Something was going wrong with the last theme I was using for my portfolio website, so I decided to change it out with a new one. Found this WordPress theme called Stretch at Creative Market for only $2 (what a deal!! I believe that was a Black Friday sale though, but it’s still going for only $5 now!) And it’s working great so far 🙂 Must say the coding is pretty rad; I love how responsive it is and how easy it is to use. Now if only I can get around to updating the work that’s on there too! Whoopsie!
I recently had the pleasure of helping my friend’s sister with her wedding invitations. The brief was straightforward yet quite loose. She said they wanted something “simple and elegant” and that was the extent of the brief! *laughs* The color for the wedding is gold and glittery diamonds were the decorative motif. The couple to be, Walter and Kristine, sent over a few pegs of other wedding invitations they’d seen and liked to serve as a starting point, but everything else was pretty much up to me. And this is where we ended up!
THE COMPLETE SET, (P.1 INVITE, P.2 EVENTS, P.3 TRAVEL CHECKLIST, P.4 MAP, P.5 RSVP CARD)
Since most of the guests will be coming from the Philippines, we created a map that would help the wedding goers familiarize themselves with Hong Kong geography. This was the most time-consuming page, but also my favorite since maps are always fun to create! Getting to do illustrations is also exciting, they always add an extra bit of interest!
It was a fairly quick process since they wanted to get the invitations printed and sent out as soon as possible, but even with the time crunch, I’m glad we ended up with something that they loved and appreciated. The wedding is happening in a few short days, and I wish them the happiest day and much love and laughter for many many years to come!
Yesterday, Liz and I headed to The Arm Letterpress in Williamsburg to take a 6-hour introductory class to letterpress printing. I had unfortunately woken up with a migraine so that made me not as perky as I should have been for our 11am start. Under the weather as I was, I had paid $150 to attend this class so I was getting my butt over there no matter what!
Coming into the studio, we were greeted with the most handsome, most well-behaved Dalmatian I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. His name was Henry and he was 9 years old, about the same age that The Arm is now. (I wish I had taken a picture of Henry!) Walking further into the space, we were next greeted by a guy in a plaid shirt, khaki-colored shorts, brown chukkas and a pageboy hat. He later turned out to be our teacher for the afternoon… he also happens to be the guy who started The Arm in the first place back in 2004, Dan Morris. Considering how laid-back he is, I never would have guessed that he was the owner of the place. As soon as he started talking about printing however, you could tell by how much he enjoyed all this stuff that yes, this was someone who had the guts to start his own letterpress studio just because he loved it and wanted everyone else to get to love the stuff too.
As soon as all 12 students had settled in and hung up our jackets and bags, we were all asked to introduce ourselves and share why we decided to sign up for the class. I found it really funny hearing person after person start with an “I’m (insert name here) and I’m a graphic designer.” I think only 4 people there weren’t designers, including Liz who has a probably-cooler job of being an editor-in-chief of the leading food magazine in the Philippines (whuuut!) And yes, I like bragging about my amazing friend.
Anyway, all the designers pretty much said they wanted to get away from their computer screens and do something with their hands for a change. That was also a big draw for me. I miss my silkscreen class at Parsons and everything that came along with it, including scrubbing the screens clean with the big brushes, water sprays and that all-too-familiar scent of Fantastik. Learning something new (but also somewhat familiar) like letterpress printing has definitely been on the to-do list for a while.
We got split up into 5 teams so each team could work on one of the five Vandercook presses at the studio. Liz and I paired up with a sweet girl named Megan. So after Dan had given us all the instructions and demonstrations we huddled together first to figure out what we would print with The Arm’s wood type collection. We decided on printing the word “supercalifragilisticespialidocious” but of course we had to Google how to spell that first! We fit the type onto the press and proceeded to fill in the spaces with the necessary wooden blocks. (I forget what the proper term for them is, if there is one.) You can never really escape the claws of mathematics, even when you’re doing something creative like this. We had to measure the pica lengths and widths and find the pieces that could add up to those numbers. It was a little bit like completing a jigsaw puzzle.
Liz and Megan showing off our first setup.
The cabinet filled with Van Son rubber-based inks
As soon as we picked a bright violet from the ink cabinet, we got started on our printing! I really liked the feeling of turning the lever and hearing the rollers go over the bed of metal while the piece of paper made contact with the type. I like the physicality of having to walk along with it and coming back to get the sheet out. 6 hours of standing made for some sore heels but I didn’t really notice because I was having quite some fun!
The afternoon was peppered with mini lessons on how to use the Kelsey Press, how to compose metal type and also how to use the foil stamp machine. And in between those was time for us to print whatever we wanted. We ended up with two posters, but I really have heart just for the first one because we ran into some trouble while printing the second one (and I’m just not going to show it.)
Overall, I could say the $150 was worth it. Studio time at The Arm is already $20/hour anyway. So in a way, we only paid $30 for the instruction and everything else was just time to be with the machines. Not a bad deal at all! Now I’m excited to get a project that requires some letterpress printing now so I can start putting my new knowledge to work!
Since I haven’t posted any design work in a while, I decided to pull together some work that I’d done for Gaisano Malls early this year. Gaisano Malls owns a number of shopping malls in Mindanao in the Philippines that are more fondly referred to as GMalls. Their supermarket, G Market had just updated their branding last year (I had helped them with that! I really should post some work from that too!) And this time, I was approached by G Market to redesign their economical supermarket house brand, Gaisano Great Value.
It’s probably best to take a look at where they used to be to understand the direction we decided to take.
Their previous brand had been a bright mix of yellow, blue and red, inconsistent gradients and funky backgrounds. And while it certainly screamed out at you from the shelves, it also looked haphazard at times, not necessarily projecting a unified front for their house brand. Following the redesign of G Market, we wanted the updated house brand to emphasize simplicity and take away unnecessary frills. This is about clearly showing what product you are getting and at the same time reinforcing that the products are being offered by G Market.
So we began with the logo for the house brand. The G from the G Market logo was used to imply the connection to the Gaisano brand while a check/tick mark was used both as a modified V and a way to signal that this was a good deal for the customers. It is Great Value after all! (Hehehe!) It’s a pretty simple mark, but I think it makes its point.
The product names take quite a bit of the stage in the design system as we use them large on the packages. This is really what the customers want to be seeing anyway. Where are the Spanish sardines, or where is the tomato sauce? The big words help them see the products more clearly and find things more easily. The system is also built on the green color of G Market with a striking horizontal band. This way, the customer can get accustomed to looking for the “green” products of Great Value (and G Market.)
And while the products are predominantly green, especially for instances where there are no variants, the system allows for the implementation of other colors to signal multiple flavors or scents. In those instances, we would retain the green in the Great Value logo and use simple line illustrations to help differentiate between flavors. It’s a straightforward system that is easy on the eye but draws you in enough to make it your trusted source of value products.
I think where we ended up really defines economical, simple and value shopping for G Market’s shoppers. And I was really glad when the client felt the same way! Now we just have to see if the customers feel the same way once all the products have rolled out. It’s exciting and nerve-wracking at the same time!
I used to have an IKEA Vishult piece of Mona Lisa on our living room wall, and it hung there for a few months undisturbed. It was a humongous piece that had an industrial feel to it. And when we first moved in, it felt fine. As the months passed however, as we slowly got more pieces of furniture, finally got a rug and replaced some of our old throw pillows on the sofa, I realized the painting just didn’t fit with the rest of the place anymore. It would fit really well in a more gritty industrial-style loft, but our apartment was far from that. My bright red, aqua and yellow throw pillows just don’t go with it anymore. So one day, I took it off the hook it was hanging on and decided to give Mona Lisa a drastic change.
The IKEA piece was only about $50, much cheaper than buying a canvas that size, so I figured, I’ll just paint over it. Off I went to A.I. Friedman for some paint and brushes, and then Aldrich and I got to work covering up the piece with the creamy color. (This is what took the longest, and I’m super happy that Aldrich patiently helped me do that one Sunday night!) We started at one end, and the closer we got to Mona Lisa, the worst I felt about covering her up, so I thought, okay, let’s at least keep her face in. So we covered everything but Mona Lisa from her gown’s neckline up. And then I had an almost clean slate to start with. I had no idea what I was doing really. I didn’t know how I ended up where I did, but it looks like Mona Lisa is now among candy cotton clouds. I’m pretty happy though, and I think Mona Lisa is too. She’s moved to a much cheerier place than before!
This haul of goodies cost me about $20. There is so much paint left over!
The throw pillows were the color inspiration.
Two Fridays ago, on my way to yet another night of dining on the comfort food at Saint’s Alp Teahouse, I decided stop into the vintage store next door. Metropolis has always had the best selection of boots I’ve seen. Rows and rows of moccasin and military style boots sit alongside more feminine pointy-toed styles and also western boots, all arranged by size. I came across this androgynous pair of flat leather boots that had calf hair (probably a synthetic lookalike) on the middle piece all the way up the tongue. (I really should brush up on shoe anatomy and find out what the proper name for that is.) Anyway, I couldn’t resist. They were just too cool to pass up, and I hadn’t seen anything like it anywhere else recently.
I patted myself on the back mentally when I saw the 7 1/2 marking on the soles and quickly whisked the pair away to the cashier to pay. $55 later and I had the shoes to myself! The guy at the counter said that they had just put out those shoes. Lucky me that I got to swoop in on them right away then. And to think I go into that store maybe only 5 times a year. I would probably do something with the laces and get some new round ones that are a bit sleeker. Maybe something in a navy blue would actually complement the shoes well too, but that will have to wait. I was too excited to wear them already. So, I already wore them to work last Monday.
In keeping with the androgynous flavor of the boots, I wore a menswear inspired outfit. Please ignore my stupid expression. I tried the “don’t-smile-at-the-camera” thing but it is not working out. My face was not meant for the absence of a smile. So, I will stick to upturned mouths or just pictures with chopped heads next time! Haha
White Spense twin-pocket top, black H&M cropped trousers, Marni bag, thrifted booties
Yey, the ‘Splash’ skimmers I designed in collaboration with Save Philippine Seas’ Anna Oposa is now for sale at Punchdrunk Panda’s online store! Creating this was even more fulfilling than usual because it’s something that will help raise awareness and advocacy for our beautifully rich and diverse waters. You can click on the link above to get to the product page on the website. I believe 5% of the proceeds will be going to the Save Philippine Seas cause, so it’s a worthy purchase that will look equally pretty on your feet.