30 September 2012

Hanging with antlers

I've got a few friends who experience the seasons and live in areas where moose, deer and elk are abundant. This modular Antler and Horn Coat Rack by Barcelona-based architecture and design studio 5LAB would be a fun and unique addition to their home. 5LAB creates all sorts of modular and flexible objects and this coat rack is no different. You can add or remove the parts that serve as a rack, allowing different compositions depending on your needs. Brilliant!

Photos: Design Milk

29 September 2012

Breathing green

There are days you ask yourself 'how am I going to make it through this week?' Well, this week was one of those weeks and I suspect the next few could quite possibly be the same. On more than one occasion this week, I felt like my computer screen was blocking my breathing and my chest had the wait of the world on it. I stopped what I was doing and went outside. To breathe. That's all, to simply breathe, look up at the sky and breathe again. Okay, I got in a little stretch too. But there is something so undeniably calming about nature, getting outside and releasing whatever it is you need to into the air. However, if you can't drag yourself away to take a little recess break outside, then I recommend a few of these great green designs to bring the calm of nature inside. Like a beautiful planter table designed by Harvard Graduate School of Design student Emily Wettstein. It speaks volumes as a farm to table metaphor and you can plant whatever your heart desires down the middle. Spring and fall plantings would be my favorite! If you need something a little more practical, a shot of Hanging Glass Bubbles from Shane Powers will do the trick. Shane is a prop stylist, set designer and product designer, and combines a sleek modern aesthetic with the latest trends of indoor gardens and terrariums. He teamed up with West Elm to create these gorgeous high style, low-maintenance indoor gardens you can put almost anywhere. Breathe my friends, breathe!

Photos: West Elm and Emily Wettstein. Via Design Bureau

23 September 2012

Seeing eye to type

It's true, I've always admired the good old fashioned eye chart. Somehow the letters just intrigue me with their different sizes and neat spacing. And yes, it's gotten a little harder to read over the years, but nothing that some hipster specs couldn't solve. But here's a chart that will change all that. The Typometry Poster from Minneapolis-based Brainstorm Overload. There are 45 different fonts represented on the chart, both serif and sans-serif, with a capital 'A' and lower case 'a' for each. But don't worry, if your eyes are bad or you can't quite come up with that sans serif, this eye chart has answers on the back. But they've only printed a limited edition of 140 and these babies are hot, so you gotta act fast. The posters are available in their Etsy shop.

Photos: Brainstorm Overload

Custom tee. No bullshit.

Seriously, that's what the website says. 'Custom tee. No bullshit.' This is my kind of business. No sleazy car salesman crap, just get to the point, what do I get? A cool, customized Helvetitee. For $25 bucks you can put whatever your heart desires on a 100% cotton, ringspun, pre-shrunk, sofstyle tshirt. Cool as shit right? Thanks to Chico and Tom!

Photo: Helvetitee via DesignMilk

20 September 2012

Counting letterspace

Letterpress will always be alive and well. Even in this overwhelming digital age, the tactile lives on! One such fabulous example is The Counter Press, a London-based letterpress studio that produces small scale, hand-typeset, limited edition typographic prints. Doesn't that just sound dreamy? The small studio is run by graphic designers Elizabeth Ellis and David Marshall, so the Counter Press identity is of course, clean, minimal and fantastic! It's a combination of S&B Old Style Italic and De Little 296 for the logotype. All hand-set and tweaked to perfection. Beautiful! Don't miss their blog, it's chock full of typographic treats!

Photos: The Counter Press blog

19 September 2012

Hublot pops up

So I must admit, I wasn't quite sure what Hublot was. I had an idea it was some kind of accessory, but I needed to Google my suspicions to be absolutely sure. Yes, Hublot is one very expensive watch, worn by wealthy people. Of course! But the story actually starts here.... one of my inspirational design firms is Asylum, and "probably the best design agency in Singapore today" as quoted from ICON UK magazine. They do some pretty incredible design work and love to build experiential spaces. Their latest is a new pop-up store for, none other than Hublot, the official watch of the FIA Formula One Grand Prix and the upcoming Singapore Formula Grand Prix. They unveiled the new pop-up in the main atrium of Paragon Shopping Mall in the heart of Orchard Road, the Rodeo Drive of Singapore. It's a 'colossal structure that fuses art and functionality, inspiring a design that pulsates with the energy of Hublot.' The space, entitled Big Bang, spans across two floors and contains tens of thousands of black gems raining down from above, 'creating an illusion of a store that has popped up.' Then Paragon building itself is pretty impressive, add to that a sparkling black rain and I would have to think this would leave quite the impression. So what's the real reason I'm a little excited about Paragon? I used to live behind Paragon and shopped for groceries in the basement at Sogo daily. I watched it grow from a small 4 story building to a taller, modern, light-filled space, so I have a little bit of a soft spot for it. I'll be back someday to see how it has grown even more. In the meantime, visitors to the Hublot pop-up are in for a real treat!

Photos: Asylum

18 September 2012

Some real nice digs

Now these are some digs I could really call home. Spacious, stylish, minimal, full of textures and materials, lots of light.... and oh, that incredibly long red work table. I'm dizzy. And by removing the roof, retaining the lower floors and constructing a new upper floor set back on all sides, they created upper decks and balconies to die for, like the cozy one off the kitchen area.

Check out lots more photos of these stunning Abbotsford Warehouse apartments in Melbourne Australia by ITN Architects on Abduzeedo.

Photos: Abduzeedo

Tavern Vinegar makes a splash

Who knew vinegar packaging could look so tasty! The very talented Cleveland-based Christine Wisneiski designed this fabulous typographic packaging for Tavern Vinegar Co., a line of housemade artisanal vinegars by Chef Jonathon Sawyer, owner of The Greenhouse Tavern. The type treatment and black label positioning is perfection!

Photos: DesignWorkLife

17 September 2012

Design is simple, sort of

The heat was on last week my friends and I'm not talking about just the temperature, for which we topped out at 106° on Friday! It surely must have been a record. Between the heat, too many project deadlines and a water leak, I'm surprised I have any hair left today. But I know it could have been worse, right? So today, for a little reminder of how life can be, even in design, here is a quote from the great Paul Rand. Rand, an icon of graphic design, was perhaps best known for his logos of the 50's and 60's, but he was also probably the most quotable designer of all time. He had wise words and inspiring sound bites in spades.  

The fabulous poster was done by The Counter Press, hand typeset in a 6-line condensed grot and printed black. Simple and beautiful!

Photo: The Counter Press

09 September 2012

Breakfast of champions

So yesterday while perusing the fabulous Afar blog, I came across this post and started to drool, literally. It describes the most delicious open-faced fried egg and bacon sandwich, topped with provolone cheese and Anaheim peppers. Now if that doesn't sound like the most wonderful sandwich to have on a Sunday morning (right about now actually), I don't what else does. But I'll have to hop a plane to San Francisco's Outerlands Cafe to get one, the latest foodie destination in the Sunset District. The vibe of the place is described as a cozy haven nestled amidst the vast landscape of Ocean Beach for sea goers who seek warmth, shelter, food and fellowship. The walls are even made of wood salvaged from old fences around the Bay Area and definitely sounds like my kind of place! Sorry, I couldn't find a photo of this amazing egg sandwich, but it's certainly something I'm going to try in my own kitchen very soon.

Photo: GQ

Book Review: Elegantissima

Louise Fili is one of the most amazing typographers and hand-letterers in the world, who specializes in the design of restaurant and food packaging. Her nearly forty-year design career is featured in a beautiful new book, Elegantissima, showcasing her sketches, references, inspiration and design process. She's an inspiration to aspiring and experienced designers alike and certainly one of my design heros. Anyone interested in advertising, food, restaurants, Italy and typography really must own this book, in addition to her upcoming Scripts, co-authored with the equally amazing Steven Heller.

Photo: Louise Fili website

All bark, no bite

Doggy is like SOS for dogs. It's a rather difficult to read font-family rendering words as dogs through the OpenType ligature feature. Depending on the length of a word the dog respectively gets longer or shorter. One letter words result in a sitting dog. After the great success of the initial Dachshund style it was bred into a family of four styles with the fonts Chihuahua, Poodle and Duck. I'm not sure how productive it would be to use, but it certainly would be amusing.

Photo: Languste Fonts

07 September 2012

Ingenius tea illustrations

Want to see something completely mesmerizing? Check out these tea illustrations by Moscow-based illustrator/designer Andrew Gorkovenko. Created as a packaging series for Triptea, the illustrations use the tea contained within each box and are truly amazing. Read more about the process on his website.

Photos: Colossal

02 September 2012

Shrewsbury sparkles

Shrewsbury's new look is nothing short of stellar and I must say, I absolutely love it! The concept and execution is perfection!

Tired of being overshadowed by better known neighboring towns of Hay-on-Wye and Ludlow, England, Shrewsbury tapped two London agencies, &Smith and We All Need Words for a new look. Shrewsbury "isn't a cookie-cutter row of the same shops, it's a modern town with a lot of history mixed in," says designer Dan Bernstein of London agency &Smith. To add to that, “It needed good ideas and practical things that everyone in the town could use," explained Rob Mitchell who runs We All Needs Words with partner Molly Mackey. The aim of the branding campaign was to promote Shrewsbury as a prime location to live, work, visit and invest in, but Shrewsbury didn't have one single, overriding thing it was known for, like a music festival or market. And that proved difficult to promote the bustling, historic British village.

Therefore the new brand is twofold; graphically, the branding is based on a black and white pattern which nods towards the many wood-beamed Tudor buildings in the town and is used on business cards and other graphic elements. Additionally, they came up with the concept of a customizable logo that local businesses could use and employ to help market themselves. So the collaborating agencies created the slogan "A Shrewsbury One-Off Since…" that focuses on authenticity--something Shrewsbury has in excess. The slogan, printed on rubber stamps and stickers, gives shop owners the latitude to personalize the slogan to fit their wares and be used in maps, brochures and advertising. The idea is that the stamp logo can be used to show how old (or how fresh) something is, from a building that's as old as 1586 to a cake that was baked at 6.30am

In doing so, they came up with a way to sum up what was memorable and could be used in lots of ways by different people. How cool is that? And in time, the new Shrewsbury brand will be applied to the website at Visit Shrewsbury.

This project has certainly inspired me to see how to give San Clemente a brand overhaul, because as with Shrewsbury, San Clemente has the most wonderful shops and owners, and a diverse offering. It's not just a summer surf town, there's a lot more to San Clemente than the beach... all year round!

Read more at FastCoDesign.

Photos: FastCoDesign

01 September 2012

Wild fun

I recently came across this astonishingly cute and thoughtful rebrand of the Chester Zoo in Manchester, England and had to share. In a collaboration between design agency Music and London-based illustrator Adam Hayes, the new brand identity centers on a bespoke handdrawn typeface and logotype, creating a playful voice and personality for both the zoo itself and its inhabitants. See more over at Creative Review.

Photos: Creative Review
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