April 30, 2009

Watercolor Love.

Nothing makes me happier than gorgeous watercolor painting. Especially simple ones like these. The artist, Karen Faulkner, paints individual flower stems in various bold colors and they are all on display through a new website I discovered the other day called Trunkt. Their tagline is "We Connect Exceptional Artisans With Global Wholesale Buyers". It also links to people's individual Etsy sites which is great for someone like me who just might want to buy a few of these sweet pieces!

April 29, 2009

Felt & Wire.

A fantastic new blog for the paper lovers in the world, edited and written by Mohawk Paper and designed by Pentagram, called Felt & Wire. Could there BE a better combination? Just found the blurb in this month's Graphic Design USA and am pretty happy I took a little time out of my day to do some industry reading! This will definitely be added to my list of "daily reads" which seems to grow every week; just hope my bookmark bar doesn't have a space limit!

One Hot Apple.

Anyone ever use their laptop too long and before you know it your quads are on fire (whether you have long pants or shorts)? I don't know if it's because my PowerBook is 3 1/2 years old and maybe the newer ones don't give off that much heat, but mine gets warm enough that sometimes on a cold day in winter its almost a better way to warm up than a mug of Irish Coffee. I also sometimes worry about what this might be doing to me internally (I know, I am paranoid, but I swear it can't be good for you!). Well, leave it to the smart folks at Veer to make something to put between you and your Apple (not that you really want anything to come between you) to keep you cool and of COURSE to look nice too. I mean, this the company that has the amazing "KERN" zip-up sweatshirt.

April 28, 2009

Dasani Delicious.

Friday after work I attended an event to promote the new Dasani Essence waters and was pleasantly surprised! First off, I am not a fan of flavored water because I think it tastes fake and I would rather not drink the chemicals. However, these new Dasani Essence waters are delicious and not one bit unnatural. Plus these taste exactly how a glass of water with a spritz of lime/black cherry/strawberry & lime in it would taste. The new bottle shape is a diversion from the original Dasani bottle and reminds me a little of a milk bottle (reminding us it's all-natural and good for you in a subliminal way, perhaps?). Also, their website has some wonderful photography! Next time you are looking for water with just a little something extra (that isn't cancer-causing) I would see if your convenient store has this. My recommend? The Black Cherry Essence.

April 27, 2009

007 Gets Double the Fonts.

In the past year or so I have finally started watching James Bond movies. Yes, I know the first one came out with Sean Connery in 1962 with Dr. No (which was actually the very first one I saw) and it is now 47 years later, but sometimes it takes awhile to appreciate something and want to experience it. Anyhow, I have become quite smitten with the series and though my original goal was to watch them all in order, I have sort of stepped out of that and am now just randomly selecting ones to watch.

My latest watching was last night and it was the latest James Bond installment of Daniel Craig in Quantum of Solace. Randomly throughout the entire movie I kept turning to Matt and saying "This is AWESOME!" It seriously was fantastic. The story, the cinematography, the editing of the action sequels, the way it kept you gripped to your seat (or my hand to Matt's whenever something crazy happened), and especially the visuals of all of the different cities they went to. Through this under two hour movie we were transported to cities in Austria, England, Italy, Bolivia, Haiti, and Russia. Each time a new city was shown there was a clever use of typography and location in the shot. I did a bit of googling this morning and found out the design studio in charge of this is one called Tomato; as well as an article about the studio and the fonts used and where I found the images above. Thanks Fontshop (aforementioned blogger from where the photos & font info came)!

April 24, 2009

Buttermilk Channel.

The Buttermilk Channel, a newish restaurant (opened in November of 2008) in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn is where we took Matt's Mom for her belated birthday meal last night (I love that she knew about this place before we did). This establishment is named after the small channel of water between Brooklyn and Governor's Island. The food was good, the interior simple and clean and welcoming, and the design the same as the interior. A strong powder blue on white was all that the design team of this restaurant chose to use for their typography and minimal graphics (though their logo and their menus on their website are showing up differently). There are a small amount of nautical elements in place and I think they work wonderfully. The menus, the signage, the website...all of it. Unfortunately no amount of googling has let me find out who made this graphic design come to life.

The Best Thing About Dr. Strangelove.

Okay, I am prepared to possibly be heckled by millions of film critics (not that millions of people, nevermind film critics, read this blog) but I watched Dr. Strangelove for the first time this weekend and wasn't so impressed. I kept asking Matt "Is it almost over?" to which I swear the answer was always "a half an hour". Needless to say, it didn't keep my attention and when it was over I was befuddled and confused. That was IT?! THAT's the big payoff?! I know it's about the deeper meaning of the behind-the-scenes in real-life government day-to-day and war and bombs but COME ON.

So my rant is over but I must say my favorite part of the movie (and there actually was one) was the very beginning. Seriously, the VERY beginning – the opening credits. This movie was made in 1964 and they employed some great typographic treatments and layout; something I see being used more nowadays in the time of "handmade"-looking. I will say that I had high hopes for the movie based on my response to the great layouts of the handwritten type. As you read from my paragraph above, those hopes were dashed quickly. Oh well.

April 22, 2009

True Blood. Do You See It?

Picking up New York Magazine this week I flipped over to the back to my beloved crossword puzzle and was stopped by the ad (for HBO's new season of the series, True Blood) that was on the back cover of the magazine. It was all black with small droplets of blood red going through the top center. I looked closer and saw something. Then realized there was something I was missing. I still couldn't put my finger on it until this morning when I looked at the back cover again and *voila!* I saw it! It is a wonderful static print ad but even more clever (and easier to figure out) as a motion graphic on the HBO website here.

April 21, 2009

Bob's Your Uncle. And Mine.

The irony of being drawn to Bob's Your Uncle is slightly amusing to me. I first saw their clever typographic cards and products at the Stationery Show here in NYC back in 2003. I still am not sure if it was the clean type OR the name of the brand that drew me to it – my uncle's name IS Bob! Since then, I have seen them all around at various card shops and gift shows. Most recently on Saturday I saw some new Bob's Your Uncle bags that I thought were oh so clever; brown paper wine bags stamped with whitish-silver paint and stating witty adjectives to describe the wine (or perhaps the person bringing the wine). I loved them!

April 20, 2009

A Picnic Wish List.

Image from the NY Times

With the warm weather that was bestowed upon us on Saturday, it got me thinking about future, warm Saturday afternoons and spending them in the park with a (well-designed) picnic and my man! The first thing to do is go shopping for some delicious and portable food to make fun, outdoor creations for the park. In fact, the NY Times Food section (compiled by Mark Bittman) had a fantastic and inspiring list of 101 picnic-worthy items to make in under 20 minutes. Not only is the food an important part of the picnic, but it's the other things that your bring along that make for a perfect day of alfresco dining with your shoes off and the sunshine above.

The second is a great blanket. The one Matt and I used all last summer is a wool army blanket circa Vietnam (or at least it looks and feels like it...sometimes it smells like it too). This is not conducive for sitting on grass that may be slightly damp from the evening before as there is no waterproof lining. Well, enter this great invention I saw at a shop in our neighborhood this weekend; a picnic blanket that is soft on one side (for sitting your precious bottom) and waterproof on the other (for protecting your blanket and your bottom from getting wet or muddy). Being waterproof also helps with dusting it off when you are done! Not only that, but this blanket comes in some cute patterns and prints.

The third thing you need are cute napkins and utensils (for the record, we usually bring paper napkins and white plastic forks but this IS my picnic wish list so why can't a girl dream?) with which to eat the delectable snacks you brought with you. Why not pick up this great set which, like the blanket, also fold up to make less space and create a pocket as to which not lose the cutlery? This is from Etsy designer Noei and she makes them in two other fun print combos (though this is my favorite).

And finally for the perfect picnic, you need something to hold it all! Here is a great set from none other than Martha Stewart. All of this talk about outdoor eating and warm Saturdays makes me wish for 5 days to go by quickly as I heard that Saturday is supposed to be perfect picnic weather. Time to dust off the frisbee and unravel the kite string – spring is here! Photo below was taken by me (those are Matt's legs and hands) on our first time out with the kite last spring; it was a perfect outing of dark pretzels, great beer, lots of wind and a bright new kite!

April 17, 2009

The Peep Show.

I know I am a bit late but the website of the Washington Post was so slow on Monday while I was trying to see these hysterical dioramas of marshmallow Peeps that I couldn't post some of my favorites until today. I really wanted to enter one this year but saw the submission date after it had already passed; need to think of something and get to some arts and crafts for next year's competition (though I am not sure if people outside of the Washington area can enter). Definitely check out the site to see all of the finalists in their sugary, marshmallow glory!

Ben & Jerry: Two Great Guys in Ice Cream.

Ben & Jerry. What's not to love about this duo from Vermont? Not much, that's for sure. Not only is their brand really recognizable and has maintained it's cow visuals, cute illustrations and bright colors over the years, their clever copy writing and ice cream naming is something of creative beauty. Now they have opened up their creativity to us, the ice cream consumer, to come up with the next new, spirited and delicious flavor. Using their theme "Do the World a Flavor" you can go to their site and using their flavor generator (see images above of all of the possible combos!) come up with what might become a new ice cream pastime in kids cones and cups across America. Another great thing about this contest (and what I learned from the company on their site) is that they are also being globally active and using fair trade products from all across the world. Get your appetite, your imagination, and make up a flavor for the world!

April 15, 2009

Follow the Gorilla.

There is something kind of "Friends"-like about seeing local coffee shops that are not emblazoned with a green and white logo of a sea mermaid – they are a good sight to see. In Manhattan, you can't throw a hotdog from a pushcart without hitting a Starbucks. However, in Brooklyn, the life of the local coffee shop seems to survived the Seattle coffee explosion. Thank goodness! Above is the website and logo of one of those shops which is called Gorilla Coffee and prides itself on being an independent micro-roastery.

April 13, 2009

Pantone Cufflinks?!

What a perfect present for a male graphic designer friend/boyfriend. Unfortunately my man works with numbers (and not the Pantone Matching System kind) and might not appreciate these as much as someone else who adores all things color-matching. Either way, I think they are pretty cute and are made to last by British designer, Sonia Spencer.