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Chicago DIY Wedding: Use your local market!

April 2, 2009
Fresh Wedding or Event Centerpieces  

Centerpieces from your local market

Centerpieces from your local market

A Chicago wedding can be under $15,000. And to help prove the point here is a great idea for your centerpieces. The colors of this wedding, which was held at The Green Dolphin Street, were fuchsia and  chartreuse. The jazz infused music and vibrant colors choices immediately lead me  to bright, fresh and colorful centerpieces. Let nature do the work for you. Check your local produce market or farmers market to see what is in season. Flowers aren’t the only natural flavor to help add color and life to your tables. Experiment!

Chicago is so lucky to have Stanley’s Fruit & Vegetables on the corner of North and Elston. I literally spent $100 and walked away with lush green apples, bright orange peppers and deep green asparagus. Really! Add a fun twist the the traditional centerpiece, and why not? The guests are there to have fun, just as much as you are. Show off your unique, quirky and romantic side with a little sweet, sour and spice.

Location Green Dolphin Street
Photographs by Thea Dickman
Centerpieces and Favors by Lisa Gainor
Ribbon and ice cubes from Michael’s
Chocolates provided by The Candy Factory 


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NFL: Streamline your design to look FAST

March 31, 2009
Streamlined Car Logos

In my posting about Pepsi wasting our time,  I didn’t give John Maeda’s third Law of Simplicity due diligence. Saving time feels like simplicity.  In the 1930’s industrial designer, Raymond Loewy, was credited with the concept of “streamlining.” The idea of streamlining in business is simple, right?-make it quicker, easier and better…now. Loewy had a fantastic career in the automotive, branding and transit industry. He streamlined the design for Air Force One and the New York Transit System. In addition to his industrial design he created numerous identities for Exxon, Shell and Coca-Cola just to name a few.

To streamline something in graphic design means to make it jet-engine fast. A common joke amongst graphic designers is how to make type look fast:

  1. Make it italic
  2. Make it bold  and italic
  3. Set it in all CAPS BOLD ITALIC AND YOU ARE JET ENGINE FAST!! (add a few exclamation marks to really make the point)

I am totally joking, please don’t ever do this, or repeat that I said to do this. This is the lamest way to make something look FAST, but it is so common.

I have selected a few automotive logos and a few NFL logos to look at. Note the strength, boldness, color, forward movement, slight danger, and a bit of arrogance in each. These aren’t necessarily streamlined, in the way that Maeda was referring to, that these companies are saving us time, instead these are meant to give the user the illusion that their car, or there team is faster, stronger and bolder than the next one. 

I also found the overuse of strong animals was abound in each category. It seems logical, and when you compare the Miami Dolphins to the St. Louis Rams, who would you bet on?

NFL Logos

Bruce Mau’s new book: The Third Teacher

March 27, 2009

Copyright: BMD

Copyright: BMD

I had the opportunity to work with Bruce Mau Design at OWP/P a few years ago on a 50th Anniversary Book for the firm. Since then the two design firms completed a book, The Third Teacher. This is a strong-willed and informative book, as are all of BMD’s work. Large type, bold colors and the use of shocking statistics make this book a great addition to anyone involved in education, any parent concerned in their child’s education, and anyone questioning our country and planet’s future (hummm, that would be everyone).

The book is organized into 79 digestible bits of necessary steps to take to create, design and build the schools of the future which encompasses John Maeda’s 2nd Law of Simplicity: 

Organize. Organization makes a system of many appear fewer. 

“Doors to desks, windows to walls, hallways to wayfinding — they all encompass a single environment in support of learning. Environments that are stimulating, sustainable, and sincerely effective.
Design needs to graduate to an understanding that a schoolhouse must be one unified world centered on one very important thing: the student.”


Copyright: BMD

Copyright: BMD


Hello Designers featured on Dripbook

March 26, 2009

Hello DesignersWe were excited to be featured this month on Dripbook.

Dripbook promotes professional visual artists worldwide – photographers, illustrators, graphic designers, fashion stylists, and more. Hello Designers was featured for their web and print communication work with Crate and Barrel and Paper Source.  Also featured was photographer Nicoline Patricia Malina and Italian illustrator Mario Sughi



Originally hailing from Surabaya, Indonesia, Nicoline has been working in Amsterdam, Antwerp and Paris while studying in Utrecht.  Nicoline’s client list includes magazines such as Harper’s Bazaar, ELLE, Amica, Maxim and advertising clients such as Ponds, Lux and Young Designer United Amsterdam.



Mario Sughi is an Italian Illustrator based in Dublin combines subtle humorous elements with a consistent loose artistic style that’s reminiscent of English Pop artist David Hockney. His clients include Stern (Germany),The Dubliner (Ireland) and Nissan (Europe).

LoveLeaf Press: Good Design takes time

March 25, 2009

Copyright: LoveLeaf PressLast night I attended the AIGA Chicago Small Talk at the LoveLeaf Press studios. Amanda Love, the studio owner, is blessed with humor, modesty and a great last name. She began her career as a graphic designer and her love of books and all things tactile lead her to book making. The art of book making is precious, timeless and requires a great deal of patience. Amanda’s conceptual process is much like John Maeda’s fourth Law of Simplicity…

Learn: Knowledge makes everything simpler. 

Amanda’s design process has cultivated it’s style through years of learning, trying, re-doing and more learning. With each of her clients she spends most of her time talking with them, learning about their personality, their quirks and what makes their art unique. She said that similar to a dog looking like their owner, books look like their owners. Not the most glamours way to visualize her design process, but effective. By diving down deep into someones mind, and seeing her clients from a different perspective the book’s design-fabrics, textures and layouts-is born.

In addition to fulfilling a breath of beautiful books for established photographers she has also started a LoveBooks. LoveBooks is a fabulous portfolio option for a fraction of the cost of a fully custom book.  

Copyright: LoveLeaf Press

Event hosted by: AIGA Chicago
Event Sponsored by: Dupli Graphics (who does most of the printing for LoveLeaf: photographers take note!) and Artisan Recruiters
LoveLeaf: or check out their blog at

Successful Living through Simplicity

March 23, 2009
Successful Living through SimplicitySuccessful Living through Simplicity


Found this little lovely at Leslie Miles blog. He beautifully and simply states “The aim is not to be everyone’s tenth favorite blog, but rather ten people’s favorite blog.” Here is an interview with him on Flavor Wire. 

“The concept was simple enough: No words. Just images. Each post is a theme. The beauty is in the simplicity of the visual inspiration. It was over the past holidays that I felt a hunch creep up on me about where amateur blogs were going. Google Reader has completely changed the way my friends and I absorb content. And there’s much great content to be absorbed… too much. I was beginning to feel like my daily reads, shares, samples, and writings were becoming more a chore than pleasure. It seemed that if I could create a more simple avenue of inspiration, particularly visual inspiration, there would be an audience.”

– Leslie Miles