Friday, August 27, 2010

Mock ad from Photo CS5 Tutorials

The other day I came across a sexy Barcardi ad with water droplets swirling around the bottle. I knew I just had to learn to do it so I watched some tutorials, which you can check out from my previous posts, and played around with some new Photoshop tools.

Above is my mock ad, showing off my new Photoshop CS5 puppet tool skills. Below are the images I used to get there. I wish I could have taken my own photos and worked them out, but these web images worked out pretty well to get the training in. If I had more time to make changes I think I'd spruce up the beer glass a bit, maybe make it a little brighter. But otherwise I like it, and I in love with Photoshop's puppet tool.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Water Drops and Puppet Wrap in Photoshop

Tutorial: Making water droplets on bottles

Tutorial: Basic of the Puppet Tool

Tutorial: Finer points and applications for using the Puppet Wrap Tool

Monday, August 23, 2010

The Beauty of Data Visualization: David McCandles on

The Beauty of Data Visualization: David McCandles on

Numbers, numbers, numbers... We are swamped with data everyday; this my number of troops, this much dollars, etc. But, do we really understand this data? Our brains take in visual data faster than any other sense; before sound, touch, or taste. Our eyes see and process it first. So we have to think, which is the best way to convey a very difficult subject or a very complex situation, visual data. David McCandles speaks in this Ted video about the visual representation of unfamiliar data, which will surprise you, make you laugh, and warm your heart. Who knew that simple data could be so touching and so beautiful?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

QR codes : The future of Advertising and Communications

QR code for my website
Have you been seeing these square code like images? I've seen them on magazine covers and posters but thought they were a new version of a barcode or a safety device from keeping people from walking out the door with items. But it isn't either. Its called a QR code. A QR code is a image code, much like our usual bar code that can be placed on printed media, to bring people to digital media, such as a website. How you ask, via a smart phone.

QR stands for "quick response" and was first invented in Japan in 1990's. These QR codes were invented by Denso Corp. of Japan to first track automobile parts. But this technology, was soon used on Billboards and JumboTrons to as a communication device. Japan has had smart phones years before us and their audience was ready for this type of technology.

The great thing about QR codes is it can be read vertically or horizontally. And there is so much potential here. Just imagine your new product getting promoted on a JumboTron and watching an audience of people point their camera phones at your ad, scan it, and take them to your site. In seconds you could be watching them surf to your website and read, learn, and buy your product instantly.

Currently the downside to this technology is I don't have a smart phone with internet, and I only have an iPod with no camera. So, as of today I can't play with this technology. But you can if you have an iPhone, Android, or Blackberry phone with a working camera, QR reader, and internet. Other smart phones can carry this technology so check with your provider and see this website for more ways to can get a QR reader on your smart devices.

Also if you what to be techie yourself and get your own personal QR code ready for your future promotion I found this QR code generator site where you can type in a URL, Text, SMS, or phone number to generate your QR code and get networking. P.S., to check to see if your QR code works, if you don't have a smart phone, go here.

Pepsi QR advertisements

Monday, August 16, 2010

Tiny Letterpress

A small Letterpress Machine!!!!

This new at-home Letterpress Machine - a table top unit that allows you to create homemade letterpress cards and crafts. A truly amazing and affordable way to make your own letterpress creations! The Letterpress Machine Combo Kit includes everything you need to get started letterpress printing right away. Kit includes: Letterpress tool, Epic 6 machine, Clear packing mat with packing sheet, Ink brayer, Ink base, Black letterpress ink, Letterpress paper (10 sheets of A2 flat), Paper positioning guides, and Printing plates, Printing plate adhesive. Are you thinking this good be the best way to make gorgeous business cards?

Just my type, A book about fonts

This sounds like a very cool book, if you like fonts and type, and British humor. Just My Type: A Book About Fonts by Simon Garfield comically writes about favorite fonts informing you about their history, popular uses and abuses. If you want to get an idea of the tone of this book it goes something like this "well, I am apparently the last person on earth to know that Eric Gill had sex with dogs and wrote about it, and may have committed incest"; which was loosely paraphrased by Emily Pacey writing for Design Week, a weekly design magazine based out of London. Look for this interesting display of font history and cheeky humor coming (hopefully) late October. Book cover designed in-house at Profile by art director Peter Dyer. Sign up on to get an email when it comes out.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Most Useful Product Designs of 2010

Throughout the spring and summer I have been finding fun and interesting products. Below are my top picks for the best 2010 summer products for their design, creativity and usefulness.

Easy Bloom Garden Sensor

The Easy Bloom is the best thing that ever happened to the brown thumb individual. Its a cleverly designed garden sensor, in the shape of a flower, that you push into the ground to inform you about the soil conditions in your yard. Once the Easy Bloom is planted it starts collecting useful data, such as sun exposure, moisture, fertilizer and temperature. And if you think that's cool, all that information can be translated for you. The Easy Bloom just gets plugged into your USB port, connects you to their website and instantly recommends what plants, trees, vegetables, etc can successfully grow in that spot. This definitely takes the guesswork out of gardening, and for $50 it can save to hundreds.

Folding Portable Notebook BBQ Grill

The Folding Portable Notebook BBQ Grill by Fire Sense is perfect grill  if you like to walk along the beach, hike in the woods, or just move around a lot and can't take the grill with you. Its the finest in British design, at a little under 2" long and about 18" wide (about 14 high when standing) it weighs only 8.32 lbs, this grill really is as easy to carry as a notebook computer. Its a charcoal grill that folds down to 1 inch flat and even comes with its own carrying bag. Don't worry its painted steel construction is durable and heat resistant. For around $50 this is a handy cooker.

3890 Taylor Measuring Cup and Scale

Is your cupboard filled with odd sized measuring cups and spoons for dry and wet measurements, and then you have a scale to measure everything else? Well, there is a solvent for that. Taylor has designed a Multi-use measuring cup that not only measures the cup but will also measure the weight of what you put into it. The Taylor Measuring cup and scale automatically converts 5 preset ingredients - flour, sugar, milk, water and oil - from ounces (weight) to cups (volume). General foods and ingredients are also measured in ounces/pounds or grams. And to take less out of your worries it has a low battery warning, and auto shut off. Price ranges around $25-$35.

ZOMM, comes in white and black

Do you often loose your keys? Well then ZOMM ,the world's first wireless leash, is the product for you. It's a small device that can hang on your key chain and communicates with your cell phone via Bluetooth. Say your at a restaurant and you accidentally leave your phone on the table as you start walking towards the door, ZOMM will start crying out by setting off an alarm, flashing, and/or vibrating. This crybaby also works as a speaker phone and as a emergency call assistant. By pushing the Z-button down you can answer your call, hold the button down for a full 9 seconds it will sound a loud panic alarm and if you continue holding the Z- button for an additional 5 seconds it will call for emergency assistance. ZOMM retails for around $80 and charges via USB cord.

Horizon fuel cell system, Hydrofill, the Hydrogen battery AC / solar /wind compatible

Coming late 2010 is Horizon's Hydrofill fuel cell system, it is a system that extracts hydrogen from water to be later used as energy for electrical devices. This energy can be transported and stored in a battery shaped HydroSTIK cartridge. The HydroSTIK is non-toxic, eco-friendly, and will be priced well as its release later 2010. Horizon says, "Each HydroSTIK can store 15Wh of energy, enough for 1-2 charges of a 3G smartphone, or 2-3 charges for average cellphones, which is more than what present primary and rechargeable batteries are able to offer at equivalent cost".

Monday, August 9, 2010

Free to Be... You and Me

I am happy to see the new commercial from Target; they used the title track from the Emmy winning TV special Free to Be... You and Me. If your not familiar with Free to Be... You and Me, it is a project from the Ms. Foundation for Women, back in the in the 1970's. It was a collection of songs, stories, and poems that taught children to keep an open mind about stereotypes, tradition, sexuality, and individuality. Celebrities of the day made appearances in Free to Be... You and Me such as Marlo Thomas, a young Micheal Jackson, Mel Brooks, Diana Ross and others. Below are some video samples from the traditional TV Special.

Here is my twin sister's favorite the story of Atalanta; its co-narrated by Marlo Thomas and Alan Alda, and its the retelling of an ancient Greek legend speaking about the gender stereotypes of women and if they could be athletes or be unmarried.

My absolute favorite clip is the Boys Meets Girl, on the subject of sexuality, I remember laughing at how cute these puppets were when I was a little girl. But also understanding that boys could grow up to be what ever they wanted no matter what sex they were.

Here's Michael Jackson's appearance...Singing about how you don't have to change at all, and just be the person you are.

Here is the well known "William's Doll", based upon Charlotte Zolotow's story about a boy who wants a doll.

Target's angle for the commercial was to portray that a person could be an individual with their choice of colors and clothing. Its designed well, its very cute, and a smart way to speak to the once children of the 70's and 80's who are currently back to school shopping for their children today. Seeing this commercial with a tune from my childhood in a style of Wes Anderson, makes me extremely happy. And makes me love Target a little more.

If you're looking to find more about Free to Be... You and Me I recently I have found a book of the series, in Target last winter, and I have seen it in a play at a local artists school. There is also an album. See the foundation website at to get your book, album, or DVD copy direct.

One more note, I would love to see someone create a new set of stories speaking about the popular hates and discrimination of the world today, maybe talking about race, environment, greed, weight and other subjects. Anybody up the challenge?

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Book Review, The Learners by Chip Kidd

Chip Kidd's second novel, The Learners, The Book after the Cheese Monkeys, had gotten in my hands soon after hearing the news he'd be speaking at SUNY Oswego in September. I quickly ordered it from the library and began to read.

The book starts in 1961 with the main character, nicknamed Happy, applying for a job following the footsteps of a favorite professor at an advertising agency in New Haven, CT. While the story weaves around humorous office characters, nicknames and drama it also falls deep into a mysterious suicide of, Himillsy, a college girlfriend of Happy's. Happy starts piecing together Himillsy's reasons for death and fails prey to the same doleful emotions caused by their involvements in a psychological "obedience experiment".

Although the book was a bit dark, it did have some great elements. My favorites were his emotion/expression typography studies, and his mid-story italicized thoughts of wit and irony. Basically what this book studied was how psychology and design work together or against each other. What I have also learned from this book, from both Chip Kidd and Stanley Milgram, the "obedience experiment" scientist, is to think before I follow, that things aren't what they seem and to think twice before participating in medical studies. Either way, I think it's a good book to get under your skin.

See you in Oswego, Chip.

Mustache Me!

 Mustache Pint Glass from Bread and Badger
One of my first "designer" mustache sightings was on my favorite interior design blog Design*Sponge. It was for a glass that had an etched mustache on it, so when you drank from it you would be perceived to have a mustache on your face. Since then mustaches have been popping up in many places, other than the face.

 Get the whole "A Field guide to Typestaches", available in an 18" x 14" poster

Such as, in today's Print Magazine twitter post, announcing a new mustache typeface called "A Field guide to Typestaches", from Mr. Tor Weeks and Tom Foolery Tag Team. (See the full font here.) This type is just darn right adorable. Get the poster at Old Tom Foolery, before they sell out.

Pop's Stache Beverage Tag, from Shane Blomberg

Other adorable mustache find was found on Kickstarter, a web donation type of site where you launch a project you need money for and people will contribute, providing you reciprocate creative "exchanges" for their cash. Shane Blomberg's project, Pop's Stache, is for mustache beverage tags. His project is to create a package of eight different mustache styles, they are designed to ring around the top neck of your desired beverage bottle. Very cool idea!


A breath taking new video game on XBOX is LIMBO. A black and white, almost silent, platform game that keeps you locked in its dark and mysterious world. It's a game that manifests those creepy fillings you used to get as a child scared at night. Within hues of gray and degrees of depth you really feel you're in the world of LIMBO. It is a puzzle game, meaning you move forward by solving a variety of obstacles. Such as climbing a rope, sacking crates, and pulling levers to get ahead. At first you start by solving problems with items in the foreground and then you have to use objects that are shadowed in the back. It's tricking and inviting, and you can easily find yourself spending an entire morning playing it until you reach the end, or is it?

Not only is the rainy day world to be appreciated here, but the its study of movement. I was impressed by the way the main character moved; his joints bent in a natural human way, even at his tragic death(s), limbs and blood broke away and crushed very realistically. I can only hope that this game makes any Madden football game designer really take a look at the human hip and shoulder movements. With LIMBO's ecstatically dark bamboozle adventure, this game is truly compelling, not to mention its affordable price tag at 1200 gamer points, which translates to around $15.

Color Me Happy, with my own Pantone Color Coffee Mug

Mornings just got a little more exciting with these stylish Pantone Mugs, dishwasher and microwave safe.

While reading through my new August pile of magazines I came across this lovely Pantone mug. I'm one to collect unique and interesting mugs and this one, colored with Pantone colors, just speaks Graphic Designer. I would love to own a collection of these and hang them in my office cubbie. I'd select the mug color carefully each day according to my mood. (As of today I think there is 30 available colors). But, if I couldn't have the entire collection my favorites are Cupcake Yellow 607C, Orange 021C, Paprika 179C, and Cool Gray 10. I love these mugs and to be totally serious, I have started a Christmas list for myself and these are at the top! But if you can't wait until the holidays individual colors and sets are available at Pop Delux and Amazon.

Other Pantone items available are Pantone espresso cups, luggage tag, wallet, coin purse, book bag, messenger bag and a passport holder. And I'm sure there will be more items to come in the future, my hope next is for a Pantone sketch pad, but this Pantone notebook is close enough.