Archive for the ‘creative’ Category

The only thing better than weddings is a safari-designed one

Friday, June 17th, 2011

It’s summer, and I think you know what that means. Apart from light dresses, picnics, Frisbee tournaments and boat races (yes, my summers are very fun), it also means that people are getting married all over the place. Ever since this Kate Middleton business, I feel like I’m seeing a lot of couples tie the knot. Then I get a little bit jealous at England’s ability to make everything so cool and to make everyone follow them. Then I calm down and remember that, as I said before, it’s summer: weddings are like a sport this time of the year (and I need to stop blaming the British for everything).

A lot of people look at weddings from the love aspect, or the dress aspect, or even for the possible chance at a comical mishap. But it’s interesting to look at weddings from a design aspect. There is something really special about a wedding in general, but something  makes it extraordinary when the creativity and colors are amazing. Wedding blog site Love and Lavender recently featured the wedding of Parker and Laura’s, and the designs that the couple picked are especially pleasing on the eyes. They decided to do a safari-themed wedding, complete with a nice combination of a South-African-feel and outdoorsy style elements.

All pictures are courtsey from the wedding blog site Love and Lavender.

What’s cool is that they stayed on the theme well, without being overbearing. Instead of something cheesy, like pictures of animals all across the wall or forcing their bridesmaids to dress up as hippos, they went with simple, yet classy ideas. For example, the tablecloth was made out of burlap, there were flowers in color-coordinated tin cans on the tables and each of the tables were named after safari animals.

Team Lion!

A wedding is only as good as its food, and this wedding got really creative with the whole cake concept. Instead of the traditional big white pastry, the couple decided to give everyone individual apple pie cakes baked in mason jars.

Genius. I’d take pie over cake any day.

And of course, following the safari theme, Laura and Parker had a safari-themed photo booth. With giant giraffes.  Giant giraffes!

When have you ever not wanted to take a picture next to a giant giraffe?

It makes me want to get married, even though I’m only 20. Um…wait. Scratch that. It just makes me want to crash a well-designed wedding.

Because, seriously. Who doesn’t want their wedding to go out with a bang?

My poster brings all the kids to my room…

Wednesday, June 15th, 2011
Posters are the windows to our souls. Or at least, posters are the cool pieces of art we keep next to the windows on our walls that tell people about our souls. Or something like that. The point is, posters are pretty cool. However, it’s sometimes hard to find new posters that set you apart. There are times when you treasure your “Pulp Fiction” poster like it was your own baby; there are other times when you want to tear your eyes out when you realize you’re not the only one who loves Quentin Tarantino. When two of your friends have the same one, it means you have great taste. But when it’s five of them with the same one, that’s the wake-up call to get more swag for your walls.

This is where the 1200 Poster project comes in. Every month on the 12th, design company Big New Ideas releases a creatively designed poster to the public. They’re different, specialized posters made by different, young up-and-coming artists each time, so no two same concept and ideas are repeated.

Poster courtesy of 1200 Posters.

Each poster comes with a little theme for the month, such “Invite everyone who cares to work on what’s possible,” or “Expect to be surprised” (the one for the poster above, and my personal favorite), as each of the artists took time and poured thought  into each one. The prices for the posters range from $20-$25, which are a little pricey, but totally worth it when you consider that you’re getting original, skillfully done works of art for your buck. Did I mention they were one-of-a-kind? You’ll have the coolest walls on the block.

Do YOU have this 1200 Poster artwork, Brigette? No. I didn't think so.

Sweet Ts, Mister

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Whoever made T-shirts something more than just articles of clothing that keeps us warm was a genius. I’m a huge sucker for designs, and the funnier/cuter the design, the better. That’s why is up there on the T-shirts-sites-that-rock list: they’ve got adorable and witty shirt designs for every kind of person.

The great thing about shirt.woot! is that besides just selling awesome-looking T-shirts, they have a short, funny blog post about each one, describing the concept, why you should wear the shirt (and why, if you’re a certain type of person, you shouldn’t wear it), what the shirt “tells the world” and more. Here’s an example post:

My personal favorite tee is, of course, is “Odd Bear Out.”

Odd Bear Out, courtesy of

It was on shirt.woots!’s Top 20 List of the Week, something I am not surprised about. Because who doesn’t love pandas? And bamboo plants?

Awesome, indeed

Monday, June 6th, 2011

So, we kind of have an art-crush on Jessica Hische, since she’s nothing short of amazing. As a letterer, illustrator and designer, she creates intricate word art for all sorts of literature. One of her most delicate and whimsical projects is the designing of covers of famous Barnes and Noble Classics (think Pride and Prejudice and Withering Heights), an art she achieved by leather-binding the books and foil-stamping two different foil colors into the jacket and foil. When it comes to beautiful designs and lettering for books, cards, signs and other forms of written communication, Hische is Superwoman.

Hische's book design, courtesy of

Plus, she has the best side projects. One of her blogs is called “The Internet Sends Me Cake,” where she has people send in pastries they made, then writes about and photographs the sweets. Hische also has a blog named “Mom, this is how twitter works,” which is a simple, step-by-step, colorful guide to tweets and hashtags. You gotta love a lady who appreciates cake and teaches middle-aged women the finer points of social media.

See her site:

Shepard Fairey in Chicago

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011

It’s been a big week in the art and design community here in Chicago, with the Artropolis 2011 art show running down the street from JB Chicago headquarters at the Merchandise Mart. The three elements of the show consist of Art Chicago, the long-running event featuring international modern artists; NEXT, a series of exhibitions showcasing emerging artists; and the Merchandise Mart International Antiques Fair, which features the wares of over 100 antiques dealers from around the world.

In town for the event was one of the most prominent figures in graphic design in recent years. Shepard Fairey, creator of the image that defined the 2008 Presidential campaign, the iconic and ubiquitous propaganda-style poster that helped imbue Obama’s candidacy with the street artist’s fresh and progressive spirit. In January, 2009 the multi-media stenciled image was acquired by the Smithsonian Institution for it’s National Portrait Gallery.

At the opening of the Artropolis 2011 last Thursday, April 28, visitors to the exhibit were greeted by downtempo and dub beats at the entryway of the massive showroom hall, selected and spun by none other than Shepard Fairey himself. It wasn’t long before the artist was mobbed with art aficionados, dealers, buyers, and well-wishers (we counted ourselves in the final category), but we did get a chance to shake the hand of the guy who did in a big way what we in the world of design fundamentally intend to do— influence perceptions in the blink of an eye.

A few days later, Fairey was once again in the news when the Chicago Tribune and other media outlets reported the appearance of a new contribution to the prominent pedestrian sections in Chicago, the lakefront walkway to Navy Pier.

(Brian Cassella, Chicago Tribune / May 1, 2011)

With this move, the designer nods to both his history as a street artist as well as his new stature and recognition within the most prestigious institutions in art. Having not exhibited any work, streetwise or other, in Chicago since plastering his highly visible Andre the Giant prints in odd places throughout the cityscape in 2003, Fairey’s short stay here over the weekend was expansive. Sightings of his art ranged from the side of a tattoo shop in the South Loop:

to the intersection of Milwaukee and Grand Ave. that we bicycle past during our commute to JB headquarters:

As  it seems we can’t turn a corner without being faced with one of Fairey’s images these days. We’ve got to admire his ubiquity and ability to advertise himself and his work so conspicuously everywhere we go, from the halls of art museums to the street.

—by Brenda L. Intengan

The Magnificent Visual World of Stanley Kubrick

Monday, February 7th, 2011

by Brenda Lee Intengan

A couple of months ago during the beginning of the holiday season, my friend forwarded a link to me of a clip from Stanley Kubrick’s last film, Eyes Wide Shut because of the Christmas light theme throughout the film. I initially paid just half attention to the content of the video, until the masterful cinematography grabbed my eyes and held them with every scene. The style of this director is, to say the least, visually arresting.

From the first time I saw A Clockwork Orange as a teenager, I have always known that Kubrick had a remarkable eye. Managing to be stylistically classic and boundary-pushing throughout his films, he created visually timeless sets. His work on 2001: A Space Odyssey, a film that was created in 1968, managed to be radically ahead of its time; it still looks like the future. I believe that the recently released Tron: Legacy took its visual cues from this film, over 40 years later.

I have spent the past few weeks studying Stanley Kubrick’s films and enjoying the work of a true, revolutionary cinematic genius. From Lolita to Barry Lyndon to Full Metal Jacket, everything that he worked on is a dream for the eyes. I’d like to live in a Kubrick universe – not the part about the weaknesses and struggles of the human condition that he so beautifully depicts, but one designed, lit, and decorated by him. Life in it would at least feel infinite, sumptuous, decadent and perfect, and I would be endlessly inspired.

The Kubrick universe is twisted, perverse, and haunted – deeply troubled, to put it mildly- for it’s inhabitants. But it is also visually stunning with unparalleled style and attention to detail. After watching the catastrophic attempt by the Black Eyed Peas to convey the future during the unwittingly farcical Super Bowl halftime last night, I appreciate Kubrick’s genius in set design more than ever.

Top 30 Reasons You Know You’re A Graphic Designer

Thursday, May 6th, 2010

We here at JB Chicago enjoy laughing over the crazy similarities that all of us designers share. We hope that as a designer, you have at one time or another, been involved in or agree with one of the following items from the list below. Some of these have been “borrowed” from other lists and others have been added from our own experiences. Please enjoy!

You Know You’re a Graphic Designer When:

1. You will ONLY work on a Mac

2. You show 3 designs and you know your least favorite will be chosen or a combo of the worst

3. You can tell the difference between Helvetica and Arial immediately

4.  You watch the Superbowl only for the commercials of course!

5. You color coordinate everything (food in refrigerator, cds, dvds, etc.)

6. Command + Z goes through your mind when you make a mistake in real life situations (note to self: you can’t undo breaking a light bulb)

7. You would rather eat moldy bread than use Papyrus

8. You are never satisfied with any project… something can always be changed to make it look better

9. You tell your boss to look at and you still have a job the next day (oops!)

10. Every time you are wrapping up leftovers you are haunted by the filter plastic wrap

11. You’ve learned your lesson and stopped using the word “final” in any file you have saved (JBWebsite_FINAL, JBWebsite_FINALV2, JBWebsite_FINALFINAL)

12. You’d rather organize your desktop than your sock drawer (very exciting!)

13. You bookmark resources more than you have fun nights out on the town

14. Every restaurant you go to you secretly critique the menu design

15. Someone hands you an invite or business card and you are more excited to see the design than the content

16. You say “why didn’t I think of that” when you see something that is an awesome design

17. You don’t care what the words say you just are concerned with how many words there are

18. You still enjoy buying toys and have one sitting on your desk now

19. You know powerpoint is and never will be cool! (ooh the curse of PPT!)

20. You use your pantone book instead of a paint chip for remodeling your bedroom

21. Most of the work in your portfolio is not the work that the client actually approved, but the design you liked best

22. You drink your coffee out of a pantone mug (courtesy of Jimbo)

23. Lock up doesn’t mean going to prison

24. NSFW (not safe for work) doesn’t apply at your work place

25. You can wear jeans everyday (hell… on some days… sweatpants can even fly!)

26. Your friends and family members on a regular basis want your services for free or extremely cheap

27. You request a vector logo and you get a pixelated 72dpi jpeg from the web (placed in a Word document of course!)

28. You share battle wound stories from Exact-o knives

29. You have been working for days on a project and it still looks like shit

30. You buy a bottle of wine purely on the design of the label only

Please share some of your own with us as well!

What’s Bloggin’ Got to do with it? (got to do with it…)

Monday, August 3rd, 2009

Well we’re on to about our 30th post and we figured we might as well take a step back and ask ourselves why exactly we decided to take part in this whole blogging phenomenon. Does blogging really do designers any good? You might be asking yourself this same question… so let’s investigate. We realize that the design world has changed quite a bit over the years. We all get our inspiration for design somewhere: books, artists, friends, pictures, magazines, teachers, etc., but now more than ever inspiration can be found right at our fingertips via the web. Design blogs have become much more popular with new bloggers popping up each day lending out extra tips, tutorials, inspiration, and experience. 

Design blogs have many different benefits. Here are just a few we have found:
• They allow us to gain exposure where maybe we wouldn’t have had the chance to before. 
• They keep our brains and creative minds churning at all times coming up with new posts and ideas to blog about.
• Blogging can be a challenge. Just like any other project that comes our way, we must be proud of what we put forth.
• Design is all about communication; visually communicating with your viewers. With blogging, we are able to embellish on those communication skills and learn new techniques.
• Creativeness. Of course as designers, we love to be creative and push things to the extreme and blogging allows us to do just that. We are our own clients! What we say goes!

Each of us decided to highlight one of our favorite blogs that we enjoy visiting from time to time to keep up with our fellow bloggers in the design industry. Enjoy!

First up is Jim’s:

Sometimes designers need to look back in order to move forward. One of my favorite blogs is Grain Edit. They are focused on classic design work from the 1950s-1970s and contemporary designers that draw inspiration from that time period. Site content includes interviews, articles, designers’ libraries as well as examples of rare design annuals, type specimens, Ephemera, posters and vintage kids books.

Visit the blog:

Next is Christina’s:

Web Designer Wall, a wall of design ideas, web trends, and tutorials, is designed and maintained by Nick La, who also runs N.Design Studio and Best Web Gallery. He’s been designing for several years and his work has been published on numbers of magazines. He loves to share ideas and design techniques. Web Designer Wall serves as his public blog where he posts design ideas, tutorials, and talk about modern web design trends. I like that his site is kind of a one-stop-shop; I can search through how-to tutorials, new inspiring trends and read up on some design news. Not to mention his blog is well designed. Thumbs up to Web Designer Wall!

Visit the blog:

Last is Megan’s:
One of my favorite blogs to visit for inspiration is Bad Ass Ideas. The author, Samantha Warren, communicates well with her audience, while also giving it that extra edge that I love. She adds a personal touch to her blog, while also providing great resources for the beginner designer and the advanced designer. While her focus is on web design, she offers great inspiration for all designers. She calls herself a “people person,” and in my book is one of my “people.” Great job Samantha!

Visit the blog: