26 April 2010

Photo of the week

Singapore. Photography is intriguing, especially when you find the most interesting subjects in the most mundane of places. I distinctly remember seeing piled scaffolding next to the building I lived in Singapore. They were doing a complete overhaul of the Paragon building and construction materials were strewn all over the place. I remember thinking how interesting this composition might be in black and white....

22 April 2010

Mohawk, do you know it's Earth Day?

First, I need to preface this post by saying how excited I got when I actually received the box I was expecting yesterday, as I knew the contents it contained. But it made me wonder....

Always looking to tread a little lighter, I try to stay on top of sustainable paper companies and their products. Therefore when I heard about Mohawk Papers latest endeavour 'Loop' - "the world's most comprehensive line of recycled and environmentally preferable papers, made with renewable energy and post-consumer fiber, including the largest selection of 100% PCW" (post-consumer waste), I was immediately on board! They even call it 'the ideal paper for responsible design.' Fantastic! If any clients are looking for great full on environmentally friendly paper, I'm recommendation ready. Then I received the swatch book... and as I wrapped my hands around the metal spiral binding of the six tabbed, 90+ sample pages, it hit me. Why on earth would all this beautiful eco-friendly paper be strung into a non-recyclable structure? How much carbon did it release in the making? What about the box it came in with the two layers of bubble wrap? And since it was delivered by UPs, why didn't the box have an Eco Responsible Packaging Program sticker adhered to it?

As my excitement started to wane, the antique vellum Chalk 80c/216 gsm sample caught my eye. Marvelous shade and weight, great for an earthy, yoga marketing piece! Okay, okay, they're trying, but still. Mohawk, it's time to get more in the loop. Forget the latest and greatest paper, you've already got that down. The biggest earth friendly thing you can do now is devise a new creative way to make and assemble paper swatch books. Then, send them the most economically and environmentally sound way. Happy Earth Day!

Photo from Mohawk website.

19 April 2010

Photo of the week

San Jose, CA. I like interesting things, and yes, doors are one of them, maybe because it's my name. Yup, I look at doors like kids look at candy. Have you ever looked at the many different styles of doors and what they represent? A door in itself can tell you a vast amount of what's behind it and gives you a sense of time and place. What I really wished I had done over the years was to take a photo of the door at every place I lived, that would have been cool. I've started it now however and have just one to speak of so far, but it's a start. I remember when I took the photo above, it was in a rather sketchy area in downtown San Jose. The building itself was a wreck and a pretty big eyesore, but the door was beautiful even with a little graffiti carved into the metal surface. That's what gave it so much personality and made it interesting, along with those handles.

18 April 2010

Taking the plunge

I'm a little behind on posting this, but it's so wonderful it still must be posted. Every year the Special Olympics Nebraska holds an annual Polar Plunge to raise money. This year, to mark the event, Lincoln-based agency Bailey Lauerman designed a super fresh identity to brand the plunge. (and print on T-shirts). The also created a commemorative poster to spread the word and to hand out to participating “plungers.” Everything about the design from the logo to the poster is simple, clean and definitely catches your eye. Congrats to those who took the plunge!

Photos from Bailey Lauerman website.

Puma jumps to green

Puma helps to save millions in electricity, fuel, and water with their new super-green shoe box called the 'Clever Little Bag.' Puma and Fuseproject, the design firm led by the great Yves Béhar, joined forces and after studying box fabrication and shipping for 21 months, created a bag that wraps tightly around what they call an 'interior cardboard scaffolding', giving it shape and reducing cardboard use by 65%. Ingenious! Moreover, without the shiny box exterior, there's no laminated cardboard (which interferes with recycling). The bag is also “stitched” with heat, instead of woven, thus reducing labor and waste. It fits compactly into a suitcase for travel, and afterwards can be recycled. And there's no throw-away plastic bag. The Clever Little Bag project is actually just the beginning of a brand overhaul, to be revealed soon. Wonder what that's going to look like!

From Yves Béhar;
"Rethinking the shoebox is an incredibly complex problem, and the cost of cardboard and the printing waste are huge, given that 80M are shipped from China each year," Béhar tells FastCompany.com. "Cargo holds in the ships can reach temperatures of 110 degrees for weeks on end, so packaging becomes an enormous problem. This solution protects the shoes, and helps stores to stock them, while saving huge costs in materials."

The impact: Puma estimates that the bag will slash water, energy, and fuel consumption during manufacturing alone by 60%--in one year, that comes to a savings of 8,500 tons of paper, 20 million mega joules of electricity, 264,000 gallons of fuel, and 264 gallons of water. Also, by replacing traditional shopping bags, it will save 275 tons of plastic, and the lighter shipping weight will save another 132,000 gallons of diesel.

Ultimately, I hope more companies follow suit and decide to go in the same direction for the health and well being of the planet and it's inhabitants. Now if the actual shoes could be more eco-friendly (and they just might be already) we'd all be living in a healthier space.

Photos from Fast Company website.

17 April 2010

Adobe wheel of color

I love this overview of the colors used by Adobe for their software programs. The super cool people at idsgn did a great post of the new CS5 products. Check it out here!

Here's a little of what they had to say about using color icons as indicators;
Under the lead of in-house designer Ryan Hicks, a new system was born with the release of Creative Suite 3. Using color as a primary reference point, the Adobe brand team adopted a minimalistic two-letter mnemonic to create a consistent look across its newly expanded family of products. With the introduction of the new icons, Flash could finally feel at home sitting next to Photoshop in the dock.
Photo from idsgn website.

15 April 2010

ISO50 in the house

It's true. I've never met a designer/creative type who isn't a musician, chef, writer, fashionista, budding architect, photographer, avid gardener or interior decorator genius on the side. And I definitely know a few who would give Martha Stewart a run for her money! When you get the creative gene it sticks... and to many other things.

So today I bring you the extremely talented design and music of Scott Hansen. Based in San Francisco, Mr. Hansen has a stellar portfolio of color, shape, composition and timing. From posters, logos, music, photography and clothing to a blog of journalistic excellence, the man does it all. Check everything out here for yourself. I chose my favorite posters to share with you above. Enjoy!

Photos from Scott Hansen website.

12 April 2010

Photo of the week

Bali, Indonesia. It's that time of the week again... I can't believe it's Monday already. I have no idea where the weekend went, but I know I was productive at least. It felt good to get a little spring cleaning done and organize some things. Amid my sneezing from spring dust, I thought about Bali. It's a place I go to in my mind once in a while, remembering the wonderful people and scenery. I posted a few photos a short time ago and mentioned I'd follow up with more, so here's another image from the Mother Temple of Besakih (or Pura Beshakih). An astounding place and extremely calming both mentally and visually. More from Bali soon again.

11 April 2010

Haiti genius

Poster designs are still rolling in and being accepted at The Haiti Poster Project. After perusing some of the latest submissions, I had to post these genius designs by Justus Oehler and Harry Pearce of Pentagram. Visual captivating and emotionally charging, I find them to be communication perfection. Be sure to check out the all the amazing posters designs here.

Photos from Haiti Poster Project website.

10 April 2010

The face of money

Money. We make it, save it, spend it, waste it and if you like to gamble, occasionally lose it. But have you ever really looked at money... at all the little design treats, intricacies and guilloches. Guilloches you say? Well, I could take this time to type a long explanation for you, but I'd rather leave that to Mr. Aegir Hallmundur, a talented designer living and working in Brighton England who loves typography and life's tiny little details, as do I. His wonderful guilloches definition is here.

After seeing a few interesting articles lately on redesigning the dollar bill (from Fast Company, Mr. Hallmundur and even a site dedicated to redesigning and rebranding the American dollar here), I began to wonder, how difficult or fun would it be to redesign our currency. For God's sake, it should at least be different sizes for the blind to decipher between the bills like most countries around the world have already done. Aside from that, it could use more color, meaningful places and of course, a continuation of those who have been pivotal in creating a better America. But after reading Aegir's blog post One Hundred Dollars and his 'imperfect perfection', I think designing bills is much more difficult than it looks. I must say however, it would be fun to design say, a San Clemente dollar, surely it would have palm trees, surfboards and Ole Hanson architecture on it and a few other hidden design imperfections. How fun would that look! There's a thought, if bills were fun and/or interesting, would we keep them or spend them? Would it keep currency alive and stop the ever closer all plastic, cash-free society from happening? Probably not.

Nonetheless, the next time you pull out your wad of cash, take a look at the bills a little more closely and think... what would you design on a bill and what hidden little treats would you put in? Just please don't put your own face on it.

Photo from Aegir Hallmundur's Ministry of Type website.

It takes a village

Recently came across a great site with wonderful fonts and other items called Village. They're a Brooklyn-based type foundry with members and designers from all over the world. Not only are the typefaces great, but I enjoyed the clean and visually appealing design of the site and how everything is presented. See for yourself at Village.

Photo from Village website.

Drinks a la Adobe

There's something about these coasters that are just geekishly fun! I think I'll need to get a set... but I really only want the Illustrator, Photoshop and InDesign ones. If you'd like a set, get them here.

Photo from Design Town website.

05 April 2010

Photo of the week

Boston, Massachusetts. Since the Red Sox won their home opener against the Yankees last night, today's photo of the week is of course in honor of Boston. If you ever visit Boston, Fenway is a must if you happen to go during baseball season. Another wonderful place is the ICA (Institute of Contemporary Art). It's easy to get to, has fantastic exhibitions, and the location allows you to take time out and watch the waterfront and city from inside and outside the museum. It's the perfect setting for a lazy afternoon. And when you're done, head over to Congress Street for a bite to eat at Sportello, Barbara Lynch's Italian inspired diner. Just be sure to check out the bakery counter on your way out!

03 April 2010

Still in a fog

Since I'm a die hard Mt. Dew drinker (the diet version), over the years I've rarely succumbed to other soft drinks unless I have no choice. But one that I've clearly stayed away from, simply because it's just not my taste, is 7Up, Sprite, the now defunct Slice, and Sierra Mist. Recently Sierra Mist changed their logo and packaging. I have to stop here and state, I actually had no idea a drink called Sierra Mist existed. Somewhere in the back of my mind I think I can remember seeing something green, yellow and silver on the shelf while perusing for my diet Mt. Dew... ?

Perhaps that's the reason for the repackaging; the hope of becoming more memorable in the consumers mind and to gain some sort of following through new branding. Unfortunately, Sierra Mist isn't a strong brand because it doesn't really know who it is and where it fits in. As you can see from the top photo above, the Sierra Mist brand didn't get any better, just a little more legible. Although meant to symbolize the lemon/lime flavors, the stained glass looking background has no appeal and is simply too busy, taking away from the name itself. I hate to say it, but it's even less memorable now, at least the misty letters in the old version had some kind of personality, the new design lacks any personality now. Furthermore, they didn't do themselves any favors by designing the diet cans with a strong feminine flair. And while I'm ranting, what's with the name? Sierra Mist sounds like a yoga retreat in the mountains somewhere between California and Nevada (now that sounds interesting!).

Ultimately, I think Pepsi needs to scrap this brand altogether... they need to wait for the fog to clear and then start over on a memorable soda that will appeal to the masses. If they don't, it will only be a matter of time before we hear they are taking it off the market anyway. Good luck Sierra. Read more on Sierra Mist at idsgn blog.

Photos from idsgn website.

02 April 2010

Amused with museo

Recently I came across a wonderful new type specimen, Museo. It's just lovely and works well with so many applications, from corporate to business cards to posters and brochures. During the same time, I came across this beautiful poster of Museo, but I'll be darned if I can remember where I found it to give proper credit (very unusual for me). Here's what I do know... Museo was created by Jos Buivenga for his exljbris Font Foundry.

...okay, mystery solved! As I wrote that last line and clicked on the link, I found the person who created the poster! The poster was actually created by Eduardo Uzae and posted on a Flickr group for Exljbris fonts. There is some other great work there as well using the Museo font. It's one of my current favorites, but I have a feeling it will become part of my all-time standby collection very fast, as many of Jos' other fonts are becoming. Do check out more of his work and typography, on his blog at Exljbris Font Foundry blog. It's pretty impressive.

Photo from Flickr website.

01 April 2010

No joking matter

Well, it's April Fool's Day and the internet was full of a few fun jokes today. However one seemed to stand out more than all the others and got lots of press. Google changed its name to Topeka. I really have no idea why and didn't care to dig deeper and learn why. Quite honestly, I didn't want to, because I couldn't get past the really bad kerning job on the Topeka letters. We're talking about Google here, they certainly have enough resources to find out how to kern letters correctly. Google, how could you? This is no joke, no laughing matter. Kerning is serious business. Joke or no joke, even for just a day, I expect the same kind of kerning care given to Topeka as Google has been given. Google, I'm very disappointed.

Photo from Google website.
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