DIY hardware store jewelry

Love this trend and I needed to post some pics here because I can't Pin to pinterest straight from this blog. Ahhh!


SUPER packaging

Today, my Creative Director brought in a little show-and-tell. She dropped a bag at my desk containing a variety of boxes and other sample materials from Dr. Nicolas Perricone's latest line of products: SUPER.

Look at this stuff. Beautiful work both in design and messaging from Toronto design firm, Concrete. Bright, modern, fresh, simple and clear. What shelf appeal! I would definitely pick these up.

The website is where you really start to see the bright, bold and simply FUN brand come to life. Here, Concrete has combined the simple typography, vibrant colors and vector illustrations of the packaging with photography and motion.

A Super boutique scheduled to open July 2010 in Berkeley, California launches a global boutique expansion plan into Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, London and other major cities around the world. Super is also scheduled to launch exclusively at all Sephora stores nationwide October 2010 and online at www.getsuper.com.


Hey, wanna SWAP??

I recently came across this job posting on Craigslist in the section for 'art/media/design' jobs (no, I'm not really looking, but it's kinda fun to poke around on there). The headline grabbed my attention:

Swap: Our Killer Office Space for Your Design Skills

Hmm... interesting. A few things went through my head:

1. What a freakin' rip off. Why would I offer my hard-earned skills for a freakin' crappy office chair (actually, the chair isn't even mentioned)?
2. How KILLER is this office space? I mean ... I might consider going freelance if you've got views for miles, concrete floors, crisp interiors with splashes of color, a gym a la Equinox and beautiful landscaping. Oh, can't forget the roof deck for lunches and happy hour.
3. Wait, no. How the eff do they expect you to live in the most expensive city in the U.S. if you're donating your time + skills for a freakin' cube. The cube better damn well come with a shower, a bed, kitchen, laundry room ...

ANYWAY, the posting went on to explain how they came to the idea for a swap!
"We were just about to post for a part time designer when it dawned on us – we have this amazing new office space that we just moved into. With an extra private office. Why not trade it for some design time? So here we are. We’re looking for somebody to give us a few hours a week [blah blah blah]. We will likely need additional time above and beyond what is agreed upon, which we will of course pay for."

OOok. So, basically, you're going to give me a place to SIT in exchange for my time and skills. Hmmm... but ... couldn't I just work from home or a coffee shop and get PAID for my time?

But they're being generous because after all, they ARE offering to pay after they go above and beyond that "agreed upon" design time. I can just see how this would pan out. "Well, it's just ONE more hour... we are letting you use the kitchen sink afterall."

OH that reminds me. They included a description of the "killer" office space:

About the office: It’s the entire 13th floor of the historical Hobart Building on Market & Montgomery. Smack dab on top of a BART station. We have a private kitchen, bathroom, video game room (with Wii and PS3) and lots of comfy space. Plus we’re pretty chill to hang out with if you get bored being in your beautiful private office with sweeping views of downtown.

Did you get that?? RIGHT ON TOP OF BART. Holy shiiiiit. AND a PRIVATE kitchen and bathroom. And OMFG!!! VIDEO GAMEZZZZZ.

It goes on to explain that they're looking for a rockstar with expert knowledge of Adobe CS, HTML, CSS, SEO/SEM, JQuery, PHP, design principles, blah, blah blah.


I REPLIED!!! I was SO excited by the possibility of this killer office space that I just had to reply ASAP.

To: jason@creativemerch.com
From: askdzign@gmail.com
Hey! I have a swap idea ...

Yes, I did. And he replied: "We didn't say anything about a couch..."


Snoopy's Daily Dozen

This past weekend, I was browsing in one of my favorite neighborhood vintage shops (I rarely buy anything, just enjoy looking at all of the mid-century finds) The Other Shop, and I came across this spiral bound oversize book called "Snoopy's Daily Dozen: 12 Physical Fitness Exercises". Drawn by Charles Schulz and printed by Hallmark in the 1960s, the book features 12 pages of Peanuts characters engaging in various exercises such as the "Inch Worm Walk" and "Halloween Hop". And of course Snoopy is there to interject with his little quips throughout.

I had been wanting to give my personal trainer some sort of "thank you" for being generally awesome and working with me to reach my personal fitness goals, so I quickly snatched this up!

A little more research on Google led me to find that this was produced in the early 60s when John F. Kennedy led a Call to Physical Fitness. He "pushed to strengthen the President's Council on Physical Fitness" and "started running advertisements encouraging people to exercise. Influential figures signed up to back the initiative, including Charles Schulz". (via http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21938059/). The JFK museum in Boston recently exhibited the "Daily Dozen" in their exhibit "Shaping Up America: JFK, Sports and The Call to Physical Fitness".

Another item from the exhibit (borrowed from the JFK Museum website)

We do not want our children to become a generation of spectators. Rather we want each of them to be a participant in the vigorous life.

John F. Kennedy


What I do

For my parents, friends, family that still don't know "what I do" as a Graphic Designer, it is many things, but broadly, I design "stuff" to clearly communicate a message. That "stuff" is delivered to me in many forms—a creative brief that simply describes a lofty concept for a logo; a badly formatted, multi-page Word document; scribbles of lines with which to "make an ad"—and the list goes on.

Many times, I have to re-create graphics or charts to accompany a document. This is done for many reasons. First, I want to ensure that the graphic maintains the same "look + feel" as the rest of a document which means using the same fonts, colors, etc. Second, there are many times when the graphic provided does not do a good job of visually communicating the message. In that case, it's my job to re-interpret the data and create a new visual representation to better illustrate the content. Lastly, I want to reader to WANT to read the graphic! So there are times when I can infuse the data with an element of fun (also goes hand in hand with my second point).

Two graphs or charts that I re-designed today serve to illustrate these points.

BEFORE: Completely unreadable if you're interested in the actual data. The 3-dimensionality has made it almost impossible to tell where the points for each age hit on the numbers. Because of this, it also fails to do a good job of visually comparing the volume of the difference between the salaries for "high school diploma" vs. "college degree"

AFTER: Nixing the 3-dimensionality really cleaned things up. And rather than using two solid, over-lapping shapes, I used a heavy line and a solid color. This really serves to provide a strong contrast between the two sets of data and allows a quick and easy visualization of the difference between salaries over time.

BEFORE: Readable but boring.

AFTER: Fun and visually telling. Uses graduation cap icons with dollar signs to visually convey the amount represented by each degree.


A Love Affair

The Valentine's Day garden brunch was a lovely success. The weather was absolutely perfect; high of 60-something, not a cloud in the sky. The hummingbird made a showing and the guests brought delectable goodies. I slaved away all day Saturday, running to the flower mart, preparing the décor and making scones, cupcakes and slicing things. And I loved it! Sure, my feet were sore and I was ready to collapse by the end of the night, but I knew it would all pay off when the sun came up on Sunday.

Here are some pics from the preparations (click on any for larger version):

Champagne flutes tied with tissue paper pom poms. Ceramic dishes ($1.99 each from Ross) filled with white cane sugar with flowers and cinnamon candy hearts placed down the center.

Flower centerpieces: (L) Glass cylinder with a red-checkered kitchen towel placed along the inner circumference, tupperware container inserted in the center and filled with water, flowers to finish. (R) China tea kettle filled with flowers.

All set! Cupcakes - Sprinkles Red Velvet mix available from William Sonoma.

In the morning, it was time to set the table and hang the larger pom poms from the surrounding princess flower trees:

For the table setting, I used alternating red and green napkins/kitchen towels with my grandmother's gold-rimmed wedding china set on top. The finishing touch: cut out tissue paper hearts topped with a candy heart (in Spanish!).

amor, dulce, mi novio, todo mio, guapo !

And then of course, there was the food. I prepared deviled eggs, a fruit salad, scones, roasted potatoes and roasted asparagus wrapped with neufchâtel and proscuitto (thanks to Alex for getting those prepped!).

Alex brought a gorgeous quiche, decorated with a red pepper heart! Christine delighted us with gluten-free bread stuffed with mascarpone and freshly made strawberry jam (made by Alex) and Jackson made soft-boiled eggs with english muffins. Needless to say, no one went hungry.

A tasty strawberry champagne from Danielle for our cupcake dessert topped it all off!


V-Day Brunch Inspiration

I'm hosting a Valentine's Day Garden Brunch this Sunday and am so excited to take advantage of our beautiful patio and the opportunity to decorate with some frilly, pretty things! The magnolias and other small white and highly fragrant flowers (the name is escaping me) are beginning to bloom and the ivy, palms and mossy brick are lush after the recent rain we've had.

I already have plenty of ideas regarding decor and will take some photos of a couple of things as I put them together, but I'm also loving this beautiful tablescape, created with woven streamers. So simple, fun and bold. I think I might just layer a bunch of different tablecloths / curtains we have lying around to make a patchwork floral, but if that doesn't work out, I may try this (via Apartment Therapy).

I'm also thinking that I'd like to make some tissue paper pom poms to hang in the trees around the perimeter of the garden. Here's a how-to for these from Martha Stewart Weddings. If you have money to spare, you can also purchase them on Etsy from PomLove.

And then of course, there will be flowers. I want to check out the SF Flower Mart on Saturday to see what's in season and affordable but I'd like to find some Quince blossoms. I also always fall for a beautiful bouquet of Ranunculus.

As for the food ... I can't give everything away!