Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Reasons to be Pretty

I have recently been seeing these posters popping up throughout the city - Reasons to be Pretty, a new play by Neil LaBute. The bold color, fonts and photos really catches your attention and stands out. A simple design but very effective - at first I wasn't sure about the font sizes getting bigger for the website but looking at it again it doesn't bother me and I feel like it works. Good design overall and does what it is supposed to do.

After I took a pic of the poster, I jumped onto their website for details  - You must watch the video that pops up there, they ask people about their body image, the answers are genuinely hilarious! It seems like a good original idea for a play. I'm not a person that goes to plays often but this one seems funny and interesting enough to make me go. If you want more information go to there website, it is all listed there. Maybe I'll do a review of it for a future post.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Outliers - The Story of Success. (Book Review)

The idea behind the book Outliers is to help people understand success. Explaining why/how certain people become successful, Mr.Gladwell, is convinced that our concept of success is wrong. "We," the public think that successful individuals (like Bill Gates, The Beatles, Mozart & Bobby Fischer) were all somehow fast tracked into being successful. That they were just geniuses and success just happened. You start the book by reading accounts of people's histories as well as facts & figures - all to demonstrate to the reader that it wasn't luck that made them successful, but hard work.

Here is my brief synopsis of the book. To be successful at certain sports, one would have to be born in the month of January to have an advantage. Hold on, on top of that you have to also put in 10,000 hours into your specific skill to be successful. Wait, if you come from a rich social class, that will help you become successful. Um... it seems that some cultural societies might/might not give certain people an edge over others and poor social communities might hold back individuals from reaching their full potential. Wait, wait, I have it now; being in the right place at the right time will make you successful. So maybe, it is just luck and not hard work that makes you successful. Or is it both? Now you understand how/why people become successful? No!

After reading all the facts, figures and testimonials it seems to me that this book never really answers the question it sets out. Like life, there is no simple answer. Too many variables come into play to make someone successful. Also, I for one have always believed people who became successful made it because they worked harder, were smarter, were given an opportunity and ran with it; not because it magically happened.

Other problems with the book are that the chapters progress abruptly - tons of information, figures, quotes and testimonials are all packed into each chapter. But it still all comes across disjointed. Another problem I had was the way Mr.Gladwell uses quotes/references from other articles and books. It is obviously very one sided - he uses supporting quotes that help him sell his heavy-handed view. While reading these "facts" that support his stories you get the feeling as though he left some things out that might contradict his point or better explain it.

Overall, I was disappointed with this book. I heard many great things about it, I tried to understand his points and kept hoping with each chapter that it would get better, but it never did.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Earth Hour 2009

Last night watching TV I saw an ad for Esurance - it seemed like their typical commercial, with their female cartoon spokeswoman. But this time, they weren't promoting their business, they were actually promoting Earth Hour, This peeked my interest and I jumped online to do some research to find out, what exactly is earth hour. Below is a brief description about Earth Hour from their website.

Earth Hour 2009 is a global call to action to every individual, every business and every community. A call to stand up, to take responsibility and to get involved in working towards a sustainable future. Iconic buildings and landmarks from Europe to the Americas will stand in darkness. People across the world will turn off their lights and join together in creating the vital conversation about the future of our precious planet.

We began as a campaign to get Sydneysiders to turn their lights off, it has grown to become one of the world's biggest climate change initiatives. In 2009, at 8:30pm on March 28, people around the world will turn their lights off for one hour - Earth Hour. We're aiming to reach one billion people, more than 1000 cities, all joining together in a global effort to show that its possible to take action on global warming. 

This is simple act that everyone can do. They're not asking for money, they are not asking you to show up to a rally - All they ask is on March 28 at 8:30pm turn off your lights for an hour. Go to their website and click on your local area and sign up.

(All images via,

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Yo Gabba Gabba - Good Fun Designed Kids Show

Unless you have kids you probably never heard of Yo Gabba Gabba - on Nickelodeon Jr. I don't have kids (but I am a fan) I discovered this show by accident back in 2006. Right away I could see the appeal to kids - vibrant colors, fun looking characters, crazy costumes and high energy.

The show itself has a "weird" 70's feel to it, yet at the same time, it is very modern. It is a mix of live action with animated shorts, music and added to the mix is old school rapper/beat boxer Biz Markie who does a segment called Beat Updates.

The show, as well as their website itself, have a great sense of design. Good, fun typography that doesn't come across as awkward or goofy. This is always hard to balance (using the right typeface but not have it look boring and "grown up"). The website is very kid friendly - easy and simple to navigate. Even their loading pages are colorful and active to keep their young viewers entertained until the page loads up. The shows set designs are minimal, colorful and effective. The segments inspire creativity and community. Overall, the show's designs reflect exactly the market they are after. Put simply, it works.

Recently, I read that Yo Gabba Gabba has gotten so popular with young kids that they have optioned it for a movie and toy deals. It's always good to see that good design and quality can still become popular. Plus, getting kids used to good design at a young age will hopefully make them more aware of it and demand it in the future.

Here are some sites related to the show, &

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

4 Lessons Learned from Swiss-Miss AIGA Design Remix Talk

1. The Swiss take design seriously & sometimes do something fun.
2. Inspire others and they will inspire you.
3. Do it because you love it.
4. Inspiration is everywhere you just need to open your eyes.

Go to her website and get your daily inspiration

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Please, Gucci & Chanel Only!

This has to be my new favorite stencil graffiti pieces. I discovered these little gems about 3 weeks ago behind a strip mall near my home. The top picture is the first time I noticed something peeking out above the trash. The intertwined letter C tipped me off - I quickly whipped out my cell phone and clicked away. I went back another day parked the car and headed to the dumpsters to actually get a close-up look. Went back a week later and  took the second picture - I received a many strange looks from passers-by, but I feel it was worth it. I like graffiti that has something to say and this is very appropriate for this economic time. 

Sunday, February 8, 2009


Forgot to mention last week about, KAWS's/Brian Donnelly new interview on CBS -Sunday Morning Show.  I woke up early yesterday to catch it, overall good interview. Wished they spoke to him in more detail about his graffiti, but they chose to focus more on his current work & paintings. Big fan of his graffiti, toys and artwork for years now,  The only thing that really shocked me was his age - he is only 34 years old? 

Thursday, February 5, 2009

2009 HOW Design Conference

If you have never gone to one of How's conferences you should really consider it. It's a good way to keep in touch with other designers as well as keep up to date with the design community in general. This year they have fifty speakers with a variety of panels, sessions and discussions. Check it out if you haven't already,

Monday, February 2, 2009

The Best Super Bowl Ads Recap ‘09

The Super Bowl ads this year, like most years are hit or miss. I decided not to waste time and list the bad commercials - but instead just focus on the good ones. I looked at them for creativity, humor and if it hit it's mark. - the recapping of the stages of grief at a job really got their message across loud and clear, in a very funny way. It made me laugh every time I saw the koala get punched in the face, "Oh My." - really strong commercial they made their point with no fluff at all. It was very direct and clever. - with Alec Baldwin, dead on seriously funny. He sold me on

Audi - with Jason Startham, executed and shot very well, kept me visually engaged. It was like a mini-film that clearly was on target.

Hyundai - car competitor bosses angry over Hyundai winning the car of the year. They made a statement with just a little bit of gloating. 

Coke Zero - (Mean Troy) - good update on the Mean Joe Green Coke commercial from the 1980's - I really liked the twist to it.

Doritos - (Crystal Ball) - all I can say about it is "stupid funny" but I liked it. It was unexpected and made me laugh.

NBC - (LMAO) - for a second during the commercial I didn't see which way they were going with it but then it all came together -Kudos to NBC.

Doritos - (Power of the Crunch) - Doritos brought their A-Game this year. Ludicrous idea that made for a good commercial.

Teleflora - I know, I know a lot of mixed reactions to this commercial but I found it funny. A very clear point they made - Don't buy boxed flowers! Does your loved ones care if she/he gets flowers in a box? I don't know but now this commercial will make them question it.

Cheetos - this was another commercial, I heard/read that people thought was creepy. Cheetos has been using this advertising campaign for almost a year now. It does have this mischievous slant to it but it is unique and effective for their brand. To me it seems it is targeted to a younger male demographic and maybe that's why people were on the fence with it.

Coke - (Heist) - different styled commercial for coke. It came across as whimsical, fun and creative. Point, point and point.