Lee Freeman

Grids, Rulers, & Sharpies



Strutters Ball (Swing Dance Venue in Orange County).


Currently callaborating with illustartor Natalia Eristavi to create a logo and brand idenitty for a swing dance venue in Orange County called "Strutter's Ball." The original name came from the title of an old jazz standard called "The Darktown Strutter's Ball." Nikki Marvin, formerly the main organizer behind Strutters Ball modified the name and called it "The Southland Strutter's Ball." Eventually it became commonly known as "Strutters Ball" and then just "Strutters." The song itself was written by Shelton Brooks and published in 1917. Later that year it was recorded by the original Dixieland Jazzband and became a popular jazz tune throughout the 1930's and 40's. This song is a great parrallel to the developement of jazz partnered and solo dancing, which evolved from popular trots and box steps, to Charleston and break away steps, to complex patterns and movements in Lindy Hop, LA Swing, and Shag. This evolution is a great metaphor for the way that dancers at Strutters in Orange County develop their skills and understanding of both jazz music and jazz dancing. Like the music, the dancing of Lindy Hop, Balboa, and swing are structured but also improvisational. There is always a negotiation of space, time, rhythm and partnered dynamics. The original venue was started in 2007 at the women's club in Orange, just off the orange circle. This is a popular area for vintage shopping and early to mid 20th century architecture, which created a fantastic backdrop for the swing culture which sometimes involves dressing in vintage clothing and listening to vintage music. However, like most things the club and the dance have evolved and have been influenced by contemporary things such as YouTube. Recently the club has relocated to Placentia California which ends up being in a more industrial area. The clientelle ranges from teenagers to adults in their mid life who love jazz music and are serious about swing dancing and serious about getting good. 


We are trying to create a logo that instills a sense of heritage and ownership of the dance to an underground culture while also adding a personal touch the image. Coming from a background of an elegant community in Orange and moving to an industrial area in placentia we are looking for something that is raw, yet refined. That is organic, yet structured, and something that historical yet modern. We have defined that like the original song, we would like to tie the brand identity's roots to the very same time period of late victorian to early modernism with some influences from Art Nouveau, Arts & Crafts, and blend it with a modern and hip twist. We have visualized elegant items such as flowers and ornamentation, pocket watches, handmade dresses, top hats and suits and placed them in juxtatposition with items of industry such as railroads (in Placentia), steel, timber, and machine parts. Like the concept, the process will be a combination of personal and mechanical. We will hand draw the letters and convert them to vector shapes in illustrator. Another idea we are playing with is doing everything as a chalkboard art and then photographing it as an interactive space on the website. The visualization of these elements will help us create something that may be something new and maybe unexpected. 

5 Adjectives:

  1. Historic
  2. Modern
  3. Youthful
  4. Energetic
  5. Hip

Mood Board:


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