31 August 2009

Photo of the week

Maui, Hawaii. There's nothing more beautiful then the landscape of Hawaii. Somehow, it instantly relaxes you, with or without that delicious Mai Tai in hand. The colors, the floral and fauna, the aromas.... all make you want to stay forever. This photo was taken at the beach just outside Mama's Fish House in Paia on the North side of the island. There's no place on Maui that doesn't have great food and a great view. Mahalo!

30 August 2009

Tennis anyone?

If you're a big tennis fan or are heading to Flushing Meadows next weekend for the U.S. Open tournament, you're not going to miss the theme art selected for this years games, designed by Pasadena-based illustrator Paul Rogers. Artists were invited to submit theme art concepts to the USTA for use on posters, banners, tickets, programs, t-shirts and mugs. The colorful and energetic illustration from Rogers depicts two required elements, New York City and the US Open's flaming ball logo. The USTA also cited key impressions to evoke in the design, which were entertainment spectacle, toughest tennis and high energy. No doubt the USTA thought Rogers aced it with his design! And don't miss his beautiful sketchbook drawings from New Orleans on his website.

Photo from @Issue Journal website.

28 August 2009

Sketches, not Skechers here

Sketching is a big part of a designers thought process. I'm always curious what the sketch pages of other designers initial thoughts look like and how it translates to the final product. I came across some of the most crazy sketch pages from designer Richard Kuchinsky owner of The Directive Collective, a footwear design consultancy based in Canada (and we're not talking Skechers here folks). Just look at the beauty of color, scribbles of talent and inspired materials on that page. Behold the mind of a creative on paper. Here's an interview with the guy behind those shoes. Click on the photo for a much larger view.

Photo from Richard Kuchinsky website.

26 August 2009

Free admission to European exhibit

Head on over to this exhibit! You won't want to miss the art and design by some of Europe's best artists. It's happening now and admission is FREE! Europe by Designers is an online exhibit showcasing innovative, creative, exciting, personal and experimental work around the theme 'Europe : what does Europe mean to you?' by graphic designers, illustrators, photographers, design studios and agencies in Europe.

This does bring up an interesting subject for conversation however, on the advantages and disadvantages of online exhibits. I'm sure we'll be seeing more and more online galleries forming, who wouldn't want to utilize the ease of the internet for showcasing work. People in every corner of the world can view your work and with that kind of exposure, it would be hard to turn it down.

Photo from Europe by Designers website.

25 August 2009

Photo of the week

Singapore. There is nothing like coming across a colorful food market in wonderful places around the world. They are replete with color, shape, texture and smell. The market in this photo had the smell of Durian fruit (the prickley looking large pineapples at the bottom). If you've never had the pleasure of whiffing a Durian, consider yourself lucky, because it is not pleasant my friends. As for the taste, well lets just say it's an acquired one, but you can eat the raw flesh as is or create sweet edibles such as Durian cake, mooncakes and ice cream with the pulp. In and around Southeast Asia, there are actual signs banning the public transport of Durian. Yes, it's that pungent. Hotels, buses, cabs, and subways are also offended by the smell. So, you have to question how good a fruit can be if it smells that bad... ? Ah, but that's the pleasure of exploring unknown markets.... wonder, discovery and odd smells await.

20 August 2009

Shazam! Now that's advertising!

As a follow-up to my earlier advertising post, Greenpeace of Australia recently concluded their Greenpeace Design Awards 2009. The design awards aim "is to motivate the global creative community to develop visually striking artwork that encourages the public to support Greenpeace and take action on critical environmental issues." And I say they've done it. Sam Dickson’s winning poster “We can’t always rely on someone else to save the world.” was selected out of 1,500 creative entries from 77 countries. Take a look at some of the other fantastic finalists at the Greenpeace website. If they wanted to make a statement, these entrants definitely have something to say. Here's what Greenpeace had to say about the awards...

“Historically posters have been inextricably linked with cause-related campaigns. Visually striking, often iconic and frequently iconoclastic, posters grab the attention like no other medium. They effectively help spread a succinct message and in doing so shift attitudes and contribute to significant changes within society.”

I couldn't agree more. Long live the poster!

Photo from Greenpeace website.

Bottled water is the primary cause of restless leg syndrome

This is news you'll have to sit down for, are you ready? There is deception in the advertising industry. What?!?!? Yes, that's right my friends, we know it exists, but one grassroots company has had enough. Check out the latest ads from the Tappening advertising campaign. They are challenging the notion of Truth in Advertising while embracing an opposing concept. Ah, clever. Tappening co-founders ask, “Why is it some bottled water brands still don’t list their source?” and encourage their rapidly-growing customer base to “start a lie” themselves at at www.startalie.com, You can also view or download a series of four ads (which have some pretty nice graphics I might add) to pass to their friends, all lies of course. Two of the posters are shown here, but head to Start a Lie for the others and scroll to the bottom of the page. You do have to wonder what the source is for some of these bottled water companies. Most of us grew up on tap water, right. But just in case, get yourself a water filter for your faucet or a Brita filter. Skip the bottled water altogether, the planet will thank you.

Photos from Start a Lie website.

19 August 2009

Take a trip, from your couch

Okay, so you can't afford to jet off to Fiji this weekend or trek around Morocco any time soon, but I've got the next best thing. It's a new magazine called AFAR. I'm a huge magazine hound and love travel, so when I saw the premier issue on the newsstand the other day, I forgot what I was at the market for I was so giddy with anticipation to turn the cover page over. This isn't just any old travel magazine however. I've been seeing write ups and promotions for a few months regarding its position and why the founders wanted to create yet another travel magazine for the newsstand. (Read that here) Mind you, I've been a subscriber to Travel + Leisure for years, but AFAR really takes you beyond just the locale. It takes you deep into the culture and to the root of its existence, to the heart of its meaning, the inhabitants. And isn't that what travel is really all about? For it's the people that make certain places so unique. Give it a gander, I think you'll enjoy. And yes, the layout and design is clean and beautiful too. Sweet.

Photo courtesy of my first AFAR issue.

What's the charge?

Pricing is something all designers struggle with. And when someone asks, what do you charge, it's really not an easy answer. Since I made the jump to freelance a few months ago, I know the struggle first hand. So what does design really cost? I once read... 'It's not just the time you're paying for... it's my brain, eyes, experience, knowledge, background and history.' So when I found this great overview from David Airey on the subject, I thought it was spot on, just don't expect to see any pricing.

Photo from David Airey website.

17 August 2009

Photo of the week

Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard. Just thinking of my old stomping grounds today. There are just so many beautiful places in New England, it's hard to have just one favorite place, my list goes on forever. It's about this time of year I start longing for a real Fall, SoCal is just so... well, beautiful but repetitive after a while. I look forward to feeling NE's crisp air, hearing leaves rustle in the wind and smelling the sweetness of hot apple cider. Ahhh.....

16 August 2009

Name that brand

Ooo, I just love these! I came across one several years ago called Alphabet Soup from our great folks at @Issue. If memory serves me correct, I was able to get all of the letters which included brands like Oreo, Perrier, and TWA... yes, I did mention it was kind of old. Recently, @Issue released an updated version to stay current with today's latest big brands. See just how many you can get. You can find the answers here. Good luck!

Photo from @Issue website.

15 August 2009

What logo will it be?

I'm always curious how and why a certain team of designers are chosen to brand the Olympics. In the past we've seen some pretty cool icons for the Olympics (i.e., Nagano 1998, Sydney 2000, Torino 2006). But we've all heard the backlash against the the 2012 London logo, designed by Wolff Olins, which made the design community cringe. Not sure I'll be ordering a hat or tshirt from that particular Olympics, for it's very uninspiring and sort of looks like a building starting to crumble at the start of a quake and honestly, it looks kind of angry. Interestingly enough, in my research I read that the logos submitted to the IOC during the bidding process are almost never the logo that ends up becoming the final logo that represents the winning city. If the London logo is the very best they could come up with, can you imagine what the initial logo(s) were like? Yikes, hard to believe it could get any worse! Bids for the upcoming 2016 are much better and they aren't even the final logos as yet (although Rio and Madrid need a little tweaking, the hand is a little heavy looking and I'm definitely not into hearts. It's suppose to be a heart right?). Sochi has been chosen for the 2014, although the bid logo remains until the finalized version makes its debut sometime in the future. It will be interesting to see how the public embraces the 2012 logo, or not. I have a feeling we won't be seeing that logo adorning a bunch of hats, tshirts and souvenirs like past years. Who would waste their money on it? Not I... and I don't think I'm alone. Just keep your ticket and memories, that's good enough. The logo will be a distant memory soon, we can only hope anyway. Click here for a full post on some of the old and new and where you can see the London bid logo before they really crucified it.

Photos from Wiki and idsgn blog.

14 August 2009

The who?

Okay, it is me or are companies and their brands starting to get too cute with their names, in a bad way? A few months ago I saw an ad for Pizza Hut telling me to get on down to 'The Hut' for the original great tasting pizza and new pasta dishes. Now Radio Shack, the place I remember in my youth as the place for cool phones, Walkmans and remote controls, now wants to be called 'The Shack'? It doesn't work. These brands rely on loyalty and trust, and while I agree it's important to stay current (or hip and youth-friendly as top execs like to call it), and update a brand within reason, I cannot fathom the idea of anyone actually referring to Radio Shack as an ice cream shake shack or tiki hut... oh wait, that's Pizza Hut right? Shack, hut, cottage, lodge, cabin, what's the difference. Personally, I think they should update the retro logo of the 70's. Although, it does look a little tiki-like... hmmm.... So, Pizza Hut, how's that 'Hut' thing working for you? Haven't seen it lately. Maybe that's a good thing.

Photos from Brand New website.

13 August 2009

The 'real thing'

So if anyone was paying attention to my 'Soda War' Coke vs. Pepsi post on 1 August, you might have been thinking something was a little suspicious. Well, I did too, but thought it was correct considering all all the blogs I saw it on. But thanks to our friends at Brand New (love them!), we no longer have the Diet version, we have the real thing. (yes, pun intended, ha!). Take a look at their version of the Coke vs Pepsi branding. Thanks BN, I feel much better now. (click on the photo for a larger view)

Photo from Brand New website.

10 August 2009

Photo of the week

Miami Beach, Miami. I figured it would only be appropriate for a photo of Miami today, since I just finished watching season one of Dexter on DVD last night. I'm really starting to get into it, although I can't decide whether some of the characters lack acting skills or need better scripts... ? Anyway, back to Miami. When I visited with my very best girlfriend several years ago, I couldn't believe how big and wide Miami Beach was... the word enormous comes to mind! Even if the entire state of Florida decided to go to the beach on the same day, there would still be room for Alabama, Georgia and the rest of Cuba to join in. I've never seen a more spacious beach before. But Cuba... now there's a coastline I've read is the most beautiful in the Northern Hemisphere. Hopefully someday I'll be able to check it out with a Mojito in hand. Happy Monday!

08 August 2009

Bright idea

Recently I stumbled across a magnificent packaging website, The Dieline. Posted on their site was some very cool lightbulb packaging from Art Center student Kevin Kwok. Just look how beautiful his lightbulb packaging is! I'm so impressed with the careful thought behind them. And when stacked, the boxes come together to form a complete image of a bulb. I've been frustrated with the packaging I see on the market lately... all these wonderful green products, things to make our homes and lives better are all packaged in the same old enormous plastic contraptions with unecessary extra plastic and paper. Why on earth don't companies scale down on packaging already? If they had any sense they would take a que from this package wonder and start downsizing, saving money, time, energy and the earth. Here's some detail from Kevin on the design;

- The redesign of General Electric CFL light bulbs is aimed to bring a friendlier shelf presence through the use of basic informative graphics. An advantage of the redesign is the ability to stack the packages together to complete the graphical form of a CFL light bulb. The top and bottom of each package might look familiar, they graphically resemble what the top and bottom of a CFL light bulb. Also something to note is each wattage has it's own color identity. The redesign also considered the environment, the new design is packaged with post consumer cardboard rather than calm shell plastic. This ensures the use of less natural resources and therefore less impact on the environment. GE would also allow consumers to put old CFL light bulbs back in these packages and mail them back to be recycled."

Photos from Kevin Kwok website.

06 August 2009

SEA Paddle NYC coming up!

On August 24th, surfing greats and surf enthusiasts from all over the world will converge in NYC for a 28-mile paddle around the island of Manhattan. The SEA Paddle NYC 2009 event, now in its third year, benefits the Surfers' Environmental Alliance and Autism Awareness. Two great causes, one great place! I know some of you couldn't even think about paddling 28 miles around NYC, but some really wonderful, energetic people are and they need our support! Please click here to donate and learn more.

- The Surfer's Environmental Alliance is committed to the preservation and protection of the environmental and cultural elements that are inherent to the sport of surfing. Our goals are achieved through grassroots activism, community involvement, education and humanitarian efforts. We engage in projects that strive to conserve the quality of our marine environment, preserve or enhance surf breaks, protect beach access rights, and safeguard the coastal surf zone from unnecessary development.

I was honored to design this years SEA Paddle 2009 tshirt. Thanks to Bobby and Andrew for making it happen! I'll be sure to send some sunny weather your way for the 24th!

Top photo from SEA Paddle website.

Knitting packaging is paradise

Since I've recently been inspired by a fellow artist and blogger in Sweden to learn how to crochet, I couldn't resist posting this very cool packaging for yarn. The seemingly Grandma-knitting hobby has an updated and much hipper look thanks to Antoine Ricardou of be-poles who developed and designed the identity (from print to web) for the new brand Wool and the Gang. Knitting has never looked so good!

Photo from Wool and the Gang website.

04 August 2009

New look for old icons

Okay, I'm a little late on this one, but I just came across it and it's too good to pass by. Speak Up, in collaboration with New York magazine, announced the first-ever open contest to design the visually acclaimed, graphically exhilarating, by-invitation-only “High Priority” feature illustration in the magazine’s year-end double issue for December 18, 2006 (I told you I was late).

Here's a little background.
- High Priority highlights five activities, suggested by New York writers, that are not to be missed. Every week designers and illustrators from around the world are invited to create an interpretive typographic illustration to open “The Week” — the listings section of New York Magazine. New York readers place great weight on these five recommendations, and this page is a regular destination for many.

The winning entry came from Spencer Fruhling of Richmond, British Columbia whose typographic mangling of Arby’s, Wendy’s, Dairy Queen, Burger King, Jack in the Box and Subway’s logos captivated the judges from the start. 'We all liked that it was funny for the general population but it packed an extra laugh for designers who know how hard it is to manipulate existing logos into new things.' And that's why I'm posting this so late, because it can be difficult to to manipulate existing logos into new things, and Mr. Fruhling made it look so easy! To see all the other great entries received for the contest click here.

Photo from the Speak Up website.

03 August 2009

Photo of the week

Singapore. While dreaming about my next travel adventure over the weekend, I had a thought. I'm not just a graphic designer. I'm an explorer. I'm an explorer of travel yes, but also of design. Research is a key element in design. It's essential to do research on any given subject prior to heading to the computer. Once you have the research you need the design part is all about exploring with your new found information. All those thoughts reminded me of a day I went out to explore (this time the traveling kind). I meandered down a small back street in Singapore I hadn't been down. This is the part I love about exploring... you come across things you've perhaps never seen, you come across moments you'll never forget. At the end of the tiny narrow street a little old man was giving haircuts in a small area covered with a neatly positioned canvas for those short but almost daily rain showers. I could only imagine this was the same spot he gave haircuts year after year. I watched him for a while and motioned to him if I could take his photo (my Mandarin which consists only of hello, was way worse than his English). I stayed for a brief time during which we just smiled a lot and nodded, watching customers come and go together. Walking down this tiny back street made for one of the most memorable moments in all my years exploring.

01 August 2009

The soda war

Remember the Pepsi challenge in the early 80's? God, that makes me feel old. I grew up in a Pepsi house, so of course I was a Pepsi drinker (and a huge Mt. Drew drinker). In the mid nineties I became a Diet Coke drinker, but now it's neither, I'm a one-a-day Diet Mt. Dew gal. But back to the point of the post. Coke and Pepsi have a long history of which soda tastes better and an even longer history of logo design. Without droning on the do's and dont's of branding and logo design, just take a look at this logo time line for both. It goes without saying, it's okay to update your logo once in a while if you have a long standing solidified brand (think Nike and Apple) and you know who you are. In this case, with Pepsi still trying to re-invent itself, it begs the question if they really know who they are, regardless of how it tastes. (click on the photo for a larger view) It's important to know who you are in the world of branding, and plenty fine if you go through some growing pains now and then, as long as you stay true to your original values. In this case, Coke seems to know.

Here's a little info on the Coke logo;
- 'The famous Coca-Cola logo was created by John Pemberton's (creator of Coke) bookkeeper Frank Mason Robinson in 1885. Robinson came up with the name and chose the logo's distinctive cursive script. The typeface used, known as Spencerian script was developed in the mid 19th century and was the dominant form of formal handwriting in the United States during that period.

Photo from TwitPic website.
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