30 May 2009

Posters for good cause

As mentioned in previous posts, social design has taken off within the design world over the last year. But back in 2007, when social design wasn't even a word yet, Good50x70 an independent, non-profit poster design initiative broke ground in Milan "providing charities with creativity for free and waking the creative community up to the power they have to be a force for good." The annual contest to design posters confronting seven of the critical issues affecting today’s world is open to any charity and any designer around the world. How cool is that, real posters about real issues... who doesn't love a poster that's not about viagra, breast implants or politicians right?

Just recently, the Good 50x70 jury finished its deliberations and settled on the 210 best responses to this years contest (out of a whopping 4210 entries) and last week they announced the shortlisted posters for 2009. If you have some time, you must peruse the incredible designs! The gallery showcases posters for charities focused on child labor, climate change, HIV/AIDS, nuclear emergency, the war on terror and women rights violation. Although I missed the deadline this year, I'm looking forward to submitting designs for next years contest! Check out this years best right here starting with child labor!

Photo from Good50x70 website.

29 May 2009

Did someone say mimosa?

As much as I would like to say it's the drink of the year, it's actually the color of the year. Pantone has named PMS color 14-0848, aptly named Mimosa, the color of the year for 2009. According to Pantone Color Institute executive director Leatrice Eiseman, the yellow Mimosa color “exemplifies” warm and nurturing qualities associated with the sun and “speaks to enlightenment, as it is a hue that sparks imagination and innovation.” It's also is a versatile shade that “coordinates with any other color,” It's a sunny day indeed!

Photo from Pantone website.

Inequality infographic

I'm not one to get all crazy political and vent my viewpoint on issues (well, sometimes I get a little more vocal then normal), but I must post my approval on the info-graphic above done by the great folks at Good Magazine. The graphic visualizes the history of gay marriage bans across the US and comes on the heels of Tuesdays California Supreme Court decision to uphold the ban on same-sex marriage, leaving only Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maine, Vermont and Iowa that allow same-sex marriages. But New Hampshire, New York and New Jersey are on the verge of approving gay marriage. As for the issue itself, don't even get me started! Click on the photo for a larger view.

Photo from Good Magazine website.

26 May 2009

Russian talent

This is the kind of thing I see and think, now why didn't I think of that! It's creative and brilliant! Russian artist, Evgeny Kiselev, masterminds incredible patterns and graphics with unbelievable depth. So much so, your mind goes a little frantic trying to look at everything going on. I found his work featured on the Behance network and was immediately drawn to the complexity of his layered patterns, range of color and detail of imagery. My favorite (shown directly above) is a map of his travels created during his three month journey across India and Nepal from Feb-May of this year. Good old information design! It charts quotes, temperatures, hotel numbers, cities, times, drinks consumed and much more. Click on both for larger views.

Photos from Evgeny Kiselev website.

25 May 2009

Photo of the week

Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii. Dreaming of Hawaii today.... and remembering my visit to the Pearl Harbor Memorial.

23 May 2009

Happy Grilling!

Here's to a great long weekend... and we all know what that means. Grilling! I love to give homemade food gifts (homemade tags and all) and I'm a big fan of chef Bobby Flay. So I prepared his Mesa Grill barbecue sauce for a few friends and neighbors this weekend. He's got some of the best grilling sauces, salsas and condiments and his Mesa Grill BBQ sauce is the best around! It's got a real heat kick from ancho chile pepper, pasilla chile pepper and chipotle chiles, coupled with brown sugar and molasses sweetness. So get your grill out, grab some great barbecue sauce and enjoy the weekend!

22 May 2009

Come on in

Branding a city is no easy feat my friends, but Europe always seems to get it right (most of the time anyway, see previous post from 11 May 'The good, the bad and the jury's still out'). Especially those Scandinavian countries. Check out Demark's latest, Open Copenhagen. The new logo for Copenhagen is clean, simple and says exactly what it wants to say... it's open to being one of the most livable, green, tolerant, trade-friendly, design-friendly, and business-friendly places in the world. But of course, Copenhagen is not re-branding themselves just for the fun of it. With increasingly intense competition among the capitals of Europe, the new brand hopes to strongly position Copenhagen to attract tourists and international business.

The new Open Copenhagen logo has immense range and will work wonders, here's why... it ties all previously rogue groups (tourism, business, events, investments, etc.) together as one cohesive brand. Whereby before the programs ran independently without any coordination. And that's the making of a successfully strong concept and branding campaign. My bags are packed!

Kudos to the Danish advertising firm, PeopleGroup, for their concept and logo design for Copenhagen!

Photos from Open Copenhagen website.

21 May 2009

Shop Katherine's!

Are you looking for the perfect pair of shoes? How about the perfect accessory for that fabulous new shirt? Unique handmade jewelry? The latest funky new handbag? Well, I've got a place for you! My girlfriend owns and runs Katherine's, a California chic meets the Jersey Shore boutique in Manasquan New Jersey. It's cozy and delightful and you're sure to find exactly what you're looking for! Kathy has a great eye and flair for fashion, not to mention charming and down right friendly, she'll make you feel like you're part of the family... short of inviting you over for a spaghetti dinner! So if your travels find you at the Jersey shore this weekend enjoying the sunny seaside, stop by and treat yourself to a little something and tell Kathy I said hello! Wait, not doing a thing this weekend and not in NJ? Not to worry, you can still treat yourself... visit her online at Shop-Katherines.com!

20 May 2009

Another amazing map

This is one well done info map! Just click on the image for a larger view and look at all the detail on the map from Information Architects. Every year this interactive brand consultancy firm designs the most elaborate and wildly fun map of the internet.

This years map is based on the Tokyo subway map and shows the 333 leading web domains and the 111 most influential people on the internet. Heights represent success in traffic and branding. Subway lines are colored by area of interest. Interestingly enough, they release the map in Beta format so people can feedback on it before launching a full version online and in print.

Click here for all the juicy details about the map and it's symbolism and then download one here for yourself, because I know you'll want one too!

Here are some snaps from the site:
- Twitter is located in Shibuya this year: Shibuya is the station with the biggest buzz.
- Google is placed in the busiest, most highly trafficked train station in the world: Shinjuku.
- The New York Times, the »Old Gray Lady«, is located in Sugamo—a shopping paradise for Tokyo’s grandmothers.

Photo from Information Architects website.

18 May 2009

Rock of ages

Keeping with my rock theme from yesterday, I thought it would be a great segue for one of my favorite photographic pieces. If you haven't seen Canadian-born Edward Burtynsky's work, you must! Mr. Burtynsky has made it his life's work to document humanity's impact on the planet. His talented lens captures views of the Earth altered by human industry. His work stands still, it's subtle, yet intriguing, and begs the question on the passage of time... what was gained and lost.

In his words, 'Nature transformed through industry is a predominant theme in my work. I set course to intersect with a contemporary view of the great ages of man; from stone, to minerals, oil, transportation, silicon, and so on. To make these ideas visible I search for subjects that are rich in detail and scale yet open in their meaning. Recycling yards, mine tailings, quarries and refineries are all places that are outside of our normal experience, yet we partake of their output on a daily basis.'

One of my favorite photographs is Rock of Ages #4 (above), an abandoned section of the Adam-Pirie Quarry in Barre, Vermont taken in 1991. I love the lines and grid created from the removal of the rock. Over the years, a darker vertical grid formed from nature's elements, cascading down over the aging rock. Nature's simple beauty. See more of Mr. Burtynsk's work here.

Photo from Edward Burtynsky website.

Photo of the week

Richmond Park, Singapore. Now that I'm thinking about, rocks must be on my mind after our 4.8 rumble last night. Although it wasn't the highest magnitude earthquake I've felt while living in California, it certainly felt a lot stronger because this time the epicenter was closer than those in the past. Earthquakes feel weird, there's no way to explain them really, other than the ground feels like it's rolling... rock and roll baby!

16 May 2009

Now you see it, now you don't

There have been very few times in my life where I don't know whether to laugh, cry, or feel mad as hell. Today was one of them. Taking all the normal precautions before leaving the house this morning, so not to find our mischievous little boy Cyrus waiting patiently atop the kitchen table when arriving back home, I made one big mistake. After scanning the kitchen and eyeing the table one last time, I hesitated a moment, but left the almost matured banana in the middle of the table, thinking in no way would he be curious about it. Well, seems the lure of a banana was just too much. Somehow he got on top of the table and devoured the banana, peel and all. Thankfully bananas nor their peels are not poisonous to dogs, but the next 12 hours could be interesting. Oi vey... boys will be boys, even boy dogs!

15 May 2009

My free day

Space Mountain, Mickey Mouse and margaritas... what a great day! And I got in free (a $69 dollar value), because it was my birthday. How cool is that?!

PS - For those who are wondering, no... I did not wear my birthday button around the park. Although it was nice they spelled my name correctly.

14 May 2009

The next transit map

Unfortunately, we're not a big public transportation nation, unlike other parts of the world. Therefore we rarely look at transit maps unless we live in a city and take the subway, don't own a car, or vacation in a country where the roads and drivers are scarier than those in the Northeast. But seriously, when was the last time you took a real good look at a transit map? They are actually quite a spectacular form of information design if you look closely and examine their details.

The unique and beautifully illustrated Paris Metro map above, by Manuel Warosz and Antoine Audiau, gives transit diagrams a whole new meaning. In place of the standard names to represent location stops, icons are used to represent the locales instead. In real life of course, this kind of illustrated map could make it a wee bit harder to reach your destination. Just be sure to leave yourself a little extra time.

Photo from Antoine+Manuel website.

13 May 2009

Visualizing the grid

When information design is done well, I could stare at it forever into the wee hours of the night, fascinated by every spec of information provided through color, line and shape. It's like a puzzle waiting to be finished. As an example, NPR has put together an eye-opening interactive map that exposes the aging electrical infrastructure of the United States. Not only is the graphic interesting as a static map, this comprehensive study is also interactive, enabling the user to rollover each state to view the statistical breakdowns of the sources of power each state uses. It's electrifying!

Photo from NPR website.

12 May 2009

Recipe share

Woo-hoo! Get your grill on, it's that time of year again! Well, for us West Coasters it's pretty much all year (except for the days my body wants to hibernate under a blanket on the couch, keep the shades down and pretend it's winter)... but for those who have been longing to roll out the grill after a long winter's nap, there's no better time like the present. And have I got a relish condiment for you! This month Food + Wine magazine has an ultimate sausage guide on the perfect relish for your grilled bratwursts, frankfurters, chorizo, kielbasa and andouille links. I made the relish recipe below over the weekend to go with some Italian turkey sausage and it's the perfect mustard-based condiment, you won't need anything else except your bun! I omitted the lager and sauerkraut and it was still extremely tasty, plus fast and easy to prepare. Happy grilling!

Quick Mustard Piccalilli
1/2 cup yellow mustard
1/4 cup whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons light brown sugar
1 large kosher dill pickle, finely diced (3/4 cup)
3/4 cup sauerkraut, rinsed and squeezed dry
1/2 cup lager beer
1/4 cup chopped pickled cocktail onions

In a medium bowl, whisk the mustards with the brown sugar. Stir in the pickle, sauerkraut, lager and cocktail onions and serve.

Talented and funny...

For all of those who are still shying away from public spaces and running a dash from anyone who sneezes within 10 feet of their personal space for fear of the swine flu, Lunchbreath artist sums up the real deal for us quite nicely. Check out his flickr page, it's filled with hilarious takes on everyday life and current events with creative illustrations.

Photo from Lunchbreath flickr site.

11 May 2009

The good, the bad, and the jury's still out

So, after initiating a nationwide design contest for their new logo, Cottbus Germany recently revealed its new city logo to the public in the local Lausitzer review newspaper. Now, I'm a positive thinker, my glass is always half full and I'm not quick to criticize something before I have all the facts. I've posted a few badly designed logos in the past, but this one surely takes the cake... seriously. I'm not even sure you could call this a logo. There truly are no words to describe this horrific monstrosity. I'm speechless and have nothing positive to say about this one and the logo sure won't make me want to visit Cottbus anytime soon.

On the other side of Atlantic however, Pentagram has redesigned a beautiful new identity for the Fort Worth Museum in Texas. With captivating colors and unique shapes cum letters, it is a well-thought-out identity system. See more on the Pentagram website.

As for the New York City Opera's in your face, simplistic, bold new logo, I'm not sure what to make of it yet. The company behind the new logo, NYC design firm 2x4, explained it as "... a big black dot, meant to represent inclusiveness, enduring presence, and powerful modernity. It looks uncomfortably like an abyss." Not knowing much about opera, I suppose one could use those descriptors for it and if the NY City Opera is a 'bare-bones operation that produces spare versions of a luxury product,' then they have hit the bullseye, er... mark, um... target, I guess.

Photos from Media Bistro, Pentagram and Brand Infection websites.

Photo of the week

Harry's Cafe de Wheels, Sydney, Australia. Over the weekend, I was perusing the tasty latest from the Food Network magazine and came across an article about a Kansas City graphic designer, Lindsay Laricks who started a mobile snow cone business last summer, combining her love for food, travel and organic farming to weather the economy. It reminded me of all the great road side food stands and carts that truly have some of the best food and treats in any city! So forget the chains and support the carts, because we all know these are the people that give cities their personality and flavor! And if you ever get down under to Sydney, it's a must you hit Harry's Cafe de Wheels, for lunch, dinner or a 2am snack... just make sure to order your hot dog with potatoes and peas!

10 May 2009

Have you voted yet?

Hey Bostonians... have you voted yet? Partners in Preservation have named 25 significant landmarks in Greater Boston that need financial grant help. All of the landmarks benefit historic places, many of which we all know and love. Check them out and vote for which ever one gives you goosebumps and you can't bare to see lost. Voting ends next Sunday, 17 May. Vote here!

Photo from Norfolk County Agricultural High School website, one of the landmarks in contention.

To the mother in all of us...

Okay, I'm not a mother to children, but I am a mother nonetheless. I nurture pretty much everything in my life, from my husband, to my work, to my home, friends and family, and my beautiful little ones, who are 3.5 and 9. I am a dog mom and my dogs are my kids. My Mother's Day started with a beautiful morning hike, the sun behind a marine layer of clouds (that would be fog in any other area of the country). The perfect hiking weather indeed. For my Mom and my girlfriends... here's to the mother in all of us!

07 May 2009

Comic a joke?

Ooo, ha ha ha. Okay, it's a joke for us typophiles and I originally saw it on The Crew blog, but there does seem to be some serious backlash against the Comic Sans font these days. Read it here on WSJ. Let me say however, I can rattle several more fonts that should never, ever be in anyone's font collection, designer or not. Papyrus and Zapfino to name a few. Good typography is invisible, bad typography is everywhere... choose your fonts wisely my friends.

06 May 2009

Let's hang

Designers love to find creative solutions that make the world a better place, especially when it comes to social and environmental issues. For a lot of us, it's why we became designers in the first place and we love to see environmentally conscious design at it's best. Steve Haslip's ingenious t-shirt package design is a great example. His recycled cardboard packaging breaks down to become, what else.... a hanger for that cool new shirt you just received! Very eco-cool.

Photos from Steve Haslip website.

05 May 2009

Happy Cinco!

For us here in America and most of Mexico, except for the small state of Puebla (where the holiday commemorates the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5th, 1862) it's really all about the margarita today. And for those of you who like triple sec in your margarita, I have some interesting, and potentially, good news. Made in the Loire since 1834 with Haitian orange peels and Normandy sugar beets, Combier Liqueur d'Orange, the original triple sec, is now finally available in the US. With salt please... cheers!

Photo from the Combier website.

04 May 2009

Photo of the week

Main Beach Boardwalk, Laguna Beach, CA. There is nothing like the beach boardwalks of the East Coast. The closest one I've found on the West Coast delicately curves along the Pacific in Laguna Beach. It's not quite as big or long as those in the East, but it's charming and relaxing nonetheless. Well, it's relaxing in the winter, not so much in the summer when it's flooded with tourists. Therefore, you can probably guess when the photo was taken.
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