The Chalkboard is a collection of Grain & Mortar news, events, latest work, and helpful advice.

November 21st | Work

Kuna Systems developed a great new product. Our challenge was to help them introduce it to the world.

We love when we get opportunities to work with innovators. We met with Haomiao Huang from Kuna Systems at a coffee shop in San Francisco in June and we knew right away we wanted to work together. His product – a smart camera in an outdoor light that helps prevent home break-ins – was something we wanted to buy for our own homes and it was clear he understood the value of a well-executed brand.

We worked closely with Haomiao and his team to define and bring the Kuna brand to life in time for a vital fundraising campaign. Because the Kuna is a new type of product, the brand, website, and all other materials had to answer a lot of questions for potential customers. Having the information ready, along with a fully-realized brand platform would communicate to potential customers that although this product is new, the people behind it are smart, careful and concerned about your security.

Kuna Systems launched their website and their campaign on IndieGoGo October 21st of this year and as of November 21st they have managed to raise 402% of their goal. That’s right. They surpassed their $50,000 fundraising goal by $151,046. And they’re not done yet. You have until November 30th to claim yours!

So how does a company introduce a new category of product and overshoot a fundraising goal in less than four weeks? By building confidence in the brand.


The logo itself borrows visual inspiration from swords and camera lenses to represent a modern sense of security.

The logo borrows visual inspiration from a sword and a camera lens to represent both a traditional and modern sense of security.

The website quickly defines how the Kuna works and the value it offers homeowners.

The website quickly defines how the product works and the value it offers homeowners.


There are different ways to crowdsource start-up funding. No matter what platform you use, you have to do more than show up if you want to succeed. It helps if you can offer an amazing product that people want to buy. But beyond that you need to come out of the gate with a clear understanding of your brand and a well-articulated message for your customers-to-be. Devoting time to brand work in the early stages of your company’s life may feel like putting the cart before the horse but it’s essential to building a strong foundation for your company. The branding process forces you to answer integral questions about your product or service, your business objectives and the culture or community you want to create.

Together we helped Kuna Systems develop a solid brand identity, messaging, website and designs for their mobile app in time for their launch making it possible for them to speak clearly and authentically to their potential customers.


Caption needed.

The interface is simple and easy to use. Exactly what you want in a home security app.

| November 21st | Work

ooh... me Likey

November 19th | News

Like Drake, Liz considers herself a rookie and a vet.

She is new to G&M but has a long track record as a content strategist. She has experience working on the agency side as well as the client side of projects. Her preference is whatever side serves coffee all day long.

She is excited to collaborate in a studio filled with developers, designers, illustrators and animators. She loves when words and images mix to do something neither can do alone.

She’s written content for everything from bike rack stickers to feature-length documentaries. Her favorite kinds of projects involve fixing something that is broken or creating something that wasn’t there before.

When not at work, Liz enjoys spending time with her daughter Camille and her lab Roxie, cooking and watching movies.

Her favorite quote these days is from Dorothy Parker – “The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity.”



| November 19th | News

ooh... me Likey

November 17th | Events

Grain & Mortar takes home eleven awards, including one Judge’s Choice, at AIGA Nebraska’s Show!

This Saturday night we rubbed shoulders with the best and the brightest of Nebraska’s design community. We drank wine out of plastic cups. We ate some delicious rounders. And if that wasn’t enough…we also took home some awards for our work in the following categories: branding and identity, motion design and animation, illustration, website design, environmental design, and apparel design.

We’re always excited to take part in Nebraska’s premier design competition and humbled to be surrounded by the talent on display at this event each year.

If you want to see some great design work the Show exhibition will be on display at KANEKO until January 3, 2015. Admission is free and open to the public.


Barcamp Omaha Identity – Gold & Judge’s Choice


Hudl Motion Video – Gold

Watch the Hudl motion video here.


Barcamp Omaha T-Shirt – Gold


Barcamp Omaha Website – Gold

Check out the 2014 Barcamp website.


Hey There Good Lookin’ Video – Gold

Watch the “Hey There Good Looking” video here.


Barcamp Omaha Bird Hunt Game – Gold

Play the “Bird Hunt Game” here.


Hudl Environmental Design – Silver


Grain & Mortar Illustrations – Silver


Hudl Recruiting Website – Silver

Check out the Hudl recruiting website here.


Midwest Made T-Shirt – Bronze


Barcamp Omaha Illustrations – Bronze

| November 17th | Events

ooh... me Likey

October 31st | News

Will loves technology. A lot.

He’s a full stack developer with five years in the industry, and he brings both startup and full-scale advertising agency experience to the team.

He loves it when different, separate disciplines collide to solve problems in simple ways. He loves to stay on top of trends in business, technology, culture, psychology, marketing, and design. His favorite typeface is Avenir, and he basically can’t be torn from a computer for the life of him.

Will serves as the New Media Director for AIGA Nebraska, and also has a startup called Hubdia that helps all kinds of creative people to organize and market themselves. He loves Mr. Show, Tim & Eric, and other totally absurd comedies; his favorite band is Radiohead (but mostly the newer stuff).

When not at G&M, Will serves up coffee at Drips in Council Bluffs and enjoys riding his bike everywhere he goes.



| October 31st | News

ooh... me Likey

August 8th | News

We are excited to announce that Nicholas will be joining the team at Grain & Mortar!

Nicholas brings with him full-scale ad agency experience, but more importantly, a strong love for typography and design as well as front-end development skills.

Nicholas views design as a tool of communication, and enjoys finding simple solutions to design problems, or more specifically, creating simple and efficient solutions to represent complex ideas. He’s professed his love for the typeface DIN on more than one occasion.

Nicholas has served on the board of AIGA Nebraska as Show Chair, and most recently Director of Finance. He’s an avid supporter of Arsenal FC (English soccer team), and has participated in one Seinfeldathon, with plans to do another in near future. As the creator and primary advocate of Pizza Friday, Nicholas encourages everyone to have pizza each week. On Friday.

When he’s not eating pizza, watching soccer, or designing, he enjoys spending time with his girlfriend and her two cats.



| August 8th | News

ooh... me Likey