Saturday, February 28, 2009

safety first!

Today I found myself in a little predicament which required me to ride my bike two miles in the cold rain to the nearest post office. Two miles would be nothing on any other occasion, but today the car was definitely tempting.

I survived the short trip (quite comfortably actually) with the help of two very well-designed accessories. One was a portable fender that my brother gave me as a gift last year. The other was my helmet. I've wrecked enough times to know that riding without one is a very bad idea, regardless of how silly it looks. The good thing is, thanks to companies like Bern and Yakkay, you really don't have to look all that silly.

Today, I wore the Baker helmet with winter gear attached. The ear flaps kept me so warm and the visor kept the rain out of my eyes! I think they are geared more towards snow and skate, but the EPS foam complies with all bike safety standards. Plus, it's waterproof and dries quickly after each use!

If I could afford one, I would be sporting a Yakkay helmet.

"YAKKAY's products are developed on the basis of our insight into contemporary people’s specific wishes and issues. This insight is transformed into obvious and beautifully designed solutions. The solutions are YAKKAY's products."

I've always thought that stylish bike safety was an untapped market. Another opportunity for design to improve the human condition. How much would the number of bike-related deaths decrease if wearing a helmet was cool?

Friday, February 27, 2009

The Line

I found this comic at Virus Comix while stumbling this morning. A lot of text initially, so much I stumbled again before my curiosity got the better of me and I had to go back.

I am not sure of the author's real name because he doesn't give it.

"WINSTON ROWNTREE (not his real name) likes to make comics for some reason. Virus Comix is the pretend company under which he makes his work known, and Subnormality is his weekly comic in which he inflicts upon the world a variety of thinly-veiled misanthropic tirades (well, maybe). "

The story is pretty touching. It involves two young girls who both joined the BDM (League of German Girls, the female branch of the Hitler Youth) in their late teens. They choose opposite paths and, consequently, opposite fates.

I wanted to post it because there are some design elements involved that I don't generally associate with comics (the line and its separation of text, the overall composition) and I found it incredibly intriguing.

But, I also wanted to post it because it deals mainly with injustice and gives us an idea of what it really takes to stand up against it. It is easy for us to believe that the world is better now than it was then. It is easy for us to dismiss or ignore injustice when we are separate from it, when it doesn't immediately effect our own lives.

Sometimes I think narratives like this, though a little upsetting, are good for me. They remind me that there is always something more that I could be doing for the world, for my fellow humans. As I enter the professional design world, I am constantly reminding myself of the responsibility I have, as a visual communicator, to humanity. I hope that I am able to maintain my values, as one of these girls did, through even the darkest times.


Wednesday, February 18, 2009

This Water

I was chatting with a classmate today about Scotland and recalled a drink that I found one day in Bagel Mania (this little bagel shop on Sauchiehall St that has THE most amazing Lemon Drizzle muffins I've ever tasted). It was called "this water" and when I saw it, I fell in love. The clever name and awesomely cute packaging was enough, nevermind the product (which was quite delicious).

I did a little research and found that London-based Pearlfisher is responsible for the re-design. This company was entirely unfamiliar to me until I took some time to peruse their website this morning. Today, they are my favorite design firm. Next week, they will probably still be top 5.

A short index of things I love about this company:
1. this water packaging

2. Quirky Dr. Stuart's Tea packaging.

3. The existence of their future insight program LifeModes "which seeks
to understand big cultural shifts and changing human needs."

4. Their stance on ethical design, "
We won’t work with brands that
aren’t truthful about what they stand for, or which are willfully damaging
life and the environment."

Friday, February 13, 2009

100 meters of existence

This is a screenshot taken from Simon Hoegsberg's, We're all Gonna Die: 100 meters of existence. The 100-meter long photograph documents 20 days from the same spot on a railroad bridge on Warschauer Strasse in Berlin in the Summer of 2007. (I chose this particular shot because I love her dress and he totally looks like a 50's greaser.) I'm not quite sure how he created the final image, but it's pretty interesting to see the diversity of people he captured.

I am thoroughly intrigued by his way of working. He relies so much on chance and has found a way to connect people on a universal level.
"In 2004 I spent six weeks stopping people on the street in Copenhagen asking
them what they were thinking about the second before I stopped them."

"In the winter 2004 I decided to find out if I could get from Copenhagen to
the Mediterranean Sea with just 14 euro in the pocket."

"In the summer 2005 I decided to cycle from Denmark to Istanbul on a 25
kilo tourist bike with tires of solid rubber.
I can't stop looking through his website, so interesting.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

the luckiest

I posted a few months ago about the package of MRE's my dad sent Katie and I. Tonight I am posting about another awesome parcel that my sister and I received in the mail today from my mom! The image to the left is the beautiful hand-stamped card that came inside for me. Below is an image of the entire package.

The photo is a little blurry, but I want to point out the HANDMADE bookmarks and boxes. The bookmarks are hand stamped and combine a bunch of different patterned papers and ribbon. Each of the larger boxes (green and pale pink) held a Reese's heart. (Mmm, I don't think I need to explain that the boxes in this image are already empty.) They are both embossed with an intricate paisley design and tied with awesomely cute ribbons. The two little boxes each held a small, square, caramel candy. I am saving mine for later.

If you are interested in how she made the larger boxes, you can visit her blog, here!

I am so lucky to have a mom that puts this kind of time into a care package. She has always been crafty and has such beautiful work. Everyone is usually running around so busy, but she puts lots of time (and lots of love) into everything she does. We are really lucky to be at the receiving end of all her creativity and love.

Thanks Mom!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

don't be afrAIDS

So, this is the product of the Jean-Benoit Levy Workshop. It ended today and in some ways it's a relief, but in most ways it isn't. This was the most fun I've had with design in the past year. Everything had to be turned around so quickly that there was no room for typical painstaking process. The idea happened, and we executed it, and that was it. JBL misinterpreted our concept from the beginning, but we just went with it.

The entire workshop was devoted to a competition in the Ukraine called AntiAIDS Ukraine. We had to put together a poster and animation in 4 days centered around a positive AIDS campaign. The idea is that the ducks are friends regardless of whether or not one has HIV/AIDS.

I am hoping that the structure of this workshop will find its way into my process this semester. I will leave you with a few important JBL comments:

On the initial stages of our process (thumbnails):
"It's not about drawing, it's about putting a concept on paper."

On the AntiAIDS Ukraine contest:
"You don't work for a jury, you work for yourself."

On experimentation:
"You think you don't want to...But, you might, if you tried."
"You don't know what you're looking for"

"Sometimes you have to force things, this is how life works."

"Often the computer distorts your creativity."

and one of my favorites, in response to the question, "What is your favorite color?":
"it depends on the color next to it."
{hands down, best answer I've ever heard to this question. And it definitely wasn't rehearsed.}

highly refined pirates

This is a poster I did last semester for the Minus the Bear and Man Man shows at the National. It never got printed. Bummer. I turned it around in 2 days because I was told that it was needed IMMEDIATELY.

Anyways, I've realized that I don't post about music enough. It's a pretty big part of my life, but it doesn't find its way into my posts very often. I will attempt to fix that.

Monday, February 9, 2009

"So who cares if they're socialists?"

"They could be fascist anarchists.
It still doesn't change the fact that I don't own a car."

This post is totally random, as was the fact that my Stumbler brought me directly to the amazing image above this afternoon.

I need a day off.

Saturday, February 7, 2009


The beautiful image above is a prototype for a building designed by Vincent Callebaut. It's pretty funky-looking from this angle. Funky is good.

The cool thing about it is that it's an anti-smog building. Not only is it built using sustainable materials, it uses green technologies to actually clean the air around it! It's currently being built in Paris and is cover with 250 swuare meters of solar photovoltaic panels and coated in titanium dioxide. I'm not entirely sure what that means, but apparently it's good for the environment. You can find out more about it at the green geek.


I am currently experiencing the worst kind of restlessness. Attempting to multi-task solely within your own brain is counterproductive. I should know. Its 3:31 AM and blogspot uses oldstyle typographic figures as default, nice touch blogspot. really.

Today I felt very good about design and I'll tell you why. I have been working with some of my peers on the collateral for the VCU Fashion Department's Annual Juried Show. We have been struggling with concepts for the idea of MUSE, but today a group met with the fashion department to show a series of ideas in progress. The meeting went really well (I think) and everyone is feeling much better now that we have a clear direction to go in.

I couldn't make it to the meeting, but I managed to get a few very short recaps including one from my BFF Carissa. I asked her what they thought of my panda poster (see image above) to which she very immediately replied, "They hated it."

and I love that. I love that I still love the idea and I love that they had an emotional response to it. It seems incredibly odd that confidence would stem from rejection, but it has; at least for tonight.

Though exhausting, the Jean-Benoit Levy workshop has been amazing thus far. My partner rules and I'm trying my best to take everything in. Our concept is constantly evolving and sometimes we don't even know what we're trying to say. But, we're being forced way out of our comfort zone and I love it. I should be working on an animation right now, but I'm stuck. I will say that both the poster and the animation involve ducks. possibly rubber duckies.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


I made this agenda last week and finally got it bound yesterday. I chose the yellow cover after deciding that I wanted a blue bind. They were out of blue.

This is one of the inside spreads. I didn't have time to make it extra fancy, but it works. I just needed something to keep me organized. I've decided that there is no point in purchasing designed objects like this one if I can design, print, and bind them myself. My only expense was the $2 it cost to bind.

I've uploaded a PDF version to in case anyone wants to print their own. You can find it here (password: peagreen).

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

cookie monster

Andy sent me this image earlier this morning. I'm posting it because it is perfect. Two of my favorite treats flawlessly combined. The image is Nick^D's and you can find more delightful cookie monster cupcake variations here.