Monday, August 30, 2010

Juniper Park Moleskines

As a designer, but most of all, a collector of journals, I have adapted a fondness for Moleskines. I own a sketchbook, a plain journal, a watercolor journal, and a graph journal. The diary I have now is a large plain black Moleskine, and the one before it was the limited edition Woodstock ruled journal. I like the simplicity, yet sophistication of the plain black Moleskine, and the pocket in the back has been most useful in keeping the loose-leaf papers within the journal.

Naturally, I was geeking out a bit when I saw these custom series volant Moleskines created in December 2009 for Juniper Park, an ad agency in Toronto. These lovely notebooks were given out to the firm's VIP's, embossed with slogans, such as "Take your work seriously and yourself, less so," and "Don't just sit there, create something." The company's logo was embossed on the back of the high intensity covers and also on the paper band wrapped around the journal. What a fabulous gift!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Look who else loved the military jacket...

Mister Hendrix!

Saturday, August 28, 2010


I just felt like designing this today (5x7 postcard). It didn't take long, I enjoyed it, and I might make more versions in the future!

Friday, August 27, 2010

Alyssa Monks

I love Alyssa Monks' oil paintings. There's such an intimacy about them. Each show a type of struggle or vulnerability in a beautiful, sensual way. Here are a few of my favorite paintings she's done. The last one, Scream, has been the background on my mac for weeks.

An explanation from her website of the work that she does:
Monks’s work explores narrative figuration. Currently she is playing with the tension between abstraction and realism in the same work, using different filters to visually distort and disintegrate the body. In this shallow painted space, the subject is pushing against our real space with pulsating vibrations of color that can make a painted body seem to have blood pumping through it. Strokes of thick, succulent paint in delicate color relationships are pushed and pulled into place to imitate glass, steam, water and flesh and create a narrative in the painted surface. The result of this pushing and pulling of realism is a confrontation of the tension between mortality and vitality. Striving for anatomical and realistic accuracy, it is her intention to convey an arresting vision that compels the viewer to feel their own humanness. It is Monks’s intent to relate visually the contemporary female experience with sensitivity, empathy, and integrity.

A lot more is contained in her portfolio.

I like my stop motion with a side of graffiti, and whatever else you can find on the street.

Big Bang Big Boom, a wall painting stop motion video by Blu (Italian graffiti artist). See more pics of his work here. I know it's almost 10 minutes, and I'm usually not a fan of videos occupying my time for 3 min. at most, but I watched this, mesmerized. I think my favorite part is the dinosaur creature that shows up at about 7:12, or the cycle that begins at about 8:18.

Peter Mendelsund

My feeling has always been that I have learned more about design by looking around me carefully (observing life, collecting impressions of the visual culture all around) than I would have learned in academia. Designers should naturally be visual magpies- amassing images, storing them, thinking hard about why some are beautiful and some are not, assimilating these lessons and putting them to work. If you don't have that urge, maybe design is the wrong field for you.

Peter Mendelsund, a self-taught designer, specializes in bookcover design. He is an art director at Vertical Press, and a senior designer at Knopf. I have noticed his book covers while spending my best days this summer in Barnes & Noble or the local library (specifically, I was drawn to Trauma, and considered reading it because of the design). Although his website is "coming soon", I still found the preview page to be interesting, like a teaser that still managed to showcase a bit of his work. You can view his blog here, and there's a great interview with Chris Tobias featured on Design Related.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

One for Sorrow, Two for Joy

New North Press (est. 1985) is a letterpress based in London. This poster caught my eye, along with their POP! Goes the Weasel (£75). One for Sorrow is "a nursery rhyme referring to the superstitions associated with seeing magpies. Saluting a single bird and repeating, "Hello Mr. Magpie, how's your lady wife today," is supposed to remedy the bad luck of having seen it."

The poster was done in collaboration with Richard Ardagh (who happens to be a pretty good designer-check out his portfolio!), and priced at £100.

This should be added to my list of things to do before I die

The Sketchbook Project!

The Sketchbook Project: 2011

For just $25, you can participate in a traveling exhibition of thousands of sketchbooks. They'll send you a 5.5x8.5 inch Moleskine Cahier, which you will fill with a subject of your choosing from the options offered. Sign up by October 31, 2010, postmark your Moleskine by January 15, 2011, and the tour starts in March 2011 in cities including Atlanta, GA, Brooklyn, NY, Austin, TX, San Francisco, CA, Portland, ME, and Chicago, IL. During the tour, you can track your book with a corresponding number/barcode they will give you. You can even receive notifications when and where your book is viewed, and by whom if they give their name. After the tour, the books will enter a permanent collection in The Brooklyn Art Library.

Timothy Ferriss on TED

Tim Ferriss is the author of The 4-Hour Workweek, a book my brother recommended to me last year. I found this talk by him to be helpful.

I find that the best results in life are often held back by false constructs and untested assumptions.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Get organized!

Seriously wanting this Action Book produced by Behance. I first saw it in form of the Action Pad while in Barnes & Noble in Greenville last week. It also comes as Action Sheets, Action Cards, Action Pad Mini, Action Stickers, Action Cahiers, Action Runner, and the most sturdy version, the Action Journal. These come in 3 basic colors of blue (PMS 629U), grey (PMS Warm Grey 4U), or orange (PMS 151U).

These are products made for the Action Method, developed by Behance as organizational tools to increase productivity and project management. There's even an online version or an iPhone app, but I prefer the paper.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

From "Song of the Open Road"

We Feel Fine

I was in Urban Outfitters (my favorite!) in Charleston earlier this summer and found this among the many neat books they carry. We Feel Fine by Jonathan Harris and Sep Kamvar is "an almanac of human emotion." The book evaluates and defines a wide array of basic human emotions, including statistics and quotes from a variety of people.

Aside from the interesting subject matter and the truthful accounts from many people nationwide, I couldn't help but notice that I loved the way the book was designed with the nice layout of the pages:

p. 210-211

I was even more excited to find the official website of this misson, The site is interesting and definitely worth checking out. You can see more pages from the book (like the one shown above), and there's a crazy data collection engine that is fed hundreds of status updates from blogs and compiles them into an applet displaying feelings stated on the web within the last 10 minutes. It's interesting how design is used to organize it all in different formats. The gallery shows some of the most influential or popular statuses, paired with a photograph.

American Express commercial

I saw this one while watching tv the other day. i like it because it implies all the possibilities and individualities of using the card, but also because it includes a vintage suitcase, a mix tape, and screenprinting. AND the music is by Passion Pit!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Swiss Family Robinson

When watching Swiss Family Robinson (the 1960 Disney version) growing up, I was fascinated by the idea of a magnificent treehouse and the idea of self-sustainable living. Naturally, I became excited to learn of this development located in Costa Rica today. Finca Bellavista is a treehouse community that maximizes sustainable living (powered by a hydroelectric turbine and utilizing rainwater). The neighborhood includes a community kitchen and dining room, a bath house, barbecue lounge, and Wi-Fi area. It is located in the midst of a jungle, but the address is not given publicly, until one reserves a room. Rentals range from $40-$250 per night, depending on the season. Parcels to begin construction on your very own treehouse start at $55000.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010


I had seen the Colorstrology book by Michele Bernhardt in a store once, but was unaware of their website until this month, and I like the design. Colorstrology is a site sponsored by Pantone that assigns colors and personality profiles to birthdays. It says my color is Firecracker (Pantone16-1452).

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

"How would you define a moment?"

Moments from Everynone on Vimeo.

Also check out Words by Everynone.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Only the good die young.

Today is the 33rd anniversary of Elvis' death.

I haven't ever been one to get giddy over movie stars or celebrity hotties; although they are very nice to look at, there's a slim chance of ever actually getting to know one so there's no purpose in it.

But I can't help it when I encounter a photo or two of Elvis Presley. I think he's the most handsome man I've seen in the history of pop culture or the world, for that matter. I wish that 1) he wasn't dead, and 2) that he could be perpetually frozen as how he looked in his 20's. And yes, I would have been one of those crazy girls in the fifties screaming over him.

He goes well with design (and he was designed extraordinarily well!):

Awwww yeah...

Friday, August 13, 2010

Chuck Close interview

Chuck Close was interviewed on the Colbert Report last night! Check out the interview here (it starts around 15:10 and lasts a little over 5 minutes).

Self Portrait, 1967-1968.

Self Portrait, 2000.

Self Portrait, 2007.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

I love it when Google commemorates random important things!

Google's celebration of the 71st anniversary of The Wizard of Oz (1939).

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

85 notebooks. 26 years. Michael Beirut.

Michael Beirut speaks on 5 different projects. Over the past 26 years, he's completed 85 notebooks of journaling and sketching. You can see pages from his notebooks here at his insightful blog, Design Observer.

"I tend to be obsessive-compulsive, and I am very picky about the notebooks. No fancy Moleskines for me, just standard-issue office supply composition books...There always seems to be a lot of interest in designers' sketchbooks, but I call these notebooks for a reason. I've seen other designer's sketchbooks and I'm always impressed by how much creativity is on display. Not in mine. Page after page contain nothing but records of phone conversations, notes from meetings, price estimates, specifications. I keep the random doodles to a minimum. Someone looking at those pages would think the book might belong to a lawyer or, more likely, a party planner. Every once in a while, though, there are some drawings that would suggest that the owner was a designer."

  1. Listen first, then design
  2. Don’t avoid the obvious
  3. The problem contains the solution
  4. Indulge your obsessions
  5. Love is the answer

Not so graceful in my journal...

I was feeling restless and discouraged yesterday. Being stuck in Greenwood is wearing on me, and furthermore, I am the reason why I am stuck. I felt like letting loose somehow. I do not have room to paint here, which is probably the reason for most of my escalating insanity, but yesterday I decided to at least break out the watercolors and "vomit" on a page. I just wanted bold colors, unorganized, untrained, and not worrying about composition or anything having to do with design or painting. I got this mess, but it felt good to get out. The brush to the paper felt good and natural again. I followed it with experimenting with a fountain pen and ink, doing spontaneous letters. It felt freeing not to worry about perfection in any sense. Usually I want everything aligned or uniform, always trying to make it more perfect.

It may be tacky and unrefined, but it was freeing, in a way.

And a quick disclaimer: by no sense does this reflect on my traditional way of typography.

"Lend your ears to music, open your eyes to painting, and... stop thinking! Just ask yourself whether the work has enabled you to "walk about" into a hitherto unknown world. If the answer is yes, what more do you want?"

-Wassily Kandinsky, 1910

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

How to Be an Explorer of the World

From How to Be an Explorer of the World: Portable Life Museum by Keri Smith (author of Wreck this Journal):

Happy Birthday... one of the greatest painters I know.

Hanna Kozlowski-Slone is a dear friend and an amazing painter with astounding talent. She pushes herself to her limits and sets high goals, but always seems to meet them with undeniable success. Her attitude and art have inspired me greatly over the past years, and she is just an all-around wonderful person, one of the kindest you could hope to meet.

Happy Birthday, Hanna!

(photo taken by Savannah Springer)