Category Archives: Inspiration

Domino Magazine Special Edition: Small Spaces!

Domino Magazine Small Spaces

Since Domino Magazine shuttered in 2009, there’s been a gaping hole in stylish, accessible decor magazines. I subscribed from the very first issue and though the overall aesthetic didn’t exactly mesh with that of my own, I appreciated the consistently seamless mix of high and low — it was so much more relatable than the other interior magazines I came across that only featured spreads of massive glass houses alongside modern furniture with minimum price tags of a few thousand dollars.

Domino Magazine Small Spaces

During the years it was around, I read every issue from cover to cover but admittedly, the relevance didn’t quite sink in at the time. Since I hadn’t yet bought a house (and didn’t have a decorating budget for that matter!) it was a fun read but I sadly recycled all of my issues after I read them.

Thankfully, there’s now occasional special editions of Domino centered around specific themes. I shared outtakes from the Quick Fixes issue here and just picked up the newest release, Small Spaces which I find to be even better curated than the last.

Domino Magazine Small Spaces

I like the overall premise behind the Small Spaces issue — making best of the limited space you currently have instead of seeking out a bigger place. After all, any space, no matter how small can be spruced up with fresh paint, a dash of patterns and a little organization.

Loaded with tons of applicable tips and tricks and organized by room, the photos are gorgeous and yes, the sources of the items are clearly listed. My favorite section in the issue by far is Organize Absolutely Everything (because I am obsessive about everything having its place) and the suggestions are super basic and applicable.

Domino Magazine Small Spaces

I know there are those Domino diehards out there that lament that these limited issues “just aren’t the same” but I have a different mentality. Times change, I love the overall design aesthetic these issues have and I’m just glad to have a home decor “magazine” to pore over that’s not full of only outrageously expensive, unattainable things. Because while aspirational, what’s the point?

Domino Magazine Small Spaces


Besides Domino, two of my other go-to home decor / lifestyle magazines have long been shuttered as well. Remember NEST and Blueprint? Sigh. Do you have any other suggestions for other home decor and lifestyle mags out there that are hip yet relatable?

P.S. I picked up my issue at Barnes & Noble but you can also grab digital editions here.

Holiday DIY: Customize Your Ornaments!

3M ScotchBlue Painter's Tape Holiday DIY Customize Your Ornaments


With Christmas fast approaching, I decided it was well time for an ornament DIY project! This is our first year with a full-size tree and I wanted it to have some personal touches. Store-bought ornaments are perfectly fine but we all have unique tastes and my goal was to find a way to spice up our tree with a few of my favorite patterns and symbols.

Joey and I got to work with a handful of simple, graphic designs we are so happy with the way they turned out! Now it’s your turn — we promise that this is super easy and much more manageable than the shakeboard D.I.Y. he came up with last time!

3M Scotch Blue Painter's Tape Holiday DIY Customize Your Ornaments


Let’s get started! First, we found these oversized silver ball ornaments at Target. Have you seen their Christmas decor section this year?! It’s AWESOME. Since these were going to be the main accents for our tree, we wanted them to be larger than the rest of our ornaments.

Supplies needed:

• One roll of ScotchBlue™ Painter’s Tape

• Krylon X-Metals Spraypaint

• An X-Acto Knife

3M Scotch Blue Painter's Tape Holiday DIY Customize Your Ornaments

For designs, it’s best to stick with angular, bold shapes and patterns that can easily be masked off on spherical surfaces. Think along the lines of varying stripes, symbols, letterforms, chevron patterns. To customize your ornaments, first mask off the ornament surface completely. Secondly, trace on design. Next, cut design out of tape. Once that’s finished, spray in design in the color of your choice. And once it’s completely dry (we let ours sit overnight just to be sure), peel off tape. See, that was easy!

3M Scotch Blue Painter's Tape Holiday DIY Customize Your Ornaments

I am SO excited to finally have a cross ornament! And a Helvetica A! I’ve used both elements in my design projects for a long, long time and it’s nice to have those special additions to our tree. I’m sure we’ll come up with even more for next year.

3M Scotch Blue Tape Holiday DIY Customize Your Ornaments

This is the first year that we’re all ready for Christmas early enough to actually sit back and enjoy the decorations!! How about you? Have you decorated yet?

3M Scotch Blue Tape Holiday DIY Customize Your Ornaments


scotchblue, scotchblue painter's tape, painter's tape, tape

A huge thank you to ScotchBlue™ Painter’s Tape for collaborating with us on this post! All thoughts and ideas are our own. To join the creative community, visit Facebook.

Back To Basics

Back To Basics


I find that the more immersed I become in creating visual identities for clients, the more I navigate towards the familiar for myself. I used to be one of those people that wondered why fashion designers sent fantastical creations down the runway every season but would then step out for the finale and take a bow in a simple jeans and t-shirt ensemble. Surely they could wear their otherworldly creations as well?

But now, I think I get it. When you dive into a sea of other people’s worlds and try to bring them to life, it’s nice to strip things down to the familiar when it comes to yourself. When you have a clean slate, you can create anything. Inspiration awaits around every corner.

When I’m focused on multiple projects, I find myself feeling the most comfortable being surrounded by things that are black and white. I love color but when all I can think about are other people’s colors day and night, I like to keep it simple for myself. My love affair with all things black and white continues.

Sources: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.


Creatives, do you have a go-to “uniform” when work takes over?

Whatever You Think, Think The Opposite

Think The Opposite Paul Arden

Being a self-professed Paul Arden super fan, Whatever You Think Think the Opposite is a book that I’d been meaning to crack open but instead, it sat in my office untouched for a good six months. Truth be told, I was a little afraid of what his advice would be — sometimes I play it too safe in life and this book is all about breaking the rules. I value stability but at times, I overcompensate to hold onto that sense of familiarity instead of taking big chances that scare me to death. So I finally picked up this book and read it cover to cover in a day, all in the hopes that it would inspire us rule followers to loosen up a little and face those things that scare us head-on, for better or worse. It delivered.

Think The Opposite Paul Arden

Arden’s trademark humor peppers the opener with “Let us start off on the right foot by making some wrong decisions.” In this day and age, we’re often afraid of being wrong, and this is especially so on the internet. At times, it feels like observers are standing by idly, waiting to jump on our mistakes but on the flip side, are slow to congratulate our triumphs. But we all make mistakes (and will continue to) because we’re human. And that’s how we learn. What mistakes have you made lately? In the end, did they actually benefit you in some way you hadn’t expected?

At The Blogcademy, I talked at length about the power of differentiation when it comes to branding. I love what Arden had to say of the subject. “Original ideas are created by original people, people who either through instinct or insight know the value of being different and recognize the commonplace as being a dangerous place to be.” Trying to look and act like everyone else will do little but leave you in the pile with everyone else. It’s clear that playing by the rules often leaves us feeling more trapped. Arden relays that if you’re feeling this way, “it’s not because you are making the wrong decisions, it’s because you are making the right ones…the problem with making sensible decisions is that so is everyone else.”

Think The Opposite Paul Arden

For me, the most important point of the book was defining the difference between wishing and wanting. Whereas “I wish” equates to “Wouldn’t it be nice if…” and leaves us wishing our lives were different, “I want” demonstrates leadership. It boils down to the assertion of “If I want it enough, I will get it.” Successful people don’t take no for an answer. They work towards finding a way to make the life they want a reality.

But how do you get there? Arden says that “Getting what you want means making the decisions you need to make to get what you want.” What a mouthful! He goes on to say that “The unsafe decision causes you to think and respond in a way you hadn’t thought of.” Think about all those times were you were caught in a bind because the safe plans you’d made fell through. When you lost a client or a job or a living situation fell through, how did you react? How did you survive those times? Did you come up with some far-fetched, downright crazy idea that panned out even better in the end?

Think The Opposite Paul Arden

The more time we spend online observing versus going out into the world and doing, the more our imaginations take over. I’m guilty of getting caught up in a never-ending whirl of blogs, inspiration sites and social media time sucks. And what I’ve realized is that I never walk away feeling better about myself. All that time spent searching, observing and living vicariously through others’ lives keeps us from being truly productive. Arden made me think hard about this when he says, “Everyone wants an exciting life, but people are afraid to take the bull by the horns. So they take an easy option for an exciting life. They live their excitement through other people.

I’ve always been a big believer in putting plans into action and then fixing them as I go and Arden endorses this mindset as well. Too many people spend too much time trying to perfect something before they actually do it. The pursuit of perfection will have you waiting around forever. Instead, set deadlines and just launch already! This has always been my mindset with blogging. When I started, I was still in school for design. I was still figuring out the ins and outs of blogging. I was young, enthusiastic and made changes as I learned. In a way, being a bit naive and not over-thinking your plan will get you further faster because you’re less afraid of being wrong or taking those big chances.

Think The Opposite Paul Arden

Arden says, “There is only one person who can determine the shape of your life. You. What are you going to be?” It’s up to you to simply change your life. And if your plan doesn’t work out, it’s not the end of the world. I got a good dose of perspective when I was reminded that “No one is going to cut off your right arm, take away your motorbike or put you in jail if you don’t succeed.” So just go for it. Follow the path less traveled; you might be pleasantly surprised where it takes you.

Latest & Greatest #11: Braniff International Airways

Latest and Greatest

Braniff Airways


I believe that as creatives, instead of getting sucked up in Pinterest or trying to determine what the “next big thing” is, occasionally we need to step back and look to the past for inspiration — a lot of trends that are happening now are deeply rooted in previous decades. I’ve always been drawn to vintage airlines for design inspiration because they had some of the most inspiring branding, collateral and yes, fashions. My favorite by far always defaults to Braniff International Airways.

Braniff Airways

Braniff was an American airline that operated from 1930 until 1982. Perhaps the most fashion forward airline in existence, at the height of its popularity it employed the dream team of architect and textile designer Alexander Girard, fashion designer Emilio Pucci (responsible for the infamous bubble helmets for air hostesses), and shoe designer Beth Levine in conjunction with its “End of the Plain Plane” campaign.

Braniff Airways

Beginning in the mid 60s, plane exteriors were painted in a single, bright color while the interiors were outfitted with 57 different variations of Herman Miller fabrics. Additionally, many of the color schemes were applied to gate lounges, ticket offices, and even the corporate headquarters.

Braniff filed for bankruptcy in 1982 and the colorful era of airline travel came to an abrupt end. Just thinking of Alexander Girard (have you seen the inspiring House Industries collaborations?), Pucci and Herman Miller all sharing the same employer seems too good to be true. These three designers were so far ahead of their time that these days, their work feels more relevant than ever.

Computer Arts Collection: Photography

Computer Arts Branding

As you know, I am a huge fan of the Computer Arts Collection, a series of themed guides for creatives. The one reason I keep going back to these issues is that while they are beautifully designed and overflowing with amazing inspiration (much of which I’ve never seen online), there’s never a case of all style and no substance. They dig in deep and always manage to provide glimpses into current industry trends, studio tours, peeks inside real campaigns, suggestions for processes and even a talent directory in the back. In the age of Pinterest, I want more than just pretty pictures. I want to understand how those pretty pictures were created and that’s where Computer Arts delivers.

Computer Arts Branding

Today I wanted to give you a peek inside of Issue 5, which focuses completely on photography. Though I don’t consider myself to be a photographer (I know how to get what I want out of my basic DSLR but I’m very point-and-shoot in my process) I feel that it’s so important to be aware of what other industries are doing since there’s more crossover than ever these days. This weekend, we had a guest speaker at The Blogcademy named Lisa Devlin — she’s been a professional photographer for 20+ years and listening to her share her tips made me want to step up my game. Flipping through this issue, I’m now paying more attention to lighting and composition. Sometimes we just need that little push.

Computer Arts Branding

While I have loved all the issues I’ve managed to get ahold of, this release is perhaps the most visually stunning. With photography, it’s just easier to push boundaries sometimes. As I’ve mentioned before, these issues aren’t cheap but they’re so worth it — with very few ads, they’re less of a magazine and more along the lines of a softcover book. It feels good to learn about how folks outside of my industry take in the world through their cameras. I believe that we all have something to teach and in return, there’s always something new we can learn.

Computer Arts Branding

To get your hands on the Computer Arts Collection, go here for further information.

Computer Arts Collection: Branding

Computer Arts Branding

“Branding is about driving a big idea. It’s not about telling untruths — it’s about honing in on a brand’s core truth, and amplifying it.” — Steven Owen, Creative Director of Heavenly


By now, you’ve probably gathered that I’m a huge fan of the Computer Arts Collection, a series of six in-depth guides jam-packed with information from key areas of the global design industry. Topics covered include graphic design, typography, illustration, branding, photography and advertising.

Any of us can hop online and spend hours online doing endless image searches (and I often do), but what makes this branding issue so valuable is that it digs deeper, way beyond the surface level of aesthetically stunning graphics and delves into the design process and strategy. Since my main focus is as a brand designer, this issue was especially insightful — I particularly enjoyed the breakdown of micro branding trends (Branding Influences) because although I’ve come across a lot of the images before, seeing them distilled into specific movements gave me a focused sense of what’s striking a chord in the industry.

Computer Arts Branding

And at a larger scale, I found the macro trend of simplicity in branding to be fascinating. Over the last few years, there’s been a real sense of cutting out the excess visual noise and distilling a brand down to its core elements in an effort to relieve consumers of the completely overwhelming number of choices and social influences they’re constantly inundated with. Think about it: when we’re feeling overwhelmed, we often reach for what seems the most simple, honest and familiar.

Perhaps the most important area this issue touched upon is the current state of the branding industry. With brands now needing to work seamlessly across multiple platforms, it’s imperative for designers to be more informed than ever about how these pieces work together to create a solid, unified experience.

Finally, the real standout of this series is that each issue features a studio project. A leading design studio reveals their full creative process behind a project and you get to follow along, from the brief to the outcome, including video diaries. I thought this would be especially helpful for design students who are wondering what it’s like to work in a studio environment. Having worked in many, I know how different each studio can be depending on the size of the team, the size of the client and the overall corporate culture so getting glimpses of how different studios handle a project can really help all of us hone our process further.

To get your hands on the Computer Arts Collection, go here.