natural curiosities: designer’s lunch

a look inside the art house

last week, natural curiosities hosted another of their design lunch series, where industry trade professionals are invited to take a spin through the studio, have lunch, get design inspiration, network and experience the creative space where the art pieces are developed.

fill your space with inspiration

natural curiosities is known for working with all types of specimens and media. the art is the end product of ongoing explorations with collected artifacts that adorn the studio and experimental processes.

see our work for natural curiosities.

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.

thoughts on branding, a round-up!

in place of the usual wednesday creative inspiration, i’ve collected a nice handful of articles on branding i thought i’d share, to bring others in on the experience, and get people thinking about what the next steps are with their own strategies. if you’re new to the idea of branding, i’ve got some great primers here and in my newsletter.

+ for the quick and easy: 3 hot design & branding ideas to boost summer sales from how magazine.

+ for the more in-depth how-to: great brands are about fusing product and service, how do you do it from fast company design.

+ for looking at new ways to tell your story: mining your brand for stories from my buddies at hexanine.

+ for fine-tuning your touchpoints: the personality layer from smashing magazine.

+ for thinking beyond brand: branding talk isn’t helping your company, here’s what should replace it and its follow-up, why branding is an artifact of the past from fast company design.

sewing class

tote bag
sew LA's tote bag class project

well, i said it and i meant it, i just finished my first project-based sewing class where we completed a simple yet very cute lined tote bag. i really enjoyed taking my time and doing everything right. this is easily the cleanest, strongest item i’ve ever sewn, due in part to having such a solid machine. and this print is so cute, i think i might have to find an excuse to buy a couple yards of all the prints i’m in love with and make a bunch of pillow cases.

i’m currently taking classes with sew LA, a cute fabric shop originally from silver lake which just moved to atwater village, offering classes in the back half of a boutique fabric shop. next month i’ll work on a simple skirt and a dress, and beyond that i’ll see if i’m up for pattern making. it’s so fun!

creative inspiration

atlas of remote islands

atlas of remote islands
atlas of remote islands by trent edwards, image:

thanks to for featuring trent edward’s project to redesign and illustrate judith schalansky’s atlas of remote islands. these are beautifully technical, curios 2-color illustrations that lend an enjoyable flair to the map-as-art genre. see the collection here.


khuan+ktron, image:

this is one of a series from khuan+ktron for the good life. from what i’ve seen so far, they bring a colorful, dimensional quality to the places they illustrate, whether mapped from above, or shown in depth scale. see the feature at

growing up: a landscape

growing up: a landscape
growing up: a landscape, image:

this map adds a scale of hilarity to a sense of place, something you can only enjoy by going to the post and studying the close-ups. i love the idea of overlaying a map with life stories, and emily’s encapsulations say just enough, like “high school isn’t everything street” and “that used van was a bad idea gorge.” see more of her fantastic work at

friday fun

Typophile Film Festival 5 Opening Titles from Brent Barson on Vimeo.

all kinds of 3-dimensional materials and ideas for using type. beautiful!

creative inspiration

foodie type

the foodie alphabet by vidhya nagarajan
the foodie alphabet by vidhya nagarajan, image:

taking hand lettering a step further into full illustration, this foodie alphabet by vidhya nagarajan is both beautiful to look at and a great reminder of some ingredients you might not be using every day. see the whole alphabet at

heavy metal

heavy metal
heavy metal by tom davie, image:

one for the things made of stuff files, this latest release from tom davie is part of a typographic poster series available at

letterpress daily

here there be monsters
here there be monsters, image:

i recently found a blog worth sharing for typophiles everywhere: the letterpress daily, where you can not only find great examples of letterpress and wood type prints, but all kinds of specimens of the blocks themselves next to the prints they make. amazing archive!

creative inspiration


this week, we’re looking at jazz-themed design. doesn’t this menu for mexican nightclub, jazzatlán look like it’s straight out of great 60s album cover design? so swanky! see the spread at art of the menu.

blue note legend
blue note legend

this is a beautiful piece for a proposed specialty sub-label of blue note: blue note legend, a modern twist on traditional blue note style. see the whole identity system here, i love how the letters break up, like notes in the air.

the jazz scene
the jazz scene

one of many great typographic covers from penguin books by alan fletcher. i love the big, bold, overprint type. thanks to book worship for this find!