Documented Design Inspiration
The Watsonian

Archive for the ‘MC PROJECTS’ Category

The Medium Control Retail Studio

A long time concept and dream fell into place today June 10th 2011. We opened our first Medium Control Retail Studio. A retail shop for our hand printed apparel, posters, bags, metal prints and select art/design book & mags. We are often asked “what do you do again?” and there is not one answer. However this new space will help explain the scope and depth of our work and projects. Along with the retail Goods, there are also select client projects (Academy and Bald E-Gal snowboard designs), vintage cameras on display; along with one of our screen printing presses that we use for making the posters. We pulled the trigger on this retail project one month ago, and it has exercised many aspects of design, building, production of Goods and maintaining a heavy client work load. It has been a true test, but after ten years we were ready for it and are quite excited to finally put a face behind the brand. And mostly, to have our friends, family and new peoples to stop in, say hi and check out what a month of chaos can drum up.


Store Location
The Medium Control
723 South Lake Ave
Duluth Mn 55802

Store Hours*
T-F 11a – 5p
Sat 11a – 4p
Sun (occasionally open)

*Hours may vary if
We have the need to surf, skate, bike or kayak.

Station on Park Point, just on the other side of the lift bridge. You can practically see the shop from Grandmas in Canal Park

Next week we will be showing some studio pictures and launching our new Medium Control website.


Remember. Martin Luther King, Jr


Remembering the inspirational change brought by one to many.

Martin Luther King, Jr. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African American civil rights movement. He is best known for being an iconic figure in the advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world, using nonviolent methods following the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi. King is often presented as a heroic leader in the history of modern American liberalism.

A Baptist minister, King became a civil rights activist early in his career. He led the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott and helped found the Southern Christian Leadership Conference in 1957, serving as its first president. King’s efforts led to the 1963 March on Washington, where King delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech. There, he expanded American values to include the vision of a color blind society, and established his reputation as one of the greatest orators in American history.

In 1964, King became the youngest person to receive the Nobel Peace Prize for his work to end racial segregation and racial discrimination through civil disobedience and other nonviolent means. By the time of his death in 1968, he had refocused his efforts on ending poverty and stopping the Vietnam War.

King was assassinated on April 4, 1968, in Memphis, Tennessee. He was posthumously awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1977 and Congressional Gold Medal in 2004; Martin Luther King, Jr. Day was established as a U.S. federal holiday in 1986.

(text from wiki)



The Human’s Great Aunt Loretta was always full of great stories of her worldly travels. She was the go-to person for giving us the correct punctuation for Scandinavian foods and treats. And, of course, the right way to say Sauna; she was truly an inspiration. Unfortunately we lost Loretta this week, but her stories and adventurous attitude will live on forever. A while back, the Humans had a fun photo shoot in her basement capturing pristine vintage appliances and tools. Luckily the Humans had their good old Pentax camera loaded with expired film, which helped give a subtle green glow to everything. Explore the basement HERE.

Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. Security does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than exposure. – Helen Keller

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Walker Art Center : Field Day

The Walker Field Day went off. Big thanks to the Walker for inviting us and to all who stopped by – much appreciated.

Show pictures viewable HERE.

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Medium Control Goods has been invited to the Walker Art Center to take part in their Field Day Event.
Stop by tomorrow (Thursday), pick up some goods and check out all the events.

Thursday August 19th
2-9p FREE



Medium Control Goods hit the road this past weekend. We have been noticeably absent from our daily ranting due to the churning wheels of production. The Humans were busy designing and building a 6×8′ booth that would display all their new bags, metal prints and t-shirts. After a long week of late evenings I sent the Humans packing so I could get some rest while they headed out to sell some goods. They told me the show ( held at the rau+barber studio was a great experience and everyone was excited to see all the new Watson goods (of course). Thanks to all who ventured out to the show – we appreciate it. Enter the booth HERE.

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India Ink + Watercolor on Birch plywood

Land of the extremes. We received word Minneapolis was going thru an abnormal heat wave, reaching tropical temps with insane humidity. Which brings on the comments “it’s too hot”. While it’s crazy to think only a few months ago we were experiencing a 100º difference. And at the same time people below the equator are having their fair share of winter. Makes you think and appreciate the multiple climates we live in – cherish the change.

This artwork was inspired by our Lutsen Chair Photo from the “Plastic Views” collection. The photo was taken on an extreme day at Lutsen, MN; lots of snow, lots of wind. This painting / drawing version of Lutsen Chair depicts the actual weather of the day. Sometimes 1/60 of a second does not capture the true ambience.

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India Ink on Birch plywood.

It is Monday so the Humans decided it was the perfect day to share their Whistler Chair piece. The drawing was inspired by their Spaceship photograph shot in the summer at Whistler, Canada. Get in the grain and ink HERE.

This piece was also in the show “Plastic Views”

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Round and round we all go each week, season after season, year after year. Hope you enjoy your Saturday. I might spend the day running in circles, or not who knows. Get circular, click HERE.

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Mondays around our design studio can be a bit hectic… Catching up, finishing up, creating – the endless cycle we have grown to love. Well to be honest the Humans enjoy the hustle and bustle much more than myself. I am a constant reminder to them to take a step back and mellow out. For those other busy Humans around the globe, here is 1 minute of serenity before Monday kicks back in.

HD Mellow Out Monday version found HERE.

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Even more from PLASTIC VIEWS. Here are the color lomography images currently on display from the Humans art show. Each image is printed on white enamel sheet metal, float mounted, and ready to hang on your wall. Enjoy some color lomography up close by clicking HERE.

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View all black & white metal prints

More from PLASTIC VIEWS. As mentioned previously, the Humans currently have an art show on display the entire month of March at Pizza Luce in Duluth, Minnesota. For those we may not be able to attend in person the Humans wanted to share some images from the show. Here are the black and white lomography images currently on display. Each image is printed on brushed sheet metal, float mounted, and ready to hang on your wall. Printing on metal is an interesting alternative to paper. Metal prints are can be hung without frame or glass for a less traditional approach to displaying photography. Enjoy some black and white HERE.

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If anyone happens to be in the Duluth, MN area during the month of March, stop by Pizza Luce and check out our new show, PLASTIC VIEWS. Plastic Views steps away from the computer and digital photography, focusing on the unique aspects of film. All photos in the show have been taken over the last ten years by a plastic holga or diana camera with medium format 120/220 film. These particular plastic cameras are known for their cheap plastic bodies, light leaks, random in/out of focusing and natural vignettes. To push this lomo photography based concept further most shots were taken with expired film, providing a unique color base and saturation on it’s own. The images were then printed on metal, with either a brush metal base or white enamel which determines the white balance of the image. A rather surreal view into photography as we step further and further down the digital road.

Plastic Views also takes into perspective the day after day monotony of working as a designer behind a plastic computer screen. Presenting works made from help of the hand and not the keyboard, which include: india ink and watercolor, wood working pieces and others.

Thanks for the support.

View the Black & White Metal Prints HERE



Medium Control + Snowboarder Magazine Collaboration. The Humans teamed up with their friends over at at Snowboarder Magazine to create a t-shirt for SIA (SnowSports Industries American conference in Vegas). Snowboarder wanted to create a collab design based on our classic snowfake design. The Medium Control was responsible for designing the t-shirt and Snowboarder distributed the goods. Be sure to pick-up the December issue of Snowboarder Magazine to see The Medium Control Design Co. and The Watsonian ad. Big thanks to Kyle Kennedy at Snowboarder for making this happen – cheers. Check out the t-shirt, click HERE.

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The Medium Control Design Company

Drumroll please… The Medium Control Design Company has a new identity. For way too long Tommy has been working on this new logo, quite the addict. The inspiration was to create a iconic, classic logo similar to what you would find on an oil can in the 1950′s. Therefore a minimal, simplistic, strong mark was desired. Ugh, I know, he makes me talk like this sometimes when we have to get “serious”… ok, back to business. The new mark achieves multiple visual concepts: 1. THE KEYHOLE. Which represents a sense of exploration, the unknown and the constant search without settling; Goonies like. 2. THE DISCERNING EYE. For too many hours the three of us spend most of our time concentrating on design projects, issues and aspects. Design is our life, inspiration is all around us and most of all in nature. 3. THE GAUGE. Whether it’s a design project, research, travel, etc – we are always on the move. The gauge is never empty nor full and we three attempt to keep a medium control on the situation at hand. 4. THE LITERAL “C”. At -90º the “C” for control sits there waiting to control the next task at hand. 5. THE TYPE. Classic, smartly designed and a favorite staple of ours – the Univers typeface stands tall. A thinner weight was selected to fall thin and subtle when printing. Reminiscent of the old type we adore so much, type which our grandparents observed on objects nonchalantly everyday. 6. THE WEIGHT. Best of all the mark has visual weight like me – thick borders and bold black and white.

Whew, I should get paid more for spending my time analyzing like that… So there you have it, the new medium control identity system. As always a big thanks to everyone for listening to my rants and our never ending exploration of the linear aspects of escapism. Cheers people and animals alike.