30 May 2010

Super stationery

One of these years I'll get back to the National Stationery Show. Until then, I'll live vicariously through a few of my favorite blogs, Poppytalk and NicBlog, who attended the show and had a great round up of photos to share. For those of you who couldn't get there either, I've posted some of my favorites. Check out Poppytalk and NicBlog for lots more paper goodies and photos. Enjoy!

Photos from the Poppytalk website.

29 May 2010

Wandering about town

Steady work has kept me inside for a while (which I'm completely grateful for), but in turn I've been feeling a little house bound. So I decided I'm going to get out around town a little more... see what's new, what's old, and what's simply just great. I feel like the days are passing by and I'm missing so much! I'll be wandering about town highlighting everything from the best sandwiches, the most creative logos and signage, mom and pop shops, places for dinner, wine tasting and vintage finds, talented local artisans, and not to be missed views, surf spots and local flair. See you soon!

Happy Weekend

Memorial Day weekend is already upon us. Wasn't it just New Year's? I have no idea where the time is going and I really wish it would slow down a tad. While I wait for the time to slow, I plan to enjoy each and every moment of the long weekend, I even took Friday off since I didn't have any urgent projects to attend to. Instead, I planned my weekend of menus for some wonderful grilling feasts, got the ingredients to make the most amazing Hawaiian Pineapple Martinis, purchased a new cutting mat (it was long overdue) and trolled through my unfinished list of craft projects to find the perfect one to (finally) finish this weekend... check back on Monday for the results! But a long weekend can't possible go by without a list of other things to do, so here are a few other things left to do, in no particular order;

1. Nap
2. Go hiking
3. Grill a delicious feast or two
4. Brush the dogs' teeth
5. Trim and tidy yard and bushes
6. Watch Food Inc.
7. Tidy office and finish organizing bookshelf
8. Hand wash summer delicates
9. Finish wedding labels for Monday
10. Patiently wait for tomato plant to bloom (I'm ready for tomatoes dammit!)
11. Possibly go kayaking (might be too busy for my liking this weekend, I think I'll wait for a quieter time)
12. Sketch label designs for my neighbors girl scout troop
13. Learn how to press flowers
14. Delve into stack of magazines waiting to be read
15. Visit camera shop
16. Go to the farmer's market
17. Hit Borders and use 40% off coupon
18. Stop at Michael's crafts to peruse paper and cutouts
19. Breathe life in, enjoy the sights of spring, and nap again.

25 May 2010

Psychedelic Stark

Since I'm on some kind of freaky handmade obsession lately (and totally loving it), I thought it was appropriate to post some amazing handmade paper forms from Jen Stark. And when I mean handmade, this is what I'm talking about! A self-proclaimed 'Young contemporary artist of psychedelic things,' Jen's color, cut and form of intricately layered paper pieces is stunning. I can appreciate the patience and time it takes to create her one of a kind optical illusion pieces. And her illustrations are just as amazing, overflowing with shape and color I never knew possible. She currently has a show at the Carol Jazzar Gallery in Miami through 13 June showcasing her brilliant work. Perhaps it was her Miami upbringing, but I would love to spend a day in the head of someone who makes such intricate patterns and chaotic illustrations. I think I would be exhausted at the end of the day, but what a ride it would be!

Photos from Jen Stark website.

24 May 2010

Photo of the week

San Clemente, CA. Gardening recently got the best of me. Since the temperatures started to rise ever so slightly last week, I thought it was a good time to plant some flowers. Sure doesn't feel like spring yet, but I hope to be warmed very soon with sunnier days, as do my flowers.

21 May 2010

Seattle's Best gets uncomfortable

Ahh... coffee. Nothing beats the smell of freshly brewed coffee. For many, coffee is an essential part of the morning routine, like a long time friend that will never let you down. The one thing you can count on that's more about comfort than caffeine. But wait, that comfortable friend has just abandoned you, left you in the middle of the desert with a flat tire, stopped the music and left you to finish your big performance without a tune. Now what? You've heard change is a good thing... reinvent yourself, change it up! It's never good to get so comfortable you fall prey to the same old song and dance and start to go numb.

So that's exactly what Seattle's Best did. While I always applaud rebranding efforts within the parameters of a company's mission and vision, to me, this particular rebrand completely abandons the company's long history of appeal (40 years to be exact) and cheapens the brand from a strong contender to a weak generic brew. That old friend you could count on, now looks like every other simplified Target brand without meaning or personality. And I would have to believe 'affordable and accessible' are not what people really care about when they reach for their favorite cup of joe. But approachable and comfortable they do.

"While our dedication to making premium coffee isn’t going to change, we needed a new look to match our optimistic outlook and simplified approach to great coffee experiences. Over the next months and years, we plan to show up in new ways and different places. Places where great coffee should be." -From the new Seattle's Best website

I smell a weak rebrand. Sorry Seattle.

26 May 2010 Follow-up; Word is out and seems others are just as dissatisfied with the new logo. Read Ken Carbone's write for Fast Company here and check out the comments at Brand New.

Photo from Brand New website.

Oil vs wind

As a native New Englander, I can appreciate obstructed views (Fenway Park anyone?) And with the recent passing of the Nantucket Windfarm, obstructed views will continue to be an everlasting presence in Massachusetts. But let's be clear, would the people opposed to the wind farm rather have oil shore drilling and the impacts of environmental disasters like the oil slicked Gulf? Seems to me a sustainable energy project 4.8 miles away from the coastline is well worth a partially obstructed view of the ocean. Just pull your shades down a little lower.

Windfarm vs oil spill? Read more here at Fast Company.

Photos from Fast Company website.

Stop stealing lunch

Gone is the week already? Well, in that case since it's Friday, it's time to post a little 'crumby' humor. If you've ever had your lunch stolen from the ice box you share with your beloved colleagues (one of whom is guilty mind you), than your next lunch purchase needs to be these ingenious Anti-Theft Sandwich Bags. I would have to assume anyone who was trying make a quick getaway from a kitchen with a stolen sandwich, would pass over this moldy version in a heart beat. Although the product is very funny and useful, it's sad to think it was developed because there are bozos among us who actually steal lunches. Get your own damn lunch!

Photos from Thinkofthe website.

17 May 2010

Photo of the week

San Clemente, CA. Nature is truly amazing sometimes... seems it wanted to say hello by the message it left here on the pavement recently.

15 May 2010

Cradle to cradle

When it comes to packaging materials, I'm always on the look out for unique sustainable ideas. The EcoCradle is a wonderfully designed packaging product that is biodegradable and home compostable. Made from byproducts like cotton seed hulls, buck wheat hulls and mushroom roots, the packaging is literally grown, not manufactured and can be composted, turned into garden mulch, or simply thrown away and will break down naturally. Not only that, it isn't a one size fits all product. The in-house design team at EcoCradle can develop a packaging solution for any application and can be molded into nearly any shape to cradle and protect virtually any product. The big question is, when will I receive a box with EcoCradle packing and just whose product will it contain... I'll be waiting.

Photos from Ecocradle website.

13 May 2010

Hold the mayo, please

When I came across the website of Jaime Van Wart and her amazing original typefaces and custom lettering, I found it hard to believe she spends her days designing software for IBM. That's so left brained, yet she designs such incredible right brained things! Not impossible for Jaime. Her Ketchup n Mustard site showcases her profound moonlighting talent (don't miss checking out her sketchbooks under the Illustration menu), while displaying 'announcements, process work, and strokes of creative genius' on her Saucebomb blog. I'm in awe over her use of color and lettering techniques, there's a design treat on every letter big or small. And if that's not enough, she also posts at A Letter a Day, with the most lovely daily type explorations. I'm almost sure the girl doesn't sleep!

I've posted her poster/identity above for the Tasty Beverage Co., and of course it's tasty indeed just like all of her work! Enjoy!

Photos from Jaime Van Wart website.

10 May 2010

Photo of the week

San Diego, CA. There's nothing quite like Balboa Park in San Diego. I caught up with a wonderful old friend yesterday (who just happens to be getting married in Balboa Park in August... lucky gal) and while conversing about many topics, I mentioned Balboa Park was my absolute favorite place in San Diego. The beauty of Balboa park is to spend an afternoon doing everything or nothing at all. It's the kind of place you can find a quiet corner to yourself or dive into a number of any public spaces or activities. The last time I visited, I headed to the San Diego Museum of Art, which is where the photo above was taken. Every time I go I find something different I didn't see before, for around every corner is a pattern, shape, texture or hue that jumps out and begs for my attention. I love that!

09 May 2010

Made by made

When I stumbled across this brand identity, I couldn't help but to laugh. Not because it's ridiculous, but because of its creativity and witty charm. The UK-based consultancy, Made By Six, (not to be confused with their Picked By Six blog) created this deliciously humorous identity for Blast'd, a new multimedia blogging site aimed at upcoming bands and the general pop culture demographic. Along with the identity and art direction of the site, Made By Six were asked to design a suite of stationery that needed to reflect the personality of the individual and the outgoing nature of the blogging platform. I think they succeeded.

Photos from Made By Six website.

It's back!

It's that time of year again! The Good50x70 is back, so it's time to start thinking about what message you want to communicate. If you're unclear what the Good50x70 is all about, here's a brief summary;

The Good50x70 is an annual contest, confronting seven of the critical issues affecting today’s world. Seven charities each provide a brief on a global issue. Anyone who wishes can enter one or more posters on any topic that inspires them. The best 30 responses to each brief – as selected by our jury – are collected in a catalogue and exhibited around the world. All the posters entered are supplied to the charities for them to use as potential communication tools through our free database. There is no ‘winner’, unless you count the charities and their message.

Submissions are now being taken until 12 June 2010.

Photo from Good50x70 website.

05 May 2010

From green to black

I think this fantastic poster of a new BP logo from Visual Culture says it all. An article from Paul Taylor of the LA Examiner has more to say about BP's image going from green to black. After trying to clean the Gulf, will they be able to clean up their brand again?

Photo from Visual Culture website.

04 May 2010

The color of culture

Designing cross-culturally isn't easy. Symbols and colors can have very different, if not opposite meanings around the world. Recently I had to design a set of icons that will be used in the United States, Europe, China and Mexico. I did tons of research, but this great culture color wheel would have come in mighty handy!

The poster was designed by Always with Honor and David McCandless, two incredibly talented designers. They collected data from various sites including Color Matters and Pantone. See more at Information is Beautiful.

By the way, David has a fantastic book called The Visual Miscellaneum, it's a must for any designers library!

Photo from Information is Beautiful website.

03 May 2010

Photo of the week

Huntington Beach, CA. Ahhh.... the dog days of summer are almost here. My little girl Kimchi loves to dig in the sand and meet other like minded long haired friends at the dog beach. Good times.

01 May 2010

Mohawk Loop comes full circle

Wow! Where did the week go... I've been so busy I haven't had time to blog. And I've been dying post a follow-up on my Earth Day post. You see, I blogged about my new Loop swatchbook from Mohawk paper (a company I'm deeply in love with), but I was dismayed by the rather non-ecofriendly appearance of the swatchbook. Well, seems the fine folks at Mohawk actually read my blog! (they read my post on 22 April at least) No matter, because I was thrilled to receive a blog comment from them regarding the new Loop swatchbook and they filled me in on a few things.... for instance; what I didn't realize is that Mohawk Loop is a consolidation of four former grades (Synergy, Genesis, Passport & Proterra) which means they actually removed the need for three swatchbooks. That's wonderful news! Here's more of what they had to say...

"We've also streamlined the product line(s); there are now 35 shades in the entire Mohawk Loop line where 55 had existed before in the former grades. The total number of sku's were reduced to almost half. Check with your local recycling facility regarding the recyclability of the swatchbooks. Many are able to recycle them and most will if you remove the spine yourself. Mohawk rolled out a new packaging program last year that reduces the amount of packaging material used by 25%. One-hundred percent of the electricity used to make all of Mohawk's fine papers is offset with investments in windpower projects. We are constantly evaluating our processes and materials to find ways to improve and we are definitely going to look into the UPS Responsible Packaging Program."

Thank you for the clarification Mohawk! I like facts and I certainly enjoy knowing them when I comment on things. So now, when a client needs a real honest to goodness paper recommendation, I have everything I need to know about Loop and more! And let me know how the UPs Responsible Packaging goes.

Oh, and if you haven't checked out Mohawks Felt & Wire blog, you're missing out. It's one of the best blogs for the paper obsessed. They even have a Felt & Wire Shop for you or that special someone with lots of handmade treats. You can find them on Twitter as well at @feltandwire.

Happy May Day!

Photo from Mohawk website.
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