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WHO WE ARE
Blind Renaissance is an experienced, innovative , brand marketing company with an impressive history of clients and design projects accumulated over 40 years. The scope of work and talent that has kept Blind Renaissance on top of their game has been the vision of owner, Kirk Dietrich’s artistic talent, innovative ideas, hands-on experience, an impressive roster of artists and designers and the experience to successfully brand a company.
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THE STORY BEHIND BLIND RENAISSANCE
Blind Renaissance creator Kirk Dietrich, a student at Wenatchee High School in 1968, was first introduced to printmaking in Art class (wood- block , linoleum block, and screen printing). Kirks interest in printing and painting continued into his college years at Wenatchee Valley College, where he was introduced to calligraphy printing and painting by well-known Northwest artist and teacher, Bob Graves.
By 1972, Kirk was hired part-time while attending Central Washington University, working for the Dean of Students in the Student Union Building. He began creating his first professional graphic projects for student events, concerts, dances, menus, etc. During this time he took up photography class and was introduced to the photo printmaking process. With his new interest in photography, Photo Serigraphy and Painting became his chosen field.
“Learning how to create and develop my own film for printing opened the world of being able to make a living with my art skills”. – Kirk
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It wasn’t long before Kirks growing photography skills landed him design jobs with Larz Nefzger, of Around Sound Productions in Bellingham, WA. Placing him in the music scene creating album covers, posters, and various marketing materials for a number of regional bands. Kirk even spent a few Summers in Canada working with promoter, Farley Smith of Solar Productions, creating posters and marketing materials for music venues and various community events.
KNOWING THE LATEST IN PRINT MAKING TECHNOLOGY OFFERED NEW OPPORTUNITIES TO TEACH
After college Kirks photography knowledge and graphic design skills allowed him to work with Wenatchee Valley College. He began teaching Art classes and implementing new photographpy equipment, created the first photo process in print making class, and set up the first graphics department within the Media Services department at the college. Kirk also wrote the curriculum and started the first Graphic Design Program at WVC.
“During my time at WVC I procured all equipment to set up dark rooms with process cameras, prepress production rooms and handled all design for the college. It was also my first introduction to video production and Wetnet, which was the first online course offered between WSU and WVC.”
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At the same time Kirk, set up the first fine art serigraphy printing studio within North Central Washington. Working with Webco printing and collaborating with fellow artists, Kirk produced the first 300 LPI duotone lithographs Fine art prints ever done in North Central Washington.
PERFECT TIME TO CAPTURE NEW BUSINESS
In the mid 80's Blind Renaissance was a busy design studio offering the latest in printmaking technology and new branding trends. When lack of space became an issue, Kirk remodeled an old apple warehouse in Cashmere, WA, to house his companies design space, conference rooms, large dark rooms, print-making space, photo studio and additional space for rent to other artists. Expanding on new printing technologies, Blind Renaissance was creating fine art graphics by purchasing a large semi-automatic screen printing press capable of printing up to 4 x 8 foot sheets. It was the only printing press this size at the time in the region. Around this same time they entered early into the digital world with Apple computers and acquired the first large format digital press in the region.
“Setting up a large Fine Art printing operation within the studio space gave me the opportunity to work with well-known artist throughout the Pacific North West, Hawaii, California, New Mexico, Texas, and the Caribbean. Having a group fine artists, graphic artists and photographers working with me opened up many new opportunities”.
For the longest time many regional businesses had the opinion that they had to hire out of the area to get quality design work and would not meet to talk with anyone local. Expanding on the demand for design jobs out of the area, Kirk was busy with projects out of Hawaii and California working with Prince Hotel retail shops, Goodfellow Construction, and producing multiple music projects. Acquiring more work out of Hawaii, Blind Renaissance opened a branch office on the island which led to more design projects. But the Northwest called him back with a bigger demand in hands-on design services from regional businesses. Once the internet became the future of instant information, Blind Renaissance was the first design company in the valley to build websites. This caught the attention of local businesses who realized the internet was the next best thing to exposing your brand to a larger audience
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EXPERIENCE AND IN-HOUSE PRINTING CAPABILITIES LEADS TO NEW BRANDING AND PACKAGING OPPORTUNITIES IN THE FRUIT INDUSTRY
The local fruit industry presented an opportunity to design and create new packaging options that set the ‘fruit branding’ bar to new standards. This led to Kirk's first venture into creating brand packaging for multiple fruit companies.
“Printing direct on corrugated boxes at the time was limited to basic type or simple shapes that were less than exciting, and high graphic lithograph printed sheets laminated to the boxes was expensive. The graphic limitation the local box makers outlined did not make sense to me. They thought you had to hand-carve plates to achieve a higher level of art and detail on the box. As you can imagine, hand-carving is costly. I researched other options and met with the regions top Flexographic plate makers. The ability to make photo-based printing plates was much more cost effective and opened a new world to the apple shippers. Trying to get fruit companies to look at cartons as a branded package and not just a shipping box was a welcome challenge”.
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Blind Renaissance contributed to the first of its kind within the apple industry and set a new standard in fruit packaging.
- Created custom high-end posters for the over-seas markets.
- The first American artist to design packaging for Japan’s largest food chain, Glico Foods.
- Designed the first clamshell package in the whole apple industry.
- Introduced the first high graphic tote bag and high graphics POS bins to the Apple, Pear, and Cherry industry in Washington state.
- Kirk brought back the classic high-end apple art work to the industry on poly bags for Chelan Fresh.
- Introduced the first perforated breathable packaging to the cherry industry, first used by Chelan Fresh and Stemilt Growers
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We created a high-end graphics on cherry boxes for Oneonta / Star Ranch Fruit.
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My package design experience and resources led me into larger projects such as creating a full line of labels for West Coast Safeway Bakeries.
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CAPTURING LOCAL BUSINESS
As the wine industry began to grow, so did work on branding and packaging projects requested by wineries and non-profit fruit organizations. Blind Renassiance became the chosen design firm to create a new logo and design marketing material for Washington Wine Grape Growers Association.
“We created the first limited edition fine art wine prints as a fundraising piece . Then we created logos for the Washington Wine Foundation and Sagemoore Fruit, the oldest large-scale vineyards in the State. Wineries also turned to us to develop their labels and websites”.
BLIND RENAISSANCE SUCCESSFULLY BRANDS MULTIPLE MARKETS
Blind Renaissance created the first interactive presentations in 13 languages for then Washington Apple Commission. They have created videos, animation shorts, trade show booths, international packaging in multiple languages, children’s program, a couple clothing lines and POS pieces for multiple industries.