creative inspiration: liquor design


this kind of student work is what i really think we need more of, especially in beverage packaging. so many liquors try to evoke something sultry and end up looking like cheap dates. this series of infused akvavit associates the flavors with swedish folktales while showcasing a very strong brand. great work! see more at


so, moonshine has been a thing for awhile, and it’s very appropriately in a jar. i love this simple packaging, with a logo looking like a streamlined version of a hand-carved stamp. see more at


i think this packaging for pavan is something you either love or you don’t. to me, this color palette is a perfect representation of southern france, and very clearly evokes the flavor of this liqueur, which is described as muscat & orange blossom. this is the kind of bottle i’d keep as a vase after finishing the liqueur. the pavan web site is beautiful, too! see more at

creative inspiration: beer design

3 selections

this week, i’ve collected 3 examples of awesome illustration styles in beer design. the first one, above is for wahoo brewing in texas. their blog is a nice tribute to craft beer.


these labels for aspen brewing company in colorado are a fun tribute to vintage national park posters. the highlights of their collateral is featured here.


finally, the illustration-forward packaging for R&B brewing in vancouver has been making the rounds, each brew with a themed container full of hand-drawn type. these pieces are new and not entirely integrated on their site as of this posting, but see the collection here.

thanks to for these great design profiles!

friday fun: sign painters

SIGN PAINTERS (OFFICIAL TRAILER) from samuel j macon on Vimeo.

i guess i’ve got drawing and hand-lettering on the brain this week. above is the trailer for sign painters, a documentary, and also a book, by faythe levine and sam macon. the original post on is so full of good links, i’ll just send you there. enjoy!

beautifully illustrated wine labels


in my travels of design research, i’m always collecting inspiring work on pinterest. these 3 wine label design projects stood out to me as beautifully simplistic with the personal touch of illustration. on the heels of yesterday’s book about drawing your own type, how about that fantastic label for nagging doubt?! full post here.


this collection for társila is such a breath of fresh air. i love the patterns for each wine, and the colors are a nice accent. i love this type of clean organization, it’s a very confident presentation. full post here.


this “magic machine” that wraps the length of torello’s label is both funny and charming, a cluster of gears here, a bugle that funnels into a barrel there. a very nice touch of gold foil to match the color of the wine, too. full post here.

draw your own fonts


i think this is the next design book i need. looking at all the beautiful hand-lettering going on these days, i got to the point of searching out local classes i could take. it sounds like draw your own fonts is a great place for a non-drawer like me to start. read the whole review here.

community woodshop


thanks to my fantastic design network, i found out about community woodshop in the keystone arts spaces in glassell park just a few months after they opened. community woodshop is both a workspace and a learning space for people who want to learn about and work on various techniques in wood working, but maybe don’t own or have space for all the equipment. after taking the required safety class, you can join various levels of membership to work in the shop, or take classes. since i’m a beginner, i opted to start with the cutting board class.


we were given all the samples in the above photos for inspiration of what we could create, though we were discouraged from cutting too many angles, since it would complicate the gluing process for those of us with less experience. we could do straight cuts, cross & flip, round corners, cut handles, or route a trench. cool!


we were provided with maple, alder, walnut and mahogany pieces, squared on 2 sides. to get a feel for the process, we were told to smooth the other sides. here are 2 students using the planer and joiner to get perfectly-smooth starting pieces.


our teacher, bob, reminds us of all the safety precautions of the table saw. there are many. when cutting with wood grain, the wood goes through the blade effortlessly, but going against grain can be a much more tricky cut. we cut all our on-grain 1″ pieces, and bob cut all our against-grain requests for us. then we went to worktables to arrange our pieces and design our boards.


gluing is the fun part. you get big clamps and glue paper and turn all your pieces on their sides, run the glue down the center, and stick them one by one to their neighbor. then tighten the clamps and watch the glue squeeze out the seams.


finally, we let the glue set and cleaned it from the surface. my board looks oddly plain here. the table saw burned the maple wood as it cut, which is normal since it is a very hard wood, but leaves it looking dirty. all of that will be sanded away though, it will oil up nicely and all the grain details will show through. i’ve heard we use some sort of beeswax to do this. we’ll find out in next week’s class when the beauty of our projects are revealed!

sewing projects

i’ve been doing a lot of sewing lately and wanted to post a few things. not because the sewing is particularly great, but because fabric and pattern design has become so inspiring now that i’m looking at it all the time. recently i made a few sets of pillowcases, because so many fabrics remind me of the crazy sheets we had as kids in the 70s. that, and we don’t have even one complete set of sheets, everything is mismatched in our house, so i thought i’d compound that problem by adding to it. but i mean, look at these cute little geisha cats! and they’re all sleeping!

sewing pillowcases is really easy, and you get to buy fabrics that are way more crazy than you’d wear. wearing a print like this definitely makes me feel like a crazy cat lady. it’s the absolute furthest i’m willing to go in terms of wearing cat things. so all i did was make a kimono-style top out of it and solid black. that’s it! i’m making more clothes too, but i have to figure out how & where to photograph them.

i found this pattern for a kindle slipcase online and thought it was so nice with the contrasting fabric and divided pocket. turns out it’s really easy to make and requires very little fabric. i made my parents slipcases for each of their devices for the holidays, an ipad case and a nook case. my machine has a ton of embroidery stitches, so i tried out a contrasting thread and made a star pattern to close the hems. making things like this is really fun & rewarding. and with all the extra fabric from garment sewing, it’s starting to look like i’ll have to take up quilting. hmmmm!

creative inspiration

i found some really nice, affordable typefaces in my research this week, and thought i’d share my favorites.


this typeface is certainly named accurately, a rounded & voluptuous take on a classic serif that remains highly readable. buy it here.


as the name would suggest, this is more of a renaissance serif, full of details and flourish. the letterforms manage to remain spacious at smaller sizes and thinner weights. check it out in more detail here.


this is a free font in 2 styles of caps: one with more angular crossbars and slants, the other a bit more straightened out. with all the vintage goodness popular in design today, this typeface could certainly add nice detail. download it here.

st. agnes

i like this, because i can’t quite do it. and because most handwritten fonts mimic a more conventional, casual hand, while this one is more illustrative and cursive. available here.

creative inspiration

two stories about classic designers that came through the news this week caught my eye. one, the story of the NEXT logo by paul rand for steve jobs, including 2 interviews about the design, and a replication of what must be the most narrative logo presentation i’ve ever seen.

personal preferences, prejudices, and stereotypes often dictate what a logo looks like, but it is needs not wants, ideas, not type styles which determine what its form should be. to defamiliarize it, to make it look different, to let it evoke more than the mere adjective or adverb it happens to be is, it seems, the nub of the problem. —paul rand

read and view the full piece here: paul rand + steve jobs.

the other is a heartening tale of hiring one of the mad men-era illustrators to help capture the illustrative style of the time for the new season promotion posters. i love the show already, but thought it was a great pairing.

…they just looked up the person who had done all these drawings that I really loved, and they said: “Hey, we’ve got the guy who did them. And he’s still working. His name is Brian Sanders.” —matthew weiner

read the full story here: brian sanders creates made men poster for new season.