Archive for September, 2009

brooklyn superhero supply

This started as a post about a super cool store, Brooklyn Superhero Supply. But as I poked around, I realized the real creativity and connection and honest-to-goodness make the world a better place power belongs to the superhero we know as Dave Eggers.

Let’s start with the store. Stay with me, and we will get to the SuperDave part.

Have you been wondering how fantastic it would be to purchase all of your superhero gear from one source, and have it delivered in simple, appropriate and clean packaging with cool type and clever copy? It would make the business of being a superhero so much easier with efficient shopping, giving one more time to fight crimes like sloppy typography, messaging without clarity,  and the most evil of all, crowdsourcing.


It’s a brick and mortar store, with online ordering available. It’s designed well, and I certainly believe the packaging claims. Capes (standard, glitter and sidekick), secret identities (I choose Mysterious Astronaut), gear (Invisibility Detection Goggles–They won’t see you coming that they won’t see you coming) and supplies:






I’m also pretty excited about the map of good and evil. It’s helpful, just to know what one is getting  into on one’s time travels (so much easier now with am ample supply of bottled time travel serum).


And I am seriously buying the deflector bracelet for all of the wonder women in my life.  Perhaps they sell in bulk?


So all of that is pretty awesome, right? Get this, the store is a front, literally,  for Dave’s real passion, a literacy and tutoring lab for kids, 826NYC. The store is a nonprofit, and all proceeds support this creative writing center, which is in the same building.

And the awesomeness doesn’t stop there. There is also Pirate Supply Store in San Francisco. This was actually the first store. Dave started it when he wanted to have a tutoring project in the same offices as his publishing company, McSweeny’s. He knew that writers and editors would be working, and the kids could come in and there would be this wonderful exchange of volunteerism, literacy, people who love language,  and kids who need someone to pay attention to them. Except the city said the space was zoned for retail…which is how the Pirate store began.

And that’s the beginning of the story, at the end of the story, which is really a great story. Here’s Dave’s TED award speech. It’s only four minutes, but he packs a punch, and is pretty darn inspiring. Here’s his website, Once Upon a School, challenging each of us to become personally engaged with our public schools.

Shazam! is all I have to say.

Thanks to If It’s Hip, It’s Here, for the original introduction.


inspiration that rocks

If you’re alert, cool design shows up with surprising frequency, even in milk crates on a card table in the middle of the sidewalk. Especially in milk crates. Last Saturday my 15-year old daughter, Alex, and I stumbled upon a record album sidewalk sale to support  our local university alternative radio station (shout out to KDVS). Fifty cents a piece, and we were all in. Fifteen albums later, we were owners of some very, very cool design samples. Not sure what to do with them, but for now they make me happy just to look at then.  And of course,  Alex is now requesting a turntable so she can listen to Elton John, on vinyl. You know, like in the olden days.


re:treat | if you printed the internet


Via Quipsologies, who credits Dark Roasted Blend for the find. Check out Creative Cloud for the full project.  Remember when we used to call it the world wide web? Seems pretty accurate. The mind boggles…

did you know? | shift happens 4.0

And the conversation continues. This is an official update to the original “Shift Happens” video I wrote about here. This completely new Fall 2009 version includes facts and stats focusing on the changing media landscape, including convergence and technology, and was developed in partnership with The Economist.

So now we’re overloaded (or gifted?) with information. What to do? It’s  worth some pondering, that’s for sure. Everyone is looking for a way to connect, and to build a community where they can be heard.  That’s true, whether it’s about our business, or our personal lives. It’s just so interesting to me that we find it easier to do online, that to sit down with the person across the table, or across the street, and ask, “What are you up to? What are you caring about, right this minute?”

That would take more time, wouldn’t it? You’d have to listen, pay attention, and perhaps even do something.

This social networking thing is fascinating and addictive (yes, I know!), but it’s still just about connecting, messaging, and engaging. It’s up to us to make the conversation authentic and to take it some place new. To make it meaningful. Even actionable.

For more conversation check out and

Content by XPLANE, The Economist, Karl Fisch, Scott McLeod and Laura Bestler. Design and development by XPLANE.

Thanks to my friend and marketing pro, Siobhan Miura, for the link!

art & copy | the documentary

Self-indulgent? Probably.

Insightful? Possibly.

Entertaining? I’m guessing, yes.

Art & Copy is a new documentary by director Doug Pray, celebrating (some say self-mythologizing) the creative minds in the advertising industry. It features interviews with Lee Clow, Dan Wieden, Phyllis Robinson, Hal Riney, George Lois, Rich Silverstein and Jeff Goodby, and Mary Wells. Thanks to Design Observer for the find (and the links).

The reviews are mixed, but the trailer is worth a look.

Heroine |The typeface and the movie

So, maybe I have been spending too much time with my old friends, Gill Sans and Bodoni, but I hadn’t imagined type being marketed with movie trailers. This is one of the great benefits of blogging, a reason to poke around on a creative scavenger hunt, and find out what’s new and cool. And this qualifies. Via Swiss Miss, introducing the new font, Heroine, which will be released tomorrow. It’s from the folks at Fountain Type, in Sweden.

Here’s their marketing pitch: A new typeface designed by Göran Söderström – Heroine. Inspired by the typeface Windsor, designed by Eleisha Pechey in 1905. Windsor is the typeface used in the titles of many Woody Allen movies. A modern interpretation of this rusty pearl is something that always have been missing in the major type libraries. But Heroine is not only an interpretation, it goes beyond that. With the addition of swashes and alternate letters in several styles it becomes very addicitve.

Clever, yes? Now, check out the movie trailer:

There you have it, swashes and stylish ligatures, and a clever idea that works.

buy:design | say the word

It’s been a while since we’ve ended the week with a buy:design post. It’s September, which means October and November will be gone before you know it, and it will be December and you will really, really wish you had paid attention to fabulous typographic gifts from Veer.

I’m imagining this for Kate:


Maybe this for Steve, as his next notebook (not that there is anything wrong with composition books, but this is kind of funny):


And for  Alex (who is 15 and not as typographically-inspired as the rest of us…yet):


And for me….well, I may not wait until December.