A Hidden Cubby Hole Of Chocolate: Compartés Opens In Melrose Place

Compartes Melrose Place Jonathan Grahm 6

Compartes Melrose Place Jonathan Grahm 5

In the world of cool, young chocolatiers in the United States, only a handful of names will come to mind because those are the only chocolates you see in stores. You have your Brooklyn old schoolers Mast Brothers, cool, mini-makers Woodblock Chocolate, glorified toffee treaters Alma, and the real San Francisco treat TCHO. One of the most important (and somewhat under the radar) makers is Los Angeles’ Compartes, an undoubtedly luxe and incredibly hip brand that eschews artisanal annoyances for no-hype-all-flavor sweets.

Compartes Melrose Place Jonathan Grahm 2

The brand has big news, too: they very recently expanded from a Brentwood storefront, adding a Melrose Place cubby hole hidden from street view (and technically within coffee shop Alfred). It’s an interesting triangular space designed by AAmp Studio that is most befitting of a chocolate store. The goods are a limited selection that include a wall of Love Nuts, a display of chocolate bars, and a glass case of truffles. Yet, that is irrelevant: the shop is an exercise in brevity and beauty, a quick stop into considered foodie charm.

Compartes Melrose Place Jonathan Grahm 3

The design details make the space. The main attraction is a conflicting tiled floor consisting of a black rectangle and triangular brick arrow that leads from the truffle bar to a corner of chocolate bars. A tension (and an eyeline) is created that brings the small room together. A wall of Love Nuts is arranged in a seemingly infinite gradient, placing you in a delectable loop almost demanding your trying each flavor of nut. The counter wisely features a giant logo that doesn’t overpower the room, instead adding a sophistication equivalent of a boutique hotel. If you want to hang for a while, indulging, a small cactus lined seating area is available under a gorgeous white neon sign in brand founder Jonathan Grahm‘s handwriting which reads “Chocolate Is Art.” And, in Compartés case, it really is.

It was a wise move for Compartés to add another location, expanding from their sleepy Brentwood headquarters to a trendy, busy Melrose location. The area may have difficulty in maintaining an identity but the design of the space is so crisp and pristine that it will outlive most of its surroundings. Who doesn’t like chocolate, either? The new Compartés is definitely cause for celebration.

Compartes Melrose Place Jonathan Grahm 4

Compartes Melrose Place Jonathan Grahm 7

Compartes Melrose Place Jonathan Grahm 1


October 28, 2014 / By

3 Rules For A Happy Designer by Gradiate

3 Rules For A Happy Designer

It’s important to keep a sense of perspective in your work and your life, and Gradiate’s 3 Rules For A Happy Designer are a few strong points we should all keep mind. For me, it’s his first point that really nails it.

1. It’s all bollocks and none of it really matters. Yes really. That stress about the thing that went really wrong, your burning desire to make this your best design ever that in turn makes you miserable, the argument about the late print, graphic design, none of this is what really really matters in life. Release yourself from that stress. No one is dying. It’s pixels, type and colour. Work hard, but enjoy it and relax.

You can read the other two points by clicking here.

Bobby Solomon

October 28, 2014 / By

Kustaa Saksi’s Bold, Colorful SS15 Collection for Marimekko

Kustaa Saksi for Marimekko SS15

I’ve been a long time fan of Finnish artist Kustaa Saksi and his organic-feeling, nature inspired work. It’s been fascinating to see the evolution he’s taken over the years, though his most recent work may just be some of my very favorite – a collaboration with the legendary Marimekko.

Finnish artist Kustaa Saksi makes his Marimekko debut in the collection with the fascinating Merivuokko (sea anemone) and Meriheinä (sea grass) prints that are seen as fabric, home textiles and tableware. The prints were inspired by the rhythm, colours and atmosphere of the sea floor that he has experienced during his scuba diving trips. The Merivuokko pattern depicts the depth and abstract, clear forms of the sea and details of its flora and fauna. The free, swaying vegetation of the sea floor and its organized chaos, on the other hand, gave rise to the light, ethereal and moving Meriheinä print.

I love the range that his work has hit, going from homewares to fashion. It shows the versatility of his creativity and how these unique patterns can be used for some many fascinating applications. I don’t think the collection is out quite yet, so the trick is figuring out how to get one of those pillows below…

Kustaa Saksi for Marimekko SS15

Kustaa Saksi for Marimekko SS15

Kustaa Saksi for Marimekko SS15

Kustaa Saksi for Marimekko SS15

Bobby Solomon

October 28, 2014 / By

Sophisticated Branding for Fort Point Beer Company by Manual

Fort Point Beer Company Branding by Manual

Crafting unique, standout labels for a new beer seems like an awesome challenge. Making sure that the brew stands out in a competitive market can be difficult as well as creating a look that feels unique and original. Manual, the SF based design firm, has struck gold with this sophisticated look for the Fort Point Beer Company, a craft brewery located in San Francisco’s Presidio.

The brewery resides in a historic Presidio building that was formerly used as an Army motor pool. Their iconic location—close to both the Golden Gate Bridge and the Fort Point National Historic Site—provided inspiration for a modular, illustrative brand identity. The result is a brand that locals can identify with and, as the brand grows and becomes available throughout the nation, can be regarded as the new San Francisco craft beer.

Fort Point Beer Company Branding by Manual

I’m a sucker for gold these days (my team will back this up) and the black, white, and tomato red color combinations really make me happy. The geometric patterns have a playful nature which remind me of the work of Mary Blair, and at the same time honors a San Francisco landmark.

Fort Point Beer Company

The choice of a Copperplate Gothic-esque font pairs well with the bold, geometric lines that make up the label. It has a feeling of being both contemporary yet classic, bringing to mind the early days of San Francisco. The overall branding is extremely charming and inviting, and when you see the bottle it certainly looks like something new that you want to try.

You can see more images from the project by clicking here.

Fort Point Beer Company Branding by Manual

Fort Point Beer Company Branding by Manual

Fort Point Beer Company Branding by Manual

Bobby Solomon

October 27, 2014 / By

Everyday Surrealism: Chuck Anderson’s Skillshare Class About Creating Art from Photos

Everyday Surrealism: Chuck Anderson's Skillshare Class About Creating Art from Photos

Chuck Anderson

Lately I’ve been really impressed with the creative photography that Chuck Anderson has been posting to his Instagram lately. The aesthetic blends surrealism and blown out lights and colors which make for a visual feast. Now he’s offering a course on how to do similar things with your own photos in this Skillshare class titled Everyday Surrealism: Creating Art from Photos.

Artist Chuck Anderson is known for his surreal, colorful aesthetic and the way he merges photography, design, and art. In this 45-minute class, join Chuck as he photographs 3 scenes—architecture, a still-life, and a landscape—and then transforms each into a collaged work of art using (amazingly) a single mobile app.

Throughout the class, Chuck shares his vision so that you understand the philosophy behind every technique. You’ll refine your eye as a designer, sensibility as a photographer, and imagination as an artist. Whether you want more experimental images for an upcoming exhibit, album cover, show poster, wall print, or even your Instagram feed, this class is the perfect combination of vision, technique, and real creativity.

Bobby Solomon

October 24, 2014 / By

Kitsuné Sheds Light on Fresh Talent with Kitsuné Maison 16


I have a special place in my heart for Kitsuné—years ago the label’s flagship compilation releases turned me onto entirely new genres of music. Their “Sweet Sixteen Issue,” the sixteenth iteration, is due out November 3rd. To celebrate, they’ve enlisted the likes of 23 different illustrators to come together in reimagining the series’ familiar album artwork. It’s a switch up for the music label/fashion brand/design shop, but certainly a welcomed one that’s sure to put a spotlight on a bunch of talented individuals.


Under the impulse of Gildas Loaëc and Masaya Kuroki, Maison Kitsuné was founded back in 2002. A trip to Japan inspired the two to unite their passions around a wholly single concept: a structure of multiple guises, combining fashion, music, and design. Since then they’ve firmly established themselves as a unique concept of trendy and modern luxury intermingled between fashion and music. Their boutiques now span from New York, to Paris, and Tokyo. Most recently they rocked the New York Fashion Week with their ‘Effortless French’ campaign and have begun opening cafés in France and Japan.


2005 saw the release of their first Compilation Kitsuné Maison. These mixes quickly came to people’s attention by signing the talent of artists like Simian Mobile Disco, Hot Chip, Two Door Cinema Club, Gossip, Digitalism, Cut Copy, and many more. To me, they’ve got an ear for upcoming talent and usually bring them to the scene before anyone else.



The music’s great and all, but what immediately managed to capture my attention about the compilation releases was the artwork. Created by co-founders, Åbäke, it’s visually simple but extremely striking. Save for some divergences here and there, the releases always feature the familiar line-art featuring the illustrated faces of that release’s musicians. Hey—if it’s not broke, don’t fix it, right?


This year they’re switching the artwork up with fresh new work composed of drawings by 23 exciting new illustrators scouted by the label. Each artist was founded on Instagram and asked to illustrate, in their own way, one of the sixteen musicians featured on the mix. Loaëc states “Maison 16 is more gentle and tender than its predecessors… [It’s] constantly morphing into new shapes and ideas.” Kitsune-Covers-6

You can view the complete artworks, as well as find links to the artists’ Instagrams, here. Come November 3rd you’ll be able to purchase the release here. Kitsune-Covers-7

Nick Partyka

October 23, 2014 / By

Peter Mendelsund Discusses Cover Design with NPR’s Fresh Air

Peter Mendelsund

World-class book cover designer Peter Mendelsund recently sat down with Fresh Air‘s Dave Davies to speak about his craft. The interview covers the why of a book jacket, why dead authors get the best covers, and the future of physical books. My favorite part was his anecdote on the process he goes through when he designs a cover. We should all beware creating “Frankenstein” designs.

DAVIES: And typically, how many versions will you make up?

MENDELSUND: Before I’ll show a jacket, I’ll tend to make a hundred and up various versions of a jacket for it. And that’s before I show in to an editor or an author. And when I show something, I tend to show one – the one that I think really works. I tend not to show multiple options because that sort of engenders confusion in people. And then there’s this kind of – there’s this kind of thing that happens where people look at the various things you’ve made, and they want to pull the aspects of the various comps that they like and put them together in kind of a – into a kind of a Frankenstein jacket. You know, take the color from this one. And the type from that one. And the imagery from that one. Can you make something out of that? One of the interesting things about jackets is that the material isn’t really transposable in that way. You know, one jacket works well with those components. You know, you bring in a different color, and all of a sudden, everything falls to pieces. So I like to show one thing only when I show the client.

Bobby Solomon

October 22, 2014 / By