31 December 2011

Tis' the Annual Report Season

Every year around the end of October, clients feverishly start discussing the annual report. Contrary to what some might deem old school in the digital age, it is probably the single most important publication a public company produces, alongside advertising and a website. It's an important tool in making investment decisions about companies. And if you're still not sold, a recent study from the University of Miami School of Business found that investors place a higher value on firms with attractive annual reports than they do on those that produce less attractive reports. Not a complete surprise considering we are visual creatures after all!

Personally, I love annual reports. I'm by no means a number gal (not a whole lot of left brain activity going on here), but the thought of making all those pretty numbers look visually interesting with Nicholas Felton-esque charts and graphs gives me goosebumps! Coming up with a theme is also just as important, the theme normally centers around the hopes and aspirations of the company, because well, that's what stakeholders want to know.... what's in store for the company and for me.

I found a few annual reports on the Communication Arts website I thought were beautifully done and visually intriguing... and just had to share. Here's to the (printed) annual report!

The Calgary Society for Persons with Disabilities by WAX partnership, inc., the Global Footprint Network by Bob Dinetz Design and the Law Foundation of Ontario by Matter Strategic Design.

Images from Communication Arts website.

28 December 2011


WURM is an incredibly cool generative drawing tool app for iPhone and iPad that allows you to play with palettes, shapes and drawing modes to create different compositions. But it's really quite more elaborate than that....

via the WURM site: WURM is a generative drawing tools built around presets and parameters. The app allows you to play with palettes, shapes and drawing modes to create different compositions. It includes 5 shapes (each adjustable for more variations), over 10 colour palettes with transparency, multi-touch support and if on the iPad, turn-off “multitasking gestures” in Settings on your device and try WURM using all ten fingers.

WURM was created by Anna Oguienko, an artist/developer from Toronto Canada, who's background is in graphic design/vector illustration and naturally drawn to a flat, crisp 2d aesthetic. However she's a big fan of geometry, which is how the design shapes for WURM started. "The outcome is whimsical, colorful and simple -- which tends to be my style."

Basically, the tapping and swiping interactions combine with algorithms create a visual pattern that's more than the sum of its parts (or your intentions). How cool is that? Buy WURM for $1.99 at the iTunes store and read more on Creative Applications Network.

Images from FastCoDesign website.

27 December 2011

A cleaner desk

Yup, it's that time of year again. When we all start making grandiose plans to add, delete and reboot the next 365 days of our life. Well, if you need to delete a few mounds from your desk to create a more simple working existence, then here are a few office staples that shape up real nice on your horizontal space. The Buro Desk Tools include a tape dispenser, calculator, a USB hub and card reader, stapler, hole punch, calender and magnifying lens. Created for Lexon by the London-based team of brothers at DesignWright. they come in gradients of green, gray or violet. Get yours here.

Image from FastCoDesign website.

25 December 2011

Merry Wishes

Wishing everyone a wonderful Holiday! May your 2012 be filled with good health and much happiness!

24 December 2011

Christmas by the Numbers

Here's a wonderful Christmas infographic from the great folks at Column Five.

Image from Column Five website.

23 December 2011

The List

Can I be frank here? Why do the holidays always, always seem so harried, so overwhelming, so crazy!! It never fails. With all good intentions, every year I try and get a head start, hoping that I don't fall behind quicker than I'd like. Just a few short weeks ago I posted that I couldn't wait to have mucho time to blog a bunch.

Unfortunately, it didn't happen and honestly, I'm a little upset since I quite enjoy blogging. I had planned a thorough 1st annual wish list, which of course is a little late to be posting now since most of us have already bought, wrapped and shipped our gifts, but hey, those are the holidays right? Are we ever fully prepared? No. So here it is, better late than never. Consider it a head start on next years shopping. Yeah, that's it!

Here are a few of my top ten favorite things...

1. Let people know that your address is where form and function meet with the Eames collection tile house numbers from Heath Ceramics.

2. Give your veggies some love with these wonderful organic linen drawstring produce bags from Madder Root Towels. Maine-made and hand printed.

3. The ultimate knife for your studio, the stainless steel Art & Graphic Design Knife No. 01 from Kaufmann Mercantile. Ultimately, anything from this purveyor of well-designed products manufactured to last a long time will do!

4. You'll never have to think about what to wear again (or what day it is) with these Day of the Week tees from Minimalist Tees.

5. So you want to go hiking and drinking? Then bring along the The Climber, a wine filled pouch with an 80% lower carbon footprint and 90% less waste than two glass bottles. The perfect addition to your backpack essentials.

6. No room for a bookcase? Then the wall bookmark is just what you need.

7. Pinpoint your 2012 travels with the hand drawn Black Places on Earth Print from You and Me The Royal We. Screen printed in Brooklyn using white ink on black paper, each print comes with 52 pins, 50 are orange, 1 is red and 1 is blue. Red is for headquarters, blue is for your next target.

8. In the cold weather, it's hard for your hands to stay warm, pluck away on your iPad and imbibe your English Breakfast, so you'll need some wonderfully warm Wristworms handmade by Sandra Juto.

9. Stay social on the road with this Roll-up Travel Charger. The portable charger minimizes cable clutter and and rolls up into a slip-proof, polyurethane mat. You can refuel up to 4 devices simultaneously while occupying just a single wall outlet.

10. Don't forget the perfect nickel-plated clips from Hammerpress, for hanging posters, art prints and other cherished ephemera with style and ease.

Images from all respective websites.

14 December 2011

Get your wrap on

Here's a very cool DIY Christmas wrapping projects for all us type geeks! Not only does it show off your X-acto knife skills (and that should impress anyone on your gift list alone), but your kerning prowess too. And it's completely handmade, what's better than that? Learn how to create this one-of-a-kind wrapping on ManMade, my new favorite site!

Images from Man Made via Lifehacker and Apartment Therapy.

13 December 2011

Planes, trains and automobiles

Aside from being one of the great holiday movies, this planes, trains and automobiles infographic of how Americans get from one place to another in different parts of the country during the holidays from Foursquare is simply beautiful. Created from check-ins on Foursquare, the map shows where people go and how they get there and certainly makes a case for trains!

Read more of the interesting article here on Fast Co Design.

Image from Fast Co. Design website.

09 December 2011

Nest in the house

Hands down, this is the best looking freaking thermostat out there! AND... it's smart, simple and saves energy! Learn more about Nest here.

Image from Nest website.

05 December 2011

String me along

I now know what I'm putting on that blank wall in the guest room.... typographic string art! This is the coolest thing I've ever seen and completely customizable. Learn how to make your own right here on ManMade. Bedroom wall, here I come!

Images from ManMade website.

Tripping up

This sculpture in Brussels, Belgium by Tom Franzen is downright cool, and begs the question, how did he do that? Completed in 1985 outside the Communauté Française building, the sculpture depicts a young man emerging from the sewer to grab the leg of a police officer. I've never seen anything like it! Tom has more amazing work like this on his website.

Images from Colossal website.

04 December 2011


In today's market, Real Estate branding is tough. But this concept branding and design of Bramha Enterprises done by Janavi Kothari at Lemon Design Pvt. Ltd., in Pune India is exceptional!

via the Behance site: The positioning for Bramha was a seasoned player in the real estate market, who believes in providing quality of life to its customers by providing good quality housing solutions. The seal for Bramha was developed to bring in the elements of authenticity and instill trust in the brand.

Images from the Behance website.

03 December 2011

Now to Ayada....

But then again, if you're not into cold right about now, perhaps the Ayada Maldives Resort is just what you're looking for. The holiday resort has a selection of 112 villas, consisting of 33 beach villas, 4 beach suites, 14 sunset beach suites, 33 ocean villas, 11 sunset lagoon suites, 16 sunset ocean suite and 1 duplex Ayada Royal ocean suite. Stunning architecture and views!

Since the actual Ayada website is under construction, see more photos of this amazing place here on UltraLinx.

Images from UltraLinx website.

How to promote remote

About this time every year after Thanksgiving I crave a little snow. Not a lot, but a little, I guess it's more about the cold weather that comes with it. My sweaters patiently wait for the day to be worn that never comes in a balmy SoCal winter. Therefore, it's no surprise I find myself pining for Nordkyn, Norway today. Nordkyn is about as far north and remote one could ever want to be and located on the northernmost part of the European mainland. Far from the craziness of everyday life are the five northernmost fishing villages in the world – Dyfjord, Kjøllefjord, Mehamn, Gamvik and Skjånes, offering natural as well as cultural experiences boasting unparalleled beauty and exclusivity.

So how does one promote such a beautiful and remote area as a tourist destination? Well, the Olso-based design firm Neue, took the challenged on and started with the tagline for Nordkyn, 'Where Nature Rules' and thus created a logo and application based on the two ever present Nordic factors of wind and temperature.

Via RockPaperInk: The logo is in a constant state of flux as it is designed to deliver information to it's audience. The shape of the logo is affected by the direction and strength of the wind so that as you see the logo on the website it is elongated to point in the direction of the prevailing wind. The only time the mark is a perfect hexagon is when the air is completely calm. The color of the logo is also designed to fluctuate to identify the temperature. The attending color scale below ranges 25 degrees to either side of zero Celsius or in Fahrenheit terms -13 to 77 degrees for a balmy record high. One look at the logo for those acclimated to the system and an immediate read of the conditions is understood.

What's so intriguing about the Nordkyn brand and visual identity is it's always changing, but stays the same, and delivers information to the viewer at the same time... the brand completely lives and breathes. Absolutely brilliant!

Don't forget to check out the their Facebook page for some amazing photos of Nordkyn!

Images from RockPaperInk.

28 November 2011

Oh Christmas tree, Oh Christmas tree

Great Christmas infographic from Bill Shrink. And no, that's not a person, it's a company.

Image from Design Crush blog.

27 November 2011

It's all about Saul

Finally, a book on one of the greatest American designers of the 20th century, and just in time for Christmas! Saul Bass: A Life in Film and Design is the first full retrospective on Bass' enormous contribution to design. Best known for his unforgettable posters and title sequences for films such as Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo and Otto Preminger’s The Man with the Golden Arm and Anatomy of a Murder, he's also created some of the most recognizable corporate identities in history; Alcoa, AT&T, Avery, Continental Airlines, Dixie, Girls Scouts of America, Kleenex, Lawry's Foods, Minolta, Quaker Oats, United Airlines, United Way, Warner Communications... just to name a few.

via Grain Edit: Designed by Saul Bass’s daughter Jennifer and written by distinguished design historian Pat Kirkham, who knew Saul Bass, this book contains more than 1,400 illustrations, many from the Bass archive and never published before, providing an in-depth account of one of the leading graphic artists of the 20th century.

This is definitely going on my wish list!

Image from Grain Edit website and Wikipedia.

Holiday on the vine

My Thanksgiving holiday has been largely spent doing nothing at all really, yet doing all the things I enjoy most. I decided a few weeks ago, I would not work on Friday or through the holiday weekend, like I tend to do pretty often. Short of being with family for the holiday, it has been one of the most relaxing, satisfying down times I have ever had. After spending the first few days cooking, eating and napping, it was time to get out and enjoy the magnificent fall weather. So we decided to head to Europa Village in Temecula yesterday. It was chosen specifically because, well, I'm proud of the logo that adorns this absolutely lovely establishment. In collaboration with Damion Hickman Design, the Europa Village logo and wine labels were designed to showcase the three styles of architecture that reflect not only the regions of France, Italy and Spain and wines they produce, but the future resort and estates. It was such a pleasure to see our logo come to great fruition. The winery is spectacular and the wines are too! (I highly recommend the 2007 Tempranillo, it's magnificent!)

We picked a perfect weekend to go too... it's all decked out for the holidays with great gift baskets and beautiful custom painted wine bottles. Had we gone on Friday, we would have been serenaded by Christmas carolers and gobbled freshly roasted chestnuts, over a real open fire no less! It's no surprise I'm now a Société Europa member and plan on returning soon again.

If you have some time and are looking for a great place to get in the holiday spirit, Europa Village is THE place! It's a beautiful, relaxing setting, with a wonderful view to enjoy tastings either inside or out (I won't tell you about the cool wine cave, you'll need to experience it for yourself!) and the most friendly, gracious staff in all of wine country! Cheers to Melody, Denis and Laura for all the warm hospitality!

25 November 2011

The Effect of the Camry

I need to share this very cool site; The Camry Effect. It's a collaboration between Saatchi & Saatchi LA and Resn and Qube Konstrukt, of New Zealand and Australia respectively, and it's built around a series of rapid-fire questions that create personalized car experiences from the data culled from answers. Cool idea, amazing graphics and fun! Ford, take notice!

Image from The Camry Effect website.

Pacific Standard Time

Back in late October, the Getty-backed initiative Pacific Standard Time (PST) opened to rave reviews. It's an 'unprecedented collaboration of cultural institutions across Southern California coming together to celebrate the birth of the L.A. art scene' from 1945 to 1980 in Los Angeles. Over 60 cultural exhibitions are contributing from San Diego to Santa Barbara, not including the multitude of private galleries showing work.

One of the more popular exhibits has to be the LACMA 'California Design: Living in a Modern Way.' With more than 300 objects—furniture, ceramics, metalwork, fashion and textiles, and industrial and graphic design–the exhibition is the first major study of California mid-century modern design, an era that certainly continues to inspire the world. This one is definitely on my list of to-do's, anything mid-century gives me great goosebumps!

Check out the PST website, it's incredibly user friendly and really well executed. If you're anywhere in SoCal, it'll be easy to find something of interest somewhere.

Images from Herman Miller website.
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