Designer Loves : Antiquaria Modern Calligraphy

One of my most-loved resolutions this year was to write more beautifully packaged, calligraphed letters.

I love to write, love to send little hellos, & most of all, love the design of the letterforms, envelope, & stamp combinations – is that the crazy designer in me? Yep, I’m mesmerized by calligraphy & was just recently overjoyed to find that my hand-written world will be forever changed. Enter, Antiquaria Design Studio. A beautiful collective that is dedicated to fine stationery, modern calligraphy, & beautifully designed tutorials stroke by stroke. In other words, the exact resource I’ve been dreaming of during my swashy-letter excursion. Speaking of which, here’s their post on getting started with calligraphy »

a-z

Below you’ll find a beautiful video of these lowercase letterforms being calligraphed by one of the founders. Isn’t this stunnnnnning? Check out their blog for more details and tutorials. They’re currently cycling through capital letters!

IMG_5860

If you’re in love with them (as much as I am) by this point in the post, check out their shop for calligraphy supplies, stationery, & more. Enjoy & cheers!

calligraphy_kit2__78016.1382538062.1280.1280

A Designer’s At Home Try-On Marathon with Warby Parker, Rivet & Sway, & Fetch Eyewear

“The main thing is to
have personal integrity.

Oh, & traditional graphic design
ruined my 
eyesight.”
— Neville Brody in How to be a Graphic Designer Without Losing Your Soul

at-home-try-on-warby-parker-fetch-rivet-sway

My “designer eyes” are burning! Any other designer out there who leaves work at the end of the day & feels like your contacts have affixed to your eyes with a permanent, stinging, toxic glue? That’s this girl. This designer. Especially living in Colorado, the dry air mixed with staring intensely (on a teeny pixel-grid level) at a 27 inch iMac for 8+ hours is really tough on the eyes.
Enter, the quest to find the perfect pair of !designer approved! specs. 
I’ve recently endured a whirlwind of a marathon trying on 17 different pairs of frames from three different stylishly hipster eyewear companies. Warby Parker, Rivet & Sway, & Fetch Eyewear.
Here’s a quick glance and synopsis of my trial with each company :

compare-at-home-try-on-warby-rivet-fetch

photo-strip-glasses-design-wine-sunshine

Warby Parker has this at home try-on packaging, shipping, & style thing down. I love their site’s design, even their cart & email design, as well as their perfectly packaged shipping box. The frames all fit wonderfully, I was thrilled! Next to wonderful eyeglass designs, I love that they support sight & proper vision care in communities around the world who can’t afford prescription glasses. A win-win!

I love that Rivet & Sway has a direct sense of design for women, a beautiful site & package design, plus a discount program. However, it was hard for me to get excited to shop with them over the other two companies who give back to charity. When I received my at home try on, the frames weren’t labeled, so I had to go back to my online order to decipher which frames carried which names, a little frustrating, but not too bad. The fit wasn’t for me either, but I also have a very unusual face – & that’s most certainly not their fault, ha!.

I was initially super, super excited about Fetch. Since animals are my heart, I was really hoping to be able to find my perfect pair & help support the Pixie Project. I also love their design, and friendliness! Awesome logo, btw. Unfortunately, 6 of the 8 frames I took interest in on their site weren’t available for an at home try-on. I went ahead and ordered some not-so loved frames to see if I could wiggle my way into a pair I never would’ve known I liked – but to no success. Some of the frames were a little thicker than I prefer, and the proportions felt a little awkward for my awkward face (wink, wink). I still love everything about them! Maybe after a while I’ll check back in to see if I can snag my fave frames for a try on after all.

So which won the battle? Dadadadrrrrumroll please … after 17 pairs….
Here’s the winner below… it’s Begley, from Warby Parker! I love the ginormous round shape – perfect for scanning all areas of my gigantic computer screens without the confines of tightly built frames. Plus, they somehow work with my huge cheeks. See how excited I am? Woo!

design-wine-sunshine-warby-parker-glasses

Phew! Hope this helps other designers with burning eyes – a little insider info. Are there any other eyewear companies out there that designers love?
Cheers! Court

Pantone Home Colors : Navy & Indigo

home-color-palette-pantone-design-wine-sunshine-navy-indigo_01 home-color-palette-pantone-design-wine-sunshine-navy-indigo_02 home-color-palette-pantone-design-wine-sunshine-navy-indigo_03

Ever since I discovered the Pantone Universe at Lowe’s, I’ve been thinking of the rest of my world in coated and uncoated swatches. What’s that? You do too!!? Let’s party sometime.

Recently, Blaise and I have made the {somewhat happy, somewhat melancholy} decision to stay in our Boulder condo for a little longer before moving into our dream home in Denver. I’m making the most of it, and tossing some color around to give the place a few accents & polish (SO excited!). My first hue I’ve been dreaming of while creating our home’s color palette is navy, more so indigo – but of a very rich night-skyish hue.
The first image is my absolute favorite, somewhere between navy and purple – the perfect energetic indigo.  The middle is a little wacky, but bright and crisp. You gotta love the pop of hot pink and coral orange against the deep blue. The last is a warmer navy accented with gold, and {hooray} chi mirrors! I’m thinking that exact thing, to bring my chi mirrors in for a glow against the blue to keep it light and prismatic.

You can find all these images and many more on my Pinterest board Pantone Home : Home Color Palettes »
Enjoy, & cheers!

Designer Loves : Links Lately

tumblr_mzzr7n7idZ1st5lhmo1_1280

Here’s a collection of recent links I’ve adored :

ART & DESIGN
Unsplash from Ooomf has just released a new set of their fabulous royalty free photos (as seen above) »
Paperless Post is killin’ it this Valentine’s Day. So Many fly greeting card designs »
Take a thrill ride with Jody Mac Donald’s photographic journey and interview. Under the ocean, over the ocean, so stunning »
A pigeon color palette you won’t want to miss »
Swim Club Bath Salts on Etsy are rocking my minimalist lovin’ deisgn world »
Joe Cruz. Enough said. »

WINE
10 Best Wine Destinations in 2014 »
My favorite wine of January 2014 »
Travel with Food and Wine’s Ray Isle through 35 years of Cabernet»
Identifying Fruit Flavors in Wine from my faves at Wine Folly »
My fave Valentine gift for wine lovers? Still standing strong from last year »

HAPPY LIVING & SUNSHINE
One of our friends Alex, a bartender at Boulder’s Acorn, is competing against two other Denver mixologists for Colorado’s State Cocktail »
If you have a brown thumb (like me), you might find these simple winter plant care tips useful »
Clementine’s speaking with kindness, & waking up with peace »
For my resolution of wanting to write more letters, here are some simple ideas on penning the perfect thank you note »
If you have too many dogs per home square footage like us, stock up on these amazing pet odor eliminator candles, pronto! »
The perfect rucksack for travelers »
And on that note, 24 Best Travel Blogs of 2014»
I’ve been thinking of trying out green smoothies for breakfast lately. Lovin’ this recipe for a “Green Smoothie (That Doesn’t Taste Like Grass”. »

Enjoy, & cheers!

Type Study : FUTURA

Futura has been a favorite typeface of mine since I first studied & traced it in 2004 (say what?). The perfectly geometric (stunning) letterforms are clean, refreshing, & modern with chic style. In the design world, I’d say it’s a great go-to when your client wants a minimalist or simple, yet professional sans-serif, with more design than Helvetica. Here’s a look at this typeface in one of my fave wintertime mantras from Albert Camus :

futura-type-study_01 futura-type-study_02See? Futura has a huge family of weights to play with, within the same exquisite blueprint. I love that it can be super clean, or super bold – but still retains a cool, minimalist style.  It knows how to have fun, too – kind of like the dream girl that’s as smart as she is funny + beautiful.

A couple pieces of advice, when working with Futura :
1. Your “»” will always be disproportionate to the x-height of any of the font’s sizes. It will also set pretty low. In order to feel balanced, I always increase the “»” size, and drop the baseline until it feels nicely centered.
2. Watch the kerning with your 0’s. Since they’re so fat, they stretch with a wide leading that needs to be trimmed.
Here’s one of my fave type geek videos showing the precision of Futura’s creation. Enjoy!

FUTURA LE SPECIMEN ANIME from Thibault de Fournas on Vimeo.
The happy palm image above can be found here »

Help Animals Find Homes with some Photo Mojo

cats-make-great-wine-companions-design-wine-sunshine

I should preface this post with an unavoidable statement : I LOVE LOVE LOVE animals. They are my chosen cause, my absolute heart, & yep – I’m one of those crazy people who adores my three pets as my children. That being said, the last thing I want to be here is preachy about anything, because photographing pets for my local humane society is one of the most fun, & rewarding projects I’ve been a part of since I’ve moved to Colorado.
Did you know that almost every animal shelter needs help with photography for their animals? Times have changed from the days of prospective pet parents taking a very thoughtful trip to the humane society where they’d walk by the kennels, meet big brown eyes, & feel their hearts melt. Nowadays, these same future parents can search on a website, scrolling along hundreds of photos in hopes to virtually “connect” with an animal’s “mugshot” in just seconds.
I never knew until I started volunteering for the Humane Society of Boulder Valley, that 95% of the photos on the website are snapped in haste the moment the animal arrives at the shelter. This means that whatever terrifying journey the animal had been through would be written all over their face & posture. With one click, they’ll represent a false nature to the world on the shelter’s site. This is where anyone, regardless of whether you have a point & shoot or a fancy DSLR, can step in and change the world. YES, I just said that! It is a small world, after all – and you can save animals one life at a time with a great photograph. You’ll probably save the human in many ways too – it’s true!
We usually spend 3-4 hours on a Sunday, in a little room we’ve set up at the shelter with makeshift can lights. We hope to shoot up to 10 cats (it’s very strange how un-photogenic cats can be…) and we always shoot the long term residents who may not have put their best paw forward with their initial web picture. After lots of love + trial & error, my heart is so happy to be able to announce, that regardless of how long a cat has been at the shelter, almost every cat we’ve taken a “model” picture of has been adopted in just a handful of days!
Here’s a collection of my fave moments. More after the gallery of these beauties…

take-photos-of-shelter-cats-4 take-photos-of-shelter-cats-1 take-photos-of-shelter-cats-3 take-photos-of-shelter-cats-2

Can you believe that these sweet angels weren’t adopted before we photographed them? My goal as the cat photographer is to capture a moment of their unique personalities. Did you (by any chance) feel certain emotions arise when you saw each picture? That’s the magic. That is SUCH a HUGE part of what helps these amazing pets find their forever homes. Dogs, rabbits, mice, ferrets, & all the other animals at the shelter need help too – I just have such a soft spot in my heart for these cats who needed more photographers at our shelter.
If you’re feeling inspired & would love to get involved, simply contact your local humane society and let them know you’re interested in volunteering for animal photography. If you’re a professional photographer, most shelters will even let you watermark your photos with your logo!
Trouble finding one? Check out Petfinder.com to locate your closest shelter.
If you’re adventurous enough to try it out, let me know how everything goes. I’d love to hear about your journey!
…And saving the best for last, here’s my favorite model-kitty Smoky, who was at the shelter for a very long time, but just a few days after this centerfold shot, he was happily adopted! I love his confident, smug pose. Doesn’t he look like he’s on a beach with a Mai Tai?
Cheers, Court

take-photos-of-shelter-cats-5