Wednesday, May 6, 2009


A couple years back I got a candle for Christmas. I'm not usually a giant candle fan but in this case I was quite taken with the smelly pot of wax. This is because the branding of the product is very cool. Not only do I like the graphics but I think that the concept is very strong. The company is called Black Chandelier and is based in Utah. The line is called "Imaginary Botanicals" and like the name suggests they produce candles that are different botanical scents that are completely fictitious and developed solely as scents for this line of candles.
Here are some of the different scents and how they are presented on the company's website:

My favorite concept and scent is Deadly Kittenshade, to put it eloquently, it basically rocks hardcore.

Saturday, May 2, 2009


So something that fascinates me are old candy wrappers, some never change and some are completely obsolete. Farrarra Pan is a good example of never changing candy packaging, however the difference here is that they don't make some of it anymore. Here are a smattering that I have found, enjoy!


Ok so as you may know I was a little more than reluctant when it came to attending portfolio day. It isn’t that I didn’t think it would be beneficial, I was pretty certain it would but for me beneficial and enjoyable don’t always go hand in hand and in fact rarely do and attending something that is most definitely out of my comfort zone is something very hard for me to do without being made to do it forcibly. So that is where the five extra credit points came in handy, not that I attending purely for them but it was just a little something that made the whole concept a little more palatable. Another precaution I took to insure my attendance was asking others to carpool with me that way when the inevitable happened and I woke up and decided that the whole thing was too much for me there would be other people I would be concerned about leaving stranded so I would have to buck up and go. That concept worked wonders because when I overslept the next morning and was not ready to go and became very tempted to say screw it all there were three people outside waiting for me that I didn’t want to disappoint or annoy. Aaaaaah the positive side of peer pressure!
So now after convincing myself to go and actually making it as far as the university my first comment would be that the whole sign in process fell a little short of optimal however it was functional. My main question was why did they have one girl hand signing-in everybody (this question came up again at lunch when I watched one girl at each station try to serve everybody all the dishes to the hoards of students and designers) anyways that made the process a bit on the slow, frustrating and tedious side. Not entirely unlike a line at Disneyland however there was no promise of a three-story drop at the end of it all. Also the actual reviewer sign in was utter chaos and I encountered many who signed up with an excess of our allotted 4 review spots, something I found to be a bit on the crappy and inconsiderate side because I know people who got there before ten but still were unable to get even one spot. I think the people I ended up going with ended up forgiving me for insisting we leave at nine even though we technically didn’t have to.
So I probably shouldn’t admit it but I chose my reviewers pretty much at random. I would have liked to use some sort of method however when I got to the table and it was mass confusion I ended up just trying to find three reviewers for the morning session. I did spot Keith Knueven’s name and ran with it since I had met him and chatted with him briefly about portfolio day at the last StimuLatte. It was for this reason I chose him for my first review and I think he ended up being my most beneficial review, though he even admitted to the fact that he was all over and jumped back and forth quite a lot he did cover everything and spent the most time looking at it. I also met with Derrick Shultz whose business card you showed me when I met with you about mine and lastly Carol Kono-Noble. All three were helpful and the main comment was to photograph my work in context which I went in knowing I should have done, they said my work was good I just needed to present it better in order not to sell myself short. Other than that they all seemed to have very different ideas about what were my strong pieces so it ended up being a little less relevant since it came off very much as personal preference and not anything concrete. They all were unanimous when it came to my illustration, they thought it was very strong and that it was cool I made all my own content. Keith offered a helpful criticism/suggestion and basically the only one I got that was concrete and that was that he thinks I need to work on integrating my type more. He suggested a book to get and also suggested I do more hand drawn type.
Altogether the reviewers were far nicer than I anticipated, everybody had said that the were pretty harsh however that was not my experience at all. Despite the general positive feedback I received the whole experience made me want to stop designing since it made me feel as though I am average at best. Nobody seemed at all wowed by my work, which is one of the most depressing and discouraging feelings to experience. I don’t think that is a common reaction to positive feedback, which I did get plenty of and in fact I had reviewers tell me they liked specific pieces or that certain pieces were far better than other peoples they had seen and plenty of students had positive or even envious reactions to it but in the end I just came out of the whole thing feeling desperately inadequate and with no hope of rising. I often feel as though a very promising position as manager at a Carl’s Junior may be waiting for me, then again I would most likely be miserable at that because of the whole vegetarian thing. Then again I wouldn’t eat the profit, it might just be a perfect fit.
Lastly I really enjoyed our speaker since I always enjoy the ones who seem a little less professional uptight and instead more laid back and funny. I think they seem more approachable and easier to relate to. I also always like it when I am familiar with the person’s work and like it. I am the biggest fan of the virtual water project and really enjoyed hearing about the concept behind it and I completely agree with the motivation for the project and the idea that a lot of the more academic topics such as scientific, political or financial material would greatly be benefited by being displayed in a more simplified and visually engaging fashion. If one isn’t rigged like that there are only so many spread sheets and data intensive essays one is willing to read before you decide you really don’t feel strongly enough about the topic to continue. I love the virtual water project for its appearance but also for the fact it is completely easy to understand and for the idea that he talked about that even if you don’t know exactly how much virtual water something uses that you are able to tell it is a lot based on comparison to other products and I like the other component of the project which is they based the virtual water on realistic proportions since it is easy to look at that kind of data and see that it tales so many millions of gallons of water to produce something like an entire cow and then dismiss it because I mean honestly who eats a whole cow.
So to sum it all up, I think the whole event was successful and I am glad I ended up going even just to realize it really wasn’t as scary as I had anticipated though at the moment my desire to design has been somewhat squashed. My bet is you didn’t make it through all that writing but I thought I may as well write about my whole experience and spare no detail, and hey I really earned that extra credit!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


So this evening I saw a movie that I absolutely loved. Well I guess it was more of a documentary, either way it was quite cool. The title of it is "Who is Bozo Texino?" and it is a fascinating look at hobo train art. Hobo train art is a form of graffiti that has a very different look to it. The film explains how these people develop a moniker that they can draw out in less than 30 seconds so as not to get caught. They tag box cars with these monikers while riding around the U.S. and mostly use grease stick or chalk.
Here are some pictures of the work:
This DVD is put out by hobo film maker Bill Daniels and the production is small scale due to the special interest quality of the subject. The packaging is what first attracted me to it. Even though it had a very hand made feel it fit with the concept of the film and was successful at alluding to the content.
Here are some examples of the packaging:


SO this is just about my favorite thing ever and not just because it contains my name, though that is pretty cool too. Sadly I don't have much background info on it. I know a friend of a friend of a friend created it and that the voice is done by his 4-year-old child. I tried to google for more info but as of yet have had little luck.
Here is the link, definitely check it out:
I just like the simplicity of it and the colors and in general the whole concept is pretty nifty.

Thursday, April 16, 2009


The other day for one of my classes the painter/artist Steven Hull came and spoke and showed his work. He seems to be a pretty cool and interesting fellow so I decided I would mention him in my blog and write a couple words about him.
I always like hearing other people in the art world talk about their work and experience in school and the real world and though he seemed a little scattered at the beginning he ended up giving quite an interesting and inspiring speech. He also showed an interesting selection of work that ranged from paintings that he did whiles still in school and directly after he graduated as well as collaborative book projects and shows.
He went to Cal Arts for both his undergrad and grad education. Though he is not a graphic designer I find most artists to be relevant and influential to my work and he is not an exception. I really like his use of color and his involvement in these collaborative projects that combine lots of different artists such as authors, illustrators, and musicians.
Here is some of his work...

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I love Ketchup!

Ok so I know I’ll wear out the “travel as an influence” theme very quickly if I haven’t already been dismissed as a pretentious showoff for bringing it up in the first place but really it is a major influence in my life and no matter how close I stay to home or far a field I go travel plays a crucial role in me as a person and therefore my design.
I pay close attention to things around me and as an aspiring graphic designer I did my best to look at things that were relevant to my field, one of the things that is easiest to spot and there are more than plenty examples of are packaging and advertising.
It is interesting to see there take on a particular brand that we also have since then you can compare the differences between ours and theirs, an example of this I found on billboards in the form of Heinz Tomato Ketchup adds. Now first off I can only really compare it to Southern California since that is where I’ve been living but I haven’t seen a billboard for ketchup for as long as I can remember but in Dublin they were everywhere. As well as being everywhere I also hadn’t seen the billboards even in magazine advert form before and I quite liked the whole idea behind them. The had a photo of a ketchup spill with a stem in it to make it look like a tomato growing with the tag line “no one grows ketchup like Heinz.” Quite genius I thought.
Here are some other examples of packaging and advertising from Dublin.