Monday, November 30, 2009

What's Old is New

Target began the trend a while ago with retro cookie packaging. Walmart's candy packaging followed. Pepsi released their "throwbacks" and Target's board games have jumped on the boat as well.

It now seems that every time I walk through a store there is a vintage package on the shelf. Even though it's a trendy marketing ploy, I do love it. Those who have followed this blog know that I tend to like simplicity, so these packages suit my sensibilities quite well. But I wonder what others think?

(images courtesy of TheDieline)

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Tuesday, November 17, 2009


Ok, here's a post for my fellow-design nerds, from the New York Times. Apparently I'm not the only one who gets bent out of shape when I see typefaces used inappropriately. Enjoy.

Mistakes in Typography Grate the Purists

Dirt. Noise. Crowds. Delays. Scary smells. Even scarier fluids swirling on the floor. There are lots of reasons to loathe the New York City subway, but one very good reason to love it — Helvetica, the typeface that’s used on its signage.

Seeing the clean, crisp shapes of those letters and numbers at station entrances, on the platforms and inside the trains is always a treat, at least it is until I spot the “Do not lean ...” sign on the train doors. Ugh! There’s something not quite right about the “e” and the “a” in the word “lean.” Somehow they seem too small and too cramped. Once I’ve noticed them, the memory of the clean, crisp letters fades, and all I remember are the “off” ones.

That’s the problem with loving typography. It’s always a pleasure to discover a formally gorgeous, subtly expressive typeface while walking along a street or leafing through a magazine. (Among my current favorites are the very elegant letters in the new identity of the Paris fashion house, Céline, and the jolly jumble of multi-colored fonts on the back of the Rossi Ice Cream vans purring around London.) But that joy is swiftly obliterated by the sight of a typographic howler. It’s like having a heightened sense of smell. You spend much more of your time wincing at noxious stinks, than reveling in delightful aromas.

If it’s bad for me (an amateur enthusiast who is interested in typography, but isn’t hugely knowledgeable about it), what must it be like for the purists? Dreadful, it seems. I feel guilty enough about grumbling to my friends whenever I see this or that typographic gaffe, but am too ignorant to spot all of them, unlike the designers who work with typefaces on a daily basis, and study them lovingly.

“I think sometimes that being overly type-sensitive is like an allergy,” said Michael Bierut, a partner in the Pentagram design group in New York. “My font nerdiness makes me have bad reactions to things that spoil otherwise pleasant moments.” One of his (least) favorite examples is the Cooper Black typeface on the Mass sign outside a beautifully restored 1885 Carpenter Gothic church near his weekend home in Cape May Point, New Jersey. “Cooper Black is a perfectly good font, but in my mind it is a fat, happy font associated with the logo for the ‘National Lampoon,’ the sleeve of the Beach Boys’ ‘Pet Sounds’ album and discount retailers up and down the U.S.,” Mr. Bierut explained. “I wouldn’t choose it as a font for St. Agnes Church even as a joke. Every time I go by, my vacation is, for a moment, ruined.”

Choosing an inappropriate typeface is one problem. Applying one inaccurately is another. Sadly for type nuts, movies often offend on both counts. Take “Titanic,” in which the numbers on the dials of the ship’s pressure gauges use Helvetica, a font designed in 1957, some 45 years after the real “Titanic” sank. Helvetica was also miscast in “Good Night and Good Luck,” which takes place in the early 1950s. “I still find it bizarre to see type or lettering that is wrong by years in a period movie in which the architecture, furniture and costumes are impeccable, and where somebody would have been fired if they were not,” said Matthew Carter, the typography designer based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The same applies to TV shows, including the otherwise excellent “Mad Men.” It is rare to find a review of the show that does not rave about the accuracy of its early 1960s styling, yet the “Mad Men” team is woefully sloppy when it comes to typography. Mark Simonson, a graphic designer in St. Paul, Minnesota, blogs about typographic misdemeanors on his Web site,, and he once catalogued the flaws in “Mad Men.” The 1992 typeface, Lucida Handwriting, appears in an ad in the opening titles. Gill Sans, a British typeface designed in 1930 but rarely used in the United States until the 1970s, is used for office signage. A lipstick ad features one wholly appropriate 1958 font, Amazone, but two incongruous ones, 1978’s Balmoral and 1980’s Fenice. He noted lots of other clunkers too, but admits that he has spotted fewer new errors in the most recent episodes of “Mad Men.”

“I guess they must be doing a better job,” Mr. Simonson said, adding that the same applies to other TV shows and movies, with the unfortunate exception of the animated feature film “Up,” in which he espied Verdana, a font designed by Mr. Carter in 1996 specifically for use on computers, in scenes set in the 1930s and 1940s. “But I’m not sure how picky you should be with a cartoon.”

Yet another common blunder is the misuse of the individual characters in a typeface that includes obscure versions of letters and numbers as well as more familiar ones. These gaffes often occur when lazy designers confuse one character with another, thereby making the typographic equivalent of a spelling mistake.

The British typography designer, Paul Barnes, remembers seeing one on a poster in a Gap store. “It was set in Adobe Caslon and was supposed to say ‘Your first clothes,”’ he recalled. “Rather than use an ‘f’ and ‘I,’ they decided to use a long ‘s’ and dotless ‘i,’ thus spelling ‘sirst’ rather than ‘first.’ ” He is equally irritated by similar errors in the use of historic fonts, like the archaic black letter typefaces that date back to the invention of the printing press in the 15th century.

That said, even the type-savvy Mr. Barnes claims to have become more tolerant — or less intolerant — of such howlers over the years. “I’m not sure if it’s a case of growing older, or maybe I have lower expectations,” he explained. “In France recently, I drank some nice Côtes du Rhône wine with a fairly dreadful typographic dress. I was less bothered than I used to be; after all, it’s the wine that’s important!”

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Thursday, November 12, 2009

I heart Anthropologie

I have to say, I haven't been shopping for clothes much lately. Mostly because I can't fit into anything cute for the season, and I don't want to spend any money on maternity tents :) However, I went into Anthropologie yesterday to pick up a gift for a friend and was reminded of how much I really love the store. Even though I couldn't enjoy any of the clothes, I spent a good hour perusing their jewelry, accessories and home decor. They have such an eclectic mix of goodies. It's almost like shopping at a flea market, without all the junk.

Take a gander at these lovelies, and gear up for the shopping season!
These fabric bound classics would make a stunning bookshelf collection (whether or not you actually read them).
Original framed collage by Trey Speegle. Anthropologie has teamed up with various artists, and you can now shop their "gallery" online. I love that they are supporting artists and giving the public a great venue to buy original artwork. You can view the gallery by clicking here.

I love, love, LOVE this mirror made out of old found mirrors. I've been looking for the perfect one to hang over our fireplace, and this may be it. I think it's a project I could even accomplish myself.

Seriously? A wool sweater clock? Could this be ANY cuter?

Ok, I'm probably the furthest thing from a 1950's housewife. But I can't help finding these aprons terribly charming. Now all I need are some pearls...

I'm afraid I could be here all day pulling gorgeous items to oogle, so I'll stop now. Just know that there are hundreds of other gorgeous items just waiting to be discovered. Have fun!

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Thursday, October 29, 2009

Jenn Ski

Apparently my head is still in baby-land & decorating-land, but I was smitten as soon as I saw these illustrations by Jenn Ski. I love her color palette and how she incorporates texture into her illustrations. I also love innocence & simplicity of her work. They have a retro flair which is so much fun, and something I've been really into lately. Her animal prints would be completely adorable in a baby's room, while her other artwork would brighten any room in the house.

Luckily for us, Jenn has an Etsy shop where you can buy one of the beauties for yourself! The holiday's are coming... happy shopping!

Click here for Jenn's website.
Click here for Jenn's Etsy shop.

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Friday, October 23, 2009


We live in a crazy age. It seems like everything we come into contact with on a daily basis is disposable, convenient, plastic, etc. We live in an age when growing your own food and recycling is a trend, not a way of life. But maybe it should be. I'm so taken with items that go back to basics. Products without plastic, noise, lights, batteries and plugs. There is a joy in simplicity.

So I was struck when I saw this rocking horse on Etsy (via NOTCOT). Created by Stil Novo Design, the horse is made from reclaimed oak wood from French wine barrels. Stil Novo is a family run business dedicated to:
"creat(ing) the highest quality wood crafts and specialty pieces. We love the fact that we are able to help the environment by recycling the raw material and to turn it into an object of practical elegance at the same time."

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Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Chair Obsession Continues

Ok, so we've been moving house, which has create my loooooooong absence for this sorely-neglected blog. But I'm back to give it some love. However, since I'm entrenched in decorating, patterns, pillows, paint, etc... we're going to be on a home-goods kick for a while.

First an update... I did purchase my beautiful ghost chair from the previous post. It's stunning, and I'm thrilled. My hubby may still not understand it, but I think he secretly loves it. I'm also now obsessed with the classic Eames Rocker. Available at places like Design Within Reach and Modernica... it's so cute!

And who doesn't love a great accent pillow to add some pop or whimsy to a room? It's like a lovable piece of art. Here are some of my recent favs: 
DwellStudio - Robin Motif Boudoir Pillow

Kpkp Company - Coptic

ferm LIVING - Velo Silk Pillow in Black

olli & lime  - Billie Pillow in Burnt Orange


Monday, June 22, 2009

My Obsession

We're buying a house. And that means endless options in paint, wall paper, furniture, flooring, planting, hardware, lions and tigers and bears, oh my! The list goes on and on. I'm trying to be practical. I really am. But sometimes it's not so easy for a designer. It's not my fault, really.

So, my latest obsession is the Louis Ghost Chair by Philippe Starck (for Kartell). They are light, airy and contemporary, but I love the hint of Baroque styling. I picture this with a shabby chic table for an eclectic vibe. Now, if only I could convince my husband that $400 for a plastic chair is reasonable!


Saturday, June 6, 2009

I wish I could draw

The gorgeous illustrations by Alberto Cerriteno are so inspiring. I love the layering, patterns and bold colors. Simply gorgeous. Enjoy the eye candy.

You can view more of Alberto's work on his website. Click here.

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Thursday, April 23, 2009

Patterns, patterns everywhere

Anyone who has read this blog in the past knows of my infatuation with patterns. I don't know why... they just make me happy. The colors, and repetition and illustrations are endearing to me.

So here is another lovely illustrator and pattern designer – Jessica
Gonacha. She has a fun, hand-drawn style. I love how even her paintings use layers of patterns to add interest and depth.

You can see more of Jessica's work on her website. Click here.
Or visit her
Etsy shop. Click here.

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Monday, April 6, 2009


Christine & Justin are artists from NYC, who think quite differently. They have two websites that intrigue me. One is called "Needs for Sale," the other is "Wants for Sale." Basically, they create charming paintings of things that they want (a shopping spree in SoHo!) or things that are needed by specific charities such as Habitat for Humanity. The price of the painting correlates to the price of the item needed or wanted. You get an adorable painting, and they use the money for the purpose highlighted in the painting. It's a bit like paying it forward, I suppose.

They also update a flickr album with images of the paintings that were bought and the actual items the money was used on.

I love it. Here are some examples. For more work, visit their website. Click here.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Back in the Day

This is really funny. Well... if you're a Photoshop user, this is really funny. I just saw this on the blog of my friend Miki... who is a super-talented photographer in Phoenix. Here's a depiction of what Photoshop was like before the advent of computers.
This was created by an art agency in Indonesia called Bates 141 Jakarta. Creative Director--Hendra Lesmono, Art Directors Andreas Junus and Irawandhani Kamarga.

I'm very happy I live in the age of computers. Though, they will never take the place of a hand-made look. Every medium has its place.

Miki's Blog: click

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Friday, February 20, 2009

Superhero Supply Store

As a follow up to this post about the Pirate Supply Store in California... you will be pleased to know that you can now buy Superhero supplies in Brooklyn. The Superhero store is also part of the 826 initiative to encourage creative writing skills in students. Again, there is an amazing storefront selling the necessities that all great superheros need. Plus they have useful tools such as a cape-testing area. I mean, how could a superhero shop anywhere else?

The design of the store and packaging is fantastic, and perfect for the subject matter. It was designed by Sam Potts. He did a stellar job. This looks like the type of project that every designer dreams of.

Click here for more of Sam's work.
Click here for more info on 826NYC.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009


I'm loving this pattern and textile design by Sanna Annukka (for marimekko)!

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Tuesday, February 3, 2009


I love, love, LOVE this print by Rebecca Puig of Sugarboo Designs. Sugarboo creates beautiful rustic prints and home decor. Everything has a crafted feel about it. This particular pieces contains a quote is by Emily Dickinson, and has always been one of my favorites. It can be purchased from Pottery Barn Kids.

"Hope is the thing with feathers that perches in the soul, and sings the tune without the words, and never stops at all."

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Monday, January 19, 2009

The Eve of History

As the world ramps up for Inauguration Day tomorrow, the excitement is becoming contagious. Whether you voted for Mr. Obama or not, it's hard to ignore the feeling of hope in the air.

Therefore, I thought I'd share this tribute with you. Since Obama's campaign spurred numerous pieces of iconic art, it's only appropriate to honor this occasion with an amazing art show. As found on Notcot. Enjoy....
Manifest Hope: DC is absolutely incredible, regardless of how you may feel about Obama, or the visual idolization of our new icon ~ the quality of art in this show, and the amount of art in this show is absolutely stunning. The focus of Manifest Hope: DC is three themes… Manifest Change - Health Care Reform, Manifest Unity - Workers’ Rights, and Manifest Opportunity - The Green Economy ~ in fact 15 of these works were picked from over a thousand submitted in the online contest!


























Saturday, January 3, 2009

Do you see what I see?

I am smitten by the work of Tebe Interesno, as seen on Graphic-Exchange. I love the fantasy world he has created. It's so magical, and emotional... yet it seems like it could almost be real if you just paid closer attention the the world around you.

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Saturday, December 27, 2008

826 Valencia

Founded by Dave Eggers (McSweeney's editor), 826 Valencia is a nonprofit tutoring center with a twist. Eggers & team found the perfect location for their tutoring center, but were told that due to zoning, they were required to also have a storefront. In true fashion, the team involved decided that a Pirate Supply Store would be best. Let me clarify, this is not a store that sells pirate toys. This is a store that sells supplies to pirates. We're talking glass eyes, peg legs, hooks, and parrot food.

Recently, 826 Valencia enlisted the help of San Fransisco design firm, office, to develop the store's new identity along with about 50 new products. The results are fabulously fun and creative. All proceeds go directly to benefit 826 Valencia's writing programs, which have now extended to New York (Superhero supply store), Boston, Michigan, Seattle (Space Travel supply store), LA (Time Travel mart), and Chicago (Spy store).

This is the culmination of creativity, design and community service at its best. You can watch Dave Eggars' Ted talk about this initiative here. It's well worth the 24 minutes.

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Sunday, December 14, 2008

Best self-promo

From Because Studio in the UK. This goes under the "wish I had thought of that" category.

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Saturday, December 13, 2008

Cute overload

Love, love, LOVE these adorable paperweights from züny, whose tagline is "Makes your life funny & easy." What a nice sentiment to strive for :) These are the type of items that just make me smile. I love collar as an added touch. I'm having a hard time picking a favorite. Donkey or elephant??? Maybe the giraffe?

Unfortunately I don't see any US retailers listed on there site. Perhaps you can have them shipped. It would be well worth the effort!

Click here for the züny site.

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Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Women of Design

There are a handful of "rock star" designers in this world. People that most people in the design world are aware of, in awe of, or in envy of. Most of these tend to be men. And this is due to the fact that there are simply more men than women in the roles of creative directors and business owners. But now there is a book out from HOW celebrating the women of design. While I think it's a bit silly that we need such a book in 2008, I acknowledge that we do. It's nice to see some familiar and not-so-familiar names gracing it's pages. This is a great gift idea for any designer you may know. Ahem.

Here's a write up and sample pages from
Under Consideration:

The immense body of work produced by graphic designers around the world is astoundingly varied, rich and widely celebrated. Yet in publications, conferences and other public realms, women designers tend to be outnumbered by their male counterparts whose appearances, work and achievements are constantly in the spotlight. Luckily, it’s a reversing trend. While this book does not attempt to relieve the imbalance, it does bring full attention to the wonderful work, careers and contributions of women designers, writers, teachers and entrepreneurs around the world.

The women in this book have been divided into three groups, representative of the time in which their influence was most heartily felt: Groundbreakers, Pathfinders and Trailblazers. These three generations have helped shape the modern landscape of design. Explore the work, ideals and ventures that have helped define the last fifty years of the graphic design profession. Learn about the women who helped establish design’s relevance, importance and impact — and the ones who carry their tradition into new territory.

Sample Spreads
Sample, Louise Fili

Sample, Chapter Introduction

Sample, Carin Goldberg

Sample, Fanette Mellier

Sample, Debbie Millman

Sample, Irma Boom

Sample, Quote Alice Twemlow

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Sunday, December 7, 2008

So long gone

Sorry for the lame lack of posting lately. I'll blame it on work, and vacation, and choosing sleep over blogging. But I'm back on it.

I guess I'm still missing London, so I just had to blog about these UK stamps celebrating icons of British design. I love the simplicity of these stamps and how they really hero the object. No fear of white space here. Yay! From Creative Review:

Stamps of Approval
Posted by Mark, 26 November 2008, 10:43

A set of first class stamps are to be issued in January next year commemorating ten icons of British design. The Royal Mail’s new series offers up a discernably nostaligic look at some British Design Classics, largely culled from the 1930s and 1960s.

RJ Mitchell’s Spitfire, George Carwardine’s angelpoise lamp, Harry Beck’s map of the London Underground network and Edward Young’s designs for Penguin (below) all originate from the 1930s.

The series of ten also includes Sir Giles Gilbert Scott’s telephone box (his K2 design is from 1926) and Robin Day’s polypropylene chair for Hille Seating from 1963.

While the design of the Mini (originally launched in 1959) has moved with the times and the 1965 mini skirt is still a classic of contemporary fashion, classic designs like the Routemaster bus (manufactured between 1954 and 1968) and Concorde (1969-2003) have been retired relatively recently.

The stamps will be issues on 13 January 2009. A “prestige stamp book”, issued alongside the stamps, will provide a more extensive background and history of the designs.

To mark the Mini’s 50th and Concorde’s 40th birthdays, Royal Mail is also issuing a “generic sheet” of 20 stamps (Mini series designed by Magpie; Concorde by Neon) and “medal covers” for each which have been designed by the Royal Mint Engraving Team. All stamps and sets will be available from

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Saturday, November 1, 2008

You can judge a book by it's cover

I shop for wine and books in the same way... by their covers. But while there is a lot of coverage in the design world around wine label design, you don't hear quite as much about book covers. However, books are the epitome of design. They have to draw a reader in and give them a real sense of the book before they open it. They are highly conceptual and often painstakingly illustrated. Many covers are works of art in their own right.

Recently, I found a blog called FaceOut Books that focuses on the product and process of book jacket design. I love the detail given on each project and the design process. It's a great source of inspiration as well. Below are just a smattering of interesting covers I found on it. Click here for the website.

Designer: Paul Buckley
Photography: Fredrik Broden

Designer: Jennifer Wang

Designer: Philip Pascuzzo

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

My Guys

A friend just sent me a link to the work of Meredith Dittmar who creates intriguing art (some cute, some disturbing) through polymer and acrylic. Aside from the wall art and sculpture, she also has a cute line of "my guys." Think ugly dolls made out of clay and you'll get the idea. Very cute. I used to work with clay a lot back in the day, this may inspire me to take it up again.

From her website:
Dittmar's work is featured in the books Dot dot Dash and Mascotte 2, along with numerous magazines and online publications. In conjunction with her artwork she works as an independent character designer and maintains her company Corporatepig, through which she continues to create thousands of unique handmade characters called "My Guys".

here for Meredith's portfolio. Below are some of my favorite of her artwork and her guys. Thanks, Lisa.

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Monday, September 29, 2008

Community Bridge

5 Years.
1 Artist - William Cochran.
10 Assistants.

1 Bridge.

1 Community - Frederick, Maryland.

This mural project has transformed an ordinary concrete bridge, into a gorgeous work of public art. It would be wonderful if other cities could take an eyesore and turn it into a piece of beauty and pride for the community. See for yourself:




Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Self Analysis

I recently came across an interesting article from Designer, Armin Vit, took an honest look at some of his logo designs that "never made it" for one reason or another. In the process, he noticed quite a lot of similarities between the logos. This would be an interesting, and perhaps frightening, exercise for most designers to go through. What does it say about us, our preference, our likes and dislikes. How much were we designing for ourselves instead of for the brief.

Here's a snippet of the article:
As a respite from the pristine show and tells of finished work sprinkled with anecdotes that support the fabulous work on screen I wanted to focus on the unglamorous side of graphic design. The endless revisions, the variations, the changes, the odd requests — “I like turtles, can my logo have a turtle?” — and the inevitable doom of much of the work we do as bezier- and pixel-based compost for piles of archived CDs, DVDs and 200-gigabyte hard drives. For my slide show I went through almost ten years of archives looking for all the files that never quite made it… the good, the bad and the ug…

Below is the flow chart analysis (click on the chart to enlarge). Click here to read the full article and see the logos.

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Happy Monsters

What's cuter than a family of funny looking monsters? Um... not much. Yann le Coroller works in the broadcast industry as a 2D/3D designer. While I do like the motion work, his illustration have a certain appeal on their own. Here are some portfolio pieces to brighten your day. To view Yann's full range of work, click here.

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Friday, September 5, 2008

Take Two

You can't turn on the TV, or open a newspaper, without hearing some reference to "being green", reducing your carbon footprint, reusing, recycling, etc, etc. I advocate this and try to apply it to my daily life. But here are some people who take it to a whole new level–ART. (Found via

Jeremy Mayer de-constructs old typewriters to create fantastic sci-fi creatures.

Beverly Ng's "Spark Lamp" collects solar energy by day, and becomes a night light once the sun sets. Additionally, it provides digital feedback to your home computer to track your energy consumption. Pretty smart little lamp!

Recycled skateboard jewelry by Maple XO. I love their motto: "Save Landfill Space in Style."

A new use for the everyday lightbulb. Who knew they were so pretty? Buenos Aires-based sustainable design studio Minimahuella creates these smart reminders of the choices we make.

Now, what will you create? {Submissions are encouraged!}

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Monday, September 1, 2008

Logo land

Some well know logos have recently shed their 1980's skin, for a fresher, trendier look:

Walmart has changed the spelling of their name (no more hyphen), opted for a friendlier lower-case font, and a brighter color palette. Gone is the star, and in its place is an ambiguous light "burst." Well, it is more pleasing to look at. I'm not sure how "ownable" this burst icon is, or what exactly it's supposed to represent... but it's definitely more modern. There is a chance that it's trendy and will look dated in the future, but that remains to be seen. At the end of the day, I think the original logo spoke more to the brand... crowded, frustrating stores and a dictatorship toward the brands they choose to sell ;)

Stop & Shop is more of a North East institution. The original logo is chunky and a bit garish, but it's totally recognizable. While the new logo is pretty... it is certainly a complete overhaul. Nothing remains of the original brand equity. It's a bit trendy, and again, I wonder about it's timelessness. Frankly, I wonder what exactly it is. A flower? A fruit bowl? I guess it does speak to freshness, and that is a good thing for any supermarket. Thoughts?

(Images from


Thursday, August 21, 2008

Whimsy Wins

I'm loving these whimsical illustrations by Alex Dukal of Argentina.

Click: Alex Dukal


Friday, August 15, 2008

Olympic Fever

Everyday since the Olympics began, I run home to watch some live action, check Michael Phelps' medal count, and pray the woman's gymnasts stay n the beam.

In the midst of all the action, is the beautiful artwork surrounding it all. Below is an interesting article by the AIGA with the commissioned artist for the '08 Games: Mark T. Smith.

The Olympics of Illustration: An Interview with Mark T. Smith

What does it mean to be an “official” artist? In the old Soviet Union it meant being sanctioned by the state to produce what the state wanted. In China during the Cultural Revolution it meant adhering to the aesthetic dictates of the government. But as an official 2008 Olympic artist selected by the U.S. Olympic Committee, Mark T. Smith—who has previously created original artwork for Rolling Stone, Absolut Vodka and Chrysler, among others—is responsible for producing a gallery of art to be used as posters and promotional materials for the Summer Games in Beijing. In this case, Smith’s official status allows him the freedom to express himself and interpret this major international event in his own style, with his own imagery. Here, Smith discusses the line he has to toe and the one he refuses to cross.

Smith’s dragon poster for the Beijing 2008 Olympics.

Heller: How did you get the job as an official illustrator of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games?

Smith: The Olympics project came to me through a series of professional contacts. Several different agents and galleries represent my artwork; it was through these connections that I was presented to the U.S. Olympic Committee and selected as an official Olympic artist.

Heller: What exactly does this officialdom entail?

Smith: I was commissioned to create an image for the Beijing 2008 Olympics. In addition to the creation of the artwork, I have commitments to some promotional related activities, such as poster signings and personal appearances.

Heller: Will your work compliment the official identity of the Olympics?

Smith: The artwork is scheduled to be included in the presentation of the American experience in the Olympic village. I view the artwork as a stand-alone piece of the larger identity campaign.

Heller: Have you ever done anything like this before?

Smith: This commission is unique in that it the first piece of artwork that I created for a truly global market. I have created many images that have been seen by very large numbers of people, advertising campaigns such as the “Absolut Smith” commission in 1996. The Olympic commission will dwarf that audience in sheer numbers and global reach.

Smith’s previous work includes a cover illustration for Miami Skyline magazine (left) and a commission for Absolut.

Heller: Did you develop a style exclusive to the Olympics?

Smith: No. Within the breadth of my visual language contains a variety of platforms to communicate a concept. This is just one of the many paintings that I created this year.

Heller: Judging from the abstract, symbolic look of your imagery, you seem to have had creative freedom, but how much?

Smith: I had complete freedom to design the image. Because of the consistency and quality of my images, I am always called on to “do what I do”—most commercial projects that I participate in have a larger amount of input in terms of imagery from the client. The image for the Olympics was presented as a sketch; after the approval of the sketch, the final artwork was created, along with a series of related works. The U.S. Olympic Committee approved the artwork without any changes.

Heller: The Chinese allow art to flourish, but within distinct proscriptions. Were you given any guidelines?

Two-color version of Smith’s Olympic dragon poster.

Smith: Because the commission came from the U.S. Olympic Committee there was no input from the Chinese government. Any guidelines or parameters were placed by me on the design of the image. For example, I wanted to create an image that was universal in appeal and an image that could transcend languages and cultural divides.

Heller: Should you run up against censorship, what is your plan?

Smith: It would be an understatement to say that the Chinese are in an unusual and difficult transitional period in their country’s history. I expect that they will have many other, more pressing issues at the time of the games to deal with than my painting. That said, if my artwork were censored, I would have to rely on the voice of the global free press to assist my efforts to have a well-earned place at the event.

Heller: What do you hope to achieve?

Smith: I have used this commission as a platform to discuss larger societal issues surrounding the Chinese government policies toward Tibet, Darfur, the environment and the impending global integration of China into the world and its markets. However, my artwork has seldom been created with an activist or political agenda—this Olympic piece has neither. This commission comes at a time when China is being examined under the spotlight of international media attention surrounding the games. The intense interest in China’s internal and external policies has fostered an environment where these topics are being discussed frequently. I hope to contribute to the public discussion on these issues.

Heller: So, is there an agenda for your artwork?

Smith: My participation in the Beijing Olympics was to create a piece of artwork that visually bridged the gap between China and the United States and raised funds for the U.S. Olympic team. This project has afforded me the opportunity to speak about issues that are normally left to political pundits, ambassadors and the like; for an artist—and more importantly, a citizen—to have this platform is a rare occasion. I have the responsibility to speak on topics that I have a strong opinion about and a responsibility to use this time in the media spotlight to be an agent of change. I am not beholden to any Olympic sponsor or political agenda and I am not the spokesperson for any particular cause or movement. I can and do only represent my views on China-American relations.

Heller: What, in fact, is your position regarding these relations?

Smith: I believe very strongly that the United States and the world must continue a dialogue with China. It is precisely because of this that events like the Olympics are of the utmost importance. It starts dialogues where there was none, or it can offer a safe topic to start a deeper relationship between nations with conflicting interests or large cultural gaps.

A sketch (left) and painted variation on Smith’s dragon theme for the 2008 Olympic Games.

Heller: There was talk about boycotting the Games. By virtue of doing this art, I presume you are not in favor?

Smith: To boycott the Games would end this dialogue, and boycotts that have been used in the past have never been effective at achieving their stated goals. All we have to do is look at our relationship with Cuba to see an example of an ineffective boycott.

Our Olympic athletes should have the opportunity to represent the country on the world stage—the United States has produced countless Olympic champions that have dedicated their lives, literally, to the pursuit of excellence in a specific athletic contest. These people have spent countless hours, days and years preparing—they deserve the right to complete against the world’s best. In some ways these athletes become unofficial ambassadors for the country of their origin. There are so many other ways to effect change on the world stage; to use these Olympic athletes as a pawn in that game would be a shame.

Heller: Do you believe in some way your work will contribute to the dialogue?

Smith: I believe that the primary purpose of art is to ennoble the public. This ethos is always a large part of my commission selection process. I look for projects that will touch as many people as possible. In addition, I believe that artists have a responsibility to communicate to the public on a wide variety of topics. Being an artist means in a larger sense being a problem-solver. Most artists have an unusual way of looking at problems and challenges. This can be a useful and interesting contribution to a dialogue such as this one. I hope that the artwork can be a small example of how two cultures can be interconnected in a productive and positive way, and that this will lead the viewer to think of other manners to make these cross-cultural connections.

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Tuesday, August 5, 2008

It's Alive!

I've recently been working with a friend on developing the branding and website for her new not-for-profit organization: Stand Up for Stem Cells. Jen is a person that I truly admire and respect, and I'm so happy to have been a part of this.

Click here for the full site.

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Friday, August 1, 2008

No Talking

This is my type of graffiti. I just saw this on Peter Gibbons Blog (click). It's called "Sticker Graffiti." This was spotted on the Victoria Line of the London Underground. Basically someone mimics local signage in color and tone, but with a slightly different message :) I can think of a few places that could use some new "signs" such as this.... If the commuter train suddenly has a No Talking sign next week, I didn't do it. Ok?

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Thursday, July 31, 2008

PooPoo Bags

I just saw this posted on NOTCOT and had to share. Designers Nina Dautzenberg and Andrea Gadesmann of Berlin-based JungeSchactel have done the unthinkable. They've managed to take a mundane (and unpleasant) task and make it fashionable and eco-friendly. So get rid of those landfill clogging plastic bags, and pick up a box of these 100% biodegradable, 100% adorable, poo bags. (There's a sentence I never thought I'd write!)

Aside from the cute illustrations, fun color palette, and humorous sayings... the product design is innovative as well. With a built in "scoop" these are certain to make the task at hand a bit more sanitary.

Now I just need a dog.


Monday, July 21, 2008

If you build it

Where Apple goes, the rest are sure to follow. We love our iPhones. We buy them cute cases, and socks (in case they get cold). We match them to our outfits, upload our favorite music, movies and applications. There is an endless supply of ways to customize your iPhone. Now you can get designer iPhone/iTouch wallpapers from designers and illustrators around the world at So go ahead.... make a statement.

Click: Poolga

by Piktorama

by Pawel Jonca

by Paolo Lim

by David Pache

by Yeah You're Right

{as seen on}

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Friday, July 18, 2008

Art Star

Here's a great link that a friend sent to me. Art Star is a gallery, boutique and on-line shop based in Philly. They exhibit and sell handmade items from artists around the globe–everything from prints and ceramics, to jewelry and clothing. You can find a really great variety of work on the site. It's so addicting to look through. I'd love to get to the shop one day. The exhibits rotate every 6 weeks, so check back often for interesting new finds.

Click: Art Star Philly
Here are a few of my favs:

Bud Vase – by Little Flower Designs

Giclee Print – by Jen Corace

Necklace – by Jenna Colby

Print – by Bella & Boo

Print - by The Black Apple

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Sunday, July 6, 2008

Words Are Pictures

London-based designer Craig Ward creates amazing art blending words and images... creating meaning beyond the words. Stunning.

Click: Words Are Pictures

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Friday, July 4, 2008

Logo Trends

Logo Lounge had released it's 2008 trends. There are some interesting changes around. Here is a reprint of the article.

Current Logo Trends
By: Bill Gardner

Trend-watching, until recently, has largely been an exercise in watching connections form between direct associations. Photoshop releases a new filter, and voila - entire raft of logos take on that effect. A particular illustration style is featured in a successful advertising campaign or movie, and in what seems like minutes, the flavor of that art starts to enhance corporate identities.

Periodically, something truly surprising and unexpected pops up. Finding those little treasures are one of the great perks of categorizing 27,000 logos, as LogoLounge and a talented panel of judges just did in preparation for our fourth book. But there's always that natural undercurrent of influence that touches this design and that, a drift of scent, a faint change in air temperature. It's there, but almost not.

This year, however, it seems as though there has been a change in the nature of trends themselves. Instead of a hub-to-spoke relationship in which trends fan out from a central source, prevailing tendencies in logo design now seem to send out long underground runners that poke through the dirt in unrelated, unexpected places, anywhere in the world. It's harder and harder to trace the rhizomatous spread of ideas anymore - which truly is a good thing.

What follows are 15 trends that have indeed popped up all over the world. Overcasting them all are prevailing winds that are worth noting first:

  • We saw less emphasis on sustainability or general "greenness" in logo design. There's plenty of natural imagery, but being "green" doesn't seem all that unique anymore.

  • Colors are becoming more vivid. Desaturation has drained away, and the chroma factor pumped up.

  • There's an overall move toward cleanliness - in type, in line, in color - as if ideas are getting more and more succinct. It may be an indication of the degree of seriousness with which branding is now regarded.

  • Less is more common: less calligraphy, less Photoshop tricks, less artificial highlights.

  • Found pattern and illustration hang on and on and on. With a bottomless treasure chest of visual history constantly at the ready through retail collections and over the internet, it's a direction that's not likely to run its course soon, if ever.

And now, the trends. Please remember that they are gathered here to chart long-term movement or change, not to offer design suggestions. It's a living history. The key is to study the trends, then evolve forward - as far forward as you can leap - from them.


Imagine what astrophysicists would label a supernova or the eruption and attendant explosion of a star. In a light show reminiscent of the jump to hyperdrive in the original Star Wars, these logos attack the challenge of motion head on. For years we've seen marks that have created the impression of motion from a profile perspective using streaks or blurs to signify speed.

These examples drive a field of elements toward or away from the viewer using a variety of methods. The LodgeNet logo (by Jerry Kuyper) advertises the company's in-room movie service by flying a picture at you with a smart explosive technique. This blast is simple in construction and void of halftone - particularly interesting considering the product is an online commodity that could easily have justified overboard solutions replete with RGB trickery.

1. Jerry Kuyper for LodgeNet 2. Gabi Toth for Halo Consulting 3. Crave Inc. for IQ Beverage Group 4. Mirko Ilic Corp. for Dr. Zoran Djindjic Fund

Fine Line

Consistency of line weight is one of the tenants of good logo design. It builds rhythm and ensures legibility at first glance. Forget this rule for this category. Turn your line weight down to hairline and start drawing. Most of these logos live on two levels: first glance, and then second glance, with reader glasses. Typically, a heavier image with message one serves as a background field. The more profound message two is generally encrypted over the top of or knocked out of the heavier image.

Fine strokes weights may read as no more than pattern initially, but they can also carry the dichotomy of a counter message. A variation on this is the use of linear art en masse to create enough weight to define a message as in the PULSE logo. This yin yang process tends to captivate the viewer and lends a sense of intelligence to a mark that doesn't require a hammer to impart a subtle message.

1. Louis Fili for The Mermaid Inn 2. Hula + Hula for Cartoon Network Lainamerica 3. Unit for Artists for Peace 4. Point Blank Collection for Pulse


Imagine being asked to design a logo with a long strip of paper as your only tool. These quasi origami style solutions craft out a sense of dimensionality despite staying relatively flat. The material from which these are created range from (but are not limited to) transparent film, metal, and paper. There seems to be a message of cleverness and economy of stroke in many of these.

Sometimes the simplicity of the folds takes on additional meaning when the substrates demonstrate unique properties. Note how the opposite side of the material changes to a different color at every fold in the TURN logo. Or see how transparency enforces the visual overlap of material. In some ways, this technique creates a bit of a puzzle effect. It engages the viewer as it tempts them into tracing out the path of the mark or trying to determine if the folds could really occur as offered.

1. PMKFA for Yes King 2. Gardner Design for Liberty Capital 3. A3 Design for Urban Architectural Group 4. Addis Creson for Turn

Global Expansion

What a refreshing outlook this trend presents. Time was that any company involved in international commerce gave some passing consideration to a globe as their logo. It's a solution that has become terribly challenging to address with an original perspective. These logos at least have the honesty to step back and say, "Hey, we may not be fully global yet, but give us time." All of these marks rely on a centric pattern that diminishes at the edge and then warps out to wrap the sphere in symbolic expansion.

Cato Purnell Partner's diverse group of solutions for Dubai Airport succinctly communicates a key message. Commerce, travel, and tourism have made Dubai a true crossroad for international travelers, and this world-class logo has found a unique way to express the point. Using the Islamic sacred symbol of an octagram, or eight-pointed star, the logo starts to envelope the global sphere with its spreading tile mosaic. The dissemination of a culture is no accidental message in this mark.

1. Lippincott for XOHM 2. Cato Purnell Partners for Dubai International 3. Futurebrand BC&H for Transpiratininga 4. FIRON for Novatel


Continuous bands, yes, but not all of these marks have that certain mojo of the Mobius strip. Moving away from the universal sign of infinity, this group of logos seems to celebrate the flow of a closed cycle. No doubt more than a few rubber bands were called into action for their modeling services, but a ribbon-like figure was not mandatory.

There is something personal about the lack of perfect symmetry displayed here. The flexible nature of these logos signifies the ability to transform to meet the needs of the moment. Some appear to be snapshots of motion captured in a millisecond, of an object tense with energy.

The Peugeot 307 loop reflects the profile of that specific car but also seems to hover weightlessly above the ground. The chromed appearance of the mark takes on a surrealistic quality while conveying a certain technical prowess as well.

1. Lippincott for IBM & Freescale 2. Angelini Design for Peugeot International 3. Miriello Grafico, Inc. for Qualcomm 4. Double Brand for Long term car rent


Anyone who's ever torn up his or her mouth grazing on a jawbreaker or Gobstopper can attest to the concentric rainbow displayed on a perfect cross-section of the confection. There is a certain childhood joy associated with the perfect cleaving of these orbs that is akin to discovering hidden treasure. The 70's op-art quality of these marks is accomplished with little regard for a reserved palette. Generally, brilliant color is a must and often cross-sections are as unique as Technicolor snowflakes.

There is a youthfulness to these logos that addresses a certain vitality in the market. You can't help but smile at the visual joy they seem to capture. Influences could include Target's inventive use of its own logo in marketing efforts, although the red and white of their mark seems sedate in comparison to examples shown here.

1. Form for Dazed & Confused/Topshop 2. MacLaren McCann Calgary for Telphonic 3. Volatile for Antidote 4. Volatile for Pod


Animation in the static environment of print is challenging at best, but with some sequential stop-motion images, a solution is at hand. Remember those flip-books that with a riffle played out a short animation? Now, take the images, place them on a single surface, and this is the result. These marks have a slinky-like, fluid nature that lends a graceful aesthetic to their associated companies.

The Nikon logo crafted by Interbrand some years ago may have signaled the introduction of this process with a major brand. Sprint's adoption of Lippincott's logo, a representation of the stop-motion animation of pin dropping, opened the gates for deeper exploration and solutions in a similar vein. Nokia Siemens' new animated logo, created by Moving Brands, successfully plays out the strobe concept when adapted to print.

1. Interbrand for Nikon 2. Moving Brands for Nokia Siemens Networks 3. Lippincott for UMW 4. Lippincott for Sprint


Shield your eyes and pull out the 30 spf sunblock. It's not a sunburn you'll fear, but you may need to protect yourself from overly bright ideas. There is a certain glorification associated with all of these marks. The central core of the image is usually a bright tunnel out of which great light emanates. If this sounds a bit like the parting of clouds and the appearance of deities, you may not be far off.

Dissemination of light or energy by the use of rays is far more than an astral aura. This indicates a central subject or capability and the prospect that it holds the key or the solution to whatever the question is. Light also connotes knowledge and guidance. Even distribution of these spokes ensures a fairness of distribution and equality of access. As a moth will attest, there is an attracting radiance to these logos, regardless of color.

1. Gardner Design for Catalyst 2. Glitschka Studios for Proctor & Gamble 3. Circulodiseno, SC fr New Venturees 4. Chris Herron Design for Marimon Inc. & Kelly Swofford Roy


Over the last several years, designers have taken refuge with a variety of appropriated patterns. Design backgrounds have become shrines for wallpaper swatches, Victorian patterns, organic flora, faux wood grains and any other rococo-retro surface that is not nailed down or otherwise copyrighted.

Houndstooth and herringbone aside, designers on more boutique projects are dipping into their grandmothers' baskets of sundries and notions. This is often not as much about textile patterns as it is about the elements that hold a garment together. Zig zag, whip, and cross-stitch are a few of the strokes in the sewing arsenal. Bric-a-brac, fishnet, fringe, and tassels are also working their way into these solutions. This common language of mundane elements takes on a refreshing, often feminine beauty when layered together with great taste. Just remember that the difference between a tablecloth and a haute couture gown is not the material, but knowing what to do with it.

1. The Woodbine Agency for Lamp 2. tenn_do_ten for chico 3. The Pink Pear Design Company for Rummage 4. Hammerpress for Natasha's Mulberry & Mott


Sometimes clusters of a logo technique surface with little if any rationale. For this bracket, it's as if National Geographic just reported the recent unearthing of a series of Ishihara color plates for color blind testing. The influence is obvious but the timing is unexplained. You have to admire the chutzpah of a client willing to adopt a logo that 7% of the male population and 0.4% of women won't be able to understand.

Maybe this is exactly the point. These marks represent a quirkiness associated with entities that only a certain percent of the population will be able to really appreciate. Even for individuals without color blindness, these visuals can be a bit challenging to decipher. But that adds to their mystique and helps to build affinity for the logos when the viewer realizes he has passed the test. Either way, there is a joyful, reminiscent charm at work here - either that or this report is entirely wrong and these companies all sell Dippin' Dots ice cream.

1. Colorblind Chameleon - Self Promotion 2. Range for Dennis Murphy 3. Pearpod for Razoo 4. Cricket Design Works for Creme Cafe


These are soft, inflated blobs without any sharp corners to fall and hurt yourself on. Their friendly shapes are generally unstructured and much like an amoeba under the lens of an electron microscope, fluid and in motion. Amoeba comes from the Greek word amoibe, meaning to change, and this trend is about flux. The elements that compose these logos are anything but static. You can imagine a relationship between the parts of a logo as if they have just divided from one another.

This process of morphing and motion give us a clue about the structure and processes of the businesses represented here. Flexibility and an agile nature allow businesses to adapt in mercurial industries. These are entities that embrace the value of evolution. If you're evolving, chances are you're a living organism, and there aren't too many of those with corners.

1. Tactix Creative for DJ Eddie Amador 2. Double Brand for Poza Showroom 3. Mola for EDP 4. Yaroslav Zheleznyakov for Promotion


Ali Baba and the 40 thieves knew what mattered in a cavern laden with jewel-encrusted treasure. In these precious gems, there is an intrinsic value of which legends are crafted. Whose eyes are not stopped by the alluring refractions of a precious bobble? What a perfect substance from which to carve an identity.

To create the greatest value in a material as base as a stone, one has to first recognize potential worth. With exacting efforts, a trained eye can cut away the precise amount that will best maximize value. All of this is done with the looming specter of complete failure if the action is not correct. With great risk comes great reward.

These logos can also address the multifaceted nature of a business. By arranging these facets in their optimal positions you create the greatest clarity and light. Or maybe it's not that deep and we just like bright and shiny things.

1. Kitsh for Clay Saphire 2. Thomas Manss & Company for VCC Perfect Pictures 3. Gardner Design for Lavish 4. BFive for Solo Company


There is a base honesty to an image that has never been shoved in one side of a computer and back out the other. There is still some soul attached to the mark and even a little sweat and blood from the originator. No attempt is being made to deceive the consumer and certainly there was no upper level management committee to quash the innocence of the humbly crafted logo.

Immediacy is an important justifier for these marks as well. The Rebuild logo, developed after Hurricane Katrina sends the message, these people need your help now. There is no time to finesse a corporate solution to the problem here: We need the help and response of everyone, and we need it now.

Personal messages and a sense of humanity are associated with these marks. It is the assurance the middleman has been cut out, and that this message is between me and you and no one else.

1. Steve's Portfolio for 2. Stubborn Sideburns for Hipposchemes 3. Fifth Letter for Shawn Lynch 4. Studio Oscar for Levi Strauss


Take a piece of relatively unassuming typography, water and fertilize with insane pixie dust, and let it grow. These logos could be relatives of the Flora and Embellish trend identified over the last two years, but they are definitely about type on steroids. Imagine type with hair that has been coiffed for fashion week in a Fellini movie.

Credit the stunning work of Si Scott and the unbridled design of Marian Bantjes as primary influences on this work. Scott specifically has developed a signature look that is being emulated a bit too close for comfort, in some instances.

Decorative flourishes gone wild identify these entities: They give more than you anticipate and are conscious of the frills and excesses necessary to carry you to satisfaction. These designs are exoticand unexpected but with enough whimsy to avoid being overtly feminine.

1. Lucero Design for Project 240 Apparel 2. United* for Bar Carrera NY 3. Team Manila Graphic Design Studio for Neu Media 4. Distrubancy Graphic Treatment for Eclipse Streetwear


Twisting threads travel in tandem or are spun together to form a twine with even greater strength. Or you see the tendrils of a vine traveling outward from a single source. Maybe it's the ebb and flow of a rhythmic group of fine fibers acting in concert to create the illusion of a solid mass. These are just of few of the descriptions that help define this category.

A collective acting in unison to maximize action and create strength in numbers is at the heart of these logos. These are not lines in perfect step with one and other. Unlike the grooves of a record, these elements show a degree of independence and celebrate the diversity of the components as they unite.

Uniting elements for a common good has become a prevalent theme of late. This trend transcends the corporate world and is seen in social efforts as well. Respect of individuality and honor of uniqueness are admirable pursuits.

1. Guillermo Brea & Associates for Argentina 2. Najlon for Town RIJEKA 3. Mattson Creative for The Collective 4. AtomicasStudio for 2 excite

Minor Trends

Some categories emerged this year that did not qualify for their own lanes, but which are still worthy of mention.

Animotion: What makes these designs unique is that they are designed to be in motion. They are not static designs that were juiced up later. You can view some excellent examples in action at

Moving Brands for Swisscom
Braille Words: Imagine words, numbers, or letters formed out of Braille-like dots.

Pearpod for Plus 3
Stacks: These logos are like transparent sandwiches that have shape stacked upon shape upon shape.

Bukka Design for Neven Vision
Contact Drop: If a contact lens dropped on top of a logo, you'd have the same effect that these logos have. They are generally lens- or circular in shape with a hard outer edge and a soft inner edge. Think of the Barrack Obama logo.

FutureBrand for MasterCard Worldwide
Psyche Type: If you want to know what is going to happen in any kind of design, look back to what was happening 30 years ago. It's a never-ending merry-go-round of style. Witness the groovin' psychedelic type treatments that are so popular today. It's Haight-Ashbury all over again.

Yaroslav Zheleznyakov for Lemonades from Arbuzov
Pathways: There are also plenty of motion lines to be seen, going up and down, back and forth, or around and around. These are like tracers — sometimes transparent like light, bouncing around or bending in space. The Tennis Australia logo is an excellent example. Where the ball goes, the logo goes.

FutureBrand (UK) for Lakshmi N. Mittal
Warped: If you take a gridded piece of paper and start to fold or twist it, the printed grid will begin to conform to whatever motion you're applying. But in this category of logos, the substrate is more pliable, more flexible than paper. There's more give and stretch, so that lines on the x and y axis become contorted.

thackway+mccord for FINRA

Finally, it's worth noting that there's a reasonably reliable place to look every day for the very latest in logo design (in addition, to, that is): television promo graphics for any of the major "style" channels — Food Network, Discovery, HGTV, the Travel Channel, and more. Because they have the money and the ability to get work out there quickly, the channels tend to be progressive forecasters and trendsetters. And designers, just like the rest of the unwashed masses, are home on the couch, watching.

Bill Gardner is principal of Gardner Design and creator of, a unique web site where, in real-time, members can post their logo design work; study the work of others; search the database by designer's name, client type, and other attributes; learn from articles and news written expressly for logo designers; and much more. Bill can be contacted at

2008 Logolounge Inc.

Click: Logo Lounge

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Thursday, June 26, 2008


I saw this over on NOTCOT, and just had to share. This is a solarised lamp shade. First of all, I just love how beautifully they've captured the iconic London skyline. But beyond that, the artwork is printed on a thermochromic layer. Which is a fancy way of saying that the shade gradually lets more light in, giving the effect of the sun rising. It sounds like a much more pleasant way to wake up than a blaring alarm clock!

The light can be purchased online at Rockett St. George. A British site that sells cool and eclectic home decor, and fantastic jewelry. It's worth a visit.

Click: Rockett St. George

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Sunday, June 22, 2008

Branding is Like Dating

At the HOW Design Conference last month, I was lucky enough to meet Marcus Hewitt, CCO of Dragon Rouge USA. (Ok, so perhaps I stalked him via email for a few weeks beforehand… but it was all for good reason.) Marcus was kind enough to share his presentation with me so that I could, in turn, share it with you.

Marcus actually delivered 2 presentations rolled up into one. The first was called “branding is like dating.” The second, “bonus” presentation, was all about the macro trends Dragon Rouge compiles each year through their international offices. I’ll share the first bit with you today. As you will see, branding really is like dating. It requires a work, truth, self-confidence, and growth. Here are the 7 steps that Marcus outlined for “successful packaging design.”

Step 1: Love Yourself
The brand should be confident in itself and stand proud.
Example: Perrier. Even in the redesign, Perrier stays true to its essence and is not trying to be anything else.

Step 2: Dare to be Different
Let your personality shine through. Be unique. Don’t try to be like everyone else.
Example: Soupline laundry detergent (France). Why does laundry detergent have to come in a box or a jug? It doesn’t.

Step 3: Get to Know People
Take the time to know your audience, their aspirations and desires. Be it your client or the consumer – find out what makes them tick.
Example: Martell packaging – Dragon Rouge created numerous mood boards and pulled inspiration from classic Japanese imagery, modern Sake bottles, gorgeous craftsmanship, and technology. You can see these influences in the final design.

Step 4: Don’t Overwhelm
Everyone needs a little space. There is such a thing as too much information.
Example: Rituals bath and spa products. The design of the line is simple, and the product information is easy to find and identify.

Step 5: Keep them Engaged
Don’t let the relationship get stale. Keep them on their toes with new products or visuals.
Example: Perrier limited edition bottles.

Step 6: Stay in Shape
Brand relationships are hard work. They require discipline. Don’t get out of shape or lazy when your relationship is going well. Your consumer is in high demand and can always leave you for a more attractive, more responsive brand.
Example: HP Steak Sauce was updated and modernized for the times, but also remained faithful to its English roots. They also created a limited edition bottle by the popular British clothing designer Paul Smith.

Step 7: Think About Tomorrow
Consumers will grow and evolve. Anticipate their needs and have a solution before they even realize they have a problem. This requires and active effort to follow and utilize macro trends. The most prevalent example lately is global consciousness. We have an influx of eco products and most major companies are now trying to leverage this in their portfolio of brands.
Example: Clorox Green Works

The End.

(Thanks, Marcus!)

Note: Originally Posted by me on the

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Monday, June 9, 2008

Street Art (literally)

I've been seeing Julian Beever's artwork around for a while now. He even has a show on television, called Concrete Canvas, that lets you watch his entire process. At the HOW conference, at least 3 speakers referenced his work... so I figured it was about time for a post.

Julian literally creates the most amazing street art using: pavement, chalk and a camera. It's all created to appear 3 dimensional, and it's truly stunning. He travels the world bringing art to the masses. It's so great to see him set up in a busy commercial area, while people run back and forth to work. As his work progresses, so does the joy that it brings. Suddenly, everyone is taking a moment out of their hectic schedule to enjoy the work Julian creates. And that is just what art should do.

His subjects cover almost anything, ranging from classic paintings, architectural wonders, to famous people and even daily objects. Here are just some of his pieces. Check out his website for more.

Click: Julian Beever

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Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Pop Pop Fizz Fizz

At the HOW Conference, I was lucky enough to attend a presentation by Charles S. Anderson of:
1. Charles Anderson Design

2. CSA Images
3. Pop Ink (in conjunction with French Paper)

I'm a huge fan of the work that CSA has produced. The Pop Ink work is especially interesting/pretty/funny/wicked/twisted/etc. You could fill in almost any adjective. It's great stuff. I'm also a big fan because Mr. Anderson has accomplished what I dream of doing one day. Namely, establishing a kick-a$$ design studio and creating fabulous art to be licensed and sold.

From the Pop Ink site:

Pop Ink merges low art and high design into an infinite visual universe of saccharine sweet, slightly disturbing yet strangely compelling art and artifacts for a (post) modern world. Pop Ink products have been featured in numerous publications including: In Style, Dwell, The New York Times, ReadyMade, Martha Stewart, O Home, and Communication Arts, among others.

Pop Ink products are the result of over two decades of work by Charles S. Anderson Design and are produced in collaboration with French Paper and Laurie DeMartino Design. Established in 1989, Charles S. Anderson Design's work is a continuous evolution inspired by the highs and lows of art and popular culture. They have produced award-winning art, identity, packaging, and product design for a diverse list of clients.

Characterized by its visual impact and humor, Charles S. Anderson Design's work has been influential in the design industry both nationally and internationally, and has been exhibited in museums worldwide including: The Museum of Modern Art, New York's permanent collection; The Smithsonian Institution's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, New York; The Institute of Contemporary Arts, London; The Nouveau Salon des Cent-Centre Pompidou, Paris; and The Ginza Graphic Gallery, Tokyo.

click: Charles Anderson Design
click: CSA Images

Pop Ink

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Thursday, May 22, 2008

How Recap

The HOW Design Conference was a whirlwind of networking, resources, networking, classes, networking and workshops. Some bits were better than expected, some were worse, but most of it was really great and inspirational. There's nothing quite like being surrounded by 3500 designers! The highlight was definitely the presentation by Bill Strickland. He's an amazingly inspirational speaker. I would sum up his speech, but could do no justice. So I would highly suggest purchasing his book: Make the Impossible Possible. I know I will. Of course, there were other juicy nuggets that I picked up and will share with you over the next few weeks. So stay tuned.
Here's one fun taster...

Stefan Bucher of 344 Design and Daily Monsters spoke in a session about arriving at creativity. He believe that you should do one creative thing every day... aside from your regular work. This will allow you to explore your creativity without limits, and get your mind working in different ways. That was how he devised the Daily Monster. He creates an ink blot on a piece of white paper, and makes a monster out of it... every day. If you're lucky, you'll get signed on for a book deal, like he did (100 Days of Monsters in now available). Either way, you'll stretch your creativity and mind... which can only be a good thing.

click: 344 Design
click: Daily Monster Blog

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Friday, May 16, 2008

How Now

Tomorrow I leave for the HOW conference in Boston. I'm so excited. I've never been to one, but I just can't imagine how amazing it will be to be surrounded by over 3000 other designers. Hopefully I'll come back with oodles of inspiration!!

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Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Jen Skelley

I found the work of Jen Skelley through a friend, and I was immediately smitten. Her illustration style is so sweet... with a great use of shapes, patterns and colors. You can view her portfolio online, and even shop for some goodies to decorate your own home.

here for Jen's site.

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Thursday, May 8, 2008

Give an iota

A friend sent me this site, and I think it's a great find. Iota is a colorful stationery company, that is eco-friendly (using recycled content), and affordable. Iota means "a very small amount or thing, a jot, a whit." The company believes that little things can make a big difference.

And frankly, it hard not to smile when you view their line of products. They're just so happy! I love the color and pattern combinations. You can buy a range of items, including gift wrap, notebooks, stationery and greeting cards. Unfortunately you can't buy online directly from iota, but check their "how to buy" section for an extensive list of retailers.

For the designers in the crowd, they have a great resource for some color inspiration. Click on "
colour palettes" link to view some exciting color combinations. Click here to explore the website. Thanks for the tip, Lisa!


Friday, May 2, 2008

It's alive!

The Nori Studios portfolio site has been revised, refreshed, and polished up. It's now all shiny and new. So take a look, I'd love to hear what you think.

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Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Starbucks - Back to basics

Ok, I'm back! But I'm a bit tired from all the moving, etc. So I'm going to cheat today and use a post that I just wrote for the dieline. I think it's worth sharing here as well....

(Photo: Powerbooktrance via Flickr)

After 37 years, Starbucks has gone back to its roots with their new "Pike Place Roast" and redesign of the iconic cup. The retro logo showcases a modified version of the original "siren" logo designed by Terry Heckler. (You'll notice that this one is a bit more PC).

Although, is it still a redesign if it's an old design? The design is part of a back to basics campaign focusing on the history of the brand, and establishing their place as coffee experts - but is only a temporary move. So if you're a fan of the green logo, have no fear, it will return.

So what do we think? I personally like the return to their roots. I like the brown color-scheme and the historical reference. If nothing else, it really makes you look twice, as we're so conditioned to seeing the Starbucks green. It's no secret that Starbucks sales have been down lately... they've rapidly opened stores, created drive-thru windows, and have started offering all kinds of food and beverage options, that have diluted their original brand. They also have a lot of competition from the likes of Dunkin' Donuts and McDonalds, which all now offer coffee and espresso drinks. Perhaps this marks the beginning of a return to what Starbucks does best - good coffee.

Click here for a brief history on the Starbucks logo.

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Monday, March 24, 2008

Paper Sculpting

Jen Stark creates some amazing paper sculptures with colored paper and layering techniques. Her work has been written up in numerous magazines, and she has held solo art shows of her work. I would LOVE to see this in person, but for now the internet will have to do. Enjoy.

Click here to explore more of her work.

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Monday, March 17, 2008

Pantone universe

Pantone has certainly taken steps lately to move into the realm of the everyday consumer. Or at least, into the realm of designers' everyday lives.

While designers live by their inks and color chips, Pantone is now creating a range of everyday products called: Pantone Universe.
They're teaming up with interesting retail partners as well. Fendi (!) will sell a limited edition bag with a market set, and Uniqlo will be making cashmere sweaters in 20 different Pantone colors.

You can purchase coffee mugs, Pantone house paint, furniture, notebooks, and now glasses and sunglasses with interchangeable colored arms. I can certainly see the appeal of being able to match your glasses to your outfit!

To see the full range of Pantone products, click here.
For the eye wear website, click here.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Fug Style

Interesting article by Eric Karjaluoto of SmashLAB via his "ideas on ideas" blog. It really made me think about my approach to design. I think designers often fall into the trap of thinking that a "style" is a "solution." Sometimes it is, but usually it's not. Below is an excerpt from the article. Click here to read the full post.

Design is such a multi-layered practice that it’s often difficult to define. That being said, I believe that the word “design” is increasingly confused with “style”. For example, to most “I like the way it’s designed” means that they like the way that something looks.

The visual aspect of what we do is highly important, and style has a place in that. For example, if we want to connect with a particular audience, employing a style can sometimes be helpful. That being said, it seems that style often leads efforts. We have to break this habit.

Searching for the next cool new thing

This season we have “glowy” vector/bitmap collages and rather cute hand-drawn patterns. The following season will inevitably bring something equally novel on first sight, which we will quickly tire of as we are inundated by it. In the pre-web world, things rolled-out more slowly, and as such didn’t hit with the same force; however, better distribution systems allow this eye-candy to be dispersed rapidly. As soon as a particular style is hot, legions of designers reverse-engineer the treatment, and imitate it until it’s everywhere.

The challenge here is that as we are bombarded by these styles, designers, by their own accord and that of their clients and peers, gravitate towards reiterating whatever the style-du-jour happens to be. (Think of the swoosh logos of the late 1990s.) It’s easy to do, the pay-off is immediate, and for a short while, one’s portfolio seems deceptively strong. Most times though, this work is void of the research, strategy, and logic that are necessary to do something effective. As a result, it’s in fact a big pile of shiny bullshit.

In turn, we’re left with scads of generic work that doesn’t hold-up for any length of time. There’s no design there, just polish that quickly tarnishes requiring another coat. In the meanwhile, budgets are exhausted, clients are left to with an out-of-date “look”, and designers are seen as stylists: kooky kids who like to do fun, pointless things. At the risk of being melodramatic, I believe that this approach diminishes the value of our industry and limits our opportunity to contribute to higher-level discussions.

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Thursday, March 6, 2008

CD Release

I've recently had the pleasure of working on this CD design for Matt Gunston. Matthew is a friend who took a break from his "day job" to work on his music career. Luckily, he's really good! We've just completed the design, the music is great, and it's ready to go. It's a little bit blues and a little bit rock and roll. All songs were written and performed by Matt Gunston.

Click here to listen for yourself.
Or click here to visit Matt's MySpace page.


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Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Flash Symbols

Oh, this is lovely! For anyone who has ever wanted to pull their hair out using Flash. It's time to fight back... Watch and enjoy.

Click here for the show.

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Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wednesday Cheer

This is for all my creative friends who may need a bit of a laugh. Sometimes we just need to be reminded not to take ourselves, or our jobs, too seriously. Where do you fall?

Cartoons by Tom Fishburne. Click here to read more of his blog.


Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Wild Thing

Seriously? Just too good.... good product, good packaging... love the opener. And good for you... Organic, fresh-pressed vegetables. Too bad it's not readily available, I'd love to try it. But I can see it catching on. I'd like some just to line my kitchen counter with. The colors are outstanding!

Packaging design by Seed.

Click here for the Wild Bunch & Co website.
Click here to see more of Seed's work.

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Monday, February 18, 2008

Fashion Forward

What is it about fashion illustration that is so appealing? I just love the style, and the femininity and, well... the clothes! I'm itching to get my paws on a copy of 100 Years of Fashion Illustration by Cally Blackman (available here).

I recently came across French artist Sophie Griotto on Her work is simply stunning. Take a look at some of the eye candy below. Click here for her site and some more gorgeous work.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Designs of the Year Award Show

The Design Museum in London has recently opened it's showcase of the best designs of 2007. It's a broad mix of mediums and topics, and there's sure to be something of interest for everyone. I haven't made it over yet, but hope to soon. In the mean time, we'll have to make due with the press that's already out there.

Click here for the full article from Creative Review. Pix below from Creative Review.

The Partners Grand Tour.

Unrest exhibition (Jonathan Ellery at The Wapping Project)

Your House (Olafur Eliasson)


Thursday, February 14, 2008

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Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Typographic London

I've been seeing these posters around London for a while now, and they never fail to catch my eye. They're so well done, and they highlight iconic features of London in an extraordinary way. The concept and design is simple (from the iconic standpoint), but they are intricate in the information they contain. It is a great example of what design is supposed to do: simplify the message and use imagery to enhance understanding.

The series was designed by Oscar Wilson (a specialist in hand-crafted typography) for the Mayor of London's campaign to promote tourism. From the Creative Review Blog: Each image is composed from multiple lines of hand-drawn copy, which includes the names of famous places, pursuits and – as with the somewhat psychedelic guitar – some of Camden’s most famous music venues. The work, commissioned by agency RKCR/Y&R, is currently doing the rounds on buses and tubes throughout the city.

You can see more of Oscar's work

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Wednesday, February 6, 2008

FuN fUn

This is just too cute. The site is for a Dutch department store called HEMA, but I have no idea what anything says. Let it load and do it's thing. After you watch the action you'll realize that it doesn't matter if you can read it or not!

Click here. Warning: it's loud, so if you're in work, turn the volume down!

PS Thanks Lael :)


Monday, February 4, 2008

Graffiti vs. Street Art

I posted many moons ago about the fascination I have with street art. Not the unimaginative "tags" that teenage hoodlums create. But the really intriguing work by actual artists, who happen to use the big wide world as their medium. This is a world away from graffiti, as most people think of it. It's seeing something unexpected & artistic that puts a smile on your face.

There's an artist in the UK called "Banksy," who has become the talk of the town for his street art, and his distinctive stencil-style. His work sells for thousands of pounds. Towns are now calling for preservation of these works of art.

Street art is also moving indoors with dedicated auctions to "urban art" and an exhibition the Tate Modern. Finally, it is hitting the mainstream decoration market, with framed "graffiti" prints, and the cool lamps seen below from Re-surface.

So, the question is: What happens when street art become mainstream? Does it defeat the purpose of the medium? I guess we'll have to wait and see.





Adam Neate


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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Jobs you wish you had

As first seen listed on the How Design Blog... Fast Company has released it's picks for top ten jobs in 2008. These include Sleep Coaches and Brew Masters! But the one that I found most relevant was "Interaction Designer." Not, mind you, Interactive Designer. That is a very different job. Here's a brief description:

Interaction designers don't just design. They work with executives to define goals for the products and systems they help develop. And they mix reporting, psychology, and anthropology to see how people actually use what they design. By creating "personas" -- hypothetical users with constructed life stories -- interaction designers predict how people might approach a product. With a healthy dose of fiction and regular hat changing, this job provides constant stimulation.

It's interesting. I think a lot of designers and marketing professionals do offer some of these services. But this is the first time I've seen it given a title. Well, it sounds great to me. I always say that you can have the most beautiful design ever, but if nobody responds to it, or it doesn't hit the right market, then it's a wasted design.

Click here to see the full list.

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Amy Sol

Amy Sol's illustrations are just wonderful. They're fanciful, and serene. I love the muted color palette. From her website: "Amongst the expressions of each character are notions of peaceful reflection and a sense of companionship." I think I should just let the work speak for itself.

You can see more of Amy's work, and info on exhibition on her website. Click here.


Monday, January 21, 2008

Shout Out

I had planned to write a completely different post today, until I received and email from a friend at LMS Design. When the Johnson & Johnson Global Strategic Design Group undertook the redesign of their iconic baby products line, they asked LMS Design to be an integral partner in the process.

The line was definitely overdue for a face lift, especially considering the strong growth in the category over the last few years. The new bottle and graphics really create a contemporary look, while still paying homage to the iconic teardrop label. It's like a breath of fresh air. Nice work guys!

(Originally posted on


Friday, January 18, 2008


Well, first of all, the name of Aline *Yumi* Yamada's illustration business could not be any cuter. Luckily, her prints back it up. They are delicious eye-candy.

You can pick up prints of your own from YumiYumi's Etsy shop
And read her blog

Below is a highlight of some of her gorgeous work.


Monday, January 14, 2008

Postal preview

The United States Postal Service has revealed the new stamps for 2008. While not normally the first place one looks for inspiration, they've had some great designs over the years. And just because they're tiny and and don't get a lot of respect, doesn't make them any less of a work of art. Take a look at some of the more interesting ones coming out this year.

Click here to see the entire list.

A celebration of Vintage Black Cinema, with stamps based on 5 vintage movie posters. (I LOVE vintage movie posters.)

Charles and Ray Eames are also honored! These 16 stamps were designed by Derry Noyes of Washington, DC.


Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Pretty Kitty

Happy New Year! Sorry for the posting hiatus. I was sick with a lovely winter cold for a while, and then trying to dig out from client work. Anyhow, I'm back. I found this lovely illustrator courtesy of a post on the Dieline, and I just had to share her work here as well. Here name is Márta Windeisen, and her website is called KittenChops. She creates beautiful illustrations, organic logos, and pretty cool packaging. Originally from Hungary, she moved to Seattle and is influenced by Japanese art. Quite and eclectic mix, but it works.

You may recognize her style, as she worked for a little coffee company you might have heard of... Starbucks (ring any bells?). Do you think she gets free coffee for life? I would have totally negotiated that deal.

Click here for her site. Some of my picks are below. Enjoy.


Friday, December 21, 2007

Happy Holidays

We will return to our regularly scheduled blogging after the new year! Cheers!

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Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Fashion Bags

Here's an interesting article from the NY Times, sent to me by the lovely Dana. Basically, it reports that a lot of hi-end (and not-so-hi-end) retailers have been spending oodles of money to redesign their shopping bags. The assumption is that consumers are happy to continue using retail bags if they're of nice design and good quality. Of course, it's good from an environmental standpoint to reuse bags, but the real profit is in continuous advertising. The caveat is that you must have a good brand to begin with. I don't think people will be lining up to reuse their WalMart bags!

I definitely think this has been around for a while... the little brown bag from Bloomingdales, the green carrier from Harrods, or the bright orange bag from Selfridges. But those who remember my "it bag" posts about Anya Hindmarch, know that it's been a growing industry. Should be interesting to see how it plays out.

Click here to read the full article.

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Thursday, December 13, 2007

Breaking News

I just wanted to let everyone know that I will now be a weekly contributor to the packaging design blog: Check it out when you have a chance. And see my latest post on No House Wine. It's for a great cause.

Click here for the dieline.
Click here for more info on No House Wine.

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Paper Source

I {heart} Paper Source. It is such a great resource for gorgeous papers, cards & envelopes, albums, and crafts. I wish I lived near one of there stores. I went to the one in Boston once and spent hours perusing the goodies that it held.

Luckily they have a great online shop as well. Click here to see for yourself.

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Monday, December 10, 2007

Kid Art

I first saw this on the Rag and Bones blog, and it blew me away. The website is called "The Monster Engine" and the artist is David DeVries. Basically, he started taking children's drawings of monsters... usually simple colors and single lines... and create a "realistic" version that brings their drawings to life. And they are amazing! While they are stylistically very different, the similarities are striking. The imagination of the kids and of David is truly inspiring.

David created a book out of this, and is working on others books including superheroes and underwater worlds.

Click here to see more of David's work, and choose your favorites.


Tuesday, December 4, 2007

I Heart Method

Ok, so I've written about Method before. But it deserves another honorable mention. A while ago, I started reading the blog of Tom Fishburne. He's a blogger, a cartoonist, a marketer, a creative mind, and he is working on launching Method in the UK. Busy guy.

Anyhow, I've started to frequent Tom's blog. He has interesting insights on brands and marketing, and he really cares about eco-products. When I asked Tom about finding Method products in London, he was kind enough to send me a box full of fabulous products. I love the thought that went into it... a personalized note, all the products were the same scent and color (see pix above), and he sent some of their coolest products, since he knew I was a designer.

It's that attention to detail that really makes a company stand out from the competition. There's such a difference between a company that "talks-the-talk and walks-the-walk" and a company that just talks. These guys know how to walk.

The products are now proudly displayed on our kitchen counter. And, if you know the size of our flat, that really is a place of honor, since there's not much room to begin with!

The best part is that they smell great, look great, and really do work. Thanks, Tom!

Visit Method here.
Visit Tom's blog here.

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Friday, November 30, 2007

It's Alive!

For the past few months I've been working on rebranding Forward Industries. From the logo, to the website, we did it all. They compete in the technology sector, and really needed a brand image that fit with such a fast paced industry. I think we achieved our goals.

The site has finally launched, and I couldn't be happier with it! It's always nice to see your work come to fruition.

Click here for the new site!

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Monday, November 26, 2007

The Power of Design

Design 21: Social Design Network is a UNESCO partner which aims for "better design for the greater good." From their website:

We want to use the power of good design for greater purpose.

We believe the real beauty of design lies in its potential to improve life. That potential first manifests itself as a series of decisions that result in a series of consequences. The practice of social design considers these decisions on a greater scale, understanding that each step in the design process is a choice that ripples out into our communities, our world and our lives. These choices are the result of informed ideas, greater awareness, larger conversations and, most importantly, the desire to do good. Social design is design for every one's sake.

It's wonderful to see an organization tapping into talented designers for the benefit for non-profit work. I've actually been a member for a while, but I've finally just made my first contribution to the site. I've entered a contest to design the logo for the UN Film Festival, called "Stories from the Field." (You can see my entry above.) The competition is open until 11:59 PM tomorrow, if you're interested! The winning designer is paid for their work, and they have the opportunity to work on additional collateral materials.

It was so nice to work on something that wasn't purely for profit, and may actually make a difference. If you register with the site you'll be able to view and vote for your favorite designs
(Pick ME! Pick ME!) from Wednesday on.

The other interesting aspect of all of this, from a design standpoint, is viewing 1000+ designs for the same project and brief! Where else can you do that? It's an amazing range of work and thinking. Some is really phenomenal, a lot is average, and there are a good percentage that are just bad (not following the brief, spelling the festival name incorrectly, or changing its name all together). Very interesting.

Click here for the Design 21 website.
Click here to read more about the contest.

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Thursday, November 15, 2007

Felt Rocks

There is an interesting company from Vancouver, Canada called molo. From their website, molo is: is a design studio dedicated to materials research and an exploration of space making. As a design and manufacturing company, molo creates and distributes unique and innovative products to clients around the world.

I saw some of their work featured at 100% design. And while I'm not sure exactly what you would do with it all, it's was beautiful and worth sharing. I particularly love the felt rocks!
The soft seating is also intriguing. Made from kraft paper with a flexible honeycomb structure, piece can compress like a big book for storage, and fan open for use into stools, benches and loungers. It's also made with 50% recycled materials, so that make me happy.

here for their website. Below are products from their : Soft line, and the felt rocks.

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Saturday, November 10, 2007

Sand Drawing

Ok, some people are just too talented. I'm always in awe of artists who create time intensive, intricate paintings, paper cuttings, sculpture, etc. Partially because I have a limited attention span and I don't think I could do such a thing, and partially because of the vision they need to get there.

Jim Denevan is an amazing artist, who uses quite an interesting medium... sand. But this is not about gigantic sand sculptures. I saw his work mentioned on badassideas, and was intrigued. From his site:

Jim Denevan makes freehand drawings in sand. At low tide on wide beaches Jim searches the shore for a wave tossed stick. After finding a good stick and composing himself in the near and far environment Jim draws-- laboring up to 7 hours and walking as many as 30 miles. The resulting sand drawing is made entirely freehand w/ no measuring aids whatsoever. From the ground these environments are seen as places. Places to explore and be, and to see relation and distance. For a time these tangible specific places exist in the indeterminate environment of ocean shore. From high above the marks are seen as isolated phenomena, much like clouds, rivers or buildings. Soon after Jim's motions and marks are completed water moves over and through, leaving nothing.

His designs are best seen from the air, to truly appreciate the scale. I have no idea how he created such perfect forms without any measuring aids! Amazing. See blow for some pix. And click here for his site. The photos of his work are stunning.

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Thursday, November 8, 2007

Logo Trends is a great resource for designers. For a yearly membership fee, you can upload as many logo designs as you'd like. You can post a personal profile, so that others can look up your amazing work, and you have access to articles, features, and trends. You can also search the entire logo library by designer, style, or subject. Finally, LogoLounge publishes a "best of" logo book each year, in which the content is chosen from uploads to the site. I'm a big fan of both the site and the books.

One great thing that LogoLounge reports on each year is trends. It's fascinating to see how things evolve in the industry. Click
here to see the full 2007 Trend Report by Bill Gardner. Here's a sampling...Rubber Bands, Eco Smart, Pseudo Crest...

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Wednesday, October 31, 2007


Claire Leonie Brooker was one of the artists who caught my eye at 100% Design. She is a print & pattern designer, but her digital work is amazingly intricate. From afar her prints look like colorful snowflakes, and her friezes like traditional patterns. Up close, you can see the layers upon layers of design elements and an organic flair. Her work has been translated into wallpaper, friezes, and prints.

From her website:
Claire’s intention in developing these designs is to encourage the viewer’s imagination to take hold and reflect upon the many associations that these images inspire: artistic, architectural, cultural, crafted and illustrative. Their aesthetic is contemporary yet they are at home within both modern and traditional interiors.

You can see more of her work on her site. Click here.

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Thursday, October 25, 2007

Paper Power

I've seen Robert Ryan's work before, but it was brought to my attention again in the October issue of Elle Magazine UK. He creates beautiful, whimsical, and sometime irreverent paper cut illustrations. He has created a number of commissions as well for the likes of Vogue and Paul Smith. AND... he now has a book out, called "This is for You." It's supposed to be a gorgeous coffee table book. Perhaps a nice holiday gift for someone artsy? Click here for the Amazon link.

You can purchase a his artwork for yourself through his Etsy shop
Check out his website here.

And his blog

Here's a peak at Rob's work:

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Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday Fun: Swirl me, Twirl me

Gorgeous work from California-based artist, Reed Danziger. These are unbelievably intricate paintings. They are organic, fanciful, lacy, but most of all, beautiful. The more you look at them the more you notice. If you read the articles on her website you'll learn a bit about how she works. Apparently she does a lot of initial reference, but then "closes the books" once she begins a project and works only from memory.

You can see more of her work on her website. Click
here to view.

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Saturday, October 13, 2007

100% Design (Part 4)

I love Lizzie Allen. Ok, well, I don't know Lizzie Allen, but I do know her work and it's wonderful! She creates really iconic, hand screen-printed wallpaper. Some are more traditional, but my favorites are the fanciful scenes of city life. She takes the ordinary and makes it into something special indeed.

Below are some snaps of her London collection. But she has launched a New York line, and does commissions as well. Check out her site here.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2007

100% Design (Part 3)

I love wallpaper. I didn't always. I was much more of a contemporary/clean paint/funky colors type of person. But there is such an amazing array of designs out there now, that I think I'm smitten! The displays at 100% Design were amazing. I could have spent hours in each booth, but that would just be weird.

One interesting booth had a new product called Magscapes (by Pepper-Mint). I stopped first because the paper itself was interesting. But while talking to the representative, she told me of it's special property. It's magnetic! It opens up a world of possibility for interesting designs. They can also custom print your own design on the wallpaper. So if you've ever fancied being a pattern designer, now is your chance!

Click here to see more on their website. Below are some fun pix gathered from various sources.

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Thursday, October 4, 2007

Lime Interlude

Just a quick break from 100% Design, to announce the launch of a new website for Blue Lime. We've been working on the site for a few months now, and it's nice to see it up and running. I worked on the design, while an interactive company (Shazamm) did the programming (thank goodness!).

The challenge was to create something fresh and fun, with just enough information. I can't show too many pix here because it would spoil the surprises. But take a look for yourself when you have a bit of time.

Click here to enjoy Blue Lime's website.

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Wednesday, October 3, 2007

100% Design (Part 2)

I'll continue reporting on the materials section of the show for the moment. I was really happy to see so many reused, recycled and sustainable products on the market. The great thing is that they don't always scream "eco." They are smart, and well thought out, and simply beautiful.

I fell in love with the products from a company called 3-Form. According to their website: 3 form is the leading manufacturer of award-winning, eco-friendly materials and architectural hardware solutions for the Architecture + Design industry.

Beyond their more natural looking panels, they have an offering called "hi res," which reproduces graphics on large sheets of EcoResin. You can achieve a stunning and dramatic look, especially if the panel can be back lit. Just gorgeous!
Check out their portfolio here.

Below is an example of "hi res", along with some of my favorites from their Organics line including: bamboo rings, bear grass, birch grove, and ithemba (beads and wire). And a few from their Graphic line! The pictures are great, but I wish you could see them in person when the light filters through. It's unbelievable.

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Sunday, September 30, 2007

100% Design (Part 1)

It's long overdue, I know. But I am finally going to post about some of the wonderful and inspiring things I saw at 100% Design last weekend.

First of all, it was a fantastic show. The displays were grouped according to industry, and covered: materials (new, reusable, recycled, etc), lighting, furniture/interiors, and new designers. In addition to the displays, there were talks, discussions and workshops with industry folk. It was all a bit overwhelming, and I wish I had been able to go back to see the things I had missed.

My 2 favorite areas were 100% Design (which was home furnishings, fabrics, wallpaper, and decor) and 100% Materials. They were both really enlightening.

One of the first stops I made was to a company called Modulor, in the Materials section. They had the wonderful samples boxes for sale, and I just had to scoop one up. Each box contains 199 samples of some of their more popular products. I love all the different textures, colors, and finishes. It's a great little box of inspiration. Modulor can deliver the material of your choice in quantities large and small, and they can ship worldwide. They also have specialty services available such as custom cut sizes and reworking of materials (drilling, edging, etc). They are a great resource if you're looking to make a statement on your next project.

Click here for more information on Modulor.

Below are pictures from the show including the wall of inspiration that guests were encouraged to graffiti, and a shot of the fabulous Modulor sample box.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007


These past 4 days, an annual show called 100% Design has been going on at Earl's Court in London. From the website: 100% Design is the UK's premier contemporary interiors event for the contract market. There is no other show that connects the worlds of architecture and design with innovative, contemporary interior products, creativity and an exciting mix of new and established talent.

I was lucky enough to visit yesterday as a member of the trade, and all I can say is WOW! I have so much to go through, and tons write about, but it will take a little time. In the meantime, I will entertain you with one last find on our Scandinavian trip... this time from Helsinki, Finland.

Helsinki has a lovely little market down by their marina. Stands are set up by local artists and crafters. In the midst of the craziness, we we lucky enough to find the stand of artist Maarit Kontiainen. She creates beautiful hand-painted etchings of wildlife and nature. She was also a pleasure to talk to. Unfortunately, her website is still under construction, but I've posted the few pieces that I could find. The deer is a piece that we actually bought, and I just adore it. There's something whimsical, and sweet about her work.

You can visit her current web page here, but it's more of a CV than anything else. Here are the pix...

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Thursday, September 20, 2007


We first saw this work on the side of a ferry linking Tallinn, Estonia and Helsinki, Finland. I was drawn to the appeal of the cartoon-type characters painted on the ferry. But on further look I noticed the surreal quality of the art, such as the six legged cow, and the giraffe with his head literally in the clouds. It was cute and entertaining, and not something you usually see on a commercial ship.

Then, we unsuspectingly stumbled upon the artist's gallery as we were wandering the streets of Helsinki! There is apparently another Navitrolla Gallery in Tallinn as well. Anyhow, the art of Navitrolla was so much fun, and I just had to share some pieces.

All work is the property of Navitrolla Gallery.
Click here to visit the artists site.

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Thursday, September 13, 2007


Well, yes, we also managed to do a little shopping on our tour of Scandinavia. Mostly we bought some beautiful pieces for the home, that will remind us of where we have been. But I was also keen to snap up a few design pieces. My first victim was a set of greeting cards. They're so beautiful, that I plan on framing them.

The company is called 1973. And while they're located in the UK, I actually found the cards in Copenhagen. Go figure. The series is called Paper Nature and was designed by the talented Emma Emerson. They are printed on an earthy brown card stock, and stamped with striking foil figures. I've posted some eye candy below.

And, in line with my love of all things green (environmentally speaking), I was happy to read that 1973 has gone green with cards printed on recycled materials, and vegetable based inks.

For more info on 1973, visit their website here.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2007


So, we were in Copenhagen, on our way to visit the Tivoli Gardens (a beautiful amusement park opened in 1843) when the skies let loose a deluge. Well, the prospect of an amusement park in the rain is less than ideal, so we began looking around the area for a cafe to duck into to wait out the storm. And what to my wondering eyes should appear? The Dansk Design Center. Art AND a cafe to warm up in. What could be better?

The Design Center was a small place, but full of wonderful exhibits, design icons, and a pretty cool shop. The 4 main exhibits consisted of fashion, innovative bicycles developed by design students, design icons from the 20th century, and the danish design awards for both new designs and lasting designs. Below are some pix of the exhibits.

To read more about each exhibit, click here.
And if you have an interest in Tivoli Gardens, you can visit their website here.

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Thursday, September 6, 2007

Index: Design to Improve Life

The second of several open-air exhibits that we found was in Copenhagen, Denmark. As we were walking through the center of the city we noticed these plastic bubbles (pods?) throughout the square. Within each pod was an example of design that was created to improve the way we live. Some were functional, some were environmental, all were innovative and inspirational.

Here's what the website says:
"INDEX: AWARD EXHIBITION, which runs from August 17 to September 23, displays the designs top nominated for INDEX: AWARD in a large-scale outdoor exhibition in central Copenhagen. Since its opening, the exhibition has been drawing crowds, and no wonder: 106 large transparent acrylic spheres adorn the beautiful 17th century square Kongens Nytorv in central Copenhagen, creating one of the most spectacular exhibition spaces ever seen. The spheres act as innovative display cases, exhibiting the top-nominated designs 24 hours a day, and in the information center on the square, you can see video footage of the designs and get more information about INDEX:

The exhibition offers an exciting, amazing and visionary insight into the solutions created by designers to improve life for people around the world. Divided into the five award categories BODY, HOME, WORK, PLAY and COMMUNITY, the exhibition will present designs relevant to all areas of human life and be equally inspiring for laymen and professionals, young and old.

The designs on display represent all seven continents. In the spirit of the INDEX: theme “Design to Improve Life”, they address such diverse problems as water shortage, CO2 emissions, environmental sustainability as well as health and safety at work.

As in 2005, a team of about 70 volunteer seniors, in INDEX: terms referred to as “design grannies”, act as tour guides at the exhibition, and admission is free of charge."

For full information, check out the site here.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Home Sweet Home

Well, it's been a whirlwind tour of Scandinavia. We took a 12 day cruise stopping in the ports of: Oslo, Norway, Copenhagen, Denmark, Stockholm, Sweden, Helsinki, Finland, St. Petersburg, Russia, and Tallin, Estonia. Every city had its own personality and charm. They were gorgeous in their own right, and had so much to discover. Besides the architectural beauty of the cities, the artwork was wonderful. We stumbled into open air exhibitions, design museums, sculpture parks, etc. It was so exciting and enriching from both a cultural standpoint and an artistic one. Though I suppose those two are often intertwined. I'm still working through all the pictures and info that I want to share. So in the meantime, I thought I would just post a few pictures of the cities from our trip. I hope you enjoy them. I will be back soon with some more substantial posts :)

In order these are: 1. Farmland seen by train on the way to Harwich, England. 2. The Little Mermaid Statue in Copenhagen. Dedicated to Hans Christian Andersen. 3. The Vasa Museum in Stockholm. 4. Stairway leading up to the Astronomical Clock in City Hall, Copenhagen. 5. Yusupov's Palace, St. Petersburg 6. Church of the Spilt Blood, St. Petersburg. 7. Tallin building. 8. Water ways.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Summer Dreams

The Royal Parks foundation of London is hosting Deckchair Dreams. This initiative collaborates with 25 artists to create designs for canvas deckchairs which feature throughout 8 London parks. This year, in addition to celebrity artists, 126 school children have created their own designs, three of which will appear among the collection.

In addition to brightening up the parks, introducing people to contemporary artists, and involving local school children, you can buy you own limited addition chair. The funds go to continuing the work of the Royal Parks Foundation. Unfortunately the Damien Hirst chair has already sold out (shocking! not.). But if anyone is looking for a great gift, my birthday is coming up soon, and a set of 2 would be lovely ;) Haha.

here for the site and all the designs. Below are some of my favs: Michaela Edwards, Ben Fogle, and Damien Hirst.

BTW, I'll be taking a blogging hiatus for a bit while I travel Scandinavia. Hopefully I'll have lots of goodies to share when I return.


Monday, August 13, 2007

People in glass houses

Shouldn't throw stones. But they should take lots and lots of pictures. Architect Philip Johnson's famous Glass House in New Canaan, CT was opened to the public for the first time this June. As a former resident of the area (well, not of New Canaan, but of the less desirable town next door), I have driven by the property before and always wondered what it was like. And now I know... it's remarkable. Grace Bonney of design*sponge and House and Garden recently took a tour and posted a lovely slide show of images.

However, as cool as it is, I have a feeling I would manage to walk into several walls.

Click here for the slide show.
Click here for the Glass House web site, which includes ticketing and visiting information.


Thursday, August 9, 2007

Just because...

... it's too pretty to pass up. Veer always manages to find new and creative promotions. From quirky fashion and accessories, to "summer activity" books, and beautifully designed catalogs. I love them because they talk to designers in a language we appreciate... beauty.

Here are some pix from their stunning "type city." Who would have thought typefaces could be so gorgeous! They now sell these images as perfect letterpress prints. A set of 10 is available here for $55.

Click here to explore the city for yourself. (The interface is equally sweeeeeet.)

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Tuesday, August 7, 2007


This is so cool! As a print and packaging designer, I spend a lot of time "comping" digital images to show how designs will look on pack, on a bottle, on a hang tag, on a display, etc, etc. This requires copious amounts of scaling, skewing, perspective, shadow and highlight placement. And while it looks ok, it's never perfect. So I am smitten with LiveSurface.

They have created a stock catalog of some of the most common items that need comping. They're all photographed as a blank canvas and saved as a hi-res TIF, which is good enough for offset printing! Beyond having a blank canvas to work with, they've created layers and masks in Photoshop, and pre-built vanishing point planes. It all sounds a bit technical, but basically you size your flat artwork on their template, paste it into the appropriate layer in Photoshop, and the vanishing point planes snap it into the correct position/perspective/etc.
All this, and only 30 bucks a pop! Also, if you sign up with them, you'll receive a link for 1 free download.

Check out the video here to see how it works. Or browse the shop here.

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Friday, August 3, 2007

Trend: Watercolor

Ok, I'm going to go out on a limb here and highlight a "trend" that I'm seeing a lot of these days –Watercolor. That's right, remember those runny paints that you used to play with in kindergarten? Some of us have even gone so far as to try them again in more recent years. Personally, I'm TERRIBLE at it. I always end up with a big runny lot of colors. But, luckily some people have a far better flair for it than I do. And now, I'm seeing watercolor used all over the place... from websites to advertising... and I love it. It adds such a nice, personal touch to mediums that are often impersonal and digitally rendered. I'm ALMOST inspired to try it again.

You heard it hear first. Above is the beginning of the latest edition of the Nori Studios website.)

Here are some sites currently leading the way. In order: Anthropologie, Daily Candy, and Kasil Jeans.

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Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Pretty Pretty Paper

Neisha Crosland is a pattern and textile designer in the UK. She is inspired by historical patterns and paintings, but certainly adds her own contemporary flair. In addition to gorgeous wallpaper and fabrics, she is available for bespoke work... we're talking stunning hand painted silk wallpaper, tiles, rugs, etched furniture. Oh, if only I had a house to put it all in!!

Click here for here website and more samples.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Transport Museum

Perhaps this may only be of interest to those who love London, but I hope it will appeal to those with an affection for iconic design, history, or transportation.

The London Transport Museum has been undergoing extensive renovations of both the museum and the shop. The Museum is due to open in August, but the shop has been open for a while, and it's really fantastic. I usually find gift shops a bit cheesy, but this one is nothing of the sort. From the architecture, to the prints of every tube poster, to an extensive library of transportation, art and design... it's just great. We spent hours there one day, just looking around.
So, if you're in London, definitely pop by. And if you're not... well, you can still shop online!

Click here for the museum website.
here for the shop.

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Monday, July 23, 2007

Orange Tree Project

This was just posted over on Print & Pattern, but it's so great, that I just had to write about it as well. It's called the Orange Tree Project. Their tag line is "Inspiring Design. Inspiring Cause." And that really says it all. They are a non-profit organization started by a group of designers in San Diego who wanted to make a difference. They create gorgeous, contemporary art that is meant to positively impact the purchaser through quotes and messages, and positively impact those in need.

Currently, they are only offering stationery, but have plans to branch out into home goods, apparel and prints.

Click here to view their pretty website.


Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Here's another online shop, similar to Etsy. It's called Trunkt. It was originally founded by Ayesha Ahmad as a physical trunk show event around NY for independent designers. Now you can search for for art by category, artist, or even color. Finds include jewelry, photography, note cards, prints, bags, ceramics, etc. You can create wishlists, or shop the featured designers. So have fun browsing, and supporting independent artists!

Work featured below: silver necklace from Twigs and Heather, gocco card from the Printshop Girl, print by Wolfie and the Sneak

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