Monday, July 26, 2010

Photographs from New York City

Souvenir Stand in Chinatown

My next "One Piece-One Week" is upcoming but it will have to wait until I return from my trip to Seattle/Tacoma next Tuesday. In the meantime, I wanted to post some of the photographs I took on my weekend trip to New York City with my husband and our friend.

Having been to New York City many times (my husband's home town), one of my favorite things to photograph, since I have outgrown shooting the landmarks, is the every day life of the city. I try to blend in and sometimes just sit quietly until a unique moment presents itself.

Lamps in Chinatown

Masts on the Ships at Pier 17

Delicatessen Sign in Greenwich Village

Stack of Bowls at Pearl River in Soho

Benches After the Rain in Washington Square Park

It happened to be almost 100 degrees in New York on this weekend which made it a little harder to get around and enjoy being outside for extended periods of time. But, I did shoot what I could when the air would cool off slightly, or when we would check out some of our favorite air conditioned shops in Chinatown and Soho.

Stack of Tea at Pearl River in Soho

Schnippers in Midtown

Fruit Bowl and Bread Basket at Pain in Soho

Cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery in Greenwich Village

Aprons at Magnolia Bakery in Greenwich Village

We enjoyed cupcakes at Magnolia Bakery in Greenwich Village and a lovely breakfast of bread, cheese, jam and fruit at Pain in Soho. We also always bring home a few Asian wares from Pearl River in Soho. This year it included a little Chinese outfit for the arrival of our daughter in November. We also met up with our best buddy Dan Hertzberg for lunch at Schnipper's in Midtown, in the New York Tomes building. Really good macaroni and cheese!

Sisters Playing in the Fountain at Washington Square Park

Little Boy at Washington Square Park

I also love to catch the children playing in Washington Square Park, especially the ones who get right into the fountain to play in the water.

Overall, my favorite kind of photo shooting is the kind that chronicles the everyday movements and locations of the places right around you. For me, it captures a timelessness and simplicity that can only be seen through the eye of the observer.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

One Piece, One Week - Bean & Cup

In my determination and quest to start and run my own design business, one of the major factors I had to consider was how to keep my work fresh and keep learning as a business owner and creative individual. This had to be done with self-motivation and a constant string of projects I provided to myself.

Work from clients comes in spurts and between those projects, I decided to create my own design initiatives. Mainly, I want to focus on identity and branding design as I search for new clients and pursue new creative endeavors.

I decided to create a "fake" company with a name, location, mission statement and business goal that I created ahead of time. With these parts in mind, I would then create a brand and apply the style to several appropriate elements. The other restriction would be that each brand and its applications had to be created and designed within one week.

Each week, the company would have a different style, goal, market, consumer and business theme. The main goal of this exercise for me was to challenge my working routine, keep a steady flow of work, pursue interesting solutions for branding and to learn from the timing and design restrictions. The main goal was also more for exploration and genuine "client" relations and solutions than the number of pieces included in the series. I felt what I could learn from this exercise, and how I could grow in each week, was more important than waiting for the perfect client or inspiration.

For week one, I chose to create a name and branding for a Minneapolis based, local coffee shop and bakery. This was done because I frequent them often during my working day and I often felt the branding could be stronger in many of the locations, despite their friendly atmosphere. The mission of this company was a green, fair-trade coffee shop and bakery that focused on local ingredients, with a unique, strongly branded space. The other important factor was for this coffee shop to become attractive to a younger group of people working from the location in Minneapolis. Simplicity, freshness and a young, bright attitude were key.

After a lot of research on the history and process of growing and brewing coffee, I chose the name, Bean & Cup. This came from the idea of each step of the coffee process, from beginning (bean) to the end (cup). I also chose a two color logo that would reduce the amount of ink being used on the printing. Each application also took into account the green materials being used.

The logo was an interesting exploration through sketching and research of typefaces, green standards and the mission of the company. I chose a fresh, retro style for the main text and the secondary being a strong small caps approach. I also chose a dark brown color to represent the coffee and the green for the environmentally friendly materials. I also designed a pattern to add depth and playfulness to the pieces. Below are my applications to each element. The ampersand was also used as an element to add interest to the space and size.


T-shirts and Apron

Hybrid Car for Delivery

Business Cards and Stationary

Possible Interior Applications


Coffee Cups

Interior and Exterior Signage


Web Site

In one week, I learned an amazing amount about branding this type of location and what I would complete or alter for next time. Perhaps a more architectural approach to representing the branding might be more straightforward and clean. I would also be more thorough in my creation of the company and the mission itself.

But overall, the exercise for this week was a fantastic opportunity to grow as a designer and explore how I would approach projects in my own business.

I would love to hear your comments on this weekly exercise and this specific application!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Movie Posters

While designing and creating a new assignment for my Typography class at the Miami Ad School, I became intrigued by movie posters and movie opening credit sequences. I began to think about which movie posters I have always loved in terms of their typography, concept, approach and design. I have always felt that older movie posters relied more on a clever idea and hinting at the theme of the movie. Now, because of such strong advertising and the trends, the posters rely on showing the major movie stars or a clip from the movie with strong lighting. This often cuts off good and interesting typography and also the ability to be compelled by the movie before you see it.

I found some examples of movie posters that strike me. Some are just concepts and some are the final product.

The Great Dictator by Charles Chaplin, 1940

Metropolis by Fritz Lang, 1927

The Man with a Camera by Dziga Vertov, 1929

The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock, 1963

Anatomy of a Murder by Otto Preminger, 1959

Each of these posters alludes to the content of the movie but also its style and approach. The clever messaging and hand drawn graphics and typography catches the eye and shows the craft of the designer.

The Gangs of New York by Martin Scorsese, 2002

Taxi Driver by Martin Scorsese, 1976

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas by Terry Gilliam, 1998

Vacancy by Nimród Antal, 2007

Ocean's Twelve by Steven Soderbergh, 2004

Ocean's Eleven by Steven Soderbergh, 2001

The Spirit by Frank Miller, 2008

The Dark Knight by Christopher Nolan, 2008

Reservoir Dogs by Quentin Tarantino, 1992

Burn After Reading by Ethan Coen and Joel Coen, 2008

Blindness by Fernando Meirelles, 2008

28 Weeks Later by Juan Carlos Fresnadillo, 2007

The Shining by Stanley Kubrick, 1980

Movie posters can be an amazing showing of graphic design and advertising. With clever messaging and creative concepts, they can excited and intrigue the viewer. The examples above did more in their approach than to show a clip from the movie. They are either an homage to a graphic style, use creative typography and interesting colors, hand drawn illustrations or a carefully planned and executed layout. The combination can make them also pieces of art as well as functional and promotional.

Monday, July 5, 2010

I Love Packaging Design

Of all the pieces I have designed since I became a graphic designer, the ones I found the most challenging but the most fulfilling have been in packaging. I find them challenging because of their three-dimensional shape, which requires consideration of all angles. They also need to be carefully considered for their audience and where they will be seen and sold. This can greatly change the typography, form and color. I also find them the most fulfilling because of all their constraints, they can be appreciated for their form and their two-dimensional qualities. They can be touched and experienced and well as looked at and compared to others around them.

I have spoken of packaging many times when teaching design classes and have shown examples of which ones exemplify good design in many ways. Either through their typography, materials, color, concept or a combination, the packaging has been well considered and stands out from others in the same category. I have assembled only a small example of the packaging I am struck by and who or which company designed them.

This green packaging for Puma was created by Yves Behar and the Green Products Innovation Initiative. It displays the Puma brand while using innovative materials and industrial design to create a flexible, earth friendly solution. This link from the Dieline explains in detail how the pieces came together to create this package.

This simple, PANTONE Home Paint Concept was designed by Samy Halim. The design is straightforward and aesthetically pleasing in its concept.

Coca Cola has always been known for their ever constant brand colors, logo and even bottle shape. This fresh approach to the aluminum bottle packaging, design by Turner Duckworth is original, simple graphically, smooth in its shape and yet still recognizable as Coca Cola.

This milk packaging for Schroeder was designed by Capsule here in Minneapolis. The colors stay within the ever present conventions that most people recognize but the main design is experienced through the typography, which I highly appreciate. The typography is also unique because it hugs the edge of the form, creating just the right amount of tension.

The Pangea Organics were designed by IDEO. The look is striking and yet organically minded. The color theme also adds a touch of sophistication to the bottles.

The Thymes packaging always amazes me with its variety but constant softness and freshness. The details and colors are always unique. This Red Cherie version, designed by Minneapolis Duffy & Partners is beautiful in its simple yet sophisticated approach. I especially love the green and red color combination with the stripe for typography.

For an almost completely typographic approach, Mrs. Meyers Clean Day products designed by Werner Design Werks is bold and contemporary. It also can be seen at a wide range of stores.

This design is absolutely one of my favorites. It is a concept design created by Anchalee Chambundabongse while she was at BBDO. I cannot say enough about keeping sketches and concept designs. Often through the approval process, the original idea and collaboration can become muddled and lost. Some of the most open and unique design solutions that are created are worth keeping in the beginning of the process. This is an example of Splenda packaging that had a wonderful subdued color palette and retro approach. While the form of the box is not altogether unique, the attention to detail and fine touch make the graphics themselves very compelling.