Saturday, January 31, 2009

logo design

I found this great link about the process behind creating a corporate logo the other day.  David Dache talks about the process behind redesigning HotBox Studio's logo here (via swissmiss - ironically enough, I found this link about an hour before my Graphic Design for Corporate ID professor sent it out to our class list). 

I really love the breakdown of the process behind creating this logo - especially the part about going back to sketching instead of working right from the computer.  This semester is the first almost completely graphic-design oriented semester I've ever had (!!), and I've really rediscovered the merit of constantly sketching and working on paper during rough drafts.

Currently, I'm doing a lot of logo work in classes, and I've just gotten my first freelance job through a class I'm taking!  I've applied to get research credit (or a stipend if I'm lucky) through the school for this job, since I was referred by a professor.  A former staff member of the school I'm at recently opened a consignment shop in downtown Albany, and needs an identity for his store.  So I'm sure I'll be posting more about my process and what's up with that!

If you ever get a chance, check out Paul Rand's book Design Form and Chaos.  It's currently out of print, which is a shame because that means two things: it's really hard to find, and it is ridiculously expensive if you do find it.  My professor for the above mentioned class actually assigned a reading to us from it that really laid out the process of logo design, which was an excellent read.  I'll see if I can possibly upload that in the future (not sure about the copyright issue, I'll have to look into that).  But I had also heard of this book through another professor during freshman year, and really want to find it!

Some other useful links for logo design and the process behind it:

I think that's all for now...night!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

what i'm eating right now

Definitely NOT the greatest picture - I wanted to snap a quick photo of it before eating because I'm running tight on time today, so I used my phone.


Today's breakfast: sliced kiwi, cranberry English muffins (my favorite!  Price Chopper had them on sale from the holiday stock), blueberry acai YoPlus, and chocolate milk.  Yum!

And yes, I'm eating in bed :-P.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

a little something to remind me that there are bigger things in the world...

Life is not an emergency!


Sandstorm, NASA/Jesse Allen, Robert Simmon/MODIS science team


Phytoplankton in the Black Sea, NASA/MODIS Rapid Response Team


Forest in Congo (Orange lines are logging roads), NASA /Jesse Allen, IKONOS, Nadine Laporte, Woods Hole Research Center


Re-emerging island in Canada, NASA/Jesse Allen, Landsat,University of Maryland's Global Land Cover Facility


Tibet, NASA/Jeff Schmaltz, MODIS Rapid Response Team, Goddard Space Flight Center

And lastly,


Las Vegas (I'm really proud I recognized this one before I saw the caption! We landed in Las Vegas on the CA trip last year...), IKONOS image ©2004 GeoEye

See the full post's absolutely gorgeous!!

to do list for tomorrow (sunday)

...and the near future!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

class: my logo project

I'm taking Graphic Design for Corporate ID this semester, and I am in LOVE with it!  Good thing, too, because it's an 8am class...ouch.  It's also my first 8am class (ha!), but I have to say I honestly don't mind waking up so early once I get to class.  It makes me sad, even, that I have another class after it, because I leave feeling so inspired that all I want to do is design!

I haven't taken any graphic-design heavy courses in awhile, which is another reason why this course energizes me so much.  I was on the animation track for my major for awhile, until I realized that it bores me and I'm just not in love with that stuff.

For the past 2 weeks we've been working on logos for ourselves.  The initial sketch-up was for 25 logos based on our initials, 25 based on our full name (in one form or another), and 25 logos based on a graphic.  From there, we had to pare it down to 3 logos from each category and clean them up on the computer.

Here are my 9:







I'm pretty stoked that the professor liked them!  I haven't felt very validated as an artist in a long time (anything involving Premiere or AfterEffects tends to do that to me..........), so it was great to hear the feedback on this.

Based on the first set of comments I got on the initial sketches, my own thoughts, and what I heard today, I really like the graphics set (all of them, ahh decisions...).  I'd like to do more with the hand, and replace the word "lefty" with "natalie", or my last name or initials.  "Lefty" just isn't personal enough, but I like the styling, so it's a good representation of what it will most likely end up looking like.

I love the line-style writing in the set with initials (obviously!).

As for the full name logos, I had the most fun with the letter stacking, and I really like the bottom version.  I might play with the variations on that and see what I can come up with there.

I'd love to know what 1 from each category are your favorites! 

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

lazy sunday afternoon brunch


My favorite way to spend a Sunday morning:  wake up around 9-10am, check email/blogs/ims while lazing under heated blanket, watch some TV (Bravo usually has some kind of marathon of crappy shows I'm addicted to!), then think about making breakfast/brunch around 12pm.



Airborne (wooo staving off colds), coffee, plain yogurt w/honey and bananas, toast with apricot jam and SmartBalance, and omelette with sauteed tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini.  Yummm!










Christmas break ended last was so early, I wasn't ready for it!  These are a few of the many pictures I took at home.  I love how cozy it is there, with the woodstove and things always being cooked and baked :).  Country living at its finest!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

a good mug is hard to find

I've always had a thing for well-designed mugs - I love picturing myself enjoying a cup of coffee or good tea from it.  Here are a few I've been loving lately:


Bodum French Press Travel Mug, $10 at Bed Bath & Beyond

 mug2 pridepred

Penguin Classics Mugs

orlakielymugOrla Kiely designed mug


Pantone chip mug (Did you know?  The guy who invented this system graduated from RPI!)


Boulder Mug, $10 at Urban Outfitters

imageimage CMYK mug and Everything Happens for a Reason mug, from CafePress

 image I <3 Jim mug, $8 at Urban Outfitters

image Tea cup, $14 at Anthropologie

image Tea cup, $16 at Anthropologie

Monday, January 12, 2009

new year's spread

  Chris and I decided to spend a quite New Year's Eve in at the apartment.  Good thing we didn't make any plans that didn't involve lounging around and making food - we got snowed in!  Happy (late!) 2009 :).


Blueberry waffles, and banana white chocolate chip waffles. Mmmm.  Plus some bacon (YUM), cherries (still not as good as the Washington ones, but pretty good!), and coffee made with my new stovetop percolator and espresso cups from Nina!  Plates from an old woman's closet at a craft fair Heather and I went to a few weeks before Christmas.




Making Ham and Cheese Scones (recipe coming this weekend!), and to the right, fresh spinach artichoke dip.  I use this recipe for the dip, and usually replace all/part of the mayo with ranch dressing (I usually don't have mayo in the house).


Everything on the coffee table!  We also had olive oil + spices for bread dipping, and the Scharffenberger brownies. If you're wondering what Chris is doing...our couch ate the TV remote :(. 


Happy (sleepy!!) 2009!

Friday, January 9, 2009

pancake paradise

After the series of ice storms at the end of the semester, we were lucky enough not to lose power, unlike the other half of the city.  Over the course of the weekend a few friends ended up staying over because they didn't have power, and on Sunday morning Heather and I made pancakes for a bunch of our friends.  There's no better way to spend a Sunday than with friends and breakfast foods! :D


(This is how I know we go to a tech school.......)


We used Joy the Baker's Oatmeal Raspberry Pancakes recipe, with a few substitutions.  I had no buttermilk, so in place of that I used a mix of plain yogurt and regular milk.  I also doubled the recipe, and used instant oats (the recipe doesn't specify), and it turned out great!  I love pancake recipes because they're so flexible - almost all of the non-pantry ingredients (like milk, eggs, buttermilk) can be substituted with whatever you have in the fridge.  It's so easy!

DSC04538 DSC04539

My friend Jeremy took over the reins in pancake-making during the second round.  He claimed he never did this before, but take a look at some of the pancakes he made! ;)  He had it down to a science, forming the shapes piece by piece so the layers cooked in order, and taking requests from the crowd.  So cool!


Skull and crossbones


Flipping the dragon...


...and here it is!  I need to learn how to do this stuff ;)


I may have had a 30 page paper hanging over my head that day, but for me it was one of the most memorable ways to end the semester.  :)


Oatmeal Raspberry Pancake recipe here, from Joy the Baker.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

mmmm sprinkle cookies


I went over to my roommate Heather's house right before we went home for Christmas break, and we baked a double batch of Italian Sprinkle Cookies with Heather's mom.  It was so fun!  The recipe was called "Aunt Lena's Italian Sprinkle Cookies", but I remember my grandma making these for many many years when I was little, calling them her Ukrainian cookies. :-P Heather's mom got the recipe online, and it made me really happy to know these cookies I used to love were so easy to make!


These colorful cookies make a great gift no matter what season it is.  We bagged them up and gave them out in groups of 6's, 8's and 12's to friends, family, co-workers, and bosses.  The cookies were delicious!  The key to this recipe is to use pure almond and lemon extract - the quality really makes a difference when the cookie relies on the extracts for flavor.  You also want to make sure to use fresh sprinkles!  In the past, I've accidentally used stale sprinkles on birthday cakes and it really brings down the taste.  Oops!

20090105039 20090105041

The original instructions said to mix melted shortening into the flour mix, but that ended up creating tons of lumps (not that that affected the taste at all!).  We ended up going through the dough piece by piece, trying to smooth out all of the lumps and bumps.  We guessed that adding the flour to the shortening instead would've avoided this, and Heather made the recipe again a little late, she told me it did!  The glaze was also much too thin at first, running right off the cookies and not really holding sprinkles.  So, I'm posting the edited version below.  Enjoy!



Aunt Lena's Italian Sprinkle Cookies

makes about 7 dozen

6 eggs
5 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons PLUS 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 cup shortening, melted
1 tablespoon almond extract
1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract


1/2 cup warms milk
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/3 lb confectioners’ sugar
Round colored sprinkles

Using a heavy-duty electric mixer on high speed, beat eggs until light and foamy, about 5 minutes. Set aside. In another mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar and baking powder.  Pour the melted shortening and extracts into a large mixing bowl.  Gradually add the flour mixture to the melted shortening and extracts until a bead-like texture is formed. Gradually add beaten eggs (dough will be stiff). Roll dough into 1-in, balls. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Bake at 350 degrees for 12 minutes. The tops of the cookies will not brown, but the bottoms should brown slightly.

For glaze, combine milk and extracts in a large bowl. Add sugar; whisk until all lumps are dissolved and the glaze is smooth. As soon as cookies are removed from the oven, quickly immerse two or three at a time into the glaze. Remove with a slotted spoon or fingers. Place cookies on wire racks to drain. Quickly top with sprinkles. Let dry 24 hours before storing in airtight containers.