The Culmination of an Illustrated Haifa Wedding

Posted 27 February 2011 at 4:32 PM | Comments (5)

Remember this engagement announcement and this save-the-date card? Well, the project was far from over; we were just getting started.

My clients had some time to reflect on those designs and decided they had a particular fondness for the two cypress trees in the save-the-date card. They wanted the perennial coupling to be their wedding trademark. They also wanted to continue on the theme of Haifa’s Baha’i gardens in illustrated form, but incorporating the garden’s black iron gates and terracotta stone path were important this time.

Also, they really liked the idea of a gate-fold—when two parallel folds divide a sheet into three panels, and the two outside panels fold into the center. We could tape the panels together and then use the backside for addressing, which would eliminate the need for envelopes and give us some flexibility with size.

Since they weren’t sure how they were going to print the invitations, we decided to keep the design at least a quarter-of-an-inch away from the edge of the page. This would allow them to print at home if they wanted to.

Here’s the invitation, starting with the address side, flipping it over to the closed gate-fold, and then the final, open version:

Haifa Wedding Invitation with Cypress Trees

We did a simple rearranging of the illustrated elements for their wedding program:

Haifa Wedding Program with Cypress Trees

And their thank-you card:

Haifa Wedding Thank You Card with Cypress Trees

And lastly, their seating cards:

Haifa Wedding Seating Card with Cypress Trees

Though illustrating the garden image took a lot of time, that’s precisely why working on this was so rewarding. When I think back to past projects, this one stands out as one of my most memorable.

Asian Influence on the Spring 2011 Runway

Posted 24 February 2011 at 9:09 PM | Comments (2)

When I told a friend of mine that designers were hugely influenced by the Far East this season, she shot me a look of disbelief and said, “Really? I haven’t seen it in stores.” My response: “Oh, you will. You will.” So I just started compiling an e-mail of runway images for her when I decided to blog it instead. You’ll see for yourself that this trend is about to explode.

Vera Wang’s interpretation of the style shows simple silhouettes with cinched waists, origami folds, corded belts, and pretty Japanese florals.

Asian Influence on the Spring 2011 Runway, Vera Wang

Dries Van Noten’s version blows my mind a bit. His collection is loose, soft, and silky, with pastel color palettes, Vietnamese-inspired ensembles, and watercolor motifs.

Asian Influence on the Spring 2011 Runway, Dries Van Noten

In contrast, Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti’s interpretation is more youthful and vibrant, with conical hats, mandarin collars, koi prints, and shortened cheongsams.

Asian Influence on the Spring 2011 Runway, Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti

Haider Ackermann’s loose interpretation of kimono robes and obi belts is bold and sculptural. Generally not a fan of wearing solid red and black, I’m surprised that I actually want to try one of these on.

Asian Influence on the Spring 2011 Runway, Haider Ackermann

Marc Jacobs was criticized for the Louis Vuitton collection, because a few of his oriental pieces were just too heavy-handed and costumey. Those few aside, I actually really liked his collection—it’s the most elegant of all of these.

Asian Influence on the Spring 2011 Runway, Louis Vuitton

And then there were pieces by Issey Miyake, Reed Krakoff (middle two images), and Christian Siriano, which may have various influences but still feel decidedly Asian.

Asian Influence on the Spring 2011 Runway, Issey Miyake, Reed Krakoff, Christian Siriano

So who’s on board with the, er, Orient Express, if you will? Punch my boarding card, because I definitely am.

*All runway images from

I Wanna Soak Up the Sun

Posted 21 February 2011 at 10:19 PM | Comments (3)

The March issue of Architectural Digest featured Sheryl Crow’s Hollywood estate, and I’m breathless over the outdoor spaces! The arched bridge, the canvas pavilion, the tepee, rustic staircase, and palapa overlooking Los Angeles—holy moly, I’m taking furious notes.

Sheryl Crow's Arched Bridge in March 2011's Architectural Digest

Sheryl Crow's Canvas Pavilion in March 2011's Architectural Digest

Sheryl Crow's Tepee and Terraced Garden in March 2011's Architectural Digest

Sheryl Crow's Rustic Staircase in March 2011's Architectural Digest

Sheryl Crow's Palapa Overlooking Los Angeles in March 2011's Architectural Digest

The last time I had a yard I was still living with my parents, so these images are especially stinging. Yeah, even though I want the bridge and the pavilion and the tepee and the palapa—what I really want, what I’d give anything for right now, is just a yard. Any old yard will do. Even a tuft of grass would be alright with me, as long as it would fit both of my feet.

Anyway, eventually I’ll work my way up to the canvas pavilion.

Caution Crossing Road Sign

Posted 15 February 2011 at 10:56 PM | Comments (5)

Designing a road sign is possibly one of the coolest things I’ve ever been asked to do.

I was asked to design a “caution crossing road” sign at the end of a pedestrian staircase that leads right up to a busy street. The foot-traffic is heavy and cars just fly down the hill, oftentimes neither party seeing each other. So the goal was to post a caution sign that would alert pedestrians but not obstruct the landscape too much.

My first round of drafts was totally text-based, as you can see from this one example.

Caution Crossing Road Sign Draft

After some discussion, it seemed appropriate to combine the text with a visual, since the pedestrians in the area are multinational and not necessarily English-speakers. Since I had never designed a road sign before, I did web search after web search looking for an appropriate symbol to use, but found nothing. It seemed that, while there are many caution signs for drivers, there aren’t many designed for pedestrians. I had to improvise.

The first symbol I came up with was an exclamation point and a car.

Caution Crossing Road Symbol Draft

The problem with this symbol was that the car didn’t look like it was moving. It was like, “Caution! Cars are parked!” So I tilted the car to look like it could be in motion, albeit in a cartoony way, and I liked that the symbol instantly looked more reckless.

Caution Crossing Road Symbol

I did another round of drafts using the new symbol.

Caution Crossing Road Sign Drafts

But the one my client liked best was in a triangle format, where I dropped “crossing road” and just left “caution.” We used green because it’s strong but unobtrusive (you’ll see).

Caution Crossing Road Sign Final

I finally managed to get a photo of the sign in action. Unfortunately it wasn’t cut exactly right—if you look closely, you’ll see the trim-line was printed—but my client was quite happy with it.

Caution Crossing Road Pedestrian Sign

Fresh Lavender and Red

Posted 13 February 2011 at 8:44 AM | Comments (3)

Valentine’s Day is tomorrow, and I’m thinking about all the couples planning February weddings that want a more unique—but still Valentine’s Day-appropriate—color palette. This may not be the most conventional choice, but try lavender and red. It’s pretty dang cute, as demonstrated by Amy Atlas’ dessert buffet for O magazine, whose cookies and cupcakes were the inspiration for this whole board.

Fresh Lavender and Red

I’m totally sold. The lavender sweetens a fiery red, and it’s a much fresher complement than pink. Someone: please plan your lavender and red wedding, and then send me the photos so I can live vicariously through you!

Sushi Dinner Party in Modern White and Acid Green

Posted 12 February 2011 at 8:58 PM | Comments (0)

Fast Company’s design blog featured this clever little serving dish yesterday. It’s called the Double Dish, and it’s from UK-based kitchen product company, Joseph Joseph. One look at the Double Dish and I could already envision it in my home, since we’re big on pistachio nuts and edamame around here.

Then, by happy accident, I came across the CB2’s Dunk Sushi Plate, another clever entertaining solution. You place maki on the outer part of the dish and soy sauce on the inner part. We often order Japanese takeout, so it’s another win.

And then, well, one thing led to another, and I found myself creating a whole green-and-white sushi dinner party theme.

Sushi Dinner Party Set in Modern White and Acid Green

Perhaps the most exciting find in this whole set is the table linens. Paper Cloud’s Petunias Field pattern is fun and quirky, and the linens are hand printed with water-based inks on organic cotton. Love!

Camelia’s Cupcakes Logo

Posted 11 February 2011 at 5:56 AM | Comments (6)

Talented cupcake maker, Camelia, was finally persuaded by family and friends to turn her hobby into a business and bring American-style cupcakes to Stockholm, Sweden. She contacted me a few months ago to ask if I’d design her logo. (Um, she had me at cupcake.)

Through e-mails and Skype calls, we discussed her vision for her brand. Camelia already had an impressive list of descriptors—her brand should be feminine, upscale, and elegant. The logo should incorporate pink, swirls, and back-to-back C’s. You’d think that, with so much information, I wouldn’t have anything left to do, but even with those kinds of parameters the possibilities are endless.

This is what just a couple hours of conceptualizing looks like:

Camelia's Cupcakes Logo, Initial Sketches

Camelia chose her favorite pretty quickly, and we’ve been developing it since.

Camelia's Cupcakes Logo, Final

It’s fun to be involved from the beginning when someone is launching their business. Though we have much left to do, I can already sense that great things are going to happen for this girl, and I can’t wait to see it.

And eat it.

Pretty (Dotty) Woman

Posted 10 February 2011 at 12:42 AM | Comments (5)

Alright, so I probably shouldn’t do two fashion posts in a row, but after spending a good chunk of yesterday afternoon thinking about the bird cardigan, I’m in a fashion mood and on the verge of placing an order somewhere.

The resort 2011 collections inspired me to do polka dots again. (I say “again” because I’ve always loved polka dots. I blame it on Julia Roberts at the polo match in Pretty Woman, whose brown polka-dot dress and matching hat is one of the most memorable on-screen ensembles ever.) What I love about this season’s polka dots is that they’re not cartoony or costumey, just super chic—and very Pretty Woman.

Polka Dot Fashion from the 2011 Resort Collections

Some of my favorite polka dot pieces I’ve found so far are Express’ ruffled romper, Anthropologie’s Across the Land dress, White House Black Market’s tiered skirt, and Kate Spade’s Jillian dress.

Polka Dot Fashion from Express, Anthropologie, White House Black Market, Kate Spade

There’s just something about polka dots that make me feel like such a lady. Since these days I’m usually wearing jeans and running after two kids, I haven’t felt like a lady in a looong time. I need this! At least that’s what I’m telling myself.

Hey, That Really Pops

Posted 9 February 2011 at 2:05 PM | Comments (2)

I’ve been casually looking for an item of clothing in cool, graphic, pop-art print, like the ones featured in Elle (below). So far my favorite is Forever 21’s Peace Dove Open Cardigan, though it’s less structured and contrasty than the high-fashion pieces in Elle. Trying to decide if it’s time to fill up a shopping cart?

Clothing with Graphic Pop-Art Prints, Images from Elle and Forever21