Dumb Questions for Smart Designers – James Flames

James Flames is on fire.

He is a fantastically intricate illustrator and screenprinter with an eye for (every) detail. He was born in Brooklyn, NY to an overall artistic, big Italian family, and now lives in Asheville, North Carolina. His designs and artwork have been featured in galleries all over the world, as well as on beer bottles, album covers, magazines, and Marvel comic books.

He also creates gig posters for some of the top touring bands, including Phish, The Avett Brothers, Henry Rollins, and King Khan and the Shrines, just to name an eclectic few. Mr. Flames prints his posters by hand, in his studio tucked away in the woods.

We are thrilled that he set fire to our dangerously Dumb Questions. Read More

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Today in Design History

Feb. 16, 1978: The Bulletin Board Goes Electronic

Facebook celebrated its 12th anniversary this month, but social networking got its start 38 years ago today, when the first public dial-up Computerized Bulletin Board System went online in Chicago. Read More

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Dumb Questions for Smart Designers – Jessica Hische

Jessica Hische is a hand letterer and illustrator. That means she mostly draws amazingly cool letters (and words) by hand. She has done work for HBO, The Washington Post, and Starbucks, just to name a few of a few of her vast portfolio. She’s even been commissioned by the United States Postal Service, done a ton of book covers, as well as all the lettering for Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom.

She got her start with the legendary Louise Fili, then branched out on her own to conquer every letter in the alphabet. Now, with offices in Brooklyn and San Francisco she covers a lot of ground, from A to Z. All in all, Jessica takes type design to a whole new level. Read More

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The Marketing of a Made-Up Holiday

Dubious Brand-Led Holidays Holding Us Hostage

Groundhog Day, having just passed, seems like the wackiest, most made-up holiday, but at least it is not selling you anything.

Most everything about Valentine’s Day has design and marketing written all over it — from the graphic representation of a vital organ being a mold for candy to the weird, winged-baby firing arrows at unsuspecting passersby. Read More

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The New Role of a Marketing Company

Unless you have been busy petting a fluffy bunny in the forest and didn’t get the memo, it is no secret that the world of marketing, PR and advertising has changed.

Yes, the role of a marketing company is a business that helps other businesses grow. But that is just the basics. From social media to virality, the world is more connected, but with that comes more voices trying to get their message across. This makes marketing a more complicated task as having a quality offering is just not enough. You need to have something more, and that is what a marketing firm provides. Read More

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Dumb Questions for Smart Designers – Steven Heller

Steven Heller is as prolific as it gets in the design community.

He was an art director for the NY Times for 33 years. He has published over 170 books on design and popular culture. He is the co-founder and co-chair of the MFA Designer as Author program at the School of Visual Arts, New York, where he lectures on the history of graphic design.

Heller is the recipient of the AIGA Medal in 1999, the Art Directors Club Hall of Fame Special Educators Award in 1996, The Pratt Institute Herschel Levitt Award in 2000, the 2011 National Design Award for Design Mind, and the Society of Illustrators Richard Gangel Award for Art Direction in 2006.

With Heller’s cascade of books, articles, lectures, conferences, exhibitions, courses, blogs, radio essays, podcasts, and rants and raves, he labors mightily to help find a foundation under the eclectic range of activities that designers practice.

Steven has worked with Tom Wolfe, interviewed Milton Glaser; He is a luminary, forging graphic design’s archival history. And I bet you never knew whether or not he was a cat person.

It doesn’t matter whether Mr. Heller considers himself an actual designer or not, this was a special interview. Read More

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Dumb Questions for Smart Designers – Sara Blakely

Sara Blakely is the founder of Spanx. There isn’t a woman (or man) in this world that hasn’t heard of Spanx or thanked their lucky stars that it was invented. Just for those of you that have lived under a rock the past 10 years, Spanx is the revolutionary undergarment, that turned into a global sensation. The story of Sara’s success is all about simple innovation. With a single, disruptive design idea, she changed an entire industry and created a new product category. Read More

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The Bouncing Science Behind Stress Balls

Just Squeeze It!

The tips of all your pens are all chewed up. When you’re stressed, you crack your knuckles or play with your necklace and slip your shoes off and on under your desk. In short, you fidget at work when work becomes more work.

For our holiday gift box just this past year, we included our eBook, CMYK ninjas, a sling shot marshmallow game, Field Notes, and a stress ball that read “Greetings from Florida”…we didn’t realize how the stress ball would stick around our own office, and others’. Read More

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Dumb Questions for Smart Designers – Josh Brewer

Josh Brewer is a busy man. He is a designer, an entrepreneur, a teacher, a mentor, a musician, a husband and a father.

Mr. Brewer was Principal Designer at Twitter, co-creator of 52 Weeks Of UX and Ffffallback, as well as the Director of User Experience for Socialcast, which was acquired by VMware in 2011.

The dude literally doesn’t stop.

If he isn’t consulting on new ideas and new businesses, he is shaping the future somehow. He was one of the first designers to agree to our dumb questions, and we were lucky enough to catch Josh on the hook, and get him to take part in our funny little game. We can’t thank him enough for his expertise and his patience. Read More

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