’10 Seconds': The Process of Hand-made Neon Signage

The more digital our lives become the more we start to value the things that are made by hand. Mike Heist is a beautiful example of this, a Portland artist who has been working with neon for over 30 years.

The Pressure, the studio of Adam Garcia, produced this video of Mike, showcasing his fascinating process. The sign, designed by Garcia, was a component of the event branding for the AIGA Portland event “Design and Happiness,” a lecture by Stefan Sagmeister during Design Week Portland.

'10 Seconds': The Process of Making Hand-made Neon Signage

'10 Seconds': The Process of Making Hand-made Neon Signage

Bobby Solomon

October 7, 2014 / By

Always Play Amongst Friends: A Friends of Type Exhibition at Poketo

Always Play Amongst Friends: A Friends of Type Exhibition at Poketo

For those who are in Los Angeles you should take the time to stop by Poketo on Thursday for their most recent pop-up with the fantastic Friends of Type. The exhibition will include eight exclusive framed letterpress prints printed by San Francisco based boutique print house Aesthetic Union—two prints per each Friends of Type artist, each a limited edition of 25. The guys have been posting sneak peeks on their Instagram and the work is looking sharp as usual.

When: Thursday, October 9th, 2014, 6-8pm
Where: Poketo Flagship, 820 E. 3rd Street, Downtown LA
More Info Here

Bobby Solomon

October 6, 2014 / By

The Cat’s Meow: Suiyoubi no Neko Can Design by Yo-Ho Brewing

Suiyoubi no Neko by Yo-Ho Brewing

Last week I came upon this lovely packaging for Suiyoubi no Neko beer which is crafted by the Yo-Ho Brewing. I think the patchwork cat on the can couldn’t be more charming with a striking color palette that’s sure to catch your eye. This is but one of a series of great looking beers Yo-Ho is brewing, Serious Eats has a great rundown from last year of their line-up, which shows their care of both flavor and design.

Also of note last week was Kirin’s announcement that it would be purchasing a 30%-plus stake in Yo-Ho Brewing, showing that craft brewing is clearly the way to a larger market share. Still, the major Japanese beer producers, Kirin, Asahi, Sapporo, Santori, make up 98% of the beer market in Japan. It will be interesting to see if more small breweries are snatched up by the big guys to earn more cultural cool points.

Bobby Solomon

October 6, 2014 / By

David Benjamin Sherry’s Mono-Color Landscapes Are Far From Monotonous


New York’s illustrious photography gallery, Danziger, has inaugurated its new space at 521 West 23rd Street with the first NYC showing of David Benjamin Sherry’s mono-color landscapes. Featuring a series of photographs that Sherry shot over the course of 2013 and 2014, it’s a heartfelt look at the world in a post modern sense. Having turned classic American landscapes into panoramas of vast and vivid color, Sherry’s renditions reminds us the importance of color in design and how much it can influence the perception of your work. The body of work is stunning and its presentation falls inline with the recent release of Sherry’s book.


David Benjamin Sherry was born in 1981 in Woodstock, NY and currently lives and works out of Los Angeles. Having received his BFA from Rhode Island School of Design and his MFA from Yale University, he has seen much success and presented forth an impressive body of medium challenging work. I’ve heard him referred to as the modern day Ansel Adams. If that’s not saying a lot, then I don’t know what is.


You can view his art as a part of the permanent collections at the Wexner Center of the Arts, Columbus, Ohio, Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), and the Saatchi Collection, London. Sherry’s most recent success occurred just last month, where he published Earth Changes in collaboration with Mörel Books, London. The book challenges categorical photography ideologies and questions photography’s truth.


In his latest, Sherry used a traditional handmade wooden camera and shot with the beloved f/64 aperture (admired by classics like Edward Weston and the aforementioned Adams). Sherry adds his signature chromogenic hues by then altering the film in the darkroom. These exaggerated hues are simultaneously surreal, monochrome, and painterly.

Sherry-Danziger-2 Sherry-Danziger-11

Often acidic and futuristic, they implore the viewer to question the classic landscapes and the role of nature in the world, or rather, what role we have towards nature. This work demonstrates that Sherry is not only a master of bold, sensual color, but also exploration, as seen by the West and SouthWestern American landscapes he reimagines. He portrays geological phenomena such as rock formations and sand dunes with those vivid and unexpected colors, which are a departure from their natural presentation.

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Strolling through the gallery you begin to feel a rhythm to the show, as directed by Sherry’s syncopated palettes of color. It’s a direct engagement with the viewer and an invitation to turn the mind’s eye inward. Sherry’s landscapes remind us, without preaching, of the inherent value that exists in nature—what it offers, what it represents, and ultimately, its ability to connect us to a broader experience. You can even goes as far as concluding that the tones, in combination with the landscapes, are critical of mankind’s relationship to recent climate change.

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike… This natural beauty – hunger is made manifest … in our magnificent National Parks … Nature’s sublime wonderlands, the admiration and joy of the world.”
– John Muir


I could probably take a page from Sherry’s book and not be so preachy about our relationship with Earth, but seeing works such as the photographs on show at Danziger fill me with passion and insight that I can’t resist. It’s so refreshing to see artists such as Sherry take another look at such a classic and beloved medium, and stock it loaded with contemporary commentary. A must see.

Sherry’s work is on show till October 25th. If you’re unable to drop by, you can order his new book here.

Nick Partyka

October 1, 2014 / By

Ambient Noise Makes Us More Creative

Ambient Noise Makes Us More Productive

My favorite place to work is a noisy, busy coffee shop, specifically, the Intelligentsia in Silver Lake. It’s never not busy, there are always a flood of trust fund kids, yippy dudes with beards writing their screenplays, and the occasional asian tourist snapping photos of the beautifully done Barbara Bestor designed space. Yet with this flood of noise and distraction it’s really the place where I feel like I can focus. The noise to me acts as an enveloping blanket, allowing me to focus singularly on the task in front me.

Thankfully I’m not alone in my admiration for ambience as this 99U piece points out the benefits of noise and how it increases creativity.

Specifically, they separated the participants into four groups and asked all four groups to complete a Remote Associates Test, a commonly used test of creative thinking that asks test-takers to find the relationship between a series of words that appear unrelated. Each of the groups was subjected to a different level of background noise (50 decibels, 70 decibels, 85 decibels, and total silence). When they scored each person’s test, the researchers found that those in the 70 decibel group, exposed to a moderate level of ambient noise, significantly out-performed those in the other three groups. The background noise boosted their creative thinking.

I like that they also included some ambient noise apps as well in case it might be, you know, like midnight and your local coffee shop is closed.

Bobby Solomon

September 30, 2014 / By

Designer Matt Chase Creates Powerful Graphics That Are More Like Pieces of Art

Matt Chase

Last week I had the pleasure of meeting designer/illustrator Matt Chase at a meet-up over beers. Curious to see his work I was excited to see that he does fantastic work around editorial illustration and publication design. His work is highly stylized and full of graphic punch, illustrating strong messages with only the minimal elements necessary. You can see that he’s been influenced by some of the great designers out there but I feel like he brings his own unique touches to his pieces.

If you dig his work you can purchase some of them (like the beautiful piece above for The Great Gatsby) over in his shop. The sprinkle popsicle skateboard deck is calling my name.

Matt Chase

Matt Chase

Matt Chase

Matt Chase

Bobby Solomon

September 29, 2014 / By

Ambio, A Stylishly Designed Lamp Filled With Bioluminescent Bacteria

Ambio, A Modern Lamp Filled With Bioluminescent Bacteria

Fusing nature and technology is an interesting practice. Biomimetics is sure to be a field ripe with potential in the near future though a few intrepid designers are already start to spearhead the way. Teresa van Dongen, an Amsterdam based designer who also studied Biology at the University of Amsterdam, hasn’t gone completely biomimetic but you can see the principles in her Ambio light. The “lamp” is filled with a glowing bacteria that was collected from octopi, which when shaken lights up with a beautiful blue tone.

Ocean waves glowing blue in the dark of night, anyone who has ever experienced this knows how magical it looks. The phenomenon is caused by bioluminescent bacteria in seawater that emit light in response to oxygen and movement. This principle inspired me to combine my passion for design and biology in a bioluminescent light installation.

It’s a pretty great idea that certainly has potential for using nature as a source of light. If someone can figure out how to keep the bacteria alive in the glass tube, or create a synthetic version of the bacteria (whatever that might mean) you could imagine these as potential night lights. The physical design of the lamps are also aesthetically beautiful as well, truly adding to the beauty of the idea.

Ambio, A Modern Lamp Filled With Bioluminescent Bacteria

Bobby Solomon

September 25, 2014 / By

Barnes & Webb Employ a Creative Solution to Help the Honeybees


You may have noticed that bees have been popping up here and there and the Fox is Black recently. Why? Quite simply: they’re important, not only to our own well-being but for that of the greater Earth too. Unfortunately in recent years their numbers have been dropping and their environments disrupted. Barnes & Webb of London have come up with a wholly creative solution that attempts to mitigate the issue. Their service offers bees right in your backyard and all the delicious honey that comes with doing so. What grabbed my attention was their detail to design, branding, and the arts, as they cleverly combine the three in order to uplift their service and aid the honeybee’s plight.


Apes curamus et nos curant (we look after honey bees and they look after us); the tiny insects are integral to the environment but also economies. In the past 60 years, the number of honeybee colonies has fallen drastically from six million to two-and-a-half million present. According to the US Department of agriculture, one mouth in three benefits from honeybee pollination. That’s huge. How huge? As of June, President Obama launched a task force tasked with protecting the bees, investing $50m into research and action to combat the decline.

Environmental responsibility is becoming a popular public affair and more light is being shed on the honeybee issue. It’s businesses like Barnes & Webb that demonstrate, quite optimistically, how we can tackle these topics with a flair of creativity.


Barnes & Webb install and manage beehives across London, providing raw, local honey and all the pleasures of urban beekeeping without any of the hassle. The concept is more or less as a result of a key insight: you don’t have to have 100 acres to help the honeybee. Every lawn, every yard, and even rooftops can pitch in. When it comes to honeybees, the smallest change can affect the global food supply—so customers can rest assured knowing they’re making a valuable contribution.

The creative approach trickles down into the product itself too. The package design is smart, clean, and minimal, which makes a traditional product feel modern and makes honey and the honeybee stand out on your shelves or kitchen cupboards. Engaging and proactive.


Aside from the packaging, Barnes & Webb work with local talent to further help their brand stand out and place the honeybee on a pedestal. They’ve collaborated with designer Anthony Burrill to produce a one off print and identity, which the brand uses extensively, from posters to advertising. They’ve also seen commercial work be produced on behalf of Olivia Whitworth, an English architect turned illustrator, who adds charm and personality to the company’s image.

BarnesWebb-Bees-8 BarnesWebb-Bees-2

The fun doesn’t stop at their packaging or advertising—just last week over 30 artists and illustrators created unique artworks that went on display and were auctioned off to fund the company’s not-for-profit campaign activities. Of the talent featured was Burrill, Edward Monaghan, Jean Julilen, Essy May, Adrian Johnson, Robert Hunter, Jody Barton, Stevie Gee, and more.


Connecting bee lovers and keepers, artists, designers, environmentalists, and the wider public, Barnes & Webb use these events to ultimately raise awareness on the issues faced by the honeybee and other important pollinators. They believe in “combining the creativity, knowledge and passion of individuals and organizations to create initiatives that benefit the bees and our environment. A powerful network for positive change.”


While it’s often easy to get cynical when it comes to environmental affairs, Barnes & Webb’s approach is refreshingly optimistic. Their service demonstrates that the issue can be aided with creativity and design.

Whether we like it or not we have a duty towards the planet, as recent years have seen us leave a negative impact. What many forget is that we therefore have the power to incur the inverse and work towards responsibly inhabiting what we’ve come to know as home. Every action has an equal and opposite reaction, right? I believe Barnes & Webb are on the forefront of this positive change, their approach will serve to hopefully inspire others.


The aforementioned collaboration and event was the first of many that the Barnes & Webb has planned. Follow the brand’s Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for updates on forthcoming events.

Nick Partyka

September 24, 2014 / By