We’ve talked before about the new breed of desktop tools beyond the desktop printer, things like desktop cutters, 3D printers, and laser cutters, and we’ve even mentioned how we’ve used 3D printed camera mounts for our own work, but of the tools previously mentioned, none of them let you easily bend wire. I know that sounds strange, and you may be asking why in the world you would want to bend wire? Well, like any good tool, the answer lies in the creative mind.

Pensa, a design and invention firm in New York, posted about their DIWire Bender on the how-to site Instructables in January 2013. Less than a year later they’re launching it as a product via Kickstarter.

At the time of this post, the Kickstarter has been live for about two days, and they’ll be hitting their funding goal of $100,000 very soon. And if that’s not enough, they also won $10,000 from Engadget’s Insert Coin competition.

Will there be a wire bending machine on your desktop in the future?

November 13, 2013 · Posted by in art, misc  

Alarm clocks have changed over time. No, really, check out the Wikipedia page!) Are you still using a tired old clock radio with big red LEDs on the front?

Old Clock

This is probably what most people think of when they picture an alarm clock…

…not a big chunk of wood.

New Clock

The Alarming Clock takes a (somewhat) new approach by presenting a nice looking object which also just happens to be an alarm clock. It has a digital display, but it’s hidden on the bottom. It doesn’t have a speaker that emits some digital beep, instead it takes a lesson from the old-school alarm clocks with bells and physically hits an object to create sound.

Sure, you might not be ready to shell out approximately $470 USD for this alarm clock, but it’s always nice to see what designers can come up with when faced with re-imagining something that’s been around for so many year and hasn’t changed much over time.

I’m still not convinced you need 8 hours of sleep every night though. ;)

August 27, 2013 · Posted by in art, design  


A recent post about the San Francisco flag at Burrito Justice reminded me that Milwaukee has a flag that is much less than awesome… how much less than awesome? Well, it was designed by a Milwaukee Alderman in the 1950s, and back in 2001 it was deemed so bad that a competition was created to redesign it. With over 100 designs submitted, none were chosen and the old (ugly) flag remained.

To further add insult to injury, in 2004 a poll conducted by the North American Vexillological Association, the flag of Milwaukee was rated the fourth worst of all major cities in the United States. Embarrassing!

With a vibrant creative arts community in the Milwaukee Area (including branding firms like ourselves) perhaps the time is right to give it another shot and see if we can improve upon our flag. Having a well-designed flag we can be proud of might do wonders for the city.

August 15, 2013 · Posted by in art, branding, design  

The Sketchnote Typeface

Mike Rohde is a designer and friend of mine. The first time I met Mike he asked me about the Moleskin notebook I was using… that should have been the tip-off that he was into sketching.

Mike pretty much pioneered the idea of Sketchnotes, and over the years he’s been perfecting it and building an army of others who practice the craft. (He even wrote a book!)

But his latest Sketchnotes project is a typeface based on his sketching style. Here’s an excerpt from the blog post:

The texture of Sketchnote is the result of actual ink-spread on paper, captured in scans of the written letterforms and left intact during production to preserve that feeling. Under the hood, the texture was carefully edited by hand, eliminating outline errors and keeping the point count low for optimal performance. These fonts are crafted to the highest industry standards.

And finally, here’s a video I shot of Mike a few years ago talking through the process of Sketchnoting.

June 25, 2013 · Posted by in art, design  

Targeted Ads

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Lenticular Ad

I’ve seen Lenticular printing typically used for art, but it’s also been used in the advertising world. If you’re not familiar with Lenticular printing, it’s a method of printing which incorporates lenses (or specific angles) so that the final image has the illusion of depth, or the ability to change or appear to move when the image is viewed from different angles.

The ANAR Foundation came up with this creative use of lenticular printing for an ad that shows a hidden message to kids who are short enough to see it at a different angle than adults.

There’s a great post at DIYPhotography.net which explains things a bit more, or just check out this video which explains how the ad works.

May 6, 2013 · Posted by in art, design, marketing  

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