Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Book of Faces

So last week we learned about Art Nouveau and the birth of the poster yes?
Now let's take a look at how the poster reflects our modern day culture.
(No offense 19th century)....Great news! The Oscars has branched out to
the promotional poster department of design! Yay! "Mr Shabba, also known
as the British designer and illustrator Dean Walton, has taken it upon himself
to recast five nominated films as gorgeous illustrated prints, which are now

available for purchase. Walton distills each film down into its purest element,
often working in a single color. Each poster also features a silhouette of the main
character, which is especially effective for this print for The Social Network."

Illustration by Dean Walton, 2011


If you're in it, you already know it. I'm referencing the wonderful world of facebook.

Words like "comment", "post", "wall", "friendship", and "status" will never be
the same again. Last week I watched The Social Network for the first time (hence the post). "If you guys were the inventors of facebook, you would have invented facebook":GO MARK! Though as great as it was, the undertone of the film scared me silly. Why? Because of how embedded I am in this facebook culture. As of today, Feb. 27, 2011; the global audience for facebook consists of 629, 622, 300 members. Within this number, over 152,189,880 are in the United States. Are you shocked? I'm not. We knew the references and truly understood the story because we're part of the story. No other generation can say this. Why would they want to anyway? Facebook is the mother of all time-wasters. However, we love it. We love you. It links us to past friends, current friends; it finds us internships; it allows us to stay in touch with cousins from Italy;
it updates us through photos; it reassures us how much our ex-whatever you call its
"ain't all that"; it helps us form events without paper; I mean really.... I can go on....but I won't. (You know you love it too).

If you're not watching by now, the Academy Awards are on, this second. If you knew this and are currently watching or happen to read this after you've watched it—how fabulous do Halley Berry and Gwyneth Paltrow look? Um, may I borrow their wardrobe, please? And well, let's get down to the meat and potatoes...the real reason why we're watching the dang Oscars tonight anyway. Can you say....


Dinner for two? 2011
For more information on this post, please check out:


Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Miss Dior Chérie

Dear Sofia Coppola, 

This makes me twirl in my chair.

Many thanks,

All this reading about Art Nouveau had me questioning: What ever happened to the veneration of women in design? In social media? Or better yet, anywhere? This is an absence I don't appreciate. Not even a little bit MAN (no pun intended, of course). Nonetheless, I dedicate this video to all my modern day Chérette's. Live it up ;-)

When Art Nouveau met Mari

A collection of Parisian goodies taken in my hotel room, 2009

Bonjour! Taking you back to spring break in Paris, here is where I first encountered the painstakingly beautiful movement, art nouveau.The city of sprinkling lights and mouth watering crepes, the memory of Paris will forever leave me in sweet disposition. It's where I felt the most "feminine" or, okay how can I put this without seeming strange — it's where I embraced being 19, a fan of Marie Antoinette and an excessive applicant of rosy cheeked blush. Everything about this time centered around celebrating life, experiences and young love. Champagne came in pink packaging, cheap Edith Piaf records were sold on the streets and wherever you went, one was referenced as "Madame". In fact, we arrived on March 8th, International Women's Day! I always found that to be a playful coincidence—or I simply over analyze everything.

My experience visiting this wonderful city parallels to what art nouveau represents to the world or rather, how the world views art nouveau (through Mari spectacles of course). An international revolution in design, it was considered a decorative style that branded the turn of the century. La belle epoque (the beautiful era) was described by the son of the count of Toulouse as a time of glittering 19th century Paris. It was an attempt to make art a part of every day life, using women as subjects and inspired by organic patterns which often contained meticulous designs. Later on in the movement, these organic patterns would often be geometrically influenced. No matter how effeminate many of these designs were—all designers should be appreciative of the period. Here we find the birth of the poster. A special shout out to art nouveau for paving the way to our means of income in the future. Merci! Merci!

2 of 13 posters—photographed in my home, 2011
Guilty pleasures for me include posters by the Parisian graphic artist, Eugene Grassat who essentially created and depicted beautiful
women noted as Cherettes:"archetypes—not only for the idealized presentation of women in mass media but for a generation of French women who used their dress and apparent lifestyle as inspiration" (p.197, Megg's History of Graphic Design ). My favorites include Reveri by Mucha and Cafes Torrefis by Privat-Livemont which I photographed here on the left juxtaposed to a rather appropriate dresser in my home to represent the movement.

(Funny the way it is: I was unfamiliar with the artist in the first image until I fulfilled the reading assignment for my Visual Communications class, learning more and more about Mucha's extensive design life).
Vive La Paris!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Meet Marimekko: "Mary-dress"


When translated from Finnish into English, Marimekko implies "Mary-dress". Now whats not to love about that? Founded by Finnish
couple Armi and Viljo Ratia (oo la la), Marimekko was created in 1951 and brought the world of graphic design and textile making into one interwoven fabric of society. The company pioneered a bold, avant garde, playful wave of colorful patterns to a region of the world just dying for a splash! Already a fashion power house in Finland, Marimekko would then make impressions abroad. Especially in Italy, where the company displayed a clothing line in Milan at the Rinascente, whose store manager at the time was oh, I don't know, some man you may know by the name of Giorgio Armani. In the United States, a little starlet called Jackie Kennedy would be swept away by sugary sweet patterns and designs galore! In fact, Jackie ushered Marimekko's main popularity in the U.S by purchasing eight dresses during the 1960s U.S. Presidential campaign. Today, Marimekko plays a leading role in the textile and design industry, staying true to their core foundations: printed fabrics and related design expertise, as stated in an article regarding tripling the output capacity of its textile printing factory. For more information on the article and anything related to Marimekko, please visit I'm warning you, you may want to purchase everything. Remember we're in a recession.

From sophisticated clothing to bags, umbrellas, interior decorations and kitchenware—you name it, Marimekko can potentially make it.
My obsession with the company is rooted from the simple fact that everything is made, worn and adored by women. Eventually making their way into my brazen sneaker collection, Converse has teamed up with Marimekko to make the worlds most fabulous Valentine's Day gift (hint hint). In an article posted by Flywire Tech on February 8th, we found that "Marimekko’s line of beautiful patterns and designs was transferred from clothing to footwear by using four Converse models which includes the new Chuck Taylor All Star PJ." Check it out! Enjoy!

Till next time,

Saturday, February 5, 2011

An ode to nutella.

Slogan: “Che cosa sarebbe il mondo senza Nutella?” -
What would the world be without Nutella?

Just in case you were wondering, today we celebrate my pride and joy in the
realm of Italian sweets and treats: nutella. Serving Italian children and
people of the universe a creamy delicious spread since the 1940s, we are now
commemorating the
5th Annual World Nutella Day. Nutella constitutes half
my body/weight real estate, so I figured the least I can do was show some love
on blogspot. Thank you Ferrero (well  not really).  So if you're not feeling my
drive and are confused about the craze, here's the deal. Nutella to me, is what
Nathanial hotdogs are to you: delicious, nostalgic, and well, a problem for
the belly area.

I would like to start a discussion about their logo. It's nothing crazy; chunky,
clean, simple—but we love it. Why? What makes us attracted to something?
Of course it's the product, correct? However, how does design influence marketing
strategies? At the end of the day, when a product is good and you've been
faithful to this product for years, for centuries—does their design/branding
really matter? Oops. Did I just say this right now? Let's be honest, if the jar
of nutella had rainbow emoticon collages all over it, (yes, that would be
terrible/design suicide), yet if the product is amazing, wouldn't we still buy it?
I would.
What are your thoughts? Let me know. 

For more info and proof that I'm NOT crazy, check out these sites!

Happy Nutella day!


Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Terrible Tuesdays are history.

It's one of those days, the day after Monday—that Terrible Tuesday. They aren't
normally terrible; but when the weather is this cold, skies are this gray and
internship hunting feels like you're grating parmigiano (as in it's smelly and crumbly), Tuesdays feel pretty terrible. It's moments like these when I'm in desperate need of external intervention. Some days it's friends, most days its food, but today it's Bruno. Industrial designer, architect, poet, philsopher, educator, author of children'sbooks and one of my favorites—I send a warm invisible hug to
Milanese graphic designer Bruno Munari.

WHY BRUNO? To be quite honest, I came across his little treasures by chance while
in Rome visiting the Ara Pacis museum with my art and architecture class. Unfortunately, he's not as internationally known as he deserves to be, but is now well respected by me and my circle of design friends (Hi Elisabeth). Though an admirer of his work, his words and love of children would leave the greatest impression on me. I spent most hours at the exhibit transcribing all the text from the walls (which included quotes about his design philosophy), into my journal. From that moment on, I was his biggest fan.

My journal dated from Jan 29, 2009
Today, while in conversation with a friend, I stopped to wonder about what really happens to children the moment they've decided on a career path. Is this silly? I don't think so. At seven, everything is possible. If you can dream it, you've got it. At that age, we were anything we wanted to be. We were the towns greatest bubble gum bubble makers, the world's greatest heart surgeons (because well, it had something to do with love didn't it?), the bravest fishermen/women of catfish, the most colorful wardrobe dressers and the most skillful eaters of spaghetti. Yes, your experiences are different from mine but more or less, you get the gist. Age seventeen then comes along, and we're forced to choose. The most despairing moment in every human beings life. Knowing that lines called limits, now exist. Decisions exist. Deadlines exist. It breaks my heart every time I think about it. The realization of becoming an adult. Today, I wondered why I chose to be a "designer".  Actually, I wondered why in the heck I would ever WANT to become a designer. It's madness. It's sleep depriving. It's technologically needy. Then I remember Bruno.

"Leave your studio and look at the streets too — how many discordant colors, how many show windows that could be more beautiful, how many signs in bad taste, how many wrong shapes...why not do it? Why not help improve the look of the world we live, side by side with the public that doesn't understand us and couldn't care less about art?"

  Photos taken at Ara Pacis Museum, 2009
  Photos taken at Ara Pacis Museum, 2009

Then Terrible Tuesdays are not so terrible.