Category Design

Subway Syntax by HunterGatherer

Subway Syntax by HunterGatherer

Really enjoying this new project about New York City commuting called Subway Syntax, an ongoing series by HunterGatherer that puts words to your underground feelings about the daily slog. I’ve never experienced the pains of commuting in the Big Apple but THE HG team has brought a light hearted perspective to the matter with their combination of wooden figures with animated faces. Check out the video below to get a taste and then view the full range of shorts so far by clicking here.

And if you want to learn more about Todd St. John, the brains behind HunterGatherer, you should read this interview he did with Pilgrim Surf Supply. It’s kind of a long read but he’s an incredibly interesting guy so you definitely won’t get bored.

A video posted by Subway Syntax (@subwaysyntax) on

Sawdust continues to prove they’re the best studio for experimental type design

Sawdust studio - typography

London based design studio Sawdust, made up of Jonathan Quainton and Rob Gonzalez, are leading the way in type design and their new portfolio update proves it. Creating work for clients like Wired, IBM, Coca-Cola and more, their approach is more akin to art or illustration, beautifully communicating a bold message. I personally love the path they’re traveling because a lot of the pieces have a futuristic, somewhat alien feeling to them. I feel like I don’t see this style in editorial all that often and would love to see it pop up more frequently.

Sawdust studio - typography

Sawdust studio - typography

The Heinrich Manuever, a work of art in motorcycle form

The Heinrich Manuever, a work of art in motorcycle form

My knowledge of motorcycles is extremely limited though my appreciation is great. Their design, like the design of any product, can be akin to a work of art if done by the right people with great skills. I’d place the Heinrich Maneuver from Dues Ex Machina into that category, a fully customized BMW R nineT which now has a refined, futuristic feeling to it. From an aesthetic standpoint I liked this point they included about the color of the bike.

Colour was critical for the tank. Craftsmanship that deserved to be showcased, and the gloss white livery is a winner, leaving enough exposed alloy to highlight the hands on approach.

It’s all about the details. You can read more about Deus’ customization, or even order this bad boy for yourself, by clicking here.

The Heinrich Manuever by Deus Ex Machina

The Heinrich Manuever by Deus Ex Machina

The Heinrich Manuever by Deus Ex Machina

The Heinrich Manuever by Deus Ex Machina

SF Design Week’s 2015 campaign reflects the cities spirit

SF Design Week's new identity reflects a cities spirit

Attempting to capture the essence of a place, such as the city of San Francisco, must be a daunting challenge. What’s defines the city to you may not resonate with others. Character, one of the finest design firms in SF, has taken on such a challenge and succeeded with stunning results.

For this years San Francisco Design Week, the Bay Area’s largest design event, Character crafted a campaign called “Look Closer” which highlighted the idea that design is all around us, even if it’s not obvious. This message was exemplified by a four physical letters made from intricate frameworks fronted by mirrors.

Each letter was hand-fabricated and placed into an environment with a direct relation to the SF Design Community. Beacons of timeless design. Epicenters of commerce and innovation. Nature and places of preservation. The designs we make as designers reach far and wide as do their implications for the future.

SF Design Week's 2015 campaign reflects the cities spirit

SF Design Week's 2015 campaign reflects the cities spirit

SF Design Week's 2015 campaign reflects the cities spirit

While the large letters in their beautifully photographed surroundings may be the centerpiece the entire campaign is a treat. 99% of the time I’m not a fan of orange but that’s absolutely the perfect shade. The type is clean, legible, and confident and the whole endeavor feels exactly what you’d want a contemporary design week to feel like.

You can learn more about the campaign’s design by clicking here.

VR company Oculus focuses branding on a perfect new logo

New Oculus Brand/Logo

This morning my digital friend and talented designer Cory Schmitz posted some new work he collaborated on with Mackey Saturday, Nicolaus Taylor, & Jon Malkemus, a rebranded logo for Oculus. For those out of the loop, Oculus is a virtual reality headset manufacturer who’ve almost single-handedly pioneered the direct to consumer market. Paired with their recent acquisition by Facebook they’re preparing to change the way we think about VR.

With such an intrepid, cutting-edge company though you can’t have a logo like the one below. I mean, it’s fine, it’s an eye and you need your eyes to see VR, blah blah. But it’s too cliché and is lacking that feeling of “this is the future strap it on your head.”

Old Oculus Logo

On the other hand the new mark screams simple futurism. The oblong O is a perfect representation of not only the brand but a visually cues into the Oculus Rift hardware itself. In a world of iconic marks it’s amazing to me that I’ve never seen a mark like this before, or at the very least, there’s no other recognizable brand out there utilizing an O shape quite like this.

I believe this branding is pretty new as I haven’t been able to dig up much more information or find any additional photos. It will be interesting to see how the overall brand scheme comes together. Excellent work to start.

Oculus Rift

‘The Birth of Saké’, a new documentary exploring the venerable world of saké making

The Birth of Saké

I’m extremely intrigued by the upcoming documentary The Birth of Saké from director Erik Shirai. Previously having helmed the camera for Bourdain’s No Reservations , Shirai’s film focuses on the workers and production seasons at Tedorigawa, a fifth-generation, family-owned sake brewery in Ishikawa, Japan.

What the documentary highlights for me is the intense determination and amount of hard work that goes into creating something so seemingly simple. In an interview with Bon Appétit magazine Shirai describes the challenge of sake making.

What people don’t understand is that you can’t just make sake with machines and program everything. There are all of these variables because it’s a living thing. Things are changing based on the type of rice, the type of grain, how it was steamed. You have to be able to adapt and work with it. Only someone who has that experience can do that.

As you’ll see in the trailer the cinematography is incredibly well-done, capturing the quietness of the Japanese winter but also the frenetic pace and demand that the job requires. The level of quality is on par with the work of other contemporary film documentarians like Jiro Dreams of Sushi director David Gelb or the production team behind A Chef’s Life.

Instrument surveys the current state of home automation

Instrument surveys the current state of home automation

Slowly but surely our homes are getting smarter. There’s an app for your lightbulbs, your thermostat understands your temperature preferences, and monitor every corner of your home with the touch of a button. Portland based design firm Instrument have created an impressive survey of home automation gadgets and how they fit into the lives of Gen Y, Gen X, and our beloved Baby Boomers.

You may have heard of some of the items on this list but there were many there totally new to me. Have you heard of the Dyson 360 Eye? It utilizes “complex mathematics, probability theory, geometry and trigonometry to map and navigate a room.” Pretty sweet, right? It will also be interesting to see what’s announced at Apple’s WWDC event and see how they enter the fray. Will the Apple TV start being less TV and more hub of all Wi-Fi connected devices? We’ll know soon enough.

You can read Instrument’s entire list by clicking here.

Timeless copper and brass pens by ystudio


Like a lot of things these days, writing by hand is a “dying art form” that will soon cease to exist, just like books, newspapers, and records. I personally use a notebook everyday to keep track of all the things, which means I have a trusty pen that I take with me everywhere. Having the right writing instrument is pretty key, and these pens by ystudio have me drooling.

The Taiwan based shop has created a series of pens and mechanical pencils made from pure copper and brass. They’re definitely not cheap but you can imagine having these pens for years, if not your entire life. Plus the patina that’s built up with use is a beautiful demonstration of wabi sabi in action.

You can see their entire line-up by clicking here.

“Just focus on the cupcakes.” A satirical look at design studios and social media

Kimberly Harrington gets downright shady with this new piece in McSweeney’s titled, “Welcome to our design studio, where you’ll never see the light of day but you can bring your dog.” I’ve never personally worked in a design studio but this a great bit of satire which certainly hits on some (perceived) painful truths, especially for someone working as a social media manager.

Just a quick word on our creatives. You’ll notice that several of the designers have stacks and stacks of design books and publications on their desks, their Paul Rands, their Vignellis, and so on. This is great to capture. It makes the designers feel good because it allows them to think that one day they’ll also design an airline logo or redesign a subway wayfinding system or create timeless animated movie credits when in fact we all know that they’ll mostly be creating shitty animations in Keynote that only sales managers in the Midwest will see, and more importantly, not even give half a fuck about.