28 February 2011

Photo of The Week

San Clemente, CA. Mark this one down in the books! For the first time in my 12 years of living in California, we had a real honest to goodness frost. I'd almost forgotten what incredible patterns it can form.

26 February 2011

Atop of Architecture

As a lover of print and the grid, this publications transformation is a bright shining star to the newsstand, but the goal wasn't easy and pretty ambitious to say the least; bring a century old landscape architecture publication, and the industry itself, into focus for a new era. Who better for the job then Washington DC's Design Army. And by looking at the newly designed pages, they definitely hit the mark! I for one am stunned with the beautiful reincarnation.

After various design concepts were completed (you can view the process via a PDF download from their site under the LAM section) below are the three most important aspects of the transformation;
1. The name Landscape Architecture Magazine was shortened to LAM and the masthead was made vertical from the traditional horizontal one, a perfect move to modernize the aging cover style.
2. The entire publication is anchored by a clean, contemporary design and grid, which give the pages graphic energy and structural interest.
3. The re-design is topped off with a harmony of perfectly chosen classic and modern fonts to make the layout sing with rhythm for every turn of the page.

I think it's time for me to head to the newsstand and pick up a copy. Congrats to LAM and Design army for a perfectly executed revitalization!

Images from Design Army website.

Do you know the way to branding?

I'm still perusing the be-pôles site from my previous post and found this fabulous chart on what be-pôles does and how they do it. It's a great infographic example of what happens during the branding and re-branding process and all the ways in which a brand touches its audience.

Image from be-pôles website.

25 February 2011

Amirablement Délicieux

I'm literally drooling over the newest, super clean packaging from Paris/New York-based be-pôles, a talented studio dedicated to the graphic representation of brands. Try as I did, I could not find the Merci brand on the internet, but here is the write-up from be-pôles.

via be-pôles; The Merci packaging opens the doors to its pantry. All the basic musts from a delicatessen: rice, vinegar, olive oil, tomato sauce, pesto, etc. A selection of fine products presented in a clean, pure, design. be-poles has concocted all the delectable new labels for the store.


Image from be-pôles website.

23 February 2011

Charting a Course For Success

A while back, Pop Chart Lab, was something I originally spotted on Fast Company or GOOD (I can't remember which) with their Very Many Varieties of Beer infographics poster. Right away I knew they had good taste, not only did the design rock, but the subject was great. I know this to be as true as ever now with their latest additions 'The Splendiferous Array of Culinary Tools' and 'The Breweries of the Original United States'. Brilliant! And you can order any one of their fabulous infographic posters here and get a t-shirt to match here.

Here's something else I know for sure, I like these guys. Why? Just look at their subjects; music, beer, food and video games. And they like to design infographics and charts. Nice.

Image from Pop Chart Lab website.

I said, have a seat

Strange, but true. I've seen a lot of cool looking furniture this week, especially chairs. However, I don't think I've seen any chairs like this before. TABISSO in France makes fun typographic seats in letters from A to Z, numbers from 0 - 9 and floor lamps with over 20 punctuation marks. You can view the full set of alphabet letters here and the punctuation lighting here.

You could surely create some intrigue with a personal message in your lobby or conference room with these keen chairs. And in the Eames/Herman Miller tradition, the chairs come in a variety of customization choices; upholstery comes in leather or Kvadrat (a sustainable option to leather); the wooden shell in veneered beech wood or lacquered black or white; and the footing in lacquered black or white.

I can't decide which letters I like, but the parenthesis is definitely a favorite of the floor lamps, it just looks hilarious. The '@' lamp would surely make a statement too. As for the chairs, I'm partial to the D (obvious right?)... but that Z is pretty fabulous!

Images from MONOmoda and TABISSO websites.

21 February 2011

Take a Mesmerizing Seat

While reading one of my favorite blogs, Design*Sponge, I came across this amazing chair. I've never seen anything quite like it and I find it simply mesmerizing; the pattern (or lack thereof), the colors and the story it could tell. The chair is part of the Greenhouse section of Stockholm Design Fair, where its contents are made by students. This particular piece was made by the students from HDK School of Design and Crafts at the University of Gothenburg.

via Design*Sponge; The students were instructed to create a design keeping with the theme “Traces of a Passionate Collector” — they were told to imagine what might happen if we changed focus from consumption to that of a passionate collector — if furniture bore the traces of our memories, stories and origins.

Note: Greenhouse is a great forum to show your work on an international stage. If you’re interested in applying for Greenhouse 2012, you can go here for information. The deadline is September 22, 2011.

Images from Design*Sponge website.

Photo of the Week

Napa, CA. Reminds me of how the trees look right about now.

14 February 2011

Arcade is on Fire

This morning, as I was perusing the paper (yes, I still read the newspaper. It's been a hard break-up, one that I'm just not ready to give up... even though I have an iPad), I noticed the Grammy winners list from last night's festivities. Among the list of winners, was Arcade Fire, for Album of the Year. Arcade who? Now I'm not that old and stay current with as much as I can (or so I like to think), but I had never, ever heard of Arcade Fire. Where have I been? Who is this Arcade Fire? Well, you can definitely find out more about them on their website here, as I did. Not only did their music pique my interest, but the poster art for the Spike Jonze-directed short film 'Scenes From the Suburbs', inspired by their critically acclaimed and Grammy winning album, The Suburbs, definitely caught my eye. The film expands the music video into a 28-minute feature that will premiere at the Berlin Film Festival this week. I'm very curious... but we'll have to wait until it arrives stateside this coming March at the SXSW Festival. Stay tuned!

Image from arcade Fire website.

Happy Valentine's Day

Peanuts is one of my all time favorite cartoon strips! I even have the last cartoon strip Mr. Schultz did framed on my wall. Here's to Charles M. Schultz, who passed 11 years go on Saturday, 12 February 2000, the evening before the final Sunday Peanuts strip appeared in newspapers around the world. To coincide with the final Peanuts Sunday strip, the state of California declared Sunday, February 13th as "Charles M. Schultz Day." Kiss your loved ones today!

Image from Google images website.

Photo of the Week

Miami, FL (circa 2005). If you're ever in Miami, the Avalon Hotel is a classic beachfront spot and popular South Beach destination on Ocean Drive you must visit. Its emblematic architecture of the Art Deco Era and the signature 1950’s Oldsmobile out front make it the place to either stay, dine or grab a drink and experience quintessential South Beach.

13 February 2011


I absolutely love this tree bookshelf from Seoul Korea artist Shawn Soh, spotted in latest issue of Martha Stewart magazine. It's a 6-foot, hand-welded beauty with lightweight recyclable metal and a powder-coated finish. The branches not only display your books, but other thoughtful items like keepsakes and accessories. It's a super cool design and would certainly create great conversation. The one big caveat however... it's a whopping $2,500. Not to worry, for that price it can do double duty as a Christmas tree for the holidays! Now don't get me wrong, I completely support artists, their craft and their prices. They can certainly chose to price their wares however they see fit. But can you imagine the shipping costs added in? Yikes. Thankfully I have the most talented woodcrafter of a Dad who would be happy to make something similar for me with a selection of wood from his sustainably grown collection. Now that's a better deal and much closer to my roots!

Images from DesignArtist website.

A Show of Icons

Icons are huge right now in every way. Seems we're all using icons to bring more attention to a variety of items to designate services, ideas and objects for greater awareness and marketing purposes. These icons basically describe something with as little as possible, the less is more idea.

So when I came upon visual designer Kyle Tezak's personal icon project, I thought it was oh so clever. The Madison Wisconsin based designer tried to get to the 'meat and potatoes' of some of his favorite books, movies and historical events by using only four icons. This ongoing icon project is posted on his Dribbble page where people voted on their favorites, which resulted in a tie betwee The Big Lebowski and The Life Aquatic. My personal favorite... I can't decide. They're all great in their own way.

And his fabulous project is going to be available in poster form soon from the fine folks at Delicious Design League in Chicago. So stay tuned to his website for a upcoming online store.

Images from Kyle Tezak website.

11 February 2011

Eat Your Veggies

For those who can't get to the farmer's market or buy veggies loose without any packaging altogether, British art student Ben Huttly has an idea. His produce packaging is 100 percent biodegradable, the twine is used from natural cotton and the labels are embedded with seeds, so that your supermarket purchase can also result in a homegrown harvest. Completely recyclable and biodegradable! The label text was also created through laser cutting to avoid the use of ink.

So forget about the number of rubber bands and twist ties keeping your bundles together, the next time you head to the market (farmer's or not), think about purchasing just the fruits and vegetables with nothing else attached or perhaps marketers will take notice and give Ben a call to introduce this fabulous idea to veggie shoppers worldwide.

via Ben Huttley on PSFK; Through experimentation and innovation I have developed a form of packaging that is 100 percent biodegradable and recyclable. If the packaging is discarded it will have a positive effect on the environment due to the seed embedded biodegradable paper. The twine used to secure the product and label is natural cotton and 100 percent biodegradable. The labels themselves have been produced using a laser cutting machine. This eliminates the use of harmful printing ink, as well as giving the packaging an esthetically pleasing organic look and feel.

Read more about his design approach and research on his blog here.

Images from Ben Huttly website.

10 February 2011

The Hunt for Business Identity

Honestly, I don't think I've ever posted anything about business cards on this blog before. How crazy is that? Well, here's the first one, and it's a beauty I must say. Melbourne based Thomas Williams, the very talented designer and editor of Process Journal, relaunched his studio website Hunt. An updated identity was also done in conjunction with the new website launch, and it's as modern and simple as they come. Pieces include business cards and marketing postcards.

via Hunt website: After a recent move, we took the opportunity to revisit and refresh our own studio identity. Although it still retains the original image and core values, the new identity reflects our progress as a studio. We also took this opportunity to recycle our previous printed collateral, triplexing our former promotional pieces between our new business cards and postcards.

For those who aren't in the Process Journal know, here's a little background. And it's definitely worth checking into here. Be sure to view the other editions here and here too.

via Hunt website; Process Journal is a quarterly released design publication designed and published by Hunt Studio. Process Journal showcases the very best of Australian and International design and is about capturing beautiful work in a printed publication that takes a step back and allows the design to do the talking.

Images from Hunt website.

09 February 2011

Numerical Purity

These decorative numbers by Randy Raharja of Kuala Lumpur, are utter perfection in their execution and quite beautiful to look at. He describes the series as beauty and meaning of numbers as typographic exploration. You can see all the numbers here, but I chose the asymmetric perfection of the number 8, well almost perfect that is.

Image from Behance portfolio.

07 February 2011

Photo of the Week

Calistoga, CA. There's something about old machinery I find intriguing. How they were invented, how they were manufactured, what they did and perhaps even still do. I found this little gem of a machine on the porch of the Frank Family Vineyard in Napa. It's a wonderful place for wine tasting indoors as well as out. They a big open grassy area with picnic tables and shady trees. Even more, they've got the best welcomes and it comes in the form of a big chocolate lab who pushes a slimy tennis ball your way for playtime. Besides being a great place for wine and playing with the winery dog, the machine pictured has something to do with bottling wine... I think.

06 February 2011


I'm just loving these old school MUNI Fast Passes from San Francisco. Imagine if all the mundane urban transportation passes, US money and voting ballots (just to name a few) were designed with a lot more TLC... I wonder how cool they could look?

See more over at the ISO50 blog.

Images from ISO50 blog.

Forget the Tagalongs

I was a Girl Scout back in the day when they actually rang your door bell in order to sell boxes of Tagalongs, Samosas and Do-Si-Dos to learn about courage, confidence and character (what a concept!) And since I'm old now, Girl Scouts that set up a table at the grocery store entrance or parents who take the order form to work, highly annoy me. These days Girl Scout cookies seem a little passé, but it's an annual traditional of institutional proportions, one that won't go away anytime soon... and not really what this post is about anyway.

Sorry Tagalongs, but I've moved on. I've become a bone fide graphic designer in my adulthood and now crave Pantone Chip Cookies ... and fellow creative Kim Neill has me covered! Instead of baking the same old Chocolate Chip cookies, she opted for something a little more delicious for her clients last year during the holidays and decided to make Pantone Chip Cookies. Can't decide between PMS 485 and PMS 183, eat both! And how about those Pantone Chip Tins! Reusable and recyclable. Marvelous! Kim was kind enough to share her recipe with us too.

Photos from Kim Neill website.

05 February 2011

A Fine Fellow

Pentagram's Michael Bierut recently designed poster for the upcoming Shepley Bulfinch Design Fellowship, is well, pretty darn beautiful. Shepley Bulfinch, a Boston-based architectural firm specializing in leading academic, healthcare, research, and civic institutions, asked Bierut to design a poster for the their annual summer fellowship.

The design brief from SB was to essentially 'match the quality of the candidates we’re seeking as this year’s Fellow: someone who combines a high-level and perhaps rare combination of extraordinary design talent, creativity, passion, intuition, appetite and ability.'

Michael's thoughts on the design [via Shepley Bulfinch]; To explain, the idea is that SHEPLEY BULFINCH SUMMER FELLOWSHIP is done in four lines of fairly thin condensed type that fill the poster from top to bottom (more or less corresponding to the four fold breaks). That type in turn knocks out of some big organic shapes that we will make out of torn paper or big fat brushstrokes. Some of the type is “lost” in the space in between the big shapes, so that the eye has to complete the letters. All of the required information slides down in a narrow column on the far right. We may opt to make the big shapes different colors. We may also opt to try to make the big shapes suggest something figurative, like maybe a flower, which I admit sounds a bit corny. (But hey, it’s summer!)

Simple and intriguing. True Bierut style.

Image from Sheply Bulfinch website.

03 February 2011

Images of Delicious Proportions

While I'm thinking about what fabulous munchies to make for the Super Bowl this weekend, I need to present San Francisco photographer Maren Caruso's work. I don't think I've ever seen food photography quite like this, peppered (pun intended yes) with amazing color, light and mood. You just can't help but be mesmerized with Maren's visually stunning images. She has so many incredible photos, I was overwhelmed with which ones to post, so be sure to check out the rest of her very impressive portfolio here.

Images from Maren Caruso website.

02 February 2011

Breaking Up Is Hard To Do

But if you're Jon Jackson and LA has been home nearly all your life and you've decided to move to NYC, there's only one way to make your break-up official... do it on a billboard. It happened from the 17th of December to the 15th of January. It was a fairly lengthy departure, but it had to be done. Five billboards, in five spots scattered around the city, provided the backdrop for Jon's personal farewell. My favorite No. 3 of 5 (shown above) was erected at Venice Blvd and 405. But be absolutely sure to check out Adios LA for the rest of them. They are simply hilarious and genius!

via Adios LA; Adios LA is a visual goodbye to the city Jon Jackson has called home for years as the artist heads east making New York his new home. Not wanting to string LA along, he decided to firmly break it off through a graphic billboard series posted on the famous streets of his first love.

See just how talented Mr. Jackson is at his portfolio site La Graphica. Congrats to Jon and his new Creative Director post at HUGE! It's no wonder why they hired him.

Image from Adios LA website.

Happy Groundhog

Chris Piascik never disappoints. Even on Groundhog day! Click on the image and watch...

Image from Chris Piascik website.

01 February 2011

Popular Faces of the World

Damn, this is fabulous! The 50 Most Popular Typefaces in the World. This lovely specimen of a creature was created by Seattle designer Shelby White. You can read all about it on his blog here and pre-order an 24" x 18" print here.

He also runs a top notch design inspiration blog called Designspiration. Check it out!

Image from Shelby White website.

Photo of the Week

Carlsbad, CA. While disembarking the train in Carlsbad recently, I came across the New Village Arts Theater, a fabulous local theater with lots of character and something for everyone. One thing I couldn't help to notice was their logo. I think it profoundly represents creativity, a modern voice and a passion for doing different things. Not sure who the creator is, but it's one I won't forget soon.
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