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New blog address:

April 17, 2009

Yes, I know it’s annoying, and I know I should have done this originally, so I am sorry. Please forgive me.  This weekend I am going to attempt to move the site to our professional website’s URL address. So, you won’t find any updates here starting on Monday. 

Please go to

We will be hosting the site here with new features like Twitter, (the business man’s texting dream come true) Facebook Networked Blogs and other cool and kinky stuff to come.

Thank you and see you over there!


Bruce Mau and OWP/P: Everyone can be a designer

April 16, 2009


The Third Teacher website designed by OWP/P Architects

The Third Teacher website designed by OWP/P Architects

Recently I introduced Bruce Mau, OWP/P and VS Furniture’s new book, The Third Teacher. I want to quickly reflect on the first (of 79) points that the book makes; “Everyone can be a designer.”

At  this month’s AIGA Board meeting we brainstormed ideas on how to get high-level graphic design studio heads to attend a breakfast with a fabulous and relevant speaker such as Dan and Chip Heath authors of Made to StickJohn Maeda, President of Rhode Island School of Design or David A. Aaker, Vice Chairman of Prophet to name a few. After sending out a few ideas to our Advisory Board we came up with  nada. 

No one was interested in spending a few hours of their busy day listening to any of our suggestions. Instead of a person as the central theme to our ill-fated breakfast, a design topic rose to the top of the list. This topic was a discussion about how to successfully integrate graphic design, pr, advertising, marketing, social-media, twittering, branding and web consulting into profitable future opportunities. Well, if anyone were able to answer that calling they would win the game. Game Over, future design challenge won.

I believe in the future traditional graphic design, and web design for that matter, is going to evolve into a combination of all of the above ingredients. Social-media, like branding was in the 90’s,  is a new design umbrella. I also believe that graphic designers, with an edge for business (this is the key), will be the leaders of this movement. 

So, back to the original point made by The Third Teacher; “Everyone can be a designer.” Yes, this is true, but how you stir  the ingredients together into a clear, beautiful and memorable social-media campaign will win the game. And yes, it is a game that we are thinking about, collaborating on, and sitting in front of our computer screens everyday to ultimately win a better world for our children to grown up in. This book is a great example of the beginnings of that discussion.

Good Design is Suggestive

April 14, 2009
House of Terror, Budapest, Hungary

House of Terror, Budapest, Hungary


Allow mother nature shed light on a compelling perspective for you. In graphic design we often don’t get to utilize shadow in our 2-D world, and rarely do we see an example of such expertise in architecture either. Designed by architects János Sándor and Kálmán Újszászy the House of Terror Museum signage suggests someone is watching you from above. A sharp contrast to the delightful greenery and blue sky. Continuing with our “Good Design is” series, Paul Graham states that “Good Design is Suggestive.”

As seen here, the building instantly creates a feeling of helplessness…how do I get out of here?! Admirable environmental design creates a feeling or reaction that will hopefully bring something up inside of you and push you to act. In this case, run in terror or walk into the museum with your  head high, you decide.

House of Terror is a museum located at Andrássy út 60 in Budapest, Hungary. It contains exhibits related to the fascist and communist dictatorial regimes in 20th century Hungary and is also a memorial to the victims of these regimes, including those detained, interrogated, tortured or killed in the building.

I found this at DesignWorkPlan. Thank you DesignWorkPlan.

The best advice Macy’s CEO ever received: “Bloom where you’re planted”

April 13, 2009


Happy Easter

I just finished reading NYTimes article, Knock, knock: It’s the CEO about Terry J. Lundgren’s ability to remain connected and personal with over 170,000 employees at Macy’s. I fond this article intriguing because, as I start out my graphic design business, I have been looking towards successful entrepreneurs who are able to manage their business and remain “on the floor” instead of behind a desk. 

Below is a segment about the best advice Lundgren ever received. It lead me to think about the best advice I have ever received. This weekend at Easter Service, at Unity in Chicago, the Rev talked about lip service. You can’t just say you are going to do something- read the articles, do the homework, go to the seminars, and talk about it for hours on end, oh and….write about it on your blog:) you have to do it. Why wade in the water to your knees when the ocean is so vast and beautiful adventures are waiting at thigh high. Lift your feet off the ocean floor and exploring what else is out there. (note: I am writing this in my blog, I will have to follow up with you to insure that I actually do this:)

“When I was a trainee at Bullock’s, and then I was moved into my first assistant buying job, the guy I was working for, you know, I didn’t love him, frankly, and he had me doing what I thought were stupid jobs. I wondered, “Is this a really good use of my time, or is there something else I could do?” I happened to get called up by the guy who recruited me off of campus, who I just had total admiration for, a guy named Gene Ross. And I told him, “Well, you know, it’s not really going that great, and I was wondering, you know, if I could go move in another department, I think I could do more.”

And he just nodded his head and looked at me, and he pointed in his office over his shoulder to a poster. It had a little tree in a pot, and it said, “Bloom where you’re planted.”

And he said: “You’re not going to do this forever. There’s a finite amount of time you’re going to be doing this. Do this really, really well. And if you do this really, really well, everybody will see that, and they’ll move you onto the next thing. And you do that well, and then you’ll move.” And that was fantastic advice for me.”- Terry J. Lundgren

Obama Poster Show: Go Tell Mama!

April 9, 2009

Again, on the screen printing kick… a must see in Chicago: The Officially Unofficial: Inspired Art for Obama.

April 1-May 31, 2009 at Chicago Tourism Center
72 East Randolph Street, Chicago

Tom Lucas, my instructor at Lill Street, had CRO’s (Ray Noland) work in the studio which I recognized from the corner of Milwaukee and Halsted…it was the Harlem Globe Trotter basketball with “Obama 08” in it. This is the artist! Officially Unofficial is an exhibition of prints, posters, photographs, and videos that emerged in 2008 as icons of the art movement in support of Barack Obama for President. 

Curated by Chicago designer Scott Thomas, former Design Director of the Obama Campaign; Chicago artist Ray Noland; and Nathan Mason, Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs. The exhibit feathers the official Obama ’08 campaign materials as well as independent work by more than 100 artists and designers including Ray Noland’s “GoTellMama!” poster series, Shepard Fairey’s now iconic “Hope” poster (see my post about his work), and Sol Sender’s Obama ‘08 logo and branding. This exhibition is made possible with support from Ken Harman/Obama Art Report and Hal Elliott Wert/Kansas City Art Institute.

The Officially Unofficial Site
Flickr images

Good Design Looks Easy: Max Huber

April 7, 2009

Max Huber la Rinascente

Max Huber la Rinascente

I recently started a screen printing class at Lill Street Art Center in Chicago (the best place to take any fine art class in Chicago, trust me!) 

I began searching for inspiration for my class piece. I want to make an over-sized business card for Hello Designers. The obvious comes to mind: enormous hellos, hello in different languages, a phone, a ring, maybe “ring” ring” in different type faces. Ok, good…I got that out of my system.

Screen printing is a new process for me that leaves me rather confused. It is an additive process which ultimately leaves the first color you place on the page to be the foreground of your piece, not the background. Hummm, so I have to start backwards?

This is what lead me to do a little research. At Crate and Barrel it was a prerequisite to love love Helvetica and Max Huber. Max Huber was a Swiss Graphic Designer who is best known for his combination of painting, photography and other graphic media. He was avant-garde  throughout his career (1940’s-1980’s) and today we see his influence in overlapping typography and transparency. Photoshop elements graphic designers take for granted he created using real hands-on skills. Skills I am going to attempt to learn (gulp).

Max Huber

Max Huber

His work is so beautiful and simple I have to apply Paul Graham’s design theory: Good Design looks Easy. Huber has mastered his medium like a world-renowned athlete or famous pianist, his work flows naturally from the mind to the hand. Each line is in the right place, each message is clear and beautifully perfected. It’s like when you look at a line drawing by Picasso and think, ” I can do that!” and your valiant attempt looks like a first grade doodle without any grace or ease, kinda like that. Good Design looks Easy, and what is why we love it.

Max Huber Phadion Book

The most creative people in our world today: American Entrepreneurs

April 6, 2009

I found this uplifting article by graphic designer Stephaine Orma, rejecting the recession and embracing American Entrepreneurs! Stephanie not only has her own graphic design company, she has her own greeting card line AND writes a weekly article for the SF Examiner about graphic design and branding. Definitely someone to know!

The media presents us with a world full of doom and gloom on a daily basis and we can choose to either get sucked into it or we can put our attention on our dreams and forge ahead. And that’s exactly what the American Entrepreneurs of today are doing. They’re not letting the economy stop them. With nothing but their brilliant, creative ideas and the drive and determination to see them come to fruition, they’re moving forward and in the process, moving our world forward too. Frankly, I can’t think of anything more inspiring or exciting.

Read the full article here.