranty? Do you need insurance? Be wise, and be thorough.

→ Hashtag that

Next up was a panel discussion between Gemma O’brien & Dan Boud about how social media can be useful. What I gathered from Gemma & Dan was that there is no hard and fast rule, but that it is beneficial to use some form of social media to showcase work as your social media account could certainly land you a job. While it may be time consuming, creatives need to be active on at least one form of social media, and on a relevant platform. On the topic of social media, I myself have made connections with other creatives whom under static circumstances I wouldn’t have. At Faber & Lo we’re active on a number of social media platforms (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Behance & Linkedin) – we use the different strengths of each platform to promote our work, increase awareness of our brand, and to network. What all businesses need to recognise is that in this ever-evolving digital age, developing a cohesive social media strategy is increasingly important. 

→ Tough love

I’ve labeled this section tough love because Bianca Bramham from Jacky Winter Group & Linda Judic Creative director at Hulbsbosh gave some stern, but sound, advice.

Tips from Bianca on how to manage client expectations:


Linda explains to the audience when setting up a business whether it be for a company or as a sole trader these are the four key things you mustn’t ignore.


The piece of Linda’s advice I found particularly useful was when she discussed the value of what we create for our clients. The breadth, longevity, impact & ongoing benefits of what we design, which is often overlooked by clients.

Perhaps her most important point (which was also repeated several times by other speakers) is to track the time spent on each client brief and to compare the estimated hours against the actual hours.

To be continued. Be sure to tune in next week to read the rest of ‘Jacky Winter Gives You The Biz – Part 2’ blog post.


April 29, 2015 - No Comments!

Humble Beginnings

Faber & Lo - Letterpress Design Collaboration

Hello and welcome to our first Faber & Lo blog post! We thought it appropriate to begin by sharing the short version of how our amalgamation came about.

Firstly, introductions. We are Mary Faber and Alice Lo, based respectively in Wairarapa, New Zealand and Sydney, Australia. We were first brought together just over 5 years ago through some indeterminate forces of The University of Waikato – Alice was about to begin a year of teaching typography to first-year graphic design students, and Mary, at that time a post-graduate student, was selected to be the tutor for the class. Thus began a great bond over a mutual love of letters, which grew infinitely from our first collaboration; a typesetting project at a letterpress workshop (photo above).

After completing her Masters, Mary jumped over to London where she trained and worked as a Font Designer for a year. During this time, Alice moved to Sydney to work as a Designer within the fashion industry. Despite the undeniable distance and awkward time difference, we continued to work together, creating projects under MASH (a typographic collective). Since Mary’s return to New Zealand last year, we would often discuss the idea of joining forces, so this year we decided to bite the bullet, formalise our collaborative tendencies and realise a long-held dream – to start our own design studio.

Following a couple of months of chugging behind the scenes, we are now ready to work with our current and future clients. Our focus is to assist our clients in the growth and refinement of their businesses through creative and professional branding and design services. We are enthusiastic and eager to help our clients’ visions become a reality.

We will continue to share snippets of our journey here as well as posting brand-savvy tips.

Welcome to our journey, this is only the beginning…

Mary & Alice. Or as we’re now known,

Faber & Lo.