Tuesday, November 27, 2012

My Business Card is Nearsighted

Recently Kim mentioned to me a new technology creeping its way into the business card market. Known as NFC or Near-Field Communication, this new technology allows you to program a certain amount of digital information onto a tiny microchip embedded within your business card. When someone touches the smart card to their smartphone (sorry, no i phones), it is told what to do. This usually means pulling information from the web, such as contact info, video, or even downloading an app. Card owners can re-write the info over and over.  Even if you have given the card away you still have access to re-write the data.

This all sounds pretty amazing. But is it really necessary to "bump" my phone into your business card to get your information? And at what cost? MOO.com currently has the market cornered on the business card aspect of this hot new trend, and their product will not available to the masses until 2013.

But what you may not know is that people have been creating their own NFC cards without the help of MOO since the technology has arisen. Tagstand is an online vendor that provides NFC tags and applications. For only a $1.00 you can purchase your own sticker the diameter of a quarter and as thin as a sheet of paper. Now you don't have to be held back by the pre-fab dimensions and design limitations of MOO.

This new NFC technology seems like it has endless applications and possibilities. It may be the next hottest thing since the QR code. But right now users seem to be happy to ride this one out. Could this just be another "myspace"?

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Turkey Day! Thanksgiving Inspired Infographics

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I did what any typical graphic designer would do and looked up Thanksgiving graphics—you know, just to see what I could find. I am so thankful I wasn't disappointed! I came across some awesome infographics by Column Five, a California-based design firm specializing infographic design & data visualization. You know how I love infographics! So, happy thanksgiving to you—please enjoy some of these fun holiday-related graphics:

Happy thanksgiving to everyone. We hope you have a safe and happy holiday!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Client Spotlight :: Healthful Mama

We love working with all our clients (seriously, we mean that sincerely). But as we've mentioned before, when we are asked to create things for clients promoting healthy lifestyles we get especially excited. Recently, we had a great opportunity to work with Healthful Mama to create design solutions for both print and web.

Written by Gretchen Sowers, Healthful Mama is a blog focused on natural and holistic living. Blog topics range from creating a healthy home, toxin-free environments, diet-based health solutions and recipes using whole food ingredients.

When Gretchen first came to us, she was looking for a more professional visual brand for Healthful Mama. Beginning with the blog header, we established a natural-looking textured background, paired with rich, earthy colors and fun typography. This look was carried over to a 2-sided business card (equipped with a QR code and all!), web banner graphics, facebook and twitter profile graphics, as well as customized social media icons.

This was definitely a fun project to work on, and right up our alley! We were thrilled with the opportunity to work with Gretchen and Healthful Mama and look forward to more projects like this in the future!

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Lost Type Co-Op – A Dream Come True!

Recently, I came across this amazing website. I was re-directed there to see about downloading a font I had researched online. Once I explored the site, I realized I had stumbled upon a magical place!

Founded by designers Riley Cran and Tyler Galpin, the Lost Type Co-Op is a very unique type foundry. It's Pay-What-You-Want Type foundry, the first of its kind, and offers users the option to “pay-whatever-you want” (even if it's $0). All contributions are paid directly to the designers. Lost type takes no cuts of the sales, and holds no funds.

Lost Type Co-op has become a full fledged foundry, distributing quality fonts from designers all over the world!
When you're viewing the fonts on the site make sure you notice the photos along the bottom and the white box on the right. These areas will give you the useful info on what actually comes with the font.
Interested in submitting a font? Shoot them an email and maybe you can be one of the designers whose work becomes showcased.

So, go ahead. Check out Lost Type, I know it'll definitely be bookmarked on my browser!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Taste of Americana: Hatch Show Print!

Recently, I was fortunate to visit Nashville, TN for a business conference. (More info on the conference to come...my mind is STILL spinning with all the great info I sucked up there!). But, luckily while in The Music City, I got to visit the iconic and historic Hatch Show Print, one of the oldest working letterpress print shops in America!

As you walk into Hatch Show Print's storefront on Nashville's Broadway Street (though be forewarned, they will be moving locations very soon!), it's like you can hear angels singing! OK, I'm being over dramatic, but seriously, you are greeted with walls lined with old letterpress forms, and walls completely covered in colorful posters, for as far as the eye can see! It was a designer's happy place!

Opening in 1879 (yes, that old!) by the Hatch family, the print shop flourished during the days when show business was get-up-and-go business. Whether circus, minstrel show, vaudeville act, or carnival, show posters created the excitement that sold the show, covering the sides of buildings and barns in cities and towns throughout the country. Later on Hatch became well known for their music posters, featuring not only famous country artists, from Hank Williams to Johnny Cash to Garth Brooks, but also musicians of all genres.  

Hatch Show Print has captured American history, southern culture, and entertainment without losing that irresistible appeal of turn-of-the-century design aesthetics. For all you music lovers, Americana buffs, graphic arts collectors, graphic designers, and commercial advertisers of all persuasions out there, if you ever find yourself in the Nashville area, be sure to stop by Hatch Show Print, you won't regret it!

Now, I'll just need to figure out where to hang my two new Hatch Prints!

Special thanks to Jonathan Boehman of Immersion Active for introducing a few of his fellow designers to Hatch Show Print!