Sunday, December 19, 2010

Ken Robinson: Changing education paradigms | Video on

Ken Robinson: Changing education paradigms | Video on

Rachel Botsman: The case for collaborative consumption

Beer Store Mood Board

If you are not familiar with a mood board it is a board that you use to provide you or others with inspiration, color, and direction for a project; this board creates a visual to the mood you are trying to portray.

I just recently learned of a mood board when I was watching Running Russell Simmons and viewing Courtney Love slobber over her mood board in a meeting to promote her show. Although watching her was unsettling, the idea of a mood board was rather interesting. She had magazine photos, sketches, ribbons, tassels and feathers on this large board. It was a bit messy and I couldn't really see what Courtney Love was going for.

Then yesterday, I was talking with my friend Kevin and my sister Jessica on gmail chat. (As I previously mentioned Jess is also a designer and Kevin is a good friend of my husband's who wants to start a beer store with him.) So, Kevin was talking with me about the name of the store and thought it wasn't working. So, I asked my sister for advice and she recommended a mood board. She explained it much better then Courtney Love's example and used one of our favorite blogs, Design*Sponge, and interior design blog, to explain.

On Design*Sponge the writer,Grace Bonney, will select a movie and create one or two small mood boards, in Photoshop, with objects that portray the atmosphere of that movie. See this one for When Harry Met Sally. So, I followed Grace Bonney's lead on how to create a mood board for the Beer Store and what you see above is the result.

I actually really like how it turned out, and it also provided me with some relaxation while designing it. My husband always talks about how he wants the store to look and I always talk about the research I have done on colors and lighting, so getting it all out felt quite good. I hope I hit the nail on this one. (I'm helping design the store) I'll find out what they think later tonight.

Jason Fried: Why work doesn't happen at work

Friday, December 17, 2010

Syracuse University Poster

I was trying to get a job within the athletics department at Syracuse University (SU), in early December, although I haven't heard back from them I still have a lot of ideas swimming around in my head to design something for them. I wanted to design something in print or video. I did a lot of storyboards for a video, but Photoshop called my name on this one, plus snow was not helping my athletic field shots.

A lot of my inspiration for this poster came from a conversation I had at a local pub. A Syracuse University game was on the television and a gentlemen was talking to me about the history of SU and how they are not the Orangemen any more. I did find a style guide for SU online and found the orangemen was still prominent, but I still wanted to be creative. So, with inspiration from the color orange and texture treatments from Madden football, I excitedly decided to play with orange paint.

The idea for the ad campaign was to have actual SU athletes getting covered with orange paint. The paint would symbolize school spirit like when fans paint themselves, but the paint on the athlete(s) would instead be splashes of paint, like they are the warriors of orange. The SU athletes would either be in game mode or just be triumphantly standing, similar to a Nike Ad (as seen below but with eye contact) to make SU sports look sexy, fun, and top of the line. I felt that concept would be a strong visual communication for SU athletic admissions and could really make the student athletes, and the sports program shine for new comers.

In the end finding photos to work the project brought be towards an game-play football photo, which was still a great find. I think this athlete is Mike Williams Syracuse University's star wide receiver in 2009. He ranked seventh nationally with an average of 8.2 catches per game; and third in the country in total receiving yards with 623.

Neon Love

Found in Cortland NY

Coloring the country

I was driving through Cortland, NY's country side last weekend and it was filled with curvy roads, seasonal roads, wildlife, and lots of snow. But then out of nowhere we drive by something unexpected: these brightly colored cottages. I didn't know what to think, odd, cute, or creepy? My hopes were that they belonged to an artist community, finding peace on in a small community up on a hill. But I was wrong, the real news (from the locals) was Cortland University's grad students like them; so they can party loud in a house instead of within an apartment building; close enough.
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Santa, I need this Letterpress Kit

I first saw this on the movie for Handmade Nation, and didn't know what it was. Its a letterpress and it looks like a lot of fun look at all the options for pressing stuff.

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Wrapped up for Christmas?

You know when you see a hefty price tag and you know most off your money is going towards packaging, well this bottle is proof of that. Don't get me wrong this bottle has great shape, a fancy cap, and a lovely embossed leather wrapping. But I think this might be a bit much because I'm also curious if this rum actually tastes good, the bottle is so pretty I have to wonder if they're hiding something.

Update: Although I was previously looking at this rum as expensive because of the packaging, it recently went on sale and it is actually pretty good. It got my attention with the design which was a good thing but so did the price. Would it be sad to say that I would be more willing to buy this rum for the same price if it didn't have that leather looking belt?

Image Typography

Lovely typography found on a liquor bottle. Would have been a great post in October.
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Monday, December 13, 2010

Soda Pop packaging

Fizzy Lizzy is all-natural blend of whole fruit juice and sparkling water with a cute design, she got me to buy the cranberry one.
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

My Sister is a GOOD Thing

My twin sister, Jessica Haas, is a graphic designer, like me, and I have to say if it wasn't for me she might not be the great designer she is today. Okay, okay, this might be coming off a bit selfish, but there might be a lot of jealously here; not because she lives in NYC and just received her Masters from a Pratt in Package Design last Spring but because one of her designs were chosen (and published online) as a finalist in a design competition. But darn it, we shared a womb, a bedroom growing up, almost every classroom in school, and pretty much every friend we've ever made and I think that has to count for something, right?

Anyway, in all seriousness she and I are a great influence to each other. There is nothing better then always having someone to critique your work and help guide your way through the many graphic design life troubles.

So, the story about this "publishing thing" started one day in October. I was reading my twitter stream and found a great post from GOOD. GOOD is a website that lists "good things" within technology, business, health, food, media, design, and many other topics. That day the the interesting design topic was if the "current food pyramid was addressing the mounting public health problems associated with unhealthy eating", and listed a competition to design a new food pyramid.

After drawing up some sketches, as seen above, I sent Jessica my work to critique. She didn't think it worked too well, which I agreed, and offered some changes to be made. My idea focused around serving sizes; such as, too many carbohydrate and fat servings, which where located on the waistline of my human food pyramid, would increase in size along with your waistline. But most of the feedback that I received said it just looked like a man in a griddle. I unfortunately didn't have time to make changes and couldn't enter, but Jessica had a great idea that worked off of her thesis project that had to do with nutrition and helping people buy local seasonal foods. Below is her entry.

Click to See it Larger

Jessica Haas's food pyramid is a bit complex, but so is nutrition. Her focus for this chart was how to get the most from your nutrition by eating a diverse color palette of foods. It's a very elegant and original display communicating food color and classification. Nice job Sis!

If you want to get to know more about Jessica Haas read her blog, And She Did… A Packaging & Graphic Designer's Voice on the World of Neat Stuff , plus visit her web-page at Jessica Haas lives in Brooklyn, NY and is currently working has freelance designer.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Book Review: How to Be a Graphic Designer without Losing Your Soul

How to Be a Graphic Designer without Losing Your Soul Design is written by design guru Adrian Shaughnessy; who has most recently release this book's expanded edition in September 2010, with a new cover design, as seen above in gray.

You can tell that Shaughnessy had been working on this book for some time, perhaps years, because it reads similar to journal entries. The book as a flow of practical business solutions mixed with uplifting inspirations; thoughts that I have found to manifest slowly in years of being in the design business. And it seems as if he collected these thoughts and wrote them out into chapters.

This book's chapters span many topics from how to find a job to how to run a design studio. Yet, the chapters do not read as step-by-step guides; instead Shaughnessy offers a background of intelligence providing considerations that you may have not thought of yourself in the normal stresses of the daily design life.

Many phrases and bodies of text hit home and warm the heart while others are a surprising; may are relieving ways of looking at normal design life. The book ends with pages of how good work is also green work, plus graphic designer interviews and samples. Shaughnessy's wisdom and warmth makes his somewhat "how-to" book into an enjoyable conversation with a fellow experienced designer.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Cute and Creative Christmas Ornaments


Looking for a design gift for a gamer? Then check out these fun Game Controller and Console Christmas Ornaments.The Game Controller Christmas Ornaments come in a set of seven ornaments and feature a range of video game controllers including a Wiimote, NES controller and a PS3 controller. While the Console ornaments come in a set of ten, including Playstations, Nintendos, and others.

These sweet ornaments are available in a range of colors, including red, black, white, and blue. If you want a set these ornaments are available for $25 (controller) to $35 (console) from Ponoko.

Give the gift of recycling this year and promote folks to get a real tree. is providing you with this paper tree Christmas ornament to remind you to recycle your real Christmas tree and also provide you with holiday ideas to make your holiday green. Click here to get the file and make some for your friends! 

Get crafty this year with s folded paper ornament from You can use old newspaper, maps and colorful craft paper to make these flowers shine. Read Flora's Life blog to see how easy it is to make these. I think they will also make great gifts.

And for those camping types, like my in-laws who just got a new RV this summer, there is a great selection out there of RV Christmas ornaments. I know, I found it hard to believe myself, but check out Amazon for the cutest RV ornaments. There is an ornament out there for everything!


Image from swissmiss via

Halo packaging like Gameplay

Someone is going to get this awesome package, or um, awesome video game for the holidays. This design is taken right from game play. Supposedly these crates are what game players of Halo receive to prolong life, they contain items such as food, supplies, portable generators, armored boots and more. I think its a great concept that goods in the game come just like goods on Christmas day.

Friday, November 26, 2010

Left Hand Brewery

Another great beer packaging. You should also see their website.
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Thursday, November 18, 2010

Sam Adams to Launch Champagne Beer Worthy of a Toast

Sam Adams to Launch Champagne Beer Worthy of a Toast also check out this sexy packaging!

Custom Advertising

Check out this magazine ad in my Real Simple magazine; it has a little personal note just for me. In the left-hand corner it writes," Dear Real Simple reader, relieve (and help prevent) dry, irritated skin this winter with Curil. Sensitive skin remedy lotion." Do you see that the text is a little smudged, that's because its a second printing on the advertisement. I need to know more about this, I haven't seen this before inside a magazine. How is this done?
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AIGA CMYK Event Buffalo,NY

I attented this week's AIGA event in Buffalo,NY. It took place at The Blue Monk located at 727 Elmwood Ave. The event was called CMYK, which as a designer you know this abbreviation as cyan, magenta, yellow and black, but for this event it's know as "come meet your own kind". It was a small turn out this time at a bar with too good a draft list. The Blue Monk is a bar that has a focus on Belgium style beers, which are my favorite. At The Blue Monk I was able to try long awaited brews as well as be able to ask people about what they were drinking that looked so delicious and beautiful in their tulip shaped glasses. On the down side, the bar itself was pretty loud which was hard to work around; when you're trying to make professional connections; standing too close is just oxword, you know. But either way I meant some new folks, learned about some unexpected in-house design locations, and fulfilled my Belgium beer sweet tooth. Can't wait for the next event.
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Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Jonathan Harris's AIGA presentation called Cold : Bold


Jonathan Harris is an artist, photographer, coder, and human. He really takes a look at being human in a world that is becoming so digital. Within this AIGA video Jonathan talks about his transition from sketchbook to computer science and how it effects the human psyche and anthropological ways that we are human.

In the beginning of Jonathan speech he talks about how he is a fine artist and used to write and draw very detailed illustrations and stories within his sketchbooks. Until one day within his travels his items are stolen and he encounters a lost of several months of work. Above is an image of one of beautiful sketchbook spreads.

After acquiring a degree in computer science he starts making self generating websites that collect images off the web. His sites consisted of any images posted online; they represented the most current photographics shared with the online world. This digital collage represented the story and emotion of that moment in time; as seen above.

One if the most moving of Jonathan's work was a show he did at the Museum of Modern Art. He designed and programed a representation of online dating. Originally he designed it as an apartment building with neon lights, but then scraped the idea to design a much more humanistic representation of "home", a balloon. Although he changed his idea because another design manifested too similar, I think his execution is imaginative, whimsical, humanistic and on target. The idea to use a balloon to represent an outer skin of self really speaks about the thin layer we have around us. Home is not where our stuff is kept, but what we have inside us and what we carry with us to define ourselves. This also makes me  think about the line from the show Parenthood that mentioned how when people fall in love they make a bubble around themselves, a bubble of love, that grows in size as family grows but needs to retain its size to stay collective.

What Jonathan is speaking about within this video is who we are as people and how we may be losing the way we connect. As people we play many roles in life, such as an employee, a mother, a maid, a mechanic, a cook, etc. It many be even more defined such as the days when I am a poetic artist and when I am designer, or when I am self-promoting and when I am sharing. We have loss of our humanistic ways simply because we have been made so complex. Life isn't as simple as "Like" on Facebook, or as informative and a hyperlink. We are people and we want to be connected we just have to remember that looking up at a person beside us is a stronger connection than speaking with letters, numbers, and buttons directed to an algorithm of code on what we call today a social networking site.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Festive Magic Hat Packaging

MagicHat is known for their fantastic art, with their psychedelic, colorful, and eye-catching style they impress again. Magic Hat just come out with their winter sampler pack. Within this green and lovely Magic Hat box they have a delicious selection of hibiscus odd notion, the infamous #9, Encore, an IPA on tour, and Howl winter lager. But, back to this box again, so great and beautiful I had to talk my husband into getting it just so we can store our homebrews in it forever and ever.
I must recommend that you visit Magic Hat's brewery. It's a brewery that has a mean focus on design; with a dark gift shop of black lights, fun taps, and awesome items.
Magic Hat employs two designers for their trippy artwork, from posters, packaging, apparel and so much more. My husband remembers them telling us that one of the designers worked for the Grateful Dead, super cool, I'll believe it.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Education of an Art Director Book Review

The Education of an Art Director is an interesting how-to book, written in a informal how-to way. There is no clear answer to how to actually become an Art Director in this book, but many individuals telling their stories, (mostly working for up and coming print magazines) on how they got to where they are today. There was a lot of great names mentioned like Alexander Liberman and Paul Rand, that only make you wish you were in the height of your career in the 1950's, 60's, and 70's.
This book was written by Steven Heller, a very well know graphic design education book writer and Veronique Vienne a well know writer on design ethics and business practices. Some chapters held great inspiration while others read a bit dry but got a similar point across; that the education of an Art Director does not necessarily come from school education but from your apprenticeship to those great around you.
Passage from the book on hiring well, "Design Director Joe Dizney at Wall Street Journal oversees a staff of fifty in New York metro area, plus small staffs in Brussels and Hong Kong. 'Hire good people, hire smart people, then be fair and honest with them,' he says. 'I see myself as an entertainer first, then a friend, then a boss.'"
Topics that this book talks about range from starting out as a intern, to mentoring and teaching. A great read for those of us who need to look up and out and appreciate many of the co-workers that help bring their strength and creativity to the table.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Local Baby Carrots

Just got off the Midler exit off the 690 E and saw my first baby carrots billboard advertisement. If you turn right on Burnet Ave there is another one. Great ads, they make me so happy.
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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Shapeways, 3D Modeling within a Mouse Click

Union Square Ventures who is the backer of Twitter, Foursquare, and Etsy, Fast Company,  their next venture, 3D Printing at Shapeways.

What is 3D printing, you ask? I needed to know myself. Shapeways defines 3D printing as "any additive manufacturing process whereby one machine turns a digital file into a finished physical object by building up that object layer by layer." Watch the video below to see Shapeways process and what they mean by 3D Printing.

I went to to see the process in motion. Although the technology it very cool Union Square Ventures is not focused on it versus how this technology can bring designers and customers together.

How does Shapeways work?
Shapeways is a website like Esty but a Designer can upload or create (with the website design software) a 3D item and sell it on the site without ever building it themselves. Consumers can then login to the site and shop the 3D items for purchase. Once ordered, Shapeways will 3D print the design and ship to the customer within 10-14 days, depending on the manufacturing process.

What about Quality Control, what if there is an issue with the product that wasn't seen in the design? When you design the item you will be ordering it. Shapeways' server does check the design to see if they can 3D print it. If the model is printable they will send the item to the production facility where you order will be processed. If the item is not printable they will email you about the issues, such as problems with the models upload or if they cannot print the item it in the material you have selected. Shapeways does offer help for these issues with a forum and tutorials.

What are my choices for materials at Shapeways?
As of today's date, Plastic in several colors and strengths, Silver, Stainless Steel available gold and bronze finishes, Glass available in Matte and two Gloss finishes, full color Sandstone, and Alumide.
Pricing is based on the actual amount of material used in your final object.

Samples and Pricing:
Like Esty a designer has his/her own shop and items can be searched by item name, cateogory, date posted, and price. (Items can also be shared on selected social medias)

Nu at rest, Strong and Flexible Plastic in Winter Green, $62.31

Stainless Steel Earrings, $10.20

Trefoil Knot 0,035.-8cm, in White Strong & Flexible Plastic $32.84

Friday, October 15, 2010

Avatar Photoshop Tutorial

As I'm reading about selection tools and color in my Photoshop book and I can't help but want to test my own Photoshop skills with something more difficult, such as turning people into Humanoids. So here is a Photoshop Avatar tutorial that I did late one night.


Now try it yourself! Click here to go to the Tutorial. Hopefully you can find a picture with better hair.
Have fun!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Co Game Designs

Co Game Designs is a Portland,OR based Design Firm founded by Rebecca Cohan and Marc Cozza. Co is know for their designs working with major brands such as Nike, Coke Cola, and Marriott. Check out the most recent Game designs from Co that show a great creative mind for quirky.

Cranium WOW: What Co has to say about it,
"Cranium Inc. wanted to re-package their flagship game as part of an effort to differentiate between adult and children’s games. We crafted the quirky personality of the game by using wiseacre copy, double-entendres and a little touch of existentialism.  Gary Baseman’s original four characters were given detailed life stories. The outside of the box is wrapped in copy taunting the consumer to play."

Saturday Night Live: The Game What Co has to say about it per The Dieline,
"Our goal was to capture the raw immediacy of SNL's writing process and live performances, which we achieved through hand-drawn illustrations of legendary characters and catchphrases. The package also communicates the fun of playing the game itself, which combines trivia, improv, and quick-fire team play."

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Rory Sutherland: Life lessons from an ad man


Rory Sutherland is a adverting guru. His genius of adverting is cutting edge merging ads with entertainment. This video speaks about perception, how an item to be advertised doesn't need to change, just what others think about it.

Steven Johnson: Where good ideas come from

Steven Johnson: Where good ideas come from

Steven Johnson, an intriguing thinker, speaker and author communicates his theories about innovation.

Steven Johnson's Books: 

Everything Bad is Good for You: How Today's Popular Culture is Actually Making Us Smarter 

Emergence: The Connected Lives of Ants, Brains, Cities, and Software

The Ghost Map: The Story of London's Most Terrifying Epidemic--and How It Changed Science, Cities, and the Modern World

He co-founded, a website that collects online conversations per keyword and location.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Stefan Sagmeister shares happy design | Video on

Stefan Sagmeister shares happy design | Video on

Pantone Hotel in Brussels Centre, Belgium
I got an email from Behance today informing me of a new design competition. Its called the Pantone "Mind-blowing Color competition. The competition is pretty much submit any project from your portfolio that exemplifies mind-blowing color, or color used wisely to attract the eye, influence emotions, moods and judgment. Submit your best work soon, entries need to entered by October 13th 2010.

 And as for the Pantone Hotel, that's where you'll get to go for a weekend if you win the Grand Prize. Here is what the hotel's website has to say, "The PANTONE HOTEL combines the strong emotions evoked by color with exceptional, vivid design and unyielding comfort. Guests enjoy state-of-the-art accommodations, distinctively chosen at reception to compliment their mood. Luxurious beds, inviting pillows, LCD TVs, and central A/C with individual controls are standard at The PANTONE HOTELTM; many rooms are illuminated with unparalleled views of Brussels." Below is the colors selections...

Accommodations also include, as listed from there webpage.. 

Considered a destination within Brussels city centre for its relaxing vibe and exceptional city views, the PANTONE LOUNGE is a chic lounge and summer rooftop terrace with full bar.
Savor the moment, unwind and divulge the color you’re feeling with our divine cocktails: Pink Champagne PANTONE 12-1107, Lemon Drop PANTONE 12-0736 or Daiquiri Green 12-0435.
Shop and “test drive” stylish products showcasing the innovative use of color and emotion. From mugs to bicycles, browse the largest selection of Pantone products worldwide.
Pantone’s renowned consulting service influences product colors behind many of the world’s best selling brands, including Tiffany & Co., Nike, Barbie, Victoria’s Secret and The Gap. By appointment only.
Available in all guest rooms and public areas.
Allow the PANTONE HOTELTM Brussels to bring alive your company’s dynamic corporate identity with two highly customizable meeting rooms. Both are outfitted with advanced audio video / technical equipment and are available by the day or by the hour. Catering available.

Snazzy, huh?

"You killed Kenny" Door Stopper

"Who killed Kenny Doorstep"

I not a big fan of South Park, but I am a fan of creativity, and this works for me. See the Instructable and make your own. If you don't know who Kenny is, he is a character on the show South Park on Comedy Central Channel. Kenny is the character that, without fail, gets killed every episode he appears in, and when that happens another South Park character usual responds "Oh my God, they killed Kenny".