creative inspiration


social traders identity
image: fabio ongarato design /

i’m loving this clean, simple, 2-color identity for social traders. the folded ribbon motif going through the main logotype, carrying through to the art is bold and elegant without being overstated. see the entire package on


tilly devine wine

another from the dieline, outstanding student work on coffee packaging, with lovely custom type logo: coffee bag!

always a sucker for typographic design elements, this packaging for tilly devine nearly becomes illegible, though the desire to read it wins out as you spin the lable. see the more photos at

design industry

vintage orange crate design

i could look at vintage citrus crates for hours. if you want to read more about this history of citrus branding and marketing in california, has a great piece about how it all came to be.

continuing with sustainability, justin ahrens contributes to the parse blog, start somewhere: green is a must, while design sponge’s biz ladies outlines a how-to: simple ways to green your business.

creative inspiration

Moving Beyond the Automobile: Biking from Streetfilms on Vimeo.

LA streetsblog started this great series, moving beyond automobiles, the first of which was about transit oriented development, and this week’s installment is about biking, above.


ifc rebrand
i’m loving this new simple & quirky rebrand for the ifc channel, going from a film sprocket detail to celebrating the offbeat art that is independent film. there are all kinds of details to appreciate over at

car design

mini rocketman
i’ve had my mini long enough that i no longer look at the next iterations off the assembly line with them, but when someone posted this, i found it really cute. look at those doors! i really hope they use william shatner’s version of rocket man for the ads, ha! a slew of illustrations await at

packaging design

wine stash packaging
this packaging for wine stash has lots of elements i love in packaging: throwbacks to retro labeling systems, a stampy logo in the lower left corner, and a simple 2-color system with a palette that sings. see more at

design industry

the case for the case study talks about rethinking how you present your work to clients, so instead of bombarding them with all your best looking stuff, you target one project that’s highly relevant to them, and go more in-depth about process.

listen to mule design’s mike montiero talk about running his firm and selling design ideas on the pipeline podcast.

i’ve been working to debunk the mysteries of transitioning from full-time, in-house work to self-employment with ilise benun of creative freelancer blog and alisa bonsignore of clarifying complex ideas:
freelance 101: how to begin getting clients
freelance 102: balancing two jobs
freelancing 103: when to make the leap to f/t freelancing
and finally, a podcast on my own experience for marketing mentor: interview with heather parlato on freelancing

freelance switch offers 110 ideas to get more freelance work and generate new client leads. hot dang, there’s got to be some new possibilities in there we haven’t thought of before.

los angeles

one of my favorite new clients, mohawk bend, talks to echo park online about the new restaurant they’re bringing to the neighborhood. can’t wait to unveil more of this brand, but for now, the main logo is up. check it out!

if you’re looking for new, hidden treasures around LA, los angeles magazine offers “hidden LA” with a great run-down of places to visit.


spicy avocado butter
we’re in the crossover from winter to spring in the LA area, so this week’s seasonal eats talks about the various avocado cultivars you can enjoy at different times of year. last week’s spotlight was on all the great things to do with cauliflower!

in my blog travels this week, i noticed emily ho’s suggestion to grill citrus for use in a vinaigrette dressing, what a fantastic idea!

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.

creative inspiration

what a cool internet collaboration on a christmas song!


burn cottage wine packaging
[image: the dieline]
a really unique illustration on oncoated stock to showcase burn cottage, a biodynamic winery. by mash.


bathe wines
[image: thedielinewine]
beautiful, simple type treatment and illustration for bathe wines by fuller. so clean and classic! check the complete profile on the dieline.

some outstanding tv quotes from mad men, the wire and battlestar galactica, in custom typeset.

los angeles

spicy winter fruit salad
i’ve been writing for LAist about eating seasonally, and the latest is about spicing up your holiday menu with fresh LA fare. last week was a good look at swiss chard, followed by my first experience with creative mornings in los angeles with alissa walker. stay tuned for more each week!

loving LA got a lot easier with this awesome tumblr: 10>110>101, an eclectic collection of all kinds of LA ephemera. thanks to @theroyalacademy for sharing it!


i’m not going to add to your holiday overwhelm more than i already have, but consider these cookies. they’re made with salt and pepper. if you like salty cookies that really bring out the flavor, try these out: salt n pepper sandwich cookies. yum!

creative inspiration

a cute little video on how paper gets recycled. parlato design studio uses high if not 100% post consumer recycled papers whenever possible. the holiday cards currently for sale were printed on neenah environment PC100!


hatch design wine country posters
[image: designworklife]
i’m loving these wine country travel posters by hatch for the sf moma wine exhibit, available for sale in the museum store. thanks designworklife for the link.

wine packaging

bottle of packaging
[image: thedieline]
beautiful typographic wine packaging for bottle of by swear words. some more nice type-driven pieces i found include adir winery and one-two punch wine.

design industry

so, what’s new this week? i’ve been writing for the creative freelancer blog, and lately i won’t shut up about year-end retreats. only 4 more days till mine starts! planning your year-end retreat, for

need things to incorporate into next year’s planning while you’re sitting by the pool in desert hot springs? see, i did it again. how about 10 reasons to rethink your web site, from [i am totally in need of an overhaul here], or these 2 from parse design your business plan, by doug powell and craft a more effective identity, by peleg top.

if you’re not into holiday cards but don’t want to miss the opportunity to connect with your clients & vendors, consider a transition to new year’s cards, alisa tells you how: do you have your new year’s cards ready?

beyond design

craft a paper star
[image: craft magazine]
the holiday how-tos are rolling in these days, i thought this paper holiday star was particularly cute, and something we could all probably do with some of the paper we’d normally throw into the recycling bin. decorate with it for a few weeks!

if you like baking cookies for the holidays, saveur compiled their 20 best holiday cookie recipes, and boy are they cute!

speaking of food [were we?] i’ve got another piece for LAist: seasonal eats: a little something about sunchokes.

creative inspiration

Thanks Getting: how to ask for a testimonial from Dyana Valentine on Vimeo. one of the great things that can happen during co-working: one person asks a question, another person has a great idea for an answer, and a third person [me] is there to hold the camera! read dyana’s entire post, thanks-getting, for!


designworklife gift guide
this is a little bit typography & a little bit holiday. is working out gift guides for 2010, and i really loved this typography-themed selection, including yarn-wrapped letters, the OMFG journal, a very affordable letterpress print, and even a letterpress t-shirt.


book wreath
[image: living with lindsay]
a little bit holiday & a little bit diy. despite a lack of religion, i do like the hanging of decorative wreaths during the holidays. i’ve tried like the dickens [well, not the dickens] to get this succulent wreath to work, but it doesn’t look anything like the ones you can buy. i might try making something interesting out of the eucalyptus & peruvian pepper in the park, but if you’ve got crafting on the brain for unexpected holiday ornaments with a handmade touch, offers: craft with what you already have: 10 diy wreaths.

design industry

emigre no. 70
a little bit design industry & a little bit typography, and a LOT of good old émigré! i don’t know about you, but i’ve still got a collection of the free quarterlies they sent out in the 90s that i treasured from the moment of arrival, so cool & so fun. i’m interested to take an hour or a week looking through this one. take a nice preview here: emigre 70: the look back issue.

i really liked this one from building your design business: promotion, and not because i’ve done almost everything on their suggested actions list, either. the giving aspect is what i see in my favorite companies, partners & colleagues, and it’s what i look for in collaborators. promotion isn’t about banging people over the head [i’ll try to remember this in my daily tweets & facebook bombardments], it’s about being cool.

another greatly supportive piece from biz ladies: establishing relationships with advisors. it’s so important to have mentors and trusted confidants you can bounce ideas off and get advice. if you haven’t cultivated a circle for yourself, they’ll show you how to get started.

let’s get realistic here, it’s the holiday season, and i’ve already started hearing about the difficulties with work-life balance, and it only gets harder this time of year. wants to help: six dilemmas that freelancers face over the holidays.

beyond design

wine: is this design or wine or beyond design & wine? sf moma has this amazing show through april, and fastco design wrote up a preview: how wine became a billion dollar high-brow hobby. i’m definitely going to have to make a beeline for it on my next trip up north.

food: anchovy haters, step aside! when i saw this recipe i fell in love. i can picture what it tastes like, and i’m going to make it with my last slice of puff pastry in the freezer: pissaladières [onion & anchovy tarts].

los angeles: it’s a little bit food, a little bit los angeles, and mostly the first in a series about seasonal eating for seasonal eats: persimmons.

fashion: do i write about fashion? no! but i aspire to some of it, and when i read some good, applicable stuff, i want to share it. nubby twiglet just fine-tuned her closet in this extremely virgo way i totally get on an astrological level. it’s sensible, utilitarian, and she has amazing shoes!

creative inspiration

a rube goldberg machine video for your day-before-holiday fun!


wine label
lovely wine packaging by fanakalo in 1-color illustration paired with chunky embossing.

design industry

i have one thing to share about my industry this week, and it’s these 28 talking points on spec work, design contests & crowdsourcing and how pretty much every presentation of value they tout is false! [thanks dave waite!]

food & holiday fun

foraging for thanksgiving
[image: T. Susan Chang for NPR]
whether you actually do this or not, i found it totally fascinating to see a much more interesting list of foods to forage for thanksgiving: try foraging for your thanksgiving meal, which then led me to weed it and eat it, because why fight weeds with poisons or aggression when you could just eat many of them? both from! [thanks tricia okin!]

i always knew to listen for a resonant hollow sound when picking a watermelon, but i never knew about the sugar spot: the art of reading watermelons, from

if you’re staying local for thanksgiving and want to help out the community, check out echo park’s gobble gobble give.

looking for alternatives to malls & black friday and all that stuff? check out renegade craft fair, los angeles!

if you got this far and you’re looking for some pure fun before you take off for the day, check out this google map of all the oldest things in the world. awesome! [thanks michele yu!]

creative inspiration

doyald young talks about and demonstrates drawing type.


[image: seb lester]
take an in-depth look at the creation of this amazing typographic limited-edition poster, and other works by seb lester. outstanding!

remember that design your own type contest by design sponge? it’s time to vote for your favorites! right now, today!

if you need a primer or reminder on how to combine type styles, check out smashing magazine’s: best practices for combining type



imprint takes a look at sign painters, a new documentary from faythe levine and sam macon on the timeless art of hand-painted signs. so much hand-lettered goodness in there!

speaking of diy projects, have you ever considered making your own wrapping paper? i often use plain brown paper anyway, but this design sponge post made me think i should dress it up a bit. diy project: handmade gift wrap.

design industry

the latest report on co-working talks about mixing things up by hitting the road: creative co-working: take it on the road!

how about a contest that breaks all the rules and awards the worst logo ever? i think this is hilarious: how low can your logo?

more on color by jude stewart: the wonderful color wheel, part 3


jeremy winery
stunning packaging for jeremy wine co. by 6 west design. not only is it dually typographic, it’s a diecut wrap label that uses the negative space to create the letterform. excellent work!

beyond design

the coming of thanksgiving heralds the onslaught of how to posts on choosing the perfect wine. you know what it comes down to? you can drink anything you want. but if you want to sort some of this out, here are a grip of posts that will lead you down myriad trails, at least there’s wine at the end of each one: sparkling wine & champagne, chardonnay, gewurztraminer, zinfandel, pinot noir, a selection of reds that go well with thanksgiving fare. also, the huffington post has an opinion. and if you’re not into wine, there’s artisanal cider.

but there are other things you can do besides drink for the holidays [you can always have an apple]. you could participate in machine project’s pop up pie shop in which you may purchase a pie kit and know you’re not only getting a complete kit for baking your thanksgiving pie—you’re also funding the los angeles food bank. why? because machine is awesome!

but look, if you insist on drinking AND fundraising for good causes, and you feel i glossed over beer, take this: harvest beer festival at the echo & echoplex this weekend, benefiting 826LA. bam!

on the more foodie end of the spectrum, i am loving this salad of fall flavors from hot knives: hot rad winter salad.

if you’ve been hitting up the farmer’s market and creating original concoctions at home, write them up and submit them to epicurious’ farm-fresh recipe contest!

and it’s not that i want to end this post on a dark, gothy note or anything, but i found this feature from los angeles magazine totally fascinating: the end. death in LA can be an odd undertaking. trust me on that one.

creative inspiration

sneak peeks

Legacy of Letters from Luca Barcellona on Vimeo.

alissa walker shares a slideshow perfect for creative inspiration: a look inside the sketchbooks of 12 top designers.

want answers to all your design questions from a design master? brings you an interview with sagi haviv.

if you’re inspired by these sneak peeks and want to make some of your own great ideas happen, smashing magazine wants that for you too: how to make innovative ideas happen.

design industry

topographical art cards from crafterall
[image: crafterall]
the color palettes and textures in these custom-cut art cards by crafterall are so inviting!

keep your clients happy & committed to you [overlooking the cheesy champagne toast shot] with this guide from freelance switch: the components of a successful client relationship

have a presentation coming up? are you nervous about making sure everyone’s into it rather than bored—or worse yet, tweeting about boredom [because that doesn’t get anyone unfollowed]? run through this guide to captivating presentations on slideshare: steal this presentation

i’m loving all these “real stories of mad men” crawling out of the wood work, here’s another: the original mad man, from

beyond design

if you’ve ever wondered about how white wine is made, this is a great step-by-step from winemaking 101: how white wine is made.

i don’t know that i’ve ever experienced the feeling of apple overwhelm, but if you have “too many” and you want to try to hide them in places like salsa, serious eats has a suggestion for you: apple salsa fruits serious heat.