creative inspiration

Erik Spiekermann – Putting Back the Face into Typeface from Gestalten on Vimeo.


infographic of culinary tools
[image: pop chart lab]
this infographic of sorted & illustrated culinary tools is a virgo, graphic designer, diy kitchen person’s dream! see the whole profile at


lee never wasted
i love this shopping bag commissioned by lee, intended to be cut down and reused as a board game, calendar, ruler, mask, door hanger, and so many more things. see the full post at the

design industry

inc magazine has a great article, survival tips for solopreneurs to help you stay afloat when times get tough.

also, in web design, when you feel the tug-of-war between business objectives vs. user experience pulling you into indecision, here’s how to solve it.


chanterelles and potatoes
i found myself the lucky recipient of a few pounds of foraged chanterelles this week, so i wrote about them in seasonal eats: when live gives you wild chanterelles.

creative inspiration

something to get you rockin on the last week of the year.


cat cabin
[image: loyal luxe]
if you have cats, then you know that as soon as a box is around, they’re inside it. these little cat houses & cabins are so cute, i think mine would have a ball playing in them.

if you love packaging, take a look at this colorful, type-forward series from muse perfumery. so enticing!

something we don’t talk about enough in packaging, however, is waste, and i think marian bantjes’ piece for design observer explains my wrap rage really well: plastics: an apoplexy.


bear flag wine
sometime in september, i was up in san francisco, walking home from dinner on my cell phone, when i dropped into a liquor store to buy a bottle of wine. distracted by my call and less familiar with napa wine than most points south, i scanned the shelf forever and then decided that this fascinating label for bear flag wine had to be a sign. i bought it, i drank it, i planned to photograph it, but i didn’t, and then i took home the empty bottle, and it sat on a shelf for 2 weeks, when i finally decided i would just let it go. but then—here it is on the dieline, and it reminded me, it was an awesome piece of illustration & package planning. the bear flag site is pretty awesome as well, and i give them a pass on using flash, because they’re using it well.


serif bag
you probably think you don’t need this serif bag, but face it, you probably do. profiled on

design industry

it’s right around the corner, the AIGA 2010 fellows will be celebrated a touch past 2010. AIGA Fellows 2010: Speakeasy at the Palihouse on january 20! buy tickets today!

design sponge’s biz ladies will tell you how to plan effective give-aways.

inspiredology looks at how to guide your users eye in parts 1 and 2.

beyond design

winter drinks
[image: serious eats]

2 from serious eats on winter drinks and mocktails just in time for new year’s eve!

this week’s post for LAist doubly surprised me, for one because people seem to really like fennel more than i thought, and for another, i didn’t get ANY anchovy hate! seasonal eats: root-to-flower fun with fennel.

article of the week

why are you building this website by christopher butler for

What promises are you (or your client) making that you know you’ll probably break? The best way to figure that out is to get to the heart of why, exactly, you’re even building this website in the first place. It seems like a simple question, doesn’t it? But you’d be amazed to know just how often web projects reach significant milestones only to fail to launch because it hasn’t been asked—or answered—by the people involved.

creative inspiration

Hi-Fi from bante on Vimeo.


secca animated logo
[image: pentagram]
this brand & identity for secca by pentagram is not only stunning, it moves! read up on it here: pentagram’s luke hayman on how multimedia is transforming branding, from

print design

lan su visitor guide
[image: sockeye creative]
this lovely print specimen by sockeye creative for the lan su chinese garden in portland is rich in details that make the experience of interacting with it really rewarding. a custom die-cut window over a stylized illustration invites you in, then the unique binding of a gate fold over stepped pages detailing the vistas makes you want to flip through and study each one. fantastic work! see more here: lan su visitor guide, from

web design

a series i found on included some useful articles i wanted to share for web designers. a complete beginner’s guide to design research, overcoming the obstacles of usability testing and the complete beginner’s guide to web analytics and measurement.


bottle rainbows by johnny miller
[image: johnny miller]
amazing rainbows and color gradients created with colored glass and light, by johnny miller. thanks, oh joy for the link!

since creativity is about how you think, here are 2 articles i found interesting from around the tubes this week. seth godin talks about how we analyze our inner monologue to help define intuitive marketing: monitoring your internal monologue, and explores the einstein quote “imagination is more important than knowledge” here: be smart, know smarts ain’t the answer.

design industry

ravi sawhney talks about his new book predictable magic here:forget praying to the muse, create design magic on demand, from

tim lapetino of hexanine talks about how to get the most out of your kickoff meeting: the art of interviewing your client, from

a post chock-full of inspiring resources: 25 useful videos and presentations for designers, from

small business owners & sole-proprietors, take note: biz ladies: free online resources for business owners, from

creative inspiration


rainbow project in rio de janiero by favela
[image: favela]
they weren’t so bad to begin with, but this rainbow project in rio de janiero by favela makes these apartments downright tasty! thanks ohjoy for the link!

i missed the first post of print magazine’s series on color wheels, but now that the second one is out, i can share both here. look at these amazing retrospectives on color exploration through the ages!
the wonderous color wheel, part 1
the wonderful color wheel, part 2
hopefully we’re staying tuned for more…

if those made you want to put down your stylus and get your hands dirty, take a look at creative activities, from freelance switch and see how alternative forms of creative activities can keep your ideas fresh.

if you need a more conceptual way to do this, consider creative block’s design ideas for when you’re out of ideas for process strategies on the fly.


34 typographic sins
[image: jim godfrey design]
a poster designed around a compiled list of ways not to set type, by jim godfrey. take a look at the full piece at the showcase post on

we’ve all seen uses of typography that could have been chosen better, especially when it comes to era-specific visual references. typecasting: the use (and misuse) of period typography in movies, from michael simonson runs through some classic stylistic mismatches with entertaining commentary.

want to make fonts on your ipad by drawing with your fingers? these people are willing enablers in this effort!

design industry

sharpie pencil
[image: sharpie]
permit me an office supply love minute here, but sharpie is releasing a liquid graphite pencil that goes permanent after a few days. i have a soft spot for pencils [espcially soft lead mechanicals], and while i realize this is not necessarily what the world needs, i am curious to try it. also, how cute is the sharpie blog header graphic?! thanks to how magazine for the link.

in our ongoing adventure to create great things, i think it’s important to remember that design is for everyone. ravi sawhney asserts designers continue to dedicate an overwhelming portion of their attention and energy toward designing for the top 10% in most developed nations. and he’s got a point. read more of what he has to say in designers are still blind to main street, from

consider the factors of a design team, and if you’re working alone, perhaps consider which ones are fulfilled by you and which are done by your client: 4 essential members of a great design team, from michael roller

an interesting look at 4 “ugly” web sites that make millions (and what we can learn from them), from kissmetrics. clue: figure out function first and tell your users how to do it.

creative inspiration

brand development

brand building
apparently, the idea that when a client asks for a logo, what they probably really need is a brand strategy is gaining ground. if this is you or someone you know, get familiar with what goes into brand development with six tips for designing a memorable brand from

once you work out the brand strategy, you’ll want to create a style guide so you can keep everyone developing artifacts for your business on point. to get a good idea of what goes into a style guide, check out designing style guidelines for brands and web sites from


indian rupee symbol selected
more than a logo, a currency denotation is an international symbol that comes to be synonymous with a country and its people’s well being. the indian rupee underwent a redesign [via, of all things, a design contest] and a final has been chosen. i like the shape of it, almost futura-istic. read more here: indian rupee symbol selected, from


interview with rudy vanderlans
i have been an emigre fan for my entire design career. it was just yesterday that one of many awesome creations of rudy vanderlans [brothers typeface] rescued yet another in a line of countless layouts for me. join alissa walker in her interview with this amazing type design icon and his new showcase for his typefaces, historia: type master: an interview with emigre’s rudy vanderlans, from

design industry

recycled vintage couture by koi suwannagate
i wasn’t able to make it to the pasadena museum of california arts biennial this past saturday, but you can take a spin through the greenest features here: discover green design at pasadena museum of california arts biennial, from

we talked about it last week, we’ll talk about it this week: print cant be dead if people are still starting up new magazines, especially in these new niche markets for printed rag fetishists. steven heller profiles vintage magazine for print here: print ain’t dead yet, continued.

three for the marketing department. first of all, drop the “us vs. them” mentality, marketing and design do their best when they work together: the creative vs. the marketing team: yin and yang, oil and water, from then, take 2 marketing-smart tips from ilise benun: does your email say “open me?” and keywords made simple, both from

creative inspiration

levi’s shares a video behind the scenes of letterpress, screen printing and block printing.

speaking of print design, how magazine reprinted part of a study by appleton coated on how print design is still a very valuable selling tool because clients and consumers love interacting with stunning print design pieces. but hey, you already knew that, right? the new ROI.

if you’ve done some of this outstanding print design, check out some upcoming design award deadlines: call for entries: HOW design awards

need one last print design fix? these central park wedding invites featured on design sponge are a great use of a 2-color palette. bonus points for creating a map—who doesn’t love a good, personalized map!?


YMCA rebranding
[image: / YMCA] reviews YMCA rebranding: my name is Y… the Y. the main mark in red & purple is nice, but i love that they are using multiple color iterations of the logo! i also like the sporty new look.

people for bikes
finally, bike branding moves beyond hipster-ghetto takes a look at the people for bikes campaign by colle+mcvoy. simply put, it’s an organization to improve the future of biking through various actions on local & national levels. the branding for these efforts is friendly, accessible and engaging. check out some of the print ads, i love the one of the woman with a gear print on her leg.


know your rights
if you’ve been looking for ways to use your design skills for positive propaganda, offers promoting social justice one poster at a time, showcasing the center for urban pedagogy. their mission statement has all kinds of inspiring language, and is worth reading in its entirety, but if you’re pressed for time, here’s a snip: Our work grows from a belief that the power of imagination is central to the practice of democracy, and that the work of governing must engage the dreams and visions of citizens. CUP believes in the legibility of the world around us.

design industry

brand new announces its first 1-day conference! if you’re a fan of and you can swing by new york city at the beginning of november, they’ve got a jam-packed 11 hours for you. they’ve also got a bunch of different ways to attend, so if you’d rather watch a live webcast, you can!

what is the last thing you do before you launch a website? from smashing magazine is a really cute, informal quiz you can give yourself about your reactions to presenting final work and a brief analysis about what this says about your personality.

another from smashing magazine, renegotiating the final contract (and other tales of horror). here’s some great advice for how to handle things when you find yourself doing work that’s outgrown its governing agreement.

creative inspiration

retro styles

fourth of july postcards
[image: from the collection of richard sheaff]
this fantastic collection of fourth of july postcards from includes illustrations of doll-faced children, hand-drawn type, and loads of fireworks!

power styling
[image: US steel,]
i have to say, i liked the look of the future as imagined in the mid-60s. thanks to dave from for sharing spreads from power styling, which seems to be a collection of illustrations proposing re-imagined looks for the infrastructure of electric utility. be sure to look through all the pieces he scanned, they suggest a majesty that is glaringly absent in the power lines i see outside my window today.

logo evolution

evolution of the logo
we’ve come to know logos as modern signifiers in the marketplace, but the concept of a brand mark has existed a long time through history. smashing magazine offers the evolution of the logo that traces how graphic marks have been used to denote ownership, authorship and associations with different groups, only leading them to corporate identity as a result of evolution.


girl scouts of america get an identity makeover
subtle, yet classic & modernized, check out the identity makeover on a fresh identity for the girl scouts of america. i think these new profiles look more contemporary and youthful without losing any recognition of the brand and tradition. great work!

design industry

check out redesigning propublica by mule design. We love good journalism and hate unchecked abuses of power, so we were excited and honored to collaborate with ProPublica on their website redesign. hear, hear!

another from smashing magazine: add music to your workflow to improve results. i’ve always known i liked listening to music while i work, but i didn’t realize why it was helping me work better.

creative inspiration

Oceans from Sol Linero on Vimeo [thanks to for the link].


fifa world cup logos
there are some great retrospectives on fifa world cup logos and posters online. fifa world cup logo evolution: 1934-2014, from has some great archives, as does an older post, fifa world cup logo designs, from it’s so cool to see some of the early stuff from the 30s-50s!


open type features
[image: martin plus for]
for the type designers out there, an introduction to opentype substitution features will show you how to make all those cool ligatures and custom-set type combos you might want to add to your typeface design.

if you’re in new york [or willing to travel] and want to learn typeface design, H&FJ’s sara soskolne will be teaching turning letters into type july 12-16: learning typeface design.

web design

applying interior design principles to the web from talks about how the same principles of arranging physical objects relates to the placement and use of graphic objects, with a great breakdown of each.


jazz brain: functional magnetic resonance imaging is a quick report from about brain behavior during times of innovative creativity. Limb had jazz musicians play memorized music while being monitored by an fMRI machine. He then asked them to start improvising and noticed a shift in neurological activity. Their scans showed less activity in the areas that represent self-censoring and inhibition and more in the area that indicates self-expression. Limb interpreted this shift as a possible sign of “spontaneous creativity.”