London based design agency One Darnley Road have made bar soap sexy, which in my mind is quite a challenge. Thinking of bar soaps I’m reminded of craft fairs, or worse, the sickly green lumps of Irish Spring soap, which to me look more like industrial cleaning products. With their project for the London Fields Soap Company they’ve wrapped the bars in beautiful geometric patterns that melts away any ideas of “bad craft”, bringing a truly contemporary vibe to the natural looking bars. The inspiration for these patterns comes from the location of their factory in Hackney, London, where there’s a history of fabric making and weaving.
The East End of London has a long tradition of textile design and manufacturing, including Warner & Sons, who were working in the fabric trade in Spitalfields since the early eighteenth-century, and who had a reputation for excellent weaving work of both traditional and modern patterns – through to the twentieth century. We drew on the visual grammar of craft as a way to define this new brand.
You can see more by visiting One Darnley Roads website.
Every now and then I have some amazing opportunities offered to me and my upcoming week is no exception. Thanks to the fine folks of Jameson whiskey I’m wandering about Ireland for the next few days spending time meeting local artisans, trying my hands at leather crafting and glass blowing, and of course drinking fine whiskey. I’ll be sharing a few posts about the experience on here though my Instagram will probably be updated the most.
I’ll also be spending a few days in London this weekend so I’m thinking it could be great to do a TFIB Bar Meet-Up somewhere in the city. More information to come!
The pour over coffee has a kind of mythic quality to it. While it’s not the most labor intensive process it’s still time consuming, meaning a lot of people don’t have the patience to make it themselves or wait for a barista to do their magic. Enter the Poursteady, a machine that seemingly does all the work for you.
Poursteady is an automated pour-over coffee machine that brings unprecedented speed, precision, and reliability to high-end commercial coffee retailers–and better coffee to discerning customers. Combining precision motion-control, elegant design, and beautiful fabrication–our system makes up to five cups of pour-over coffee simultaneously with a single barista at the helm.
I imagine purists will balk at such a blasphemous invention but I think the proof is in the pudding, or in this case, the coffee. You can see in the video below how the machine mimics the swirling motion of the pour over, seemingly giving the same care as a human. Certainly interesting seeing robotics entering the coffee industry in such a unique manner.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
Valencia, Spain based street artist Felipe Pantone popped up in the Explore tab of my Instagram feed and I’m really feeling his work. It’s kind of this blend of geometric black and white overlaid with outlandish neon, metallic colors that bursts off the walls.
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.