recent work: natural curiosities exhibition tri-fold


Lately, we’ve been hard at work in development for a full product catalog with Natural Curiosities. Since they exhibit regularly throughout the year, we were bound have to create a work-around for one of the shows while in production. To give them a colorful showcase piece in the interim, we worked with their ever-growing photography assets to produce this exhibition piece as a takeaway for attendees. The fun aspect of this z-fold piece is that it works as a back-to-front flyer when closed, but still works as a beautiful, long-format piece with call to action & contact info on both sides when fully-open.

See more of our work for natural curiosities.

If you have questions about exhibition collateral or different ways to make your products stand out, say hello!

recent work: beer & food


From the owners of Golden Road, Mohawk Bend and Tony’s Darts Away, comes expert hospitality team, Beer & Food Management, providing California-fresh artisanal catering and craft beer services for special events. In keeping with the local, hands-on theme, we’re using Neenah Environment 100% PCW recycled paper, and recalling the beautiful wood finishes found in your favorite public houses.

See more for the Mohawk Bend family of pubs here.

recent work: small farm fresh

I recently started working with a project I deeply believe in! Small Farm Fresh is the startup of a good friend, who created a site where local farmers could sign on to list all their seasonal produce, and chefs from local restaurants could shop for ingredients they need and have it delivered quickly through any of the local daily farmer’s markets. When i say local, this is currently an LA-area project, and for now it’s in beta. Similarly, for the moment, the identity is just a logo, but it’s taking off quickly and we’re planning to grow the brand as the business expands. There are a lot of great plans in the works, i’m so proud to be a part of it!

See more of our work here.

recent work: skift 13 trends that will define travel in 2013

It’s been exciting to watch Rafat Ali launch his latest startup,, a news source on the business of the travel industry, reporting on everything from airline mergers to niche travel apps. For their 1-year anniversary, we created this interactive trend report for distribution at the outset of 2013, a collection of articles with full click-throughs to citations and resources. They reported very positive feedback, and I’m very happy with how it turned out. Interested in what these 13 trends might be? download a copy here.

Interactive pdfs are a great alternate tactic to direct traffic or email marketing, since you get the chance to reorganize information in a different way than you might have it online, creating new value for the reader. Also, there are those who prefer to read a 15-page report over sorting relevant items in a blog, though now with the information arranged as a trend report, these same readers are far more likely to visit your site through the relevant links provided. With InDesign, these documents offer total design flexibility and look far better than something whipped up in word, or [gasp] a presentation deck standing in for its presenter.

see more of our recent work here.

case study: re-imagining natural curiosities

natural curiosities identity package

For the past 7 months, I’ve been hard at work with Natural Curiosities, a collective of artists and artisans working under the creative direction of Christopher Wilcox in a beautiful studio in the Jensen Recreation Center, here in Echo Park. They have evolved from roots in archival giclée printing and silk screen to application and specimen art, gold & silver leafing, aging and paper treating, and hand watercoloring. They have a specific aesthetic celebrating a time when both scientists and artists were constantly observing and cataloging nature, and they’ve brought this around from archives of illustrations to three-dimensional recreations and objet d’art. With all these new developments afoot, it was time to do a little identity refresh, and refocus the web site on communicating all the exciting news in more of a real-time way.

brand exploration

Starting with research, we did a full company-wide brand exploration. You never know what you might find when you interview everyone in a company, but it was exciting to see how passionate everyone was about their work and the family environment in the art house. They all offered great ideas and perspectives that we incorporated into a report, and further refined into a brand brief to guide the project. Natural Curiosities had already developed a lovely logo and wordmark, so the job of standardizing its ratio, lockup, and uses was easy.

identifying the challenges

The main goals boiled down to 2 things: create a marketing strategy that would communicate the brand philosophy, and design a web site that would serve both the marketing strategy and the clients. as a wholesaler, the clients of natural curiosities are partners and external sales rather than consumers, though the site is used as a catalog to consumers as well, and has to serve both markets seamlessly. The previous site was very strong on products, but needed more of a bridge to the promotional engine and client relations. Research told us that people really love interfacing with the staff and studio, so another goal was to bring more of that experience to the surface of all communications. On the technical side, this site was built in Drupal and would stay in Drupal, but had to become far easier to update by employees.

natural curiosities home page

a dynamic, art-focused home page

One of the first challenges we faced was how to pull specific pieces out of the archive and showcase them. With a catalog as big as that which Natural Curiosities sells, even after a streamlining, we’re still faced with many collections and sub-collections, relying on the user to find them either by browsing or searching. In reworking the home page, we decided on a 5-image slide show, showing a full-screen close-up of any one piece of art that Natural Curiosities would like to feature, with each linking to the appropriate product or collection. Previews from the art house is their way of visually showcasing breaking news or exciting products, which is very easy to update on the fly.

natural curiosities art catalog

the art catalog

Our first task was to map out the art catalog, which was no small feat. Flow charts, graphics and full wall murals were involved! The general feeling was that the categories and collections were not intuitive enough, so we reworked the names, resorted the art, refreshed the overall collection [adding new pieces, retiring others] and stacked it into a grid of highly-colorful art folios to reiterate the sense of archive. This is a main landing page for regular site users, so it has become more inviting, and easier to use.

natural curiosities search & products

enhanced search and products pages

Another section ripe for opportunity was the search function, which wasn’t returning as many results as it could, and showed the results more like data records than art. We installed a module that would perform a wider search, give the user options to narrow the search by category, and suggest alternatives, with results coming in as large thumbnails for quick preview and selection. The product pages have been rearranged to be image first, support information second for visually-driven clients. When authorized users are logged in, pricing and buying options appear here as well.

setting the mood

setting the mood

With clients in mind, we decided to add a design & interior-focused section to put art in context into the spotlight. This is a more extensive slide show which offers Natural Curiosities another way to showcase products, overlay editorial and cross-link styles from inspiration shots to related collections or blog posts. It’s also the first of a few more client-partnership aspects we’re building into the site.

explore & about sections

a look inside

Giving outsiders a look inside the studio, we created a section called explore which is starting out as a video gallery of art processes used at Natural Curiosities. The about section has given more weight to the story behind the formation of the collective, how they operate now, and the influence of the place as inspiration. Also featured in the about section is a retail location search, for retail customers looking to buy, and all the FAQ, shipping, privacy policy and terms & conditions information buyers may be looking for. These sections have been given the flexibility to grow as the art house has new things to share.

notes from the art house: the blog

a new & improved blog!

As another, more dynamic opportunity for communication, we’ve introduced a new blog with a unique layout from the rest of the site, and an editorial calendar to fill it with sources of beautiful design inspiration, product showcases, video posts and news missives. The blog is going to be a pivotal point of the communication strategy, as another place to bring clients into the natural curiosities experience.

+ Read more case studies here.
+ See more of our work for Natural Curiosities.

damn good

damn good by jason adam & tim lapetino
damn good by jason adam & tim lapetino

my buddies over at hexanine have just released damn good: top desiners discuss their all-time favorite projects with how books. i like this book for a few reasons. for one, it’s really well organized into project type, so each project is in a category with similar work. another thing i enjoy now that i know some of these authors is to see what they would curate as a set of work worth sharing. everyone has an opinion about what’s good, and we can easily look at their own portfolios, but it’s always fun to see what they like and are inspired by.

finally, i liked the feedback feature in this book. it’s not just a selection of nice pieces, it’s a chance to hear from the designers about their favorite parts of each project, which can sometimes reveal aspects readers couldn’t have guessed on first glance.

aiga la: speakeasy poster in damn good
aiga la: speakeasy poster in damn good

i’m honored to be among the group of damned good, here in the form of the aiga la: speakeasy poster, which was a really fun project for the 2010 aiga la fellows gala and celebration. the people who work with the los angeles chapter of aiga are a fantastic group, and this project was a great reflection of that.

see the aiga la fellows gala project here.

parlato hypnotherapy identity system

parlato hypnotherapy

it’s an identity system for my very own dad, who started his hypnotherapy practice last year in santa fe, new mexico. to convey the journey faced by most patients seeking hypnotherapy, we chose a bird in flight paired with a few different horizons over a cool color palette. we also worked out a business card that does double duty as an appointment card with a list of credentials. to keep things easy for my dad’s user level as far as web site updates, we gave him a straightforward wordpress template and he’s taken to it very well for basic updates.

see more recent work here.

compliment bombs: just one great use of school-style valentines

compliment bombs
compliment-bomb your friends with a gaggle of valentines!

probably the only weapons of mass appreciation you can get away with sending through the US mail are compliment bombs! why spread all your valentines around if you really want to say a bunch of nice things to one person? shower them with niceness, write a unique sentiment on each card in my school-style valentine packs benefitting dayna stephens and mail it, hide it in a sure-to-find place or hand-deliver to your most valuable targets.

this idea came about when my super-awesome friend, colleen, decided to sponsor a pack of valentines with the instructions that i should donate them to some lucky person who would use them. and that’s a real nice idea, but i said NO WAY! because colleen is one of my favorite people, and i’m not sure if she knows the profound effect she has on everyone around her. so i thought, what if i just write all her valentines back to her and surprise her with them [i hope she gets them before she reads this post]. beyond making something nice for a friend, it’s a great exercise to list all the things you’re grateful for—even in just one person. imagine the connectedness you can create by identifying your gratitude for everyone you know!

so skip the flowers [plant seeds instead and enjoy them all year], skip the chocolates [unless it’s that dark chocolate with sea salt caramel bar from trader joes, i’ll take that any day], click on the BUY button below and get started on building your very own homemade BOMBS! of love, that is. i don’t stand to make a penny here, once i pay the state and the post office, all the profits go to help dayna stephens. we’re in the home stretch, and if we sell them out, i’ll double your money in a matching donation! let’s do it!

2 weeks to spread the love for dayna!

all your amazing help has sold HALF the valentines with TWO WEEKS to go!

in case you haven’t heard, i’m selling my arsenal of valentines to spread the love for dayna stephens. we set out with a goal to sell 150 packs of valentines in 5 weeks, and so many of you advance-planner, get-aheaders bought them an astounding month in advance! now it’s time to help our sometimes-procrastinatey friends jump off the fence and into action, because the real fun begins when i double your money after we sell out! remind everyone you know that it’s FESTIVE to hand out cute cards with nice compliments, it’s FUN to pretend your a kid again, and it’s AWESOME to help a good friend in the process.

here’s where we’re at:

we have 75 packs of valentines to sell!
we have 14 days until february 10 to sell them!
that’s a mere 5 packs per day at 5 bucks each! we can do it!
keep spreading the word, link to this post or to the parlato design studio store!
use those sociable icons below to share it to your favorite social networks!
fight the healthcare system with love—do it for dayna!