Archive for November, 2009

merchandising for a good cause | charity: water

Almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean drinking water. That’s one in eight of us. charity: water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations.

Bono was the first. Selling cool stuff to promote good work was redefined (no pun intended) with the (red) campaign. I rushed out for my inspi(red) t shirt and have been wearing it ever since. Lots of folks are doing lots of great work, but some groups have a level of design and  marketing savvy that make their projects even more accessible, and dare I say it, cooler.

Check out charity:  water.

Their projects are important…but what is equally impressive, at least within the context of this blog, is their approach to marketing. The website is clean and intuitive. The video is powerful. And they sell stuff, lots of stuff.

I have a small issue with the fact that their “store” has a higher web presence than the information about clean water (and I hope that’s about holiday fundraising). But they make it easy to support their work, and to add their banners to your blog or website. They are using social networking for social good, and folks are truly excited about the opportunity to be engaged. I know I am. (By the way, that statement in bold at the top of the post….writing a clear positioning statement like that isn’t for the wimpy. The middle line “That’s one in eight of us”, brilliant. The us part. I have been part of defining what an organization does, so that it resonates with donors, and we weren’t this successful. Will learn from this.)

They’re smart. They’re doing the work.

And they are using design. Simple type and a clear message. And a pathway for us to be part of their passion. Sure, it’s slick. But it’s really, really good.

Check out this video. I promise, you will appreciate your next glass of clean water.

For a little more on the organization’s start and their really, really good promotional hook (hint, it will change your concept of a birthday party).

I know design works. And I know folks are doing great work for the world. And when the two of them join up, we’ll it’s something to support.


brilliance in a barcode

From Japan, of course.

Designed by the Japanese firm, d-barcode. Via The Dieline.

These came to me via The Food Section (thanks Ann).

It looks like these were designed by d-barcode’s US partner, Barcode Revolution. I’m still a little confused about who is who in the world of barcode design. But you can’t help but admire their imagination and vision, eh?

ballet is for the birds

Proving, once again, that nature wins the best designer award.

re:treat | make your own path


Hand letterpressed by Doug Wilson on vintage maps. Each one is different. From the Keep Calm Gallery. I love type, letterpress, maps, and the concept of the designer (and especially the project manager) as the pathfinder.

Yes, I do need this.


the power of design to make us see


Mike Dempsey’s blog, Graphic Journey, has been on re:design’s blogroll from the beginning. I don’t know Mike, but I admire his thoughtful discourse and perspective on our industry, our work, and our responsibility as designers and communicators.

This week when I checked in on his blog, I found that he’s been involved in a significant art project, Journey.

Journey depicts the world of human trafficking of women and young girls, showing the seven stages of a woman who was sold into sexual slavery, through exhibits created inside shipping containers. The traveling exhibition is in NYC this week. It was the brainchild of actress Emma Thompson, but has required the dedication of many, many people. A little more from the NY Times.

Mike’s writing partner, Tom Lynham, has been a guest blogger on Graphic Journey all week, chronicling the exhibit and the experience. The images, the writing, the project—are overwhelming. Absolutely uncomfortable, and absolutely powerful.


Uniform by Sandy Powell

An excerpt:

JOURNEY is all about human trafficking. It tells the story of Elena who was seduced from her home in central Europe with promises of finding fortune in the west. Terminal 3 was the cash point where trafficked women who have been ordered are paid for. The minder (the woman who has groomed the girls) hands them over the trafficker. You can pick up a nice young fresh one for as little as a £ 1,000. Once they have been sold, the minder flies back to nurture the next one and the trafficker takes his prize home. Home is a house somewhere in the suburbs, or a massage parlour in some innocent enough neighbourhood. The woman is stripped of her passport, phone, clothes and identity, and summarily raped by new owners to break her in. Then she is put to work to service as many men a day as she can squeeze in. The traffickers control the women absolutely. They threaten violence against her relatives and the girl is effectively imprisoned. Most have no idea where they are and are kept under tight security by woman employed by the traffickers until they are tamed. There comes a point where the humiliation and loss of self is so overwhelming, staying put and paying their ‘sale price’ back to the trafficker seems the only alternative to going home to shame her family. The women are used until their sell-by date has expired, and then sold down the chain, gradually reduced in price until they are no longer marketable.

Please take a few moments to read Tom and Mike’s blog, here.

The power of design can make us see the truth. The least we can do is pay attention.

buy:design | mustache mania

I’m an end-of-the-trend kind of gal. I usually catch them on their way out, just as they are about to hit the mainstream and become a Hallmark card or Target sales merchandise. Sure, there are a few folks behind me, but there are plenty more ahead of me.  Skeletons, blackbirds, and robots, remember them? When mustache stuff started showing up, I just thought it was quirky and weird. I didn’t figure out it was a trend until, well, yesterday when a few design blogs started demanding death to the mustache posts. Which means I am right on time and have about three days left before I have to hide.

We all know every trend breeds unfortunate knockoffs. And really, a bad mustache is just…bad. As a public service to help prevent mustache mistakes, Re:design brings you the best-designed, classiest, most useful, clever and tasteful mustache gifts for the holiday season. You can thank me later.


For the jewelry lover, the Mustache Ring, by Melanie Favreau.


The How the West Was Warm Cowl, from Toasty Knits on Etsy.


Draw your own. Comes in five styles–Salvador, Zorro, Burt, Django and Clark. From Atypyk, via Swiss Miss.


If you’re on a budget, consider Mustache Bandages.


For your bike, from Etsy, also via Swiss Miss.


I don’t know that I can actually look at these, but I can’t look away, either. Mr. Mustache Pillow from Whorange.

But this, this I gotta have.


The Humunga Stash Dog Chew Toy, via Internet Therapy.

visual learners

Oh, those small ideas that keep on going and growing. Young, a UK design firm is creating a buzz with their blog, Learn Something Every Day. Odd little tidbits offered daily to make you look smart, or perhaps obscure. But clever, for sure.