Archive for January, 2010

re:treat | helvetica cookie cutters

Because any self-respecting designer knows you can’t show up with cookies in Comic Sans or Souvenir. From Beverly Hsu.


oh, j.d.

It’s funny.  All you have to do is say something nobody understands and they’ll do practically anything you want them to.

~J.D. Salinger, The Catcher in the Rye, Chapter 21

design + coffee | an extra shot, please

From my new favorite blog, Dear Coffee, I love you. This spot on art was done by Brian W. Jones. Just to give credit (where it’s so clearly due), his studio website is Welcome Design. While you’re there, check out Pie Lab. And hold the cream, just the coffee please, with an extra shot. (first scouted at BB Blog)

Update: Poster credit goes to Adam Brackney at Workerman. T shirts available, too.

more awesome infographics

Does this negate the need for the 5 second rule?

From Flowing Data.

Also in the awesome category, Nelson Felton has documented every social interaction of 2009 in his personal annual report. He’s been doing this for years, and takes personal documentation to a new level. He claims the info was messy, but I can’t believe anything he ever did was messy. It’s organized, and beautiful, and just more than a little awe-inspiring.

From his website (

“Each day in 2009, I asked every person with whom I had a meaningful encounter to submit a record of this meeting through an online survey. These reports form the heart of the 2009 Annual Report. From parents to old friends, to people I met for the first time, to my dentist… any time I felt that someone had discerned enough of my personality and activities, they were given a card with a URL and unique number to record their experience.

I kept track only of who I gave survey invitations to, the number of the card and where it was given. The surveys answers were submitted via text forms, allowing the respondee to write whatever they desired, and leaving the task of making comparisons between the data up to me. I have used only this information to create the report, however accurate it may be. I have strived to sort and collate the data in a clinical and repeatable manner that could be reproduced by someone looking for the same stories I have selected.”

Now that is fun and cool and committed to using design to see things in a new way, wouldn’t you say?

buy:design | what’s the big idea?

I suspect the same conversation happens in every design studio. We drink coffee and someone says something clever (perhaps) and someone else says, “that would be great on a t shirt.” And later in the day, post afternoon latte run, someone designs something cool, and the fourth someone else says (again), “that would be great on a t shirt.” And repeat.

We said it. And we did it. We jumped in and opened a store, What’s The Big Idea, on We’ve been wanting to do this for years, and when we were working on our New Year’s promo, the time and opportunity created a giant Venn diagram of right-timeness.

We’re not sure where this new path will lead, but we’re hoping there is something good around the corner. For us, it’s about following our curiosity, taking things into our own hands, and creating something new and energizing and even fun (remember that? fun!). This blog started that way, and we’re trusting the process of discovery.

We’ve opened with two lines, 2010|The Year To Get It Done, and We have a clipboard and stack of folders full of ideas, and we’ll keep making stuff and hoping some of it will resonate with our friends, colleagues and  folks who stumble upon the shop. Heck, we might even use this social marketing thing for something besides announcing how we feel about the weather, the weekend and today’s sandwich.

So if you have a moment, click on over and check out the newest venture. Let us know what you think, and may we all brave the new year and the new decade and make something happen, like we know it can.

re:sources | feeding your inner-infographic geek

If you were raised on Edward Tufte, then your heart races when you see a great infographic. Perhaps even a small adrenaline rush when narrative, color, shapes and understanding all collide (or is that just me?).  And of course, one hit leads to another, and you want more. Pretty soon, every day you are seeking unexpected information presented in unexpected ways. Ah, the life of an infographic geek.

I’ve been doing some recognizance to feed my own habit, but also to help nourish yours. A daily dose, along with your coffee, extra strong please:

Chart Porn is compiled  by Dustin Smith, an economist in Washington DC. Visit for treats like this:

Chart Porn’s caption: An entertaining compendium of visualizations about the upcoming year, created for Chronogram Magazine. The magazine write-up included a wonderful self-denigrating statement from designer Jason Cring: “Cring believes infographic purists like information design guru Edward Tufte would be appalled. ‘Tufte’s very opinionated about the right and wrong ways to present information. He would not approve of any of this, I’m quite sure.’”

Chart Porn also brought us the Evolution of Crayola Color Chart (credited to

Randy Krum powers Cool Infographics. He collects graphics, sells posters and serves as a resource for those who love information. Clearly, he knows how much I love coffee.

One of my favorite sources is Good Magazine. Some of their most popular infographics of 2009 are here.

This season produce chart is interactive. Click on the chart to visit their site and play vegetable roulette.

And then, there is some stuff that’s just fun to know. Like the Chocolate Pie Chart from Mary and Matt.

And the very best seem to be the very simple:

(can’t identify the original source of this, though I’ve traced it through Swiss Miss, Design Crush, DSharp and fffound. It looks like it could have come from

buy:design | because who doesn’t want a set of floaty pens?

From Gama-Go, via Boing Boing.

I’ll take the sushi.