Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Sake Labels

Japanese rice wine, or sake labels have bold designs decorated with pictures of crashing waves, strong calligraphy letterings, gildings and whatnot. When you look closely at these sake labels, the designs are all so typically Japanese and there just seems to be a certain special feeling about them.

Not to mention the fact that they give me a wicked craving for sushi...

Check out PingMag's presentation of some of the better packaging designs for Japanese Sake Lables and some nice explanations about Japanese typography.

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Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Monday, January 29, 2007

Banana Over Texas

Look there, in the Texas sky!

It's a bird! It's a plane!

It's ... a banana?

In an art installation sure to launch a thousand UFO conspiracies, Montreal artist César Saez plans to send a 1,000-foot helium blimp in the shape of a banana into low Earth orbit over the Lone Star State.

If everything goes right, the fruity dirigible, known as the Geostationary Banana Over Texas, should launch in August 2008.

The astrofruit is an artistic commentary on the absurdity of American politics -- especially Texan-style kookiness, says Saez.

"I see Texas like a crossroads of important social and cultural happenings in the states and in the world," he says.

He estimates the project will cost $1 million, and so far he's raised one-eighth of that, including a $15,000 grant from the Canada Council for the Arts.

Read it all: Banana Over Texas

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Hey Dude, Slow Down!

A sign in San Francisco, starting Monday, identifies approaching Mini Cooper drivers by using a signal from a radio chip embedded in their key fobs.

The boards, which usually carry typical advertising, are programmed to identify approaching Mini drivers through a coded signal from a radio chip embedded in their key fob.

The messages are personal, based on questionnaires that owners filled out: “Mary, moving at the speed of justice,” if Mary is a lawyer, or “Mike, the special of the day is speed,” if Mike is a chef.

RFID (radio frequency identification) technology is making the experiment possible. Researchers and entrepreneurs have labored for decades to extend the practical uses of wireless tracking using radio tags.


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Sunday, January 28, 2007

Title Goes Here

First of all, if you've yet to see Thank You For Smoking, you're missing a greatf flick.

And the main titles are especially sweet. Because we all know what they say about first impressions.

That’s why both Hollywood and independent studios are spending time and resources to create the most appropriate main title sequences for their films. At its very best, a title sequence is a self-contained hybrid that combines multiple media – motion graphics, film, animation, cgi – to compress the essence of the film it introduces.

The SubmarineChannel has started an online collection of the most stunning and original main titles. Some are engaging or wildly entertaining, funny, exhilarating or deadly beautiful. Some are oozing with visual treats while others hit you hard with their bold and audacious style.

Either way, if you're into type you'll dig.

Submarine Channel

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Saturday, January 27, 2007

Faces of the Dead

Wow. This is an incredibly sad but clear example of the power of interactive graphic design.

It's entitled Faces of the Dead and graphically illustrates members of the U.S. Services who have died in Iraq.

Each pixel square represents one soldier and when clicked on highlights the name, age, branch, state and hometown of the brave soul.

Note to self: This is exactly what newspapers and magazines ought to be doing online.

NYT: Faces of the Dead

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Also check out this pictorial representation of the key words used in all Bush's State Of The Union addresses:
NYT: State Of The Union

Friday, January 26, 2007

Ultimate TV!

Ah the choices... Plasma, LCD, HD, 720, 1080...

I think I just found the perfect TV for the Tiki Room.

I'm going for Predicta's Holiday TV. It's the most cosmopolitan model and I totally dig how it subtly captures the geometries and lines essential to mid-century form.

Its 24" color screen on a hand crafted solid maple or mahagony cabinet rests in a brass antenna-like cradle lifting it off the table surface. Of all Predicta TV models, and perhaps true of all TVs ever produced, the Holiday's design is the most authentic to mid-century modern design. Its exaggerated sqaure box is complimented with exact square side cuts.

Removing the lower portion of the front cabinet creates a cantilevered effect while the weight and position of the tube provide harmony and balance:

You know you want one!

I Want My Cool TV! Predicta

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Top Brands of 2006

Well kids, Google has again topped Apple for the highest spot in a global brand ranking that also sees YouTube and Wikipedia debut in the top five, a survey showed on Friday.

The annual survey by online branding magazine often throws up controversial results, such as in 2004, when Arabic TV station Al Jazeera was named the world's fifth most influential brand.

This year the 3,625 branding professionals and students who voted have again surprised, awarding upstart firms star status when asked: "Which brand had the most impact on our lives in 2006?".

Read it all from the good folks over at the Brand Channel

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Thursday, January 25, 2007

The Fairest Fowl

This one's for Sir Joe Barfield - (You may know him as Joe Joe Jellyroll from his radio show on KSYM) Joe B is The Man to see if you're looking for a casa inside the loop of beautiful downtown San Antonio.

Now dig the totally stylie style chicken shots from photographer: Tamara Staples .

I need to find out who the styist was - these are awesome and such a bithin' concept to boot.

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Dig this cool home recycling center with compaction and collection. Designed by BMW Designworks, the ecopod cleans up the way you recycle with its eco-chic design and functionality.

After dropping an aluminum can or plastic bottle in the top opening, press the ecostep to hear the sweet sound of compaction. As the ecostep releases, the redeemable container automatically falls into the enclosed collection bin. Open the door and remove the bin for collection or redemption. Glass, paper and other recyclable items can be stored in the removeable bins inside the top lid.

Check it out: Ecopod .


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Shady Dell

This snug little 10' travel trailer was originally built in 1952 from plans out of Popular Mechanics.

Now it's decorated with vintage"Southwest" memorabilia and has a stovetop and ice box, this puppy sleeps two and goes for $45 a night.

So the next time you're cruzing through Bisbee Arizona and you decide to stop for the night forget the traditional and boring motel and check into the Shady Dell!

Check it out: Shady Dell .

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Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Nice Stuff

Saw this illustration by Gary Taxali in yesterday's New York Times and I just had to see more!

Gary Taxali' work reminds me alot of Carl Wiens' great stuff.

that's Right,


Toyota On Banana Leaves

The team at Leo Burnett in Columbia is out with their latest creative for Toyota Prado - A cruiser. An ad on Banana Leaves! It looks like a lot of hard work but definetely a refreshing new idea!

That's Right,


Thanks to the awesome folks at Disruption .

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Jackie Earle Haley: It's Official


The 79th Annual Academy Award nominations were announced early this morning at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, California and our man Haley is officially in the hat!

And the Nominees for Best Supporting Actor:

Alan Arkin, "Little Miss Sunshine";

Djimon Hounsou, "Blood Diamond";

Eddie Murphy, "Dreamgirls";

Mark Wahlberg, "The Departed"


Jackie Earle Haley, "Little Children."

And here's who didn't make the top 5:

Jack Nicholson, "The Departed"
Michael Sheen, "The Queen"
Ben Affleck, "Hollywoodland"
Adam Beach, "Flags of Our Fathers"
Michael Caine, "Children of Men"
James McAvoy, "Last King of Scotland"
Brad Pitt, "Babel"
Stanley Tucci, "The Devil Wears Prada"

Not too shabby...

Rock On Jackie!

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Monday, January 22, 2007

Pantone > CMYK > RGB > Hex

I wouldn't let this rule your online color world but this handy little color chart: P2CMYK2RGBHEX is worth checking out.

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Sunday, January 21, 2007

Tokyo Cafe Hopping

All of this and tons more over at: Cafe Mania .

Researching cool places to hang with wi-fi in Tokyo...

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Friday, January 19, 2007


This should make alot of people happy!

Now you don't need to trek all the way to Sundance to see all the hip new indie films - they're all going to be posted after they premier at the Official Sundance Festival 2007 site thanks to Adobe!

Check out my favorite so far from director Sophie Barthes called Happiness .

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You look like such a Zune...

ZUNE: Microsoft's new music player. Also [slang]: a poseur; a wannabe. Usage: "Dude, you look like such a Zune in that shirt."

Ha Ha.

Check out the rest at Advertising Age's glossary of 2007 Media Terminology .

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Photo: John Froschauer / AP

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Scribbles Rule.

The better it looks the more narrow the feedback.

We see this with books and software all the time. I personally experience it at least once a month with logos, layouts and web sites. Show them something polished and pretty, and you'll get feedback on font sizes and color.

Those critiquing make incremental tweaks and suggestions, blinded by what's in front of them. But show the people that truly think (those that have some vision) a napkin sketch, and they don't just see what's there, they see what's possible - which not only improves the project - it expedites the whole process.

So the Catch 22 is, the AEs and other non-creatives that view great ideas when they're in the infancy stages of scribbles and thumbnails just don't get it and really can't see the idea. They need to see things polished because, well, I guess because they simply lack imagination or vision or as they're fond of saying "I get it, (when they really don't) but I don't think the client will understand - can you make it more polished..."

And so it goes, the "visionless" middlemen, (in an effort to make themselves look busy and covering there own asses) second guess what they believe the client is capable of comprehending, create more senseless busy work wasting valuable concept and execution time for the folks that actually make things happen.

Anyway, if you find yourself in the same boat and having to deal with the conceptually challenged, you need to read the rest from the smart folks at: HeadRush

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Have An Ice Day!

Click To Enlarge

Dude, it's nasty out there. Check out these shots of some frozen stuff in my backyard.

As I write this a 300-mile stretch of I-10 from Fort Stockton to San Antonio is closed because of ice.

In Maine, wind chills are 40 below and in New Hampshire the 6,288-foot Mount Washington registered a wind chill of 77 below.


Stay warm!

That's Right,


Tuesday, January 16, 2007

What Your Gadget Really Costs

Apple First-Generation 2GB iPod nano
Date: Sept. 7, 2005
Retail price: $199
Cost of components: $98.18

The Apple profit machine rolled on in 2005 with the unveiling of the iPod nano, thanks to a healthy profit margin earned on each one.

Market researcher iSuppli digs into your Xbox, iPod, and more to find out how much they cost the makers to make.

The cool thing is you may have actually paid less for it...

Check out: What Your Gadget Really Costs .

That's Right,


Thanks to Business Week .

Monday, January 15, 2007

People Who Need Peep Holes

What a genius and way fun show-stopping idea to get folks into a Gallery!

The Waygood Gallery in Newcastle (UK), put together the cinematic exhibition Little Jewel Cinema, which is inspired by the peep show format of the pre-cinema days.

Little Jewel Cinema is located in a shop window of one of Newcastle's busy streets where passers by can stop and peep through 10 holes to watch short films, documentaries and animations made by 13 different artists and filmmakers.

Visit the: Waygood Gallery.

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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Guinness Genius

This Guinness coaster becomes legible only in the reflection of a dark beer in a clean glass. Nice stuff from AMV BBDO London.

That's Right,


Thanks to the kids at Ad Hunt

Wood is Big

SharkThang Radio

Good To Know:
According to the good folks over at Wired, always a reliable trendspotting source, wood is a recurring design motif at the 2007 CES, present throughout the showrooms in the details and trim, especially in LCD picture frames by Avion, Philips, Kodak and many smaller vendors.

Each resembles a scale model of the giant wood-paneled screens which we think will become ubiquitous in coming years. They displayed a startling traditionalism in their design, with complex Victorian scrollwork sharing shelf space with rustic southern driftwood and European contemporary design.

Read the whole thing: CES: Winners and Losers

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Friday, January 12, 2007

Visualization Methods

I'm visualizing myself at Fenway Park for the first Red Sox home game against Seattle on April 10th...

Check out this very cool and functional periodic table of visualization methods.

I bet this just might help you out with a project you're working on right now.

Have a great weekend and stay warm!

That's Right,


Thanks to the good folks over at Visual

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

New Majestic Hotel

Were planning on hitting Shanghai or Singapore by next summer for a little RR&R - rest, relaxation and research. As far as Shanghi goes, the New Majestic Hotel is looking pretty sweet as an option.

Singapore is the latest city to unveil a new themed room hotel, putting the 'b' into boutique as it's never been before. The new generation design hotel is all about individuality and intimacy - the anti hotel if you will - more Hollywood mansion than mega hotel chain.

Singapore's fabulous New Majestic Hotel fits the bill, with 30 unique rooms designed by prominent artists and designers. Showcasing a mix of vintage and new furniture, the rooms adhere to different themes from the 'Hanging Bed Room' where murals span whole walls through to the incredible Aquarium Room where a glass-encased bathtub sits in the middle of the room.

That's Right,


Thanks to Lisa Evans

Meanings & Associations

In the last of a 3 part series on innovation and the university, Grant McCracken reminds us of the simple yet often neglected fact that to build a product that people want, you need to help them do a job that they are trying to get done.

Meanings & Associations

I think d-schools (design schools) have a good shot at helping the university turn out capable innovators. They are better positioned, for instance, than the b-schools discussed yesterday.

For one thing the d-schools believe in consulting carefully with the consumer. Thanks to the pioneering work of Jay Doblin, the design field believes in ethnography, and this method flourished there well before its present popularity in business research circles.

For another thing, the d-school believes in culture.

As it stands, the b-school tends to think about the product or brand in terms of utilities, functions or benefits. Brands and products create value by doing work in the world.

For one expression of this position, here are Christensen, Cook and Hall on the "function brand."

A simple rule has been forgotten. To build a product that people want, you need to help them do a job that they are trying to get done.

The marketer's fundamental task is not so much to understand the customer as it is to understand what jobs customers need to do -- and build products that serve those specific purposes.

What gets lost in all of this is the other face of the product or brand. "Meanings and associations" are neglected.

Read it all here.

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Grant McCracken holds a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Chicago and taught at the Harvard Business School.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Hello Apple Inc!

Ok. the internet is officially in your pocket.

And, as of today, it's no longer Apple Computer - it's officially Apple Inc. (And, thanks to the brand spanking iPhone, my 30GB video iPod suddenly seems sadly archaic!)

Forget buttons, think Google Maps, GPS, Widgets and live video! Apple has done it again proving one thing I've always believed - that there is no such things as a new idea - only improvements to existing ideas.

The iPhone is sooooo much more than a phone - they should call it the iThang...

Blackberry schmacberry - this is truly iT y'all!

Quoting Wayne Gretzky: "I skate to where the puck is going to be not where it has been."

Thanks Steve!

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Sunday, January 07, 2007

New York Film Critics Circle Awards

Jackie Earle Haley and his beautiful wife Amelia along with agent Leslie and publicist Elizabeth leaving Le Parker Meridien Hotel before this evenings New York Film Critics Circle Awards.

My wife Chrissy and I are having an awesome time in NYC spending the first weekend of 2007 celebrating with the Haleys.

This is the first of six Best Supporting Actor awards for Jackie's work in Little Chidren.

Congrats and Welcome Back Jackie!

That's Right,


Friday, January 05, 2007

Midwest Airlines Rules!

I booked a great deal on Expedia for our first weekend of 2007 and scored 2 round trip tickets from San Antonio to La Guardia for about 220.00 each including taxes and fees.

Looking at our final itinerary both my wife and I though - "Midwest Airlines? Who the hell is that?"

Dude, the minute we boarded the jet, we knew Midwest was different.

The whole plane has first class like wide leather seats, two on each side throughout the plane so no more middle seat anxiety, really great service and dig this - chocolate chip cookies baked onboard!

You get the usual free drinks and pretzels as well along with tasty chef prepared meals ala carte that range from 5 to 12 dollars.

Midwest Airlines tag line is "The best care in the air" and it totally was for us on both legs of our journey.

Do yourself a favor and check out Midwest Airlines next time you fly!

That's Right,


Thursday, January 04, 2007

The Queensboro Bridge from The Bentley

Although it's a bit overcast this morning, I got this decent shot showing our amazing corner window view of the Queensboro Bridge from suite 1701 at The Bentley Hotel, 500 East 62nd, NYC.

If you're looking for affordable cool digs in Manhattan check out this awesome Upper East Side hotel just an 8 minute walk from Central Park, 5th Avenue and the New Apple Store.

The friendly staff bumped us up a few floors and scored us a King bed - all you have to do is ask.

And did I mention the 24 Hour complementary Cappacino Bar...

We moved over to le Parker Meridian with the Haleys after staying at the Bentley the first couple of nights.

We'll be back!

That's Right,


Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Snow Way!

The Scene: Just after Christmas at an airport security checkpoint, where a half-dozen festive snow globes — like the ones with Frosty the Snowman in a liquid-filled glass globe that simulates snowfall when you shake it — were lined up on a counter.

Wasn’t that nice! The Transportation Security Administration had decorated the checkpoint! But as it turned out, Frosty and his co-conspirators had actually been busted — confiscated from passengers’ carry-on bags pursuant to the following notification by the security administration:

“Snow globes, regardless of size of amount of liquid inside, even with documentation, are prohibited in your carry-on.”

Frosty, we hardly knew you...

Read the entire Joe Sharkey Article over at The New York Times

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Cool Illustration by Chris Gash

Monday, January 01, 2007

It's There If You Want It

Yoko Ono and John Lennon with peace campaign poster against the Vietnam War, 1969. Photograph by Frank Barratt/Getty Images.

When the star of the documentary The U.S. vs. John Lennon is asked by a reporter what he thinks Nixon should do to end the Vietnam War, Lennon stares incredulously into the camera. “He should declare peace.” As if this was the most obvious solution in the world.

Sitting in a movie theater in September, I realized this was the most brilliant thing I had ever heard. After years of being politically aloof, I suddenly felt my first swell of social activism rise within me, and with it, the smacking realization that the person who made me feel this way had been dead since 1980.

Read the rest of Alissa Walker's article over at Design Observer . She's editor of the design blog Unbeige.


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Using Coffee To Trick Your Brain

I usually work on multiple projects at the same time, and whenever a new project comes along, I find sometimes find it really difficult to actually get started. Once I’ve begun making progress, I’m able to move smoothly without any problems.

It’s the getting started that’s really difficult, especially if it’s something I’m not really interested in. At an intellectual level I know I have to get started, but I’m not able to summon up the motivation to begin.

For the last few months, the most reliable technique I’ve found to help me get started is to take the work to a coffee shop and begin while sipping coffee. I’ve found that this allows me to get excited about whatever is in front of me at that time. My brain appears to misattribute the physiological response to coffee as excitement about whatever I’m working on at that time.

Of course, once I’ve started on the project, I get into a state where I’m chugging along well after the coffee has worn off. The interesting thing is that the excitement remains.

Read More: Smart Graduate School Applications

Welcome to 2007!