New URL and 11 sweet links from this week

We have a new URL! YAY! No one can remember that old one so now we are on 🙂 The other will still forward, but at least it will be easier to find us.

Worth a Click: Here are some fun links Michelle and I stumbled on this week.

7 More Useful Tips to Help your Site Convert > Smashing Magazine
(the 2nd part of a series about how to make your website sell!)

Bread Woman > Sayaka Yamamoto
(enough said)

Daikichi Amano > Veer
(films and photos with girls and eels, bugs, frogs and more… CREEPY. OR hot… depending on what you’re into)

One Show logo design finalists > David Airey
(the 2009 awards are around the corner, see the beautiful logo design finalists here)

Things I have learned in my life so far > Synaptic Stimuli
(beautiful photos and message)

Firework Art by Rosemarie Fiore > Design Milk
(michelle: “it’s really cool. I want to do it.”)

30 Impressive Ad photographs by Marc Paeps > Abduzeeedo
(i laughed, i cried, i felt uncomfortable – good work)

Digital Artist 2009 > Dexigner
(new competition for digital art)

Video by Hye Yeon Nam > Zank
(who is going forward and who is going in reverse?)

Aurele Sack > Aisle One
(you know you’re a designer when this simple type turns you on)

Fail Whale Store > Jimmy Hendricks
(get your fail whale on a t-shirt WOW)

PS- blog re-design COMING SOON! Have a good weekend everyone.



So the Collar Free party @ EXY last night was a success! Thank you to everyone that made this event happen! We will post more stories, photos and videos from this event on Monday and lemme tell you… they are gonna be good. For now… we are recovering. Here are our favorite links we found this week:

*Design Meltdown – Design elements, trends and design problems. Great source of inspiration and information.

*Smashing Magazine: 6 steps to creating a successful website

*Ellen Kooi Photography – these make me smile

*Dzine blog – 10 designers of the month – these are amazing. gets me in the mood to be creative… i need to paint.

* : Should we listen to music while we are working? designers answer

*Museum of Bad Album Covers – hilarious (found on cloudal partners)

*Branch: sustainable design for living – awesome stuff for the home. we want that flower holder thingy

*Best Ads on – this is great because you dont have to actually WATCH TV to see them. sweet.

*What are you really good at? – a good article about clarifying what it is you do as a designer and focusing on your strengths.

*Sneak Peak: Dolan Geiman – article on Design*Sponge showing this amazing space… sculpture… textures…beautiful

*How to get out of a Creative Slump* by Curtis McHale

Being creative is hard work. I know that most of your friends think you just get to ‘draw’ on your computer all day and wish that they too could have this freedom, but you know it’s not as easy as that. Being creative day in and day out requires lots of energy, which sometimes fails us. In fact, if you’ve been as this thing we call design for long enough you have probably encountered a dry spell in your creative juices.

It’s generally hard to explain to those who haven’t had it. For me it’s just a lack of any type of idea. Not just good ideas, I have nothing to put on paper at all. I sit in front of my canvas (Photoshop or Illustrator) and put ‘pen to paper’ and…nothing. Nothing that is worth the money it costs to have my computer on at least.

Sure I’ve hammered out projects for clients through these times and most often the projects turn out alright, but if you’re anything like me alright isn’t what you were going for.

So how do you get out of that creative slump?

  1. Have a non-design related hobby. I love to be outside. It rejuvenates me in so many ways that go past the physical. It inspires me to see all of the beauty that is around. I am actually really lucky in that my wife works for an outdoor shop so we spend lots of time that is ‘work related’ outside for her. It doesn’t have to be outside though just find something that is not in front of your computer and you enjoy. How about reading, basketball, photography. All good options and can bring huge amounts of rejuvenation as you open your eyes to those things around you.
  2. Personal Projects. Often designers get stuck needing some money and therefore have to take on a less than inspiring project. Projects that don’t get your blood boiling, cool it which makes it harder to be creative. I always try to have a project on the go that is mine. Money doesn’t matter it’s for me. My most recent one was simple, I made a wallpaper for Smashing Magazine. It is a simple picture I took and added a calendar to. Not really a lot of work but it paid off big when I got to send my parents, wife, and friends the link that showed how amazing I was. Honestly it has also paid off work wise. In the 3 days since it was featured I have had 3 contracts come as a direct result. My 2 hours working on it are well paid for.Your personal project doesn’t have to make you any money it just needs to be something you like and want to do. A website for your favorite anime film. A wedding anniversary site. How about a cool poster for your office. The possibilities are limitless just go do it.
  3. Put your feet up. So far all of my suggestions will take some energy so how about just resting. I actually have a degree in Psychology and know from years of study how much lack of sleep can affect you.
  4. Work in inspiring surrounds. Finally work in places that inspire you. Hopefully your office is a place that inspires you but for some of us that just isn’t the case. I really have nothing to complain about I have the second bedroom in my house as my office. It also doubles as the storage room for all of my outdoor gear, so it does get a bit crowded. Most often I do find my office great to work in but not always. I learned while I was in school that working at home was not always the best way to get good results. Often I would go out to a coffee shop with my iPod and study/write madly for a few hours and produce papers that earned me A’s. I have also forced myself to stay home and spent hours on a paper that should have taken my minutes. If you have a laptop then get out and try some different work areas. Maybe the park will work. Maybe the coffee shop. Maybe a restaurant. Just get out and try it to see if it inspires you out of your slump.

Ultimately having a time in your career where you lack creativity just marks that you have been designing for a while. We’ll all hit it. What will make us succeed as designer’s and artists is pushing past it and continuing to enjoy what we do. – Curtis McHale

Who is Curtis McHale?

I am an in house designer/wannabe full-time freelancer located in BC. I design because I love to be creative and code because I like the technical stuff involved. Creativity is a breathe of fresh air into life that many people don’t get to experience. You can see more of my work on my site and on my blog.

Guest Blogging!

Mel and Michelle are inviting fellow designers to share their ideas, inspiration and advice on our blog every Friday. If you’re interested, please send us an email: OR We would love to hear from you!

Typography with Emotion

Last night I went to the candlelight vigil for a man named Luis Santos who was murdered on Saturday at San Diego State University. I had only met Santos on a few occasion, but I knew his best friends which were my neighbors for 2 years. I’m so confused at how this could happen. It’s not Compton. It’s San Diego. I graduated from SDSU and I spent many nights strolling along that same street. It’s well-lit, right in front of the state-of-the-art gym and directly across from the police station. Just a block from the fraternity and sorority houses which always have events on weekends… hundreds of students hang out here. Luis and 3 other friends got in an argument with 4 other guys. Luis and his friends were stabbed and Luis died on the scene. Last night, friends and family gathered at the location of the incident bringing candles, flowers and posters in memory of Luis. There was also a slide-show of all of the great times… it was all very emotional. It’s so unfortunate that this mans’ life had to be cut short. FOR NO REASON. What is wrong with the world? My thoughts are with Luis’ close friends and family.

I came home to sketch out my thoughts. This led me to some of my favorite quotes.

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” – Gandhi

“If your going through hell, keep going.” – Winston Churchill

This led me to explore some other graphic designers that use powerful typography.

Si Scott Design –  AMAZING work and it is all HAND-DRAWN. Holla to the traditional artists.

I also found a cool typography poster on Smashing Magazine Blog:



Craig Ward

Phil Chang

Want to make your own font? Read how: – making your own font

Plenty of t-shirts say stupid things, but if you’re trying to say something positive check out Blend Apparel.