Monday, December 31, 2007

a new year

Wishing y'all a happy new year.

Friday, December 28, 2007


I love it when artists do simple things well. Photographer Jan von Holleben creates beautiful stories in his "Dreams of Flying" series.

Friday, December 21, 2007


Mel Kadel is a she. I should have known that. She does such a good job of drawing so many of my feelings.

My apologies, Mel.

{the above is called "rolling with the punches"}

Thursday, December 20, 2007

mel kadel

I LOVE LOVE LOVE this artist. There are so many wonderful truths to his work. No more talking ... I will let the pictures speak for themselves.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

homemade christmas

I made a lot of presents this year. I always wish that I had planned a little better so that I could have made for everyone. But time gets away from me.

I know that our nieces and nephews will not be checking the blog ... so I can share without giving anything away.

Homemade, personalized chalkboards. Pre-cut wood from Home Depot, sand paper and chalkboard paint. Voila!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

trucks, part deux

As many of you know, "truck" was D's first word.

The obsession hasn't ended.

My good friend Janet told me that YouTube is an endless supply of tractor videos (her son's vehicle of choice). And wouldn't you know it ... there are "about 101,000" truck videos.

This one struck a cord. Every time a new truck came on the screen D gasped. He also danced to the song (he should thank his mama's genes for that!). You gotta love the diamond fade (over and over and over).

Tuesday, December 11, 2007


I think every designer dreams of being a poster artist ... "Maybe I can make a living creating band posters ... and only for the bands I love." Unfortunately, few designers can make posters their only means of making money. But some do succeed at it.

The first place I ever realized that there were hundreds (if not thousands) of poster artists was Somehow affiliated with FlatStock (the poster show series), it is a smorgasbord of band posters for any and every show in the US and otherwise. The majority of design shops listed below were discovered at

These sites are an endless supply of inspiration for me. As one of my teachers used to say "anything can be an ad". And in my head that translates to "any of these layouts can become an ad, a logo, an invitation, etc" .


My paper whites started blooming this week. There is something so wonderful about having growth in the middle of the cold and snow. It's the hope that life is on the other side of winter.

Monday, December 10, 2007


I'm on a small personal boycott. After listening to the Democratic debates on NPR last week, I have become hypersensitive to everything made in China. It only helped that I went to Target right after listening and didn't pick up one thing in the whole store that wasn't made in China (except for the t-shirt reading "LIVE, LAUGH, LOVE" made in Pakistan). I fear every toy that D puts in his mouth is laced with lead or some other toxic substance. So until we get a handle on regulating the stuff that comes over our borders and our overall international relationships, I'm going to try to buy stuff made on a smaller scale. I know that China is not to blame for everything ... I just want to try to become less of a big box consumer

This "boycott" has lead to a small addiction to Etsy: "Your place to buy and sell all things handmade." I thought I would share some of my favorites.
These are prints by Elsita. I love the graphic nature and colors. They are like storybook pictures ...

Bird illustrations from Little Doodles. Even though I think birds are overdone (thanks to Anthropologie and Urban Outfitters), these little guys have so much personality. I love their girth.

Oh My Cavelier. All of the work by Julianna Swaney feels like you stepped into a story and you have to whisper while you're there.

Sea Spray Blue is an artist out of Dresden. I lover her colors, graphics and handwriting.

DKim is an artist out of Brooklyn. I feel like I am in a novel with these characters. I want to know more about them.

Friday, December 7, 2007

a family affair

The first TV spot that I ever did was for a local cell phone carrier. There was no budget, which always means (to ME, at least) that the majority of the creativity falls into the hands of the creatives (not the directors or editors). You have to rely on what is in your head and not on other's strengths. We were lucky enough to work with an amazing animator who took our boards quite literally and made them move. You can see one of the spots here. Another sign that there was no budget is that my mom did voice over. I love that she is so perfectly captured in a thirty second spot.

And speaking of family, I just recently got to work on another cell phone campaign with my cousin. He is the reason I got into the business of advertising/design in the first place ... so it is fitting that we finally got a chance to work together. Here is one of the print ads.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

let's talk type

I am a font junkie. I can spend hours font hunting. My mom was a graphic designer and I used to watch her over her light box with Letraset, painstakingly rubbing each letter so that the whole thing stuck. What if she didn't like the font she chose? Although I appreciate the lost art of typesetting, this digital thing sure makes designing more fun (and fast!).

[Say this to yourself at lightning speed: "if you use any of these fonts for commercial use, please check with the font creator ... many require a small fee."]

Here are some of my favorite free font sites:

DaFont. The most organized and easy to use. I LOVE their dingbats.

Chank. The most creative uses for their fonts. More artsy than functional. But all fun.

Dieter Steffmann. Oh my gosh. So many fonts. Like finding treasure.

Misprinted Type.
Eduardo Recife is an artist out of Brazil. I love the details of his fonts. And the art cards that sell them. It's fun to wander his links page, too.

Cape Arcona. Another just plain cool site. I love the background designs. And the fonts all have a hand made quality. Check out the section called "fonts in use".

Simply the Best Fonts. A great place if you're looking for something specific. Well organized. More great dingbats.

Urban Fonts. Same as Simply the Best. They have everything.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

thank you and flickr

We got so many great responses to our "focus group". Thank y'all so much for making the effort. I will post the final designs when we get there.

I thought that Flickr was just another site for posting pictures. I would find excellent shots for ad layouts whenever Getty, Veer or Corbis would fail (stock shots never seem to quite capture true reality). But just recently I've discovered that Flickr is a never ending sea of designers sharing their work and inspiration. They scan books. They take pictures of cool type. They post current artist's work. I could honestly waste ALL day "link hopping". Good thing I'm not at a salaried job anymore. My new boss doesn't stand for me goofing off on the computer.

The above image is from tecnicolor*'s photos. He is a Chilean artist ... really amazing illustrations and designs.

This one is from the Flickr group called Mail Art.

Linzie Hunter is an illustrator who has a ton of great work on her photo page. This is part of a series of "spam one liners". Artistic renditions of her email inbox.

All three of the above are from Grain Edit's photo page. Grain Edit is a blog that "covers contemporary graphic design/ Illustration as well as design from the from the Golden era of advertising (1950s-1970s)". Super cool stuff.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

good for the sol

We have been working with a new company out of Nicaragua called Sol Simple. They have a whole line of packaged good products. I cannot begin to tell you how awesome this company is. They employ only single mothers. They are fair trade. They have this incredible solar drying technology (a roof with millions of holes that harnesses the heat of the sun). They are organic and kosher.

Being that this project is more grass roots than Madison Avenue, we thought we'd do a little research using the blog. Below you will see dried fruit, cashew and coffee packaging. The window with the food will be clear, showing the actual product. Please give us your opinion. Three main questions we need answered:

1. Which package do you prefer, the solid or striped?

2. Does the motto "Good for the earth, body and soul" speak to you?

3. Is there anything to change, add or subtract?

You can email us at Or comment on the blog. Either way, please give us your opinion. Everyone is an expert ... we all buy food.

And pass this post along anyone who might want to share their opinion with us. Let the people speak!
(click on any image to get a closer look)

Monday, November 5, 2007

i give up

Our son is a toddler. And he is so much fun. But mealtimes are hard. I have always told myself that my child will not eat chicken nuggets every night. Or mac and cheese. Or any of this marketed "kid food". He will have eclectic tastes. He will LOVE Indian. And Thai. He will eat what is in front of him no matter what.

Did I already say that our son is a toddler?

I own two children's cookbooks. And they make cooking quick, fancy meals for your child seem on par with breast feeding and letting your child nap. "You must create home-cooked goodness for your baby." So two nights ago I made a yummy beet, carrot and apple slaw with orange juice dressing. D used it for finger painting (the colors WERE really pretty). And last night I tried a homey broccoli, chicken cheese casserole. I devoured it while D spit every bite slowly out of his mouth. And then tonight ... pause ... falafel. I will admit that the consistency was all wrong. But it still tasted good. Not good enough. So we will continue with the Ritz cracker, shredded cheddar cheese and freeze-dried pea (the only form of green the kid will eat) dinner. And I might have to make a trip down the chicken nugget aisle.

Friday, November 2, 2007

stephen huneck

So I have noticed a theme in my favorite kid's books. They are all about dogs. And they are are all by independent artists who just decided to put their talents toward children's books.

Stephen Huneck is one of those artists. He loves dogs. So much so that they brought him out of a coma and saved him from death. A great example of how faith extends beyond the pages of books and beyond the walls of certain institutions. He writes about the experience in The Dog Chapel ... which isn't just a book, it's an actual place that he beautifully built. "All Creeds. All Breeds. No Dogmas Allowed."

We own The Dog Chapel. And Sally Goes to the Mountains.

There is a whole series of Sally books that are quite wonderful. It helps that I grew up with black dogs and that we own a black lab mix. Stephen seems to understand the gift of dogs and all that we have to learn from them, both humorous and poignant. The illustrations in his books are all woodcuts and the prints are for sale on his site. My parents own this print ... and it is all too fitting considering that in our family dogs share every piece of furniture, including the bed.