Nautical Wedding Monogram

Last summer, I designed an identity for the Sullivan wedding, who hosted their reception on Lake Minnetonka. They wanted a monogram with a nautical theme. The invitations (pictured) were a simple navy Pantone on white paper stock with gold foil stamping. Simple + Beautiful.







The Slow Death of an Institution


Say goodbye to weekend mail. This morning, the United States Postal Service announced that it would discontinue delivery of first class mail on Saturdays, beginning August 1 of this year. Honestly, I’m surprised it took this long. But I’m also a little sad that this institution is slowly dying. My mind has always been blown when I think about how I can drop something in a blue box and have it end up thousands of miles away within a few days, all for the price of a quarter (then 29¢, 32¢…well, almost half a dollar now). It has always seemed like the best bargain I could imagine. Maybe that’s why the USPS hasn’t turned a profit since the Pussycat Dolls were near the top of the charts. It probably won’t be long before we are only getting mail three days per week, so enjoy it while you can.

Related Seinfeld clip here.

UPDATE: Saturday mail is saved (for now).


Hipsta Ireland + Spain

I recently got back from a two week trip to Ireland and Spain. Here’s a long string of Hipsta-signage, symbology, typography, iconography, graffiti, design, advertising, etc that I shot while roaming the streets and countryside.



Lake Calhoun Polar Plunge

I just sent this design off to the printer. Ten brave souls from my HRL Wiffleball League are taking a plunge into the near frozen waters of Lake Calhoun on Saturday, and they’ll be sporting these shirts. How often do you get a chance to combine winter hats and snorkels into a design? Probably only once. Check out the event detail for the Minneapolis Polar Bear Plunge benefitting Special Olympics Minnesota. Sponsor a plunger and show up on March 3rd to watch a bunch of crazies almost die for charity! I’ll try to follow up with some photos from the event.

Photos updated 4/1/12:
Final tally was just over $3800 raised. Nice work guys! I love the nipple tape.


George Lois is coming to Minneapolis!

The College of Design at the University of Minnesota is hosting this year’s AIGA See Change Conference, and I am pretty amped that George Lois is going to be there. It’s not too often than I get the chance to see (and perhaps meet) someone who has a few pages devoted to him in my History of Graphic Design textbook. Lois is perhaps best known for art directing the controversial Esquire cover (shown above) featuring Muhammad Ali, though much of his other work at Esquire and on various other campaigns is also widely recognized. Read more about him here and view some more of his Esquire work here and ad campaigns here. This one for Tommy Hilfiger is one of my favorites.

At over 80 years old, I’m feeling pretty fortunate that Lois is coming to speak so close to home. I’m pretty sure he’ll be entertaining, if nothing else. Here’s a little preview I found on YouTube. He will likely be promoting his upcoming book, Damn Good Advice (for people with talent!): How to Unleash Your Creative Potential by America’s Master Commuicator. If you can’t tell from the video clip or the title of his book, he won’t be short on opinions. But then again, he’s never been one to shy away from controversy.


I Did Not See This Coming…

Apparently Albert Pujols has agreed to sign with the Angels. How about that for some Thursday morning in December MLB news? Check out the latest on one of my favorite sites, MLB Trade Rumors. I’m kind of in shock. Those sneaky Halos, swooping in at the last second with their quarter of a billion dollars.

I didn’t design the “A” w/ the halo above (that is/was the real Angels logo). I just made the type and paired with the existing logo.


Marshmallow Fluff

I absolutely love that I can walk into a grocery store in 2011 and find this packaging on the shelf. This is the kind of stuff that I love to go look at in antique shops, but for whatever reason, the folks at Durkee-Mower haven’t changed the Marshmallow Fluff label significantly in what I’m going to guess is at least 50 years. I found this ad, which I think is probably from the the ’40s and I can’t imagine their current label was done much later than 1960 from the looks of the artwork and lettering. The casual script and slab-serif type are amazing, not to mention the color scheme.

I can’t say that Fluff was a childhood treat for me, but it appears that is has been a popular tradition in the northeast for generations. According to their (awesome in many ways) website, they still use the same all-natural / no preservatives recipe that they invented in 1920. Since I’m not a huge fan, I’ve never had a Fluffernutter (Fluff + peanut butter sandwich), but I encourage you to click on the link to check out what they say is their “new” commercial. From the looks of it, it was new around the time the Internet was invented, or at least became widely available. They also have some old radio jingles on that page that are worth a listen.

To whoever made the decision to not change the label on Fluff, I salute you!


A few thoughts on Steve Jobs

I’m not going to try to write some amazing Steve Jobs tribute, as that has been done over and over this week (by people who can make it far more interesting and informative than I could), but I do have a few thoughts that have run through my mind since the news of his passing a few days ago…

It makes me sound like a total nerd, but in my adult life, I estimate that I have been either directly interacting with, or at least in the presence of an Apple product more than 50% of my waking hours. And that is probably a very conservative estimate. Perhaps this just says that I haven’t been on enough camping trips, but I think that is pretty incredible.

Pretty much everything I have ever done to earn a paycheck has been made with an Apple computer (and primarily Adobe products). Seriously. Every paycheck. Also, most of the projects I did to earn my college degree. Granted, a machine is just the means to actually get the work produced, not the thought and strategy behind it. But given that I use the technology to produce the visual look and feel of a piece, it’s pretty important.

The majority of my current information gathering and news reading, as well as personal entertainment is through the display of an Apple product. The exception is television, though I do stream Netflix through my Apple TV. Did I mention that I also call, iChat and occasionally video chat with my mom through Apple devices? I got her a used MacBook a few years ago. She has recently purchased a new iMac and iPad 2. You know what they say, “Once you go Apple, you never go back.” Well, maybe that’s what they say about something else, but I think it’s true for Apple products. 🙂

I was re-reading this article from Fast Co. Design today (though it was published several weeks ago following his retirement announcement) entitled “What Made Steve Jobs So Great?” and it reminded me that you used to have to page through a thick manual of instructions every time you bought a new piece of technology, gathering information about how you could actually make the thing work. Starting with the iMac, Jobs presented a “it should just work” way of doing things. Take it out of the box. Plug it in (or in some cases not). Turn it on. You’re off.

At first, Apple continued to include a small manual with some bare bones instructions, but basically, if it wasn’t self-explanatory, Jobs thought it wasn’t designed well enough to hit the market. There is really something to be said about that kind of attention to detail, product design, interface design, etc. Within 10 years, Apple products were shipping without any kind of instructions at all. The article mentions toddlers gesturing through iPad apps and menus and I’ve seen evidence of it myself. Recently, I saw my two year old nephew navigating an iPad and playing games on it before he was even able to speak. Pretty amazing. That article is a pretty good read if you get a chance.

When the iMac came out, it was the first time I can remember a consumer product having all of the different “flavors” of plastic that would allow the consumer to feel like they could make a more personalized purchase of a mass-produced item. The number of other brands / products that saw how smart that business model was and started copying it can not even be counted. And not just in consumer electronics.

This is not earth shattering news to anyone in the industry, but the product and interface design, packaging, and advertising of Apple products has been as groundbreaking and influential to design as any other brand. Not to mention, Jobs cared about typography and made sure everything looked as good as it worked. They’ve been rewarded by now being able to claim their stocks are as valuable as any company on the planet. Not bad for a niche technology company that could never compete with the IBM’s and Microsoft’s of the world.

That’s about all I’ve got. To Steve Jobs, thanks.



The list of Apple products I’ve owned, starting my freshman year of college is as follows (in order— text below / shown above):

PowerMac G3 Aqua (Not pictured…I forgot that I had it until after I originally wrote this post. It was stolen from my dorm room over Spring Break of my freshman year in college.. insurance upgraded me to the G4)

PowerMac G4 Graphite desktop and monitor (Still have it. Still works, though really just for music and web browsing)

iBook G3 Indigo clamshell (To this day, probably one of the coolest designed products I’ve ever seen… it had a handle!)

Original iPod – 5 GB (Five physical buttons and a plastic wheel that actually turned… and was built like a brick. Still have it. Still works)

Titanium PowerBook G4 (Shipped running both OS 9 and OS X… you could choose which you wanted to boot into on startup)

iPod – Now referred to as iPod Classic {pre-color} which still functions as my primary portable music playing device on road trips)

White MacBook G4 (Replaced the PowerBook after about 5 years, which I thought was a pretty good run for something in the world of computers… sold it to my sister and is still going strong)

Time Capsule (Broadcasts the entire internet invisibly throughout all the rooms in our apartment!… also a wireless backup and storage drive)

16GB iPod Touch (One of the best birthday presents I’ve ever received from my then girlfriend, now wife… you don’t let those get away)

32 GB iPhone 4 (For anyone running a small business — or a fantasy sports team — the iPhone will change your life)

Apple TV (Crap. Also not pictured. Oops. Well, it looks like the Time Capsule but smaller and black)

MacBook Pro IntelCore i7 (Pixels have never looked so good)


I know what you’re thinking. No iPad? Well, maybe the next version with the Retina display will suck me in.


Update: My place of employment, Periscope, gifted me a $500 technology credit at FirstTech… iPad 2 acquired!

JACKPOT: I found them!

I’m not telling where.

Architecture Icon

Icon of a drafting compass I made while doing some “digital sketching” for a project today.


Vintage Type from a Bank Vault

Some nice vintage type from the door of an old bank vault. Oddly enough, located in a Godfather’s (St. Peter, MN) that left it alone rather than tearing it out. I see some House Industries United (sans) in this — wonder if they saw something similar and used it for inspiration… one of the great versatile typefaces to be released in the last handful of years.



Here’s an illustration I did for the Periscope Piranhas Ad League co-ed softball team… it’s like a super angry swimming Pacman. Bold and simple. Speaking of Pacman, check this out.