Category Design

My Favorite “Coffee Shop”: Go Get Em Tiger

My Favorite "Coffee Shop": Go Get Em Tiger

As designers we tend to glamorize coffee. It’s the “fuel” for our projects, it’s the drink that keeps us motivated late at night. Perhaps you could even say we fetishize it. I’d add to the cult of coffee that we all have our favorite places we love to visit. That one shop that knows you, that knows your drink of choice, that with a glance makes you feel at home.

For me that spot is Go Get Em Tiger, a newish coffee shop that only opened last June but is already seen as one of the best in LA. It’s also the sister site of G&B Coffee which is located in the now trendy Grand Central Market which was named one of the Hot 10 places in America by Bon Appetit. Together they’re doing coffee a little differently, and it’s the little things that really matter.

My Favorite "Coffee Shop": Go Get Em TigerPhoto by @alwaysjudging

I would say the immediate difference between GGET and other coffee shops is the general vibe of the place. Rather than wait in line you belly up to a bar, first come first serve, which makes it a much more casual affair. It also helps if you’re a regular, and within seconds someone can swing by and ask if you want your usual. They’re also seating inside and out, dogs are totally welcome, most of the time the doors are always open, and it’s pretty consistently bright inside the space thanks to the big, west facing windows.

My Favorite "Coffee Shop": Go Get Em TigerPhotos by @candacesmkim & @lifeserial

Their ability to pull espresso shots is impeccable, in fact their barista Charles Babinski recently won the 2015 South West Regional Barista Competition, so you can only imagine the level of quality that’s being served. I’m a purist personally and only order the sweet latte. It’s what you’d think it is, a latte, hot or iced, that’s been sweetened with agave, which gives it a much more mild sweetness compared to artificial sweeteners.

My Favorite "Coffee Shop": Go Get Em TigerPhotos by @ccllim_jy & @jarliek

My Favorite "Coffee Shop": Go Get Em TigerPhoto by @monicais

Overall, Go Get Em Tiger gets all the details right. The perfect drinks, the perfect space, the perfect staff who know how to make you feel welcome. The next time you’re in Los Angeles, this is the place to go.

Go Get Em Tiger
230 N Larchmont Blvd
Los Angeles, CA 90004

My Favorite “Design Studio”: Anagrama

My Favorite "Design Studio": Anagrama

You’d think choosing a favorite design studio of the year would be a challenge but honestly it wasn’t. In my mind there was one studio that stood above the rest, who with every project released fascinating, exhilarating, envy-inducing work again and again. For me the obvious choice was Mexico based Anagrama.

My Favorite "Design Studio": Anagrama

My Favorite "Design Studio": Anagrama

In the last year they’ve finished 37 projects (that I can see on their site) and each is of such a high caliber that it’s nearly impossible to pick favorites (but I will). You have projects like their work for Very, a real estate brand that feels like pure luxury. It’s minimally branded with a custom serif logo that’s quite beautifully paired with a shiny copper and lots of black. Or take a look at their work for Vivana, a super foods brand that they created packaging for. Yet again they took a (super) minimal approach that features the ingredients front and center on white which communicates clearly the purity and naturalness of what’s inside.

My Favorite "Design Studio": Anagrama

My Favorite "Design Studio": Anagrama

A recent favorite is the work they did for a Mexican beer company Cervecería de Colima. The type for each of the bottles gives each it’s own unique vibe, but the muted color palette for the labels ties the brand together. Literally topping off each bottle is a vibrant bottle cap that comes in stunning shades of turquoise, magenta, and yellow. Their restraint with color is found in many of their projects though I feel that this one is done superbly.

I’m excited to see what the next year hold’s for the team at Anagrama. The work they’re doing inspire me to push further and to experiment with branding in design, showing me that I should push my team and the teams I work with to try new and exciting things. If the world had more studios like Anagrama our lives would be filled with so many more beautiful things and places.

My Favorite "Design Studio": Anagrama

My Favorite "Design Studio": Anagrama

My Favorite "Design Studio": Anagrama

My Favorite "Design Studio": Anagrama

My Favorite "Design Studio": Anagrama

My Favorite “Designer as Teacher”: Aaron Draplin Builds A Logo In 10 Minutes

Aaron Draplin Builds A Logo In 15 Minutes

Portland based designer Aaron Draplin is well-known for his straightforward attitude and no-nonsense sense of design. You could even describe him as a “champion” for the design community, a person who has an immense output of quality designs, and by all accounts I’ve heard, one of the nicest and most supportive folks on earth.

Last week he took‘s logo design challenge, creating a really simple, strong mark in less than 10 minutes. He walks you through his process and his reasoning which gives you a fascinating look at how he gets from nothing to something. His confidence and the easy way he demonstrates his work makes you feel like you should go out and make 100 logos on your lunch hour. Love this guy.

Miito Reimagines The Electric Kettle Into An Artful Object For Your Kitchen Counter

Miito Reimagines The Electric Kettle

Nils Chuda and Jasmina Grase have taken an interesting way to boil water, induction heating, and applied it to their creation, Miito.

Miito is an innovative product that heats liquids directly in the vessel to be used, hence eliminating the heating of excess water. Simply fill your cup with water, place it onto the induction base and immerse the rod in the liquid. The induction base heats the rod, which then heats the liquid surrounding it. Miito works with non-ferrous vessels of any size, for example a pot of tea when inviting guests. Miito can also heat your soup or milk for a coffee. The clean shape of the rod allows it to be cleaned easily.

Miito Reimagines The Electric Kettle

While not being a new concept the application of inductive heating with the elegant form of Miito is what excites me. There’s nothing more you need for an idea like this. The base and metal stem are elegant forms that achieve the goal of boiling without any other pieces necessary. In my mind it’s almost so elegant that it presents itself as a piece of art for your kitchen counter.

Unfortunately this seems to be only a prototype for now. I know if it were a real product I’d definitely snag one of these.

Miito Reimagines The Electric Kettle

Pantone’s 2015 Color of the Year… Marsala?

Pantone's 2015 Color of the Year... Marsala?

Pantone has released their color of the year for 2015, Marsala. Here’s how they describe the color.

Much like the fortified wine that gives Marsala its name, this tasteful hue embodies the satisfying richness of a fulfilling meal while its grounding red-brown roots emanate a sophisticated, natural earthiness. This hearty, yet stylish tone is universally appealing and translates easily to fashion, beauty, industrial design, home furnishings and interiors.

To put it ineloquently… yuck. This reminds me of the late 90’s, mandarin collar button-ups, vineyard themed kitchens. It’s dried blood, it’s wine stains, it’s the color of regret. I’m also not a fan of the name which makes me think of Chicken Marasala. While it’s a delicious dish, it’s quite ugly from an aesthetic standpoint.

Also, what’s going on with the scandalous photo shoot below? This is taken directly from the Pantone site. Does the idea of a ménage à trios help to sell a color?

Pantone's 2015 Color of the Year... Marsala?

Warm Your Hearth and Home Digitally with Yule Log 2.0

Warm Your Hearth and Home Digitally with Yule Log 2.0

Yule Log is a website composed of a collection of short films created by illustrators, animators, directors, and creative coders, that wants to bring back the age old X-mas tradition. The site’s creator, Daniel Savage, did a version last year as well which was equally great. I’d rather put one of these fine pieces of art on my TV rather than watch A Christmas Carol on repeat for 24 hours.

Below are a few of my favorites.

The Ultimate Spot to Relax? Take A Look At The Wood Clad Grotto Sauna

The Grotto Sauna by Partisans Is The Ultimate Place To Relax

Cold weather and rainy rain is finally upon us here in LA and all I want to do is stay inside and keep warm. Nothing sounds nicer that spending some time relaxing in a sauna, but to be quite specific, this incredibly designed Grotto Sauna by Partisans. It’s the combination of incredible materials, the 3d sculpted and fabricated interiors, and of course the stunning view.

The site is a prehistoric large-scale rock formation, and understanding it intimately was the first step toward architecture. The selected concept prescribed a solid, simple presence on the exterior, while the interior followed dynamic air movements in curvature forms; requiring design solutions. Challenging the standards of current practices in the construction industry, we worked directly with a millwork and steel fabrication partner on every detail. Together, we developed a new process of fabrication; utilizing state of the art 3-D technology to scan, model and build the Grotto.

Please take me there now.

The Grotto Sauna by Partisans Is The Ultimate Place To Relax

The Grotto Sauna by Partisans Is The Ultimate Place To Relax

The Grotto Sauna by Partisans Is The Ultimate Place To Relax

Sweden Enlists Söderhavet to Design A National Typeface


How do you brand a country? A hard task, to say the least. Hot on the tails of Bobby’s post on Norway’s exceptional passport and currency design, another country has been catching the eye’s of designers: Sweden. This year, Stockholm-based design firm, Söderhavet, took on the challenge of reimagining their home country’s identity. The whole package is clean, modern, and oozes Scandinavia, but to me the most important part of which is the typeface they designed. It’s about time countries start putting more emphasis on type to aid in creating a national identity, because the ones that have done so in the past (Switzerland) have come to see phenomenal results.


Nations are most quickly recognizable through their anthems, music, and food. But perhaps most important to a nation’s identity is the flag. There’s an old saying in design that specifically relates to branding, “if it works in black, it will work in color.” Yet, apply this to most flags and you’re left with unrecognizable monochrome results. This won’t do, there needs to be more to a country’s look. In redesigning Sweden’s image, Söderhavet went a step beyond and created a national typeface inspired by Swedish signs of the 1950s. They named that typeface “Sweden Sans”, a modern, geometric sans serif font.


“Aesthetics are very important in Sweden and we have a long tradition of great architecture, furniture and design – so this was the natural next step,” said type designer Stefan Hattenbach of Söderhavet, who worked on the font. “It was a big responsibility to be representing our country, but we were really proud to be asked.”


To create the typeface, the designers started with the Swedish flag. “We started to think about how it would work with different typefaces, then started mood boards with different fonts and pictures—especially of old Swedish signs we’d seen from the 1940s and 50s,” says Jesper Robinell, Söderhavet’s head of design. Six months later they were left with the clean, classic, minimal typeface that reflects Sweden. Little touches, like the capital Q’s tail pointing downward instead of slanting to the right, add a touch of modernity and originality to the concept.

Soderhavet-Sweden-11 Soderhavet-Sweden-12Soderhavet-Sweden-3

Not only did the team capture the look of Sweden, but they also captured the nation’s attitude. One of my favorite words in Swedish is lagom, meaning ‘not too much and not too little,’ something in the middle of being content. It’s a word, that as far as I have come to understand, more or less reflects the attitude of Sweden’s people. Hattenbach explains that, “lagom is what we’ve aimed for with Sweden Sans… It’s all about Scandinavian minimalism. If they notice the typeface too much, it hasn’t worked.” Success, if you ask me.


Sweden is far from the first country to employ a national font because Switzerland has been doing so since the 60s. Their branding goes beyond an emblem, a color, or a national dish, but is instead immersed into the writing and language of the nation. What am I talking about? Helvetica, of course.


Helvetica comes from Helvetia, the female national personification of the Swiss Confederation, and is an integral component of the International Typographic Style that swept the face of 20th-century graphic design. From train timetables to bank notes, the Swiss have accepted and employed this clean, simple character set with great success. Not only does it concisely reflect the nation’s identity, but it is recognized and used worldwide, working the front lines of Switzerland’s soft power.

Soderhavet-Sweden-8 Soderhavet-Sweden-9

So, how do you brand a country? As Söderhavet and Switzerland have taught us, you need to think beyond a flag or colors. Consider application, as it’s your best means to having the concept used, remembered, and adopted by citizens.

You can find Sweden Sans for download here, as well as guidelines for working with the Swedish brand.