Archive for November, 2009

Link Lineup. 11.27.09

Posted in Link Lineup on November 27th, 2009 by Signify – Be the first to comment
by Laura. Location: Lake Como, Italy

by Signify. Location: Lake Como, Italy

I’ve got some real goodies for you this week that are quirky and witty…my preferences definitely reflect my personality.

  • A weird and irresistible start to my link lineup – introducing the chest hair t-shirt available at
  • Similar to my earlier link about hotel door hangers, check out this collection of bus tickets.
  • Hilarious typography/language poem by Taylor Mali interpreted by Ronnie Bruce.
  • Just some fun and clever leaf art – bio-diversity by Christoph Niemann.
  • A new and inspiring meaning to the phrase “paper cut.” Beautiful.
  • Love these classically designed Christmas cards by darlingclementine.
  • Speaking of Christmas, I’ll have this letterpress necklace made with movable type, please.
  • Thanks to for showcasing BVD’s lovely packaging, I am missing H&M again.

It’s Black Friday today – pick up anything special?

- Laura

Link Lineup. 11.20.09

Posted in Link Lineup on November 20th, 2009 by Signify – 2 Comments
by Ryan. Location: Schwangau, Germany

by Signify. Location: Schwangau, Germany

I’ve got some great features this week, so feast your eyes!

  • All right, these lamps from Sha-Do are simply gorgeous.
  • I have always wanted to incorporate the Rorschach inkblot tests into a design. This wine label is the perfect application – pure genius and beautifully executed.
  • The perfect statement for anyone who needs a reminder.
  • Great package design by Fay K.Pal. These travel containers are simple and effective.
  • Another Fay K.Pal gem – I don’t even like goat milk/cheese, yet I want to buy these products (little confused by the sheep logo, though).
  • Are you kidding? Check out the latest in photo frames.

Share your finds with me! I love to see what inspires you.

- Laura

Don’t get stuck, get smart.

Posted in Signifycant Thoughts on November 18th, 2009 by Signify – Be the first to comment

by Signify. Location: Gimmelwald, Switzerland

As a designer, and even as a photographer, I often feel like the ideas in my head are not translating like I want them to. It is frustrating. And I know I’m not alone on this one.

So it was really interesting and helpful to read an article by Nina Boccia on this morning about the designer, Michael Bierut, and his guide to successful design. Apparently he jokingly refers to himself as a “lazy” designer – in truth, he’s actually just very smart. It’s not about being lazy at all, it’s about being resourceful and keeping a project within reasonable effort, time and budget. The article’s content is an excerpt from one of his lectures, and it shares his seven methods to design efficiently and effectively. I really appreciated his first few steps, so here’s my take on those as a designer:

His first step is to simplify – stay away from ideas that are elaborate and time-intensive.
My take: A novel idea. And it relates to the concept, “don’t bite off more than you can chew.” Both of these thoughts will allow me to work more efficiently without feeling overwhelmed. Keeping it simple while still producing quality work can deliver the best results for everyone.

His second and third steps are to use the elements of the design that are already working rather than scrapping everything and starting from scratch.
My take: Interesting. A lot of times I tend to think that what the client has already could be so much better if only I could get my hands on it and give it a complete overhaul – I like to think of it as my “creative ego.” But his thought is that I need to first find out what is working already, then figure out how I can improve it and make it work even better. Re-working just one aspect of the design may drastically improve the piece.

This article opened my eyes as a designer and allowed me to realize that I don’t need to fight with the design – if I use these principles, the design will work with me. And I also was reminded again that less really is more. Stop the clutter and make a statement.

I feel refreshed and motivated, how about you?

- Laura

Colorado goodness.

Posted in Signif[eye] Candy on November 16th, 2009 by Signify – 1 Comment

Since we’ll be moving to Colorado this Thursday, (wow! time flies), I thought I would share some of the nature photos I took this summer when visiting Winter Park. Since there were so many interesting flowers in the area, and plants really inspire me – unique or common – those are the focus in this series rather than mountain vistas.

Plus, who doesn’t enjoy photos of beautiful wildflowers to start the week? Delightful little things if you ask me.

Happy Monday!

- Laura


Link Lineup. 11.13.09

Posted in Link Lineup on November 13th, 2009 by Signify – Be the first to comment
by Laura. Location: Florence, Italy

by Signify. Location: Florence, Italy

Here are my finds for you this week:

  • Want to be inspired by some deliciously bold typography? Look no further.
  • Check out a fun little collection of vintage hotel door hangers from one man’s past travels.
  • This set of witty typography cards from Etsy totally made my day.
  • Two fantastic and inventive sets of Japanese barcode designs. Why aren’t we doing this?
  • Stunning bird photography by Andrew Zuckerman. Yes, it’s worth the wait.
  • A couple more typography links for you to admire and enjoy. Also, I am getting this. Awesome.
  • The CommArts 2009 Design Annual is out – love it!

Got any good finds? Please share!

- Laura

That’s just not cool.

Posted in Signifycant Thoughts on November 11th, 2009 by Signify – 2 Comments

by Signify. Location: Paris, France

When I was in my first year of college, one of the first things my design professor, Michelle Bowers, taught our class was that we were, under no circumstances, to describe our work or explain why we were drawn to certain artwork by using the word, “cool” or simply saying, “I just like it.” There always had to be the accompaniment of rationale for why we appreciated something or why we did what we did, and how that made it attractive or successful. And same went for when we didn’t like something – we had to explain what didn’t work about the piece and describe how we felt it was unsuccessful. While art is subjective, there still has to be a reason for why we consider something either good or bad.

In saying this, I happened upon a good article on AIGA’s website by Steven Heller about this topic. Here is an excerpt I found that corresponds perfectly with what my professor instilled in us from Graphic Design 101:

Slang is to language as handwriting is to type; it is unofficial. Yet it often becomes [embedded] into everyday speech. Cool is certainly part of our shared Esperanto. It covers a multitude of concepts and emotions, the most common of which is high praise if indeed one is called “cool.” Unlike groovy, fab or gear, which sound positively antediluvian, cool never seems to go out of style. And still, cool does not convey the specificity necessary for making a viable crit in the classroom.

When Victore abruptly responded with “cool” in response to a curious student’s legitimate query, he broke the first rule of teaching. Rather than explain his rationale he relied on linguistic shorthand. Rather than examine motives that would prompt greater understanding, he used a code that, while imbued with common meaning, had no specific meaning. There had to be more to the image of that motorcycle than just its cool aesthetics, even though it was, for some, totally cool.

[You can read the full article here.]

How does this affect me professionally? I’ve had art directors tell me my work was “yummy” or “just not working” without giving any explanation as to why or why not. (I’ll insert here that I’ve also had some great art directors.) While they are great people, those comments weren’t beneficial for me as a designer. How was I supposed to grow without direction? Rather than acting as guides for me, they sometimes disappointed and frustrated me. Good art directors give good critiques, providing both positive and negative feedback as well as suggestions, and help the designer get the piece to a more successful place. With good guidance and intention, the design becomes more than “cool” – it has meaning and thought behind it.

Art (form and content) inspires conversation and reaction. If we treat it solely as eye candy, it pretty much defeats the purpose. So the next time you look at something and think, “wow, that’s really cool!” and leave it at that, imagine me wagging my pointer finger and raising an eyebrow. Gotta give me something more!

Creatively yours,

Typography, colors, textures…oh my!

Posted in Signif[eye] Candy on November 9th, 2009 by Signify – Be the first to comment

Seeing as Mondays are generally the most dreaded day of the week, it’s my goal to provide some vibrancy and fun to your week through original photos – by yours truly – of interesting textures, typography, colors, architecture, unique found objects, etc. I hope this will add a little bit of sunshine into your daily grind as well as give you fresh perspective on how you look at the world around you.

These are some of the photos I took downtown Chicago with my great little Canon PowerShot for my self-imposed photo assignment while enjoying a beautiful day in the city last week with my friend and fellow adventurer, Alicia.

Enjoy, and happy Monday!

- Laura


Link Lineup. 11.06.09

Posted in Link Lineup on November 6th, 2009 by Signify – Be the first to comment
Cinque Terre

by Signify. Location: Cinque Terre, Italy

Every Friday, I will be featuring a list of links that provide creative, insightful and inspiring  sites, articles and photos. Today’s lineup includes:

  • Inspired thoughts from some of the most creative professionals. I’m totally on board.
  • An updated list of awesome blog designs from Smashing Magazine.
  • Super sweet site from Anthropologie that is simple, yet delightfully complex.
  • A fantastic collection of watercolor paintings with creative typography.
  • Who wouldn’t want to have some of these or these? I love unique cards and letterpress.

What inspires you? Let me know if you have any links to share.

- Laura

Make a statement.

Posted in Signifycant Thoughts on November 5th, 2009 by Signify – Be the first to comment

Creative communication. It’s what I do. And now I have an avenue by which I can express myself in writing regarding creative thinking, as well as provide good (and fun) resources to others.

Here’s the thing – I’m all about making a great statement that will leave a lasting impression. That’s why I’ve started my freelance graphic design & photography business, Signify ( I’m looking forward to starting conversations, building relationships and above all, growing as a visual communication artist and business person.

Let’s hope I provide some inspiration, and receive some as well.

Creatively yours,
(Savvy Queen of Ingenuity)