Category Archives: Inspiration

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.

Latest & Greatest #9: Olle Eksell

Olle Eksell

Olle Eksell


Lately, Swedish illustrator, writer and graphic designer Olle Eksell’s iconic eyes, which he designed for Mazetti’s Cacao seem to be popping up everywhere I go online. Eksell’s work ranges from wacky to geometric but no matter the style he was working in, the outcome was always thoughtful and precise. When Eksell came to the U.S., a close friendship developed between him and Paul Rand that lasted throughout their lives. He participated in international exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the Louvre in Paris, and the Biennale in Venice and continued to work until his death in 2007.

Olle Eksell

The Eyes poster was printed in 1999 for his exhibition at the Form Design Center in Malmö, Sweden. Though best known for his design and illustration, Eksell also penned the classic Design = Ekonomi.

You can purchase Olle Eksell merchandise through this shop, see more of his work in his Facebook tribute group and see even more images of the famous cocoa eyes poster here.


Image sources: 1, 2, 3.

Inspiration: Veer Ideas

Veer Ideas

All Images: Veer Ideas.

I’m always on the lookout for fresh visual inspiration — and with the permeation of Pinterest and Tumblr it gets harder to find exciting, provoking imagery that hasn’t been reposted everywhere. Veer, long one of my favorite sources for purchasing fonts, has launched Veer Ideas, a Tumblr full of stunning photos and type. The mix of compositions and colors really gave me a creative jolt — this collection doesn’t disappoint.

Latest & Greatest #8: Tangerine Dream

latest and greatest

latest and greatest black gold

When Summer hits, I trade in my reds for even brighter shades including tangerine. I love the vibrance and I love the energy. A few months back, I also tried full-on tangerine lipstick which proved to be too overpowering — I think I’ll stick to apparel and nail polish for now! Here’s a few of my favorite tangerine-hued finds:

1. Wearing an Asos dress in Las Vegas (photo by David McNeil). 2. Vintage Romanian Book. 3. Alexander Girard Mug. 4. Canary. 5. Bottega Veneta Dress. 6. Olympics Poster. 7. Screenprinted Alphabet Set by JP Boneyard. 8. MAC Lipstick & Nails in Morange.

Latest & Greatest #6: Anthropologie

latest and greatest

latest and greatest anthropologie

Window display photographed by me // Anthropologie, Santa Monica


I have always admired the aesthetic of Anthropologie but beyond the occasional wardrobe splurge, the overall vibe felt a little too romantic and bohemian for my structured, modern tastes. That changed though when Gala and I were in Santa Monica last month. Maybe because I was in full-on vacation mode and in a city where people wear A LOT more color, I fell in love with what I saw inside the store — it wasn’t just the clothing but moreso the overall presentation and visual merchandising.

latest and greatest anthropologie

Store display photographed by me // Anthropologie, Santa Monica


Even if you’re not an Anthropologie fan, there’s no denying that they design window displays like no other. I used to work with a girl at a design studio who left her career to do the windows for Anthro instead and she loves it. I was browsing through the Anthro site and these are a few of my favorite finds:

latest and greatest anthropologie

1. Feline Karma Dress 2. Dear Parsy Tote 3. Dorian Vest Dress 4. Two-Toned Cocktail Forks.

latest and greatest anthropologie

5. Mod Swathe Heels 6. Literary Correspondence Napkins 7. Barr-Co. Soap 8. Dice Notation Skirt.


latest and greatest anthropologie

I also thought this chair featuring a beach scene upstairs was really, really cool. The whole Anthropologie vibe makes me want to go back on vacation and I’ll be close enough to that feeling, BBQ-ing and relaxing today for the 4th. Hope you have a great one full of relaxation as well.