28 August 2009

AIGA is My Funday

A few projects I have done for AIGA Detroit lately:
the buttons (top) made for the 2009 Leadership Conference. Sadly, I did not save any for the chapter, we handed all of our buttons out. Well actually, we exchanged buttons, so we ended up getting tons of other cool ones! anyway, I'd like to make more of these :) The next image is a foam hand of Michigan that I made for the conference. We had to make something to hold up during a vote on the new AIGA mandate.
The rest are some quick logos made for our event series. If you are interested in attending, keep an eye on our website

27 August 2009

My Early Lettering Years

I've been on a mission to track down some of my biggest design influences throughout my life. I'm looking for the resources I grew up with, or used that helped shape my artwork or design work. All the stuff I looked and and kept around me before I knew about design, before I went to school, and before I saw work of famous designers.

When I was about 11 or 12, I remember having this book, The Do-It-Yourself Lettering Book. This was my favorite book at the time, I carried it around EVERYWHERE. Surprisingly, it is still in decent shape and well preserved. I view this book now as my early introduction to lettering and the beginning of my lettering obsession. I can remember drawing just about everything inside of this book, and viewed every project, poster, or report as a chance to do some unique lettering. If only I had some of those reports! (Specifically, a poster about Rhode Island I made in the Second Grade. I loved RI, so much that I started a mini singing group called Rhode Island Rats with my friend Laura. The only words to our song was, Rhode Island.)

Anyway, in high school, my notebooks and book covers were completely covered in lettering. Mostly bands that I liked (which are probably embarrassing to mention now :) ). Each word was written in a different way and were probably 100% inspired by this book. This style of lettering still shows up in my meeting notes

A few pages from The Do-It-Yourself Lettering Book:

24 August 2009

Can it!

Saturday morning, Darin and I went to his parents to participate in their annual canning party! Every year, they get bushels and bushels of tomatoes from eastern market, and can puree to use for sauce for the rest of the year. At about 7am, we made our way down to Eastern Market and bought 3 bushels of tomotoes (Darins dad had already bought 3 bushels from another farm earlier in the week). Its good to mix up all different kinds of tomatoes.

When we got home, we washed and cut out all the bad parts from each tomato. I have never seen so many tomatoes all together in my life! After the wash & cut, they get squished and thrown into a pot, then onto the stove to soften up. Then its off to the juicer! The one we used was once a hand crank, but due to the massive amounts of tomatoes to be shoved through it, an old fan motor was hooked up to it to keep it going strong. We had to leave around 1, so we didn't get to pour the puree into the jars. We ended up taking home about 20 jars, I think they made about 70 jars all together :) Hopefully this will last us the whole year!

20 August 2009

Ain't nothin better

Last Tuesday, I went to a lecture at the Johanson Charles Gallery in Eastern Market. Jim Griffioen, of Sweet Juniper spoke to the theme that goes something like, The Afflatus of Ruin: Talking Differently About Detroit’s Unique and Endangered Assets. He told stories and shared rants while he showed a slide show of his amazing photography of Detroit. It was really great to just hear an opinion and not hear someone talk about how to fix Detroit. It gets tiring going out to lectures designed to spark conversation and then listen to people talk and talk about the good parts of the city. It is starting to sound like blah, blah, blah. This lecture was different, I think, because it was a lecture written by a writer. I wouldn't event hesitate to call it a reading rather than a lecture. I think we need more events like this one, just poetic points of view that could inspire people to take matters into their own hands. To stop talking and just fix it! I swear this lecture made me leave looking romantically and EVERYTHING around me.

As a side story, on my way out, I was so excited to be immediately confronted by a bright yellow truck with hand painted lettering, parked in front of a bright yellow building! I know! I also snapped some other hand drawn lettering between that and the car. Between this lecture and revisiting the TypArchive, I think its time to start snapping some more lettering, at least more refrigerated type :)

Random Addition! I knew this building reminded me of something...it was the hostel we stayed at in Berlin:

19 August 2009

ooooh yeah!

I almost forgot about Ben Shahn. I remember, back in history of graphic design class, learning about him. Well actually, I remember falling in love with his illustration of the shopping carts. I came across it today and decided to share my love for these wonderful carts <3 Oh, and I found what I believe is a picture of Ben Shahn himself, and he is super cute! The Walter Matthau of illustration!

17 August 2009

If Tom Helland can do it....

so can I! Here are some meeting notes, important nouns have been blurred out for my safety :) If you're wondering about Tom Helland, I am referring to the Tom from Organic that doodles during meetings. He says that it helps him concentrate and I completely agree! If I didnt write things like this, I would not remember them, plus every now and then I hear an awesome phrase or new word that is noteworthy. Doodling helps me think about the project creatively with all these notes on my mind. Some of the doodles go into a stream of consciousness, but its all part of the process :) You can also see meeting notes from the past on my website.

13 August 2009


For a while now, I've been going to an event hosted by AIGA Detroit called Third Thursday. Its a social event that is usually at a bar, and its a good way to have a drink and chat with local designers. I have met a lot of designer friends from going to Third Thursday, and its made me realize that I love my design community :)

Somehow, I am now the AIGA Detroit Programming Director, and it has become my responsibility to create events like that, but change it a bit to reach a different audience because, surprisingly not everyone loves going to the bar and staying out all night! Some other AIGA Chapters have created things like this, one is called Buzz, a morning gathering at a coffee shop to discuss favorite typefaces, debate over re-branding campaigns, and whatever else it is that designers talk about in the morning. Our chapter will be introducing its new event series, Stew! Where designers can sit and stew over a range of various topics. I would also like to use this opportunity to bring some new business to local luncheries :) (suggestions are welcome!)

For each event must come a logo, so here are some initial sketches (Yes, thats right, I was considering calling it 'Lunchy Lunch' or 'FUNCH')

Now that you are part of the process, stay tuned for the official unveiling of the event series! :)

11 August 2009


A couple months ago, I was obsessed with self-help lectures. Every time I brought up the topic of self-help into a conversation, I felt like I should be embarrassed that I brought it up. I often times get weird looks or silent nods about it, “oh yeah…uh...cool.” The only time I’ve had a long conversation about it has been with close friends. Anyway, I didn’t get into the self-help thing because I needed answers or because I felt stuck in life. I got into it because it seemed to be a source of inspiration for some of my favorite designers. Since I was in need of a little inspiration that did NOT consist of looking at the work of other designers, I thought I would investigate.

Since I am a better listener than reader, I signed up for the LearnOutLoud’s Personal Growth Podcast, that offers a small taste of every famous self-help book out there. I listened to all of them so far, and I have to say that they are either super good, really weird and creepy, or just entertaining. As hard as it is to listen to Tony Robbins, it was entertaining listening to him explain how to “Awaken the Giant Within.” For the most part, I enjoyed listening to each one, but I thought they were a little cheesy and moved on.

The other day, I revisited those podcasts, as I will do every now and then. Most recently, I listened to He Said–She Said by Deborah Tannen. I ended up having Darin download the entire book for me and then listened to the whole thing the next day! I think it was too much in one day, since it became all I could talk about for the next few days. She talks about the language patterns of men and women and pointed out how even though we assume our reactions and conversations with each other happen involuntarily, they are not, and the reactions between men and women (most of them anyway) are pretty constant in all different ages, time periods, and regions of the world.

Now this has become the-podcast-that-I-try-talking-to-people-about-but-they-are-not-into-it, haha. I’ll tell you what though, it makes my day so much more fascinating to study the way people talk in different situations. It makes so much sense! Its like finding the key to life (NOT the Secret, for goodnessake). I liked her book because it just states the facts, no judgments. She gives examples of conversations, but never says if either person reacted correctly or incorrectly, but it’s just a pure translation of the conversation and then an analysis of why those particular words were said. I love the idea that reactions and feelings are not involuntary, and its somewhat comforting/weird to know that men and women have been having the same conversations for generations! It means that a person has control over his/her feelings and that is so much more reassuring to me! This way of thinking makes it easier not to judge or hold grudges, and I like that. Blah blah blah. ☺

So I guess, in a way I was inspired by the self-help stuff. It hasn’t shown up in my work yet, perhaps it will once I start producing some hahaha. It has helped me to start writing about my own identity and point of view though. I guess once that is out on paper, the work will be easier to get down on paper.

10 August 2009

Soooooo Cute

Some cute gocco prints from boygirlparty

This one reminds me of Lincoln & Girl Cat (a.k.a. Merle)

I love this fat little deer necklace!

Chalkboard paint!

fun colors for chalkboard paint from Hudson Paint!!! I love the packaging too, so cute!

07 August 2009


Awww these signs make me miss working at the sign shop! I <3 these!