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December 21, 2012

comfort

What is more comforting than a chocolate chip cookie?

I know this is a design blog but hear me out. I'm kind of an expert in chocolate chip cookies. They are my go-to treat for parties, gifts, and general consumption. My life changed when I saw a design mom post on the nuance of the chocolate chip cookie. Adding extra flour has made my usually flat (but extremely tasty) cookies into little works of perfection. I exaggerate but yesterday was cookie baking day (for teacher presents and santa, of course) and they turned out so beautifully. All thanks to a shift in the brown-white sugar ratio and a little extra flour. Perfection.

Also of note, my oven (in my new house which I love!) has a cancel button next to the timer button. More than once I pressed it to turn off the timer and, in fact, turned off the oven. Not that easy to bake cookies when the oven's off. Especially if you don't know it. Suffice it to say an emergency trip to get more butter and chocolate chips and extra hours into the night to work on batch #2 is what really made this endeavor a success.

Please remind me next year that gift cards are the way to go. Except for Santa. He needs chocolate-based fuel for the long night.

Happy Holidays everyone!
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November 2, 2012

skeuomorphism

I just read a great article on Slate about the debate at Apple over skeuomorphism (Steve Jobs was a big fan, so was Scott Forstall who was recently let go). 

Who knew there was a word for this - skeuomorphic design is interface design that references elements in an older device that were necessary for that device to work. There are many Apple designed apps that use this technique. Some more successfully than others. 


For example, I greatly prefer the calculator design by Apple (on the right is Microsoft's stripped-down version). Am I comforted by the illusion of 3D buttons? 



The problem with replicating older objects in modern UI design is that things can quickly get hokey. I'm not a big fan of the tape-deck imagery on the podcast app. It seems outdated and unnecessary. 

What I'm getting at is this... design is hard.
If you need a creative designer to improve your graphic identity, contact me for a consultation.

October 31, 2012

elegant pumpkin


Before I miss October all-together, I wanted to say Happy Halloween!

This image is (of course) from Martha Stewart. Like you even had to ask.
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September 24, 2012

flash cards

For the design-nerd in your life. Enjoy!







I saw these on Design Mom.  They were illustrated by Emma Cook of Behance. So fun!
If you need a creative designer to improve your graphic identity, contact me for a consultation.

September 14, 2012

sweater weather

So I may or may not be currently homeless. Remember those posts about good and bad real estate photos? Well, we're still in the hunt. All this to say, I'm essentially living out of a suitcase and I can't find my sweatshirts. Also, it's September.

What is a typography nerd to do when it gets cold and she's hoodie-less? Design her own on cafe press of course!

If you need a creative designer to improve your graphic identity, contact me for a consultation.

September 12, 2012

travels

I know. It's been a month. What can I say? I'm busy. Like everyone else in the world. Happily, I was busy going on adventures! OK, one adventure. But still. Fun!

My husband and I went away for 4 days alone together to San Francisco and to a wedding in Cloverdale. California is awesome! I have developed such a crush on San Francisco in particular. I adore the cool weather, the environmental activism, the gay-friendliness, and did I mention the weather? If you're cool and you need to escape the fog just go 5 minutes out of the city and boom. Sunny, warm, and dry. It's almost unfair.

Anyway, here are some instagram photos from the trip. Enjoy!!





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August 13, 2012

photographic memory




Prepare yourself to be amazed. This artist, Stephen Wiltshire, is autistic and can draw city skylines after taking one helicopter tour! Unbelievable, right?! These photos show him working on the New York City skyline.

I have seen this pop up on facebook recently but the article I found was from 2009. He has done this with Tokyo, Rome, and Hong Kong. I am seriously in awe!
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July 20, 2012

heaven



You guys, it's that time of year again. I am leaving tomorrow to spend a week in heaven. I am a truly lucky woman.

See you in August!
If you need a creative designer to improve your graphic identity, contact me for a consultation.

July 13, 2012

knuffle bunny



As a mother of two little ones, I spend a fair amount of time reading (and re-reading and re-reading) children's books. I admire many authors and illustrators and I have long planned a blog series on awesomely illustrated and designed children's books. Today it begins with Mo Willems and his 3-book Knuffle Bunny series. (For a funny and simultaneously academic look at the danger of reading children's books be sure to check out my friend's hilarious, insightful, and intelligent blog.)

The Knuffle Bunny books were a gift for my daughter from my brother and his wife. The first book involves a pre-verbal Trixie losing her precious bunny at the laundromat - dramatics ensue. The second book examines what happens when Trixie brings Knuffle Bunny to school and another girl has the exact same bunny - a crisis we can all relate to. The series ends with an overseas trip to visit grandparents in Holland. I won't give anything away but I may or may not have gotten choked up at the ending.

These books are great. I truly don't mind reading them over and over and over and over again. Mostly because I'm totally absorbed in the illustrations while I read them. Mo Willems (author and illustrator) uses photography as a backdrop for his simple, colorful, and funny illustrations. I love the dynamic between the page background, the photographs, and the illustrated people. There is so much attention to detail - the photographs are manipulated to create a simple aesthetic for the background (no wires, no A/C units), shadows are added in under the illustrated characters, and the characters can walk right out of the frame of the photographs making them come to life.

Enjoy!




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July 9, 2012

yum

I have a soft spot for beautiful food photography. I'm not sure I'll ever actually make strawberry, quinoa, and feta salad but wow does it look spectacular.


This photograph and recipe is from Love and Lemons, which I recently discovered, and below are more photographs from their various recipes. I could have grabbed all of their images. Maybe because they're all so elegantly styled and delicious-looking? Also, it's almost time for lunch. Enjoy!





If you need a creative designer to improve your graphic identity, contact me for a consultation.

June 13, 2012

the good

The art of photographing interior spaces to help sell a home is a very difficult one. Lighting is key. Composition is key. Color is key. Hiding most (but not all!) of your stuff is key.

I already highlighted the bad and the ugly. Please enjoy the good.




Beautiful, right? I can't wait to find our future home. 
If you need a creative designer to improve your graphic identity, contact me for a consultation.

the bad and the ugly

Right now I am fully immersed in the house-selling and house-buying process and when I think of things to blog about, all I can think about is how hard it is to nicely photograph a home for sale. I have seen it all - good, bad, and ugly. The photos we posted when our apartment was listed were somewhere in the middle - certainly not award-winning but hopefully not distractingly bad. Here are some that are, in fact, distractingly bad.

Usually it's a problem of having too much stuff. Furniture can be hard to move for a photo but a miscellaneous empty fish tank and a plant? Also, please don't use flash. Find a way to use natural lighting.


Here we have a situation where the sellers were very good about removing a lot of their stuff. And they used natural lighting. However, all I see in this photo is the place where they stored all their junk piles so the pictures would look uncluttered. Oh wait.


And, if at all possible, please don't zoom in to show close-ups. Do I need to see the ceiling here? No. If you could show the whole room I bet I would understand that there is natural light coming from skylights.

These are all from houses we looked at - online or in person. It's amazing what an effect photos can have on a buyer's perception of a home. Sometimes we found places that were so well staged and photographed that they were disappointing in person. I will follow up shortly with beautiful photographs so you can scrub these out of your mind.
If you need a creative designer to improve your graphic identity, contact me for a consultation.

May 23, 2012

exploded flowers

Please enjoy these incredible exploded flowers, created by Qi Wei.





So beautiful!
If you need a creative designer to improve your graphic identity, contact me for a consultation.

May 1, 2012

happy May!

I'm unusually happy that it's May. Something about having leaves on the trees again and having warm weather more consistently makes me feel great. I will put aside, for the moment, that it's currently 47° and raining.

In case you're interested, I found this beautiful image on pinterest and I was curious about where it came from. I love pinterest but it can be hard to give credit to the original artist. So I used google's amazing drag-and-drop image search. It blew my mind.

Here's a screenshot of what I got:

Amazing! And I found out, based on the 9th image, that this was originally published in Better Homes and Gardens. Thank you google! 
If you need a creative designer to improve your graphic identity, contact me for a consultation.

April 30, 2012

super fabulous logo design

A logo has to be simple, easy to scale, and versatile - web-ready, print-ready, ready to use in advertising and marketing. Trust me, this is really, really, challenging.

When you come across a beautifully designed and exquisitely versatile logo like this one for The Chain Reaction Project - designed by the Bravo Company - it is truly inspiring. Seriously. Well-done!!







I saw this on designworklife - a fantastic source for inspiration!
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April 18, 2012

jewelry awesomeness

I love necklaces from The Vintage Pearl. Love love love them. I bought one last year for my mom. Then my sister-in-law saw it and bought herself one. Then I bought another one for my sister... and finally this one for myself.


If you need something for your wife, sister, or mother (maybe for Mother's day?) these necklaces are amazing. So sweet and sentimental without being cheesy.
If you need a creative designer to improve your graphic identity, contact me for a consultation.

April 4, 2012

I said what?

Have you said the most ridiculous things to your kids? Here are some hilarious posters by the superbly talented Nathan Ripperger. Enjoy:




I saw these on Design Mom and I immediately made plans to make some for myself. One of mine will say "Please don't draw on the fridge with cheese!"
If you need a creative designer to improve your graphic identity, contact me for a consultation.