Date Archives June 2014

Miniio – Making Dolls’ Houses With A Difference

Miniio - A Dolls House With A Difference

I didn’t think I’d be posting about dolls’ house this week on The Fox Is Black but I really couldn’t pass up an opportunity to share these delightful creations by Polish company Miniio. Inspired by the Bauhaus and Brazilian architect Marcio Kogan; Miniio’s creations feel like a breath of fresh air in a world of flashy, plastic toys and garish pink dolls’ houses.

Miniio - A Dolls House With A Difference

Miniio - A Dolls House With A Difference

These designs brush aside the cliched gender stereotypes so often seen in the world of toys and instead focus on producing beautifully crafted models and smartly thought out designs.

Miniio - A Dolls House With A Difference

The project is the brainchild of two mums from Warsaw who like to take play seriously. They seek inspiration in the best grown-up designs, materials and solutions and then they make it smaller. Everything they do is finished by hand and the results are terrific. If you’re a hip parent I can imagine this is something you’d love to have in your kids playroom!

More information on Miniio and their modernist designer furniture and dolls’ houses can be found on their website.

Five Fonts for Summer

Five Fonts for Summer

The arrival of any season brings a number of design trends from colors and shapes and type. Summer is hear so it’s time for warmer colors and to drop your serifs. I’ve selected five examples of display type and trends I’d like to see gracing designs this time of year.



1. Thirsty Soft – This is my top pick for summer and one of the best scripts I’ve seen in a long time. Thirsty Soft by Yellow Design Studios (add these guys to your watch list) is a vintage-inspired font family with  kick-ass ligatures and works as both retro and contemporary display type.  It comes with six different weights, shadow layers and a handful of other features in addition to a particularly beautiful ampersand. It’d make for great summer advertising and signage and I could picture it advertising some frozen treat or lemonade out on a boardwalk.



2. Roccia – An experimental sans by Mark Oggian available on Ten Dollar Fonts. I’m not a huge fan of the alternative geometric sans trend because I think it can get to be too much, too quickly and fear people will abuse it but I don’t mind it sparingly. I think Roccia hits the right notes with it’s decorative glyphs. I find it gives off a bit of a summer music festival vibe and could easily see it on gig posters as well as striking display type in magazines.


3. Supernett – A fun, handwritten sans by Georg Herold Wildfellner. It’s playful without being obnoxious. It looks great in all weights, especially light. It works for anything outdoorsy or green. It can have an organic feel if it’s played the right way. ATCTimberline_SummerFont

4. ATC Timberline – A fresh release from Avondale Type Company, which I featured on my foundries to watch post a little while back. These guys are churning out typefaces with ease and their new, ultra-wide sans makes for nice type for more serious, summer designs. It’d also work as a nice secondary typeface.



5. Knewave – This brush type from Tyler Fincke has been around for a few years on League of Moveable Type but this is exactly what I picture when I think of type and summer. I simply could not leave it off this list. It screams beach and surf magazine spread. It’s bold and a bit haphazard while still maintaining a lot of uniformity.

Robert Crumb’s ‘A Short History of America’

Robert Crumb's 'History of America'

Kyle and I speak often about gentrification and some of the effects it causes. You might view it as helping neighborhoods look better or you might see it as kicking people out of their homes. Either way it made me think about Robert Crumb’s A Short History of America which illustrates how the country has progressed over the last 100 years. It would be interesting to see how he’d update the street for 2014. In some respects you have areas like Brooklyn which have been completely gentrified, but you also have areas of Detroit where neighborhoods have been neglected and abandoned.

You can see a high-res version of the illustration by clicking here.

Fun and Psychedelic Illustrations from London’s DogBoy


Dogboy is the name that London-based illustrator Philip Huntington works under. I’ve been loving his illustrations ever since I saw one of them on the cover of a flyer for a late-night opening at London’s V&A (above). While his bio is quick to point out that his work process “does not involve experimentation with mind-altering substances”, it’s clear to see that the language of psychedelia has clearly made a way into the crazy alternative reality he creates.

DogBoy frequently works on personal projects and produces work for independent magazines. If you like what you see here make sure to head over to his site and see some more of his work.


Dogboy - Audiovision



Google’s Street Art Project is a Step in the Right Direction for Graffiti


Google’s Paris-based Cultural Institute has recently launched a database called the Street Art Project. This initiative features street art from across the globe, much of which no longer exists. Working alongside various cultural organizations worldwide, and putting to use their very own Street View, the Cultural Institute and subsequent Street Art Project is making these public works increasingly more public, democratizing art, and chronicling it’s contemporary impact for the future. It’s one of those projects that makes Google hard not to love.


The Google Cultural Institute, founded in 2011, is composed of a staff around 30 engineers. It’s a project that’s documenting the physical and bringing it to the web for the public to access. They want users to be able to view the Art Projects, Historical Moments, and World Wonders that have shaped our world, from the comfort of your home. As of now, they’ve already helped create online archives for historic figures, such as Nelson Mandela, or used Street View to provide renderings of World Heritage sites. But what really grabs my attention is the focus they’re placing on graffiti—handling it with the respect and admiration that is traditionally associated with works found in museums or on gallery walls.


“I’m not treating street art as anything different from what I would do with the Impressionist collection I’m getting on Art Project,” said Amit Sood, director of the Cultural Institute. The Street Art Project is sister to the Art Project, another Cultural Institute initiative that has provided technical support to more than 460 museums and helped in bringing their collections to the web for all to see.


The Street Art Project is searchable by artists, city, genre and other categories. Not only does it consist of current art viewable in the public, but it also documents much of which that doesn’t exist anymore. Of the 30 institutions that have furnished the platform with images is the Museum of the City of New York; the Dallas Contemporary; Living Walls: The City Speaks in Atlanta; and the Museum of Street Art in France.


On one side, Google is helping bring street art to a more respectable level. On the other, it’s perpetuating what street art already encompasses, that is public art in the public space. The New York Times encapsulates this in stating, “Google is formalizing what street art fans around the world already do: take pictures of city walls and distribute them on social media.” It’s an effort to make art more available to viewers, a public domain gone more public, and it’s fascinating to see it happen thanks to the developments of technology and the culture-bridging, border-crossing abilities of the internet.


Shepard Fairey stated that, “I’ve always used my street art to democratize art, so it would be philosophically inconsistent for me to protest art democratization through Google.” Street art often comes with a bad rep, where people have a hard time distinguishing it from vandalism.


Lois Stavsky, who runs Street Art NYC says that most artists like the idea of of enabling more people to view their work. Especially the Street Art Project’s potential to preserve work. Take 5Pointz for example, the famous NYC graffiti landmark that was whitewashed last year. Working alongside the Cultural Institute, Stavsky sorted through hundreds of 5Pointz photos to uploaded several to Google’s new platform—making a location available to thousands that otherwise would’ve never had the opportunity to see.


As is expected from a company like Google, the platform itself is designed to utilize the web’s functions and perform smoothly. It’s intuitive and features a bunch of interesting features, from documentaries to dipping into street view to have a look at building’s interiors. Perhaps the most innovative feature is a special camera they used to document certain pieces (such as VHILS who’s famous for sculpting work into walls), allowing users to zoom in and take a closer look in stunning clarity.


Tranquil shots of Nature in Miren Pastor’s ‘Bidean’

Bidean Miren

Sometimes it’s nice to encounter work where you don’t know the full story. This is the case with Bidean; a beautiful series of images from Madrid-based photographer Miren Pastor. Pastor’s work explores open fields and deep recesses. Her images are bathed in a beautiful light where nature seems to either be dawning a new or where the sun is slowly taking its final crawl across our planet. Whatever state these images are captured in, it’s hard not to get swept up in their lush beauty.

More images from the series can be found on Pastor’s website with a series of words in Spanish.

Bidean Miren

Bidean Miren

Bidean Miren

Bidean Miren

Los Angeles Stories: Design Edition

Los Angeles Stories: Design Edition

This Thursday June 26 I’ll be hosting Los Angeles Stories, a special storytelling night put on by TFIB sister site, Los Angeles, I’m Yours. Each month the stories focus on my beautiful city of Los Angeles but each of the stories will be design related in honor of the Los Angeles Design Festival, which is happening this month.

Jon Setzen, Creative Director and the man who makes CreativeMornings happen in Los Angeles.
• Bobby Solomon, creative director at disney and the dude behind The Fox Is Black.
Peter Zellner, fantastic local architect and former LAIY cover man.
Kyle Fitzpatrick, writer and editor of art, design, and food culture site Los Angeles, I’m Yours.

We’re super stoked for this. Can’t wait to see you next Thursday! Make sure to reserve a ticket here.

Looking at Future Classics Part 2: Panama’s ‘Always’ EP


Future Classic casts a wide net of sounds, certainly. While we can say they’re purveyors of contemporary dance music, they seem to also get into Australia’s burgeoning synth pop / rock scene. This draws from a lot of different resources – shimmering electro-pop, gritty grungy roots, and that inevitable influence of the sun reflecting off the ocean. No music (or art, for that matter), exists outside its influences or environment, and Jarrah McCleary’s project, Panama, synthesizes the sea and sky into a digital backdrop. McCleary emerged from Darwin, Australia, moved to Perth and then then Sydney. Somehow he found himself starting Panama in Los Angeles. ‘Always’ is their second EP, recorded in San Francisco, a glimpse into their growing indie electronic career.

Comprised of three tracks and three remixes the EP could feel like a truncated examination or even incomplete. The title track, light, airy and breezy, will be the backdrop of so many summer make-outs and road trips. The lyrics betray someone being forced outside of their shell, “Deep down you said I’m a coward when it comes to love / Deep down your words changed my mold.” The second track, “How We Feel,” remains upbeat with that now-classic Australian indie house sound. “Destroyer” fits in the classic 80s synth pop update, moody and pulsating. The EP ends with 3 remixes, “Always” getting treatment by Classix and Wave Runner while “Destroyer” getting touched up by Cosmos. But for me? That remix by Classix is unreal, funkify-ing an already intoxicating rhythm. It’s my early favorite for the 2014 epic mixtapes (including my own) and that-song-you-want-to-give-your-lover. Panama may be a young project but it’s the product of adventure and travel, captivating like the road and the ephemeral moments on it.