Union Democrat staff

Columbine Designs in downtown Sonora is celebrating its 25th anniversary this month.

Partners Dave Bonnot, his wife, Dianne Shannon, Ken Jay and his late wife, Patti Tyner-Jay, opened the business July 1, 1985. Graphic artist and illustrator Judith Stoltenberg joined the team as an independent contractor in the first year and is now a partner. Vicky Biernacki was part of the team for 16 years.

Bonnot, Jay and Stoltenberg for many years were among a group at

Sonora's Design Center on Highway 49. That group included sign painters

Guy Haratani and Steve Patton, writer Martha Freeman and photographer

Jeff Nixon. As the last of that group, Columbine moved from Highway 49

four years ago into a studio above the Banyan Tree at 60 S. Stewart St.

Over time, the design and printing industry has changed, a Columbine statement said.

When the company first started, Columbine specialized in

typesetting and designing for print, using equipment that included a

full graphics dark room and a large phototypesetter. By 1990, that

equipment was obsolete.

"It is amazing how our equipment has evolved," Bonnot said. "We

went from shooting graphic film and doing paste-ups with

phototypesetting paper and overlays for color, to doing everything in

the computer and shipping an electronic file over the Internet. Now we

have a network of computers with three workstations, and laser and

inkjet printers for proofing. No more film and chemicals."

Columbine provides design, marketing, branding, logo development,

copywriting and printing-broker services for a wide variety of products

and publications, including books, business cards, brochures, fliers,

programs, calendars, CD covers, newsletters and magazines. Columbine

also offers commercial photography in studio or on site. As one of its

largest recent projects, Columbine designs and produces Friends and

Neighbors Magazine.