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.

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!

friday fun

Austria Solar Annual Report, powered by the sun from mnoesel on Vimeo.

how’s this for a summer solstice idea: an annual report for a solar energy company using inks activated by ultra-violet rays, so it’s only visible in sunlight. thanks for the link. take a longer look here

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.

how’s creativity issue for 2012

how's creativity issue, may 2012
how's creativity issue, may 2012

it’s that time of year again, and i’m honored to say i’m back in HOW‘s creativity issue, compliments of ilise benun’s freelancing piece, fighting the crowd. it was humorous to come home from a morning meeting where i’m discussing picking up the pieces of a failed crowdsourcing experiment, to see myself quoted on the pitfalls of this practice.

fighting the crowd, by ilise benun
fighting the crowd, by ilise benun

awhile back, i wrote about why crowdsourcing not only isn’t the best choice for most businesses, it’s not the answer when you don’t have a budget. if price is the main thing on your mind, look further into what you can offer in trade. sometimes cross-promotion is an opportunity worth more than money to a well-paired team. read get design on a budget without a crowdsourcing contest here, or pick up the latest issue of HOW on newsstands this month!

creative inspiration


a good week 2012
a good week 2012, image: because studio

so, there’s this thing called a good week happening in june this year, self described thusly:
A Good Week is a global celebration of all the Good that happens in the world. Over seven supercharged days, we will shine a spotlight on the people, communities and businesses who do Good. because studio did some really beautiful branding with all kinds of interactive and celebratory touchpoints!

los angeles

another angle on LA
another angle on LA, image:

a great piece by aimee bender for afar magazine on exploring & loving los angeles sans car. i love it when people take an appreciative look at my city in a way that feels familiar to me.

the gentlewoman magazine
the gentlewoman magazine, image:

thanks to elle kim for design envy i’m intrigued to pick up a copy of the gentlewoman, described as “the magazine (that) celebrates inspirational, international women through its distinctive combination of glamour, personality and wit.” sounds fantastic!

creative inspiration


design work life gift guide 2011
design work life gift guide 2011, image: is one of my favorite blogs, collecting all kinds of great type, layout and illustration samples. they also do a holiday gift guide, usually done in blog posts, but this year it’s an interactive guide and really stunning. check it out!


slanted magazine
slanted magazine, image:

slanted is a german design and typography magazine, issue 15 of which deals with experimental type, as pictured above. see the whole profile at


if you’re anything like me, you’ve been thinking about using white ink for years, and just haven’t had the right project or client who will go for it. well, technology has heard about our white ink desires and improved digital printing technology to make it possible at affordable prices. my friend nick carranza wrote it all up for print magazine, complete with setup and paper stock suggestions: c-m-y-stop there? time to think about white ink

how magazine, may 2011

how magazine, may 2011 cover
how magazine, may 2011 cover

if you’ve got your how magazine‘s design & creativity issue for may 2011, check out ilise benun’s piece, “making the move,” on how to transition to freelance for advice from myself, alisa bonsignore, lydia varesco racoma and kristin maija peterson. i’ve been talking a lot about how i started planning for my transition and then put it into high action during an unexpected layoff. 3.5 years later, i’m still going strong and only getting better. if anyone has questions about what they should know or what to be aware of, i’m always happy to help.

making the move, by ilise benun
making the move, by ilise benun for how magazine

i’ve been reading how for about 15 years, and i’ve met so many great people through it, it’s a true honor to be able to contribute to it and be included in helping other designers learn different aspects of our industry.

for more on the transition to freelance, check these links below:
Ready to Conquer the World? by Ilise Benun for creative freelancer blog
Take 6 Steps Toward a Successful Freelance Career by Ilise Benun for HOW
In House Interpersonal: Walking out of the house from the InHOWse designer blog
Interview with Heather Parlato on Freelancing, podcast with Ilise Benun
Freelancing 103: When to Make the Leap to F/T Freelancing by Ilise Benun
Freelancing 102: Balancing Two Jobs by Ilise Benun
Freelancing 101: How to Begin Getting Clients by Ilise Benun

creative inspiration

Loose Leaf – Edition One from Manual on Vimeo.


eureka and codex
new publications eureka & codex, images from respective sites.

more good news for the print’s not dead files, two new publications have emerged this spring worthy of note. eureka magazine, profiled on iso50 is a fresh, clean & colorful approach to scientific matter, while codex is dedicated to typography.

design industry

we’re ramping up for the creative freelancer conference in june. i talk about what a good pep talk does for me while longtime HOW magazine editor, bryn mooth, talks about joining us in her transition to freelance. dang, we’re in good company.

i spent the weekend with students at AIGA LA’s student portfolio day, and met some really nice people and promising designers. here’s one for you guys: 50 things every graphic design student should know.

and one for back to basics / back to awesome, if you’re not asking these questions, or questions like them on every design project, it’s time to start: 5 questions every designer should ask their clients.


fava fennel saute
garnish your fava fennel saute with lemon zest and finishing salt

this week in food, we’re all about fresh fava beans over at LAist, seasonal eats: get fava beans while they’re fresh! and look at this nasturtium love over at hot knives!

finally, in semi-food & semi-hollywood news, cahuenga alley adjacent to where the hollywood farmer’s market sets up has been approved for a makeover?! that would be incredible!