Archives For design

Kite Runner

05/09/2013 — Leave a comment

Clearly I’ve missed out until recently when I saw the movie Kite Runner (based on the book of the same title by Khaled Hosseini). What drew me into the movie initially (since I will admit I’ve not read the book) were the titles by MK12 and their flowing whirl of dreamy watercolored calligraphy.

Lovely, right? So, what have you been watching lately guys? Seen any good movies?

Logos Galore

05/04/2010 — Leave a comment

Lately, I’ve found myself attending a lot of networking events and meetings; not surprisingly, one of the results is many conversations about the design services I offer…

Perhaps though, I should consider an ad like the following:

Great stuff, right? Especially that smashing logo at the end…

I tweeted about this earlier this week but given the date and the quality of work, this recent redesign was worth sharing here as well.

As an interesting design challenge, Studio 360 charged the founders of Under Consideration, Bryony Gomez-Palacio and Armin Vit, with the task of ‘redesigning’ Valentine’s Day. The duo approached the project as they might any other identity project and began by establishing the following goals:

  • Clarify expectations.
  • Simplify visual clutter.
  • Update color palette.
  • Revamp traditions.
  • Transform Cupid.
  • valentines_conclusion

    Their solution is elegant and thoughtful– the mark itself is simple and efficient, and the symbols and new traditions they suggest are equally inventive. A more detailed summary of the project is available from the Under Consideration Web site here.

    What do you think of their solution, readers? Would you use the Valentine symbol? How would YOU redesign Valentine’s Day?

    Image: Under Consideration

    Type Oscars

    10/02/2010 — Leave a comment

    It may be almost a month before the Academy Awards, but Ellen Lupton has already posted her picks for the Oscars of Type.

    Personally I love her Best Serif pick:


    Calluna, by Jos Buivenga

    Which faces made your list, dear readers?

    When I was an undergrad in design school , I was one of the weakest drawing students among my peers our freshman year. My professors, patient and inspiring though they were, seemed to remain concerned about my weaknesses in the fields of drawing and craft; it was the final pin-up discussions at which I shone.

    When the second semester of my freshman year came along and my drawing skills still fell short of my peers, one of my professors, who held a master’s in drawing, pulled me aside and gave me some advice. He gave me a few tips on how to improve the quality of my work, but above all advocated simply for practice. One of the exercises he recommended was to draw simple shapes over and over again– to draw until they were coming out of my ears. By so doing, I would be training my hands to be more skilled at quality of line and form. So for weeks I drew obsessively– circles, squares, cones, pyramids, triangles, lines, lines, lines; it was the mad hatter’s geometry and it was exploding inside my sketchbooks.

    By the time I graduated with my BFA, I was selected as the designer of the year, so something must have clicked along the way; the mad hatter’s geometry had pushed me further. Today, simple forms like those from my professor’s exercise tend to creep into the margins of my sketchbooks and meeting notes– an unconscious habit, it now seems.

    When I came across the above video from the Design Council, one of the first things that came to mind was that exercise of drawing simple shapes over and over and over.

    Why be good when you can be better? What do you wish you could do better, dear readers? And how do you plan on getting there?

    Building on my recent talk of sketchbooks and organizational systems, now seems like an appropriate time to share a series which outlines a week in the lives of thirteen artists, designers and thinkers. Organized by I.D. Magazine to demonstrate the versatility of Moleskine’s new folio collection of sketchbooks, the series was exhibited this past April during the 2009 Milan Design Week.

    Here are a few of the sketchbooks from the series:

    Designer/illustrator, Marian Bantjes

    Fashion designer, Han Feng

    Graphic designer and author, Jessica Helfand

    Industrial Designer, Ayse Birsel

    What would a week in your life look like, dear readers?


    10/12/2009 — Leave a comment

    Recently, I’ve been spending a lot of time on the road hopping from one major city to another. When traveling, I tend to pack light and it has oft been observed by friends, that my manner of dress somewhat brands me as a designer or artist in my tendency to favor mostly black. It is not my vocation, though that informs my choice in clothing, but a desire to remain crisp, tidy and simple while highlighting favored details– a colorful scarf, playful shoes, a vibrant jacket. Repacking my bag this evening, I am reminded of Sheena Matheiken’s Uniform Project:

    What do you think of the Uniform Project, readers? Do you have a uniform of sorts? Do you think, dear readers, that you could undertake a similar project as Ms. Matheiken?

    For the last two days, or evenings really, I’ve been reading The Barnbrook Bible as my break from work. It has been an absolute delight, leaving me further inspired by and in awe of Barnbrook’s work and perspective. I had the good fortune to spend some time with him at Grafic Europe in Berlin 5 years ago, but tried very hard not to be THAT person at the conference– the annoying fan who asks really specific questions about old work, celebrity clients and odd hypothetic situations.

    Earlier this morning, I decided to catch up on what I’ve missed in the Virus Fonts and Barnbrook Design universe online. In so doing, I came across a number of his motion pieces from the last few years, here is one of the latest breathtaking pieces:

    A Half-Rememebered Sentence from The Quiet Man

    Here are a few pieces from a series of political pieces he did in 2004:

    This is one of a series of three pieces produced in 1995 for BBC Radio Scotland:

    See more of Jonathan Barnbrook’s amazing work here on his studio’s Web site.


    28/10/2009 — Leave a comment

    I have another confession to make, Internet. I am terrible at picking out tables– I put it off as long as I can, I will buy a couch before picking out a table, and even then it takes me six months to commit to a couch.

    When I lived in Denver, I went months and months without a table, not even a desk! I had kitchen counters and a side table, that was as flat as it got in my home.

    But lo! I have found a table that I would gladly welcome into my home; behold:

    I swear my fascination with this table has nothing to do with the year I spent living across from a ball bearing factory. Ok, maybe just a little bit.

    What’s your idea of the perfect table? And are there any items of furniture you find it difficult to select?

    I did not attend the AIGA biennial conference, Make/Think, last week in Memphis. I tried, but my planning efforts quickly became a logistical nightmare; in the end, I decided to save the money for a mortgage payment instead of the agony of figuring out travel to a town with out Southwest service and overbooked hotels (despite the fact that this is THE most important national graphic design conference).

    While catching up on what I missed (which should take a quite a while considering how densely they pack the programming for the AIGA biennial conference), I thought I’d share a few of the early highlights I’ve unearthed:

    AIGA Make/Think interviews with golden nuggets of tasty advice and entertainment for all, but mostly students. from drifting creatives on Vimeo.

    Charles Brock’s, of Faceout Studio, look at the Kindle as a book designer.

    Did you make it to Make/Think, dear readers? I’m still disappointed about missing Debbie Millman, Jill Greenberg, Stefan Sagmeister (even if I’ve heard him speak before) and about a hundred other interesting people.

    Poppytalk Handmade has just launched their latest monthly online “street market.” Beginning today and running through Friday, September 18, this month’s theme is “School Days: A back to school market.”

    If you haven’t already taken a look this month’s goodies, here is a peek at some of the things that caught my eye:


    Uncle Rutherford by Matte Stephens


    eblouie 2 by Labokoff


    Leap by Yardia


    Number 16 by Bueller


    Alphabet Soup by Modernpop


    Set of 12 postcards by Tricia McKellar


    My Friend print by Tutti studio


    Branch necklace by Floridity

    If you haven’t checked them out before, Poppytalk curates a monthly online showcase of international design talent; beautiful handmade items are available in this fun and diverse marketplace. Go check it out!

    Images: Poppytalk Handmade

    Despite three 1000 mile plus moves in the last four years, I STILL have a stack of these that I really should get around to selling:


    Designed and produced in 2004, A wolf in sheep’s clothing was a winner of the annual Swedish National Paper Screen Printing Competition that year. It has been exhibited at Kultur Huset in Stockholm during the spring of 2004 and at the 100% Centennial Exhibition at the Miller Gallery in Pittsburgh, PA in 2006. It is a 2-color, limited edition A1-sized screenprint on clear plexiglass that was hand printed in Sweden while I was still living there.

    Want one? I’ll be posting them on Etsy soon, I hope. But in the meantime, PLEASE feel welcome to comment or e-mail and I’ll be happy to make arrangements with you personally.

    As a designer, a former resident of Scandinavia and one who claims partial Finnish heritage, I am, not surprisingly, a fan of Marimekko. While I have never owned one of their classically simple Olkalaukku bags or one of their colorful dresses, I have often enjoyed the vibrant and playful patterns from this uniquely Finnish company. During the long Swedish winters, a visit to the Marimekko shop in Stockholm would often brighten my day with playful palettes and jubilant forms.

    Years ago, when I saw Kirsti Paakkanen speak at Future Design Days I became transfixed with the playful graphic style Marimekko produced and admired Ms. Paakkanen’s fearless approach to business and design.

    So this afternoon, I thought it would be fun to share a few samples of Marimekko’s new bags:

    Mari's Reversible Canvas Tote

    Mari's Reversible Canvas Tote

    Mari's Hobo

    Mari's Hobo

    Mari's Medium Tote

    Mari's Medium Tote

    Mari's Clutch

    Mari's Clutch

    Mari's Briefcase

    Mari's Briefcase

    I just love the stark graphic patterns; there is a whimsical nature to them that remind me of work from the late 1950s and early 1960s; Harold and the Purple Crayon comes to mind. All of the bags in this collection are made of Italian patent leather and the familiar canvas of other Marimekko products. Even the look and feel for the Web site and ads for this collection have a humorous feel that just makes you smile; a sunny treat for a rainy day.

    Images: Marimekko


    25/06/2009 — Leave a comment

    Wallpaper has never really been something that appealed to me very much, but I may have to reconsider after discovering the beautiful papers available from Trove. The inventive designs and colorful reproductions are stunning. Here are my favorites:

    Auva by Trove


    Alula by Trove


    Ankaa by Trove


    Indi by Trove


    I LOVE this last one – magpies and crows are such lovely birds, tricksters with beautiful proportions and graphic style; they always made the winter and spring in Sweden so much more enjoyable to watch…

    What do you think? Looking at these gets me thinking about wall coverings and treatments with a new perspective. What are your favorite wall treatment ideas lately? Do tell.
    Images: Trove

    For as long as I can remember, art has been a profound source of joy and is something for which I maintain a healthy appetite. The portion of my brain relegated to art is no doubt the majority which might explain my distaste for all things trigonometric or vacuum-related. Anyway, I tend to spend a lot of time seeking out new work, artists and sources of inspiration. While I visit museums and galleries as much as possible, there are so many online sources from which to derive inspiration these days that it is almost staggering.

    Lately, I’ve been looking at illustration more and more. Today the work of Iveta Abolina, also know as OneSweetOrange has caught my eye. I tripped over her by way of and immediately found a number of her pieces that I would love to hang in my home. The graphic quality of her work and the organic flow of the compositions excites my eye. Here are a few of my favorites from her Etsy shop:

    Sonnet by OneSweetOrange


    Forbidden Thoughts by OneSweetOrange

    Forbidden Thoughts

    Little Bird by OneSweetOrange

    Little Bird

    At $20-$50USD, most of her work is terribly affordable; the only question is, which to buy? Take a look at Irena’s Etsy Shop and more of her illustrations and design work at

    Images: Iveta Abolina/OneSweetOrange

    Screaming Trees/ Sweet Oblivion

    Prick/ Prick (unpublished front & back cover)


    Can you tell what it says?