December 28, 2007

Laughter & humbling at the gym.

{A side note, the image above is actually from a tattoo artist in New Zealand.
No, I am not that hardcore/Muhammad Ali where I am thinking
about getting a tattoo of gloves, but thought the illustration was nice}

Walking into the gym last night, there was a poster on the wall at the beginning of the stairs that had me in hysterics the rest of the way up the staircase. First off, I think my gym has a great copy writing department and they usually come out with some fairly quirky headlines. The one I saw last night was: "If your snow angels start to look like crop circles". I love that! So the gym had succeeded in making me laugh before even swiping my key chain over the scanner, but could it also make me sweat? Walking into my boxing class I noticed the regular drill Sargent of an instructor (who I love because he kicks our buts and in the same breath will yell at you for not jumping high enough and then make a joke that your Mom could jump higher than you) wasn't there. This guy wasn't as scary at first and wasn't scary at all, but whoa, what a workout! At one point in the middle of the circuit training where I was working one-on-one with the instructor and punching *left-right-left-right* as fast as I could humanly go against his punching blockers, I became very humbled – I was tired, my biceps were hurting, I could feel my breathing getting faster and my heart rate rocking. No matter how many miles I can run, no matter how fast I can dribble a soccer ball, there are a lot of athletic endeavors that will tire me out and give me a challenge. And I love that.

December 27, 2007

I love Peeps too!

{mini diary by Marta Designs}

In my opinion, there is nothing greater than finding an inspiration. Whether that comes to you through a person, a photograph, an article, a book, a song, or just a dream, its nice that although you might be staring out the window at the rainy street four floors below an hour before quittin' time that you can stumble upon something that makes you excited and ready to take on the world. Although this world of blogging can seem to some fairly frivolous, to me it has started to open me to ideas and inspirations. I don't remember what path I took to get to her blog, but I found a kindred spirit in Martha Writes. She is a beautiful and inspiring writer with an eye for a good photo, and a designer to boot! I read many posts on her site and have decided that if I could have a voice like that to all of my postings, that I would be a happy poster (yes, I just used three different tenses of the word "post" in one sentence. Call Websters.). Not only that, but she sells some of her designed creations and one which I must have! It is a mini diary and more exciting than the title may imply; it is a Mad Libs meets beautiful diary with blanks for entries all about your 5 senses that day. What an incredible idea for capturing what you smell, see, taste, touch, and hear that day. Imagine looking back on that in months or years to come? The one I have shown here is filled in with her fabulous handwriting and although her website says she is sold out, I am planning on buying one in the new year when her stock is replenished. (*A message to Marta: I love soft Peeps too and in fact just ate a few too many Snowmen and Christmas Tree Peeps last weekend. My first Christmas ones; usually I just eat the bunnies around Easter.)

December 26, 2007

A Glove Mission.

Raise your (cold) hand if you have lost a glove this year? I'm with you on that one and not only have lost my requisite "one glove a season" but have misplaced a pair of knitted gray mittens this December as well (yet I am still convinced the Dunkin' Donuts where I left them at mistakenly, has secretly stashed my hand warmers in a bin of munchkins). For those of you who have also lost mittens and gloves this year, may I direct your attention to a genius new website called One Cold Hand. Grad student Jennifer Gooch at Carnegie Mellon started a website dedicated to the reuniting of lost gloves all over Pittsburgh. Local businesses have drop boxes and Jennifer picks up the lost items, photographs them, puts them on her website stating by whom and where they were found, one-gloved people search the site for their missing mittens and *voila*! They are reunited! Talk about a Christmas miracle.

December 22, 2007

If my design professors could see me now...

...I think they would revoke my Bachelor of Fine Arts. I don't want to sound ungrateful to be working at a design assignment, because I am not. However, my projects for the past few days have consisted of designing an ethics handbook, a fake "report cover" to be placed in a PowerPoint slide to only be seen by the two people in the meeting who have not fallen asleep by the time they get to said slide, and making cartoon lightning come out of a hand to signify "pain". Yes, folks, design life as I know it is at its low. This time of year is not the best to be looking for fulltime work in any industry and I know that and as a result must make do with the freelance work I am given. I also must realize that I created my own destiny by leaving my last job at the ad agency and focus on the fact that I am a happier person not selling my soul to the devil by working in advertising. In the meantime I shall remain positive, update up my resume, and enjoy working for once in my life at a company that lets me leave at 6 while not giving me dirty looks on the way out. Other reasons I like about my current situation (of which will be a 6-8 week assignment):
  • They have those single-serving coffee machines and fun flavors such as Caramel Vanilla Nut, French Vanilla, Hazelnut.
  • I have a 5 minute walk from my apartment to the office.
  • Due to the close walk, I go home for lunch where I eat leftovers and peanut butter sandwiches. This helps me save money so I can afford health insurance every month because I have no fulltime employer to pay for it; although I really do love PB&J.
  • There is a very large window to my right. This is big for me. At one point in my life, I worked in a basement and never knew what the weather was or that daylight savings time had kicked in.
  • Did I mention I can leave at 6 without anyone batting an eyelash?

How Helvetica changed my life.

Back in September I saw a movie that changed my life and today I began to really think about it. No, it was not “Chariots of Fire”, “Dangerous Minds” or even “Lean on Me”. It was something more personally inspiring. It was "Helvetica", the documentary. This morning I thought to myself, what if I had never gone to the IFC in the village that night in the fall with a good friend from design school? What if the movie had never been made? Even deeper than that, what if Helvetica was never a font (I know, I just made the entire design community gasp)? The film reminded me why I do what I do, why I have loved design from the day I took my first graphic design class in high school, and why I continue to love it. And more importantly, WHY I want to keep doing it! At the time in September when I saw the film, I was at a crossroads with my career as I was working at an advertising/promotions agency and not feeling so fulfilled as a creative. I had been there exactly a year when I went to the IFC that night and my mind was filled (prior to seeing the movie) with possibilities of starting my second profession as a teacher. This would include going to grad school and other life-changing situations (moving, applying for loans, etc). So if there are any career-confused designers out there or designers in general who need some inspiration, may I recommend adding it to your NetFlix queue. Seeing it at home will not be as great as seeing it in a theater filled with geeky designers like myself (I think they were all designers, because we all laughed at the same design-joke parts...yes, there were design jokes) but you will still think it is great and hopefully also have a new lease on life as a designer. May you also realize and feel privileged you have a talent that not many have. And may you use some part of the Helvetica family with more vigor in your next project.

December 21, 2007

The Random Run-In Ringleaders.

I am convinced that above the skyscrapers of Manhattan and the penthouse roofs, are a group of at least five hundred people who sit at their computers up in the sky and have lists and lists of all inhabitants of New York City plugged into multiple Excel documents. Then they hit random numbers on their magical keyboards (and if I knew how to use Excel, I would probably know which keys these were) which makes one person from column A run into another person from column B. Their motives are sometimes spite-oriented: the cheated on ex-boyfriend runs into his ex-girlfriend when she is having a bad hairdo on her head and he is having a hot new girlfriend on his arm. Sometimes the motives are friend & family-oriented: those who have been trying to make plans for so long and finally need to see each other to remind themselves they MUST stop letting the insanity of NYC get in the way. Often the magical typists just enjoy a good laugh: the former employee sees her former witch of a boss getting pooped on by her own witch of a dog on the street corner. And sometimes just sometimes, up in the sky, they have no reason at all but just love seeing people run into each other at those times when neither least expects it. So next time it seems you have taken a different avenue to work, a different train to the gym, a different time to leave your apartment, or a different venue for your usual Thursday night drinks and which has thus led to a run-in, just look up and shake your head at the magical typists in the sky – the Random Run-In Ringleaders. Even if you don't live in New York City, don't worry, there are chapters of these Ringleaders all over the world ready to make you run into your former coworker, boss, hair stylist, roommate, boyfriend, etc. Just enjoy it.

Eye Candy for the morning. Thanks Google.

I just went to Google to do a search, as I use this site about four times a day to end my curiosity over something, and to my pleasant surprise they have one of their fantastic little illustrations up around their logo! For me, its like a small jackpot for my eyes for the day (yes, I am a geeky graphic designer and get my thrills from little things like this). Usually they do these for all major holidays, the Olympics, Google's Birthday, and other dates of note. The ones I get most excited about are illustrations that make no sense to me; for example, Google's Birthday,there was a pinata in the shape of the number 9 in September. These force me to actually google (as in the verb) the Google (as in the proper noun) illustration. Talk about extreme irony. Today's is a little man being shot out of a cannon, but still attached to a red ribbon. What is this supposed to mean? It says "Happy Holidays from Google" when I roll over it with my mouse but being launched over the letter "o" doesn't seem very holiday spirited, does it?

After a little research (and no explanation) of the answer for today's puzzling illustration, I found out that the man who has had the fabulous job of doing these Google designs since the year 2000 is Dennis Hwang. Not only that, but I also found a link containing every Google illustration to grace its homepage since the site began! Double jackpot! I cease and desist my search for the meaning behind the cannon, because finding out there is a site that contains all of these graphics is answer enough.

December 20, 2007

Personally, I like to run to JT.

Nike is a company I look up to as a designer and an athlete. I always said I would move to Portland, Oregon (that's where they are located) if they ever offered me a job in their design department and on the same note, if they ever asked me to be on their Nike+ website and tell them my PowerSong I would gladly oblige as well! They have this great section to their site (for some reason I can't link to but if you go here and then click on Gear & Music at the bottom and then "PowerSong" you will get to it) which of course is so well designed and features 8 athletes from all different sports (I have shown phenom soccer player Freddy Adu, but there is also father-of-the-year Tom Brady, and biker-turned-runner Lance Armstrong) and asks them what their favorite PowerSong is. That song that REALLY gets you going. Come on, you know you all have one that makes you finish that extra mile outside in the cold, that last lap on the stationery bike, or another set of bicep curls. I am not ashamed to admit it, but any Justin Timberlake song does it for me.

Tracy got less Angst-y.

Tracy Bonham, when did you get soft(er) and less angst-ridden? I have been listening to your song "Whether You Fall" from your most recent 2005 album, Blink the Brightest, on Pandora almost everyday now for the past two weeks and must say I love it and even gave it the Pandora "thumbs up" (hence why it comes up on my radio station at least once a day). I remember the days in high school of playing your Burdens of Being Upright with the song "Mother, Mother" on repeat; loving that angry girl rock that came out of my CD player (that at the time, was still attached to a dual cassette deck). Shall I deduce that you grew up and decided to be more calmer? Whatever happened, I grew up with you and still am enjoying your music, so thanks. And thank YOU Pandora, my personal new music finder for leading me to Tracy's new songs.

What would your last supper be?

You know those books you drool over when they first come out and you decide you must own them or else your library is not complete? Those books you flip through and think to yourself "Why couldn't I have come up with something this beautiful and clever all at once?" Well, when I first got my hands on Melanie Dunea's book "My Last Supper", (pictured at right, Lidia Bastianich, from "My Last Supper") that was my exact sentiment. Her book even landing in my posession was by some fortuitous luck as I had found her work online when I was looking for a photographer to shoot an ad campaign for the last agency I worked at. Not only was her rep randomly located across the street from my office, but she sent me a copy of Melanie's brand-new-not-even-on-the-shelf-yet-book to peruse as well as her full portfolio. I of course had to give the book back. I pondered keeping it and then pulling the "The intern must have taken it" route but decided it bad to mess with the fate that had brought the book in my life to begin with. And now I must wait until Amazon gets more in stock to add it to my collection.

The very simple yet smart idea behind this book is taking the perfect photo to represent each of 50 international chefs and then asking them the very basic but informative questions such as "Where would you have your last supper?" "What would your last supper be?" "Who would prepare it?" These questions glean the most impressive responses because lets face it, these are world-renowned chefs and they know exactly the what/where/why of their final meals. Some may call it slightly morbid; I call it a Divine Dining Declaration.

[Laurent Tourdrel by Melanie Dunea]

[Mario Batali by Melanie Dunea]

December 12, 2007

How many Stellas did YOU drink this year?

Information make me swoon."Best Of" lists that come out at the end of each year to sum of the previous 365 (or 366, depending on a leap year) also make me happy. Put those two ideas together and you have The Feltron 2006 Annual Report. A unique compilation of how one New York City resident spent his time at work or on vacation, which concerts he went to and what he listened to, which restaurants he ate at, what percentage of his beer intake was Stella Artois, days he spent on jury duty, purchases he THAT puts me in design heaven. It is of course a beautifully designed and organized piece using only two colors and two fonts. After reading it all, it made me want to a) keep a journal like that for this year, see where and what I spent my time with, and what percentage of my alcoholic beverages contained vodka and b) ask his friends if it annoyed them that Nicholas kept a journal all day long writing down what he did at every moment of each day.

December 6, 2007

The accents get me every time.

A personal letter to Jude Law:

Dear Jude,

After seeing your 2006 movie "The Holiday" last night, I have decided I have possibly re-fallen back in love with you (only as an actor of course, as my true Hollywood love is reserved for Ryan Reynolds). Your character was charming and impeccably well-dressed and although you started out as the "drunk-guy-who-has-one-night-stands" you quickly turned into "dream man". Your openness for shedding a tear, your amazing parenting skills, and fearless way you told Cameron you were in love with her, has made me possibly forget your mistakes of 3 years ago.

Before making my re-declaration however, I have two requests to ask of you. First off, could you please from now on play roles where it requires you to have scenes with adorable little British children? Honestly, they could be saying anything, but when words escape from their mouths they drip with sugary sweetness yet sophistication, which is an incredible feat for a five year old. Secondly, is there any way you can go back in time and tell the casting director of of "Alfie" that you must turn down the role?

Jude, my love for your clear blue eyes, your accent and your sexy look started back in the day of "The Talented Mr. Ripley" and continued through "I Heart Huckabees". It was during 2004, or The Year of Jude, when you made a tragic mistake and starred in that movie (Alfie) that you completely repulsed me. It wasn't only the movie, but it was your role in the movie that convinced me you WERE that guy (and as we saw in US Weekly after the movie premiered, you were) and not one I wanted to love anymore. Please take my pleas into consideration and I promise to see every movie you make from now on.

Who Sees the Seven

December 3, 2007

The Typography Tour was here!

[photo taken by Karen Horton]

Being a tourist in your own city is one of the greatest ways to really get to know the area you live in. I am sure you have all done the usual go-to spots with friends and family, so this time why wait until your cousin Gertie's next visit to you (where you will no doubt stand in line for the Statue of Liberty boat tour) and take the tourist matters into your own hands. The AIGA-sponsored Typography Tour on Saturday, September 29th was here and a way that some got to know their city and maybe their love for a great ligature. This tour was sold out and I was unfortunately away for the weekend, but keep an eye out and maybe next fall you can get closer (kern a bit, maybe?) to your type! In case you missed it, here are some great photos from Karen Horton and what she saw on the tour. I love the inlaid tiling here from the Bowery Savings Bank.

December 1, 2007

The Container Store makes it look so easy.

My intent for this blog is to be one of my new ways of keeping order in my "creatively cluttered" life for 2008 (a New Year's Resolution of sorts). I mean it's really only 20 days early, right? And I have oh so much to learn about blogging which will definitely take me the remainder of this least the next 20 days.

My very good friend over at A Design Affair has insisted a blog is a good way to keep all of your thoughts in order. I figured why not start a virtual Container Store if you will; all of my discoveries, capturings, musings, and observations in one place. I see this as better than emailing myself four times a day everyday when I come upon something online OR to bookmark it all as my bookmarks folder is getting to max capacity and minimum organization.