31 December 2010

Happy New Year

It's that time of year again! Introducing... Honeysuckle, the 2011 Pantone Color of the Year. Looks like 2011 will be a 'sweet' year!

via Pantone: Courageous. Confident. Vital. A brave new color, for a brave new world. Let the bold spirit of Honeysuckle infuse you, lift you and carry you through the year. It’s a color for every day – with nothing “everyday” about it. Energising Honeysuckle lifts spirits and imparts confidence to meet life's ongoing challenges.

Image from Creative Review website.

Branding without Branding

When it comes to branding, how much do we rely on visually? A serious question indeed. So the very talented Antrepo design consultancy of Istanbul explored the options on minimalist branding and created a fabulous array of brands without their splashy visuals. Big brands, take note. Less really is more... indeed.

Images from Antrepo website.

More Diacritical, More Diacritical!

It really would be so much more interesting if we did. The beauty is in the small details, like accents themselves. Learn more here.

Image from Fuel Your Creativity website.

27 December 2010

Photo of the Week

Dachshing all the way!

25 December 2010

Holiday Wishes

24 December 2010

Sneaking Up on the Future of Print

With clever designers, time and money, one can find the means to do practically anything. So it's no surprise that someone has finally found a solution to all those recycled magazines that I've been religiously recycling every month for the past decade. I realize we see things stamped with 'made with recycled content', but I want to know what kind of content. Where have my magazines, newspapers, and soda cans been going? One place for sure... Nike, that's who. Recently, Nike unveiled their latest sneaker creation, the Women's Premium Print Pack, a set of sneakers designed out of shredded magazines, which will debut in limited quantities starting January 1st. I'm sure the price tag is hefty, but you need not worry, unless you live in Europe, China, or select emerging markets, you don't have a chance in hell of getting your hands on them. But that's okay, it's really great to see magazines being deliberately used as a fashionable product. Leave it to kickass Nike to just do it. Read more on FastCoDesign here.

Images from FreshnessMag website.

23 December 2010

Watch the Titles, Not the Movie

By the time 2010 ends, I'll have watched roughly 95 movies this year. Not bad. I enjoy hunkering down on the couch and watching a few great (or not so great) flicks every weekend. I could write for hours about what I thought were the best and worst films of the year, but I don't have time, nor is this post about movies themselves. It's actually about the title sequences. Yes, those interesting visuals at the beginning or end of a movie. You know what I'm talking about... while they're running about you're prepping your snacks and drinks in the kitchen and you reach the couch just about when they've finished. Well, I'm here to tell you I think you need to give those sequences some extra love, sometimes they're the most entertaining part! There are even a few websites dedicated to such visual creativity, such as Art of the Title and Watch the Titles. A few of the most intriguing sequences (like Sherlock Holmes, Rubicon, 300, Kiss Kiss Bang Bang and Human Target among others) can also be found here. And we mustn't forget the film that started me actually paying more attention to these wonderful intros... Catch Me If You Can. Brilliant! Oh, and as for the best movies I watched this calendar year, here's my two cents in no particular order; The Kids are All Right, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Toy Story 3, The Hangover and Winter's Bone. As for the worst, The Men Who Stare at Goats. Pfffff.

Photo from MONOmoda website.

21 December 2010

Some Designers Have Balls

CMYK Christmas balls that is! For those in the design or print business, you just gotta have these! Get them here.

Photo from Veinti Cuatro Dientes website.

20 December 2010

Photo of The Week

Napa, Ca. Back in November, thanks to my very organized and at-the-ready sister-in-law, we found ourselves not only enjoying the fabulous wine at the Hall winery in Napa, but also the original works of modern art and sculpture from owners Craig and Kathryn Hall's personal collection. It's quite an impressive collection... really, where else can you enjoy wine and art in such a wonderful environment besides a museum! The unique, modern rustic tasting room above showcases the most intriguing handblown glass balls hanging from the ceiling like giant drops of red wine. If the wine and art alone are not enough to make you visit, Hall is also California's first LEED Gold Certified Winery. It's definitely a must visit in many ways!

19 December 2010

Designer Stuffers

I'm a minimalist when it comes to gift giving, in a good way! I try and remember everyone who matters to me most over the holidays, but I'd rather give gifts from the heart, rather than gifts from the wallet. I guess I'm just a little tired of the commercialism of Christmas and isn't it really about spending time with the people you love most? However, if you really must spend a little more and you're running out of ideas for that very talented creative in your life, then not to worry, here are a few last minute stocking stuffers to really knock their woolly socks off! See more at the idsgn blog here.

Top row, left to right;
For the web designer, a series of books from A Book Apart. Brief and to the point. For the music lover, the Slap flexible wristband for iPod Nano. (stocking stuffer approved) For the photo enthuiast, the Lomography Spinner 360°, just pull the cord and in a split second the camera spins 360 degrees, giving you an instant panoramic shot on standard 35mm film.

Bottom row, left to right;
For your e-reader, a DODOcase for iPad and Kindle, handcrafted in San Francisco. For the type geek, the fun-filled Hyperactivitytypography from A to Z activity book. For the really typographic obsessed, The Quick Brown Fox Jumps Over The Lazy Dog typographic memory game.

Images from the idsgn blog.

Tis' The Season Of Lights

Right about now is when the holidays start feeling, well, a little less hectic. Being only a week away, my checklist is nearly all checked and the stress of trying to have everything done before the big day has started to dwindle. Cookies, cards, and candles are well on their way and I finally have some time to think about how to enjoy the holidays. So I think I'm going to grab a warm Bailey's-laced drink and head out to walk the neighborhood on Christmas Eve to see how creative everyone got with their lights. But it doesn't matter however, how many or how few, colored or not, blinking or steady, neat or messy, lights just make you feel all warm and fuzzy... or is it the Bailey's? Nevertheless, if you can't get out, stop by Dave Lee's wonderful post here on the lights in the community of Envigado Columbia and the spectacular displays on Orchard Road in Singapore is one of my all time favorites (the Centrepointe building is shown above). Peace!

Photo from WikimediaCommons.

13 December 2010

Photo of the Week

The holiday season finally arrived this weekend, with tinsel, snowflakes, lights, a big old wreath and a little Charlie Brown Christmas tree.

12 December 2010

A Norman Kind of Christmas

There are small things in life that bring you back to a place and time so vivid in your mind you'd swear you were living in the moment again. Norman Rockwell does that for me. Growing up in New England, I can remember seeing Rockwell's iconic illustrations on Christmas cards, in country stores, in magazines, as framed posters in restaurants, on old covers of The Saturday Evening Post, just about everywhere really. I have several favorites, like Marbles, Hobo Stealing Pie and The Runaway (shown left to right above). But it's the Christmas images that I enjoy most, for they truly bring me back to my childhood.

His career was long and successful, too long to acknowledge here, so you can read a thorough write-up here if you wish. But here are a few highlights; Although born and raised in New York. Rockwell moved to New England and spent time in Vermont before moving to Massachusetts in 1953, living and working in Stockbridge until his death in 1978. At the tender age of 22, he painted his first cover for The Saturday Evening Post and during his more than 50-year career with the Post, Rockwell contributed over 300 paintings.

So it's that time of year and certainly goes without saying, that during the holiday season of yesteryear, Norman Rockwell’s anxiously awaited illustrations brought good cheer to millions of Americans who encountered his images on the covers and pages of their favorite magazines, and on holiday cards that brought the spirit of the holidays home. Happy Holidays everyone!

Images from The Saturday Evening Post.

09 December 2010

Delightful Documenting

I'm simply in awe of the beauty and meaning of Michelle Forsyth's work. Working and living from Washington state, the Canadian born artist created this piece as part of her Ostinatos series, whereby she travels to the scene of past disasters and documents what is left there after the passage of time. Each piece documents a site of disaster re-photographed by Michelle years after the event has occurred. Part requiem and part obsession, the pieces are a testament to those who have suffered at the location in the past. The pieces consist primarily of hand cut paper pieces mounted on the ends of dressmakers pins tacked into the wall. The series is not only stunningly beautiful, but the stories behind them make them that much more intriguing and touching. They're an intimate portrait on the passage of time.

Images from Good Measure blog.

06 December 2010

Photo of the Week

San Francisco, CA. Cowgirl Creamery makes some of the best artisanal cheese on the planet! Originally started in Pt. Reyes Station back in 1997, they now have shops in both the Ferry Building Marketplace in San Francisco and at Penn Quarter in Washington DC. If you happen to stop by the San Francisco locale, you'll notice a vast array of great tasting European style cheeses delightfully arranged on view. Once you've got your cheese, all you need is a little bread from Acme Bread (right next door), a bottle of wine and a good movie!

05 December 2010

Alphabet Run

Since I'm on the typographic track this morning, why not showcase a little treat from I Love Dust, who always have something creative and intriguing! This time up, the Running Club Alphabet for Nike. Cool right? Just do it, go running, you'll be glad you did.

Image from I Love Dust website.

A Grand Sale

Chris Piascik is a multi-talented Connecticut-based designer and illustrator and who's work I just adore! A New Englander myself, I always like to give shout-outs to the mates back East. Chris will be at Grand in Somerville on Sunday, 19 December with lots of goodies available, so if you're in the neighborhood, stop on by for me and check out all his amazing goods!

Image from Chris Piascik website.

Fine Specimens of Wood

It's been a while since I've posted anything about type specimens. Here are a few fantastic samples of typographic wood pieces, some are type specimens themselves, others are the end results of specimens. The examples shown from top to bottom are a wood type sample (printed by Nick Sherman) from the Mano/Dean wood type collection at Mano Press in Hayward California, a coffee table design by Peter Haggard, custom designed wooden typographic puzzles called Nuzzles handcrafted by John Christenson, and laser cut wooden typography from Start of Sydney Australia. These really make me want to learn letterpress and make woodworking a bonefide hobby!

Images from the Behance network an Artatm.

Visual Reading

Karl Lagerfeld does have a point.

Image from JustOnlyJohn website.

29 November 2010

Photo of the Week

Anaheim, CA. Nothing like a little Space Mountain to make you feel great.

24 November 2010

Retro in Bristol

Who doesn't love retro? Well, if you don't, be ready to fall in love! UK-based illustrator Zara Picken will make you fall head over heals for her lovely retro artistry. The colors, shapes and subjects are fun and whimsical! Zara is a highly talented artist with both local and international clients and finds inspiration from mid-century modern design and has a passion for old paper-based ephemera. My kind of gal!

Images from Zara Picken website.

23 November 2010

Pom, Pom... Who's There?

I really loathe to post something about Christmas, when we haven't even eaten our way past Thanksgiving yet. But everyone else seems to push Christmas in our faces before Halloween, so why not? Michael's has Christmas shining bright even a few days before the Halloween crafts have been removed, the TV sparkles with advertisements while we're still munching on the last of the Halloween candy, I'm pretty sure I heard Christmas music playing in Staples a few days after Halloween and my curmudgeon of a neighbor already had his Christmas lights up this past weekend!

So here's my 'before it should really be posted post'. But at least you can work on it this weekend, which technically, and in my opinion, is the right time to begin everything Christmas. Poor Thanksgiving, it just gets pushed out as if it can't hold a candle to Halloween and Christmas.

After you've said thanks and farewell to the turkey, here's an adorable and easy Christmas project I found on Pickles, an Oslo-based blog full of crafty stuff. It might take a little time, but this pom pom based wreath is warm and welcoming. If I've got the time after napping off my tryptophan this weekend, I just might dive in. You can find the directions here, and yes, they're in English!

Images from Pickles website.

22 November 2010

Photo of the Week

San Francisco, CA. If you happen to be in San Francisco, you really must head to the Ferry Building Marketplace and try not one, but a few macarons from the charming pastry shop Miette. French for 'little crumb,' Miette, inspired by the patisseries of Paris, has been named one of the top ten pastry shops in the world by Conde Nast. Offering other sweet treats like Chocolate Eclairs, Gingerbread Cupcakes, Morning Buns and Lavender Shortbread, it will be hard to walk away with just a taste of the macarons, so be ready to take a few other items home with you! When you're done, simply walk down to Blue Bottle Coffee and grab a roast to go with your treats to start a perfect Sunday morning.

21 November 2010

Light Up Your Ride

Living in one of the surf capitals of the world, it's hard not to stay in touch with at least some of the surf/skate/snow board news. So when I saw this awesome way to display your boards, I had to post about it. Straight from PB teen, these backlit wall mounts are a pretty cool way to display your skateboard or snowboard, especially if you've got a rad design on the bottom!

Image from PB Teen website.

Not Out of Print, Yet...

In the last several years, graphic t-shirts have become increasing popular. Although they haven't replaced the standard 'casual Friday' ensemble, they are pretty darn close to it. Almost every clothing brand has at least a few cool tee shirts design to choose from, but Out of Print Clothing does it a little differently. Say goodbye to the glut of Ed Hardy 'I'm having a mid-life crisis and need something to make me look cool' graphic tattoo tee, because Out of Print has a mission... (and I love it) 'to celebrate the world's great stories through fashion.' Most shirts feature iconic and often out of print book covers, while others are classics. And some are simply interesting enough to make great t-shirts. They work with artists, authors and publishers to license the content to create these magnificent works of art, literally. One of the artists, famed graphic designer Mikey Burton, helped design some of my favorites (Animal Farm, To Kill a Mockingbird, The Outsiders and The Great Gatsby)

And the bonus? Out of Print also acknowledges many parts of the world don't have access to books at all. So for each shirt they sell, they donate a book to a community in need through Books for Africa.

And the 2nd bonus? Each shirt is treated to feel soft and worn like a well-read book. So what are you waiting for? What's your favorite tee story...

Images from Out of Print website.

20 November 2010

Hip and Handmade

Hooray! It's finally Saturday (a beautiful cozy, rainy Saturday I might add) and after a very long two weeks of ongoing projects that have kept me from any serious blogging, I finally have a bit of time to devote. Oh, blog, I've missed you, but I'm back!

Consequently, I've accumulated a long list of items to post, so to start I'm posting this absolutely adorable wedding ensemble from Chelsea Fuss over at Frolic!. Lovely items, handmade goodness, and finding things of random existence inspiring is her way of life. She works as a wedding stylist providing writing, photography and styling expertise for clients. She's one very talented gal who has an eye and hand for creatively quaint touches!

Photos from ProjectWedding blog.

18 November 2010

Twenty Eleven is Here

Here's a great way to usher in the New Year! A fabulously designed calendar to keep you in check all the days of the year. Personally, I always like to have a cool calendar on my office wall and normally I go for the great Stendig Calendar, originally designed by Massimo Vignelli in 1966. But this year might be different. Unfortunately, the Bubble Calendar will not be available for popping fun next year and the famous Studio Hinrichs 2011 Typographic Calendar (formerly the Pentagram Typographic Calendar) is just a tad over my calendar budget. So say hello to the beautiful Twenty Eleven calendar from UK-based This Studio. It's certainly not for the visually impaired and might take a little time to get used to, but it's a great conversation piece and will definitely pop off your wall! Get yours here at Blanka. Here's to a great 2011!

Images from Blanka website.

15 November 2010

Photo of the Week

Napa Valley, CA. Over the weekend, I got up close and personal with some grapes, a lot of grapes actually! I left my laptop and mind at home and just brought my clothes and appetite. The valley could not have been more beautiful in taste and temperature. Stay tuned for a full Photo Destination piece on Napa soon... as soon as I get caught up on emails and work! Cheers!

08 November 2010

Photo of the Week

San Francisco (circa 1995). The San Francisco Bay Area is one of the most picturesque locations in the world. It's beauty captured me for the very first time in 1992, I was smitten to say the least. I'll be headed back next weekend for a mini getaway to Napa and I can't wait! So it seemed appropriate to post the Golden Gate Bridge today, the most iconic landmark in California. The history and maintenance of the bridge is fascinating, and we all know it's probably the most photographed bridge in the world. But what I didn't know, is that it has been declared one of the modern Wonders of the World by the American Society of Civil Engineers. But it's no wonder really, because it is one of the most beautiful, majestic bridges I've ever seen, with a view that will sweep you off your feet.

05 November 2010

Just The Facts Jack

Here's a beautiful look at infographics from a global perspective. It's called The Little Book of Shocking Global Facts and the facts are shocking alright, like 80% of inmates in some U.K. prisons test positive for opiates on reception or just five countries control over a third of the World Bank (U.S., Japan, Germany, France, and the U.K. if you're wondering) or 848 million people in the world are malnourished, while 1,600 million are overweight.

These kinds of stats will surely get your attention, but the details and design of the book should too. The book is designed by Jonathan Barnbrook of London-based Barnbrook Design, one of the best-known design studios in Britain today (as per their website), producing work across a broad range of disciplines including print design, industrial design, typeface design and commercials for television. And upon viewing their website, I would have to agree with it's highly impressive, thought-provoking stunning visually work indeed.

This book will definitely make my wish list.

Some little known facts on the image above; Small glaciers in the Andes will disappear, threatening the water supplies of up to 50 million people. Between 40 and 60 million more people will be exposed to malaria in Africa alone.

Now, how do we rectify some of these horrific stats...

Image from FastCoDesign website.

01 November 2010

Photo of the Week

Where did today go? I completely forgot about my photo of the week, almost. All the Halloween festivities must have done it to me. Happy (belated) Halloween! Here's the friendly Jack-o-Lantern that greeted the goblins this year. I'm embarrassed putting this lame carving up. But hey, when you carve a pumpkin once a year, you can hardly call yourself a sculptor. At least none of his teeth broke off...
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